Wednesday, September 12, 2012

10 Days!

Well it's been a busy week. To keep this a managable lenght, I will just share some highlights.

wurst wurst wurst wurst wurstOn Wednesday all the AYF kids had a barbeque at Vauban, which is another apartment complex. We had a fire and everyone cooked, of course, wurst. But the best part of the night was when I got to have my first conversation with a real live German! Up to this point I'd spoken to the cashiers and waiters and other Americans in German but no practical conversation practice had occured. This guy was a roommate of one of the other program kids and he had tagged along to our cookout. Here's how the conversation went:

1. Explain something in German.
2. Wait for him to stop laughing. I'm not kidding.
3. Correct my sentence with his help.
4. Finally receive answer.

I think he was mostly teasing me by making me do corrections, but it was helpful nonetheless. After the Barbeque some of us continued on to an Irish pub where we were served by an Australian, and I was scolded for ordering in German. So not so much German practice there.

On Saturday all the AYF kids went to IKEA! I got a few things like a rug and some new bedding, so now my room is getting more comfortable. See the pretty pictures? The rest of the apartment is still more or less empty. I run into the other girl living here maybe once every 2 or 3 days. But I'm not around much, so that probably is something to do with it. Once October hits the rest of the rooms will fill up, so we'll see how things are then. Anyway, after IKEA my Bekannten Sonya, Catherine, Tucker, Ian, and I all played Siedlers von Catan --> Settlers of Catan. It's a German game, after all, and Sonya has the German version! After I came close to winning (in other words, lost), we stumbled upon a Hookah bar, which apparently Sonya is super big on. We got an apple flavored variety. It was definitely a cool experience, but I sort of like my lungs, so I'm not going to make a habit out of it.

Sunday was our trip into Shauinsland! I'll admit to
you that I forgot my camera, but Cherice took some pictures for me, and there were enough people with cameras that I don't think I'll be lacking in photos. We took a train and a bus out to this tiny, tiny town and followed a path up the side. It was mostly land devoted to cows and a few goats. Halfway up we stopped at this farmhouse from the 1400s (?) which had been turned into a Museum. We stopped and had lunch there, and got a tour. It was super interesting, but I only caught maybe 20% of what the tour guide said. The people didn't think to make their beds large enough for them to lay down fully, so they got back problems from sleeping all bent up. Boys were out of the house around age 12. There wasn't any corn or potatoes, so they lived mostly off of wheat, milk, eggs, and meat. There was something really interesting to do with the skull of a bull and the forest and spirits or something, but I unfortunately didn't catch anything else. But the rest of the hike up was gorgeous, and actually pretty tiring. At the top there was a 6 or so storey lookout tower, and from there we could see Freiburg at about 7 km away, and I believe someone said on a clear day you could see the Rhine, but we couldn't Sunday. In the direction of Freiburg, the land gets rapidly flatter the further away you look, and in the other direction it's fully mountainous, so we really are on the edge of the Alps. On the way down we took hanging cable cars and I had a successful short conversation with a German couple. There are just three windmills on one of the smaller mountains, and I told them about the area up by my Grandma's house, where you can look and see 30 in any given direction. They said one reason they don't have more is because they're trying to perserve the beauty of the area. But what you do see in this area is rooftops covered in solar panels. Freiburg is known as one of (if not *the*) greenest cities in the world, so many people come here to study renewable energy. I'll probably be greener than Emily by the time I come back :)

In less interesting news, this week we started our intensive language course. It's intense. We spend an hour and a half every morning working on grammar and another hour and a half with speaking practice. I obviously know I still have lots to learn about German, but it's still deflating when you realize there's a whole subject you've never even heard of before (intrinsically genetive verbs). I like to pretend that I really only need vocabulary, but there are whole bits of this language I've never even been exposed to before. And we also have lots and lots of homework. It feels good to be actually studying German again though.

Before I go, a few more interesting things about living in Germany:

  • The coffee is so good I drink it black. And if you get a proper breakfast, it's amazing. It might take an hour to get to you, but the other day I had a breakfast of warm pretzels, hard boiled egg, salami, and sliced tomatoes.
  • I had a really hard time finding facewash. Apparently they use something here called Gesichtwasser, or Face Water. I have no idea.
  • Everything is closed after 5 or 6 except restaurants and bars. And those are about the only things open on Sunday.
  • In Freiburg, they have these things called Baechler, which are basically long streams on the side of the road in the old part of town. They used to be for sewage, but now they run clean water through them, and kids will tie little boats to strings and sail them along the streets. It's really cool.

But alas, I'm off to do learn some vocabulary. Bis bald :)


  1. Hey Kiddo,
    Uncle Bob and I enjoyed reading your blog this morning, you write so well it made us feel like we were there with you.
    The photos of the countryside are beautiful and it looks like you had a lovely day for the excursion. When travelling we always like getting off the beaten path for sightseeing adventures and to see how the locals live. The German people we met last fall all seemed very eager to visit and share their experiences.
    I'm sure you'll do well with the language course. Just remember to practice, practice, practice!

    Love, Aunt Brenda

  2. I love the way you write. And all these things you write of are so exciting. Last we talked you still weren't as psyched as I'd have guessed about leaving for 12 months, but I hope that with all the new experiences you've changed your mind. I mean, I'm sure you're enjoying yourself, but I hope getting up each day is exciting, ya know? I'd love to be in your shoes. The idea of spending a whole year abroad is mind blowing, and I turn every shade of green when I think about it, which I'm sure I've mentioned before. But continue to have great, beautiful, life changing experiences and definitely keep all your eager listeners updated. That way I can live vicariously through you, while I sit here studying philosophy and physics and such. (I dropped calc, be ashamed of me.)

    But I love you and have fun and keep writing.
    Ah misss youu.
    I won't bother signing this because if you don't know who it is then I really don't even know what to say to that.

  3. Brenda sent me the link to your blog!!! Very cool!!! I look forward to the next saga!! *Laura


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