Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Identifying New Swarm Cities

On August 20th, I handed in my Bachelor's Thesis and now I would like to share the final result.

Through cooperation with the empirica AG in Berlin, where I have been working for the last year and a half, I analyzed migration patterns in the countries of Italy, Austria and the USA. The goal of the paper was to take an observation made by empirica in 2013 about German migration behavior and see if other countries were affected the same way.

The result? Click the following link and see:

Identifying New Swarm Cities
A quantitative analysis of domestic cohort migration patterns in select countries
through comparison with the Swarm Behavior observed in Germany.
Bachelor's Thesis by Eliza McGownd
August 2018

Friday, November 17, 2017

My life in bubbles.

Almost 9 months ago now, things in my life started changing. My future started to unfold, in a way. There has been a lot going since then and I would like to share it with you. So here, dear friend, family member, or random acquaintance, is my account of the events that have led up to me being where I am. It is all very important to me, but I am not striving to be concise. In the style of my cousin and favorite Alaskan explorer, I will be sure to add a summary at the end of this - for those of you too uninterested to read the details, you can skip to the bottom. Go on, start scrolling now.

Hello, dear reader.

Whether you are someone who knows what I ate for lunch yesterday (pasta with a. Gorgonzola sauce) or someone who hasn't heard from me in ages, I'd like to take you back to the beginning of the story. In a way. Lately, I have noticed that my life has sections that revolve around an activity (work, school, etc.), and that people in one section are not always aware of the others - I call these the bubbles of my life.

Friday, October 27, 2017

n. A superficial appearance or illusion of something.


Is my believable German accent a façade that hides my struggles with the language?

Is my extroversion a façade to protect the introvert in me?

Are that smile and nod a façade to hide my utter boredom?

Is that "Great! And how are you?" a façade to hide how I'm really feeling?

There are some words that seem to jump out at me as I learn them. They grab onto the outside of my brain and slowly work their way into that one part of my mental hard drive that cannot be erased. All of them carry the memory of how we met (equilibrium: first seen on a grade school spelling test) and have grown to share a much deeper meaning in application to my life (equilibrium: a sign from above as I heard this, my favorite word, on the first day of every new school I attended). It's like having a song stuck in your head, an "earworm" as Germans call it, but I get words stuck in my head. Today, that word is façade.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Not my president - but still my country.

If you have ever wondered why anyone would choose to live in a country with Trump as president, you have likely never experienced the reality of homesickness. And I'm not just talking about missing mom's cookies - I mean the all-consuming, debilitating yearning for a place where you feel safe, comfortable, and happy. Let me tell you what it feels like for me.

It has been 3 years, 11 months and 20 days since I moved to Germany. I speak German rather well, would consider myself fairly assimilated, and have the privilege of not being visibly foreign. So why does this country not feel like home?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

I named my back pain Herbert.

As an athlete (and perhaps also as an Alaskan?), pain has always been a part of my life. Usually, pain was a sign of a great workout or of a muscle that needed attention. Every once in a while, the pain was a sign that I needed to focus on taking care of my body again and help something heal. The advantage to knowing pain is being able to determine something basic: is this a good pain? Do I need to worry?

So when pain took root in my lower back, I started off easy: Ibuprofen to lessen it and to reduce inflammation; heat packs to loosen tight muscles; focused yoga to try and work out the kinks my body apparently had. The pain would ebb and then return and I grew to believe that I had injured something during my move to a new city. We did haul quite a lot of heavy shit up and down stairs... (and I have never been one to let the others do the heavy lifting when I can show off a little.)

My frustration seemed to grow in connection to my pain - definitely a correlation. So, in an attempt to work on the psychological side of my pain as well as the physical side, I have named my back pain Herbert. He is a small littler bugger who likes to poke me and has tentacles that spread from my lower back all the way down to my right knee. So, this blog post is about the story of Herbert, the little dude stopping me from enjoying my life.