nästa station: Real America

In the hallowed and surely God-sent words of an email in my inbox:  I ” have been selected for admission to the Physics Ph.D. program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.” Getting my first acceptance so early in the game nearly made me choke a bit in disbelief, and the fact that is from such a good school (especially for Physics) nearly gave me a heart attack. Once the initial shock faded I found myself doing three things at once: Sighing in relief, finding a second wind, and regretting I didn’t try for more difficult schools.

Wisconsin. Sounds lovely, but, sheepishly: I still can’t quite stomach the idea of living in Real America. Real America, to me, is what visits my city every year for a few weeks in the form of the county fair. My conception of Real America is certainly borderline cartoonish and probably even offensive.

Madison, Wisconsin, as I have heard, is Real America Lite for Fake Americans, like myself, the “Berkeley of the Midwest.” Good for me.

“But you are a real American!” the astute observer may protest. Am I? I hardly feel like a Fake American anymore. But then I reconsider, and subsequently refuse to believe there is such a thing as a Real or a Fake America. Or if there is, they are not two separate things but a confluence of a million swirling, indiscernible things. But, I have a blue passport. So I suppose, like so many others, I am.


I promised posts on the final months, or ‘the Dark Ages of the Blog’ in Switzerland, and I will. I managed to squeeze three last adventures:  First, I went to Paris to visit my flatmate from the summer, who turned out to be not only a gracious host but an excellent tour guide. Second, I went to Milan for exactly 16 hours (plus eight hours of transit) to watch an opera in the birthplace of opera with dirt cheap tickets of somewhat miraculous origin. Finally, on my last day in Switzerland, I made a solo trek through the Swiss German snowdrifts to Zürich to see a rather exciting lab in a basement. I’ll write posts between writing job applications, which is, quite grudgingly, my current occupation.


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