Saturday, August 22, 2009

Summer is the time to travel. Tomorrow, I am headed to Turin in Italy to attend the meeting of the European Society of Evolutionary Biology. Must be a small meeting, or? How many evolutionary biologists can there be? A lot it seems; 1200 participants are expected, so this will easily be the largest meeting I’ve ever attended. Hopefully, a few of those 1200 nerds will take a few seconds to glance at my poster. After the conference, I am heading to Rome to meet my parents. Yes, my parents are braving a trans-Atlantic flight to do something they’ve always wanted to do, visit Italy. We plan to see Rome before heading to Florence and Tuscany. Although Italy is sure to be interesting, I’m mostly looking forward to seeing my parents. Actually, this will be my second rendezvous with Nebraskans this summer. I met my old high school/college buddy Ben Retzer in Berlin a few weeks ago. Ben was in the UK to attend the wedding of his fiance’s sister. As he and his fiancĂ© were in neighborhood, they decided to visit Berlin, and I was more than happy to meet them for a weekend in the capital (I’ve often written fondly about my trips to Berlin). Two things I will remember about that trip. First, if you are ever in a bar with psychedelic decorations (i.e. mushrooms sprouting from the ceiling), do not give the bartender free reign to mix the nightcap; it will surely contain too much whiskey. Second, it was a bit weird to be with Nebraskans in Berlin. While Nebraskan dialects and mannerisms are not unusual for me, on a subconscious level I just don't expect to encounter them when I am with my girlfriend in Berlin. It was a sort of reverse-reverse culture shock…my original culture visited me in my adopted culture. Nothing bad about it, it was just a bit strange.

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