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 had this week off class because it is Pfingsten (pentecost). I stayed in Freiburg, which was a great decision. Mostly I’ve spent a lot of time working on my final papers which are due in two weeks. 28 pages in German total! I’ve finished one and I’m about halfway with two more. It’s been great, because I’ve been sitting at cafes with my friends while we work. Very productive.
Last weekend, the first weekend of Pfingstenferien, my friend Joseph came to visit Freiburg. He’s studying in Brussels this summer, but he has no time off, so he was in Freiburg for 41 hours. I packed all the important Freiburg activities in that time, though. We went hiking up Schönberg, we got ice cream and sat on the Blaue Brücke (blue bridge), we cooked spätzle, we ate schnitzel and drank beer, we went inside the Münster.
Other that homework and Joseph’s visit, I’ve had a pretty relaxed week. On Friday, a bunch of my friends came over to my WG to watch National Treasure and hang out, which was a lot of fun. We drank whenever Riley deserved better or Abigail shouldn’t have to put up with this. (Fun fact we noticed: there is exactly one (1) female character in this movie.) I’ve been drinking Melonsecco and Mangosecco recently, which is Prosecco mixed with melon or mango juice, and it is delicious.
Yesterday Julia, Ally, Jessie, John, and I went to the Seepark. At first we just stretched out and sunbathed, but eventually Julia, John, and I went swimming in the lake. It was so much fun.
Today, I’m not doing much. Just some homework, and then I’m cooking schnitzel and spätzle with Teddy and Andriana for dinner. Afterwards, I’m finally going to go to mass at the Münster like I’ve been saying I will.
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.
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.
The past week, I’ve mostly been getting into a routine and working hard in my German class. I’ve been learning a lot, and my teacher told me that I could move up from the middle class to the top class, but I decided not to do so. I really like our group of people, and frankly, I think that the other class would be too challenging. Yesterday was the last day of OIL classes (intensive two-week German language) and the first beautiful day all week. After the test, my class went to get coffee and sit outside in the sun. For lunch, a couple of friends and I got chinese food and döner to go and climbed on top of the Blaue Brücke (blue bridge), which gave us a beautiful view of the city. It was also extremely terrifying because we were just chilling way above the concrete, but nobody fell and we had a great time.
Then a couple of us planned to cook dinner at my apartment, but by the time everyone showed up, there were 10 of us. Luckily, everybody brought whatever they had in their cupboards, so we had more than enough food. We had a ton of different vegetables (including fried zucchini), fruit salad, salad, and wine. Since we had so much, we didn’t even notice we forgot to cook the chicken I had bought!
I’ve finally had a real conversation with my roommates. There are two tall men with large hair and beards, and they really intimidated me, but they’re actually super nice. When I came home, they told me they wanted to get to know me, so we sat and talked (in German). I found out that in Vauban, there are knitting, reading, and yoga groups I might want to join. They also want to take me to the Vaubar.
One, Haytham is from Palestine, and he is very against capitalism. So somehow I ended up having to defend America to him, and my German is really not good enough for that. They taught me a bunch of new words, though, including einschüchternd, which means intimidating. I’ll be using that one a lot.