Ohne dich ist alles doof!


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,

Kassia

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