Ohne dich ist alles doof!

“The time has come” the walrus said…
June 1, 2010, 4:42 pm
Filed under: hamburg | Tags: , , , ,

Liebe Alle,

It has been quite some time since I last updated, and it will probably be quite some time before I update again. In fact, you probably won’t hear from me until after I get back to the states.

Life in Hamburg is going  beyond swimmingly. Last semester, though over all great, was difficult. People were hard to get to know, my german was mediocre, and it was cold cold cold wet wet wet and dark dark dark. Then I discovered couchsurfing, got to know people (albeit superficially) and learned german. My level of german is still not where i’d hoped, but I feel like it improves significantly with every small trip I take. And the last family I stayed with said they thought i’d lose my accent after living here another year. Others insist it will never go away. And still others insist I really must be french.

Now, with 2 months left, I find that I don’t even try to connect with people anymore, which could  be ridiculously awful, except I just don’t feel the need. Connections don’t just happen, but you also can’t force them. I’m fond of my tandem partner, there are some cool people on my floor, but there isn’t really anyone I’ll miss. People I’d love to see again, sure, but what I’ve really gotten out of this year abroad is a clear understanding of everything I’ve done incorrectly (in terms of friends etc), and everything I’d do differently in the future. I really do feel that, when I come back, I’ll be able to do everything 10 times more quickly. Make friends, travel, complete study plans, all because I did it so slowly before. It isn’t *really* that I did anything wrong, just that it takes a while to achieve a sense of place. I didn’t waste time, it just took a while to figure out how I wanted to give my time here meaning. And I’m so excited to go back to the US, engage in countless dance parties, do all the mcmenamin’s things you can only do after 21, and prepare for coming back to Germany in order to pursue all the little beginnings I made during my stay here. Such as? Hopefully working at the Alfred Wegener Institut on Sylt studying sediment transport (tidal flats and/or dunes), eco-tourism, and environmental education. (and then I’m thinking an apprenticeship at a sustainable winery somewhere in Rheinland-Pfalz).

Rheinland-Pfalz, second only to Ostfriesland, is my new favorite place in all of Deutschland. Last week, personally known as Abenteuerwoche, but more commonly known as Pentecost, I adventured to the small town (6,000 people) of Traben-Trarbach in order to drink famous wine, dance to crappy music, swim in the mosel, and sleep in the cold. There’s another camp in Vienna this weekend, and if it weren’t for my responsible (or rather school oriented) nature, I wouldn’t have even considered missing it. I’m hoping that the year after next (when I plan on living in Germany) I’ll be able to attend some of the camps I missed out on this year.

aka poorly cooked food. that's in now, right?

Our tent neighbors, plus random guy who does web design for ngos in the netherlands.

i think

The cute wine town we camped above

View of Mosel River Valley

postcards from italy?

Before we discovered the ticks...

A face you could eat


Late night eatings

Our hike the second to last day

yes, people did bring their ukeleles/guitars/melodicas on our +8km hike

View of shore during our boat ride back to t-t

As you can tell, I didn’t take any of these pictures myself, and the ones Liz took didn’t turn out, so I stole these from various Mont Royal Summer Camp photo pages. A lot of the people pictured frequent these sorts of camps, so i’ll (hopefully) see most of them again.

I then went to Sweden, where I attended a Eurovision party, witnessed Germany win, was assured that Germany would be a week long party as a result, and was sorely disappointed upon my return. I have decided that, nice though Sweden is, it also isn’t my country. Next stop (in the plans that live in my head) Sweden’s west coast, and then Norway. I will find my country eventually!

Now I really must be off to read about color, brecht, and le mepris (godard). Fun times.

Over and out until i don’t know when



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)