This morning as Iris and I sat and ate breakfast, we watched a mixture of leaves, rain and snow swirl upwards past our 18th floor (19th by American counting) window. If the winters here were only as windy as Chicago, or cold as New York, or dark as southern Alaska, or damp as Seattle, or foggier than San Francisco, I wouldn’t mind so much. But they are all of these things. The wind howls through everything, bringing cold and wet to each cranny.
I have found that the best strategy for keeping my bad hip from minding the weather is to make sure I am absurdly over-dressed. This morning I walked to work, in temperatures above freezing, wearing high insulated shoes, long-underwear, lined pants, a heavy over-shirt, a down parka and thick gloves, hat and scarf. I was sweating the whole time, but my hip felt fine.
All of this does not endear the city to my heart, and yet I hope I will be here another five years. The grant application that is taking most of my time is to establish a research group of my own, funded by the Max Planck Society for five years. There are three responses they could make to my application. They could say no, they could say yes and let me form the research group here, or they could say yes but tell me to form it at a different Max Planck Institute, in a different city (i.e., Cologne).
I indicate in my application that my first choice is to stay here (at MPIDR), not out of love for the climate, but because of MPIDR’s, “strength in evolutionary demography would be a great benefit to me. I have ongoing collaborations with several MPIDR researchers, including members of the Research Groups on Lifecourse Dynamics and Demographic Change, and Modeling the Evolution of Aging, and of the Laboratories of Statistical Demography, Survival and Longevity, and Evolutionary Biodemography. As my project draws on evolutionary and demographic theory, on MPIDR's Human Mortality Database and Biodemographic Database, on laboratory experiments and survey data, MPIDR’s mixture of social science and biology is the ideal environment for me.”
Add to that that we have good friends, Iris enjoys teaching at the University here, we like our colleagues, we have a great apartment, and moving (which we have done far to much of) is a pain in the rear, and I am very much hoping to stay here. That said, if they offer me a group in Cologne, we will certainly go, in the spring.