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from Berlin with Love

Hi Ghazal,
This short letter comes to you from my visit to Berlin. It"s a bit rainy here, but the city doesn"t loose its charme even if it"s grey. I hope you will find time during the few month of your project to visit Berlin and its cultural wealth.
I hope you have a good time in Schweden and will be back on Wednesday without too much homesickness.

Greetings your Michael

PS: I attach images of two of the world-most-famous archaeologic objects that attract millions of visitors every year to the Berlin museums. My favorite is the Ishtar-gate from Babylon. I saw visitors from Iraq here in the Pergamon-Museum, who bursted into tears when they saw it:
[caption id="attachment_98" align="alignnone" width="350" caption="Ishtar gate from Babylon"]Ishtar gate from Babylon[/caption]

The second is the bust of Nefertiti, the un-unoffical miss-universe since 3000 years.
[caption id="attachment_99" align="alignnone" width="350" caption="Iconic bust of Nefertiti"]Iconic bust of Nefertiti[/caption]


Dear Miss F........

Dear Miss F.,

please find attached the project outline. Please don"t hesitate to correct, improve, or critizise it whereever you feel is neccessary. Your suggestions are very wellcome and I would like very much if you could find some clearer and more appropriate words to describe the story.
It would be an honour for me if someone enchanting as you are spends some thoughts on this very, very abstract and dry subject.

Yours Michael



Hi Dr. R.,

Thank you for looking it up for me. it sounds good. The 20 june is my birthday so I have planned to go back home that weekend. And plus maybe it is better to focus more on the masterproject. I have a german book I will try to learn from that.But I will keep it as an option.

I"d like to thank you again for helping me with the project description, I was worrying about it a bit. I will write it in my own words as good as possible.

You said it will be a bit empty next week. I was thinking of not coming in, in the beginning of the week. When will you be there? I will come on wednesday around 2 o"clock. I will take this opportunity to read up on the litterature and write a good project description.

Thank you.

Take care, see you tomorrow.

/Ghazal F

speaking KLARTEXT

Hi Ghazal,

I called KLARTEXT about the german beginners course. There is one starting June 20th, twice a week (Thuesday and Thursday, 6p.m. to8.30 p.m.). The course number is A71-1.
You can register online here.

There are still free places.

Bye, Michael

A very polite Cat

Hi Ghazal,

Thank you very much for your e-mail. It was a pleasure to read some words from you. Hope you had a nice day.
I"ll be in the Lab tomorrow only for a few hours, at around lunch I"ll leave to see my parents in Berlin and some friends (where I stay till Wednesday). We talk tomorrow about the best way to organize next week. (Claudia is also away).

I already told the people at KLARTEXT that you want attend the course at the 20th since it is your birthday. They said it is no problem, and in fact they even offered that one can start the course anytime (even now), but this implies that one steps in when the other students are already advanced.
Ghazal, I"m sure that in mid June you have already learned some words or phrases in german just from the people in the Lab, so that missing the first lesson at the school won"t matter.

wish you good night


PS: please don"t call me Dr.R.
Nobody in the Lab uses these official titles. If you continue with this, I will start to call you Mrs.F (what sounds very nice, I have to admitt).

... a bit angry

Dear Ghazal,

It is always a pleasure to get a massage from you, even though it is a sad one saying that you have to stay at home today. I hope everything is o.k. with you.
When I cought Prof. T. yesterday "red-handed" requesting a project-description from you, I might have appeared a bit angry. In general I always complain if others try to set up a new agenda during a running MSc project. He was perhaps looking for me earlier, but maybe could not find me.
He might have little understanding of privat matters, but I don"t want you to sit the whole weekend and prepare the project description, while your friend is here.
I will write you a single page in short, key-word like form of the project, and maybe you just "decorate" it with your own words. Don"t misunderstand me, Ghazal, I have absolutely no doubts you could write the paper yourself easily, but I"m sure you have other plans for the weekend. So maybe you can use the short outline of the project that I am going to send you.

Take care


... short notice

Dear R,

Im not coming in tomorrow (thursday) if its okay due to personal matters. Will come and continue lab on friday. I am sorry to inform you with such a short notice. I could not find the form to fill in for the secretary. Do you have it? Think it was important?

Take care

Best regards
Ghazal F


The mouse adores the persian cat

Ghazal, you are to much a goddess to be conquered by a ordinary guy like your boy-friend, who is doing body-building and dreams of a life as manager. You should not be touched by a human beeing, and I would never consider touching you. I might touch you with my eyes, but only to adore you. Your magic stays in an immaterial sphere. I do not know how much of this magic is just a projection of hidden dreams, that by chance were caught by a student sitting in the first row with an expression on her face, as if the blue colour of your eyes merely reflected your thinking about the moon and the blue, blue sea. What would have happend, if I would have given you a slight kick with the finger, just as to wake somebody up who had fallen asleep? Would you come back to this world with your dreams burst into pieces of coloured glass ? (26-05-2010)

Ride the Bike

Hi Ghazal,
I hope you found a nice bicycle helmet and arrived well in Unterschleissheim. The helmets, I have to admit, are a tribute to the sports industry which makes easy profit from selling them to the fearsome people. And they are a tribute to the insurrance companies, which can refuse to pay you a compensation, in case you are hit by a car and did not wear a helmet. Aestetically, however, they are a disaster. People look like a Alien III monster when they wear a bicycle helmet.
When you were sitting on the bike yesterday, with your open hair and the trenchcoat, you reminded me of a picture I saw on an french retro-poster advertising bikes (see below).
[caption id="attachment_138" align="alignnone" width="338" caption="Lady in red on ONYX Bike"]Lady in red on ONYX Bike[/caption]
I think we should make a photo of you on the bike, without a helmet.

Have a nice evening, see you tomorrow.



An old mouse feels spell-bound by a young kitten

Ghazal, you are too young to understand what I feel. When I was your age, love was a game, you could play it like a chess or batminton, with every defeat making you laugh and prompting you to try some new strategy or a new challenge. Now, when I am 49, it is quite different, since I realize that you are unique among all other 3.6 billion girls and woman in the world. There is only one 25 year old girl Ghazal in the entire universe (a girl that grew into a goddess since I saw you 21 years ago on the arms of your parents in the Berlin-Lichtenberg Bistro), a girl that leaves me spell-bound and controlls all my thoughts and emotions. The degree of devotion that your presence is doing to me is toxic. All my mental energy is completely reprogramed, as if I am possesed by an love angel. Rationally, I know that to a large degree this is just a mind-game, just as Lewis Carolls "Alice in Wonderland" guided him into a world that was beyond the legal restrictions, the laws and moral implications of society and family. Just as him, I feel that there is now other religion, no other ethernal meaning in live than the love between a man and a girl. (25-05-2010)


The hidden letters to a persian cat (written from a mouse fallen deeply in love to her)

Ghazal, my cat, you are a bad liar. I knew right away when you send me your sick note on Friday that you were well off. Didn"t I tell you that whenever you feel good, I feel good as well, and when you feel bad, I feel the same. And on Friday, we were both o.k. Don"t worry, I know you went to Sweden to see your family.
Maybe you have been a bit confused about the story I told you, how I met your family with their 4-year old daughter Ghazal in the year 1989. I was working than as a part-time waiter in the Berlin-Lichtenberg station bistro, in the very eastern part of Berlin, serving the transit-travelers that arrived on the Scandinavian night-train a simple breakfast or their first beer. Your family, like most other travellers ariving on this train, came to east-Berlin just to cross the boarder and to visit friends and relatives in the western part of the city, for me lightyears away on the other side of the wall. Your parents were extremely generous, and paid for a cup of coffee, a pair of Wiener-Würstchen and some slices of fresh toast with a 2O DM note, for which I did not give them any (except our east-german aluminium-coins). Do you think your parents will remember this encounter in 1989, with a german boy, now a man, who still owes them some change. Will they acknowledge that I with pleasure return what I possesed for 21 years, now to the daughter of the persian family, whom they gave the name Ghazal, meaning ghazel in Farsi, but to me it is phonetically close to Azur, the colour of your eyes. Will they hear with some suspect, that not money was returned, but instead an orchid flower ? Maybe they, as parents, did not realized that her daughter meanwhile grew into a young goddess, for they saw her day after day, over weeks, month and over 25 years. For my eyes however, you have been invisible for so long like a butterfly in a pupal stage, which only now released the devine creation of Ghazal, who in 1989 was this 4-year old baby girl on the arms of your parents, a kid like all kids of this age with blue eyes and full of innocent wildness.
Now, you entered my life a second time, and your eyes have not lost their amazing blue colour. Now you leave me spell bound and you make my hands shivering when I see you, and when you are away, all my thoughts are occupied with restless doubts. My eyes can"t stop to compare every face I see on the road with the shape of your eyes and your lips and your nose and all my thoughts are cought in an endless loop trying to locate a bit of your voice among all the sounds and voices on the street that enter my ears. My soul is running an uncontrollable repetition of fictional talks with you and is building dream castles which we explore together.
Yesterday, I took one of our old bikes to repair it for you, so you could drive every day to work. This morning I found out that it had been stolen from the S-Bahn station where I locked it. Never before I felt this anger and this unjustice, since it was not an ordinary old bike any more, but I loaded with so many love for you. Every screw I tighted, every piece of chrom I polished, every bearing I lubricated, carried a piece of deep attraction that I feel for you. This bike was not a bike, it was a shrine of my love. No I feel as if barbarians have destroyed my hooliest temple, only to use the bricks for building a supermarket. (24-05-2010)

Ladies Football Team

Hi Ghazal,

I completely forgot that on Monday all museums in Germany are closed , including the castle Oberschleissheim. Therefore we have to postpone our visit to it. I probably wont come to the institute today at all, since we got relatives visiting us unexpectedly. I hope you are not too disapointed to hear this, but we can go to the castle another day later this week. I might bring a bike for you tomorrow, and we can pass along Oberschleissheim on your way home.
I very much hope that you had a nice long weekend, wherever you spend it, and that you will be back on Thuesday with fresh energy.


PS: On Saturday, whole Bavaria (and some bavaro-philic parts of the other german tribes) fell into sever agonia, when the Munich football team lost the Champions-League final. For me, football was never a very emotional thing, in particular without any local or national identification. Therefore, my sadness about the lost game was rather superfical and short-lasting. And what made it even easier for me was the fact, that two days before, another german team has won a Champions-League final: this time, it was the ladies team from Potsdam (i.e. the former residence town near Berlin, where I grew up). This womans football team is called "Turbine Potsdam", since it was founded as a sports-club for the workers of an electric industry branch. The coach is still the same since 40 years, and they are all like underdogs. It is like the story of an emigrant in the US, who from a dishwasher-boy made it up to the richest man in the country. Do you know, that womans football is so popular in Iran ? I ones saw a TV-program on it, and found it fascinating how people try to struggle for freedom and how they develop the most clever ideas to get around political suppression.


The Genealogy of Mice

Hello Ghazal, my dear,
I interprete the missing answer to my last e-mail as a sign, that you got cought so much by Lee Silvers book on "Mouse Genetics". I hope that you find it not just scientifically interesting, but also entertaining.
To be honest, I always have problems seeing a lot of heroic activity in observations on how cells after irradiation battle to repair their DNA or commit suicide for the sake of the entire organism. It is either just a matter of adaptation, or opportunism as we would call in humans, or a battle between two armies fighting with unequal weapons (physical radiation and biological enzymes). Both, opportunism as well as stupid heroism in a war was definitely not what contributed a lot to progress during human evolution.
In case of the mouse genetics and antropology, however, the question which physiological and behavioural properties drive the development is realy fascinating. Did you red about the two dominant mouse sub-species (M.m.domesticus, or the west-european house-mouse and M.m.musculus or the eastern field-mouse). Most of the mice strains we keep in the laboratory world-wide are genetic recombinats between these two.

Now comes the exciting interrelation of the two sub-species: domesticus established its dominant area in south-western europe, from the mediterranean countries up to Germany. M.m.musculus, in contrast populated the old-world from central Germany further east (Poland, Czech, Russia, China to the Pacific ocean). Believe it or not, the boundary between the eastern and the western Mouse Hemisphere went from northern Germany down to the south at the Alp mountains, first along the river Elbe and then along the river Isar. Some even believe, that Neuherberg is located right on this very tiny zone where occasionally the eastern M.m.muscullus and the western M.m.domsticus encounter (B.t.w., if the whole mapping is 100% precise with the Isar-river representing the border-line, we here in Daglfing would belong to the M.m.musculus world, whereas you in Unterschleissheim would already live in M.m.domesticus hemisphere).
The small border stripe where animals of the both sub-species occupy a common area, occasionally see genetic mixing of the two. They can form hybrids, and in the laboratory it was shown that the hybridn offspring between musculus and domesticus are also fertile, i.e. in theory they could give rise to next generations and a whole new sub-specie. In nature, however, the occasional happening of matings between the two give rise to hybrid offspring, that seem to have a selective disadvantage. They are less fit and never increased in population size. So the mixing area remained restricted to this small stripe in central germany (good for science, of course, since therefor we got the relatively homogenous animals for laboratory strains).

What also gave me a shiver when I red this is the funny co-incidence of the above mentioned "demarcation line" between eastern M.m.musculus and western M.m.domesticus with the former iron curtain that devided the eastern, socialist part of Europe from the western, capitalist world. This iron curtain also run north to south along the river Elbe.
Could it be that this artifical devision into an eastern and an western world during the second half of the 20th century was already planned early in evolution. Strange idea, I must admit, but sometime we are much less self-determined as we always like to show, in particular if it is in politics and military activities, in which people sometimes follow instincts like an animal.

The connection between the geographic distribution of M.m.domesticus and M.m.musculus with human history has another, more peaceful aspect. The new world, i.e. North and South America, did not had mouse at all before the european occupation in the 15th century began. Mice were brought over to the new continent on board the ships of the conquerers. Since most of these ships came from western europe (Spain, Portugal, France, England), they importet M.m.domsticus in Amerika, where still today it is the dominant mouse. Only a very tine stripe along the pacific coast (California) was first occupied by settlers from asia (Russia, later Chinese and Japanese), which brought there M.m.musculus. Again, like in Europe, the geographic distribution of the two sub-species remains there very separated.

I hope you are well, and I hope you don"t mind getting e-mails from me.
(sorry, I don"t have a mailing list on which your address is just one among another million, and from which I could easily remove yours. The e-mails are always personally just for you. So if you find them boring or otherways annoying, you have to delete them right away. I will keep them anyhow in my outbox, they are like a diary).

Have a nice and sunny day


PS: You have not suggested a time to visit the castle Oberschleissheim today or tomorrow. In case I don"t hear from you I"ll come tomorrow afternoon.

Visiting Castle Oberschleissheim

Hi Ghazal,

Haven''''''''t heard from you anything, I hope you are alright. I have to do something in the Lab tomorrow and on Monday, although officially it is closed. I suggest we use the nice weather and I show you the castle in Oberschleissheim (for me it is just 5 min drive from the Institute).

Please send me a message when it suits you best.

best greetings Michael


Riding the Wave

Hi Ghazal,

Do you remember the famous spot near the english garden where people surf on a permanent wave that is formed on a small river next to the Isar ?
Here is a video footage that shows it.

The award-winning movie about the Isar/Ice-river Surfer now started in several cinemas in Munich. Have a look at the movie-trailer, it is tough mater:

When you are completely recovered, maybe we go together to see the movie. Hope you are already in the process of conquering the bugs that made you sick.

Get well soon


... a bit better

Dear dr. R,

Thank you so much for your advice. But I feel a bit better, just weak and need to rest. I will be fine.
It was kind of you but I have music in the computer. I will see you on tuesday. Take care.

Ghazal F (21-05-2010)

Non mens sana in corpore sano (oder so ähnlich)

Dear Ghazal,

Sorry to hear you feel bad. Maybe you have been affected by the uncomfortable weather during the last days. Don"t get frustrated, it will be a sunny weekend and maybe even summer for a few days. Do you need something I can do for you ? Very popular here is the swedish Wasa-type Knäckebröd. Milk is bad (also hot chocolate). Better try a strong black tea without sugar.
Shall I bring you the portable CD-/Radio that the MSc-students used to take to their flat ? It comes with a nice selection of classical- and pop-music. I tell you, its not just the orchid who benefits from a pretty sounding voice, I"m sure you would feel better by this to.

Hope to see you back soon


PS: There is a funny theory among a sort of esoteric, antroposophic people in Germany, who claim that vaccination for kids is bad, and that the kids should always "experience" their natural infections. They even claim, that a child has to go through a particular measles infection with fever and shivering, in order to fully develop a mature personality.
Such strange ideas, I guess, sound absolutely bizarre for somebody from scandinavia, where people are much more educated in health issues. Here in Germany you have all sorts of New-Age and other hilarious theories about life and the universe and how everything is interrelated.
What I want to say, I don"t believe in these strange ideas, and in
particular I don"t think that you need fever or shivering to progress mentally.

PPS: You probably have not heard yet something about the "Persian Prince" movie I asked you yesterday about. I later found out, that it is produced by Disney, which makes my doubts about its quality ever bigger. (21-05-2010)

Letter of absence

Dear Dr. R,

I am sorry but I cant come in today. I have been vomitting since 5 in the morning. Think I ate something bad. I just need to rest.
Have a nice weekend!

Best regards
Ghazal F. (21-05-2010)


Persian Prince and an Orchid

Dear Ghazal,

Hope you have a nice evening. Sorry for bothering you, there is
something I"d like to hear your opinion about. Today I saw an advert for a movie called "Prince of Persia" (You can see a trailer right away on the youtube wellcome-page). What I saw there reminds me a bit of bad hollywood blood-and-battle films. Have you an idea if the movie is worth viewing ? Maybe there is already some discussion about its value going on in the iranian community, which of course I can"t follow. Maybe you heard something.

waiting to see you tomorrow

PS: I asked today in the flower shop about what the orchids like and what they dislike. They need about 50ml water per week, they don"t like heavy sun, and they don"t like to be carried around. I also heard from a good friend who is an orchid breeder himself, that they stay longer in full blossoms if somebody speaks to them with a warm, dark voice. I"m absolutely sure that they will have all of this in your appartment.

Michael (20-05-2010)


A nice Day

Dear Ghazal,

I very much enjoyed the afternoon the entertaining conversation we had today.
I hope you arrived well in Unterschleissheim.

have a nice evening

Michael (19-05-2010)



Dear Ghazal,

I think I forgot to tell you that I won"t be in the Institute on Monday, since I have to give some lectures in Bonn. I told MA and his secretary to make sure, that the documents for your contract are handed over to the personal department by tomorrow.

I hope that you had a nice weekend. I"m a bit concerned that you might feel alone in the guesthouse in this remote suburbia Unterschleissheim. Please, don"t fall into despair. Before you came, Prof. T told me that you so much wanted to do your Msc project in Paris, London (maybe even in New York, who knows). I convinced him to give you the project here in Munich, and I"m absolute serious you wont regret it at the end. Munich is a provincial spot, of course, it has little glamour and no mystery and on the first glance it can be a bit boring. But it has some absolutely unexpected spots worth to visit (like the Isar-Wave next to Haus-der-Kunst, where Surfer ride and what was recently documented for an international movie), the English Garden with Chinese Tower, the waterfall at Unterfoehring, and flocks of sheeps. There is Horse-Riding near the place where I live, a multicultural sceenery in Haidhausen, some good places if you like to hear life-music, in Summer time there will be open-air theater, good museums that I"m sure you will enjoy like the Lehnbach-House, the Pinakothek, the Museum for Archaeology, Museum for Antropology and the Yewish Museum. And of course outside the town there are plenty of castles and lakes and other cosy places to discover.

You know I spend some years in places that by far were not my first choice, a remote city in the north of the Netherlands were I did my first postdoc and later a small-town south of London. In both instances, I hatet these places when I first arrived there, but later, after meeting nice people at work and in the neighborhood, I decided to stay a bit longer. Only after a few weeks I started to discover that both places (Groningen in the Netherlands and Sutton near London) both had their own charme and their hidden secretes and soon I felt there at home. Therefore, the best thing one can do if your are "damned" to live at a new place is trying to find out as soon as possible what this place can give you. And there always will be something unexpected to discover and enjoy, something not neccessarily recommended in the travel guide.

Best greetings, see you on Thuesday

Michael (16-05-2010)


... something funny to read ?

Dear Ghazal,

Don''''''''t worry, there was indeed not much to do today. About the form that I mentioned: it is printed and I put it on your desk, where you can find it on Monday. There is no urgency with the bank account. They can probably give you the first salary in cash.

Enjoy the weekend (I hope you have something more funny to read other than the copied articles). If you need something, let me know.

greetings Michael

Cat got used to bad Weather

Dear dr. R,

Thank you for being so helpfull and kind!
I am used to this weather so its no problem for me:) Its just that I did not have any labwork to do today just reading so I thought I concentrate better at home on the reading. I have read some of your articles. Hope it is okay that I stayed home.

I think you forgot to give me the form that I have to sign? So I sign it and bring it on monday and give it to prof. a? I do not have a printer here, can I print it on monday in helmholtz and sign it then?
Do I have to open a bankaccount? To open a bank account I need proof that I am doing a project here in germany at least 6 months. Thank you for all the help and for organize everything for me.

best regards
Ghazal F

Under a Grey Sky

Dear Ghazal,
I hope you are doing fine. I guess the rainy weather discouraged you from coming today. There were only very few people around here anyway. The canteen was also closed, but we called for some pizza.
I prepared everything for your contract today (not the guest-contract, but one as a student technician, so you will have a salary). The documents for this have to be given to the Helmholtz-Administration on Monday, otherwise we lose another two weeks. So please sign the form on the page that I have marked, and then ask the secretary or Prof. A. to bring it over to the personal department.

I hope you"ll have a nice weekend and that you don"t got depressed by the grey sky (I promise it will get better soon).
see you on Thuesday.

greetings Michael