11: Q & A with San

I am doing NaBloPoMo this month. 30 blog posts in 30 days. Come join me. #nablopomo2020

A week or so ago, I gathered some questions for a Q & A session on my blog instagram account (come follow me and never miss a post!). I know sometimes we have questions for people that we never get to ask (randomly), so I thought it would be fun to see what’s on your guys’ mind. I am going to answer these questions today. And if you didn’t have the chance to ask a question yet or just thought of one, drop it in the comments!

Have you ever considered creating a backup plan and return to Germany in the last 4 years?

Very good question. To be honest, Germany is – and has always been – a backup plan in my mind, but especially during the last four years. Jon and I have seriously talked about what we would do if Trump was going to be re-elected and we frequently talk about relocating (one of these days). I feel very grateful for the fact that I have a second passport and a “way out”, if it ever became necessary.

Are you and your hubs both working from home during this mess? How’s it going?

I am very lucky that I was able to transition to a full-time work from home schedule when we went into lockdown mode in March. My agency had a very generous flexible work schedule policy to begin with, but it really came into full force when we were all sent home to telework at the beginning of the pandemic. I have to say, it’s been going great and I’ve really enjoyed working from home (despite the circumstances that led to it). I wrote about it a little more in depth here.

What do you love about running?

Oh, there is so much to love about running. Running has become on of my favorite forms of me-time. I put in my ear plugs, listen to some music or a podcast, and go. I love being outside, seeing other people be out and about, and just moving my body. It clears my head like hardly anything else.  I know that when I am cranky, I have to get outside. 

Another reason, why I love running? It burns calories. I love and enjoy food and running affords me the luxury to eat some extra calories. I am not much of snacker, but if we’re having a good meal, you can bet that I am getting seconds. 

Most importantly though? Running makes me happy – more often than not, it puts a huge smile on my face. I just feel good after most of my runs (even though the run itself might not always feel good). That might seem odd, but that’s a fact. I feel strong, healthy, and capable and just physically and mentally in a good place after a run.

How did you end up in Northern California?

I wrote about how I came to California before, but this is the short version: I participated in an exchange program through my university in Germany and ended up spending 6 months here in Northern California. I originally wanted to spend a semester in New England, specifically Boston, but that wasn’t in the cards as my university only had an exchange program that could place me here in California, but it was truly the second-best option and I am very glad I came! This is where I met my husband and this is where I’ve lived for the better part of the last 16 years.

Will you continue to work remotely (maybe forever)?

The answer to this is: I don’t know. There is a lot of work in our agency that can’t be done remotely (mainly lab and fieldwork), but there’s definitely been talk on how to extend our work from home capabilities in the future. I think a lot of people enjoy the flexibility that the remote work has afforded them (me included) and while I do enjoy getting together with colleagues and collaborating in person, I would not mind keeping a part-time work from home schedule once the pandemic is under control and things return to normal. 

What’s your favorite part of your home?

Definitely our backyard. It’s been so nice – especially this summer during a pandemic – to have our own private little outdoor space that we could use to relax and unwind. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for families to be in lockdown mode without having access to an outdoor space. When we moved from our house back into a rental situation, a private outdoor space was very high on my priority list. 

I hope I answered the questions to your satisfaction. If you have any other questions, let me know!

  1. Apparently I miss my window of submitting a question and now I can’t think of one. But it’s always so fun to read about random things. I came to enjoy your backyard during the last months too.

  2. Yes, the bottom line on running for me is that it just makes me happy. I hope to work remotely forever. My favorite part of this summer was working in my “Friday office”, a.k.a. our backyard.

  3. This is fun! I would imagine you have thought about going back to Germany in the last four years. It’s good to have options, at the very least. I’m mostly working from home these days too and I really love it.


  4. I was off IG when you asked for questions, I think! I’m off IG/FB for the month of November which has been good for me. I would have asked about plans to move back to Germany, too. It’s definitely nice to have that option in your back pocket!

    1. Oh yeah, the question was on IG stories, so only up for 24 hours…. no worries. You can always ask questions at any time! ;)

  5. I’ve been thinking the same thing – it must be so hard for people who didn’t have their own outdoor space (or close access to a safe one) during all this! I need to get outside every day and would mentally struggle if it was a challenge.

    My question is what is it like to not be a snacker?! Ha ha. That is something I want to un-become.

  6. It’s amazing how many companies are transitioning to more flexible work-from-home schedules after this pandemic! My work is going FULLY remote, which is something that was never even a consideration beforehand. (We struggled to get a weekly WFH day!) I hope you’ll be able to do a part-time WFH schedule once everything goes back to normal – whenever that will be!

  7. I feel there are many companies that are considering part-time WFM which is great. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you that your company will adjust as well and give you the option to work from home every now and then. It is definitely nice to get some chores done while taking a work break throughout the day.

  8. It’s funny how the exchange program part works out! I had a similar experience in the fact that I wanted to go to France (because I had studied French). The programs were only offered in French and my advisor knew that my French, specifically for technical classes, would not be strong enough. She recommended Florence instead. I remember being so mad about it, but now Florence is one of my favorite places in the world and would definitely be a place that I would settle if I had a pathway to being there!

  9. Nice to meet you! I lived in Germany for 4 years & also run for health and sanity.

    1. Hi Mari, nice to meet you. So cool that you are a fellow runner and that you lived in Germany – which city?

      1. We were in Kaiserslautern (“Little America,” right?) and spent our time traveling to every place we could while we were there! What part are you from?

        1. Kaiserslautern… not too far from where I grew up. I am from the Cologne area!

  10. I’m glad you posted your IG link: I was going to ask you what it was. ;)

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