Thursday, December 3, 2015

Moving to Wolfenbüttel!

On Tuesday, December 1, I moved into my new home in Wolfenbüttel!  Many of you know why I'm here, but it never hurts to refresh the memories of those following my bustling travel schedule!  I was chosen as a recipient for a 10-month fellowship here at the Herzog August Bibliothek (here is their website in English).
The Wolf of Wolfenbuttel
The namesake for Wolfenbuttel's unofficial nickname, Wolf's Butt.
While here, I will read and read and read, and look and look and look.  The library has a number of medieval manuscripts from nearby women's monasteries, and some of them have embroidered book covers!  I am primarily interested in the ways textiles relate to these manuscripts.  Through similar aesthetic characteristics, subject matter, and iconography, as well as textiles' interactions with books as book marks, covers, or veils over fragile and expensive illustrations.  During my fellowship here, I will finally have time to read carefully through all of the foundational research about my topic and practice my German reading comprehension.  This is a great opportunity as many doctoral students never get a chance to focus solely on their dissertation research for ten months without having to work part- or even full-time in addition.

The library is also home to many other scholars and doctoral students doing their own research.  I live in a dorm with several others and we all gather for coffee at 1:30 on weekdays.  The HAB (as the library is called) prides itself on fostering a community for the scholars and students who work here, which is great for a social creature such as myself!  I have already met a handful of other doctoral students from all over the world (Italy, Germany, America, Switzerland), and they have all been very welcoming!

So I arrived on Tuesday afternoon and went straight to my new home, the Feierabendhaus (literally translated as "retirement home").  The house was originally built in 1895 as a home for retired teachers from the girls' school in Wolfenbuttel castle.  They have a website in English!  I have a two-room apartment there-- one room for living/dining/kitchen/office and on room for bed/shower.  The toilets are a couple doors down from my room.  I have extravagantly high ceiling, and great big windows, so it feels airy and spacious despite its small square footage.  The apartment came fully furnished, with dishes, pots, pans, coffee maker, toaster, tea kettle, iron (hah!), bed linens, towels, etc.  I have already started supplementing the provided furnishings in order to make the blank white walls feels cozier!

The Feierabendhaus
Those windows with the lights on are mine!
The skinny window is in the bedroom and the larger one is the main living space.
The Feierabendhaus is located right on the corner of a canal and the Oker River, which makes for a super scenic backyard.  We have a super front porch and lovely sun room directly on top of it (the sun room is right down the hall from my apartment).  The house is about a block and a half from the main library building and other offices.
The Sun Room-- LOVE the windows!
Our "Backyard"-- The Oker River
After unloading my suitcases into my new apartment, I walked down to the Anna-Vorwerk-Haus which is an administrative building for the library.  There I received my first stipend check (weee!) and other materials about the library and its many resources.  There were a couple tours of the libraries scheduled for that evening, so I also attended those.

The Zeughaus is one of the main library buildings, where books printed after 1920 are located.  There are large reference sections and endless stacks of books to comb through-- I can't wait to get my hands on them!  The Herzog August Bibliothek building houses the older books and medieval manuscripts.  There is also a museum inside the Herzog August, which currently has a exhibition about fifteenth-century manuscript illuminations!

On Wednesday, I attended my first coffee break at the Anna-Vorwerk-Haus!  I got to meet several of the other guests and see where my office is located.  I have a desk in a shared office space inside the Anna-Vorwerk-Haus, which is very nice because you can be around other scholars while doing your work and it means you don't have to take all your work home with you. Compartmentalizing can be important.

I also ventured out into town to find groceries and other essentials.  While grocery shopping, I also bought some Christmas decorations for my apartment.  Duh.  The town currently has its Weinachtsmarkt up and running, and it is so cool!  I will do a whole post about this later, so I don't want to spoil it here.  But stay tuned!

This is the bridge I cross to go to the grocery supermarket.
Looking back at the Feierabendhaus from the bridge over the Oker.
Yesterday evening I worked on unpacking and nesting into my apartment.  I got everything situated, and even cooked my first supper there-- gnocchi with brussel sprouts and broccoli, and side salad.  I still have some more plans for how to make the house a home, but it is well on its way!

So far today I cashed my first stipend check (wee again!), went to coffee (met more nice people), and then went to the Auslanderamt (Foreign Services Office) to make an appointment for getting a visa/residency permit.  Life is good, y'all!

This morning's sun through the sun room windows!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update again. Always love to read about all your adventures. Pics are super, as usual. Apartment looking cozy, and dinner looks good! Keep on posting.