Ohne dich ist alles doof!

Ode to a vanished snowman. Or happy thanksgiving.
November 26, 2009, 11:35 pm
Filed under: hamburg | Tags:

Achem–Below follows a symbolism laden piece of performance art, entitled: The Chronicled Consumption of a Very Tasty Snowperson (this is where I deleted a very long conversation with myself about the ways in which dominance functions by rendering itself invisible and how snowman/snowperson on one hand whatever, but on the other hey male should not be the default gender!  I decided that it wasn’t a necessary conversation to have with myself at this juncture. Hence the use of snowperson in the title, and snowman in the very important piece of performance art. it is a man, unfortunately it has no name.)  On to the very important progressive piece of performance art that if you don’t understand honestly people you just are not high brow enough. Ah! An alternative name! How high is YOUR brow? A quantitative analysis, beautifully photographed by the computer of one kassia r***.


In which the snowman and I become acquainted.

In which I realize that the snowman is not made of snow, but in fact very tasty marzipan.

I consume the head.

Well, part of it.

Snowman says "Oh noes!" Or perhaps it is the growling of my deliciously satisfied stomach.

End Scene.

I hope this piece touched you to the very depth of your souls. And that you are all suddenly very attached to the feminist cause. Or, for you masculinists out there (i.e. my brother) the PERSONIST cause! Equal rights for all!

Yes. This is how I am spending my time in Hamburg. The snowman was a take home item from a very wonderful thanksgiving dinner hosted by our advising professor and his wife. The food was killer. I still don’t like turkey, but I have come around to stuffing, especially covered with (sweet?) gravy. If only every thursday could be thanksgiving! (at smith it is 😉 )

Love you lots and happy thanksgivings!

PS I have my visa!


I don’t need an interlocutor and baby, you look a little cuter day by day
November 24, 2009, 7:57 pm
Filed under: hamburg | Tags: , , , , , , ,


I have been off having wonderful adventures, and as a result, have fallen behind in the chronicling there of. I’m not really sure you can use ‘there of’ that way, but you can do it in German. Every time I speak english I realize just how useful that construction is.

The last few weeks have been filled with an equal share of travel and music. I spent four days last week in Leipzig, my first real expedition into East Germany. The girl I was traveling with seemed to think that it was a great example of the DDR, and kept pointing out what she saw as differences between east and west. I’ve been here for 3 months, but I don’t feel like I know East vs West enough to assume that the differences between Hamburg and Leipzig are a result of previous political lines. There were two clear differences–Leipzig has an older, more squished, seeming center, and a ton of square dilapidated buildings sprinkled throughout the city.

This past weekend was spent in Bremen with SERVAS hosts. Bremen also has an older, more squished feel than Hamburg (Hamburg feels very airy), and was a lot of fun. Our hosts took us on a tour through the town center the first day, and we stopped at a store and put two display puzzles together, and then walked along the river. For lunch we stopped at a fish cart, and I had Bratfish. Delicious. The second day we took a walk along the moors, and ate an amazing fish stew. I suppose I will have to admit to liking fish.

Now I’m sick. Not terribly sick, but bad enough that I missed school due to illness for the first time (that I remember) since I got food poisoning after Folklife in highschool (food poisoning not from folklife food, rather from some shop in pike market). I was not happy about it. Still, because of the swine flu (who knows if that’s what I have) I had to stay home. I missed out on a play for class, which was disappointing. I’d feel worse if I got someone else sick, though.

I’ve been to two concerts since moving to Hamburg. 1) John Vanderslice at Thalia Zentrale, 2) some british duo at the Pony Bar. I am in love with both locations. Thalia Zentrale is a rectangular room with booth like cusions, tables, chairs, a bar, and a small stage. There were about 30 of us, and the performance was amazing. I didn’t expect an encore (I saw him last semester in Northampton and he didn’t give one) but the one he gave ranks in the top two. He came out with his band and played acoustic versions of three songs with tons of harmony. And I basically stood next to him. And afterwards he gave me a hug.

The second concert was no where near as good. The duo (kyrstie mcgee, or something) has received some attention in England, and they were good, but unimpressive. It was alt-folk/country, and I got a little bored at times. Still, it was free, and worth attending. The Pony Bar stage area is a lot more squished, but super comfy with sofas and arm chairs. I am determined to find more such places throughout Hamburg.

That’s basically it. My classes are going well, my German is improving, I’m not officially in quarantine, but I’m not supposed to be leaving my room too much. I haven’t been diagnosed with anything, and it’s my theory that, so long as whatever I have remains a mystery, I can refrain from disinfecting everything with blue fluid and wearing one of those mouth masks every time I leave my room (there are many dorm regulations for the swine flu). If I’m still sick on Thursday I’ll go get checked out.

All my love!


Oh! Also, I’ve learned to play Canasta! It’s awesome! My new favorite game! And my tandem language partner is fantastic. This Friday we’re going to Hamburg’s Christmas Market and Dom–a festival in the St. Pauli district with Rose Festival type food and rides.

One of my new favorite songs:

(Grow up and marry me!/I won’t!)

November (and then my thoughts turned to Dollhouse)
November 1, 2009, 3:20 pm
Filed under: hamburg | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I have officially been out of the country for 2.5 months. I wonder how differently we would experience the passing of time with fewer months, or if the twelve months in a year had more days in them. It’s so easy to ignore the passing of time so long as the name of the month is the same–but the minute it’s time for the calendar change–I can’t believe it’s November! Fall here is beautiful. Maybe it’s just my intense need for color, but every time I look out my window (or venture into the cold) my day improves. On my way to the U-Bahn (underground train system. we also have the S-Bahn–the surface system. funnily enough, both travel under and over ground. silly? silly.) I pass a small, sparsely filled children’s park. I don’t know if it’s something in the soil, the weather, or the type of tree–but every leaf in that park is a bright, glowing yellow. It reminds me so much of snow–not because snow is yellow, but because of the way the leaves deck the entire landscape. I feel like leaves get left alone more here, they’re allowed to just sit and be themselves. Decompose as they see fit. I’ve seen a few people sweeping them (yes! with a broom) away from their places of business, but i have yet to see anyone bring out a leaf blower. Yesterday the swingset was the only leafless thing in the park: both the play structure and the thing that you can spin around on (I saw one around the Alster that looks like Saturn) were covered. The ground of course was quite leaf squishy. It’s always odd when I see something and my first impression is that it looks too perfect to be reality. It requires a double take. Perhaps I have seen too many digitally edited movies–nature shouldn’t remind me of a fabrication.

Bonn was an interesting experience. It took 4.5 hours to get there, but once there, they fed us liberally. I think living in a youth hostel could be a wondrous thing indeed. Getting paid in food (and housing) doesn’t seem like such a terrible thing to me…The conference wasn’t particularly interesting, but I did discover that the DAAD will help fund a year of grad school at a german university. Something I hope to take advantage of. University is so inexpensive here! 1000 euros a year (and the students complain–it used to be free). In order to enroll sans exchange program, however, you need to speak german at the C1 level. I’m somewhere between B1 and B2 (A=beginner; B=Intermediate; C=advanced). By the end of the year, I’ll be able to come back and enroll, with or without DAAD support. It’s exciting–a permanent fall back plan. What, I have a degree and nothing to do? I don’t want to work with the conservation corps/in a bakery/as an au pair any more? I can just pack up and get a masters in Germany!

Halloween was actually quite an event here. Smith has had a study abroad program in Hamburg since the ’60s, and there are TONS of alums here, many of whom are still our age. Two of them threw a Halloween party last night, attended by Germans and Americans alike. The costumes were amazing! I felt so lame. I don’t have any make up, and all of my dress up-esque clothes are in the states. I whipped up an Alex Mack costume that was well received, but not particularly recognizable (the recurring comment, after being informed of what I was: that takes me back). Sarah was Cruella DeVille (fantastic), Liz was Pete from Mad Men (skin crawly), and the host was a spider (!!!). She had stuffed stockings and sewn gloves on to the ends, giving herself six extra arms that moved when her real arms did. It was a lot of fun, and unlike my last night on the town (i went out with my dorm last wednesday) I didn’t miss the last train, and I didn’t have to walk home. Success! (there was also a community party at one of the train stations: Dammtor. the decorations gave it a homey quality).

This week I’m starting a language tandem program (everyone is assigned to an individual who is a native speaker in the target language–for me: german; for my partner: english). They ended up giving me two partners–hopefully I hit it off with at least one of them. From emails, the girl Julia seems really outgoing and friendly. I can’t tell about Sebastian. He’s only sent 1 single sentence incredibly formal email. Still, looking forward to it. From what I’ve heard, most of the experiences are positive. Woohoo!

Bis Später,