The current plan: goodbye Maryland, hello Saarland

Hi folks.  Many of you know that I passed my dissertation defense.  Go me!  So now I am technically no longer a student.  It feels rather strange, because nearly every phase of my life has had one enormous overhanging Goal, whether it be graduating from high school, or my bachelor’s degree, or…  Now for the first time, I don’t have a single overhanging Grand Goal.  I can have multiple agendas, and one not necessarily dominating the others.  This will take some getting used to.  Well, unless I get a tenure-track job at some point.  In which case, I suppose the Grand Goal thing will come back, until I get tenure.

But I am getting ahead of myself, because you’ll now correctly wonder what I am going to be doing with my life.  Well, the first thing I am doing, once I have fully deconstructed my time in Maryland, is to move to Germany.  Yep, I am starting a post-doctoral position in Germany next month, at the University of the Saarland, working on incremental parsing formalisms with Dr. Vera Demberg, once all the paperwork is in order.  Change of continent, change of focus.

I’m more than a little sad to leave the DC area, of course.  The first three years I was here, I was but a tourist; if it had ended then, I’d have thought, “Huh, that was interesting.  The fourth and fifth years, the DC are became “familiar” to me.  These past couple of years, though, have left me with some amount of roots and personal attachment to the place.  It’s home, but the way of the world is that those of us with intended careers in research have to follow the jobs.  Even when times are good, I can’t just pick a city and expect to live there.  Doubly so for DC, where I am not a citizen and not eligible for most of the directly-attached government jobs. So I leave Maryland without the illusion that I would be coming back and settling down here.

But…a trip to Europe to pick up on a kind of work I used to do, and want to keep alive as part of my repertoire.  If I have to leave the land of the Smithsonian, there are few better ways I could have done it.  An opportunity to refresh my German too.

Now back to sorting through seven years worth of excess paper and packing and all those annoying details…

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