I really should quit going to my classes. I either can’t find them, or they’re cancelled. So far this week I’ve successfully been to 1 out of 4 classes. So I’m off to see if my afternoon class is actually going to meet.
These last couple entries have been more along the lines of random things of minimal interest rather than anything real, but you’re going to have to deal with that.
– The cleaning woman finally showed up on Friday and cleaned our hallway, bathrooms and kitchen. It was about time; things were getting kind of nasty. And yes, she cleaned up the stairwell as well, thank god.
– There is a pattern that I’ve noticed over the last two semesters. In every course in the university here, and I’m thinking particularly of seminars but I think it applies to all, there is at least one “older” (meaning 50+) person who is required to be disruptive in class. It seems that most of these people are retired, thus significantly older than the 50 year requirement, and have a problem keeping their mouths shut. They’ll always ask questions of the professor that are off topic, or provocative, and get the discussion or lecture way off course. Occasionally the can manage to refrain from this behavior for the duration of a class, only to make up for it the next week by being especially disruptive.
– You may recall that I took a course last semester on the Vietnam War with a woman by the name of Petra Feld. She was irresponsible and humorous at times, and those of us who took that class still maintain that she is an alcoholic. After much debate I have decided to take, or at least attend until I decide it’s no longer necessary, her class on the Civil War that’s being offered this semester. I didn’t attend the first meeting of the class because I hadn’t decided to take it yet, but that class lasted less than 10 minutes because there were far too many people to fit in the assigned room and no way to get anything productive done. No attendence was taken the first week, so it will be no problem for me to jump in this week. She told the class that a reader (why did it take her so long to catch on to such a useful concept?) would be available at a particular copy shop but when we went by right before class on Friday the people working there had never heard of her or her reader. We ate lunch at the mensa and then went off to find the new meeting room for the class. The room was completely empty when we got there and there was a sign on the door saying that due to sickness class was cancelled for the week. The exact same thing happened last semester, with the exception of anyone taking the time to put a sign on the door informing the class of the cancellation. I’ve decided that taking the class won’t be such a bad thing. It’s relatively easy and if she continues this trend of not showing up I will have no complaints.
Now, the best and only legitimate part of the entry: We have an apartment for next year! Kate went yesterday to look at a couple apartments we had talked about and somehow ended up deciding on, and signing a lease for a completely different one. But I’m really excited. It looks like it’s going to be super nice, it’s well located, has a pool (or several), we even have a balcony. I’m really looking forward to living with Kate; I can’t imagine going back to Lovett, having to share a room again, having to put up with the insanity of living on campus. She moves in in a few days, but Dave Blackstock will live there over the summer until I get back and we’ll switch in August. So that works out perfectly. Exciting!!!
This ended up being a pretty busy week. Not for any particular reason, but it seemed that for several days I was only in my room long enough each day to sleep. As a result there are quite a few things that I’ve put off that now really need to be done, but procrastination is a way of life. 😉 I’ve finally been to all of my classes for the semester at least once. The new ones this week had kind of mixed results; some will be interesting, some I’ll just put up with for the necessary amount of time. And there are two that I will not be returning to for whatever reason.
Friday afternoon I took a really long walk through parts of the city that I haven’t really explored until now. I have some nice pictures that I’ll put up here of various parks and random stuff. There are certain things about Frankfurt that I appreciate more all the time and walking around like this reminds me why I like the city.
Last night was Nacht der Museums in Frankfurt. One night a year all of the museums, and a variety of galleries, historical building, the zoo and the Palmengarten are open. With a very inexpensive ticket you have access of all 50 venues from 7 pm to 2 am, and I believe the Palm Garden is open with music until 7 am. All over the place there are stands and restaurants open selling food and drink and there are crowds of people everywhere. It’s a really awesome concept as far as I’m concerned. So we planned to go to that last night and headed downtown. We met up with some people who had just visited the modern art museum and they decided they wanted Burger King before continuing to another museum. I think that’s only the second time I’ve eaten at BK since I’ve been here, and I’ve never been able to bring myself to go to Mc Donalds though I’m told I should. But anyhow, the only things I’d consumed up to that point in the day were alcoholic or chocolate so eating was quite good. Then we went to another art museum but while waiting for people to finish cigarettes four of us decided that we weren’t up for the entire night of museuming and headed off to Sachsenhausen to O’Dwyers pub. So, in the end I didn’t do the museum thing at all. Kind of a shame, but we decided that it would be better to go some day when they weren’t going to be so overly crowded. It was a fun night anyhow.
Today will be a relaxed day of movies and baseball games. Pictures coming soon.
This last week was the first week of the semester, and it got off to a slow start. I need to take lots and lots of classes this semester to make up for not getting enough credit last semester, and hopefully to speed up the German-learning process. Actually, about my German, it’s kind of funny. I find it easier to speak and carry on conversations in German after being away and hardly speaking any for a month. But it still has a long way to go.
As usual, the university has me confused and puzzled over many things. But I’ve learned to not get worked up over these things and just let them sort themselves out. Only three of the classes on my list of classes to check out started the first week; the rest meet for the first time this coming week. And the three I went to got progressively better as the week went on, so things are looking pretty good so far. One was an American studies seminar about the history of the (American) south. I expected it to be in English, which for the most part it wasn’t, but in English or German I couldn’t understand a single word the professor said because he mumbled everything. I don’t know how anyone in the room understood him, but I guess they had a slight advantage in that their German was all far better than mine. I stand by my claim that it had nothing to do with the language though. So, that’s all very sad because from what I could actually understand it sounded like it would be extremely interesting and something I would enjoy. I doubt I’ll be going back next week. I also attended a class on syntax. I have absolutely no background in linguistics, but based on this class it seems like something I could be interested in. And lastly (is that a word?) I went to a class on the concept of “self” in American literature from Emerson to the present. Liz summed it up quite well at the end of class when she said “I’m in love with this prof. I’m going to marry him.” I wouldn’t go quite that far…but he’s a very young guy with a great sense of humor and really good taste in literature. So it promises to be an enjoyable class. If next week’s classes are half as interesting as this week’s were then this is going to be a great semester.
It doesn’t affect me because I refuse to take another class with this woman, but Petra Feld has struck again. She was the prof of the Vietnam War class I took last semester and basically she’s an irresponsible drunk. A few times she just didn’t show up to class, gave no warning or explanation or whatever, and she’s currently making life very difficult for Dave who’s trying to graduate in a few weeks and needs her to grade his final paper from the class so they can take care of transfering credits and such. But this semester she’s teaching a class on the Civil War. I guess she likes wars. In the book of all the course offerings for the semester it was listed as beginning on the 15th of April. Justin is planning to take the class, so Friday afternoon he went to the room at the appointed time and there were only 2 other people there waiting. They soon found out that she had pushed back the first meeting to next week and only posted it on a bulletin board somewhere in the building. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with her antics any longer, though I haven’t gotten my paper back either so I may have to at some point.
Let the classes begin!
Today really was the perfect day, so far anyhow. When I left for my class this afternoon it was sunny and lightly snowing. Where the snow came from, I don’t know, because there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Unheard of for Germany. We ate lunch at the good cafeteria and then went to the Vietnam War class. We sat there chatting with a funny German guy for 30 minutes and when the teacher didn’t show up everybody left. That’s the second week in a row that class has been cancelled, which is pretty bad for a class that only meets once a week. Well now I have time to go for a run and then we’re going out to Sachsenhausen tonight. Cheerio!
So Kyle didn’t say anything in class on Friday. Boring. But the teacher did say something about the Soviets giving North Vietnam AK-49s. Check the history books, but I’m pretty sure that should be AK-47s. Whatever…
I’ve had many good times since I got here, but last Tuesday night is definitely way up near the top of the list. It might even win the number one spot. Through the German-American clubs I was invited to a somewhat exclusive party put on by the American consulate in Frankfurt for the election. (A slightly amusing aside: Kyle went to the place and tried to register for the party and the security guard told him he wasn’t allowed to come because he didn’t have an invitation. Rejected.) It seemed like such a bad idea: getting together lots of opinionated people for an event that’s going to leave some of them extremely disappointed. Not to mention that because of the time difference it started at 10:30 pm and went until 8 am. But I was expected to show up, so I went and Dave came along to keep me company. When we got there, there was a line around the corner of people waiting to get in, which was slowed by metal detectors and checking of IDs. Inside there were 1200 people, press everywhere, CNN showing on screens in 5 different rooms, and lots of free food and alcohol. They had an astonishingly endless supply of Samuel Adams beer, which is all but impossible to find here. After saying the obligatory hellos Dave and I escaped to the courtyard where there were Pringles and of course, CNN. There was some man out there who looked exactly like Michael Moore. Could have been his twin brother.
As sleep deprivation and alcohol set in and we were having more fun than really made sense. Dave confused a crowd of reporters and people watching a board on which they were posting results as they came in by adding the “Donat” party (hard to explain the significance of the name), with a higher percentage of seats in Congress than Republicans or Democrats. When a woman set up her camera and asked what it was he said it came right off of CNN and then he walked away. People stared at it for a few minutes talking among themselves until a woman finally erased it. We caused other mischief until about 5 when we decided it was time to call it a night. Dave was more or less out of control at that point and yelled at some poor woman we passed on the street to vote immediately and waved a little plastic flag in her face. The flag was in pretty bad shape by the time we got back- it was run over by the subway at one point; but it’s still around as a reminder of a fun-filled night. Maybe you just had to be there…
I’m definately a middle of the night kind of person, and not a morning person. And my sleeping habits for the last few years reflect that. But I’m finding it harder and harder to survive here just by sleeping when I want to. I stay up until 2 or 3 most nights, sometimes 5 or 6. And most days there’s no reason to get up so I sleep until whenever I want to. But three days a week I have early classes and to get to the campus on time I have to get up at 7. The result of all this switching is that I’m always tired and the fact that I haven’t had more than 6 hours of sleep a night in 5 days is not unusual. Maybe I’m getting old; I don’t think my body can handle this anymore.
Yesterday we found a much faster way to get to the mall, by bus rather than going way out of the way to take the subway. That makes Ritter Sport and Flagman just that much more accessible.
Next weekend I’m heading to Amsterdam with the crew. Particularly with these guys that promises to be an interesting weekend. I just hope everyone makes it back alive.
Six American students sitting in a seminar about the Vietnam War with 70 German students. It’s the first day of the class and topic is the class’ knowledge of the war. Discussion turns to the veterans who fought in Vietnam and how they are viewed now as opposed to when they first returned from the war. Though most of the Americans have the sense to stay quiet and listen, one does not… He raises his hand and says many people feel that the Vietnam war was a senseless war. Another student challenges this statement asking which war was not senseless. Rather than think before he speaks, our first student responds by saying that in the United States veterans of the Vietnam War were looked down upon when they first came home and only years later did they gain the respect that was immediately given to soldiers returning from, say, World War II, who were immediately seen as heroes. Now remember where this takes place…and picture the entire room breaking into whispers and shock on everyone’s faces.
Kyle Michelson, everyone. Applause please. He’ll be here every Friday for your entertainment, or at least until he learns to shut up.
Well, this has been quite a week. After the first week of German courses, I can’t say that I’m impressed. So far it’s been pretty boring and easy, but it’s picking up in pace, and I think I’ll be wishing I was in an easier class before long. The German school system, and university in particular, is designed so that students are responsible for doing much more studying on their own than we are used to in the States. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten into that habit yet here; there are too many other distractions. On Friday night some of the people on my floor made fun of the foreign students living here because we all decided we were tired and would rather just stay here and watch a movie. Which apparently is not a viable option for Friday night plans in Germany. But I felt completely justified because it feels like every night this week has been Friday night. Every night since last weekend there has either been a party at one of the student dorms, or we have met up with a large group of people and gone to a bar somewhere to drink and hang out and generally terrorize Frankfurt. We found an “Anglo Irish Pub” in Sachsenhausen that seems to be a favorite among our group for its good prices and Guinness. But there’s also a jazz club that we attempted to go to last night that’s on my list of places to try.
So we don´t have class on Wednesdays and that has been very nice. It was relaxing. Now I´m at another dorm in the room of a friend of mine and she´s lucky enough to have internet connection already. Whatever, I´ll get that next week. On my birthday, a very welcome birthday present. Some of the Brazilian and Portugese students are having a party tonight and there´s also a soccer match between Brazil and Germany so I´m sure it will be quite exciting.
On another note, I was finally able to put up blinds over my huge window yesterday so I no longer feel like I´m living in a fish bowl for all to see. And we never found the party that we heard about last night, but I went with some of the other Americans to this little kiosk down the street to buy beer and we sat outside and just chilled last night. Yesterday and today have been the most enjoyable times yet, so that is encouraging. I´m off now to find the other people downstairs. Guten abend!