Ich habe mich verlaufen!!
Trip Start Jan 01, 2010
16Trip End Jun 12, 2010
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First day, Tuesday 5 jan 2010. The day started with a welcome breakfast in the Kiep (forum)center location on the Schloss campus (the main campus). Seeing as the sun doesn't seem to rise around here until 8:30am, it was still quit dark as I started my first venture into Oestrich-Winkel. Despite going down a few roads, I made it to the Kiep center with about 5 minutes to spare before the breakfast of (really strong but really good) coffee and croissants.
Upon my arrival, it was clear-the clicks were formed. People gravitated, naturally, to the people of their same home institution and to people who spoke their same native language. I appeared to be the only person to fly solo.
I first met a group of French guys from Toulouse. Two of them were very polite and spoke English with me. The other only spoke French. Later, I found out he does indeed speak fluent English. I called him out on it, and he admitted he only spoke French so he can laugh at me. Ass. Oh well, we’ll see if I ever help speak german. However, the other two boys offered to help me with my French should I see them around campus.
The next person I met was Jeffery from Singapore. He was nice, and immediately out to make friends with everyone. Throughout the day I met individuals from all over the globe: Brazil, Iran, China, India, Thailand, Lebanon, Italy, Canada, Findland, and Japan (just to name a few). Hahaha, I also met a guy from NY. He was born and raised in Queens, and attends school at a small community college in Gainesville,FL. This kid thinks he’s God’s gift to the planet. Let’s just say, people like him are the reason the rest of the world thinks Americans are so arrogant.
I have quickly befriended Jeffery, Muhammad (from Iran), Raj (from India, a Brahmin none the less), and Marcus (from Singapore). These guys are so nerdy, I love it. Of course I say this in an endearing way. I’ve also have begun hanging out with Alessia and Vittoria (Italy) and Christine and Keith (Canada).
The intensive language classes are given at the Burg campus. Burg campus is closer to the center of town, and therefore 15min closer to my flat than the Schloss campus. After the first day of intensive learning classes, I’ve come to a conclusion that I am a natural. Grant it, I have two years of experience on my transcripts, but I’m learning some very useful vocab that U.S instructors don’t care to teach. We shall see how good I am when I have to give my presentation on Saturday.
After classes, I took a tour of the Schloss campus. It is beautiful! It shouldn’t be too hard to find my way around the 3 buildings. It is also right on the edge of town, and closer to the town Hattenheim. Hattenheim is where a majority of the students are living (because it is relatively closer than any flat in Oestrich). Everywhere you go in this town, you have access to the vineyards. Vineyards are everywhere! Therefore, you can imagine I’m quite excited for a tour of the University’s personal wine cellar.
The sun sets around here around 5-5:30 pm. Due to the fact that campus is the only place I get wireless, I stayed on the Schloss campus until 6pm. It was not a good idea. Not only was it dark, but I had yet seen the city in the day light, and had not yet grasped an idea of the area. After an hr of walking, I decided to stop in a butcher shop “Woher ist Eindorffstrasse”. Look confused the Metzgerin said is horrible English, “Left Left, Right, Right”. “Danke Bitte”. What else was I to do but attempt to follow the directions; and I did. After about another ten minutes, I saw two men parking a car. I walked up. ““Um, Hallo. Bitte, woher ist Eindorffstrasse?”.
These men didn’t speak a word of English either (but duh, the speak german because they’re in germany), but I was able to kinda understand them. Turns out they had never heard of my new home “Eindorffstrausse”. The men, very polite, were smart enough to pull out the GPS from the car. Sigh, no wonder they didn’t know where my street was. Turns out, my street isn’t Eindorffstrasse, it’s EICHENDORFFSTRASSE. And, I should have said WO, not WOHER. Go figure. After a much relieved “Danke shoen” (oe=o-umlaut. Perfectly acceptable for when typing), I walked home. Turns out, I wasn’t very far, only a couple streets over.
Wednesday was a much better day. I was able to walk in the daylight, and able to find my way around. After class, I went with my friends Raj and Marcus to Raj’s flat on the Winkel side of Oestrich-Winkel (which is south west). He lives on the Rheine. But he lives at least 2k from me, so about 3.5k from campus (but he has a bike, so it’s not too bad). But we walked because I do not have a bike. It is such a beautiful area. I feel as though I’m living in the same town as in the story Pinocchio. All the buildings are everything you expect of an old German village, with vibrant colors and wooden window panes and side detailing. Once again, the vineyards are everywhere. One of the things that I like the best is the old wooden fences and gates. The pickets aren’t anything special, but they are definitely antiqued. (Pictures soon to come)
My town is very quiet, but it makes me love Germany. It’s also very safe. I’ve had some of the best kakao ever (hot chocolate), and that’s just from a crappy vending machine like the ones on akron’s campus. Only, obvious, the Germans take more pride in their beverages. Everyone drinks coffee type drinks 'round the clock. But this is needed because it has been averaging around -10 degrees Celsius. One thing about living here is that you learn the metric system very quickly. One disappointment is that the food isn’t very good. I go to the grocery store to buy things in attempts to make some favorites from home…it doesn’t work. Oh, and I found out they don’t have celery!!!! My heart broke after I found that out L. Also, alcohol is by far the cheapest thing here: Cheaper than water, cheaper than produce, cheaper than everything. Another odd thing is that bread is the most important part of their diet. If you go to a café, the only things you will see are different types of bread. Bread and beer…ahhh I can’t wait to live somewhere where society believes in a proper diet. Also, I can’t wait til the ice melts so I can go running. But until then, I’m just walking to and from the campuses several times a day, and eating relatively less in hopes of not getting fat ;-p.
Time for bed. Talk to ya’ll when something interesting happen. Tschues!!