Utterly. Once, once in all the time she has had the honour of being allowed to contribute to this blog, something really interesting to the Catholic world at large happens in Germany – and what does she do?Under the excuse of just moving home, she fails to write anything about the Holy Father’s visit to Germany.

The depth of the reflection and analyses that have been lost to the world make me weep myself.

In the meantime, I have started head-over-heals into a new job. Quite literally, too, owing to a combination of a rainy gray morning, not favourable to the vision of those wearing glasses at all, and a gray, thin but strong, iron chain, hung at a very counter-intuitive place right across what seemed to be the shortest way to my new office. My bicycle being effectively stopped by said chain, but not I, I am now in the position to state with authority that modern bicycle helmets effectively protect your head if it happens to be the first part of your body to touch ground at your alighting of a bicycle. Everything hurt, but not my head. Indeed, it was quite curious how everything hurt: my thighs, from having quite intimate contact with that iron chain at some point of the procedure, as the evidence of rather quaintly coloured bumps and marks on them suggests, my back, not liking to be squashed in quite that way – but most impressively, all my muscles from my neck to my back and my arms, on the day after, just as if I had had an unjustifiably fierce workout using them all to the utmost of their capacity.

But it is not on account of this that I have spent quite some time in hospitals over the last weeks (thanks to my guardian angel!): Firstly, the next cafeteria in vacation time is in the university hospital (quite an impressive structure); secondly, there is a Catholic hospital some 500 m distant from the university hospital, and next door to a Protestant one, and it has a chapel with daily Mass.  It is run by the Daughters of Charity, two or three of which I have seen at the Masses I have been to. It is held in a nice 19th century chapel where even the things obviously changed during the ‘renewal’ fit in (If Father would just say Mass from the other side of the altar. But then, things are so much better here generally than at my previous diocesis – even though the Liturgical Purist would still fume, or at least tweak his nose – that I am very, very grateful and much more optimistic about the state of the German church than it may warrant.)

But now, though all the two dozen boxes with books (including my just now sorely missed atlas) and several others remain, I am off to China. I guess I never quite believed I would actually go there (nor will I, before the plane has landed in Nanjing) when the offer was sprung a me some months back, but if there are no terrible disasters, and the online check in to be loaded on my mobile phone works (what madness! why did I do it? just to get a window seat, too! even if Inner Mongolia must be quite interesting seen from above…) I might actually be beyond Europe for the first time of my life tomorrow this time (wait: is it this time? or this time some local time? or this time absolutely? –  o how confused I am!!!). It feels very odd; a little bit (though not really quite as much) as I felt when imagining leaving the earth in a spaceship during a film on spaceflight seen at school, when I, normally quite adventurous, internally drew the line: anything, but not that.

I always wanted to go to China, though; and imagine that Nanjing is situated at the Yangtze, longest river in Asia, third longest in the world, and a mile wide at the narrowest point close to the city. You may not be impressed, but I am. And rather scared. Should I actually get there, and also get back, and not be utterly swamped by work and book boxes, I might write something on it. With photographs. If that sounds attractive, send a little prayer to St. Raphael, St. Christopheros, St. Joseph Cupertino, or to the Holy Martyrs of China. Vergelt’s Gott!

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