Thursday, March 24, 2011


Okay guys I'm posting this late because I had to get permission on some photos. Pretend that it is from the 23rd or something.

I can't believe it was only last weekend, but yes, it was last weekend that I travelled to Hamburg to visit good friends of my parents. I had the most wonderful time, I think I didn't stop smiling the whole weekend long, except when I had to leave. It's been hard just picking out this number of photos. Enjoy...

Speicherstadt-where all goods would be stored, easily accesible

Some of the only old remaining houses that weren't bombed, there at the end of the row

view of the Domturm, and further in the background St Michaelis Cathedral
view of the city from the Domturm, handy gargoil in view
Getting ready for a tour of the harbor and of Speicherstadt!
I thought this photo was a disaster but I think it turned out cool--the wall of the Speicherstadt.
In the harbor

The 'hippie houses'
The Rickmer Rickmers, now made museum, where we also ate a delicious lunch.
still on the Rickmer Rickmers
the Rathaus, the town hall
An elevator with a mirror on the ceiling? But of course!

After such a long day we went home and ate soup and watched Keeping Mum (in German, natürlich!). On Sunday morning there were freshly ground whole wheat flour pancakes, and then the slow way to the train station to go back to Frankfurt. It was a wonderful time, and I hope that I can see this wonderful family again before I have to fly back to the US!

Some general notes about this past week: it's been good, but surprisingly full of schoolwork! I have done one group presentation for French over the history of Algiers, and will soon be doing a group presentation for German over Woyzek, by Georg Büchner. It's definitely something else, trying to work out the finetries (I know that's not a word) of Literature... in a foreign language. I think we've done a good job though, but I'll certainly report back on how badly my German teacher eats me out. He does that to everybody, but that doesn't make it any less awful and mean.

This (week)end is full of celebrating because the written Abitur is over! Woohoo! This weekend I'm also hosting some good friends of mine from AFS, which should be a lot of fun.

So bis nächstes Mal!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Flohmarkt etc

The fleakmarket was great-- we got a bit lost on the way there since we met at a metro station a bit further away, but it was such a beautiful day that none of us were bothered. There was so much, for SO cheap! Because of that, I of course ended up spending way more money than I had intended. Here are some photos...

Here is my Opa Pully-- I love it. Fifty cents.
A watch, obviously. I'm still getting used to how convenient it is...

Cute 5€ leather purse.... looked it up later online and it turns out to be major designer-brand-ness. As in, I managed to find ONE other purse by this designer online, and it costs 95$. Go figure!

The rest of the Saturday was fun too-- at home I packed all my stuff together and put the birthday present into its container. (Check this post again later, I will put up pictures of the present. It's pretty awesome). Then I met up with exchange student friends in the city for a while, and then went to the party. My friend and I were there exactly on time, which was a bit strange, but as the evening wore on it got better and better. We left between 12 and 1 to catch the last S-Bahn, and slept like rocks until I had to get up and go back home to say goodbye to my other guest sister. Today was a lazy day- I procrastinated doing work, and did pretty much nothing at all, and went on a walk later in the afternoon with my host mom and sister. That's it for now, then. Bye!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

the sniffles, and other yummy goodies

So, I was sick pretty much that whole week (with a fever of 102, I found out when I later did the conversion!) although Friday I did go to school. The weekend was what is here called Fasching, but what everyon else knows as Karnival. On Sunday I went to the parade in Frankfurt, but there wasn't much going on there. There were a fair number of people, and some were dressed up, but after half an hour every band starts to look the same. That night I slept over at a fellow exchange student's house, and we went the next day to Mainz.

The biggest Faschings parades are in Köln, Düsseldorf, and Mainz, so I was pretty excited. Unfortunately it was not exactly as awesome of an experience as I was hoping for... We arrived between 11 and 12 o'clock, but had to wait at least an hour and a half for the parade to reach us. Everybody else was drunk, dressed up in crazy costumes, and with big groups of friends. We drank nothing, had no costumes (I was rather upset at how that worked out), and were only three. The parade was unbelievably long, I think over 140 floats. I ended up coming home, skipping supper, and going to bed because I was completely wiped. Oh well, I'll have other chances to party even if it's not the same.

Although, just have to add a funny story here: On Sunday as I was taking the bus to take the subway to get to the Parade, a man and a woman got in the bus dressed crazily (normal for Karnival) and the man just started to talk to the whole bus! In English!

"Ohhh hello hello helloo helloo, we're all going to the Fyashings Oomzoog -(Umzug=parade)- yes we are yes we are yes we are! Ohhhh it's a beautiful day yes it is yes it is! Oh, my, yes, what a beautiful day it is! Oh nein, es ist kein normaahlller Arbeitstyaaag, -(kein normaler Arbeitstag=not a normal work day)- no it's not no it's not!" and on, and on, and on he talked, with this crazy ugly American accent.

The wife (who was wearing this godawful bubblegum pink lipstick) just stood there and smiled the whole entire time. I was so curious about these crazy people that as we were going down the stairs to the subway, I said to the woman: "Woher kommen sie?" (Where do you come from). She totally did not understand me, and after repeating it again it was obvious that she didn't know a word of German, so I asked her in English, and the man shouted back an answer:

"Weeehhlll AAhhh come frrrm Virgin-iah, yes I do!" I asked what they were doing here in Germany, and he called back to me, "Weeehhhlll we got maayrried here thirty years ago, and still happily married now-- (to which I replied, that's nice)-- you know how it is, young people, you know, just takes ten seconds and WHOOOP! - She's pregnant!" at which point I decided to terminate our little chat by nodding and walking extremely quickly down the stairs so that I could get far enough away to get into a different subway car. How weird!

Anwayyys, this last week in school has been a pretty good one. We had Monday off because of Fasching, and Tuesday we all got out before lunch, so I hung out with a friend of mine and ate chinese food and tried on silly sunglasses. Wednesday my biology teacher wasn't there so I only had two hours of school. It was beautiful. Last Friday I finally handed in my report on my internship, although I know it was pretty bad. Today I took a French test that I had missed, and I am pretty sure it was a complete disaster! I kept trying to think in French, but everything that popped into my mind was German, and I just know it was awful. I wrote 729 words.

I don't know if I have already mentioned this, but tests here in Germany are actually quite different than they are in the US. Often in the US one will have a test with one part multiple choice, or just grammar fill ins or something, and perhaps a text that you will have to write an essay on or answer questions about. In my French test (which is typical for language classes beyond the very bottom level, I think) I had an actual speach from General Charles de Gaulle which I had to first summarize, then analyze, paying special attention to the historical context and his use of language (metaphores, personification, repetition, etc). Then there was an actual poster made by the Third Reich and put in France, which had a picture of a happy family on it and writing that something along the lines of 'the unhappy years are over, papa has a job in germany!' (dated 1942, during the occupation, hello! Paradox!) which we had to enterpret. After that I had two more hours of normal French class! I was dead afterwards.

But enough of all this school chatter. I am excited for the weekend, starting tomorrow in fact. I am going to the house of a boy in my class to work with my group on a project for PoWi (Politics and Economy class), then my dear american friend is sleeping over at my house that we can prepare the birthday present for a different boy in our class, who is celebrating his birthday on Saturday night. On Saturday, I am meeting up with some friends of mine from school to go to the fleamarket, where they apparently have really great quality stuff for very cheap. Sunday... I'll sleep.

Other bits and pieces: My older guest sister was home this week, which was quite nice. She adds a whole new dimension to the house and I really like it.

The Abitur is on! The first test is tomorrow (biology), and on Monday my guest sister writes Art! People make posters and signs out of paper and fabric for friends and family taking the Abitur, with encouraging messages and so forth on them, and hang them up in and around the school. I made one for my guest sister with my guest mom and other guest sister, which I hung up today on the sort of balcony which is the gym roof. I love to look at all the posters.

Today I had the sniffles horribly badly, it was disgusting. I don't want to get sick again! But, yet another upside, we have had beautiful sunny weather more than ten days in a row, I think! It was really always cloudy during the winter, and now I have the feeling that spring is coming!

I can't beleive I've been here six months exactly, tomorrow. It seems like so long, and yet so short. What is really unbelievable is that I only have four months to go

just a few photos...

There were lots and lots and lots of people...

...with some rather fantastic costumes

here we are, hooray!

The Korean float!

my favorites-- the fat headed people!

Many floats were political. here is Angela Merkel

google street view invades your privacy! yes, this man is completely naked and anatomically correct. welcome to Germany, we're not prudes!

the pope--finally handing out condoms
this guy was just cool

the end!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I spent last week in Bad Honnef for my midstay camp for my scholarship. I have to say, I was completely dreading it, but it turned out to be a pile of fun. We got there Tuesday evening. We spent Wednesday in Bonn. Thursday we had workshops, and Wednesday we went to Köln. In the morning we went to a Mosque. It was incredible. I had never been insideone before, and it was beautiful. The man who talked to us was very nice, and very open. I was surprised and honored about how openly we were recieved and how much we were shown. Then we saw the Dom, many of us went to the Art Museum (I and a couple other friends stayed the longest, who's surprised), had some shopping time, and went to an awful restaurant for dinner. But AFS gave us all 7€, and since all the dishes were with meat, I bought Pommes (fries) and kept the 5€ remaining. Saturday we had a couple more workshops, and then had a lot of free time to prepare for the talent show. Whichhhh was amazing. There was some really surprising singing, some poetry, some dancing, some impressive stringed instrument playing, and the group that I was in (which was pretty much the I-Don't-Know-What-To-Do Group) learned this crazy mormon dance and had a great time. All in all it was great to get reconnected with everyone, and I was a bit sad to leave. But leave I did, and just in time, because on Sunday night I fell gravely ill. Not really, but the combination of waterbottle sharing and little sleep took its toll, and so I slept. Sunday night, all through Monday, and Monday night. Today I am up and about a bit, but still have the snuffles and the coughs etc. So that's the update! Until next time!