Now Presenting…

12/12/2010

Oh hey there, its Sunday again and therefore, I owe you guys a blog post. It’s not that I particularly feel like writing a blog today, in fact all I want to do is sit here and do nothing. But if I skip this week, I’ll just use it as an excuse to keep skipping weeks and we cant have that!

In my last post I mentioned that I had a 45 minute presentation last Monday for my Secularization seminar. Good news, it went pretty well, the professor said he liked it and my partner and I managed to fill the time quite well. The only slightly off thing about it was the fact that at the end, when the professor was telling us what a good job we did, he only looked at my partner when he was talking. I dont know what that’s supposed to mean, and I’m not gonna worry about it because I’m just so freaking happy to be done with that stupid presentation.

I have another presentation tomorrow for my Borders class about Diasporas and ghettos, but this one is only 15 minutes and since it’s with another girl, I only have to talk for half of it. I’m presenting Diasporas, and my partner is doing ghettos. After last week, this presentation is like a piece of cake. The hardest thing about it was tracing a map onto an overhead, so, yea.

On Tuesday my friends and I went to see the new Woody Allan film called “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,” or auf Deutsch, “Ich sehe den Mann deiner Träume.” It was pretty legit, actually. With Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin and Naomi Watts, it was definitely worth the 5€ I payed to see it.

At risk of creating a large block of print without pictures, I just wanted to tell you that my German is really getting better. It’s like all of a sudden, my brain clicked and figured everything out and is starting to function pretty freaking well in German. Whether its writing a paper, talking in class or almost completely understanding that Woody Allan film, I use my dictionary less and understand more with less effort. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot that I miss or simply don’t understand, but I’ve only been here for three months. Eight months from now when I come home for good, I’m going to be fluent.

Talking about it with some other international students, general consensus is that it takes a couple months just to change the way you think. If you want to learn a language through immersion, a semester isnt going to cut it. Immersion means having to change the way you process language entirely, and that takes time and effort. You dont realize how much it means to be able to express yourself until, because of a language barrier, you cant. I am removing that barrier more and more every single day. I love it.

You know those days that feel like three or four separate days, when its really only one? That was my Friday. In the morning, I worked on my presentation and such. In the afternoon, Sarah and I went into town because German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy were in town for some meeting and we wanted to see the protest. In the evening, my friend Asumi from Japan had us over for sushi, teriyaki chicken and Sake, and then we went to a WG party (WG is like a group flat)  in Vauban. It was a pretty good day.

Because theyre Europeans, and they simply just love to demonstrate about pretty much anything, there was supposed to be a demonstration against Sarkozy/Merkel on Friday and Sarah and I wanted to go check it out. We got there a little early so we decided to go to the Münsterplatz, because we knew they had been there earlier and just kind of wanted to see what it looked like. Turns out, they were still there.

The entire city center of Freiburg was decked out in German and French flags. It was probably the only time that I will ever see so many German flags on display when in Germany because for understandable historical reasons, they’re rather afraid of showing any kind of nationalism.

But anyways, in order to even get onto the Münsterplatz, we had to go through some hardcore security. No metal detectors, but they thoroughly checked our bags, patted us down and all that jazz. Sarkozy and Merkel were having a conference in this red building here, so Sarah and I thought it might be cool to wait around and try and see them as they left. We waited, and waited, and then waited a little bit more.

Apparently, there were roughly 2000 cops in Freiburg on Friday, specifically for this meeting. That number doesnt surprise me in the least. Police were everywhere. Another impressive thing was the motorcade that was waiting for these two people outside, there were a minimum of ten cars, two coach buses (which remained empty, and were probably just there as a barrier) and I’m sure countless more vehicles waiting just off-site in case something went wrong. It was impressive.

To make this long story somewhat shorter, Sarah and I waited for about an hour and 45 minutes, and then just as we were about to say screw it and leave, out comes Sarkozy. I tried to get a photo of him, and he may be lurking in one of the photos I did take, but basically out came a mob of people, Sarkozy gets in his car, leans out, waves to all of us standing there and then the entire motorcade zooms off. All in less than a minute. I honestly don’t know where Merkel was in all of this.

Quick tangent story, when my family and I were in Israel in 2008, we ended up being in Jerusalem at the same time as Sarkozy and his wife. We had a couple of almost run-ins with the French president, but by far the closest, which was a serious security fail, was in the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. We were there to see some stained glass windows, and were taken to the same place where Sarkozy and his wife were supposed to be in seriously less than 10 minutes. There was even a plaque there with his name on it that they were going to give him. I dont know who let us in, but that could have been a big security eff up if we had been more than just tourists. His motorcade pulled up to the building just as we were walking out the front doors. Yea, close call.

As a side note to my side note, he got shot at the next day in the Jerusalem airport which means we were probably in more danger during those few minutes in Hadassah than during our entire trip combined. But anyways, back to Germany.

Yesterday night was really fun. StuSie bar (the one in my apartment complex) had a beer pong tournament which was really fun because Germans don’t play beer pong at their parties, and I’ve actually been asked multiple times if Americans actually play it or if they just made it up for movies. My friend Danija and I got second place after playing a total of 6 games. As a prize for coming in second, we got six coupons for free shots at StuSie bar, but let me tell you, after six games of beer pong, I saved my three coupons for later.

I wish I had pictures of last night for you, but I forgot my camera at home last night. Ah well.

Enjoy your 18 inches of snow, Minnesota! Despite what Bing Crosby may lead you to believe, I am perfectly happy not dreaming of a white Christmas, although I do really like Holiday Inn.

And for all of you college kids, good luck on finals!

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