05 August 2008

Tina, Over and Out

Dear Everyone,

So! We've had a pretty good run, no? February to August...101 blog posts. As much fun as writing on this thing has been (and I hope you guys have had half as much fun reading as I have writing!), I figure it's about time to let it die. With me home now, I can tell you all my stupid stories in person instead of over the internet, and trust me, there's alot of them that never made it on here (so ask me about the incident with the milk sometime).

I think that studying abroad is definitely one of the best things you can do ever (but go for a year! One semester isn't enough.), and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Plus, Germany is just the best country in the whole wide world, hands down, no contest. I've learned so much...I have friends on every continent but Antarctica, I can navigate a foreign country, I can speak another language (this point is debateable.) But as sad as I am that the best (and shortest!) semester of my life is over (sorry Rutgers, I just don't see them getting better), I am definitely looking forward to reconnecting with friends, riding, and training. And I ask you to forgive me in advance when I shove my scrapbook in your face, and when everything that comes out of my mouth starts with "So this one time, in Germany..."

So that's about it. Definitely if you get the chance, hit up the land of wurst and dachsunds, I promise you'll love it. Expect me to be on a plane the second I graduate. And don't be surprise if I come obnoxiously knocking on your door because I'm currently bored out of my mind. Thanks to everyone for sticking with me and reading my randomness for the last five months!

Adios amigos, see you soon, and Liebe Grüße,
Tina

04 August 2008

Hey All

So after some minor drama with my plane ticket, I am officially back in America. We had to get up mad early (aka 5 am) this morning to take a 6 am train to Zurich, and Vegemite (because she's the best roommate in the whole wide world) got up super early as well to see us off, and I cried about it. If we're being honest, I've pretty much spent most of the day crying (7 hours out of an 8 1/2 hour flight...what was I doing the hour and a half I wasn't crying, you may ask? I was watching Kung Fu Panda). Fabio came with me to the airport and saw me off because he's awesome, and I'm pretty sure I'm all cried out at this point. Hopefully by tomorrow (or next weekend at least) I will have gotten over feeling sorry for myself. Does anyone want to do something?

Yesterday was a good last day. Fabio and walked around the town and then jumped off the bike bridge into the Rhine, and I required three minutes of intense persuasion while we were standing on the ledge. Meanwhile there were like 7 year olds jumping without hesitation right next to us. But we eventually did it and it was way fun. The Rhine was (for the first time!) actually really nice, and not mad cold as per usual. Then we got Doener-kebabs (oh how I will miss turkisch food!) Said goodbye to all my friends that haven't left yet, and Vegemite gave me a really sweet picture frame with a bunch of pictures of all of us from the Europameisterschaft. I made a giant (read: 3 Kilo) scrapbook that I will be carrying around and making you all look at.

Have we always had so many overweight people in America? And where have all the blondes gone?

Expect one more entry (maybe tomorrow or the day after). Adios, amigos.

02 August 2008

Crisis Resolved

Alright soooo...8 million busy signals, being put on hold, total panic, hysterics, and call transfers later, the situation is resolved. Fabio native german talked my way onto a rebooked direct flight from zürich to newark with continental. no lufthansa crap, no stupid germany strike, no moronic union workers to get beat. thanks fabio, for saving my life. i have somehow managed to get all my luggage under the weight limit (miraculous!), and am officially going back to america tomorrow.

i turned over my apartment to the hausmeister yesterday, after a top to bottom cleaning which Oven Racks almost sabotaged because she's crazy. It sucked leaving my apartment (and Vegemite, aka The Best Roommate Ever), but im currently living with Fabio until tomorrow morning at 5.30 AM, which is pretty sweet.

anyway, expect another entry or two when I get back to america. see you all tomorrow, at 1.40 PM america time!

LG,
me

Flight Canceled

Lufthansa is currently on strike, and they canceled my flight. I am absolutley furious, and am currently waiting until 10.30 when the office opens for calls so I can ream out some union workers. Will keep you updated on how the baby mama drama goes down. Caitlin, I will channel your angry phone spirit, I promise!

31 July 2008

Somebody stole my bike!

That officially blows hardcore. I was going to sell it Saturday to a bike store, and probably could have gotten twenty or thirty euros for it, and that would have been twenty or thirty euros I could really have used. This SUCKS.

I guess I was kind of expecting it though; bike thefts here are so so common; almost everyone I know with a bike has had it stolen at one point. I'm surprised I made it so long without losing my bike. It still sucks, but at least it happened when I didn't really need it anymore. But it does suck, alot.

Said goodbye to Marina this morning, which was awful. Really not looking forward to saying goodbye to Fabio and Vegemite.

Revenge of the 70's

Today I was at a goodbye party for a friend of mine, and on the way home we ran into a couple of drunk preteens smashing things. Two of them crossed the street and approached us (I thought to smash us too), but they just wanted to apologize for their friends and ask where the local dance club was. We gave them directions, but they were so busy stumbling around that we'd caught up with them 30 seconds later. Then they wanted to know the taxi number. We gave it to them. Then they wanted us to go to McDonalds with them. We abstained. Then they started singing. Just thought I would share.

On another note, I spent an hour trying to explain to a German kid I met today that you can say the word "tight" to mean cool ONLY if you have big poufy hair, aviators, and it's 1975 (a purple boa would go a long way as well). "Sweet" is the way of the future. Unfortunately, he was a bit slow, and rather attached to the word "tight". Sigh. Somewhere under the cover of darkness, the 70's slip down a dark alley, pounce on unsuspecting citizens, and eat them. And it's appetite is voracious.

30 July 2008

German is Bad for Your Spelling

Yesterday I used the word 'raspberry' in an email, and then sat and pondered the spelling of it for 15 minutes. I could not for the life of me remember if it had a 'p' in the middle of it (I'd written rasberry), and I retyped it like 5 different ways before I finally looked it up on dictionary.com. Yes, raspberry has a p in it. That's kind of obnoxious, because it doesn't sound like it does. Himbeere, however, is about 8 billion times easier to say and spell.

29 July 2008

Feeling Retro

New favorite song...vaguely retro and in no cases good, but the Germans absolutley love it:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=A_8dn_HykqI

Bought gifts in the city for people, locked myself out of my WG, procrastinated on laundry, cleaning and einpacken. Went to a house party and met a bunch of new Germans. Fabio started his new job today. All in all, a good Monday.

This time next week I'll be in Amerika, and I really can't picture it in my head :(

28 July 2008

The Plan

Hey allz,

Don't expect too much from the next few entries, I really haven't been up to much. The plan is to stay in Konstanz and not do anything except live up my last week.

So for those of you who live under a rock, I'm coming home in exactly a week from today. I know that a bunch of my friends are gone for awhile (Jen, Sam, Jean, anyone else?), so my question is, who's around when I get back? I feel like I should do things. Sitting around my house moping is not conducive to a happy soul or whatever.

Yesterday I got up at 9, cleaned, and then cooked a big American breakfast. Fabio, Canadian Friend, and another friend all came over and we managed to eat all five packages of bacon that I had cooked (but not in one sitting). Then we sat outside, played cards, and smoked hookah...for four hours. Then it was time to go to our farewell dinner at a local Hotel (thanks Rutgers), and then I came back and ate more food (Marina's mom cooked a giant meal! And, no offense Insel Hotel, it was way better than the 25 Euro guinea fowl I ate at your place.) Then I called friends from home. Then I went to sleep.

See? I'm doing absolutley nothing, and the plan probs won't be changing.

Alright, I've got at least an hour before I have to start doing anything productive, so I'm going to go watch The Illusionist. Fabio and I tried to watch it the other night, but I passed out 20 minutes into it. He says it was really good, so I try again, but this time during the day.

Is anyone like an English afficionado? Do you know why we can say both "Look! There's trees!" and "Look! There're trees!" and they both sound correct?

EDIT: The Illusionist was SO GOOD!

26 July 2008

Lazy No Good College Student Style

School's out and the weather's beautiful! And we are celebrating the summer in lazy no good college student style, which means whole lots of doing nothing, but at least doing it together.

Yesterday was a pretty sweet day. We remembered that when we registered with the city we got a book of coupons and gift certificates, which we've barely used. So we used one to get a free buffet lunch on the Rhine (which was yummy!), and then decided to go all out and see how many coupons we could use in one day. We went down to the supermarket and got a gift basket of free stuff, and then went to a really expensive hotel on the waterfront to drink our free glass of...orange juice.

Then Marina's family came! Her parents are awesome, and her little sister is back to visit again, which meant PARTY. We chilled out inside for a little bit, and then decided to take our party outside. Over the weekend, a playground magically appeared behind Europahaus, the dominant feature of which is a pirate ship. So we drank and hung out on the pirate ship, and it was quite a good time.

Today I headed down to the university beach with a friend, but somehow we wound up accidentally on the nude beach, freaked out, but finally found the normal beach. Woot. But even the normal beach had way too many people in speedos.

Then Fabio and I headed back to the pirate ship for a picnic, and I made friends with a 5 year old German kid who wanted to climb up onto the ship but wasn't tall enough. So I helped him out a little bit. But give little German kids an inch, and suddenly you find yourself their personal picker-upper, because Little German Kid wanted to get on and off the pirate ship like 8 times. But I didn't mind, he was adorable, and totally didn't care that I have an accent.

At around 10.30 Canadian Friend and I met up with Sungmi and a friend of her's at a local club which was throwing a big semester end party. Danced for a few hours, then on the way back, got caught illegally crossing the street by the Polizei. Thank goodness they were too busy following an ambulance to do anything more than yell at us with their cop-issued megaphones. There's also a whorehouse in Konstanz (for those who may be interested), it's called Little Paris, and the German girl I was with just filled me in on what actually goes down there today.

Sun will be coming up soon, and I am off to bed! Adios amigos!

23 July 2008

Vienna, oh my!

Howdy folks.

Sorry for not posting since forever (or just the 18th), but I was in VIENNA! (read: the only city I hate more than Montreal.) But when Rutgers pays, you order the most expensive thing on the menu, right? So I went.

The city is beautiful, but in like a pompous in-your-face sort of way that I really dislike. Plus there like, waaay too many tourists. Also, we were on a bus tour the whole weekend, which meant we were the only people under the age of 70, which meant all our time was very heavily structured, which I'm also not a fan of. But minus my sheer and utter hatred of our destination, the trip was actually pretty okay. Austria on the whole is absolutly stunning (even prettier than Germany, if I'm being honest). Also, some really neat/hilarious stuff went down, which I will now detail for you in the form of...short stories!

There Are No Women In Romania

Okay, so the hotel that Erin (the other girl from my school that also went) and I were staying in was really nice--right at the foot of the mountains with a pretty kickass view. Except also staying on our floor was a (male) football team. We originally thought they were Italian, but then we heard someone say something about "The Romanian soccer players" so...who knows. The point is, they were absolutley out of their minds, and everytime we passed them they would stop talking, turn, and just stare until we were out of sight. It got especially awkward when the coaches started following us around and flashing weird U+Me hand signs at us, which is when we usually saw fit to vanish ASAP. But one night we were coming through the lobby when the a bunch of footballers playing Dominos stopped us and said in broken English, "You want to play with us?" "What are you guys playing?" we asked. "You learn as we play." "Oh." Erin and I stood there very awkwardly, trying to think of something to say. Luckily Romanian Footballer broke the silence by throwing out a "Or if you do not want to play, you could give us massage." "What? What? What? Bye." And we vanished ASAP. On later discussion, we decided that the reason for their retarded-ness is because they don't have women-types in Romania. If they did, they'd be normal.

Holland Loves Us

On our first morning in the hotel, we made friends with a Dutch woman who heard us speaking English and got all excited about it, because she was an English teacher. Then she decided to just be in love with us, and every time she saw us would come running to ask us what we had done today, what we were doing tomorrow, and basically just have an hour-long conversation with us. On the morning we left she was all depressed and said, "When your bus pulls away, I'll wave a handkerchief at you!" Does Holland jest? Of course not. Take them Dutch at their word, she stood outside and waved us away until the bus was out of sight.

We Climb Castles

Possibly the COOLEST part of our trip was when, on our way home, we stopped at a little wine town so the seniors on our bus could pick some alcohol up. We, however, spotted THIS piece of kickass on the mountain:

and decided to explore. Yes that IS an old ruined castle sitting above the town, and yes it HAS been destroyed and abandoned since before the pilgrims settled at Plymouth Rock. If that's not totally awesome, nothing is. Here are some more pictures:

An old ruined gate:

Heehee:

Some more coolness:

The view from the very very top:


It's fair to say that Austria is absolutley breathtaking. Their major cities may blow more than French Canada's, but at least the view is nice.

The Bowling Club, or, How The Americans Learned To Be On Time

There were maybe 30 people in our group, but the ones we made friends with were the four married couples who made up the local bowling club. So minus how this in itself is kind of funny, they absolutley loved us and we really loved them. At one point they almost got on the wrong tour bus, and came up to me and said "Hey! We almost got on the wrong bus!" I didn't really know what to say, so I just said "Cool." "Cool?" "Yeah, really cool." "Hey everyone! The Americans think it's really cool that we almost got on the wrong bus!" And then they proceeded to have a good laugh at my way of saying 'really cool'. I said 'echt cool', but apparently you can't say that past the age of 15. But they had a blast with it, and the whole trip was one long : "Hey! Look at that Tree/River/Town/Mountain/Castle. What is it!" To which all the other bowling club members would burst out with "Echt cool! Echt cool!" And then everyone would laugh some more about it. So hanging with the bowling club was quite a good time.

Our first morning in Vienna the bus driver said specifically, "We're leaving at 9.15." Erin and I got to breakfast a little late, were eating and not really paying attention to the time, when our program director ran in all in a panic because she couldn't find us. "Hurry! Hurry! We're late!" So we ran like mad to the bus, climbed in all out of breath, and of course the bowling club started yelling "The Americans are late! Echt cool!" But just how late were we? I looked at my watch. Time was 9.16.

People don't believe me when I tell them Germany is punctual, but I swear to you, we held up the entire bus and pissed off the driver because we showed up at 9.16 instead of 9.15. At the next stop we made extra sure to be on time (Bus driver: Is everyone in the back there? Bowling club: Yes! And America's here too, don't worry!). But we're Americans, we slip up sometimes. We were four minutes late after hiking down from the castle, which meant the bus driver waving his arms like crazy, us running like crazy, and the bowling club erupting in shouts of "Rounds of schnaps for every minute the Americans are late!" I don't think they needed our schnaps, they managed quite well on their own. They were doing shots at one point...it was awesome.

Here's a picture of us and the bowling club:


So that's about all folks! Will report back soon! Adios!

18 July 2008

America Triumphs!

I had my visit in Tuebingen today! Had to get up at 6.00 AM in order to get there on time, but I did it. The teacher took me out to breakfast and showed me a bit of the city first, and then we went to class. I totally thought the 16 year old kids wouldn't be interested in the least, but surprisingly, they asked questions pretty much non-stop for the whole hour and a half that I was there. And they spoke really good English!

Some of the questions were surprisingly educated (How do you feel about Barack Obama coming to Berlin and speaking at the Brandenburger Tor, even though our chancellor doesn't want him to?). Most of them were pretty ordinary (What's your favorite German food? Is there anything that makes people from New Jersey different from the rest of the US? What's your favorite movie? Are there any differences between the east and west coast of America?) And a few of the questions were just plain weird (How do you feel coming from America, and knowing that all of your companies use childlabor?)

Uhhh...

Okay, funny incident. Story goes:

Girl (same girl who asked about the childlabor): So, do you guys have any bad words for foreigners?
Tina: Well, yes, but they're not very nice. I don't really think I should teach them to you.
Girl: Pleeeeease...pleeeeeease...pleeeeease can you teach us?
Other students: Yeah! Yeah! What are they, teach us!
Tina: Umm...
Teacher: Go on, teach them.
Tina: Well, there's like...fob.

So that's how a whole slew of teenage germans learned "fresh off the boat" today, courtesy of Tina. Please don't judge me.

The best part was the teacher came up to me later and apologized for Weird Questions Girl. She said "Try not to take her too seriously, she's really weird like that."

Then, at the end of class, the teacher gave me gift basket, with a bunch of different food products in it and a University of Tuebingen T-Shirt. It pretty much made my day when she said "Well, I didn't know what size you were...and you're American...so I got you an extra large." The shirt pretty much comes down to my knees, but it was SO AWESOME.

I survived German teenagers!

Adios amigos!

17 July 2008

why it's good to be a foreign student

Reason #587:

When you're a foreign student, you almost die preparing a kickass oral presentation for your sociology of scandals class, and you spend so much time almost dying, you forget to do the other work for the class that you need to complete before you can get a grade. So you go to the professor and ask about those two ten page essays you're supposed to turn in by the beginning of August, and he says "I'll tell you what. Your oral presentation was really good. You type up exactly what you said in class for me, make it like 3 pages, email it to me, I'll give you a grade, and we'll call you done for the year."

Being an exchange student is AWESOME!

words germans will never be able to say

Marina and I have started compiling a list. Here it is:

squirrel
quarrel
jewelery
Mediterranean
anesthesia
t.v (it's so cute, they say tee-wee)

Fabio and Vegemite have taken revenge by making their own list of words americans will never be able to say:

Eichhörnchen (squirrel)
rühren (to stir)
Möhrchen (carrot)
Röhrchen (I forget what this means)
Schornsteinfeger (chimney sweep)
Tschechische Republik (the Czech Republic)

My oral presentation went AWESOME! My Professor was thrilled out of his skull. Woot! Rent an American visit tomorrow in Tübingen, going to go talk to some 16 year old German kids about American. Knowing Me and German teenagers, I should come back dead. Vegemite's birthday today! SCHOOL IS OFFICIALLY OVER!!

WOOOOOOT!!

Adios!

15 July 2008

Quick Updates

Some quick updates about life:

1) Claire left yesterday morning :(. Dragon is lonely for his Pirate Duck.

2) After Claire left, I've basically been locked in my room during my stupid giant oral presentation. 15-20 minutes in German on a text that's so hard, it took reading it 4 times to understand it...and it's in English. The title is "Cultural Pragmatics: Social Performance Between Ritual and Strategy", and if that doesn't make you want to throw yourself off a roof, I don't know what does. At some point I have to bring Monica Lewinsky into the picture, but right now, I'm concentrating on not dying. I've got Fabio and Vegemite helping me (and they are AWESOME), but as Vegemite was reading it through with me, making sure I was making sense, she said, "Shit. This is hard." Which is probably the best way to put it.

3) Some cool things are coming up. Vegemite's birthday is Thursday, and we are partying like rockstars. Friday I (finally!) have my Rent An American school visit, which should be awesome, and I will probably get cool stories from it. Saturday I leave for Vienna, Rutgers is paying for it, and, truth be told, I don't actually want to go because a) I've already been there, b) I wasn't a huge fan of it the first time, c) when I come back, I'll only have 10 days left before I leave Germany and d) I would much rather spend those four days in Konstanz instead of Vienna. Bleh. But Rutgers pays. This is good.

4) That's about all that's new or interesting. Hopefully cool stories will come up. Trying not to be sad about leaving, but it's hard because friends are starting to go home. That's about it.

5) New favorite song! I found a new band: http://youtube.com/watch?v=0JKohRJfRrA

Adios amigos!

13 July 2008

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Meersburg yesterday, Austria today!

Austria is beautiful, and, according to our waiter over lunch they don't speak 'German', they speak 'Austrian', and have nothing to do with Germany. Cool. We hiked down a ginormous mountain, and for your viewing pleasure, made you some videos. Here they are:

Part 1: We decide to hike down a mountain. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
link: http://youtube.com/watch?v=8NQ-9acAuOg



Part 2: We realize just how enourmous the mountain really is.
link: http://youtube.com/watch?v=giEU9hAvAsQ



Part 3: We debate Heidi's inadequate footwear, and why are we still on the mountain?
link: http://youtube.com/watch?v=nBMQuyYKR8o



Part 4: I said two and a half hours, but really it was 3. Finally off the mountain, 3 hours later.
link: http://youtube.com/watch?v=W7dVbWn8wFI

In other news, Vegemite is absolutley ecstatic, because her boyfriend sent her a big box for her birthday, and she got (you guessed it)...Vegemite (among other things.) Have I mentioned that she is absolutley the coolest flatmate in the whole wide world?

11 July 2008

Tina gets abandoned in porn.

Tina and Claire here!

So the theme of Claire's visit is vaguely freaky sex stores. This wasn't the intended theme--the intended theme was "see Germany", but the new, unintentonal goal of the trip is to "see the freaky side of Germany." Stories follow.

First things first, yesterday out of sheer bordeom Claire and I decided to go into a sex shop and run around. We took pictures of Pirate Duck with various sex toy rubber ducks, with such cool names as "Bondage Duck," and "Rub My Duck." And I would just like to mention quickly that everything in that store looks really painful and capable of putting someone in the hospital, and I don't much plan on going in there again.

Then today, Claire and I decided to go swimming in the Rhine, where our virgin eyes were assaulted by old men in brightly colored speedos. But before this occured, Claire (who, sadly, was left alone for several hours today while I was in class), managed to find her way back to the sex store where she bought me a lovely gift of gummy genitalia (and the red ones are the best.) She has promised Marina that tomorrow she will go back and buy pasta genitalia. I think I'll let them have that special party alone.

Also today, Claire, Fabio and I decided to walk down to a pizza place and buy some pizza (duh). Right across the street was a video store with an adult section, which Fabio thought would be quite cool to drag us into. So, against my will, we went with him, where he promptly dropped us off in the triple X aisle and vanished to go look at horror movies or whatever. This meant me and Claire, totally alone, surrounded by walls of naked women on video covers with various painful looking devices, in various painful looking positions, with some donkeys or whatever, while the boy, who's idea it was in the first place, considered the merits of watching Hostel versus The Exorcist, not even thinking about the two sad girls he'd abandoned in the porn aisle. Thanks Fabio. Thanks.

That will be all.

10 July 2008

Claire Writes!

So for those of you who live under a rock, Claire's visitng for a week because she's AWESOME! She's also writing my blog entry for today. Here goes:


WARNING: pretty much i dont believe in grammer only the occational period and am possibly the worst speller you will ever meet and it just gets worse when im typeing so good luck

ok so pretty much tina has a cloud of paper cranes that she has hung from the ceiling and im kinda jealous because iw ant them so im thinking about stealing them before i leave and when she asks where they are im going to say that i dont know and act like im concerned

heres the rundown of everything that iv learned since iv been here:
1. it smells like cows not in a gross way but in a fresh amish way i kinda like it
2. there are many brightly colored buildings that are sorta flamigo pink next to these cute little ones that are more like the sound of music
3. the paddle boats are massive they look like real boats but there not there made of wood and it looks like some one actualy takes care of them
4. ATTENTION!! TINA HAS YET TO SAY SORRY FOR ANYTHING!!!!! AND THAT IS A BIG DEAL SO JEN MAKE SURE TO TELL YOUR AUNTS I THINK IT WILL MAKE THEM HAPPY
5. schmuck means jewelry (julery)
6. all germans are obsessed with country time lemon aid so much so that they will resort to being tinas friend
7. people take country time lemon aid over alcohol
8. rice cakes come in strange flavors like strawberry
9. i went to a class with pickels freehold and i found it facinating mostly because i could draw pictures through the whole thing and not feel like a may be missing something and it was a refreshing feeling and i got some serious art work done and a very impressive rap that i am more than willing to sing upon request
10. gremans seem to have difficulty deciding what color their hair should be so they just take all of them staring with blond in the frind and progressivly getting darker as they go back it even applys to side burns but the eye brows are generly darker than the rest of the hair by at least 3 shades
11. the feilds in switzerland are perfectly geometric all of the feilds are perfect rectangles and on the extremely rare occation that they do not all of the corners are at right angles i have yet to see a german feild so i have nothing to compare it with other than england and america in england all of the feilds are misshapen blobs and in amreica the are so haphazard that they end up running into the road so the swiss are the definate leaders here
12. the cherrios are not perfectly round some of them almost pring open and its not like they are even made my some generic brind thier made by kellogs it was baffeling


so that was claire!! woot! our plan for the week: visiting islands with castles, going to the largest waterfall in Europe, and doing a day-trip to Austria. HELLS YES.

adios amgios!
Tina and Claire

07 July 2008

Good/Bad weekend

So definitely some highs and lows to the weekend.

Fourth of July party was SWEET! SO many people came to our giant grill-fest which was awesome, and we taught all the non-americans about roasting marshamllows and making smores (which actually came out pretty well considering you can't get graham crackers in Germany. But butter cookies are actually not a bad replacement!). We decided to be as absolutley American about it as we could get, so we banned the speaking of German (at least amongst ourselves), and played country music (and I was the dj, woot!). But we lacked an American flag, so we put up a New Zealand one instead, just because the colors are the same.

I had a ton of fun, I made lots of new friends/saw a bunch I hadn't seen in awhile. Then we all decided to go swimming at midnight in the Rhine (which, see last post, is still really cold.) At midnight on a windy night, it's even colder, which means Vegemite, a Canadian friend and I only went in up to our knees, but Michigan Friend actually went swimming. Canadian friend tried to throw me in, but I kicked his ass a little bit. Then at 3 o clock in the morning, we all decided to go swimming again, and this time I went all the way in. Water was way cold but it was worth it. When I came back the party had mostly wound down, so a German friend broke out the guitar and we had a sing-fest. Then another Canadian friend did a pretty hilarious slam rendition of Puff the Magic Dragon, in which Puff kills all the other magical animals in order to protect his supply of weed. Random, but pretty awesome.

I went to bed at 4.30 in the morning, only to have to wake up at 8 Saturday to catch the train for a day-trip to Zurich. Forgot my passport (common theme? One day this will get me into trouble), but it was okay. Zurich is alot prettier than I would ever have guessed! Actually, it looked alot like Strassbourg, with the river running through the city and the frenchified architecture. Also, the Swiss stop for pedestrians, which almost (but not quite) made up for the ridiculous prices and the fact that they wouldn't take euros. Here are some cool pictures:

This poster is not funny.

Oh, Swiss German.

Canadian Friend on a bridge with a sweet view!

Life would be SO MUCH EASIER.


It was super hot, so I jumped in the river with all my clothes on.

Sunday was spent doing lots and lots of homework/being really upset because Michigan Friend to go back to the US that night. Me and a couple other friends decided to meet him at the train station to send him off, which wound up being really emotional and sucking in general. I miss him lots, and he's only been gone for a few hours. It sucked because we all realized that he was only the first friend to leave, and that in not too much time, we're going to have to say goodbye to lots and lots of other friends. Bleeeehhh, goodbyes suck.

At any rate, CLAIRE IS COMING TOMORROW! And I am so ridiculously excited! It's about time we get another American up in this joint.


04 July 2008

30 Things I Hate About You

I had a bit of a minor freak out today, because I realized I would be boarding a plane in exactly one month. Therefore, I've decided to write a list of everything I hate about Germany in the hopes that this would make me want to leave. Okay! Here goes:

1) I hate that the mosquitos here are mutant bloodsuckers that attack you during the day, bite you through your clothes, and go for your face.

2) I hate that none of the windows have screens, which means lots and lots of bugs.

3) I hate the labyrinth bureacracy.

4) I hate the lack of air-conditoning.

5) I hate how the peanut butter, syrup, and ketchup taste different.

6) I hate how much more expensive everything is.

7) I hate how there's only three busses that go to Uni.

8) I hate how if you cross the street before the green symbol, you get glares.

9) I hate the constant election coverage.

10) I hate how all the stores close at 4.

11) I hate how unhelpful sales people are.

12) I hate how closed the Germans as a general rule are.

13) I HATE PFAND! Where stores put charge like a 20 cent down payment on bottled drink that you only get back to return the bottle. But seriously, who goes out of their way to return a bottle for 20 cents? No one.

14) I hate how militant the pre-teens are.

15) I hate how gothic and wacked out the regular teens are.

16) I hate how hard it is to find still water.

17) I hate how none of my roommates clean...ever.

18) I hate that you have to smuggle fourth of July fireworks from the Czech Republic.

19) I hate how retarded Switzerland is, because they should just shut up and join the EU.

20) I hate how Germans can't small talk, and only discuss deep topics like politics or the apocalypse. And expect you to join in.

21) I hate how nobody says "How are you?"

22) I hate how everyone presumes to know more about America than I do.

23) I hate how in my Sociology of Scandals class, these kids discuss America like they live there. But they don't. Bite me, I do.

24) I hate how deoderant comes in really tiny bottles.

25) I hate nude beaches.

26) I hate how they don't sell twizzlers. Or goldfish crackers, or wheat thins, or swiss miss hot chocolate.

27) I hate how all the music on the radio is in German, and that all movies/tv shows are originally American but dubbed into German.

28) I hate how the Rhine is STILL COLD.

29) I hate Quark.

30) I hate how nobody tells you ANYTHING. They expect you to know, and if you don't know, they expect you to ask. But if you're American, and you're used to people just telling you things, this train of logic blows.

I can't think of anything else. I hate how 31) this was a totally unsuccessful idea.

FOURTH OF JULY!! And we are GRILLING! No fireworks (see #18), but lots and lots of grill food anyway. We're going to make smores too, but 32) I hate how they don't sell graham crackers here, meaning we're going to have to make do with butter cakes. Should be fun. Hopefully the weather is good, I really 33) hate how we got so much rain today, it kind of sucked a little bit. At any rate, this has been a very food-oriented week; we went out for German food Tuesday, Marina cooked Greek food today, and tomorrow (well, today technically), it's American grill-ness! Going to Zurich on Saturday, working all day Sunday and Monday, and CLAIRE COMES TUESDAY!! Wooooot!

01 July 2008

wake up and smell the roses

How is it July? How did this happen? Oh snaps, I am totally not ready or willing to come home in a month. How am I supposed to go back to serving pancakes without stabbing myself in the eye with a spatula? I forsee huge readjustment difficulties in America.

Today (well, since it's 1 AM, technically yesterday now) I was sitting on the bus, kind of not in a great mood because I was trying to read an article for class and the girl in front of me had her music cranked up obnoxiously loud. Like, so loud, she might as well have had a radio on her lap instead of headphones in her ears. At Konzilstrasse a lady in her early thirties carrying a rose got on the bus and sat down next to me. We sort of smiled hello at each other, and I went back to my (attempts at) reading. A few minutes later the lady laughed and said "I bet it's pretty much impossible with that music." "Yeah," I said, "it's tough."

And so we got to talking, and I gave up totally on my reading. She asked me what I was reading and what I studied, I noticed she had an accent and asked where she was from originally. Turns out she was Persian, from Iran, and had been living and working in Germany for the last year. I asked her how she liked the country, and she said "It's hard. The language is totally different, the culture is totally different, the people aren't anything alike. Right now I'm a cashier at the local tech store, I need to find better work, but it's hard sometimes, it's just hard. But you do what you need to." "Yeah," I said, "I guess you do." And she smiled and said "But you know, it's okay," and held up her rose.

"Is it real?" I asked. "Of course," she said, "smell it." So I did. "What do you think?" "It smells beautiful," I said, because it really did, and I'm guessing she'd just recently picked/bought it, because she'd been holding it like a prize possession the entire bus ride. But as the bus pulled up to her stop, she stood up and put the rose in my hands. "It's my gift to you," she said. "I can't take your rose!" I said, "It's yours." But she was insistent. "It's my gift and I want you to have it. Take it, and best of luck to you." I couldn't think of anything else to say but "Thanks," but she smiled at me before getting off the bus.

Okay, so forgive the sappiness or whatever, but I was kind of touched. I mean, thinking about it now, I figure no matter how much life sucks, if you can enjoy the roses, you're pretty much set. Plus, sometimes there's a nice stranger to remind you it's not so bad at all. I've got faith in humanity, and I'm pressing the rose so I don't forget it.

Adios!

29 June 2008

Flowery Gnomes

We went to Insel Mainau today! Insel Mainau is a really beautiful tropical-ish island on the Bodensee, and when we registered for the city we got coupons for it. And the weather was absolutley crazy beautiful, so we went!

Highlights of the day:

--We ran around on the kid's playground for awhile, and they even had these weird wooden raft gondola things that you could take around a big pool, so we did. It was a pretty sweet playground.


--The view from the island was crazy gorgeous. Plus they had giant flower sculptures, including a particularly awesome one of a gnome and a happy flower:


--We saw miniature ponies and baby goats:


--There was a butterfly house!


-- We also ran around like idiots in the sprinklers (because it was mad hot, and just really, really fun), and Marina took this video of us:



Then when we came back, it was the Germany/Spain Finale of the EM, and, of course, Spain won. There aren't that many Spaniards in Konstanz, but they are all going CRAZY. Meanwhile, everyone else has the my-family-died-in-a-flash-flood look on their face. Sorry Germany, better luck in four years.

Other than that, really nothing new cool or interesting has happened. On the bright side, CLAIRE is coming in a little over a week. WOOT!!

26 June 2008

Let's Have a Horn Party

WOOOOOOT!! DEUTSCHLAND HAT GEWONNEN! Germany versus Turkey, and there was some baby mama football drama going down. For one, both teams scored super early on, so it was 1-1 the majority of the game. Then, in the last like ten minutes, Germany scored and everyone figured we had it in the bag. But with like 7 minutes to go, Turkey evened it out, and then, with like 4 minutes til the end, Germany made it 3-2 and therefore put us in the finals.

So, needless to say, there was some rioting in the streets, so Marina, Michigan Friend, The Roommates and I all piled into Fabio's car (quote of the night: "Let's have a horn party.") and did lots of screaming and flag waving and horn honking. I got to stand out the sunroof for awhile waving a flag, which was pretty SUH-WEET!

Finale Sunday versus either Spain or Russia! Oh snaps.

YES MY BIKE HAD A BELL ON IT. NOW IT DOESN'T.

25 June 2008

I am a victim of thieves

So I realized today that someone stole the bell off my bicycle. I'm not particularly irritated, but I do find it vaguely amusing that they only took the bell. Like seriously, if you're gonna steal shit, at least take the basket, it's more useful. Or really, if we're thinking practically, just take the whole bike.

Dear Bell Thieves,
I'm glad you didn't take the whole bike or the basket, but the bell was screwed on. Seriously, if you're going to put that much effort into stealing something, and least still something worthwhile, but preferably not from me.
Love,
Tina

As a sidenote, mosquitos here are mutant poisonous beasts that make me swell up and itch like no mosquito has done before.

24 June 2008

Hairnets

Okay horse people, guess what? They don't wear hairnets in Germany. Yeah, I KNOW.

The reason that this gets it's own entry is because a few weeks ago I sat down after riding at the table where the rest of the team was, and took my helmet off. When it was revealed that I was wearing a hairnet, they all went nuts, and everyone simultaneously burst out with "So that's what you're doing with your hair!" "I couldn't figure it out!" "How do you do it?" And I had to demonstrate.

Then again today I was sitting with a girl, and started to put my helmet on, and she was absolutley fascinated by me putting on the hairnet Okay, and I've gotten quite good at doing this on the first try (RU horseshows! No more will you laugh), and it takes me all of about 50 seconds, but she just didn't understand. "Why do you do it?" she asked, "It just looks so overly complicated." And I, totally at a loss as to how to explain something as fundamental as hairnets, just said "I don't know, tradition I guess." And she said, "How silly. Usually we're the ones with stupid riding traditions."

Stupid riding traditions? But it's just, like, a hairnet!

What do they do instead? They don't do anything, they just let te ponytail hang out the back of the helmet. I'm all for embracing anything and everything European, but Not Wearing A Hairnet has officially joined Going Topless in Public on the list of things I absolutley will never ever not-even-if-you-paid-me do.

New favorite song: http://youtube.com/watch?v=zzqLtbdH1gs

23 June 2008

Minor Points of Horseshow Interest

Horse show was nothing particularly special. It was a big international show, as opposed to the last student crazyfest, but here are some minor points of interest for you:

I slept in an attic for two nights.

It was so so so hot, and there was no shade whatsoever in the ring where I did manual labor for three days. This means that all the Germans I was with currently look like tomatoes on fire (despite bathing in sunscreen), but thanks to my solid portuguese bloodlines, I forgot my suntan lotion and just got ridiculously tan, as in, tan enough to freak myself out when I looked in the mirror today.

In 2 and a half days I drank five liters of orange fanta and three litres of water by myself.

I made friends with a photographer who had been a flight attendant in the US. He kept calling me Jersey girl, and when I asked him if he knew what it meant, he got all freaked out because he thought he'd offended me. Personally, I embrace the fact that I can't parallel park, ever.

I made friends with the Irish, and it was more effort understanding their English than understanding other people's German.

What's a weekend without people thinking you're Spanish?

My Adopted Motherland (Spain) just beat Italy in the EM.

I've decided to stop lying to myself and just admit that German's aren't actually all that friendly. Well, they are, but it takes you like 80 billion years to get to know them, and then they're the nicest people in the world. They're kind of like coconuts...like they have really hard outer shells you have to pound at. But being a foreigner and a non-native German speaker, we don't get to start out by the coconut tree like normal people, we have to start like five miles up the beach. Hopefully that made sense. However, the really cool ones (i.e, all the ones I'm friends with) have all studied/backpacked abroad. I think this definitely improves their open-ness levels.

I overheard two girls talking about the so-called "ghetto" in Konstanz, and I got really interested because I've been looking for it since I got here. According to them, Wollmatingen is the ghetto, and they got "Ooh, don't go there," about it. However, I drove through Wollmatingen on the way back from the horseshow, and it is picture perfect houses with flowers on the windowsills and a few office buildings trading good clean money that has never seen the inside of a stripper's G-string. In my humble opinion, that is a CRAP ghetto.

That would be all.

19 June 2008

Às armas!

So the Motherland got their asses royally handed to them by Germany 3-2. Schweinsteiger (who my sister eloquently describes as a "freaking ninja, who comes out of nowhere like a pop up book from hell.") scored the first goal, and then Ballack scored some, because they both suck. Needless to say, I was one of the only people dressed up for Portugal, and I got lots of glares. One man cursed at me and told me to go home. I completely missed it, but Vegemite turned around and yelled at him for me.
I did, however, make friends. There was a group of Portuguese kids across the tent from me, and we waved flags at each other (because we were the only Portuguese fans there) whenever Ronaldo came on screen. I also made friends with a couple of sympathetic German old people, as well as with 80 million pre-pubescent French kids. It was actually quite cute, at half time my friend and I were walking to get ice cream, and the giant train of French ten-year-olds passed us going the other way. When they saw I was holding the Portuguese flag they went nuts, "Oui oui Portugal! Oui oui!" I (now) love the French.
The Motherland was a bit of a disappointment today. On the positive side, all my friends will still speak to me, and, because I rooted for Portugal, my parents will still my pay for college education. And I don't much care what anyone says, the Portuguese national anthem is WAY more kickass than the German one.

Contra os canhões marchar, marchar!

Horseshow all weekend, interesting stories should ensue. Adeus!

18 June 2008

WCFWRHU

Okay, funny story:

So Fabio and I were walking down by the Rhine, when all of a sudden this kid in a (tight) blue leotard riding a unicycle came unicycling towards us. I opened my mouth to make fun of Kid on Unicycle, when Fabio started waving. Confusion? Nope, apparently they're in the same class at Uni, so they chatted happily for a few minutes while I stared at the unicycle and contemplated being unable to afford a bike with two wheels and handelbars. After they parted ways, I was asking how they knew each other, Fabio told me, and then threw in for good measure "He's the world champion of unicycle riding, and the former world record holder." I had to stop my bike at this and get him to repeat it very slowly and carefully to make sure I'd heard correctly, which I had.

I've met alot of cool and famous people in my life (Hurricane Schwarz, Barry Croll, Bruce Springsteen's daughter, Laura Chapot, Mike Teel -who-I-didn't-actually-meet-but-Jean-
says-we-saw-him-at-a-halloween-party), but I can now say I've stood in the presence of the World Champion and Former World Record Holding Unicycler. What happened to The Longest Acronym's world record, you may ask? Apparently some Asian guy's got him recently beat. This is probably not information you mention in his presence.

I know you guys are jealous. Maybe if you all came to Germany, you could meet the World Champion and Former World Record Holding Unicycler too. That's motivation to visit if I've ever heard it.

16 June 2008

Tina in a Tight Spot

Germany beat Austria, 1 to 0. This means that Thursday night it's the Deutschland versus the Motherland.

Should I be for Portugal by association, or Germany by adoption? This is a tough decision, but I've got both flags.

GO WHOEVER WINS!

14 June 2008

3 Incidents in the Space of a Week

In my speaking class:

Teacher: Today, class, we'll be talking about what the university systems are like in everybody's home countries. Tina, start us off by telling us about universities in Spain.
Tina: I don't know.
Teacher: What do you mean you don't know?
Tina: I have no clue.
Teacher: But you're from Spain!
Tina: No I'm not.
Teacher: You're not?
Tina: I'm American.
Teacher: ...Oh.

Signing up for a new Tandem Partner:

Tina: Hi, I need a second tandem partner, if that's okay.
Lady: So you're signing up for a Spanish to German partner, right?
Tina: English to German.
Lady: But you speak Spanish.
Tina: No I don't.
Lady: You're not from Spain?
Tina: I'm American.
Lady: ...Oh.

Getting in the elevator with two random old German ladies:

Old Lady: Nice weather we're having.
Tina: Yeah, it's pretty nice today.
Old Lady: What part of Spain are you from?
Tina: I'm not from Spain.
Old Lady: You're not from Spain!?
Tina: I'm American.
Old Lady: Really? You look like a Spaniard!
Tina: Yeah, I get that all the time.


Huge party on our floor tonight, should be fun. Adios!
--The Resident Spanish Impersonator

13 June 2008

Croatia: 2, Germany: 1

And all across the country, Germans mourn and curse their eastern european neighbors.

Tina: You know, I think this whole Europameisterschaft really just spawns hate. Like until next year, you all will hate the Croatians--
Fabio: We already hate the Croatians! Because they're only like ten years old, they should still be part of Yugoslavia, and they can't play football.
Tina: And until next year, all the Poles hate you because you beat them on Sunday--
Fabio: The Poles have hated us since the WWII, because when we invaded, we had tanks and they had horses, so we shot their horses with our tanks **.
Tina: I see.

CRAP, can we talk about how seriously Germany takes football?

So minus that I had to sit for another ninety minutes and watch football, I now have to deal with grief-stricken German friends and roommates. Please please please Germany beat Austria, because I can't deal with how pathetically sad everyone is. From the look of people, you would guess their families had been washed away in a flash flood...but actually, the football team just lost.

Adios amigos.

** This is, naturally, the only reason Poland hates Germany.

12 June 2008

Some things new

Here are some things that are currently interesting in my life:

1) Extensive traveling for the last month and a half, plus me forgetting about the weakness of the american dollar bill, means that I'm currently broke. If I ever thought I might have been broke before, it was nothing compared to how broke I am now, as in, people as broke as I am are usually living on the streets picking food out of garbage cans, and that's not an exaggeration. No worries.

2) I rented a really sweet movie from the library, "Die Fetten Jahre sind Vorbei." I think the Englisch title is "The Edukators"? Has anybody seen it? Anyway, here's the trailer with subtitles: http://youtube.com/watch?v=MB1UMfC8koc Definitely watch it (the whole movie, not just the trailer) if you get the chance.

3) German plays Croatia tomorrow night, hooray.

4) Portugal is now in the quarter finals, because Ronaldo does not play football like a little girl.

5) My eye is still a little swollen and painful from my bike crash way back in March. Also, I still have the gravel imprint on my skin.

6) I've learned lots of new words this week, including "soul", "destroy", and "capitalist dictatorship."

That's about it. Adios!

11 June 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMY!

It's my sister's birthday today! Technially yesterday, but it's still June 10th where you all are, so it totally counts.

Dear Amy,

HAPPY 16th!! You can now officially drive and date, neither of which I will ever allow you to do. And officially (because it is your birthday), I thought I would give you a present:



Here, have Cristiano Ronaldo, he's all yours.

Germany wishes you the best 16th birthday ever, all my friends say happy birthday in their respective native languages, and thanks for walking all the way out into the field in your white flip flops so that I could talk to my horse on the phone--you're the best!

Liebe Grüße,
Tina

P.S. New Favorite Song of the Day (may or may not be a little obsessed with this band). But this video's sing-a-long style, have fun:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZI1SzBPVF4o

09 June 2008

French Hippies, Portuguese Flags and German Soccer

FRANKREICH!!

What else is cooler than picking up and going to France? 3 hours on a train takes you to the land of croissants and model-dating presidents, and it was awesome.

The weekend started ridiculously early Saturday morning, when, as is customary for every single time we travel, it was raining. We also missed our train at the Bahnhof, had to wait over an hour for the next one, and I put my bookbag down in vomit. But I did buy a really funny book called "Auslaendisch fuer Notfaelle" (Foreign Languages for Emergencies), which teaches Germans useful emergency phrases. Some example from the english-speaking countries:

AUSTRALIA
"What is the sun protection factor of kangaroo blood?"
"Quick, get the jaw-lock for alligators!"
"Watch out, your digeridoo playing is an assault on my peace of mind."

ENGLAND
"If necessary, could your porridge also be used as insecticide?"
"Are there any other ways of contracting foot-and-mouth disease apart from contact or smear infection?"
"Will the hooligans let go of me earlier if I inflict a heavily bleeding laceration on myself?"

USA
"Would you please exercise a bit more care when voting for the next president?"
"You have my word of honor that I do not have any Arabian relatives."
(Underneath a picture of a jar of honey, a knife, and a stick of dynamite) "How can I persuade this grizzly to leave my tent?"
(Under the sub-heading 'Shopping in the Bronx') "One mace, brass knuckles, and a taser please."

SCOTLAND
"Ah doot it'll tak mair nor three harpoons tae fell this sea beastie."
"Ah dinna think the bus driver should be jinin in the whisky saumplin."
"Wull ye gie me ma chynge at lang last?"
"Hoo mony fowk a year are killt bi hielan kye?"

The book also teaches you how to say "Gandolf is an asshole" and "Excuse me sir, but is this your ring?" in Elvish, and expressly teaches you not to say "Allah is great and Mohammed is his prophet," "I'm on the pill," and "I prefer pink condoms," in the Vatican.

Okay, so anyway, France. I, like the brilliant one I am, forgot my passport, which meant some anxiety crossing the border until we realized there was no security whatsoever. Sweet. We immediately hopped on the tram (and everything was in French!) and headed over to our couch surfing find.

For those of you who don't know what couch surfing is, it's the free alternative to hostels where you find people online to host you for the night. Safe? Who knows. But I officially take back anything bad I've ever said about French people, because the girl we stayed with was the epitome of Awesome. Her name was Florence, and she was a 22 year old hippie-artist-French chick who gave us lots of sweet advice on things to see, and then invited us to this market thing with her friends later in the day. And we were off! Running around, exploring churches, going on merry-go-rounds, and basically being tourists. I also bought a Portuguese flag, because with the huge soccer Europameisterschaft thing going on, I felt obliged to show a little love for the motherland.

And then we met Florence at the market! Her English isn't all that good, so we didn't really understand what was going on, but it turns out the "market" was actually a group of hippie friends who lay alot of old stuff on blankets and if you want it, it's yours free. This means that we all took free souveniers (I got a weird owl statue thing), and got to talk to French hippies for a few hours. And they were very cool! One lady asked me where I was from, and when I told her the US, she immediately launched into a rant "Oh, you need a new president, I will not go to America until you change presidents because I am afraid," and didn't stop for like a half an hour. I learned all about why she thinks the US is messed up (but she made very sure to tell me that she knew we weren't all bad, just our government), and at the end of the conversation the group of us that had been talking exchanged emails, and we promised the next time we came back to Strassburg, we would get in touch. It was pretty sweet:

Then, as a thank you to Florence for hosting us, we took her out to dinner, and later went to a hip/hop electro concert. Then we had to walk an hour home at 2 AM which wasn't all that much fun, but I did get some sweet night pictures of the church:


The next morning we said goodbye to Florence and went on a boat tour. Then we missed our train again, waited an hour and a half for the next one, and finally got back to Konstanz. The last hour or so we went a little stir crazy, and amused ourselves by taking pictures with the Portuguese flag, i.e, looking like badasses:

Naturally when I got back I was so exhausted I thought I was going to die, but is this the end of the weekend? Of course not, because Germany was playing Poland in the Europameisterschaft, which translates to Vegemite dragging her TV into the kitchen and Tina being forced into watch soccer and drink alcohol for ninety minutes with a bunch of Germans. Germany won (woot!) 2-0, and even Portugal won yesterday against Turkey, even though, according to Fabio, "Cristiano Ronaldo plays soccer like a little girl."

So that was basically my weekend. I realized today that I've traveled somewhere new every weekend for the last month and a half, which means I'm definitely looking forward to a relaxing weekend staying home. But that won't be next weekend, because my choices are a) fly to spain for five days, or b) drive to the heart of Swaebisch country to stay with my roommate for two days at her house. I'll probably wind up choosing the latter. I know it's awful, but I love being in Germany so much, my wanderlust to explore other countries has been effectively destroyed. No worries.

Anyway, that's the story of my weekend. Go check out more pictures (soon) on facebook, and for anybody who'se been following my new favorite songs, here's the next one for you:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=TvTQ8KELUC0

EDIT: I forgot to mention! I finally (finally!) found a beer that I like. It's called a Radler, but unfortunately my beer victory was somewhat stolen when it was pointed out to me that the "beer" is actually only half beer; the other half is lemonade, and therefore, it's "little girl's beer." I personally am unbothered by this classification. My logic is, if I can buy it off the beer menu and buy it in the beer aisle, it's beer. I don't care what German men trying to be macho say about it.

EDIT EDIT: Sorry this post is so long.


06 June 2008

Happy D-Day!

Tina: Happy D-Day!
Fabio: What's D-Day?
Tina: It's the anniversary of my country storming the beaches of Normandy and beginning the kicking of your country's ass.
Fabio: So do you guys celebrate and drink lots of beer?
Tina: I think actually we recite speeches, memorialize the fallen, and watch footage of veteran's reunions on TV.
Fabio: Crappy holiday.
Tina: Yeah.

So for the anniversary of D-Day, I thought it might be high time for some reflection on being an american in germany. Really, I've been here for three months already, and I think I've learned more about my own country than I have about this one, and my attitudes towards the US have changed accordingly. Definitely when I first got here, I would say I was rather unenthusastic about being from the US (i.e, when people asked me where I was from, I tended to mumble something unintelligible and then got off the bus as fast as possible), then I was somewhat in denial (and told people I was Canadian), and lately, because I tend to get grilled on the elections every other day, I've noticed myself getting a little defensive, as in:
German: So, where are you from?
Tina: Bite me.

That aside, I think it's Story of the Day time.

So today for my speaking class, the theme was Traveling in Germany, and my teacher decided to be extra-clever by setting us loose for fifteen minutes on the Uni, armed only with a set of questions with which to assault some poor unassuming German student. That was the assignment: Operation Find a German and Ask What's Cool to See in Germany. So me and an american friend took our notebooks and carefully scouted out the lobby for a victim, eventually settling on a dorky looking kid eating a sandwhich alone in a corner. And like the beasts that we are, we cornered the kid and got him to talk to us. Except trust us to find the ONE Swiss kid that goes to this school. He turned out to be quite nice, and after we had interrogated him enough, he asked where we were from. I said I lived two hours from NYC, and he said "Really? How was 9/11?" ...um? I told him I wasn't directly affected, but I knew several people who were, to which he responded, "We had a school shooting in Switzerland once, I hear those are quite popular in America."

Listen Swiss Kid, all I wanted to do was ask you about sight seeing in your native land, and somehow you have managed to apocalyptically throw in 9/11 AND school shootings three minutes into the conversation. I would say "typical German" to this, because truly it is, except he wasn't German.

How do you answer a question about the popularity of school shootings? I should be racking up points or something for the stupid things I have to deal with.

Anyway, adios amigos. Tina over and out.

03 June 2008

Roommate Update

So my internet has decided not to function the last few days, which means I'm currently using the school computers, with their misplaced y's and z's. Forgive the future spelling errors.

I realiyed I haven#t much spoken about my roommates in awhile, so I figured I#d update you all on their various activities.

Vegemite is currentlz in the process of coming up with reasons for me to stay, and excuses for me to tell my mother so that she'll allow it. These range from the quite possible ("Just don't come home.") to the doubtful ("Tell her you're in the hospital, and the doctors say you need to staz an extra semester to survive.") to the improbable ("Tell her if she doesn't let you stay, you'll throw her body in the woods when she dies.") Have I mentioned Vegemite is a little out of her mind? But in the best way possible.

Mr. Personality is really anti-american, but not in the burning-Bush-in-effigy sort of sense. He just really dislikes what he sees as american culture infiltrating his solid german culture. He hates English words in German, American products, etc etc, and is all about the nationalism. Which is why yesterday was hilarious: my door had been open the whole time, but he managed to sneak by me and down the stairs, and I caught him by the oven very quietly cooking.

Me: Hey! Whatcha making?
MP: ...Nothing *shoves box behind the counter.*
Me: It looks like pizza.
MP: Oh? Yeah. Maybe.
Me: What sort of pizza are you making?
MP: Oh just...regular pizza.
Me: Can I see the box?
MP: No.
*minor box tussle ensues. Tina emerges victorious*
Me: Hey Mr. Personality...does this say "American-Style Pizza?"
MP: Um...
Me: And it's in English! Are you making american pizza?
MP: No.
Me: You so are!
MP: No.
Me: You are!
MP: ...I LIKE THE CRUST BETTER, OKAY? It's got a thicker crust. I just like the crust. It's good crust.
Me: ^_^ Enjoy your crust!

Kitchen Klepto has been quite quiet lately, and so far no more kitchen appliances have done a disappearing act on account of her generosity. I don't really see her much, but lately she's had every Chinese girl in Europahaus over for parties, and I always here them yelling at each other. My new hobby is to read the English translations on her Chinese products, they always make my day.

01 June 2008

Weekend-ness

Hi Everyone!

Seriously, June already? Holy crap, time flies like no other out here.

So, the weekend. Friday night Vegemite and I decided to have a party for no reason, which was really sweet. It pretty much consisted of us buying a ton of alcohol and chips, and inviting about 80 billion people, and wound up being really really fun, even though it was so packed in our apartment you couldn't really move.

Saturday a bunch of us went to Tuebingen, which was sweet. I, unfortunately, was running on about an hour and a half of sleep, but no worries. The town is really nice, smaller than Konstanz, but quite pretty. We rented rowboats which was cool, and my boat made friends with a German family in a paddleboat because they had a dog. Then we explored the castle, watched a bit of some strange dance festival, ran up and down a little island on the river, and climbed under a bridge. Overall, pretty sweet.

I also almost got grabbed by a really crazy man who was cracked out on something special, which was a little freaky. We also almost got attacked by a swan during our row-boating, but New Michigan Friend's quick paddling saved us from certain feathery death.

On the way back we were stopped in Singen waiting for the return train to Konstanz, when this random German guy heard us speaking English and came over. "Are you guys American?" he asked. Two of us were, so we all started talking, and turned out he'd worked in Ireland for a few months, and was on his way to Konstanz to visit a friend. After we all got to Konstanz we decided to eat dinner at my place, and we felt kind of awkward leaving New Dude behind, so he came along. Half an hour later we were all eating noodles and hanging out, and it was quite fun. Everybody else left, but me, Michigan, and New Dude decided to head over to the Biergarten to celebrate an (american) friend's 21st. Only stayed for about a half-hour (because me and Michigan were beyond exhaustion and into the realms of feeling-like-death). Michigan went home in a cab, but me and German Dude walked back to my apartment, because he'd left his book-bag there. And then he started really obviously fishing for an invitation to stay the night, but I, in a demonstration of how much I've learned since getting here, pretty much put a "hells-no" on that one, and then locked the door behind him.

Today me, Fabio and Michigan went to a giant flea-market they were having in town. Watching a movie tonight, and that's about it. Weekend was lots of fun, go check out more Tuebingen pictures on facebook, and adios!

New favorite song: http://youtube.com/watch?v=OCDl1jBAup0

29 May 2008

Tina vs. Pre-Pubescent German Boys Round 5

I honest to God think foreign girls give off some sort of scent that only German boys under the age of thirteen can smell, I don't know how they do it, but they do it every time. We were coming back from our a meeting with our program director (and, ironically, having a conversation about how pre-pubescent German boys are imps of Satan), when two PPGBs (about 8 years old) picked us up on their Foreign Girl Radar or whatever it is they've got, and started walking behind us. Except then they must have given each other the signal or what not because next thing we knew, they were marching in sync on our heels and screaming. I turned around to ask what they were doing, but they just kept screaming and marching, marching and screaming, and because we didn't know what else to do plus were a little freaked out, we started marching with them. This is how two 8 year old Germans paraded three Americans (aged 20-26) for a solid ten minutes down a public street. The worst part was, their grandmother was standing right there and totally didn't do a thing about it. Take a close look, pre-prubescent German boys, this is your kind totally pwning our kind.

PPGBs: 4
Tina: 1

Later a New Zealand friend had a birthday party, so we all grilled on the back lawn and I made lots of new friends. I talked to one Turkish/German girl who says that as long as the Bush administration is in power, she won't visit the US because she's afraid US citizens will throw her in Abu Ghraib, put a bag over her head, and torture her because she's Muslim. I had to very patiently and carefully explain that not all Americans are psychotic, but she didn't believe me. She did, however, think I was Spanish, which officially puts the count up to like 15.

Quote of the night:
So me and one of the other girls from Rutgers were talking to this Polish kid. "Where are you from?" he said to me. "I'm from the US, I go to the same school as her," I replied, pointing to the other girl from Rutgers. "Ahhh..." Polish kid said wisely, "you two must be very much in love."

What do you say to a Polish kid who assumes romantic relations between you and another girl just because you both give all your money to the same university? Where is the logic in this train of thought? Is this how it works in Poland?

27 May 2008

Where have I gone?

I want to post (again) today, just to share these words of wisdom with you:

Some days, I wake up in the morning, and I get Germany. On those days it doesn't feel like a foreign country anymore, I understand the pace of life here, I know the way things work, I can buy my sister a birthday present and ship it, I can get on the bus, talk to my friends, and just understand, no problems, no worries, just understand. Then I get to the Uni, where some student organization has advertised itself by making me step over cut-out silhouettes taped to the ground of dead people with still-bleeding bullet holes in their heads, chests, and abdomens, and 98% of me isn't bothered in the slightest. The other 2% of me mourns my lost humanity and cries out for vengeance.

Magic Cake Trick

Okay, sorry for the two-posts-one-day thing (even though technically since it's 2 AM, it's actually tomorrow) but I have a Story of the Day for you guys.

Yesterday was Fabio's birthday, and I had promised to bake him a chocolate cake, because I'm a good friend like that. I was really excited about this cake, because I found a really sweet looking mix in Kaufland and all I had to do was add water. So today I broke out the box, the whipped cream for the icing, and extra chocolate pieces for the top (like I said, a really sweet cake), and started baking.

The cake part turned out pretty good, minus a giant gaping hole in the center that I figured I could just cover with the icing. I put it in the refridgerator while I went riding, came back, and made the icing. I have no idea how it happened, but instead of turning into the light fluffy chocolate-y icing on the box, somehow the icing I made looked disturbingly like mud (and tasted like it too).

I did pretty much everything I could think of to fix the icing, but it just got worse and worse looking, and I got more and more distressed about it. Fabio walked in to find me ready to sit down in the corner and cry about the stupid icing and my inability to bake a cake out of a box, because I was just so pissed off, and I got laughed at a little bit. But he said "Let me see the cake." So I showed him the cake part with the giant gaping hole and said "I was going to cover it with the icing, but since I can't, it just looks like complete crap." "You know what it looks like to me?" he said. "What?" "A palm tree."

"It looks like a ruined cake," I said. But he shook his head, took a giant knife, and five minutes later had turned the Retarded Gaping Hole Cake into a palm tree.

I'm not lying:

He seriously fo realz carved a palm tree into the cake.

So Germans are officially good at the following things:
1) Consuming inhuman quantities of beer and remaining standing.
2) Sniffing out older foreign girls and descending upon them.
3) Carving pastry goods into forms of plant life.

One day, when we Americans have trained ourselves in these tasks, maybe then we'll be almost as cool as the Germans.

EDIT: I FIXED THE VIDEO. Go watch it.

EDIT EDIT: I just thought I should let you all know that the poisonous spider got blown off my window in the last storm and has not yet managed to scale the building to come back. Alas, no more poisonous spider.

26 May 2008

I made you a video! And now I fixed it so you can watch it!

http://youtube.com/watch?v=pPAaFkbYA-8

try clicking this link if the video doesn't work, maybe it'll be better.

Anyway, a poorly edited amateur film consisting of interviews with friends/flatmates is in the works.

24 May 2008

Ulm!

In Ulm, um Ulm oder in Ulm herum. Say this three times fast.

So originally we were supposed to go to Heidelberg, but for the third (count it: third) time, my friends were lame and backed out, which means we patched together a somewhat-spontaneous substitute trip to the birthplace of Albert Einstein.

So minus the pure awesomeness of trying to understand Schwaebisch, the town was actually pretty cool. First we climbed the largest church steeple in the world (which took a really long time but the view was totally worth it). The stairs up to the top were super narrow, so when we were going down and other people were going up, it made for some interesting wall-hugging. And, like the graceful swan I am, I managed to fall down the stairs, and was saved only by a giant bald german man who grabbed me and yelled at me to proceed cautiously.

Then we hit up a few museums, went on a boat cruise on the Donau, and then just wandered around aimlessly. Turns out there was also an exkursion nach Ulm for the other foreign students, and we ran into them in the city. One of the new girls, who just got here like two weeks ago, was trying to speak English to this sixteen year old kid handing out church pamphlets on the corner, but his English wasn't so hot, so I stepped up as amateur translator, and wound up totally making friends with the kid. Even though he was trying to get me to go to church, he was absolutley adorable about it.

What's that you say? A teenage German boy who's nice? Don't get too excited, he was Turkish. Hence the not-retardeness.

Then Sungmi and Canadian friend decided to go search for this weird Einstein fountain in the middle of nowhere. At this point I really wasn't feeling so good; if Satan had showed up at that moment with a chair, food, and ten minutes to sit down and eat it, I would signed my soul over in a heartbeat and thrown in a classroom of German children for good measure. Finally found the fountain, except it turned out to be broken, really creepy, and totally not worth it.



I took some sweet pictures of Emo Germans Rebelling Or What Not by the Donau, here they are. I really like how everyone's in black with the exception of the girl all the way in the back with the ball gown. I only took pictures because I saw a bunch of kids with cat ears, thought they were Japanese, and then laughed really hard when they wound up being Germans:



Anyway, that would be all. Adios! Hope you guys had good weekends!

Happy Birthday Chris!

22 May 2008

Nothing Cool

So truly nothing cool or interesting has happened in the last few days. Me and one of the other girls from Rutgers were looking into staying an extra semester (but due to the time differences between Rutgers and Konstanz semester starts, this would actually have meant an extra two semesters, which means if all had gone according to plan, I wouldn't have come home til next August). Unfortunately, my mom put a stop to that one quicker than you can say "Please don't sell my horse," which means that yes, you will see me again at the end of the summer.

Went swimming today. Had a minor run in with a bunch of pre-pubescent Germant boys hiding around the bend in the water slide who thought it would be funny to screw with the water so that they made a huge sheet of splash-ness that you had to pass through. And it actually was funny, but I'm just using this as evidence to further my theory that Satan drafts his imps from German grade schools. I also got a rubber duck chucked at my head. That's pretty much it.

Going to Ulm on Saturday, looking forward to testing my new camera.

There was a coconut sitting on my kitchen counter this morning.

I'm exhausted. Adios!

18 May 2008

Voegeln

I don't know if this is normal when learning languages, but I mix up words alot. Maybe it's because words in German (seem) so similar to each other, I tend to screw up all the time, like when I mixed up Gesicht (face) with Geschichte (history), or when I confused Ziege (goat), with Zicke (bitch). Or, like today, when I meant to ask Marina "Moechtest du mehr Voegel?" (do you want more birds?) and said instead "Moechtest du mehr Voegeln?"

The addition of an extra 'n' produced a very awkward feeling me standing in the middle of the room going "What? What? What did I say?" as all the Germans I was with fell down and laughed themselves into a coma. Nobody considered it important to clarify for me what exactly I'd said. They just laughed until they turned blue in the face, until Vegemite said to Marina "I don't know, do you want more sex?" And then I turned super red, hid behind a pillow, and everybody laughed at me some more.

Note to German language learners: Vogel is bird. Voegel is birds. Voegeln is slang for sex. Learn from my mistakes.

Program yesterday was SWEET! I am so excited! We spent six hours learning about the cultural differences between US and German styles of communication, and how to effectively utilize them when trying to explain to ten year old German students who we're voting for. I can't wait to start!

Apparently Fabio has started saying "sweet", even sometimes when he speaks German, or so reports his roommate. The riding team as well as started saying it, as have a bunch of other students here that I hang out with. I give myself complete credit for bringing the word "sweet" to Germany.

Today I was bored, so I took my bike over the Swiss border, saw a cool-looking castle on a hill in the distance, and thought maybe I'd try to find it. Two hours, eight hills, and sneaking under 2 electric fences later, I found the castle, only to discover it wasn't a castle at all, but someone's house. Stupid Swiss people and their stupid castle houses. I must have biked at least 15 kilometers today, but I did make friends with a random group of swiss guys I met while creeping across a field I'd gotten into by going under the electric fence. They'd apparently had the same idea. Except it turns out they weren't swiss at all, but spanish. And I got hit on. Which just goes to show you, it doesn't matter where I go--I can be in Perkins, or I can be 3000 miles away, at the top of the hill underneath the castle-house in the middle of a field and surrounded by cow patties, and I will still get hit on by spanish guys. It's always the same.




P.S. New favorite song, hope you guys like rock: http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=pAC9y6kZucw

17 May 2008

Other News

So I've had like 8 gazillion billion million requests for pictures of my ears? Whatever, knock yourselves out:



In other news, I just debated US foreign policy with an Iraqi. This is an eye-opening experience that I would highly recommend.

In other other news, I signed up for this "Rent An American" program, where we go around to local schools in the area and talk to the kids about America-stuff and what not. First training day is tomorrow! This entire endeavor was a bit spontaneous, seeing as I heard about it yesterday, signed up today, and am off to Stuttgart (again) tomorrow.

Anyway, I feel like this is most definitely something I'll get good stories out of.

In other other other news, I still haven't bought a plane ticket home, and I really don't want to, because that would require admitting that I'm leaving in 2 and a half months and making plans thereto. In order to ease the pain of facing the fact that I have to go home, I've been searching for reasons to come back for an extended period of time. So far I've found anthropology masters programs in two Unis in this state, and a bunch of German families that need an American au pair, for like a year. Seeing as this is the best country in the entire world, my new life goal is called finish college, work as an au pair (or something) in Germany, and then just never leave.

In other other other other news, it's 3 AM, I have to be up in like five hours, and I am over and out. Peace homies.