Friday, August 1, 2008

recap of a life unterwegs

As promised, my fifteen favorite photos I haven't posted yet and:

a map of all the places I went (excluding the US). In dark green are the countries I went to over the semester, in red are the specific cities, and in brown are the countries I've been to before.

Constance, March
gravestone of a Jewish soldier from WWI who died fürs Vaterland (for the fatherland)
ironic, seeing as what would happen a few years later

Berlin, April
Jewish memorial

Berlin, April
Berlin Wall, East Side Gallery

Moscow, April
That disgusting statue of Peter the Great towers over Christ the Savior, one of the most beautiful churches ever.

Cairo, May
An odd statue stands in front of skyscrapers. No one knows what the statue means anymore, tho, as the lettering at its base was rubbed off.

Cairo, May
Red sails on the Nile stand out in the smoggy evening.

Luxor, May
statue of a pharaoh towards sunset

Radolfzell, May
Birds fly over the Naturschutzgebiet on Lake Constance.

Augsburg, June
sea green and yellow light

Augsburg, June
near the entrance to an art museum

Montreux (Switzerland), June
A cruise boat crosses Lake Geneva in front of the Alps.

Zurich, June
The captains of Europe's EM 2008 teams dwarf visitors in the Hauptbahnhof.

Oslo, June

Dubrovnik (Croatia), July
Where's the Cheshire cat?

Constance, July
I pose for the first and only time with those weird blue statues in front of the university.

So in closing, thank you for reading, thank you for all of your comments, and I hope you enjoyed. I know I did ;)

Monday, July 28, 2008

sich verabschieden

The tropical night clung to my skin in beads of sweat and condensation. Their spears pierced me on all sides, and I laid bloodied and exhausted in the dark. They spun, drummed, and screamed their mad dance around me. They built mounds of flesh as monuments to their savage lust. I prayed for an end to the brutality, but there came not a hint of remission. And as the red sun rose past my sleepless, shuddering eyelids, I knew this was the end. Smack! I left another blood-stain on the wall. God knows I will not miss the mosquitoes.

Well everyone, that's the end of my trip. I leave tomorrow morning from Zurich and get in directly to Rochester. This, however, will not be my last post. Once I'm home I promise you one final entry with my 15 favorite photos from my time abroad that I for various reasons wasn't able to post earlier.

also bis bald!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I like words with no vowels in them,

like Srđ, or words with way too few vowels, like Srpskohrvatski - ha! But seriously, I could read a decent amount of the Croatian (and even understand some of it spoken) and ended up buying a book; I'm already about half-way through ;)

But on a more serious note, I just got back from Dubrovnik! Here is a summary of Cody and my travels:

To get from Split to Dubrovnik we had to take a bus. It was so slow that it took over 6 hours! And it was bumpy as heck since we were going through mountains the entire time.

We stopped for a break in Bosnia. It looked basically like Croatia.

Our second day in Dubrovnik (the first we just wandered the neighborhoods around our hostel) we went to the old city (Stari grad, cf. Russian Stary gorod or Старый город). It was really beautiful, but also hot (90s)!

Dubrovnik harbor

We climbed the city walls and walked around all of the entire Stari grad.

view of Dubrovnik from the city walls

Inside the city walls we went to an aquarium that had flying fish! That's the first time I've seen live flying fish up-close (at the distance I saw them in the everglades, it doesn't count).

This tortoise apparently lived in our hostel's courtyard.

The next day we went back to the old city, saw a museum of Balkan icons, several churches and stuck our feet in the Mediterranean (freezing!).

We went into this really pretty monastery inside the city walls. It was really pretty and had this shockingly modern chapel.

In the evening we went to this place called Heidi Fast Food and got cheeseburgers that were literally the size of frying pans. And they were good! Those and burek (I had more than several of these) are officially my favorite Croatian dishes.

And now I'm back in Constance. We flew TUIfly, which made me nervous, because I thought it was going to be one of those awful cheap airlines, but it was actually completely decent. Croatia was fun, adventurous and new. It was quite Western, but not quite first-world (a lot of things I've grown to expect I think shocked Cody - "accommodations gypsies", a rooster that lived next door to our hostel, naked and near-naked people on the beach - some peeing). It wasn't as cheap as I'd hoped, but I still had a great time and experienced a lot!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cody und ich fahren nach Augsburg

This will be a quick post, but here are some photos from Cody and my last two days. Yesterday we rode to Augsburg to spend a few days with my amazing relatives one last time before I have to go back to the States.

Last night we went to the Kirchweih beer tent in Augsburg. Cody and I finished our Masses with smiles.

Then today we went on a tour of Augsburg led by Rolf and Hermann. Here we are posing with a gorgeous lady-gnome.

This is a Holbein (one of four) in the Augsburg Cathedral.


more Annakirche

the Goldener Saal in the Rathaus (City Hall) - Why doesn't Byron's new million dollar capital building look like this?

And the last thing we saw on our tour was the Fuggerei, which was the very first "social settlement" in the world. It was built by Jakob Fugger the Rich in the early 1500s to help out the poor. It runs on the same principals today: If you're a Catholic Augsburger who's suddenly fallen into poverty (by no fault of your own), you could live here for €1 per year!

Afterwards we went to visit Sir Walter at his home. He turns 90 at the end of August! It was very nice to see him again.

Tomorrow Cody and I fly to Croatia at 11:30am! I'm very excited, but it's also sad to have to leave the Egenbergers. They have been (as always) spectacular hosts :)

PS - Und Max Haase, falls du dies noch liest, bitte schicke mir eine Mail (, damit wir uns wieder in Verbindung setzen können!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

ein Ende für die Klausurzeit, Gott sei Dank

Hello Leute! I haven't done much the last week other than write papers and study for exams. Luckily, however, the weather up until yesterday was also has been kind of dreary. Most of last week it rained and was in the low 70s, so I didn't have to look out the window and say to myself, "Why aren't I at the beach?"

rainy day in the natural lands

Over the weekend I went to a play on Friday (which was really bad) and to this music festival thing in Neuwerk with a bunch of German friends on Saturday. On Sunday I literally worked on a paper all day.

Then today I got my first grade back. I got a 2.3 in Russian, which is probably equivalent to a B+, but it was actually the highest grade in the class, so I'm thinking I did really well anyway. Plus that class was insanely hard, and I was one of the few (about 40% of the class) who didn't speak Russian at home with their family (most of my fellow students have Russian parents, you know).

Well, that's truthfully about all I have to say. Hope everyone's having fun at the family reunion, and for those of you who aren't at the reunion (like me), I hope you're having fun, too.

Oh, and Cody's coming in less than 3 days!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Schiffsausflug u.s.w.

Well, I've had my first three finals (Klausuren) - in German, Arabic and Russian - and they all went fairly well, tho I don't have the grades yet. As a break from the cramming (Pauken), we international students were invited to go out on one last excursion: a boat cruise on Lake Constance.

The weather was perfect, and the view was really nice.

Each country got its own table or section of a table. The USA tied with the Czech Republic for most participants, so we helped fill out Canada's table, too.

the Alps

more of Lake Constance (I like the distance in this photo.)

Well, that's basically all I've done recently, other than study and write papers (I have two due next week), but I thought I'd fill out this post with a little more on German culture.

So this is my yogurt I bought a few days ago. It's delicious. German yogurt is so much better than American yogurt. But that's not why I posted a picture of it. How much of it can you read? Probably about 70% without any knowledge of German. That's because they love to use English. Here you can see, for example, "collect" instead of sammeln and "family" instead of Familie (even though they share the same Latin root).

Other "Anglizismen" (Anglicisms) that I've heard include der Deal (the deal), Late-Comers, gecheckt (past participle of checken, to check), sorry (nearly everyone says this instead of the cumbersome Entschuldigung, which itself is often shortened to 'Tschuldigung), and call mich an (call me up, although they pronounce call like "coal").

And two pieces of good news from Sonnenbühl Ost: No, I don't have internet (I'm in the library again), but the shower has gotten significantly better! First off, we have a new curtain. It's not hanging on by one clip, and it has no mold! Secondly, someone (not I) came up with the brilliant idea to use a spook to correct the shower head's range of spray. Now I can shower like a normal person. (A funny side note is that the Vietnamese guy in my house uses a chopstick instead of the spoon - I swear to God!)

Well, I should get back to writing that Hausarbeit. To all of my maternal relatives: have a great time at the lake! Wish I could be there, but I've got school stuff, you know ;)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fourth of July and Intestine City

Sorry I haven't written in a while - my internet's been especially worthless recently. (I haven't had any connection for about the last four days now in Sonnenbühl Ost.)

A few days ago Chrissy, Denis and I used another coupon of ours to eat at a restaurant on the Rhine. We sat outside, and this was our view.

Then we took a walk along the Rhine and Lake Constance.

palm trees on Seestraße

Then for the Fourth most of us Americans (as well as Canadians, Brits, Azerbaijanis, etc.) met at Europahaus to have a "Grillfest" (the German term for a barbecue).

Yes, that's a Target bag - Kirsten brought it from the US!

friends from around the world

Then yesterday Chrissy, Kirsten and I went to Darmstadt, which is near Frankfurt. I chose the city for two reasons: for its interesting architecture and for its museum of world-famous specimens from the Messel Pit, a fossil bed nearby that is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The first thing we did was go to the Hessische Landesmuseum (well, actually, first we grabbed some crepes). Unfortunately the museum is closed until 2011. To imagine what I wanted to see there, you can check out these videos on YouTube of what life in Messel would have looked like (here, here, here).

After that disappointment we went to the Künstlerkolonie (Artists' colony), which was really cool. It's known for its unique architecture.

This is the Wedding Tower (Hochzeitsturm).

We took an elevator to the top, and we got this view. In the bottom right corner you can see the Russian Orthodox chapel that was given to the city by Tsar Nicholas II in honor of his wife, Alexandra, who was from Darmstadt.

Next up, we went to the Hundertwasserhaus (or Waldspirale), which is one of the oddest looking buildings ever. It is currently an appartment complex. It was built in 2000 by hippy/architect Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser ("Kingdom-of-Peace Rainy-Day Dark-and-Colorful Hundred-Waters") and was supposedly partly inspired by Russian Orthodox architecture (look at the onion domes).

At the Hundertwasserhaus we met this really nice man who drove us to the museum that supposedly had the displays from the Hessische Landesmuseum while that building was being redone.

It didn't. But it did have tons and tons of these old printing presses and stuff.

So that's a very brief update on my life until now. Last week I had my first final (German), this week I have my next two (Arabic and Russian), and then next week I have two papers due and my final in linguistics. Hopefully I'll have internet again soon so I'll be able to do research at home instead of here in the library - and so I'll be able to post to my blog more frequently!