Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Discovering my Dissertation Research part VI

Days 13 and 14: Taking things slowly

There are few specific things to report for these two days, so I will combine them together.

I spent Sunday doing almost nothing. I spent as much time as possible in apartment so that I would not tax my knees. I left briefly in order to get some food at a local establishment (nothing special, just some roasted vegetables and rice at a Turkish fast food restaurant.) I looked over at the research that I collected over the past weak. I also watched American TV in German: three hours of Star Trek.

The big surprise came later. When I arrived in Cologne a week and a half ago, the landlady told me that only she could use the washer and the iron (there is no dryer–Germans generally hang their clothes to dry them.) She said that she feared that one of these might break if someone other than her handled them. The iron, which is professional, was especially dear to her. Furthermore, she implied that if one of these broke while I used it, she would completely blame me, fairly or not. Alright, at the end of the first week I gave her some clothes to wash. When I came back all my clothes were hanging all over the room, as she had promised. However, she had used so much soap that everything was stiff (or was it the soap that she used.) Some of my shirts were so badly wrinkled that I could not wear them, and she had left for several days. While I was in Aachen this weekend, she took it upon herself to collect my dirty clothes and wash them. This was very nice, and I could not complain about it. However, more of my clothes were too wrinkled. I had to ask her to iron some of my clothes. I gave her three shirts and two pairs of pants. She came back several hours later with the clothing, all well pressed. I was very thankful (especially since I would not look like a fool in front of a bunch of stiff German historians.) She asked for five euros for the ironing. I was surprised. She had mentioned nothing about a cost to this work, although I would admit that she is entitled to payment. However, I would not have had this problem had it not been for the way that she washed the clothes.

I spent one grueling day in the archives. I looked through a lot of files, and copied many passages into my laptop. My eyes burned, my entire body lost feeling. That, more than my weak knees, prevented from seeing the festival that is going on in Dusseldorf (it will last throughout the week.) I am considering taking an overnight trip to somewhere in the area so that I can see more. I wish that I felt comfortable enough to take a hiking trip–there are some beautiful parks in Westphalia, especially around the Munsterland and the Sauerland. Of course, I could look more into the industrial area of the Ruhr. I also have a friend in Hamburg whom I might visit.

BTW, my mom mentioned the problem of the difference between a cathedral and a minster, noting that the English insist that Westminster is not a cathedral. As far as I can tell, Dom and Munster are used interchangeably to name a cathedral. Either they are the same thing, or being one does not exclude being the other. In fact, the Aachen cathedral, built to be the seat of the Papacy, is called a Munster. Being that minster comes from Munster, I see no reason why Westminster could not be considered a cathedral.
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