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On Monday November 2nd, less than 12 hours after arriving in Germany, Travis officially started his new job in Göttingen at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry.  His institute is one of the 83 MPI institutes that operate collectively under the umbrella of the Max Planck Society.  The organization was named after the famous theoretical physicist, Max Planck, in 1948.  It was created with the intent to pursue interdisciplinary scientific research across the fields of chemistry, physics, and biology.  Prior to that, between 1911 and 1948, it was already developing cutting-edge science while operating as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society.

In the international ranking system for research organizations, MPS is ranked among one of the best in the world, hobnobbing with the likes of Harvard, MIT, Stanford, the US NIH, the Chinese Academy of Science, and the Russian Academy of Sciences.  In its entire history as a scientific research institute, 33 scientists from the Society have been awarded Nobel prizes.  Their most recent Nobel laureate just won in 2014; at the time, he was the director of Travis’s institute.

No pressure, eh?  Travis is well aware he has big footprints to follow, but I have no doubt he’s up to the task.  Far better than the prestige of his new employer, though, is that he’ll soon be back to the science research he loves so much, once again surrounded by people who know what the heck he’s talking about!

On Trav’s first day at MPI, I spent the better part of Monday hanging out on the institute’s gorgeous grounds taking advantage of the guest WiFi and admiring the spectacular fall colors.

Travis spent the day meeting with his new boss and signing his new contract.  He to sign a German copy, but they sent him an English version for translation.  He connected with someone in HR who walked him through the inevitable new employee requirements, plus a host of confusing requirements we’ll need to take care of as expats.

We’re apparently required to apply for medical insurance before we can even register with the local authorities or apply for visas, so that’s now our top priority this week – that and finding a place to stay after November 4th.

One thing at a time and we’ll get it all figured out.  Now that the ink on his work contract has dried, Göttingen will be our home for at least the next 2 years.  Here’s to no longer being Two ‘Unemployed’ Small Potatoes in Switzerland!

Now we’re One Employed Small Potato and One Unemployed Small Potato in Germany.

It’s an improvement.

8 Responses

  1. bevchen

    Basic insurance should cover some dental care? Mine at least covered my wisdom teeth being removed.

    I didn’t realise Travis’ new job was at the Max Planck Institute! Jan’s mum works there (as in at that exact one – unless Göttingen has more than one?). She took us on a tour of the new building at Christmas.

    • Two Small Potatoes

      Hmmm…Travis said it doesn’t cover any dental care, but I just read somewhere online that TK should cover at least one basic cleaning per year, so maybe you’re right! Unfortunately I have horrible teeth and bad eyes, so it’s a double whammy for me. 🙁 Yes, Trav just started at MPI. Can’t believe Jan’s mom works there! I think Göttingen does have more than one MPI institute, and I don’t think his has any new buildings. Does she work in biology? Either way, it’s really cool!

      • bevchen

        I’m not 100% sure what she does, but her team had something to do with Rosetta Philae so probably not biology 😀

        I was with TK, and wasn’t charged when I went to the dentist with toothache which turned out to be my wisdom teeth trying to get through or to get the teeth taken out, so that much at least is included. I know my colleague paid quite a lot for fillings, but she specifically wanted to white ones – I don’t know whether the other kind were free or just significantly cheaper though.

      • Two Small Potatoes

        Oh geez, she’s probably with the MPI for Solar System Research. They’re just down the street from Trav’s building!
        Ugh, sorry about your wisdoms – I had mine out as an adult and it wasn’t fun. That’s awesome TK covered it though. We haven’t been to the dentist now since we were in the States since we couldn’t afford dental coverage in Switzerland, so it’s been almost two years…not good. Wait, what coverage do you have in Switzerland? Do you have dental insurance?

      • bevchen

        Nope, no dental insurance here. I thought I was still covered by TK since I still work in Germany, but Switzerland decided working from home counts as “Erwerbstätig” in Switzerland so I am obliged to have my health insurance here. I just found out this week that TK have now cancelled my German insurance completely because of that.

        Apparently a lot of Swiss people have private dental insurance in Germany as even that’s cheaper than paying for it in Switzerland! We’re so close to the border that it might be worth looking into.

        I have actually seriously considered getting a checkup in the UK. I’m still registered with my doctor there under my dad’s address and there’s an NHS dental practice in the same building.

      • Two Small Potatoes

        Man, that’s a bummer. I’m guessing you’re right about it being cheaper to see a doc in the UK or to have private insurance in Germany. I paid 255 chf/month for my medical with CSS, which was a great company, but I never saw a doctor. The couple times I was sick, I called a doc and they just phoned in my Rx to the pharmacy of my choice. Dental, though, would’ve cost over 1000 chf/month for nothing fancy. Our agent was really honest and said unless we needed extensive dental work, it’d be better to pay out of pocket for things like fillings. I just don’t understand how basic dental isn’t covered. It’s preventive!

      • bevchen

        Over 1000 CHF a MONTH?! No wonder people go to Germany! I’ve just looked up additional dental insurance for Germany (i.e. if you want to pay for additional stuff on top of what the public medical insurance covers anyway) and the most expensive was €40.43 per month!

      • Two Small Potatoes

        I know! Hmmm….€40 a month might be worth it. I have really, really bad teeth. 🙁 Where did you look that up? Is it with TK?

        Hey, how’re you guys faring with the price differences now that you’re in the Switz? We had a really hard time adjusting to the high cost of everything there.

        It’s so interesting to follow your blog to see how we both experience both Switzerland and Germany.

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