As I'm writing this, I find myself at home once again. What an experience! This has been one of my longest and at the same time culturally most challenging stays abroad so far. Not only once did I come back to my place to share my novel experiences and photos with my Brazilian housemate, just to be told that it was somewhat of a miracle that I had not been kidnapped or robbed at gunpoint, when all I did that day was taking a leisurely stroll across a quiet residential area on a hill. Back then in China, it certainly took me some time to get used to their lifestyle, but at least it was safe. And I visited quite a few shady corners in China, too. But actually, in the 38 or so countries I had been before Brazil, I never felt unsafe.
During my stay in Brazil, I wrote my thesis, for which I developed different hybrid global localisation algorithms for autonomous mobile robots. Spending pretty much all of my waking hours in front of my beloved digital computation device made my stay the most productive period of my professional life. What is yet missing for a complete description of my average day are the two portions of rice & beans, plus the habitual morning coffee and avocado toast, that's it. Oh, and folks who know me well will be surprised that, for the first time in my life, I actually hit a gym, to cope with the backaches that were caused by my almost uninterrupted coding routine. As I usually prefer to do sports outside, I only touched the door handle and the treadmill controls, but no weights, satisfying the stereotype of my profession.
" To me, mathematics, computer science and the arts are insanely related. They're all creative expressions. "
When not coding, I spent my time exploring Porto Alegre by bicycle or hanging out with my Brazilian fellow researcher Mathias, eating wraps, drinking red wine and discussing the latest developments in robotics and international politics, while listening to his newly discovered favourite German artist Helene Fischer.
Turning 30 very soon, I reckon it's time for me to settle down for a while in Germany, to continue to grow my engineering expertise persuing a full-time job, spend some more time with my loved ones, and reflect on those past 10 years on the road. Although I have only been home for roughly six weeks now, I already started using the various different flight search engines as frequently as ever when routine strikes once again.