I’m back in Germany! I got here yesterday afternoon after a really long 20 hours of traveling. It’s really good to be back.

The flight back to Germany was in two parts. The flight to Atlanta was rough, and I mean the really bumpy kind of rough. I bet you heard about the St Louis airport losing its roof in a tornado, well that was the kind of weather we were flying over. I had taken a dramamine before the flight and I still landed in Atlanta feeling somewhat off. The fasten seat belt light was on for literally over 3/4 of the flight. It was a long two hours.

The flight from Atlanta to Frankfurt was somewhat smoother but there were still times where we got shaken around a bit. It was a 8 hours and 20 minutes to Frankfurt and I managed to doze for about 5 hours of it which is unheard of for me. I have an impossible time sleeping on planes (which I managed to do for maybe 30 min) and even dozing isnt always easy. I took another dramamine before this flight though so with two in my system, I had a hard time keeping my eyes open. I dozed for two hours, watched a movie, dozed for three hours and then spent the last hour just kind of sitting there. It wasnt half bad, honestly.

Just a random thing that I thought was funny, when we landed in Frankfurt, about half the passengers applauded. I’m assuming that that’s a German thing because the flight seemed pretty much half American half German and I know Americans definitely dont applaud when a plane lands.

They served us a “dinner” about two hours into the flight but the only thing I could eat was the salad that came with a meal almost completely made up of bread products. Good thing I had a peanut butter matzah sandwich and some passover popovers with me or it might have really sucked.

Speaking of passover, we had the seder at our house last monday and it all went really well. It was so great to see a lot of my family after seven months away. We managed to fit 24 people in our porch, I wish I had a photo to show you it all set up, but none of us remembered to take one. It looked pretty darn good.

As much as I dislike passover, I really do enjoy the seder. Its nice to know that every year we all get together for a big dinner and even though I dont really believe that the Jews were ever slaves in Egypt, the tradition of it (as a history major) is something I really appreciate. Did you know that Jews have been saying “Next Year in Jerusalem” at the Seder for at least 600 years? The first known use of it was in a Haggadah in the 16th century. Just a disclaimer, no, I did not just look that fact up, I used it in my term paper to emphasize the role of Jerusalem in Judaism. I’m awfully nerdy, huh.

The next day my dad taught me how to shoot. He took me to the rifle range in Burnsville and brought along two handguns and a rifle. Tell you what, I enjoyed it a lot and definitely want to go again when I get back. I didnt like the rifle a whole lot just because it was rather hard to aim, but the handguns and I got along pretty well.

The first handgun we were shooting was a Rueger and it looked like the gun from the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit which made me like it even more. For a first time shooter I did pretty well with keeping my shots together. My dad likened it to Catch -22 when Colonel Cathcart wants bombing patterns to be close together so it looks better on arial photographs. I liked that analogy and if you dont understand it then you really need to read that book.

The other handgun we shot was much smaller (apparently it was a lady’s handgun) but shooting it felt much more like I imagined shooting a gun would feel like. When it fired the bullet the gun had a recoil that wasnt all that strong but it was rather satisfying.

The next day I met up with my friend Max (and future flatmate) on campus at the U for a coffee. It was nice to catch up and hear about life at the U.

I say future flatmate because I am (most likely) living with him and another guy I know in an apartment on Franklin next year. No papers have been signed or anything yet which is why I said most likely, but seems like its coming together pretty nicely. It’s not badly priced and I’ll have my own room which is important. It’s also right on the bus route that goes to West Bank and Folwell, which will be really convenient next year.

That reminds me, Monday afternoon I had an appointment with my CLA advisor to discuss graduation. I registered for fall classes last Friday and therefore I will be graduating in spring 2012, an entire year early. My advisor told me that because I’m graduating early I need to start looking at Grad Schools now because as soon as I get back to the states in August, or the very latest in October, I have to take the GRE. Even though I really want to do Grad School in England or Germany, I am still going to apply to schools Stateside which means I have to have applications in by December 2011.

I feel like I just finished the college application process, and now I have to start all over again. Know of any schools with good modern european history programs?

I went to Target thursday morning and spent 30 bucks on food that I missed while abroad. I got potato chips, nutrigrain bars, fruit snacks and stuff like that. My mom got me some instant stuffing mix as well. I filled up my little suitcase that I had used to bring back winter stuff with food. I cant wait till passover is over so I can start eating it. I want stuffing.

Let me tell you about the train ride from Frankfurt to Freiburg. Normally there is a train that goes directly from Frankfurt to Freiburg that takes about 2 hours, but not this weekend. Apparently there was construction being done on the tracks between Karlsruhe and Baden-Baden which meant that I took a train from Frankfurt to Mannheim, from Mannheim to Karlsruhe, a bus from Karlsruhe to Baden-Baden and then finally a train from Baden-Baden to Freiburg. It took me three hours. Ugh

I spent all yesterday afternoon sitting outside in the Seepark with a couple friends. It was nice after being cramped in uncomfortable seats for 20 hours to just sit outside in the sun and relax. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.

Because of jet-lag, I pretty much passed out at 9pm last night and slept until 11am this morning. It felt so good to lie down, I needed every minute of that sleep too.

I met up with the same friends this afternoon and laid out under a tree for a while but then, because the sun was behind some clouds and it was chilly, we took a walk around the lake as well. The other side of the lake has two little beer gardens/cafes so we ran home quick, got our wallets and then went and got a beer and hung out there until it started raining and I came back home. Another good afternoon, we’re planning on the same tomorrow.

That’s about it for this week I guess. I had a wonderful time at home, it was so great to be back and to see so many people that I hadnt seen for so long. I cant wait to catch up with everyone in August.

Passover is almost over!

Oh, and remember that because today is Easter , all the easter candy will be way on sale tomorrow!

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I’ve been here in the cities for just over a week now and it’s been really nice to be home. I’ve just been relaxing, spending time with family and some of my friends who arent away at school and doing all the things I’ve missed while abroad. I’ve been doing a pretty good job of making up for seven months without fast food.

The one big problem about Freiburg is that, because it’s a relatively small city, there really arent many places to buy good but cheap clothes and I’ve honestly gotten rather sick of shopping at H&M all the time. Monday afternoon my mom and I went to the Mall of America and it felt strangely like coming home. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent so much time working at the Macy’s there, or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve gone shopping there ever since it opened (my parents actually took us there in our stroller on the first day it was open), but either way, being at the MoA was great.

The weather was beautiful Tuesday so my mom and I took a walk around Lake Nokomis and then went out to Eagan to start running errands for passover. We’re hosting the first Seder this year and are having 24 people over tomorrow (Monday) night and there’s a lot to do.

We got almost all of the cleaning and setting up done over the last couple days and today I got up early to chop up carrots and celery to make matzoh ball soup. Why is it that matzoh ball soup is so amazing? If you havent had my mom’s matzoh ball soup, you’re missing out. It’s delicious.

Wednesday my brother and I had dentist appointments so I picked up Phil at his dorm, parked at Coffman, got Panda Express for lunch and then went to the dentist. You’d think that after working at Panda Express last year I’d never want to eat it again but for some reason, it worked the exact opposite way. I love it. Oh, and no cavities at the dentist of course, and also no wisdom teeth. It’s not that they havent become a problem yet, my body for some reason just decided not to make them. Maybe it’s my body’s way of apologizing for me having to get 15 teeth pulled when I was a kid.

I had a doctor’s appointment Thursday morning and then I FINALLY had mcdonalds for lunch. After that, I went to the Wescott Library book sale. This book sale is once a year and it is absolutely amazing. All Library discards, donated books and such are sold in the basement of the library for 50c for a paperback and a buck for hardcovers but if you buy 4 paperbacks, you get one for free. I went by myself on Thursday and then with my mom and brother on Friday. I got 17 books.

The book sale culminates on Sunday with a bag sale which is where you can fill up a grocery bag with books and it only costs $3. I went with Amy this afternoon and honestly, it’s kind of like going to heaven. So many books.

I love books. I have what you could almost call far too many, although I dont think it’s possible to have too many books. I have an entire bookshelf full of simply non-fiction (which I enjoy reading just as much as a novel) and two tubs full of fiction (which you can see in the photo because I was alphabetizing it, that sounds so nerdy). I have almost all books written by Thomas Mann (about half of which I have in both English and German) and Chaim Potok, I have tons of Ray Bradbury, George Orwell and Douglas Adams. I was told this week that it would be hard to judge the type of person I am based on my books alone, but I disagree. I like books that are written well, I think that says a lot.

Friday night my parents and I went to a restaurant in Highland to have their Friday fish fry. That’s the nice thing about this time of the year, all restaurants have fried fish specials on Friday. That, and the easter candy.

I woke up Saturday morning to something I havent seen since December: snow. I forgot that Minnesota isnt like Freiburg and doesnt have 75 and sunny every day in April. Bummer. At least it was all gone by noon, but having to brush my car off was rather depressing.

I met up with three friends yesterday afternoon and we got lunch at the Cheeky Monkey Cafe in St Paul and then wandered around Grand Ave. It was great to see more friends from home, I’m just kind of sad that I’ll hardly get any time with them this summer.

We went in to a couple little clothing stores and all I wanted were the summer dresses. I hardly ever wear dresses, but I figure now is as good of a time as any to start. I never wore scarves before I went to europe, I can do the same thing with dresses.

After helping my mom prep the chicken soup I drove out to Augsburg to pick up Amy. She took me out to lunch at this restaurant called the Wienery. I got a chicago style hot dog and let me tell you what, it was as good if not better than the hot dog I had while I was actually in Chicago. I’m pretty sure this hotdog changed my life. It’s so close to campus too, I have a feeling I’ll be there a lot next year. It was amazingly delicious. They were on Diners, Drive-in and Dives a little while back.

Well that’s about all I’ve gotten up to this week. I have another couple days left in the cities and then I fly back to Germany Friday morning.

Enjoy the last day of chametz, all you people keeping passover. That’s going to be interesting, keeping passover in Germany. I might have a hard time keeping it seeing as even the Matzoh they sell there isn’t kosher for passover, but I’ll try my best.

Seven months ago tomorrow I got on a plane to Germany, two days ago I got off a plane in Minneapolis. That’s right, I’m home. Granted, I’m only here for a two week visit but it’s still nice to be back.

Thursday afternoon I took a train to Frankfurt and spent the night in a hotel. I had to stay at a hotel by the airport so it wasnt cheap, but at least it was nice. The only bad thing about it was that it was in a relatively industrial area which meant that there was nowhere to go and nothing to do.

I took a walk looking for a place to get dinner and all there was was a small little restaurant across the street from my hotel. This restaurant was absolutely amazing. I ordered a chicken schnitzel and seeing as it was only 6 euros, I figured all I would get was the schnitzel itself. Instead, I got a pretty good sized salad, a ton of french fries and the schnitzel was so hot that it was still sizzling. It was delicious, and 14 euros cheaper than getting something at the hotel.

Friday morning I had an 8 1/2 hour flight from Frankfurt to Detroit. The nice thing about flying West is that even though I was in the plane for so long, I had daylight the entire way. My plane took off from Frankfurt at 10am and landed in detroit at 12:30pm. So much better than going east. Plus,I finally got to see Harry Potter 7.1 in english on their in-flight screen things.

I had a three hour layover in Detroit and then a 1 1/2 hour flight to Minneapolis. The nice thing about short flights is obviously the fact that they’re short, but because its so short, the planes are often smaller which means more turbulence. The flight to detroit was mostly smooth, the flight to Minneapolis made up for it. It was a bumpy ride.

My parents and brother picked me up at the airport and we went directly from there to White Castle, the first fast food I’d had in 7 months. It was delicious.

I woke up yesterday at 5am because my body thought that it was still in Germany and that sleeping till noon was late enough. I hung out at home until 9 and then my dad and I went to verizon to get a US phone number. My old number doesnt exist anymore, so let me know if you want my new one. New number, same old phone. I love my phone here, if my German cell has taught me anything it’s that I want nothing to do with touch screens.

The only bummer about my new number is that whoever had it before me had credit problems because I’ve gotten probably 10 calls from a credit company asking to speak to someone named Terry. I’ve asked them repeatedly to take my number off of their list but each time I do, they apologize say that it takes 24hrs to register in their system. If I get one more call I’m blocking the number.

I had Arby’s for lunch yesterday and then went to super america and got an Arizona iced tea. I missed junk food.

I met up with Amy Balto for little while yesterday afternoon. Even though we only hung out for like an hour, it was like 7 months hadnt passed. I missed her.

Later, my brother and I went to half priced books and then my mom made chicken pot pie for dinner. By the time dinner rolled around though I was pretty much exhausted. I had been up since 5am and my body was still partly on German time to 7pm felt like 2am. I went to bed at 9.

I’ve only been here a couple days, but it’s like I was never gone. I dont really know what I expected to come back to, but so far it’s like I’ve just slid back into the place I was before I left. Here at home with my family, driving around, everything looks the same. The only difference is now I have something else to compare it to.

There are so many flags here. Germany is understandably rather cautious about being perceived as nationalistic, which means that even though the German flag is flown in some places, compared to here, it’s hardly flown at all. Flags are everywhere here, almost every building, houses, everywhere.

I’m going over to my Baubie and Zadie’s house later this afternoon and I’m really excited to see them. It’s been so long.

Oh, and just to rewind to last Tuesday, I met up with my professor and discussed the job editing a book. First of all, not only did I get a perfect grade on my term paper, but he also gave me an A+ in the class itself. But anyways, I unfortunately didnt get the job just because I wont be in Germany long term, and the other professor wanted someone he could talk to face-to-face. It’s too bad that it didnt work out, but I completely understand his reasoning. I’m just happy that my writing got me recognized in such an exciting way. I cant wait until it’s me looking for people to help proofread my next book.

Though I didnt get the job with the other professor, I did end up with something that is almost as good. I told you that my professor had sent me two articles he had written in English to proofread and he liked what he saw. Basically, he is going to continue sending me his English writings to correct and in return I can send him any essays or term papers I write in German. Sounds like a fair trade to me.

I’m here in the Cities until the 22nd.

Oh, and sorry about the lack of photos… it’s not like you’d like to see photos of the inside of an airplane anyways.

A Taste of Summer

04/03/2011

Alright, back on schedule with the Sunday blogs.

When I ended my last blog I was pretty certain that this week would be another one of those blogs where I apologize for not really having anything to say. Not so much.

Tuesday evening I got what is seriously one of the best emails I’ve ever gotten in my life. It was from the professor of my borders class and the subject line was ‘Your paper and job opportunity.’ Let me tell you what, I didnt even need to open it to tell that I should get excited. Not only did my professor tell me that he gave me the highest grade possible, an A or 1,0, on my term paper (remember how I told you I wasnt so sure about it?), but also that he had an offer for me. Now I wont know all the details until Tuesday, but the basic gist of it was that he offered me a job.

A different professor at the University of Constance is looking for english native speakers to edit manuscripts and somehow my name was brought up. I dont know if my professor approached this one, or the other way around, but either way I got mentioned.

I meet with my professor on Tuesday to discuss my paper and the job, but I can tell you now without knowing any of the details that I’m very interested. Writing has always been something that I’ve loved doing, and I cant wait until I’m older and I can publish a book of my own (non-fiction, of course). Writing however is not just putting words on paper, but editing draft after draft after draft and can take longer than writing the work itself. I love it.

I really hope this job works out, but even if it doesnt I’m just so excited to have been offered it. Oh, and to top that off, my professor sent me two articles he had written in English to proofread.

Did you know that one of the many reasons why I want to be a professor is because I don’t think I could make a living writing non-fiction books?

Alrighty then, enough with me bragging, lets talk about the rest of the week! Wednesday I woke up feeling off, but I’m doing much better now. No worries.

Thursday afternoon Halldis, Jamele and I went shopping in town for 80’s clothes. Friday night was a party at this club and since their deal was that they were only playing 80’s music all night, we decided to dress up.

We were the only ones who dressed up, and were probably some of the only ones under the age of 25-30 but everyone was dancing and it was really a fun night. I’m pretty sure that being dressed up made it more fun anyways.

I wish Id have had my legwarmers, my mom gave me hers for a different 80’s party but I obviously didnt bring them to Freiburg. That’s the problem with costume parties in Germany, I know I have all the stuff I’d need at home in the States but I wasnt about to schlepp it over here on the off chance I might want it. Ah well.

Only bummer about dressing up 80’s and having short hair is that I cant do a side ponytail, but maybe that’s for the best.

We took the night bus home which is a pretty slick thing. The trams stop running at about 12:30 am, but there’s this bus which stops in the city center at 1:11, 2:22, 3:33 and so on. It takes a different route than the tram and isnt covered by our semester ticket which means we have to pay a bit extra, but it beats the hell out of walking back and is far cheaper than a taxi. We took the 2:22 and I was back in StuSie less than 15 minutes later.

Yesterday was the most gorgeous day yet here in Freiburg. It was 70 and sunny, with a slight breeze and I spent almost the entire day outside.

Halldis and I met up with Asumi, our friend from Japan, for lunch and sat outside at this nice little cafe. It was nice to catch up, I hadnt seen Asumi since February and she’s done more traveling than I have in the last month or so. After lunch we got a gelato and walked over to Augustinerplatz to sit in the sun and chill.

After saying goodbye to them I came back to StuSie and went to the Seepark to meet up with Jamele. The Seepark, if you remember from other blogs, is like the lakes in Minneapolis except while the lake may not be any bigger, the green park area around it definitely is.

That lawn there was full of people by the time Halldis showed up about an hour later. We just sat there and hung out and enjoyed the sun. I may have enjoyed the sun a little too much, however.

I had picked up some sunscreen after lunch, but it was only 20spf and by the time I bought it I had already spent two hours in the sun eating lunch and gelato. I’m a little burnt but not bad, really. Tan lines are back however, I have a clear X on my feet from the straps of my sandals.

We took a walk around the lake and then I came back here to StuSie for a little bit and watched an episode or two of Doctor Who. That’s kind of my new tv show obsession which is good because there are so many episodes, but also bad because there are so many episodes. I’ve watched so much of it over the last week that I dream about it. That may be a sign…

But anyways, I came back to my room and hung out for like an hour or two, made a quick trip to the grocery store and then headed over to Jamele’s for a barbeque. I picked up some wursts at the store and they honestly made really good hot dogs. I’m a sucker for the foot long hot dogs at the state fair partly because they use real casings and it kind of snaps when you bite them. These wursts did the same thing. It was delicious.

It could not have felt more like summer. A big group of people sitting around a picnic table outside with a grill going. It smelled like grilling, beer, sunscreen, old cigarette smoke and bug spray. If “Summer” was a perfume, that would be it. Love it.

Its gorgeous again today and I’ll probably go for a walk around the lake when I’m done writing this.

This is the last blog I’ll be writing from Germany for a couple of weeks now, I go to Frankfurt on Thursday and my plane leaves early-ish Friday morning. I’ll be in the Cities before your dinnertime on Friday (it’ll be midnight for me, ugh). It’s hard to believe its already here, I honestly dont think I’ll believe I’m home until I am physically there. It’s been almost seven months.

I’ll be home from the 8th to the 22nd, lets hang out.