Friends - no matter if far or close
Friends have always and will be a very important part of my life - no matter if far away or living next door, friends are always something invaluable.
My friends back from university in Germany. Sabine (behind me), Daniela (to my right), and Lara (to my left) have made life and survival in pharmacy school possible and bearable. Thanks so much for everything! Daniela and her husband Nicholas had a baby girl Leandra in 2007.
Another group of friends (Petra, Alexandra, Marc, Conny, Astrid, from left behind to right and then front) made my stay in Darmstadt a real great adventure. Thanks to their support and great company I didn't feel alone for the 6 months at all (Jörg and Volker are missing).
Two great friends - who are now a couple - have helped me through a lot of trouble in high school as well as beyond and until today. Alexandra and Arnfried met during their studies in high school and are one of the few couples that survived a lot of hard times - which makes their relationship even stronger. They recently had a baby boy named Arvid and I was fortunate to meet him while I was in Germany in September 2008.
Of course there are friends from the United States that I do not want to exclude here. First of all Dorys and Immo, who have been supportive and very caring even before I arrived in the States. They remain some of the closest friends in the US although we do not see each other as often now that they are living outside of Washington, D.C. and I am living in Arizona. However, they're now happily married and live with their daughter Sophia and beagle Odie after Immo graduated with his PhD.
Martina was my roommate in Gainesville - although only for a brief time it were some of the best months I spent in Gainesville. Our friendship extends far beyond the time in Gainesville and I hope that I can welcome her wherever I'll end up - any time! She now also lives close to Washington, D.C.
Ella was born in Poland but has lived in the States since her childhood. She left her job with a pharmaceutical company to join the PhD program at UF. Richard, the British guy next to her in the picture, is her husband. Ella was especially supportive during some rough periods of my time in Gainesville.
Matt - the first true American I met after my arrival - has changed my way of thinking. Matt is always very cool and relaxed (or at least appears relaxed) and is a very caring soul. He moved from Gainesville after graduating with his PhD to work on his MD and is now engaged.
Judy and Oliver are a very nice couple from Alachua, which is close to Gainesville. Oliver started the program together with me in Fall 2004 - and he was actually one of the first fellow students I met. In case you didn't notice - we share the same first name. Judy and Oliver now have a baby boy.
Asha is a very good friend of my partner and that's how I met her. She's very open-minded, sweet, supportive, and a fun-filled sunshine. She was living with Bob for a while in Arizona but decided to move back to Florida. We hope to see her again.
Arielle and Stephan met here in Gainesville and fell in love. Stephan first started in Gainesville as an intern and later on joined the team to work on his dissertation. Arielle is American and works as a speech pathologist. They both have been very supportive. After graduating with his PhD, they moved to the Netherlands but have been back in the States since 2012 with their sweet baby daughter Rosalie. Stephan now works for the University of Florida in a new research facility in Orlando.
Carl and Aidan on the left and Dave and Jeff are two other gay couples which we enjoy hanging out with. We met all of them through Bob's work and they have been a great support and are just fun to be with.
Michelle is a friend Bob and I met while attending a board game get-together (which we as nerds now frequently visit). She is a very strong and vocal supporter of equality and has been taken a stand for gay rights - including posing with me for a photo shoot in 2008 for the NoH8 campaign.
There are a lot more who should be named here and I will do my best to at least mention some of them. It might sound strange to a lot of you, but I would like to thank all my former boyfriends - especially Sven. In addition, there is a long list of very special people who supported me and accepted me the way I am - with all my ticks and weirdness.
Thanks to all of you - for your support, your understanding, your open mind, and by being just there!
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