In-between times, I like to work for my dad's small carpentry business. It feels good to swing a hammer after all that sitting in front of a keyboard, and you get a real sense of immediate satisfaction -- as in, "That's what I did today." We just finished converting an old abandoned cottage into a year-round residence, which I actually moved into a few months ago.
I am back home in Massachusetts, after working in Switzerland and living just across the border in France -- a region which is very, very different from here in "the happy valley"! I returned to my roots in my artsy-fartsy hometown after spending three years working as the only right-brain type among thousands of physicists -- where I sometimes felt like the hippie at a computer conference. It's a relief to be back, though I do miss the chocolate! And some of the people.
But regardless of what continent I am in, if I had to sum myself up in a headline, it would be "Well-Groomed Mountain Man Seeks Wild Woman."
Let me explain . . . In college, I worked in Yellowstone National Park as a volunteer ranger-naturalist for two summers, and after grad school I lived in Australia for four years on a one-year grant (Don't ask!) to learn about their national parks. I supported myself as a freelance foreign correspondent for magazines and newspapers back home in the States. In-between, I did internships at the PBS show "Nature" and a kids' magazine put out by National Geographic.
I love exploring new places -- I've been on assignment to places such as South Africa and Hawaii -- so I guess it's no surprise that when opportunity knocked, I wound up next to the Alps. I worked at a particle physics research center where I wrote and edited their online magazine, and I could look out the office window and see Mont Blanc. (That's the mountain behind me, in my profile photo.)
No, I won't tell the name of the place, but here's a hint: "Black Holes R Us."