Some stuff I like about Kigali:
- My new colleagues in the physics department. My department chair and my office mate have been especially kind, supportive, and friendly. They've made me feel welcome here and have been tremendously helpful.
- One of things I was looking forward to about teaching here was being able to really dig into some physics topics I don't get to teach back home. I've certainly gotten this out of my statistical physics class. I like statistical physics a lot and it's been really fun to teach it and to think about the subject in new ways. The book I'm teaching from is fantastic.
- I am grateful for my students' patience as I figure out how things are done here. I am sure it is not always easy to have a professor from far away with a funny accent. I have especially enjoyed getting to know the students in my statistical mechanics class. (This class has only 9 students, whereas my other classes are 44 and 196. So it's hard to get to know the students in those classes, unfortunately.) My statistical mechanics students ask excellent questions and are patient when we have trouble understanding each other. They are a sharp group of students that are fun to work with.
- Kigali itself is a very pleasant place. I like the city a lot, especially at night. As I've remarked frequently, the nights here are perfect: not hot, not cold. It is pretty easy and inexpensive to get around, it is very safe, and it generally has a nice, relaxed feel.
- There is some great food in Kigali: amazing Chinese food and very good Indian and Ethiopian. I like that there are a few places that I go to semi-regularly that are starting to become part of my routine.
- It goes without saying that I miss Doreen. It is hard being in a new and sometimes challenging environment when my best friend is so far away.
- My cats. I miss them tremendously. They are a great distraction from life and are a source of companionship and entertainment. In general, I miss a number of activities that constitute down time---things that help me relax or use different parts of my brain than teaching and doing physics.
- Cooking. I like cooking a lot. I like both making some standard dishes that I have perfected over the years and also trying out new things. Cooking is fun and relaxing for me. I miss cooking in our nice kitchen with good music turned up loud.
- The food here in Kigali ranges from good to amazing. Nevertheless, there are some foods that I miss. The beer here is not very good. I miss good, hoppy, flavorful but not sweet beers. I've had some good salads here, but I miss big interesting salads like I make at home. I also miss whole-grain/wholesome sorts of foods: brown rice, veggie stews, good whole wheat bread, etc.
- Watching hockey games. When at home I watch as many New York Rangers games as my schedule permits. It is fun watching games; I can't really explain it, but I like it a lot. It is another activity that is mental downtime; it is not very intellectually demanding to watch hockey. Fun and interesting and exciting, yes. Intellectually challenging, not exactly. The Rangers are having their best season (so far) in quite a long time. It disappointing that I am missing the season, although I do get to see highlight of the games via the internet.
It is a darker night than usual and the sky has a milky character to it. It must be hazy. I can't see any stars. A radio plays in the distance and, as usual, the crickets are chirping. But tonight seems a little quieter than usual, as well. The air is still.