Productivity

06/26/2011

Today’s goal: Productivity. Success: Maybe.

Welcome to the very stressful second half of summer semester. Finals start in a month, I have two presentations for the same class this coming Wednesday and over 100 pages of reading every week for two of my classes respectively. Not to mention the fact that I have two 15 page term papers that have yet to be started and I have the GRE to study for as well. Even my dreams are stressful.

Besides the fact that I got a haircut on Monday, nothing really worth mentioning happened on Monday or Tuesday. Lets skip ahead to Wednesday then.

Wednesday afternoons I have a class about the Freiburg Münster (the medieval church in the center of town) and we go pretty much every week to either the Münster itself, or to one of the many places in Freiburg that is associated with the upkeep of it. Last Wednesday we went to the Augustinermuseum for a tour.

Basically the museum is where they put all the statues that were either too damaged or simply too old to keep on the Münster and a lot of them are the originals from the 13th and 14th centuries. It was pretty interesting to be able to see it all so close up; it’s rather hard to appreciate workmanship when something is three or four stories above you.

After the tour I pretty much swam to the city administration building because it was raining so hard. I got there, waited for 45 minutes in a very stinky room only to be told that even though my visa expires before I’m leaving the country, I don’t need to renew it. I don’t know what the deal is, and it honestly kind of scares me to have that not be valid anymore, but I guess I just have to trust that that woman knew what she was talking about.

Thursday we had off from school because of Corpus Christi (aka, Jesus did something again) which meant that I got to spend the whole day at home doing homework. Fun.

Thursday evening however we went to Karaoke. I sang two songs, the first was Super Trouper by Abba which I sang with my flatmate Sarah, and the second song we sang with Jamele was YMCA. I unfortunately don’t have any pictures from that song, you’ll just have to use your imagination.

I like Karaoke, even if I can’t sing at all.

Last weekend I made a deal with myself that on nights in which I don’t go out, I have to read for at least 30 minutes. Before I went to college, I would read every night but since then, I’ve kind of gotten out of the habit. It’s really rather refreshing to be reading for fun again; I forgot how much I enjoy reading. Therefore, I was actually pretty happy to spend Friday night at home because it meant that I could read for longer than 30 minutes.

I’m really loving the book that I’m reading. It’s called Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham and isn’t about what you think it’s about. It’s title comes from a section of Spinoza’s Ethics which is quoted in the beginning of the book, “The importance of man to govern or restrain the emotions I call bondage, for a man who is under their control is not his own master, but is mastered by fortune.” Basically, it’s one of those books where everyone talks a lot and there isn’t much action, aka: my kind of book.

It reminds me somewhat of The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, which is one of my favorite books. I love books that don’t just tell a story, but inspire you to take a step back and think about concepts and ideologies. I think that’s why I tend to like Bildungsromans, because as the main character is educated by his mentors, we the reader are also taught a little bit. I’d forgotten how much I love to read.

I got in trouble in 7th grade for reading All Quiet on the Western Front under the table during math class.

Yesterday evening I met up with Yi Qing for some chinese food and then we went over to the Händelwohnheim for their summer party. Basically, it was an all day/all night block party. There was live music, food and drinks for purchase, and it was all pretty chill.

It was nice to spend an evening just hanging out outside with everyone. There was a dance party once it got dark, but Mari, Yi Qing and I walked into town and got an Eis instead. All in all, it was a really chill and really nice way to spend a Saturday night.

Oh, and I found Vanilla coke at Kaufland which made me ridiculously excited. I drank almost the entire 1l bottle by myself. Yum.

I’m pretty sure that’s about it for this week. Just a heads up, next week’s blog might not be posted until Monday; I’m going to Cologne for the weekend and won’t get back to Freiburg until Sunday evening. Bear with me.

And as always, there are more photos on Facebook.

A Seven Day Break

06/19/2011

I had no class this week because the Uni shut down for Pentecost. I’m not sure exactly why they gave us the whole week instead of just Monday off, but who am I to complain about a whole week without having to go to class. And let me tell you now, it was a pretty excellent week.

Monday:

Monday evening some of us met up at the Irish pub for quiz night. If you don’t know what that is, quiz night is basically a giant trivia game where your table is your team. It was a good way to spend an evening.

We met up there early for dinner, and I had a hamburger that really went above and beyond the German standard of hamburger making. It was super delicious.

We basically just goofed around the whole evening, and because we needed pens and paper anyways to play the game, we ended up leaving behind a table covered in doodled on scraps of paper.

Tuesday:

I finally made it to France on Tuesday! Although it didn’t go quite according to plan. We met up at the Hauptbahnhof in the morning and took the S-Bahn to a German town called Breisach which is right on the border with France. From there we were supposed to take a bus to Colmar in France, but apparently the bus only ran every 3 hours and we had just missed it. Instead of waiting around at the Bahnhof for another couple hours, we went and wandered around Breisach.

We walked up to the castle where we got a really good view of the town and the area around it. Let me tell you what, southern Germany is really gorgeous.

After hanging out up there we went back down into the town and pretty much killed time until our bus came. Oh, and we had slushies. There was this weird flavor, it was green and apparently translates into Woodruf – in German it’s Waldmeister. My slushie was half waldmeister, half blueberry. It was tasty, even if it did turn my tongue blue.

I also managed to find a new canvas bag to replace my old one that caught on fire while grilling two weeks ago.

Our bus to France finally came and an hour later we were in Colmar. The thing was, by the time we got there it was after 2pm and none of us had eaten hardly anything all day so all we wanted to do was find somewhere to get a bite to eat. It wasn’t that simple.

It seemed like every restaurant was closed, and those that weren’t were only serving crepes or light snacks at that time of the day. It took us forever to find somewhere that was actually serving real food, but we finally managed it. By the time we had finished eating we were all pretty much ready to head back to Freiburg. So honestly, I pretty much only went to France for a late lunch, but it was a good day.

It was interesting because I always assume that when I go to a country where I don’t speak the language, I should just hope that, at least in the tourist-y parts of town, I can rely on my English. Instead of switching to English though, we stuck with German and the people there seemed much happier about that. It was interesting that they’d put the effort into speaking German, but not English.

Wednesday:

Wednesday evening we all went over to Jamele’s for a game night. We played a couple card games and then were about to go into town for a drink when someone mentioned that the moon was supposed to turn red and suggested that we go to the Seepark quick to see it. We didn’t end up seeing much of the moon, but we did end up skinny dipping in the lake.

We went to Augustinerplatz after swimming for a drink and Jamele, her friend Greg who was visiting from Stuttgart (also an American) and I walked back to StuSie.

Thursday:

Thursday evening was Karaoke. It was pretty empty and all the songs were rather slow, but Jamele and I shook it up a bit by singing Beyonce’s Single Ladies. We freaking killed it. Next week we’re singing YMCA and I really can’t wait.

Friday:

I spent pretty much all of Friday afternoon studying in the Seepark. I was so excited because I managed to finish what I thought was my only reading for my Monday class on Intellectuals, but when I came back to my flat I realized that actually, I had 3 more articles and about 100 more pages to read for Monday. That was a bummer.

Friday evening we went over to Jamele’s to watch a movie and get ready to go out. We ended up seeing a movie about a french student who goes on Erasmus to Spain. Erasmus is the european exchange program that all my friends are on, and it made me sad to see this film and think that it won’t be too long until I’m saying goodbye to everyone here. But let’s not think about that now.

The weather Friday evening was absolutely ridiculous. It was raining, but the kind of rain that is so intense it only lasts about five minutes before it lets up. It didn’t let up. By the time I had walked to Jamele’s, which is not even half a block away, my shoes and tights were completely soaked through. Three hours later when we left to go out, it was still coming down. It was like someone dumped a bucket of water over my head.There was a minimum of three inches of standing water on the road by the time we got to the club.

The place was pretty nice and was on the 17th floor of one of the only skyscrapers in Freiburg. They were playing pretty good music for once; normally all it is here is techno or house, but this was much more of what I’m used to from home.

At 2am or so we left there – thankfully it had stopped raining- and headed to Tacheles. After a while there I took the night bus home and got to bed by 4am. It was a fun night

Saturday:

Nothing too exciting happened yesterday because I knew that I would be busy today and so I pretty much did homework all afternoon. I love being productive, that was the one problem with this week is that I knew I had a lot of work to do, but because I didn’t have class all week I felt like I had all kinds of time to do homework later. But when I just sit around and don’t do anything, especially when I know I have stuff to do, I don’t really enjoy myself. It was nice to get things done.

Sunday:

This morning I went over to Jamele’s, made turkey salad sandwiches and then we met up with Halldis and went for a hike in the Black Forest. Let me tell you what, I am not used to climbing mountains, that hike really tired me out. It was gorgeous though and great to finally be in the Black Forest which I haven’t really done during the time I’ve been here.

The hike was supposed to be 3k up and 3k down, but it turned into about 3k up and then 5k on the way back. It began to feel like the trail would never end.

There were a lot of slugs though, and they were pretty huge. Next time, we’re bringing wine or beer and drinking every time we see a slug. If it’s neon orange then you have to drink twice (and yes, there were neon orange slugs and looked an awful lot like gummy worms).

That’s pretty much it for this week! Back to school tomorrow, though we do have Thursday off for another Catholic holiday. I hope this weeks blog makes up for the last couple that have been pretty lacking in the photo department. More photos, are of course, on Facebook.

Every day this week felt like Saturday and I kept catching myself thinking, “When I write my blog tomorrow…” This week felt like a mix between spring and summer break; spring because it was only a week, but summer because I feel like I shouldnt have class tomorrow because it’s summer. This German university schedule messes with my head sometimes.

Bambimäßig

06/12/2011

Monday afternoon I started keeping a budget. With less than two months left, I am getting to the point in my financial aid where, unlike before when I didn’t have to think about money at all, I need to be aware of exactly how much I’m spending. It’s not like I can’t go and do anything fun anymore, it just means is that I have to not only be aware of how much I’m spending, but also cap it at a certain amount (with some exceptions). It’s probably a good thing for me to have to do.

This week was very much just any other week. I went to class, had lunch with friends, did homework and stressed about all the stuff I have to do. Along with enough homework to keep me busy for what feels like forever, I also have to worry about getting stuff together for my apartment next year (if you have a bed frame you don’t want, let me know) and the real big thing is Grad School. That’s right folks, I’m graduating college in less than a year and that means Grad School applications are due in December. As if that’s not stressful enough, I also registered for the GRE last week which means that between term papers and studying for the GRE in September, I’m really not going to have much of a summer.

I don’t feel old enough to be concerned about grad school.

Thursday afternoon Danija came over and we went and hung out in the Seepark for a couple hours. Even though I had a lot of homework to do, it was nice to just take a break and go spend some time outside.

Summer weather here in Freiburg is rather disappointing, honestly. It’s been stuck in the mid to upper 60’s for a while now and isn’t forecasted to get much warmer. I heard all about your 105 weather back in MN, and for the first time since I got here, I was kinda jealous.

Friday evening we met up at my friend Halldis’ place, played a game of volleyball, watched a film and then went into town for a drink. We were planning on going to this Russian vodka bar, but because the cover charge was 5 euros, we just said screw it and went to a different bar instead. They were playing pretty good music, but after about an hour and a half, the place was so packed that it was really no fun anymore. Jamele and I walked back to StuSie.

Yesterday I went into town in the morning to buy a new ethernet cord because my old one randomly broke (honestly, I dont know what the eff is wrong with it), got a wurst on Münsterplatz and then picked up an Eis on the way home.

I used to think that my mom was weird whenever we would go to McDonalds for an ice cream and she’d make a comment on the quality. It was always something along the lines of “This is much better than the McD’s on X street” or “The consistancy was better last time.” I get it now. I frequently get the lemon gelato at this place next to my tram stop because it’s cheap and gives the biggest scoops in Freiburg. Yesterday I got a lemon gelato and found myself doing the exact same thing. Scary.

I worked on an essay pretty much all afternoon, which, even though it’s not due until a week from Monday, I need to get done by Tuesday so I can send it to that professor of mine to correct. This essay is also what I’m procrastinating by writing this blog now. You’re welcome.

I met up with Danija and Jamele last night for a couple drinks. We went to Feierling and sat outside in their Biergarten. I’m honestly not a big pilsner person, but that beer was excellent. Did I mention they brew it themselves?

After our beer we went to Schlappen which is a restaurant and bar right next to the Uni and had a drink. Remember how I mentioned a long time ago about the markers on the glass showing how full to fill it (,2l, ,33l, ,5l etc)? Well I got a glass of wine last night and let me tell you what, they completely forgot about that line. It was supposed to be only .2l, but I swear it felt more like .4l. Not that I’m complaining, I was just pleasantly surprised.

In February I bought a can of pringles that had a coupon for a free Whopper Jr. at burger king in it. Because of my no fast food rule (and because I’m not a huge fan of bk), I kept it in my wallet and saved it. I finally used it last night.

That hamburger was the first American fast food that I’ve had here in Europe and while it was kind of tasty, I wouldn’t pay my own money for it. Plus, they used far too much mayo.

It was, however, the perfect way to end the evening.

That pretty much wraps last week up. I have no class at all this coming week because of Pentecost (thanks, Jesus), and I have a pretty good week planned with my friends. This week includes pub quiz, karaoke, France, hiking and other shenanigans. I’ll tell you all about it (and show you too, I’m going to be real good about photos) next Sunday.

Somehow I also have to fit a bunch of homework in with all that. I don’t want to.

I need to start my term papers. Ugh.

Three and Four

06/05/2011

I had a good week this week. Because Thursday was Ascension day (I don’t know what that is, but it’s Catholic and has to do with Jesus), I didn’t have class on either Thursday or Friday. The month of June is pretty much a series of days off because of Jesus, and I’m all for it.

Monday I had that presentation that I was whining about in my last blog. It went alright, I’m just glad it’s done and over with. It was rather funny though, because my professor sent me an email later that day with his comments, and one of them was that in staying rather quiet during the discussion, I went against all the stereotypes they have of Americans. Thanks?

I really like my Wednesday Münster class. I’m sure the test at the end is going to be difficult, but it’s really interesting and we get to do about half of the classes either at the Münster or in museums. Plus, I found out that because I’m an international student, she’s willing to give me 6 ECTS points instead of 4 for the same amount of work (That means I get three credits instead of two).

Wednesday evening we all went to Karaoke, and boy, do I wish I had had my camera. It was the last karaoke on Wednesday(they’re switching to Thursdays), and the place was packed. I sang ‘It’s the end of the world as we know it’ by REM, and just generally had a good evening. It was my friend Yi Qing’s song however, that was really exceptional.

Before I tell you that story, I need to give you a bit of background. Straight European men have absolutely no problem with showing affection for each other. I mean, they take Bromance to a whole other level. So when the mc at karaoke announced that four guys were singing a song together and that they had promised a strip tease, everyone knew what they were in for.

They sang their song, and it was fine, but it wasn’t until Yi Qing got up to sing Ricky Martin that things got interesting. Instead of sitting down, the guys stayed up on stage and pretty much stripped each other while Yi Qing was singing. I was kicking myself the entire time for not having my camera.

Thursday, as I said, I had no class so I got to sleep in and basically just take it easy all day. I finished editing my professor’s paper and then met up with two friends for chinese food. After dinner, we took a walk and stumbled on this beer garden right on the bank of the river. We spent a little while there sitting and chatting, and I could definitely see myself going back there with some homework.

Friday I met up with some friends for a late lunch and then hung out in town for a little. I had that mini eggroll salad again, and if I dont get Ehec from that, I’m not going to get it from anything.

You’ve heard of the Ecoli/Ehec scare in Europe right now, right? Basically, vegetables have been contaminated and like 20 people have died or something. Honestly, I have a feeling it’s just one of those scares that happens every year, but it’s too bad that it started here in Germany, and that it’s carried by veggies of all things. I love veggies.

Yesterday I pretended to get work done all day and then met up with my friends in the evening. We had chili cheese dogs for dinner (well, I just had chili, cheese ain’t really my thing) and then pretty much just hung out at my friend’s flat all evening.

I don’t know why, but I really haven’t been in a party mood lately. I’d much rather keep things low key and hang out or watch a movie than go out until late at night. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of fun when I do go, but I find myself checking my watch a lot after 1am.

I’ve felt bad about the lack of photos in the last few blogs and so I tried to take my camera out more often. However, I didn’t end up with many more photos than normal. I’ll try to get better with this.

Why is it that I find it so hard to get work done on Sundays? I save myself the entire day to do to homework, and then I do everything I possibly can to not do it. Don’t get me wrong, it does eventually get done, but it takes four times longer than it should because I just don’t want to do it. This blog is a prime example of that, I should be reading for class tomorrow or writing my weekly essay, but I’d much rather write my blog than do any of that.

At least I haven’t started watching last night’s episode of Doctor Who. I can’t wait.

That’s about it for this week. Next week is a normal five day week, but the week after is free. I think we got some good things planned for that week.