Yesterday I (finally) went to mass at the Münster in Freiburg. It was pretty easy to follow along and figure out which part was what, but I couldn’t understand the priest very well. He definitely told us during the homily that the Catholic church should be vegan, but I couldn’t follow what he said after that, so I don’t know if it’s a metaphor for something.
Anyway, it was really cool to go to mass in German in a medieval cathedral. I wish that I had gone earlier in the semester.
I’ve been meaning to record some of the little things so that I can remember them, so be prepared for some boring details about my life.
I take the 3 Bahn towards Haid everyday and get off at Holzmarkt, which is one stop before Bertholds Brunnen (the main street). The IES building is right around the corner. There’s a bakery next to Paula Modersohn Platz, where I get on the tram. I get Brötchen there for .45€. My weakness is the Mohnschnecke, which is kind of like a cinnamon roll with poppyseed (and it translates literally to poppyseed snail).
I’ve been eating a lot of sandwiches. I’m addicted to Rosemary chips and can eat a whole bag in one sitting. But I don’t feel guilty because we don’t have them in America, so I need to eat as much as I can while I can. I’ve also been eating a lot of zucchini recently. It’s funny because I never ate zucchini at home, but it’s so common here. All I’ve got to do is put some olive oil and parmesan cheese on top and pop it in the oven, and it’s heaven. Speaking of cooking, the stove only goes up to 3, which I find frustrating.
There’s an old gate downtown called Martinstor, but we call it the McDonaldstor, because the McDonalds next to it defaced the beautiful historic monument with a giant ugly sign.
In Germany, there’s no central air, so you’re supposed to leave your window open for a few minutes a couple times a day, and I really enjoy it. Also, there’s no garbage disposal, so you have to scoop out any food bits out of the sink. I enjoy that less.
On Sundays, all stores are closed. The only places open are bakeries, döner restaurants, and cafes. It can be a really relaxing day of the week, or stressful, depending on if I remembered to go grocery shopping on Saturday.
For some reason, it’s not common to pay with credit cards here. Germans usually use cash (Bargeld) or EC cards. A lot of restaurants and smaller stores don’t even accept credit cards, and when they do, it’s a whole process. Sometimes you have to follow your waiter to the computer. You always have to show ID at the grocery store. Honestly, paying with cash would be so much easier, except there are so many coins. Anything smaller than a 5€ is a coin.
Wow, this has gotten kind of long, so I’ll take a break. I hope you enjoyed a little insight into the mundane bits and pieces of my life.
A few weeks ago, I received an email that I found extremely exciting. Free breakfast and lunch for two whole days. All I had to do was let a photographer take some pictures of me for the IES catalog. It was a great experience; I got a ton of food out of the deal, including pretzels, schnitzel, the Freiburg long red wurst, strawberries, and ice cream. Like I said, very exciting.
I’m also going to receive some great pictures of me and my pretend friends (the other students who signed up for the free food). Right now, I don’t have any of the professional pictures, just some that I took, but rest assured, the pictures are great. We went all around Freiburg yesterday, and today we went into the Black Forest to pretend to go hiking and for a picnic.
While all my friends back home are wrapping up finals, I am just starting my midterm exams. So far, so good. I don’t think I’m about to fail any of my courses any time soon, but we’ll see how my econ exam goes tomorrow.
More importantly, I’m going to Munich for Frühlingsfest! It’s basically the springtime version of Oktoberfest with fewer tourists. So my friend who is also named Emma and I went Dirndl shopping today. For those of you who do not know about traditional German fashion, a dirndl is a traditional German dress in three parts. There’s the dress, the blouse, and the apron. We went to a thrift store and had to search through bins to mix and match each part. I ended up getting everything for only 70 euros, which doesn’t sound cheap, but for dirndls, it’s a pretty good price. Plus, I’m going to wear it this weekend at Frühlingsfest and at every German club event for the rest of my college career.
Also, it is currently Spargelzeit in Deutschland, which means there is asparagus everywhere. Germany is especially known for its white asparagus, which I had never tried before today. Emma and I went to this great traditional German restaurant and I got to order of the Spargelzeit menu! It was a delicious meal of potatoes and asparagus, very German.
All in all, a busy week. I’ll be sure to write all about my trip to Munich this weekend!
I’m just really happy here. My friends are wonderful, and I am meeting so many interesting people. I now have friends from all over the US, as well as from Finland, Turkey, Palestine, and of course Germany.
Some of you may know that I just had a really hard semester last fall. I was working too much and never had time to spend with my friends or have any fun. This time, I’m doing that opposite. My grades here don’t affect my GPA, so I am trying not to stress more than necessary and I am not taking on any extra responsibilities, like I usually do. Instead, I’m having fun, making friends, and trying new experiences. It’s a really nice change of pace for me.
I’ve discovered that the two things from America that I seem to be missing most are ice water and water fountains. I miss ice keeping my water cold and the way it rattles in a glass. I miss being able to have a free sip of water wherever I go. It’s not really normal here to carry around a water bottle, so when I get thirsty in the middle of the day, I can’t find anything to drink. Also, I’m convinced that Germans do not drink enough water, because I never see it happen.
So classes are going well. I just switched a couple today so I am officially taking the following
German Language in Context
Environmental Policies and Green Business in Freiburg
Germany in the 21st Century: A Country Between Past, Present, and Future
Germany as a Location for Business and Industry in the 21st Century
Public Opinion, Propaganda, Political Process
I have not yet attended a class for the propaganda course, since I just picked it up today. Even though I was really excited about it, I had to drop history, because I could not handle four consecutive classes on Tuesdays. I can’t remember how I did it in high school.
Other than that, classes are going as well as can be expected. They are challenging because they are all in German, but interesting because they are all in German. My motivation to do homework is minimal, because there are so many better things I could be doing with my time. Plus, these classes don’t affect my GPA, so I just have to pass. Really, once I get more used to having homework again, I’ll be fine, but for now, it is torture.