Ohne dich ist alles doof!

Viva Colonia!
March 1, 2010, 1:15 pm
Filed under: hamburg | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Greetings from the present!

It has been far too long since I have posted anything interesting, and as a result, there is far too much for me to say to even consider the possibility of posting it in an interesting manner. Letters home are almost always more exciting than life itself, because you get a free pass at leaving all of the boring stuff out. Look Friends! see how interesting my life is?

Let’s begin with finals, which sucked. I studied so hard for my chem final, but hit that zone where I knew I couldn’t absorb anymore. Which would have been fine, except I completely forgot to discuss cis and trans isomers when drawing my different isomers of butane. So go me. If this were the US, it would be ok, because there would be another test where I could prove that I was only dumb in that moment, but that, when more moments are added to the sample, I am more often quite informed when it comes to isomers than not. Alas, alack, I got a 2,3. Although I can console myself with the fact that I still did better than perhaps 65- 70% of the class (who had way more chem than I did in high school), I still only got a B. Which is the worst grade I’ve gotten since starting college. So perhaps I should stop grumbling. Kristallography has yet to be revealed, and I felt like the test went well, which means whatever my grade was, it was either quite good or quite something I’m really not in the mood to talk about.

Today I started my chemistry lab! Communication at the university of hamburg is beyond depressing. The starting time in stine (uh’s version of moodle) does not correspond with the starting time on the web site, and although they specified the need for lab coats, they gave no indication as to where to buy one. (my fault on this one, though. I read the non stine version way too late to buy one, let alone to figure out where one could be purchased. the result was a very exciting adventure for exact change, and now i have a very awesome lab coat that shall either be shelved for the time being as dress up clothes, or shall be tye died and hence become daily wear 😉 )

Tess came to visit and we had an amazing time. Even if we’d had a terrible time together, it couldn’t have ended as anything other than amazing, because we discovered the awesomeness that can be Björk. That in and of itself isn’t that interesting, and I’m still not convinced that I like her general releases, but hey. Dancer in the Dark makes up for all of it. The only thing I cried more in was little women (time wise. i cried from the point where beth and jo are at the beach and beth is in the wheel chair to the point where jo marries sir boring) and Dancer was…I don’t know if I can say far more depressing, but it was definitely orchestrated to yank your chain. But the music was so good! The dancing could have been better, and at times the editing as well, but over all it was so good i really don’t care. This has only reinforced my love of scandinavia, and I am determined to see more Lars van Trier films when I get the chance. hey. One starred Mrs. Weasley!

Tess and I also discovered this cool video store about 8 blocks from where I live that shows movies for free twice a week. For some reason, the name Jim Jarmusch has come up a lot in the last year, but I still hadn’t seen any of his movies. Last week they showed Night on Earth, which wasn’t completely smashing, but the two comedic sketches were buckets of awesome. So funny. I know I’m not providing much of a description, but really. When we get back we can skip the slow segments and just watch the one in new york and the one in rome. (there were…6 segments? all involving people in taxis).

Oh, and we also went to Köln for Carnival.

I really don’t have too much to say about that. It was fun, but I was relieved to get back to hamburg. For one, I definitely knew what there was to do, and…for two? I could avoid the guilt that goes with lounging during travel. I could sit on the couch eating yogurt listening to music and still feel like it was  a valuable use of my time.

Because of the weather, Köln was a lot less happening than we expected it to be. Still, there were costumes galore, and ours were pretty rocking. Once we got the hang of it at least.

Our first day in Köln

Our servas host invited us to dance through Köln with a traditional carnival group. We were on our feet for over 6 hours. It was slightly excessive, way too cold, but worth it. I’ll link later to my facebook photos. The traditional group was dressed in altered 18th century garb. I definitely need to get myself a set.


We wore these costumes to the Rosenmontag parade, and to the official carnival party we went to later that evening. One of the more popular costumes was a giant animal suit. There were bunnies, mice, lions, etc. Tess said she’d make me a giant lion suit, and I am quite looking forward to it. I wonder. If they can kick little boys out of class for having distracting hair (too long), would smith make me leave if I wore a giant animal suit to class? Or could I just claim that it was part of a sociological experiment: how does an excessively liberal society react when we blatantly paint ourselves as the other?

There was a particularly hilarious bunny costume at the official carnival party. A guy in a tight black tee shirt with tighty blackies and a little puff tail and ears ( i think). So funny. Also? Practical. There was a beatles cover band (and other oldies) that was quite good and such fun to dance to. We did go out dancing one other night, and learned some kölsch, and some carnival songs. Hopefully I can get some and bring them back to the states.

Our host family was really nice, but we (surprisingly) didn’t spend that much time together. They generously let us stay the whole week, which saved so much money (though if they’d only let us stay a few days we would have gone to hamburg earlier).

In other news, I’ve started working on my DAAD project and am quite enjoying it! I really should have started it earlier, but so it goes. And I’m (hopefully) taking a class on the topic (generally) next semester. Landscapes studies in northern germany such and such.

Now I must leave you. Until next time I decide I have something to say.

All my love!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbCwVWB1KFg (kölsch carnival song. so funny.)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=193872&id=509595464&l=641e62ae8b (photos)


Feuerzangenbowle 1/Feuerzangebowle 2/Zwischen-Klausur/Celle
December 13, 2009, 5:10 pm
Filed under: hamburg | Tags: , , , , ,

Today I am obviously too lazy to come up with an interesting creative title. Instead, it shall serve as a reminder of all the things I need to remember to talk  about, and will hopefully keep me going in chronological order. My brain is already scrambling, because of all the connections between these chronologically separate topics. Here goes.

Feuerzangenbowle 1

As you’ve probably already noted, the term Feuerzangenbowle applies to (at least) two things: a german film from 1943 (nazy morale propaganda?) and a beverage typically consumed during december for Weihnachten (christmas) or Sylvester (new year’s). Last weekend my floor had its christmas party, and we both consumed a feuerzangenbowle, and saw the film.

I have seen the film twice now, and I still can’t claim to be completely sure about what happened. The recording is somewhat scratchy, and the actors talk somewhat strangely. That, and the fact that my german is still in the process of inching along. We’ll see how clear I can be in describing the basic plot, and more importantly, the basic atmosphere of the film.

The film opens with a bunch of old men laughing and serving themselves up some feuerzangenbowle awesomeness. They are wearing tux like suits, monocles, and are (i think?) teachers or professors of some sort. (the feuerzangenbowle is filled with hot wine, with a flaming sugar block on top). A new man shows up, and confesses that all his life he had been taught by private tutors, and had never experienced a german school. So the old men laugh, rub their hands maniacally, and decide that he must must must. Then there is a funny scene in which he suddenly changes his attire piece by piece, wearing what he thinks is a typical school outfit. He slowly becomes quite mischievous, and though he has received his phd and is probably quite old, he ends up engaged to a school girl. The point of the film (now at least) is not the plot, but the ridiculousness in which it is executed. It is the epitome of silly.

Our Feuerzangenbowle was not as upscale as the one in the film, and probably contained 3X as much alcohol. The guy in charge of it kept adding more rum to keep the sugar cone burning, and as soon as a sugar cone was gone, he found another one and poured on more alcohol. At times everything was on fire–the cone, the liquid in the cauldron type thing, and the liquid in the drink ladle. Also, we did this inside.

We also did a Julklapp (gift exchange). I got a book of grisly poetry, and I gave a half naked santa glühwein cup with chocolates.

Feuerzangenbowle 2

The Daad has Daad Freundeskreise all over Germany, and I went to the university showing of FZB with the fk. For a while we didn’t know if the event was going to happen–the audimax where they show the film every year is currently besetzt, meaning that people are living in there, protesting Studiengebühren–paying for school. But! Because it is such a tradition they made a small exception for the film. before the film the read some statements and showed some pictures discussing the time during which the film had been produced, and its nazi history. A lot of people were impolite during this time, because they didn’t want to hear it. I don’t know how much that has to do with being tired of hearing about it, feeling that the history in the context of art doesn’t matter, or just being rude people who didn’t care at all about what was being said, just that it was keeping them from seeing the film.

The behavior of the audience (once the film began) reminded me a lot of the rocky horror picture show–people had brought giant alarm clocks that they brought out at specific points during the film, and sparklers.

Zwischen Klausur

Friday I took my first german university test, and I definitely passed. I’ve been studying for ages, and I really knew the material, but the test was only five questions, it was in German, and I barely had time to finish it. I was unable to check my answers. Fingers crossed I got at least a 2 (A-). We shall see!


Yesterday (a beautiful cold, and at times rainy, icy, and best of all SNOWY saturday) I traveled to Celle by regional train with the Freundeskreis. We toured a Schloss (castle) and then wandered around a Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) eating Bratwurst and drinking Glühwein. the Glühwein in Celle was delicious.

I am currently at the Smith Center waiting for Tess to come online so we can talk. Golly Gee. She is an hour late (or, though, I suppose not truly as she gave me a window of time). But still. I want to go home and eat. After I finish this hot cup of tea.

All my love!

Also, I don’t know if Grandma Barbara got my message about the blog, but I promised her I would post photo links so she could find them without being a member of facebook, so here they are:

Celle: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=174872&id=509595464&l=9641cf9307

Leipzig: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=168721&id=509595464&l=3b14be5306

Sylt: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=159302&id=509595464&l=2247fea7a7

Hamburg 1: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=151543&id=509595464&l=adfc4aaa0c

Hamburg2/Berlin: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=158461&id=509595464&l=edcb848ecb

My trip with Mom through Europe: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=145330&id=509595464&l=14fce2089c

Tada! All my love! I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas break.