Some Sunday diaries stayed unwritten because I’ve not managed to transfer photos from my camera. On June 19 I was at Dusseldorf for a day and the only thing I liked about the city were these themed sculptures of every day people on traffic signals and such. That, and the miso soup and sushi roll from a Japanese restaurant near the Gehry buildings. Places give off vibes and Dusseldorf and I simply didn’t hit it off. It’s not my kind of city. Or perhaps we did not meet on the right day.
The reason I was in Dusseldorf was to apply for a UK Visa. I have a very close friend in London and it was always our plan for me to visit whilst in Germany. The visa process-and cost-gave me major second thoughts, although in the end I concluded not visiting now meant I don’t know when I’d get the chance to see her and her husband next.
In the interest of saving some money, I booked myself a discounted OneBus return from Dusseldorf to Gottingen that arrived in Gottingen at something like 3.30AM. This was my second OneBus journey (the first being Prague-Gottingen) and this one came with packet of snacks and a bottle of water gratis. The driver-there was only one- was very young, with a very pleasant nature although I was wondering if he was overworked (it seemed at points that he was blinking very hard to chase sleep away, although I could be wrong about that). The thing with smaller bus companies is that you don’t know what kind of labour standards they follow. The market for long-distance buses is beginning to see some severe competition in Germany and OneBus offers deals that are cheaper than the market-leaders Meinfernbus, but not as cheap as MegaBus.
Sunday early morning I went to Hannover, and that day found out what I’d missed: that they also have Thursday meditations. I’ve now been making twice weekly visits to Hannover: mimicking my Calcutta routine, finally. Like I’ve already mentioned, I’m glad for it. It’s been largely responsible for holding together my inner environment.
The Lidl at Hannover Station might just be the only supermarket I have so far seen that stays open on Sundays! I’ve started doing most of my grocery shopping there since I’m in Hannover so often, and Lidl has some very good deals, especially towards the end of the month. I’ve also discovered 99 cent egg salad sandwiches at the Back Factory which makes for my Thursday dinners and Sunday lunches.
I amped up the reading for my second chapter and presentation, getting a surprising lot done on my train journeys. But the past couple of weeks have been a little stressful because suddenly there was presentation work to do, logistics to take care of and decisions to make. They’ve offered us an extension on our fellowship and after a lot of thought and speaking with my family, I’ve accepted it.
The biggest stress agent has, however, been the presentation. I’m sure the actual work is not as bad as I’m making it out to be, but my familiar demons have emerged, on cue. I’ve been reacting to my simple task with sheer panic and constant fear, so much so, that I have not even been able to write a sentence as yet. The best way to deal with it, as always, is to ensure that one keeps up with the meditation and maintains one’s perspective. It’s been harder to do that this time because I feel as if the stakes are higher for this presentation in comparison with presentations back home. There if I mess up, it reflects badly on just myself and I have a redo. But this presentation feels very big in my head because I see it as a day of judgement: was I worth the fellowship? My mind has visions of people going ‘That’s it? You’ve been here an entire semester and that’s all you’ve managed?’
Again, rationally speaking, I know nobody would say this. I also know that people aren’t really that bothered about these presentations, they are almost a formality. So in a way, it’s actually my mind that will be posing this question to me: ‘Is this all you have to show for it?’
These aren’t helpful thought patterns, but I’m having trouble shutting them down. It really does not help that this has been a week of no meditation. I tried to sit down today but I was too worked up to manage it. I also had a cold last week, which left me unable to work for two straight days. I’d like to believe that had I managed to work those two days, I wouldn’t have had to cancel my second Nuremberg trip scheduled for today. But I did, and I did.
One way or the other I will have to write this up by tomorrow. And somehow I will have to trust the words of my Supervisor who told me that I’ve never given a bad presentation so far. The hardest thing to do is to actually start writing. It feels like such an impossible task.
I will not let the fear win.