Alexander Fufaev
My name is Alexander FufaeV and here I write about:

2019-2022: Corona Pandemic, Fears of the Future and Hellish Stomach Pains

2019/20/21. The longer the Corona pandemic and Jules master's thesis dragged on, the less time we spent together. Our shared moments were limited to the two evening karate classes per week, after which I stayed overnight at Jule's. Before going to bed, we enjoyed watching series like Criminal Minds or The Witcher on Netflix and snacking on various treats like chips, kohlrabi, or chocolate. Jule was always annoyed when I asked her to increase the volume because I was crunching on chips and couldn't hear the series properly. She did it reluctantly, as it was already past ten o'clock, and we shouldn't disturb the neighbors.

The next morning, Jule set off on her bike towards the university at nine o'clock, while I was still comfortably dozing in her bed. Sometimes, however, I could motivate myself to get up, and then we had breakfast together before both heading to the university.

During breakfast, we sat opposite each other at the table. While Jule spooned her cereal and I enjoyed my bread with vegetarian spreads, I noticed that Jule never looked directly at me. Her gaze wandered around or was angled downward, while I wished so much that she would look at me lovingly. I was someone who liked to express love through touches, physical closeness, caresses, and kisses. So sometimes I would stand up to go to Jule, hug her affectionately, or lay my head on her lap. These small gestures were meant to express my affection and connection. But despite my efforts, I felt that this physical closeness no longer seemed to have the same effect on Jule as before. Sometimes it felt like I was cuddling with an inanimate object that was not capable of reciprocating my affection. This change in our intimacy reinforced my feeling that we were in crisis, even though I couldn't name the exact problem.

After breakfast, I went to my laptop for lectures or to the library at Conti Campus, where I worked on exercise sheets or tinkered with my website. Jule always took the bike, and I took the bus, which stopped right outside the door and took me to the university, but I preferred to walk. Although theoretically, I could also have used the bike, I had recurring concerns about riding it in the city. The many cars and the hectic, noisy traffic situation, which one had to constantly watch out for, as well as the swiftly passing landscape that couldn't be examined closely, made it impossible for me to be creative and have new ideas while cycling. Instead, I preferred to be driven or, even better, take a walk, which brought me interesting ideas. I enjoyed walking and appreciated the act of walking itself, even if it took longer to reach the destination.

During the day, we didn't see each other at all. Jule went to the main canteen with her colleagues, while I had my meals alone at the Conti canteen. I couldn't help but look at attractive women and even felt tempted to meet someone new. But the thought of being unfaithful to Jule was not an option for me. After all, we had agreed to talk openly about everything. While I had previously jokingly mentioned how I sometimes look at passing women, in truth, I did feel the desire for really good sex.

Our love life practically extinguished in 2021. Even when we occasionally became intimate, there was a lack of passion and climaxes. I had no intention of leaving Jule because I liked her. She was already a part of my family, and I probably belonged to her family as well. I loved her like a family member. It was especially the exciting sex and physical affection that I missed the most.

In the summer of 2021, despite the Corona pandemic, our relationship reached a peak. We were determined to move in together after Jule's half-year trip to London. In the midst of the Corona pandemic, I regularly spent time at Jule's home in Hanover. Jule was already vaccinated and also tried to convince me to get vaccinated. I had concerns, especially because I didn't just inform myself through Karl Lauterbach on the Markus Lanz show, but also through conspiracy websites reporting on vaccine injuries.

During this phase, I felt strong social pressure. Although I hesitated at first, I eventually let myself be influenced by Jule's convictions, as well as by the decision of my acquaintances and family members who were already vaccinated, and the restrictions for the unvaccinated. Even my mom and my dad, who lived in Russia, were forced to get vaccinated due to their professional obligations.

So Jule accompanied me to the Hanoverian vaccination center in July to enable me to receive a BionTech vaccination. After the vaccination, she stood by me when I felt unwell for two days. The second vaccination followed a month later in August.

Future Learning from this Phase of Life: I prefer walking to cycling. Even though I'm slower, I spontaneously generate good ideas and move in a way that evolution intended – on foot. "From sitting on the bike to sitting in the office" is not for me.

The First New Year's Eve Without Jule

December 2021. After completing her master's thesis, Jule traveled to London in December for six months to work before her doctoral studies at the Imperial College in an English research group that dealt with cooling individual atoms.

For the first time in four years, Jule wasn't at our family's New Year's Eve celebration. Instead, Lauri's first boyfriend, Nick, was there. We held onto our Russian tradition of exchanging gifts and celebrating with the family. Dascha and her boyfriend Tobias, Lauri, Jule, I, my mom, and her boyfriend, who changed from year to year, eagerly unpacked the gifts under the Christmas tree. Afterwards, we enjoyed a delicious vegetarian feast prepared by Mom and Dascha and played Activity together. Two hours before midnight, Mom called Russia to congratulate Grandma Lina and Uncle Sascha on the new year. The new year started at Grandma's two hours earlier due to the time zone.

It felt strange to start the new year without Jule. As I stood on our balcony and watched the colorful fireworks, I couldn't yet anticipate what the coming year would hold for me.

"That's a bad sign," my mother said as she joined me, and we looked together at the distant Hildesheim fireworks, far beyond the fields.

"Oh, don't worry, Mom, everything will be fine."

Nevertheless, the thought lingered in the back of my mind that my life could drastically change in this new year. However, I tried to remain optimistic and enjoy the moment with my loved ones.

After Mom shared her champagne with me on the balcony, she returned to the warmth. I lingered for a moment longer in the face of the colorful fireworks, pondering what resolutions I should make for the coming year.

"Definitely read more," I thought to myself – and of course, I was thinking of non-fiction books.

Hellish Stomachaches

December/January/February 2022. For the past ten weeks, I had been plagued daily by intense, stabbing stomach pains. A few hours after eating, my stomach would bloat, start to ache in the middle and on the right side, and I would suffer from diarrhea on the toilet. There were evenings when it was impossible for me to bear the pain without a painkiller, and sometimes even that didn't help. In those moments, my mother had to call emergency services. Numerous emergency rooms conducted examinations – from ultrasound to X-rays – but no abnormal results were found. Finally, I was referred to a general practitioner who prescribed me an acid blocker to treat the intense heartburn in the evening and at night. But even this medication did not relieve the pain. The stabbing pains and diarrhea persisted.

Another doctor prescribed me a natural remedy that I should take a few drops of daily. It seemed to bring some improvement in heartburn, but none of the doctors could really help me. One doctor even suggested that I should go to a psychotherapist because the problem was psychological. I couldn't believe that the stomach problems were due to my psyche, as the pain always occurred after eating. Nevertheless, I began to think about it: Was it because I hadn't seen Jule for so long? Or were they my lurking fears about the future?

I definitely didn't want to appear as a failure in the eyes of Jule's parents, my own mother, and my grandparents. They repeatedly asked me when I would finish my studies and what I wanted to do afterward or when I would move in with Jule. This questioning put pressure on me to study faster and start working. But I didn't even know in which area I should write my master's thesis, let alone what I should do after my studies.

One thing, however, was clear to me: I definitely didn't want to write my master's thesis in the experimental working group. So I first turned to Prof. Lechtenfeld, who dealt with string theory. He sent me a task to find out if I was suitable to write my master's thesis in his working group. After a few days of pondering, I couldn't come up with a solution and ultimately discarded the task. So I ruled out string theory with Prof. Lechtenfeld.

This task, however, also raised doubts in me about whether I was even good enough for theoretical work. But I didn't let my doubts discourage me. I remembered that I had developed a passion for programming during my studies. Jule was also convinced that an area dealing with programming would suit me well. It took me a while to choose two theoretical working groups that particularly interested me. One dealt with quantum computing, the other with solid-state physics. Both involved a lot of programming.

However, my greater concern was to make a clear decision about what I wanted to do after completing my master's thesis. I was simply interested in too many things and could imagine working in various fields. Whether as a web designer, web developer, physics lecturer, doctoral candidate, in marketing, or in any other job where critical thinking is required - I found interest in many areas. Because I felt capable of learning everything necessary for the respective profession.

Freelance work also brought me joy. Here, I could determine for myself which projects I preferred to work on - whether it was writing learning articles, drawing pictures, conducting search engine optimization, shooting videos, or developing creative ideas. However, I also knew that I would find it difficult to limit myself to just one activity in the long term. I always needed variety. All these possibilities made it incredibly difficult for me to make a decision about my future.

Soon, I applied for a one-week internship in a Drupal development team in Hannover. At that time, I was more inclined to start a doctoral thesis with Prof. Jeckelmann after the master's thesis and wanted to exclude a career in web development. However, my assumption proved to be wrong because the internship was incredibly exciting and sparked my interest:

Future Learnings from this Stage of Life:
  1. Having many skills can be just as exasperating as having none at all.
  2. In moments when I don't know what to do next in my life, I distance myself from my cell phone, my work and other pastimes. I consciously take time to do nothing until my life's purpose appears clearly before my eyes.