I hail from Australia where we use ugly words like “girt”* in our national anthem, but somewhat more pleasing phrases like “to hail from” in our ballads. Born in outback New South Wales (somebody had to be), I grew up in the eastern states of New South Wales and Queenslands (yes, they have silly British names). To do a PhD, I then moved to the city of Melbourne (in Victoria – yes, two states named after a queen), where I enjoyed very good breakfasts but was surrounded by grey weather. After my PhD I briefly lived in Sydney, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
* The past participle of “to gird”, which is related to the noun “girdle”.
I generally go by Paul, and not Holger, which I am told is a name that mostly only older Germans have (thank my mum, who liked the name of an Australian and Triple J’s or, rather, Double J’s first radio DJ called Holger Brockmann, who previously had to work under a pseudonym due to his name being too “foreign”). My preprints and publications will generally have Holger Paul or H. Paul or Paul on them. The inconsistency is mostly due to computer and preprint systems at the research institutes where I have worked, for example, at Inria I needed to have my name as Holger or Holger-Paul (which is wrong, but I am cited as H.-P. Keeler at times).
My general interests include history, science, general knowledge, world affairs, rock-climbing, and travelling. I am a self-confessed, I mean, reformed pub trivia nerd. I have a fondness for words and languages, among other things. I have a terrible habit of living in a country, learning enough of the local language to read the newspaper, but not enough to get good pronunciation or to tell jokes well. I studied Spanish in Ecuador. I then studied French in Paris, which sort of killed my Spanish. More recently I have tried my luck at German.
Here’s where I brag, I mean, show which countries I’ve been to. Many outside of Europe I did as a poor backpacker, while the ones in Europe I generally did with cheap flights.