This is my first sabbatical. I moved to UW-Madison when I was due for my first sabbatical, so my sabbatical clock started over again in 2013. Having a first sabbatical as a full professor is not the norm, but I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to spend a few months in Germany. I was delighted to be invited to visit RWTH Aachen’s fabulous OR Institute by Prof. Dr. Marco Lübbecke. I had the pleasure of visiting Aachen in 2014 when I gave a talk at the German OR Society Conference, and it is nice to return for a longer visit. My sabbatical is supported by a Fulbright Award.
I have some connections to Germany. I am of the granddaughter of German and Scottish immigrants. I also have some German heritage on the other side of the family. I took German in high school growing up, and I completed a minor in German in college. I studied at the Technical University of Darmstadt as an undergraduate student in pursuit of the minor. A picture of me at my college graduation 20 years ago at the University of Illinois is below. The university provided me with a stole with the colors of the German flag to wear at the graduation ceremony, which would be strange for Germans to do due to their uneasy relationship with patriotism and their flag.
My three children are with me on my sabbatical (ages 8, 12, and 15). They will take part in the German experience and (hopefully) learn German. So far, they like the many opportunities for discount shopping in Germany, recycling our water bottles in the machine at Aldi, public transportation, the many nearby playgrounds, and the thermal baths in Aachen. In the next few months, we will discover much more to like.
I will be blogging during my sabbatical. I will tag all sabbatical related posts to make the series of blog posts easy to find, and I’ll use the “PunkRockORinGermany” hashtag on twitter. Stay tuned for more information about my sabbatical and about sabbatical planning/logistics.