Here’s a picture of me, Olivia, and Claire chilling at Vaubar last night.

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.


A Breakthrough

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.

Mitbewohner Life

On a completely unrelated note, I had German wurst yesterday at the market in front of the Freiburger Münster.

So far, it has been super awkward with my flatmates (Mitbewohner). It really shouldn’t be that awkward, but I’m so uncomfortable that I have trouble bringing myself to talk to them. It’s going better now! Yesterday, I spoke to Ning twice. He’s from China and his German is not better than mine, which is a relief, because the other Mitbewohner are actually German. I also talked to Nadja, who is a German physics student from Bavaria. We spoke in English, but that’s mostly because I was out too late last night and can’t even think about German right now.


I found out that a new flatmate should move in any day now, so I won’t be the newest anymore.

Life in a Hippy Commune

img_1004I live in a hippy commune. I knew it was a hippy place when I got here. Vauban is the greenest neighborhood and it looks like a hippy place. Some people live outside/in tent/in small RVs. They all hang out outside and smoke. There are gardens and all of the apartments are filled and surrounded by stuff. Really, I can’t even describe the stuff because it is literally everything and everywhere. Also, all of the apartments seem to have a corner dedicated to empty glass bottles, and none of us Americans can figure out why.

Anyway, today it was confirmed that Vauban is a hippy commune when five of the seven IES students who live here went to meet our housing tutor for the tour, but she never showed up. When we went to her apartment, her roommate Clemens offered to take over. In addition to informing us that he was hungover (at 4:30 in the afternoon), he told us all about how you can do anything in Vauban (this included a wink). The residents, all students, share things all the time, so if we have extra food, we should set it outside for anyone who wants it. There are postings where people offer to share things from woodworking tools to yoga lessons to speakers.

The five of us ended up walking around after our tour and found a beautiful field on top of a hill with a great view.
The five of us ended up walking around after our tour and found a beautiful field on top of a hill with a great view.