Tis the Season

11/28/2010

I like this whole once a week thing… Just consider the amount of photos you get this way.

I’m sick again. This time though, I can hardly taste anything and my m’s are turning into b’s and n’s into d’s. This is enough of a bummer at home, but when I have to speak a foreign language, it pretty much sucks. Ah well, new country, new bugs, plus stress. I guess it makes some sense. But dont worry, I’m gonna go get a check up this week to make sure it isnt strep.

Alrighty then, I have an entire week to catch you up on! Lets work our way backwards, shall we?

Yesterday I went on a trip to Friedrichshafen and Constance with Studentenwerk. Friedrichshafen is where all the Zeppelins were produced in the first half of the 20th Century, so naturally there was a museum there for us to visit. It was a rather disappointing museum though, I was expecting more history, and it really failed to grab my attention. In fact, the mini playground was probably the best thing about it.

After the museum, Becca (another girl from Minnesota) and I wandered around the city for a little while. We ate at a Thai restaurant for lunch, and for the first time in almost three months, I actually had something spicy. Delicious.

After a couple of hours in Friedrichshafen, we had to meet up with our group to take a Catamaran across the Bodensee to get to Constance. Inside felt almost like being in an airplane, which was slightly disconcerting. The Bodensee is a huge lake though, it took us almost 50 minutes to cross it.

In Constance, we went to the Cathedral (I’m beginning to understand the ‘they all look alike’ arguement…) and then wandered around the Christmas Market. It was quite a bit larger than the one in Freiburg, and it was quite easy to spend two hours simply wandering around. You’d need an aerial photograph to capture the entire thing. Its quite easy to fall in love with Christmas in Germany.

We took the train to get there this time, it took roughly three hours, but it was broken up quite nicely because we had to switch trains roughly every 45 minutes. I like traveling by train, its so practical here.

Okay then, enough with yesterday, time to move onto the other big event from last week: Thanksgiving. Since Thanksgiving is a purely American holiday, none of my European friends had ever celebrated it before.

My last class on Thursday finishes at 2pm, I came home immediately and cooked non-stop until about 7, and my friends came over at 8. The kitchen in my flat would probably be described as a “kitchenette.” Its got one oven, four electric burners and a sink. It was not intended to cook for 10 people. It was an adventure.

I cooked my mom’s roast chicken, potatoes and carrots, as well as stuffing. The chicken turned out great, but for some reason, despite being in the oven for 2.5 hours, the potatoes and carrots werent fully cooked. The stuffing however, was almost a complete disaster. It was a food network recipe, and I can now tell you that it called for way too much chicken stock. In fact, it was so bad, that it was almost but not completely unlike any stuffing I had ever seen. Dont get me wrong, it tasted exactly like stuffing should, but it was mush.

Long story short, I ran to the store and bought crunchy italian breadsticks, which I broke up into the stuffing and then cooked it on the stove top for an hour to boil away as much water as I could. It turned out great. Whew.

At like 11 ish one of my friends left to go home, but immediate ran back, pounded on the door and yelled “ITS SNOWING!” I can not think of a better way to end my Thanksgiving dinner than with a snowball fight. The snow was perfect, it wasnt too cold or windy, and was a great way to end the night. As much as I hate winter, there is something about the first snow that is always kind of exciting.

I can think of no better way to have spent Thanksgiving away from home. Despite undercooked potatoes, and almost disastrous stuffing, I hosted my very first Thanksgiving ever. It was a lot of fun.

I didnt know that throwing a dinner party was so stressful though, ugh.

Going back another two days, I should tell you about Tuesday. The Christmas market in Freiburg opened this last Monday, so Tuesday evening my friends and I went to go check it out. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to charge my camera beforehand, but my friend Danija from Latvia was smarter than I was, and brought her camera along as well.

You cannot go to a Christmas market without having Glühwein. Glühwein, according to Wikipedia, is kind of like a mulled wine. Its warm and spiced and served in glass mugs with scenery screened onto the front. You pay a deposit when they give you these glasses, but I kept mine anyways.

After the Weihnachtmarkt (that’s its name in German), we went to see HARRY POTTER!! I was kind of really excited, something that I dont think the Europeans quite understand. There was no real hype about the film here, at least nothing that could ever compare it to how things are in the States. I think my excitement made up for the lack of the others’.

We saw the film in German, even though they were offering it in English, because a couple of my friends understand German better than they do English. I was actually pretty impressed with the voices, the only disappointing one was Snape, but I dont think Alan Rickman’s voice can be replaced. Overall, I thought they did a good job. I really want to see it in English though…

I think that’s pretty much it for the fun stuff. Academics-wise I have a 3 page paper and a 45 minute presentation to prepare for one class next Monday (the 6th), and then a 15 minute presentation for a different class the week after that. I’m dreading the 45 minute presentation because I simply hate that class, but once I’m done with that, then I dont have anything to do for that class until January. I’m gonna make this work. I have to. Ugh.

Good news though! I had an essay due last Monday, and besides a couple grammar corrections (surprisingly few, actually), the only comment that my professor wrote on my essay was “Excellent.” The other girl who also wrote an essay is a native German, and she got some negative feedback that I did not, which, as bad as it may sound, made me feel pretty good about myself. To me, it means that despite language barriers, I can still write a good essay when it comes to argument, evidence and reasoning.

Happy Thanksgiving, early Hannukah, and I hope you found some great deals on Black Friday! The Germans think you’re crazy for getting up at 3 or 4 in the morning to go shopping, but hey, what do they know?

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