Okay, beautiful! Now I have to cross the road, the thing I hate to do. I don’t know if they have a specific medical term for the fear of crossing roads. They should have one. If they can have a name for the fear of spider (arachnophobia ), why can’t mine get a name, too? Crossophobia- the fear of crossing the road! Nice! Or it can be “roadophobia”, right? Anyways, the green signal is on for walking. Like a very smart raccoon, I carefully looked at my right and left and crossed the road with other people. But do raccoons follow the traffic signals? No, they just jaywalk, because they are little furry animals and not humans. Maybe I have too much coffee in my system and now high on caffeine and thinking of how the traffic signal system works in raccoon society.

All right, somehow I managed to get on the other side. Thank god! The hard part is over. Now I need to start my PhD. For that I have to find my supervisor. I looked for him everywhere in building 35 but could not find a trace of him. The lady at the reception gave me this building number and his room number. Just when I decided to get back to the reception, I heard an angelic voice saying he knows where Dr. Yildirim is. Later I came to know that he is our lab engineer, Brend. Anyways, I finally found my supervisor; not in building 35 but in 34. With a big smile he welcomed me. Then he introduced me to his colleagues and lab members. I was trying to remember the names but it was a futile attempt. I cannot remember someone’s name unless I hear it every day for the next seven days. After seven days, it gets imprinted in my head. Yeah, that’s me with the brain of a parrot! I wonder how come they decided to take me as a PhD student at the world renowned Helmholtz Research Center, Munich. The center is in Neuherberg. It is right beside the famous Allianz Arena Stadium. I could see the bird’s nest shaped stadium from the main entrance. Quite interesting!

I was given a huge office desk with a PC. Best part was that there were sticky pads on the desk. I love sticky pads. Wasting no time, I started to write little “all in a day’s work” notes. In less than three minutes my computer monitor looked like a sunflower with all the yellow sticky pads around it. Lovely!

There isn’t much to do on the first day. It was around half past twelve and my colleagues picked me up and we went to the cafeteria. Here in Germany, they call it “mensa”. The food was good but a little expensive. But that’s okay. I’m happy as long as I don’t have to bring lunch from home. We lazy people refuse to cook.

After lunch I went to the lab to see what my colleagues were up to. They were doing tracheotomy on mice. To my surprise, there was a little radio which was turned on at the top of its lungs. I recognized the song. It was “I gotta feeling” by Black Eyed Peas. Seemed liked hip hop and science can co-exist! Who said scientists are uncool? Immediately I fell in love with the lab atmosphere. It’s perfect for me. I could imagine myself listening to Flo Rida while counting murine neutrophils under the microscope. Sweet!

It’s almost 3pm by my watch and I’m done with signing some papers regarding my admission here as a PhD student. It was raining outside. As if only snowfall were not enough. By 5 pm, I decided to wrap up for today and go home. For me, all in all, it was a good start at the Helmholtz. Now all I want is to proudly walk out of here after three years as a cool scientist with an attitude and a great passion for science (and also for hip hop music :P).

P.S. I carried out my PhD (Dec, 2010-Dec, 2014) at Comprehensive Pneumology Center, Helmholtz Center Munich and Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany