21: Ask San Anything Vol. 7

I am doing NaBloPoMo this month. 30 blog posts in 30 days. Come join me. #nablopomo2023


photo credit: @happpyal via Unsplas

From Tobia
How did it happen that you ended up in Sacramento? Didn’t you go to SF for your exchange year?

I actually went to the University of California at Davis for my exchange semester. Davis is a small college town between SF and Sacramento. After I went back home to graduate from university, I came back to Davis while Jon finished up school. I had applied for an internship at the U.S. Geological Survey to gain some experience while I was here and the office was in Sacramento (which is a 25-minute drive from Davis). I commuted daily with a colleague and after Jon finished school, we moved to Sacramento while I was finishing up this internship. Well, that internship eventually (after a few detours) turned into my career. 

From Engie:
What’s the most surprising difference you’ve learned between living in Germany and the States? 

The most surprising difference was that time when I found out that apparently long division is taught differently from how I learned it in Germany. This usually doesn’t come up in conversion, does it?

Here is how it is different. I mean, if I squint, it maybe looks kinda similar, but not really. The first two lines are just super confusing. What are you guys in the US even doing??

Obviously, the results are the same. But did you know about this difference? I’d be truly damned if you did!

Do you dream in English or German? 

Very good question. Most of the time, I truly don’t know because a lot of dreams are “non-verbal” (as in, you see/experience things not there’s not always conversation). The only time I know if I dreamed in English or German is when I distinctly remember speaking to someone in my dream and according to that, I can attest that I have dreamed in both English and German. 

How do you find time each day to do all that exercise? Do you wake up at like 3:30 am? 

As Jess Sims (Peloton Instructor) likes to say: “We don’t have time, we make time”. Before the pandemic, I did in fact get up at 4 am to go to the gym before work. I am kinda glad I don’t have to do that anymore. Now that I work out (and work) from home, I usually get up around 6 am and start my workout right away (before my brain catches up to what my body is doing – haha). 

I usually plan a workout stack anywhere from 1-2 hours, which often depends on when I have my first work meeting, or if I have to leave the house and go to the office (currently only one day a week).  My mornings are not “slow” or “relaxing” in this regard, but I do feel very accomplished and ready to tackle my day after my workout. I definitely benefit from the work-from-home life.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?  

I answered this in my (belated) AMA post recently, but since the question was posed again, here’s my answer: I’d love to live in Boston. It was the first city I visited in the US (in the 90s) and I fell in love with it. 

From Steve:
What’s one thing you miss that is better about living in Germany vs the USA, and one thing that you think is better about living in the USA than Germany?

One thing that I miss about living in Germany is that on Sundays everything is closed (except for gas stations and restaurants) and you’re “forced” to take a day of rest. One thing that is better about living in the US is that I love that you can get your shopping and errands done on Sundays. Haha.

Did you know about different ways to do long division? Did you know stores are closed on Sundays in Germany?

  1. I did know about the long division because I spent a few months in a Spanish school in 4th grade when my family lived in Jerez. I could not wrap my head around it then and I’m not even going to try now. My teachers had no idea what I was doing and tried for a day to convert me, but I couldn’t wrap my head around it. And since I was getting the right answers, they let me continue my weird American way.

    1. Ha. I am sure there’s a gazillion ‘right ways’ to get to the same result :)

  2. I had no idea about the long division. Wow. That is very different and I have no idea what you did there. Ha. I totally agree that having stores closed on Sundays would be nice, but ALSO – hard. My workout routine became more manageable timing wise after or due to the pandemic too. Silver lining.

    1. I can’t decide if I prefer stores closed or not – it’s nice not to be able to shop but also convenient to be able to shop LOL

  3. Um looking at the US example, no wonder I had so much trouble with math in school.
    Working out got so much easier with WFH. Unfortunately with my current job I have to start work at 8 and really don’t want to get up before 6, so things are a little tight, but at least all that I have to do to get to work is to go upstairs. I could never go back to commuting every day.

    1. I know – working from home has changed so much (for the better).

  4. I LOVE WORKING FROM HOME for just this reason. My husband and daughter have to get dressed and she has to do hair and makeup and everything, and I can just do my yoga and go for my walk and be at my desk at around 8. It’s great.

    I had no idea anyone did division differently, or that that was an American way to do it. Interesting.

    1. WFH is awesome. That’s all :)

  5. I too loved that everything was closed on Sunday, forcing you to spend time with your family and relax. I do miss that sometimes. The math thing, I didn’t know about that. It wasn’t one of the things I learned while I was there, very interesting. Maybe because I’m used to the US method, but Germany’s looks more confusing. LOL.

    1. Haha, the US way looks more confusing to me, but it’s all about what you’re used to ;)

  6. I remember the days when stores were closed on Sundays in Canada! I was just a kid when that changed and it was a Big Deal. I didn’t know that about long division – interesting! I’m a math gal so that is fascinating to me.

    1. Yeah, we can debate if stores closed on Sundays is better or not… I mean, I’d love for everyone to have Sundays off. It’s nice.

  7. I remember how everything was closed on Sundays in Germany, but it’s been a long time since I was there and I was wondering if it’s still like that now. I guess it is!
    Long division… just looking at those equations makes my brain turn off. If you forced me to, I could do the US version of long division, but I also think there’s a new way they’re teaching the kids here now? I seem to remember that, and my son’s teacher warning them not to show their parents their long division homework because we would tell them they’re doing it wrong!

    1. Yup, most stores are still closed on Sundays. A few times a year, they do a “Open-Store Sunday” but it’s a rare event.

  8. We do long division the American way in Australia. I just learnt (since we are in Germany now) that shops are closed on Sunday. I remember when shops were closed on Sundays in Melbourne too, but it was a long time ago.

    1. There’s pro and cons about stores being closed on Sundays ;)

  9. Oh, the long division thing is FASCINATING. I can see benefits to both ways, to be honest. I was explaining it to my husband and I could see his eyes start to glaze because I guess no one else is as interested in ways of symbolically representing long division except you and I, San!

    1. Haha. Nerds unite? :)

  10. That math blew my mind! I am not the math parent in my household (I’m English Lit and feelings haha), but I am always surprised at all the different ways of doing math (like the “new” math my daughter is learning compared to how my guy and I learned back in the day) seeing as how desperately I grasped onto the concepts to just get through them in school haha!

    1. I find it interesting that there are multiple ways to do math… I mean, it seems otherwise to be a pretty much “black and white” approach, but there are different ways to get to the same results apparently :)

  11. I did not know about the different ways division is done. I think that the way division is done now in the US probably looks very very different from what you show above. I am not 100% sure on that but my sense is that the common core approach to math is COMPLETELY different. I am kind of excited to see how they approach math as Paul gets older, though! I have heard a lot of parents complain about it but I am keeping an open mind and figure it’d a chance for me to see math in a different way.

    1. That is totally possible that there are other – new – ways to do math. As long as we all arrive at the same result, it’s all good, right? ;)

  12. What a fun difference! I had no idea about the long division situation. My daughter has been doing division and her school teaches multiple ways to get to the answer (which is good) and all my poor brain can handle is boring old long division!

    1. I agree, multiple ways are good. Every kid learns differently!

  13. Didn’t know about the long division thing and can’t figure out the German way. I was also not the math parent – one semester my son had mainly writing assignments and had to make a cooking blog – my husband was looking pretty smug that whole time.
    I would give a lot to live by the ocean.

    1. Sigh. Living by the ocean would be a dream.

  14. Haha, yes, I do know the differences all too well from when my kids learned it in school. It is also different how they do addition and subtraction – everything? I don’t know. But supposedly they teach it a little different in Germany now, too., if I understood my brother correctly. Not quite like here – because that would be boring if you would do things the same way.

    1. I think it’s great if they teach math multiple ways. Every kid learns differently!

  15. I think I knew that about the divisions since I attended high school math for a year in the US. but I totally deleted that from my mind. Probably I never understood what the heck they were doing and decided I won’t manage to get it anyways.
    Thank you for answering my question. That leaves me with a follow up: What did Jon major in? I don’t think I know.

    1. Jon majored in PoliSci and History.

  16. I will admit that my brain could not compute EITHER scenarios of long division, but I actually learned it in an entirely different way than the typical American way. Math was always my weakest subject and I had to be taught a different way to do long division that made more sense to me. So, there are actually MANY MORE ways to do long division!

    1. Haha, I am glad there are multiple ways to do long division… I think it’s important for people to find a way that works for them, as long as we all arrive at the same result, it’s all good, right?

  17. I also find a morning workout to be beneficial – before the day stars and gets busy (or I find excuses).
    Working from home is wonderful – so many benefits :)

  18. The long division is kind of mind-blowing. I just do it in my head so I had to stare at both – the US and German versions – to determine the difference! I’d love to sit through a German class to hear the explanation (assuming, of course, that I would be fluent in German if doing so, LOL).

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