Archive for the ‘Across the Pond’ Category

Weimar

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Although this post was not originally published on 5.4.2014, these events happened the weekend of 5-6.4.2014, so I am changing the publishing date to then. –N 13.4.2014

Today a handful of us took a trip to Weimar. Since we are students, we get free transportation in all of the state of Thuringia. It was about a 15 minute train ride and only two stops away! Although Weimar is known for the Weimar Republic and authors Goethe and Schiller, it is a VERY small city. There was not a lot to do there. We got currywurst for lunch (and FYI the Döner Bistro in Leesburg was pretty close) and then we walked around, took a picture with Goethe and Schiller’s statues, walked around the Goethe Garten, and walked around the city centre. It was only an afternoon trip and we were back in Erfurt for dinner. I will post a gallery of Weimar pics, so you can view all of the photos here.

This was two of the American exchange students’ 21st birthday weekend. There was a small get together of exchange students on Friday night and then tonight, we had the weekly reservation at the Dubliner so we went back for karaoke night. Someone from our table sang ‘Bitte gibt mir nur ein Wort’ and I was so excited that I could sing the chorus without looking at the lyrics on the TV screen! (Thank you Frau Vogelbach for all those German music videos in class!) -5.4.2014

 

First Weekend Out on the Town

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

On Friday we finished the first week of the prep course. I’m definitely glad that I signed up for it! I’ve met a handful of the international students. There are people here from the USA, Korea, Russia, Slovakia, Finland, Ukraine, Czech republic, Argentina, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Japan, and Poland. There’s probably a few others, but I haven’t met them yet. :)

One of the Russian girls, Veronika, wore a Sochi Olympics jacket to class one day this past week, so during the break, I asked her did she go see the Olympics, and as it turns out, she actually worked at the Olympics as a volunteer! How awesome is that! She said that she helped out with the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and during the games she worked in the ice rink (figure skating & speed skating) helping with delegations from other countries. (I’m so jealous!!) Since she volunteered, she got a package of spirit gear, including one of the multi-color pullover jackets, with the Olympic rings on the back. What a cool experience for someone our age!

Having a limited kitchen and no meal plan really forces you to be creative when it comes to meals. No microwave and only one pot also limits what you can create. Saturday I made pasta with chicken and oven-roasted vegetables and Brötchen (bread roll) mit Butter. It’s times like these when being a Girl Scout really comes in handy — I sliced up carrots, potatoes, cucumber, and green beans and wrapped it all up in foil, like a potato pocket for campfires, but just stuck it in the oven instead!

Saturday Dinner 29-03-2014
Saturday Dinner 29-03-2014

Since classes don’t start until the end of April, two of my flatmates went home for Easter and the third girl moved out completely. With everyone leaving, they took all of their stuff with them, including kitchenware, leaving me without a hot pot, paring knife, and skillet. I ended up buying another hot pot, because I can’t go 3 weeks without tea or cappuccino! With no one here to say otherwise, I monopolized the fridge, moving a shelf to make my shelf twice the size. I am also taking up a second shelf, and two door racks. What can I say, I love to cook lots of food…

Fridge Monopoly
Fridge Monopoly

***UPDATE – SUNDAY 21:00: One girl was still here when I came back home this evening– I think she might be one of “those people” that goes home every weekend. If so, I’m already not a fan of it..***

 

This next section is what I journaled during my Saturday night outings:

This evening a lot of the exchange students are meeting for a ‘pub crawl.’ I think tonight is going to be a lot of fun! We started out at Cafe Nerly, and then half of us went to a night club and the other half of us went to the Dubliner, a popular Irish pub. I went to the Dubliner because it cost 8 Euro to go to the club. It was karaoke night at the Dubliner and it was hilarious! Someone sang Barbie Girl, and others sang 99 Luftballoons, and sang Enter Sandman. Jordan thought about singing Karaoke, but didn’t. Instead, we were “those people” that were loud, and belting out the words to all of the songs that were sang in English. We fit right in. :)

Jordan looking for the perfect song-- "Take on Me"
Jordan looking for the perfect song– “Take on Me”

The Dubliner was so much fun that we reserved a table for every Saturday next month, in case people want to go out, we have a place to meet up and decide what we want to do for the night. It was around 1am when we decided to leave. The Straßenbahn only runs once per hour that late and we missed it by 5 minutes! We ended up walking home instead of waiting an hour for the next train. It wasn’t a very lengthy walk but by the time we got back to the apartments it was just before 2 am. After showering and getting ready for bed, it was already 4:30, but technically only 3:30 because of daylight savings. Germany time went forward one hour so now I am 6 hours ahead of the USA.

 

What a beaUtiful Sunday morning/ afternoon! I sat on my balcony and enjoyed my breakfast: Stracciatella Cappuccino, Johgurt mit der Ecke, und Toast mit Erdbeere Frucht und mit Nusspli.. yum :P

 

Typical relaxation picture with feet and scenic view..
Typical relaxation picture with feet and scenic view..

 

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The perks about a balcony? Your can air out your smoky clothes from last night. ;)

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The Sunday Drag

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

So, as I come to realize, almost everywhere is closed on Sundays here, or places close earlier than normal, so since classes have not started yet, this led to a very uneventful slow day. It was cold outside, so I didn’t really feel like going out in it. Today mostly consisted of sleeping in, scrolling through Facebook (which turns out gets boring after a while), checking email and refreshing the page to find that no new messages had come, and watching random videos on Youtube.  Since Netflix and other movie/ tv show websites don’t work here, I ended the evening with a cup of cappuccino and Wired Science videos on Youtube.

On another note, my third roommate/ apartment mate returned today! Her name is the only one of the three that I can remember. (It’s Sophie, by the way..) I had one apt-mate who I thought had moved out yesterday or the day before, but alas, she too returned today, and the kitchen was very busy during dinnertime.  Since it is fairly small, only one person cooked their dinner at a time.  And since there is no dining area, I brought my meal back to my room to eat alone.

Small kitchen
Small kitchen
My shelf in the fridge (the middle one w/ strawberries)
My shelf in the fridge (the middle one w/ strawberries)
The shelf I claimed in one of the cabinets (sad and pretty empty at the moment)
The shelf I claimed in one of the cabinets (sad and pretty empty at the moment)

What did I make you ask? The same thing as last night’s dinner: Möhren, Busch Bohnen, und Spaghetti. We also have no microwave, and currently only one pan/pot and one skillet, so I boiled the veggies, set aside, boiled the pasta, then dumped it all into the skillet to make my favorite pan-fried pasta. YUM! At the moment, I have a limited supply of ingredients: enough to fill my shelf in the fridge. I only have butter (no olive oil), and no spices (no salt, pepper, garlic, etc.), so yesterday I stumbled upon someone else’s olive oil and salt, so SHH! Don’t tell meine Mitbewohnerinnen that I used their food!

The pan is so small, the pasta won't fit even when broken in half!
The pan is so small, the pasta won’t fit even when broken in half!
Veggies set aside
Veggies set aside
Frying the pasta
Frying the pasta
Pan-fried pasta w/ green beans & carrots
Pan-fried pasta w/ green beans & carrots

The living situation is very different over here than what I am used to back at UMW. Meine Mitbewohnerinnen are very quiet and to themselves. It’s like we live alone, and just share a kitchen area, but not food. Everyone leaves their doors closed, so i never know if anyone is around. At UMW, however, Kelly and I are roommates AND best friends! Sally, Salena, Georgeanne, and Jessie were just across the hall, and all of us would leave our doors open, and we would move as we pleased between rooms! UMW residence halls are much more of a community than apartments here. That is one of the things that I am looking forward to getting back, when the fall semester starts at UMW.

 

 

PS – sorry the videos are sideways! I couldn’t figure out how to rotate them. :)

The Past Few Days

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

I made it to Germany! WOOO! The plane did not have wifi, so I could not blog from the air, but I decided to write on my phone, so what follows is from the adventure to get here. Sadly though, I can’t figure out how to export the note so I can just paste it here, instead of having to retype everything. But for today, I will type it here for you all to see:

 

During my last few days in the US, food was on my mind.  I wanted to make sure that the last meals I had would be ones that I wouldn’t be able to get in Germany.  My last stateside meals included wings at Buffalo Wing Factory, Pad Thai at Asian Fusion, breakfast at Mimi’s Cafe, and sushi buffet at Matsutaki.   :)

I was also glad to leave, because that meant that I didn’t have to shovel the driveway anymore!

Shoveling snow 2 days before departure
Shoveling snow 2 days before departure

Once I got to the airport, I made it through security smoothly.  After finding my gate at THE VERY end of the concourse/ terminal, I bought two Starbucks (one for now & one for later) and made the last phone calls to family in the US.

I was in the very last row on the lane, but according to studies, that’s the safest place to be! Economy was only about half full, and there was no one in the seat between me and the guy on the aisle, which made it nice and easy to stretch into that open area. As we were taxiing out to the runway, I felt like the ~8 year-old in front of me: my face glued to the window, seeing all of the salt trucks and bull dozers used to clear the runways after all of the snow that was dumped on the east coast.

Empty Cabin
Empty Cabin
Empty row
Empty row
Bulldozers & salt trucks
Bulldozers & salt trucks

And we have liftoff. Although the flight plan online said 8 hours, we were scheduled to arrive in 7hr  22min, and the captain said he’d get us there 5 minutes earlier than scheduled!

There are a lot more entertainment choices now than three years ago when I was on an international flight.  All of the video options are on demand, so you can start whatever movie/ TV show you want at any time, instead of tuning in in the middle of a program.  Watching Pacific Rim in German was.. different, and also to my UMW friends’ delight, I also got around to watching Frozen (Jessie, I’m talking to you!).  I thought it was cute, but I bon’t understand why all of you guys obsess over it. PS – it was better in German :) “Willst du einen Schneeman bauen?”

"Willst du einen Schneeman bauen?"
“Willst du einen Schneeman bauen?”

Luckily the plane had outlets so I was able to charge my phone, since I used it to write about the in-flight experience.

It is currently 22:25 stateside and I’ve been trying to get some shut eye, but it’s way too early for sleep!  If anybody knows me, I am definitely a night owl and will stay up half the night! Maybe jet lag will make me like coffee… We will just have to wait and see…

Sunrise from my window
Sunrise from my window

We hit some turbulent  patches once we were over Europe, but nothing more than a bumpy car ride.

We landed 20 minutes early, but by the time we taxied in, we were right on schedule.  As I was walking to baggage claim, I noticed that the airport was mysteriously empty, but then again, it was 07:20 local time.

Frankfurt Flughafen
Frankfurt Flughafen

I was able to get on an earlier train that arrived almost an hour before my original train.  The train tickets are good for any time, so it didn’t really matter which one I actually got on.  The only problem with this was that I was not able to get in touch with Han, my ‘tutor’ ahead of my train departure.  So I ended up waiting at the Erfurt Hauptbahnhof because I couldn’t connect to a wifi network.  :(

Is it wrong to be drinking Starbucks at 3:30 am? Of course not! Because it’s only 08:30 local time!

One of the things I love about Germany is when you are travelling through the countryside, you all of a sudden see these massive windmills/ turbines.  Talk about utilizing alternative energy! On the train, I also saw a lot of houses and other buildings with the roofs covered with solar panels! Sadly we passed them too quickly for me to snap a pic of them.

Scenic view from the train
Scenic view from the train

Overall, today was a long day.. I woke up about 9:30 am EDT on the 19th, and I didn’t really sleep until 10:30 am EDT on the 20th. Time for some well deserved sleep.