Thursday, 28 December 2006

The recount of this Year.

It seems fit to somehow tie all loose ends now, given that the new year is approaching and all that.
So I thought before I indulge in NYE celebrations, swallowing 12 grapes as I go jumping the Seven Waves and throw flowers at the sea, to thank Yemanja for the year past, and ask that the new year is even better, I should recall what it is I am to be thankful for.

This year that finishes has certainly been full of events in my life.

In my head, it all started sometime in November last year, when I was frantically, and this is not just a figure of speech, trying to finish my PhD thesis.
Time had ran out. Money had ran out. I was, after all, supposed to have been finished by the end of September.

So, after broking my own viva date (date for my examination) and having self advertise to my examiners that the thesis would be ready by the beginning of November, it was with horror that I had to hand in a not-too-far-from finished version somewhere around the 10th Nov, only to submit (or at least try to) officially on the 22th (it always takes longer than you think to sort out all the little details!).

That day I had agree to meet up with O after handing in my thesis, at the British Museum (conviniently placed near University of London Thesis Offices) for a celebratory drink + dinner, I bloody well deserved it.
I had virtually seen no friends for a month. It was to be just the two of us, though.

When I saw him, he had a massive L'artisan du chocolat box! I was, surprisingly for him, carrying a massive bundle consisting of two copies of my own thesis. It turns out a certain Princess Ann was due to visit the University of London building the office I needed was on, and they closed earlier. Could they not have informed me this when I rang them a few hours before?!

Anyway, so off we go, O and I, the choccies and the thesis! It was its celebration after all, so it was only fair it was present.

After some cocktails, we walked along Hatton Garden. That subtle hint was lost on me. We went for dinner, in a beautiful underground restaurant in the old part of the City.
Finished dinner, took bus home (hours for it to pass- as usual). Arrived home. I most confess I was already tipsy. He dropped the keys for the flat, bended down on one knee, and turned to face me!!!!! I lowered my gaze at a tiny jewellery box. The next few words that were spoken you can imagine yourselves.

Entered house, more champagne and some chocolates. I never suspected anything. The perfect crime does exists! I'd better take care from this guy I decided to marry!

Fast forward three weeks: just 5 days before I was due to fly to Mexico City for Christmas, I had my dreaded viva.
I was kind of confident, while at the same time terrified .
It went took 2 and a half hours though!

More drinks! I am a Doctor in Mathematics now.

My stay in Mexico was a time for adaptation. Doctor. And Mrs!. In that order.

This year of 2006 really starts with our departure from MX (having started the organisation of a certain wedding) to come to Rio de Janeiro.
You see, being a Mathematician (or trying to become one) has plenty of travelling advantages!
Summer school at IMPA is always a good excuse to sunbathe.

Two months in Rio. Agreed a research proposal with a professor from here. Carnival. Time over.
Back to MX (for more wedding business!) and then off to London.
Just for ten days though.

This time I find myself packing my bags with quite different material than a couple of months before.
This time the destination is Vienna. Got a 6-month fellowship at ESI.

Wonderful city. It was bitterly cold at the end of March and all through April.

It seems like a dream now. Hard to think I really spent 6 months there.
It was like a burrowed life.

It is a place so different from Rio, and even London.
It is the first place where people don't go all smiley when they learnt I am from Mexico.
But then again, they seem to not smile too much.
They are serious. They all seem to be Academics, or poets.
They all love culture. Music (like proper classical music and opera). Literature.
There were more museums that I could have gone in 6 months.

They didn't enjoy speaking English with us, but seemed to dislike it more if you murdered their language with your pathetic attempts. But they were never rude (unlike the Parisians!).

Unlike Paris and London, the inhabitants of Central Vienna are Austrians (at a push they are Eastern and Central Europeans of other sources). They seem capable enough to distinguish the tourist from the dweller. They appreciate intellectual work. They respected you for it.

So, I spend I supposed the most part of this year, in Vienna, going from Cafe to Cafe, with my notebooks and scribbling some Maths for hours and hours, having consumed just a Moka (expresso) or a Citron Presse. The summer was hot and I was lucky to live near the Old Danube.
So those months were spent, working and sunbathing, swimming at the river and plying table tennis at the free public tables scattered on the public parks. And, of course, watching some Football.

Although I didn't make any Viennese friends, and just one Austrian friend, I enjoyed living there.
Human relationships seem distant and your intrusion in their personal life is not always welcome.
But I think that after a year and a half in Paris and 4 in London, I could adapt a bit better.

The warmth of the Brazilians is now more startling in comparison.
I love the Latin soul!

Between Vienna and Rio, there was a Wedding in Mexico City, a Honey Moon in the Maldives and a painful goodbye in London.

So this is how my year will end. In Rio. Hopefully surrounded by lots of Brazilians that for those first minutes of 2007 will love me (and anybody around them) as a very old friend.
And with my new husband, who despite his Englishness will be there, jumping the waves with us all.

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