Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Good Morning USA

I'm going to start this latest entry with apologizing for the lack of photos. My computer just went through a mechanical first few months of life crisis a couple days ago which prevented me from updating my blog for three weeks and also as a afterthought deleted a good one hundred and fifty photos. I suggest you to look at my facebok profile for any photos i upload in the next few days. OK my life.

For those who are wondering, I did indeed go to the fall of the wall anniversary ceremony. I went with my host family after a drachenboat workout practice thing. Pretty much it was just exercising. Anyway we went and it was quite amazing. U2 played and various other musical artists, Angela Merkel and Hilary Clinton spoke and plenty of other world leaders or ex leaders. In was a moving celebration. People were singing and dancing and crying from joy. There were hundreds of thousands of people all surrounding the Brandenburg tor. Just an awe inspiring sight. There was the symbolic fall of the giant dominoes which were all painted by people from around the world and also pretty fireworks. Just a great night.

Since then I have seen the movie 2012 and (spoiler Alert) the world ends the same way in German as it does in English. I think I may have to learn how to fly a plane and master the art of travel so i will be able to outrun the worlds end like they do in the movie. Anyway this awful movie ended up being 3 hours long plus and extra half hour of commercials and a 15 minute break half way through. I came close to dying of boredom and have my world ended but i managed to amuse myself by having straw saber fights with the person next to me. So ya anyway I went with Philipp my host brother, my friend and fellow exchange student Claire, and her host sister Linda.

I also went to a professional hockey game with Linda and claire the rest of their family and my next door neighbors. It was a lot of fun and our team "Eisbaren" won agains Ingolstadt. Woop Woop. That was also fun, Linda is a goof so it was fun, I am not sure how many backstreet boys songs we sang together but it must have been at least 5. In these stadiums they give us these clappers that you fold up and look like a fan but you use it to clap really loud. That made my night and the train ride home very entertaining.

Yes so Christmas is in the air and Germany might be the most christmassy place on earth besides the north pole. They have something called a weinnachtsmarkt. which is heaven on earth. Just imagine all of the christmas foods and then germanize them. All the food is delicious and they have crazy random shops for example a native american store right next to a plush pillow store which is also next to a metal signs store. It is amazing. Anyway last weekend i went into potsdam with some friends and they decided that i needed my first glass of Glühwein. It is warm wine which is a christmas specialty here and it was quite tasty. After that we all went to another Handball game and this time we won! We got more clappers and became the obnoxious potsdam fans. Afterwards we went back in town and hung out more. Germany is sweet.

Otherwise in life, School is a little bit harder as of late because we have been taking Klausurs (exams) but they are good practice for me. In fact on a physics test i managed to get a 3 which is a C plus about. Congrats to me. A lot more things have been happening too but I dont want to bore you all with every detail.

Ok german fun facts!

1. In parking lots and garages there are parking places only for women that are nearer to the stores. this apparently helps protect them from any wandering man.
2. Germans open Christmas presents on christmas eve night. It is tragic.
3. Germans dont buy there christmas trees till the last week of christmas. and they dont decorate it till the night before...
4. Apparently roasted buckeyes is a commodity here.
5. I am stealing this from a friend but they have dora the explorer here but she teaches english instead of spanish. you think they would change her name to sarah or elizabeth at least.
6. In bookstores the year calenders of princess pony wonderland and zack effron and hannah montana are right next to the playboy calenders. perfectly ok nudity visible and everything

Till next time. Happy christmas and thanksgiving everybody! wish i could celebrate it with you all!.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Osnabrück till now.

Ok so my last week of vacation my host family and claire and I went to Osnabrück which is a city far to the west of us. It was about a 3 hour drive. It was in the state called Niedersachsen. Both of Claudia's and Georg's (my host parents) families live in Osnabrück. We went there for Claudia's dad's 75th birthday. Above is a factory and desulfurization plant that my host dad's company owns and works. It is in a town called Georgsmarienhutte which is the home town of claudia and Georg.
The Family. They were all a lot of fun. It is great trying to speak german with the kids. It really helps build your skills because they always want to talk to you and you really have to figure out a way to make it work.
A little bit of Osnabrück. It is a beautiful City i would say about the same size as potsdam. It is really old and has churches that were built in the 6th century. On our 3rd and 4th day in Georgsmarienhutte which is where we stayed with our family, we went into Osnabrück and explored. On the friday I met up with my friend from AFS and we went into Osnabrück together. She lives in the area so it worked out quite well.
So on the last day of the trip it was Claudia's father's birthday party. It took around the whole day but it was a lot of fun because all of the cousins were there. It was at a very big restaurant where we had a whole room just for the party and a buffet for eating. For breakfast we had very standard German breakfast. So it was brotchen (bread rolls) with meat like ham mostly and eggs hard boiled. There should be pictures on facebook soon. we later had some egg soup and very delicous German cake which i should have pictures up on facebook also. Outside the restaurant there was a neat jungle gym with goats that could go under it. It was really cool because we were allowed to go in and play with the goats. Which the little kids loved. We did go to a museum at some point during the day which was at the battle of the romans against the germanic people where the germans miraculously won. The generals were the roman general Varus against the german Leader Armenium. So Osnabrück was a lot of fun. This last weekend I went to a Handball game where my friend Lea's boyfriend played. He is on the second best handball team in germany. It was a lot of fun and i went with Lea, Marcel, and Leo. Handball is a crazy sport that is really aggressive but looks like it is a lot of fun. After the game Marcel and Leo and I went out into Potsdam and ate some and talked and joked around. It was good! German fun facts! Germans also have a thangsgiving in november. It is tomorrow celebrating the fall of the wall. All the milk here that i have ever seen has been 1.5 percent fat or whole milk. The biggest meal of the day in germany often is Lunch. Germany has 16 states. But for some reason when I ask my fellow students if they know what they are they seem to forget. (I know all 50 American states easily). In my school they only have tests on specific days that you know months in advance and we only have 2 or three a year. the only other form of tests are small quizzes that we have every now and again. Ok till next time!
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Trip to the zoo

So Monday the 26th My host family and Leo's family and a few friends decided to go to the Berlin Zoo. It was a lot of fun. The berlin zoo is very big and is know to have the most variation of animal species in the european union. We saw very cute elephants playing with each other and we saw lions and tigers and bears. Oh my it was cool. So for the picture above I will give the names from left to right. Claire Macfarlane (The other american exchance student staying with us, my good friend Leo, Philipp my host brother, a gorilla, Lena (Leo's little sister), Valerie (Leo's Friend), me, and Lena's friend. (I forget her name).
Lena is really cute and is a little dämon (demon) sometimes. so i had to give her a lesson by throwing her into the pond.
2 of my favorite people in Deutschland.
Valerie and Leo and Claire. They seem to be enjoying their time at the zoo. We went to the petting zoo part of it and we got to feed the little animals. I felt like a little kid because I had so much fun. Expect my hands were so disgusting afterwards from the food and animal spit. The whole zoo trip was a lot of fun because I got to play with the Lena and joke around and have fun with the other teenagers. My german is a little bit better.
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Monday, October 26, 2009

Fußballspiel und ein Konzert

Ok so! i am making up for my lacking of updating my blog! So sunday I had a long day. Philipp, Georg, and I went to a professional German soccer game. The teams were Hertha BSC (The Berlin team) against Wolfsburg. The picture above is the Olympic stadium for the 1936 olympics. This was where Jessie Owens won 3 gold medals. In fact there was a street named after him on the left. The stadium was very cool because it wasnt to big looking from the outside but when you go in it it is huge. The part that you see now is only the top section of rows. There are plenty more that go below ground level. And we just happened to be 3 rows from the front!
Philipp my host brother and I posing with our tickets in front of the stadium. Instead of selling hamburgers and nachos and fries here, they sell butter or salt pretzels and beer.
This stadium was awesome! This picture was taken at ground level. There were 35,000 people there and plenty of empty seats. Unfortunately the reason for the empty seats is that Hertha BSC is the worst team in the league. But it was still enjoyable and they didn't lose! It was a tie 0-0. Also the fans are crazy! The whole time there was drunken singing and chanting! The only chant that i could understand was "Ha Ho Hee, Hertha BSC"
And after we changed from the soccer game we went to the philharmonic Klassik Musik Konzert. It was good... No they were really good but it reminded me of my days when I was dragged to the cleveland orchestra. This concert was hosted by the Classical Music radio channel so they had some of the radio hosts come out and say stuff. It was interesting. Fun Facts!!! Germans never eat pie and have no idea what it is. For example I sadly went to McDonalds today and I ordered 2 "apple Pies" which are called apfeltaschen translated to being pocket apples. and they not only cost 2 euro when it is usually 1 dollar for both but they were crusty and way to sweet and not at all the two for one dollar apple pies that I love. Another fun fact is that not only do bikers have there own lane in streets but they also have biking traffic lights with little bike symbols on them. and the crosswalk lights make noises so the blind people know when to cross. One last fun fact for the day, Germany Rocks! Ok later!
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Berlin, night of lights

Ok, sorry about this late blog. Also I will try to make my grammar a little bit better since I have had several complaints. Last weekend was the start of my "Herbst Ferien" (fall break). It is two weeks long but for me, quite boring. Anyway, last weekend my host family took me out to a fancy pizza resaurant in Berlin. It was very tasty but i got a Calzone that could have fed 5 people. So i wasn't quite able to finish which because of that i was made fun of by my family. Anyway after the restaurant we walked around Berlin. In October Berlin is recognized as the City of lights. This is because many of the buildings and castles are decorated by pretty lights. We went first to the Brandenburger Tor. It was very cool. There were thousands of people there and even a white stretched hummer pulled up with what i can assume to be German celebrities, and took pictures in front of it. It was constantly changing colors. So this wasn't the only color it had.
Phillip and I standing in front of one of the lights used to light up the Brandenburger Tor. We thought we were cool. In reality we saw a model having photos taken of her in front of the light, so we wanted to try it too.
This is Schloss Charlottenburg, It is the biggest palace in Berlin. It is really beautiful in day time and has a huge Garden behind it that is incredible. But it is also pretty at night, I guess.
From this shot it doesn't even look real. So after the night of lights which was last saturday I had a pingpong tournament with the neighbors, which was great. We played a game which they called chinese tabletennis. Which i think is called "around the world" in America. Pretty much you hit the ball and run around the table to hit another and multiple people can play. It was great... And i won. :D This Past weekend of vacation I have been bored out of my mind. Amusing myself by mostly exploring the many forests in Seeburg. And I have had someone to do it with me. Claire whom I have mentioned on the blog before is staying with me for the next few weeks because her host family was awful and she is switching families. She is an American exchange student like me and also with CBYX (Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange) which is the scholarship program we are on. But other then that my week has been awfully boring. I saw Pelham 123 with claire, Phillip and phillip's friend last wednesday. It was pretty good from what I could understand. And today I slept in late and then helped Claudia in the Garden for a couple hours and then Claudia, Claire and I went Christmas Shopping! Yes, I know. CHRISTMAS Shopping. We have a good reason. It takes a while to ship the Gifts. But we went to A shopping center in Berlin and it was huge and i think it had around 7 floors. So ya. Tomorrow we are going to a Fußball Spiel (soccer game) where the berlin team is playing another team. And then we are seeing an Orchestra. And on monday we might go to the Berlin Zoo which has the most species in all of Europe. So I will have a more exciting Blog post to update after those. German fun Fact time!!! Germans never put napkins on there laps. EVER! It is so weird and they always give me looks when I do. Also they always keep their hands above the table when eating. Germans rarely wear Helmets when riding bikes. Dogs are allowed everywhere. You can see them in the shopping centers, Grocery stores and in random Shops. Germans are very crafty. My Neighbor is building a Race Cart for racing down a hill. It is made out of wood and is very cool. Badminton is a serious and big sport here. OH YA!! I just remembered. I went to a nikey Store the other day when I was helping philipp buy a winter coat and it was huge! All over the walls it had facts of world records in sports. And Micheal Jordan was listed for some fact. And taking up the whole wall behind the cashier counter was a giant picture of Lebron James doing his chalk throw while runnig in the court. and it had the Just Do It nikey logo. I was so excited!!! Also Addidas is German, I had no idea. Anyway till next time!
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Late orientation photos

So a few weekends ago I had a late orientation with Afs and these are a few photos I took from it. above is the Fernsehetum up close. and you can kinda see alexanderplatz which is the area all around the tum.
My search and destroy team. we had to find certain locations all around alexander platz and answer questions. Lucas on the left from Brazil, Claire from the U.S. then Chiara from Italy and Teddy from France. The Balloons were free.
The whole Group from our Orientation. Yes look at me and my balloon in the front!

Some cool Cathedral. This was the point were Lucas and I ran off looking for the Brandenburger Tor and we lost the rest of our group.
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Monday, October 12, 2009

4 weeks in

ok im going to start off by apologizing to everyone because i have been completely out of communication as of late. also i think it has been two weeks since i last updated. I do have some valid excuses of course. I am so busy! If my school gave me hw here i am not quite sure i would have time to do it. First of all since i last wrote i talked about my first trip to berlin and mentioned how awesome it is? well i loved it so much that i have been back 6 times sense! See, this seems a little bit extreme but what can i say, im an addict and im addicted to berlin. well the real reason is that i have begun taking courses at night at a language school in berlin twice a week. the first couple of times my host dad Georg drove me the 30 minutes to the school but today i went by myself using public transportation with the UBahn which is like the subway. it was a real adventure and the half hour train ride wasnt too bad and i didnt get lost, i feel like a local! annnnnyway the school is working out fine but it cuts into my last bit of free time on the weekdays. I spent the weekend in berlin with afs the weekend of the 3rd and 4th. it was labeled "late orientation camp" it was a load of baloney(i hope that is spelled right). It was completely pointless other then the fact that we got to meet other exchange students and share are experiences so far and help each other out and stuff and it was a lot of fun during our free time and we had a trip to alexanders platz where the the fernsehetum, i think there is a picture of it below somewhere. so when i say pointless i mean not pointless at all its just that some of their activities belittled us into children. so there were brazilians, a frenchman, some chinese students, a swiss girl, another american named claire, and a japanese student, a thai student, a latvian student and a mexican. pretty interesting crowd. i was happy because i got to play a lot of table tennis and foosball. Then this past weekend my friend claire who was also at the orientation stayed over with my host family and me for the weekend. she had to take the sat in Berlin. but my host mom and i decided to make her weekend interesting so we went into berlin saturday and checked out the brandburger tor and went to this chocolate shop that apparently is quite famous but i forget its name. it had chocolate statues of the titanic and the brandenburger tor and fernsehetum and several others. it was quite cool. plus i got to buy a bunch of delicious chocolates. then on sunday we went to potsdam and checked out sansoucci again and showed claire my school and stuff. speaking of sunday, i had a soccer game and i am sorry to say we lost, and i either broke my finger or hyper extended it. so i am typing all this with my ring finger on my right hand all bandaged up and useless. school is impossible as ever and i took a day off last tuesday to recuperate a little. it is exhausting being immersed in a language that u do not speak fluently. I went to my first party on friday and it was an odd experience. apperently by the end of it 250 ppl had come and gone. it was huge and it was in this tiny house with speakers blasting u could here from a block away but the neighbors didnt seem to care too much. germans also only dance to this weird Electral techno, so i did my best with the stanky leg dance and the shopping cart and all the other awesome dances that i know. much sarcasm in Awesome. i made a complete idiot of myself because its all fun and everyone loved it. School is still in possible with math being the only language that i fully understand even tho its in german. but i only get it by figuring out how she got to the next step in the equation on my own so it is mostly self taught. well a guided self lesson. philipp and i get along so freaken well. i lucked out with my host family, i could not have asked for a better one. philipp and i throw the frisbee a lot together and screw around all the time. in fact last weekend we had a huge wrestling match on the kitchen floor and my host mom claudia took pictures and videotaped it! it was a riot. philipp left for the week to go to england with the school, by the way. uhhh german fun facts time!!! i am not sure if i mentioned this before but germany has a bazilian political parties including several communist and nazi partys. these parties take up a very small percent of the voting population but they do still exist. German Teenagers and kids adore "your mom" Jokes. my school doesnt ever have substitute teachers, they just have free periods if the teacher is out. uuuhhh t mobile is pretty much the biggest cellphone company here. (please bear with me if i repeat myself). everone wears scarves, and very colorfuls ones at that, guys included. and that is it for this week. till next week!