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Wow, that was by far my longest blogging break since I started blogging about a year ago. It’s actually not as if I didn’t feel like writing, on the contrary, but I just didn’t have time to put down any of my thoughts.

I also realized that the “meaning” of the blog to me is to a certain degree one of an external memory storage for memories. I have a horribly bad memory and I’m fully aware of that, but often a few sentences here and there are enough to bring back a certain non-visual image to my mind. This way I can actually remember that I not only worked during the last year and what kind of thoughts really touched me during that time. When I actively try to remember without any such guidance, I mostly remember staring at a computer screen.

By the way, here’s some interesting information about the expression “long time no see”:

“It’s been a long time since we met, as in Hi Bob! Long time no see. This jocular imitation of broken English originated in the pidgin English used in Chinese and Western exchange. [Late 1800s] ” From

Last weekend, for the first time in my life, I had the opportunity to be involved in the organization of a surprise party for a friend here (who recently returned from a three-month trip through South-East Asia). In particular I had the honor of escorting her from her home to the party location. Of course, she did not know that it would be a small party with several of her friends and, of course, she was blindfold.

Originally, I thought that it would be impossible for her to figure out, where we were going. But, to be sure, I used every available round-about to cover any traces I might have left so far by going around at least twice each time. Still, in the end she knew/guessed exactly where she was. The main reason for this was: we were at her work place! (A very good friend of hers had rented a room there in the basement.)

And, stupid me, we took the same way to work she takes every day. Even the roundabout-confusion didn’t help as there were certain significant landmarks (e.g., a ramp onto a highway and also the roundabouts themselves). Looking back the obvious solution would have been to go for a significant detour and take an alternative route through the city and to approach the location from the opposite direction. I still can’t believe that I didn’t think of this before!! Stupid me!

But, the next time you plan a surprise party for somebody, feel free to hire me as a chauffeur, with all the experience I’ve now gained.

For the last 10 years I’ve always found some excuse not to give blood. Often I was too busy or I thought I’d have to interrupt my training for 1-2 days or I thought that if I had spent four years in Great Britain they would not want my blood anyways (due to the Creutzfeld-Jakob disease). [Actually, there was a question about this on the questionnaire but it only asked if I had spent more than 6 months in the UK between 1980 and 1996, which I didn’t.]

But, if the mountain won’t come to Muhammed, Muhammed will go to the mountain. [This saying seems to be used with a different meaning in my family. Mostly referring to my mother coming to visit me. ­čśë ] So the Red Cross (in collaboration with a local partner organization) came to EPFL to collect blood today (and yesterday).

I have to admit that I was quite tense on that chair, while I was being drained, but overall it was pretty quick and painless.

Every time I see an announcement asking people to donate blood, I have to think of a former colleague of mine (Tim Voss) with whom I did my “civilian service” (Zivildienst). He had gotten into a serious car accident a few years earlier and he was always grateful for the blood he had received. Needless to say that he considered it his obligation to donate blood on a regular basis.


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