Twenty-nine Days and Counting

07/10/2011

Do you want to know where I’ll be one month from right now? Asleep in my bed in Minnesota. Can you believe I’ve been abroad for 10 months already? I don’t want to leave Europe.

But enough with that depressing train of thought, I have a whole new week to tell you guys about.

Monday, as I’m sure you all remember, was the 4th of July and even though it was still just a very normal day here in Germany, we had a little 4th of July party of our own. We all met up at Jamele’s place that evening and introduced all our European friends to some of the wonderfully American foods that I always just assumed everyone ate. Things like celery and peanut butter (unfortunately no raisins though) and Kool-aid.

My grandparents had sent me a little package with some patriotic tootsie pops and Kool-aid which I brought to our little party. It was rather funny to see some people’s faces after telling them that Kool-aid is simply sugar and water and artificial blue coloring.

The celery and peanut butter also got more than its fair share of skeptical looks, but even my friend Valentin who, if something is not from France, almost automatically dismisses it, thought it was pretty alright. Success.

We tried really hard to find some kind of fireworks to play with, but we couldn’t even find sparklers which was rather sad. The Fourth of July without fireworks is weird. At least my friend was able to find an American flag at the dollar store.

On Thursday I had time to kill before meeting up with a friend for lunch so I wandered over to Münsterplatz and saw that they had put up a huge sign in the entryway to the Münster welcoming the Pope. Apparently he’s coming for a visit in September, and they’re already really excited.

The Protestant/Catholic divide is still very much a reality here in Europe and Freiburg is, and has always been a hub of Catholicism.

Thursday evening we went to Karaoke after getting a small dinner at a cafe on the bank of the Dreisam river. The last couple weeks karaoke has been rather dead, but there were a lot of people this week and when Mari, Yi Qing and I sang Mamma Mia by Abba, people loved it. We absolutely killed it.

Friday evening my friend came over and we made Latkes. I had brought back a box of Manischewitz Latke mix and despite the fact that I’ve never had Latkes from a mix before, they were actually really good. In fact, just because Latkes are such a pain to make from scratch, I think I’ll stick with this mix from here on.

Not only did they turn out delicious, but they confused the hell out of me because my mind immediately assumed that since I was making Latkes, I should be lighting the Menorah and maybe, if I was lucky, I’d be getting a small present as well. My mind was about six months off, ah well.

Yesterday evening I met up with some friends at Augustinerplatz to chill and have a couple drinks. The Germans (and apparently other European cultures as well) do this thing where, as part of the bachelor party, they go around trying to sell drinks and snacks and making the groom-to-be do stupid things. There are always multiple groups on Friday and Saturday nights, and last night, it included a guy dressed in Lederhosen and a huge hat being forced to sing some Luxembourgish song to all of us sitting there. It was quite funny.

It was a really nice night, and despite the fact that it was supposed to rain, it was almost completely clear. It was nice to just chill outside for a couple hours and the atmosphere at Augustinerplatz is always really great. Its just a bunch of students hanging out with their friends drinking a couple beers. Love it.

Well that’s about it for this week. Since I only have a month left, not only am I trying to do as much as I can with my friends, but I’m also going to have to start really studying for finals and working on term papers. My first final is in two weeks and then 3 more the week after. I have two essays due next week and two 15 page term papers that I’ve only begun to research.

Things are about to get a whole lot more stressful.

As much as I love the German language and hearing it everyday and speaking it and all that, I’m rather looking forward to having all my classes in English again.

I’m doing one of my term papers on Theodore Herzl and the relationship between Zionsim and the Dreyfus Affair and so I read his book Der Judenstaat (in English: The Jewish State) yesterday. It was really fascinating to read the original outline of what would, in 50 years, become the State of Israel.

Did you know that the main reason I wanted to learn German was so that I could read texts from the Nazi era in their original German? This also means that because Herzl was Austrian, I get to read his texts in the original as well. The thought that I’m reading the exact words that various men of history wrote is fascinating to me. It seems so much more real than reading a translation, although there’s nothing wrong with that either.

I’m going to be so sad when I have to go back to the States in a month. I just got to think of it as only going back  for now, because I will live in Europe again. I have to.

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