Just Some Mundane Things

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.

Capitalism these days

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.

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I’m Basically a Model Now

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.

Beer was included in the free lunch
Here I am pretending to casually hang out outside

What a Week

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.

Do I look like a German Bierfrau?

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!

One Long Drink

Like true Germans, my friends and I dedicated our free Sunday to drinking. First, we went to “American brunch” at a restaurant here, which was hilarious. I figured that Germany’s version of American brunch wouldn’t be the exact same as America’s, but I was still pretty surprised. There were no mimosas, which we all know is the most important part of brunch. Like classy Americans, we just ordered orange juices and a bottle of champagne and made our own. As for the food, it was wild. I think that the buffet style is what made it “American”? There was typical German food like bread, cheese, müsli, pastries, potato salad. There was also what I guess Germans expect from Americans: onion rings, chicken nuggets and chicken

My pina colada was everything I hoped it would be and more.

wings, jalapeno poppers, cold breakfast burritos. My personal favorite was the bacon-wrapped cantaloupe, because why would someone want that. Most importantly, there was not a pancake in sight. The sign advertising “American brunch” just showed the most beautiful stack of pancakes, but there wasn’t a single pancake or waffle. Very disappointing. Also, there was an omelet station, but nobody was standing there, so we didn’t get eggs either.

After spending a few hours enjoying our bottomless brunch, we decided to go to the Uni Cafe for drinks. At this point it was about 3 in the afternoon. So we spent a few hours there, before splitting up for a couple of hours to do homework (or in my case, watch Türkisch für Anfänger). Then, we met up again for dinner, where we both ordered döner and made pasta, while finishing several bottles of wine. There was also a couple of rousing games of mafia, during one of which I was somehow singled out as the mafia on the first turn, so I must be pretty bad at the game.

Rothaus Brewery

With the IES group, today I went to a brewery in the Black Forest. Our tour was in German, so I only understood about half, but it was very interesting. Then we had lunch, which I found very strange. First of all, drinking beer before noon is a very German thing to do. Second, I had Käsefleisch, which literally means cheese meat. It was basically a loaf of baloney, but surprisingly not terrible.

After the brewery, we went to a town on the Titisee, where I got to try real German Black Forest cherry cake. Apparently it has alcohol in it. Who knew? I also got to go souvenir shopping a bit. After this, the group went to a church, which was very beautiful. Germany has such gorgeous old churches, and they  make the ones in America seem so bland.

Rosenmontag

Today is Rosenmontag, an important day in the Fasnacht holiday. There was a big parade, which was very different from Americans parades. People of all ages dressed up as Narren (fools) and wore masks and other costumes. The kids were especially cute; they wore everything from traditional costumes to Captain America. I also got to try Glühwein, which is a warm mulled wine that is very popular in the winter.

We also started the two-week language intensive courses today, but that is not so important.

Orientation

I thought about switching to keeping a journal in German, but I decided to do a blog so that I can share. We talked a lot about speaking in German

lunch döner
lunch döner

(while actually speaking in German) today during orientation. Minimizing our English use was a major theme. The other students and I agreed that we wanted to speak in German as much as possible even among ourselves, since that’s what we’re here for.

Today we learned more about the IES program and took a tour of the city. I had döner for lunch and dinner; döner is a Turkish meal that is basically a pile of shaved rotisserie meat. I also had to buy some things, since my luggage still hasn’t arrived.

dinner döner
dinner döner

Afterwards, my friends and I split up to go to our apartments. Since I was alone and not sure how to get back, a guy named Tylor went with me. Getting lost seems to be becoming a theme because we got off the train at the wrong stop and having to use my map to figure out how to get to the apartment. I am so proud that we found it without the help of a GPS, though Tylor deserves all of the credit. It was an adventure for sure! And we found lots of streets named after famous German artists and writers.