Work Hard, Play Hard

12/05/2010

Like the title suggests, this weeks blog comes to you in two parts; work hard and play hard.

Part I – Work Hard:

I have a 45 minute presentation tomorrow morning on christian fundamentalism and televangelism in the USA. It is, of course, in German. Normally when I have a presentation at home, I write a couple bullet points on note cards, rehearse it once or twice and then largely improvise my presentation, but I cant do that here because I simply dont have the vocabulary. Because I have to write out pretty much everything I want to say beforehand as well as research and tons of reading, I spent seven hours on Thursday and Friday and 5 hours today working on this presentation. At least the subject is interesting…

As hard as prepping for this presentation is, the girl that I’m doing it with has been absolutely amazing. She offered to lead the discussion and answer all of the questions, gave me a book in German with info so that I can c/p some quotes without having to translate, and has just been overall a really good sport. I lucked out.

I also have a 3-4 page paper due tomorrow for the same class. That took me about eight hours on Wednesday (in case youre counting, that brings the homework tally for this class up to 27 hours in four days). Its a concept for my 20 page paper that’s due at the end of the semester.

My problem with writing papers in German is that when I write English papers, I dont plan what I want to say beforehand, I just write a paper and then go back, write a thesis and edit. Here, I have to do the whole outline thing in order to keep my arguments organized because if I dont do that, I forget what I want to say because I get so caught up in grammar. Honestly, there’s really no other way to describe it than a pain in the ass.

I have another 15 minute presentation a week from tomorrow in one of my other classes.

As you may have guessed, I’m rather stressed out.

Part II – Play Hard

I went to Nuremberg for the day yesterday! This trip, four of my friends came with me; it was a lot of fun.

Apparently, Nuremberg has the biggest Christmas market in Germany, but it was honestly rather disappointing. Every other stall was selling sweets, wooden toys or Bratwursts and it didnt seem any bigger than the one I saw in Constance last week. It was still fun to bum around though.

Its winter here for sure. It hovers around -4 to -2° Celsius, or mid-twenties Fahrenheit, so even though it’s really got nothing on a Minnesota winter, its still quite chilly. In fact, one of the first things we did in Nuremberg was go to Müller and buy some warm wool socks to wear over the socks we already had on. It doesnt help that the Germans dont bother shoveling snow or slush out of the streets/sidewalks. My shoes were soaking wet all day.

We basically spent the entire day just bumming around the Nuremberg city center. It looks a lot like Freiburg actually, which may have something to do with the fact that both cities were largely rebuilt after WW2. Speaking of WW2 though, I’m pretty sure that most of you have heard of the Nuremberg trials, where the allied powers tried some of the leading surviving Nazis for war crimes. Being the history nerd that I am and given the fact that my favorite historical figure (Albert Speer) was tried there, I REALLY wanted to go see the courthouse, but it was just far enough out of the city center for it to be too far to walk, and with only six hours, it just didnt make sense to go see it. Ah well, hopefully I’ll come back some day.

For the rest of the day we just wandered around, went into a couple shops and pretty much just hung out until it was time to get back on the bus. The thing thats really too bad about trips like these is that the cities change so much once it gets dark, but we always have to leave so early because we have to get back to Freiburg before midnight. I feel like we only get a taste of the city, and that there is so much more to see if I was to go back. That’s about all I have to say about Nuremberg, and like always, there are more photos on my facebook.

Last Monday I got two amazing hannukah packages in the mail. The first one was from Robbie and Mark, and they sent me cheetos, reeses peanut butter cups, tabasco sauce and other fabulous things like that. My parents sent me a menorah and candles (which because they didnt fit the menorah, my dad apparently spent an evening carving them to fit), a mountain of fruit snacks, kasha, stuffing as well as mazoh ball soup mix, and their hannukah present, a portable shabbat candle kit. It was a pretty exciting afternoon.

I love getting mail.

Well, I should probably get back to working on my presentation, although I think I may have gotten to the point where more work isnt going to make it any better….

Wish me luck tomorrow!

And of course, Happy Hannukah

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