Planes, Trains and Passover

04/24/2011

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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One Response to “Planes, Trains and Passover”

  1. Robyn Says:

    I’ve been on a number of flights where everyone clapped on landing. I think it had more to do with the turbulence during the flight than it did with the nationalities of the passengers. Everyone was ecstatic that we’d actually landed safely!

    Also, I suppose you didn’t know that you can order special meals when you fly (assuming that you’re on a flight where they actually serve meals). I once had a kosher l’pesach meal on a flight. It was so well wrapped that you just about needed a knife to get it open, so no fear of chumetz contact. But over the years I’ve ordered vegetarian and low-fat meals as well. There’s quite a range available, especially on international flights.

    BTW, it was great seeing you, too.


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