I did it. I am doing a PhD in Space Microbiology at the German Aerospace Center! It officially started on monday, 3rd of April 2017, but before that there was a whole sea of things to prepare, so I´m couting the wonderful week of PhD preps as a crucial part of it :p
#1 – Packing: Until now I though packing a bag was easy – I´ve had a lot of training with BEST and ERASMUS in the past 3 years, I knew how to travel light and always knew what was needed. Turns out when I realized I was actually moving away for 3 years of my life, my first reaction was – I´m gonna need everything!! I ended up traveling light anyway – afterall, that´s what I do best :p So, I packed my bag for the first two weeks, and put everything else in two big cardboard packages that I would send through Chronopost. But, it happens that after spending 2 days waiting for them inside the house, the 2x 20kg packages somehow found their way to a dpd pick up point ~10 min walk from my house, and I had no car or trolley to pick them up! I had to take the two small ryanair bags, fill them with the package things, and come back home. I did this twice, in what sums up of 1h30 of gym work as I carried the things back and forward my 3-floors up lovely home :p
#2 – House stuff: When you come home for the first time to something like this (see bellow) you think two things: “WOW great! I can do whaever I want with this house! It´s gonna look awesome!” and “OMG, with what money will I get this thing furnitured! It´s gonna take forever to make it look awesome!”. And it definitely will take a long time to make it super pretty, but at least in Germany there are tons of used furniture being selled or even given away for free every day! So with the help of my landlady I managed to find an almost-new sofa, for free, and the guy who had it even brought it to me and carried it with me upstairs! Amazing, right? Now I´m addicted to checking websites for free furniture :p
#3 – Bureaucracy: Well, it is a fact of the modern world that you get nothing done without paper work, and this time my moving implied a bunch of things: the rental contract of the apartment, the transport monhly ticket, registering in the City, opening a bank account, getting a german phone and sim card, registering at the DLR Institute, looking into wifi/tv/phone contracts, enrolling at the University, etc. What I wasn´t counting on was that they all have their inter-dependencies. For example: to open a bank account I needed to be registered at the City, but I could only register at the city if I had a document signed by my landlady, so I had to schedule a meetign with her, and after waiting 1 hour in the registration office, I found out I could only register after the official start of my rental contract so I had to go there again 3 days later. More, for the monthly ticket to be bought with a discount I need my institute to sign a paper, and to get the paper I need to go to the info desk at a main atation; and I am still managing to gather the documents for my University´s enrollment, since I will need a certification saying that my Masters´certificate is indeed a valid certificate (amongst many other papers).
Regardless of all of this, It´s good to finally be here! 😀 And soon I can let you know more about my official 1st week of PhD, which will have way less bureaucracy, and way more science!