Okay. Question time.

I looked up the German word "freischalten". The reason I looked it up is because I signed a contract with O2 and got a cellphone. They sent me about 5 text messages about the different services I got, and one of them reads as follows:

Die Starmap-Option wird fuer Sie zum 26.10 freigeschaltet.

This sentence, as far as I could figure, was that they did something for me involving the Starmap Option on the 26th of October (which is when I signed up with O2). But I didn't know the verb, "freischalten", so I looked it up. Turns out, it has a few meanings.

One is "to activate".

One is "to disconnect".

So what did they do? Activate the Starmap Option? Or disconnect it?

and I'm flying so high
high off the ground
when you're around
and I can feel your high

somehow I can't convey the genious that is Jem


Also, I am determined to start using alternative responses other than the stock phrases we are taught as students of German as a foreign language. To that end, I have already picked out one for "Thank You":

Kein Problem. Ich tu's aus meiner Buergerpflicht.

which in English means "No problem! It's my duty as a citizen."

If you can think of any (in German or English) that I should start using, please use comments or AIM and tell me so.
riding the bus today made me think about some of the things I like about being here. there are naturally several, so bear with me.

- school kids. I'm not talking the obnoxious ones that are old enough to ride the public bus in hoardes and annoy you and everyone else on the bus with their nonstop German rabble. No, I'm talking the ones that are dropped off at school by their mamas and papas, and then walk in pairs with their little box backpacks that are about 150% as wide as the little tykes and almost tall enough to hide their heads, thus nearly producing to onlookers the illusion of a box backpack with legs. It's even cuter when they have something fluorescent, like an orange construction worker vest, wrapped around the outside of the backpack to increase visibility.

- chocolate. Specifically, milk chocolate with whole hazelnuts that I buy at the Penny Markt and eat a piece of with my morning coffee. (At least I'm not buying lattes every morning like I did at UW last year. Or any morning, really - they're just not abundant like they are in Seattle. This way is much cheaper.)

- autumn. Tuebingen is so bright and crisp this time of year, something which I didn't really expect and, as I have learned from some German acquaintances, is actually quite unusual. Glad it decided to strike while I was here - it definitely has made the first week much more bearable.

- Italian ice cream. Granted, it's probably not as good as it is in Italy, but it's something you won't find in the US, at least not on the West Coast. Still have to try the flavor "Stracciato", or at least I think that's how it's spelled. No idea what it means. Edit: The word is actually "stracciatella", and it means chocolate chip. I've now tried it and it's very tasty. (thanks Ella)

- my class schedule. A German guy from my WG (dorm) was teasing me the other day about how all Americans do when they get here is speak English loudly and party. Now, the first part I am trying hard to avoid, but how can you really avoid the second when you only have 10 hours of class a week? And my subjects are generally interesting: one on German pop lit, one on mass media in Germany (veeeery awesome prof for that one), one on German-Jewish lit, one on Germany in the inter-war period, and one on Germany during the rule of the Nazis (which is also going to be a very good class, considering it's a lecture and not a seminar). So, I have pretty good classes, and a lot of down time. What else to do but go out and learn more culture? *wink*

- studying abroad in general. The cool thing about it is that the whole time you're learning more German, both the language and the culture. You're not sitting in a class in the US learning grammar, talking about Lebkuchen and castles or playing endless rounds of "der, die, oder das?" You're learning it in the classrooms here too, sure, but you're learning it at parties, in the kitchen, in the shops and on the street. Study abroads is awesome. *climbs down from soapbox*

- broetchen. This will be my last bullet point about food, I swear, which of course means that I can't write any about Spaetzle, Doener, Mozzarella-Tomaten-Basilikumsalat, or Currywurst (other delicious, if also fattening, things people eat here). Broetchen tops them all though, in that they are made in so many shapes and sizes (from Brezeln to Vollkorn to Backbrot to Laugenstangen), and every day made fresh and ready for you very early in the day (except Sunday, when nothing here is open). They also usually appear in both breakfast and dinner, as Germans tend to eat their big hot meal for lunch and then eat a small cold dinner later. The difference is what you put on it, like butter, jam, jelly, or Nutella (Brotaufstriche), or meat, or cheese or cheese spread. The Germans don't eat meat AND cheese on one Broetchen, now that's just plain silly. Mozzarella and lettuce and tomato on a baguette, that's fine, but the moment any meat hits those buns, and you're the perpetrator, guess what? They know you're American.

- um deine eigenen Sachen kuemmern. This means, literally, "to mind one's own business". Sometimes it gets on my nerves when, in public, no one smiles or talks to people they don't know, and in crowded areas people walk in straight lines and make no effort to move out of your way. But other days I like the fact that no one will harrass you about what you are doing and where you are going, and you can go about your business rest assured that nobody else will try to stick their nose in it.

- oeffentliche Verkehrsmittel. This is the public transportation system. While sometimes costly, it is certainly efficient and favorable to those without cars. It is also widely used by people from every sector of the population, something that cannot be said about public transport in America. And a student card for an entire semester costs only 35.10 Euro, and is good for much of the region.

- beer gardens. This goes almost without saying. It's like a big picnic, where everyone is happy.

- discos and parties. While not the same, these two factions offer good dancing, not the creepy sort of dancing we Americans practice. This is European dancing, where everyone gets their space unless otherwise clearly specified, and everyone makes it their perogative to have a good time dancing, without thinking too many silly thoughts, such as what other people might think.

Of course, there are more, and there are also many disadvantages to living here. I'm sure I'll post a big list of those some other time when I'm fed up with Germany and feeling pessimistic. (Bound to happen sometime, isn't it?) For now, I think I'll choose between cleaning my room up and taking a nap. I think the nap's winning out.


arg. stayed up too late again! I was going to go to sleep way earlier than 1 am. oh well...


Newest quote from Jeff:

“I think your calves are smaller from when we first met.”

And then, when I laughed:

“Isn’t that a compliment?”
internet's being slow again.

Classes here are impossible to figure out. Nothing's online, all the courses are listed in a book that I had to buy at the bookstore. I found some that I want to take, but they only list the professor and the time. No description, and, more importantly, no classroom. There are no email addresses for the professors. Luckily, the classes I'm taking don't require registration - but I do have to contact the professor and ask in advance if he will write me a "Schein" at the end of the course. If s/he allows me this, I have to go in and take a small test of the professor's choosing - oral, written, or a project - and that will determine my grade for the ENTIRE SEMESTER.

It all makes me wish I could take UW classes here. It's so much easier to find the classes you need, and enroll in them. (Well, the system is set up for it better. No promises on actually getting a spot in the class you want...)

Some of the kids from the California program get to take classes through that. I am uber-jealous. But I know taking actual university classes will be more enriching and interesting for me as a person... and more fulfilling.

Also, getting credits to transfer is a pain in the butt.

Don't think that I'm not excited to be starting classes again. It's been a long summer (from June 10th-ish to Oct. 24th is a long time! Over 4 months), and I'm ready to feel like I'm accomplishing something again. It's just... the start of the semester can be painful.

Well, I'm going to work on this whole class thing for a bit, as it is important. Then I think I'm going to Onkel tonight for their free showing of "Mona Lisa Smile" in German. We'll have to go early if we hope to get a spot.