Now I'm back at my house in Seattle (thanks to a ride from Matt Hall's dad), and it's 6:30 AM, so I think it's time to get some sleep. I'll be back up at 11:30 anyway.
It's been a while since I've blogged.
On the bus ride home from Ballard at 2:15 am, we were in the back of the bus. Just seven of us, chilling out and laughing and talking. A dude came back, sat down, and asked to talk to us. We immediately quieted down to listen to him. It was apparent this guy was agitated, and either crazy or on drugs. He basically had one thing to say:
"Guys, I had some problems earlier, but it's cool now, yeah? We're not going to have any problems now, right?"
We tried to reassure him that this was the case. Lita, who was extremely intoxicated, kept talking nonsense and even tried to reach out to touch him, which he jumped at and reached for his pockets. We tried to calm him by chatting conversationally. Then the bus stopped and stayed in one place for a while. It was an awkward treading of water with the guy, as he kept asking the same question and we maintained that everything would be all right. This continued until the police showed up behind the bus a few minutes later. The guy made no violent moves and cooperated as the police escorted him off the bus. We watched him be handcuffed through the window as the bus pulled away.
We all breathed a sigh of relief, wondering what the guy had done and if he had any weapons on him. One of our group, who is a Marine, stated that he was ready to leap up and powerkick him at the first sign of aggression. He even demonstrated this, and we all laughed, relieved that it hadn't come to that.
Also, I'm glad tonight that I usually have school. Just working makes me restless, like there's more I should be doing but somehow I don't have time for it.
I can't wait to go home on Friday and see Andrea and Sara for the first time since the end of August. I want to hang out with my family before I have to come back up here and work again, grr. And I can't wait for Jeff to come back from LA. Life is just a few weeks away from returning to happy normalcy.
-Went to multiple Chinese markets; was the only white person there; bought lots of good produce for about 6 dollars (peppers, basil, a pomegranate, an asian pear)
-Talked to a lady walking on the street, who was very chatty, and talked about her side job as a caterer, and how the post-holiday season is "funeral season"; asked her where the Capitol Hill Trader Joe's was, which she answered with a vague "It's on Madison" before jumping onto her bus
-Had a guy with dreadlocks call me "Rastafarian" and try to sell me one of 5 pairs of shoes, although they were all 3 sizes too small for me; at the same time, a lady asked me for food stamps
-Found the Trader Joe's and marveled at how nice the place is (much better than our ghetto store); bought oranges, bread, mango and smoked salmon. Helps to know the products well beforehand
-Went to find a bus line that would take me back to the U-District. Found one, but had a few minutes until it was due to come, so I went up the bus route to the main street. Came around the corner to see a wonderful view of the Space Needle framed by mountains. Was sad that my cell phone could not effectively capture the view.
-In trying to get an unobstructed view of the Needle, I found a side street that was closed due to a tree falling during Thursday's wind storm. The tree was completely uprooted and had fallen directly onto somebody's truck, smashing the back end pretty bad. My cell phone was able to take good pictures of that.
-Back in the U-District, I picked up my bike and rode home through campus. I saw two wedding parties and ran into an old friend from my parking job, who was working in the gatehouse, so we chatted for a bit.
-Made an omelette with the ingredients I had bought while out.
It was really nice getting back with time to kill before work. I think I shall try to get up early tomorrow and have more adventures. Today I got up at 2 pm, but with good reason: some people from Trader Joe's had a party last night, and a lot of us went after we got off work at midnight. We stayed out late and had a lot of fun dancing and joking around, and just hanging out together outside of work for once. Afterwards, Max drove us back to the U-District (the party was in Wallingford) and we hung out at his house for a bit, talking and petting his cat. Then I rode my bike the ten-odd blocks to my house, where I stayed up playing computer games and watching Arrested Development. So I was up super-late. Let's put it this way: If I hadn't slept until 2 pm today, I wouldn't have gotten 8 hours of sleep. :)
Well, I have work to be at again in 90 minutes. So I'm going to go get some stuff done, and eat lunch... Have a nice day.
Last final! Can't wait to be done!
I found out that I might be working 5 shifts next week instead of four. This makes me mad, because Lauren, while a nice person, continuously lies to me about how much I'm going to work over break. Grr.
K, I'm going to write few more things on my study sheet (I get to take it into the test with me). Wish me luck...
Anyway, I'm off to the upstairs realms of the library to find a cozy corner and settle down for a few hours to study the circulatory and respiratory systems. Hopefully I won't dream too much about how much fun the rest of the week after 6.30 pm tomorrow is going to be - lots of hanging out with friends, biking around Seattle, and going to various get-togethers of the holiday variety. Then a study session at 4 with the professor, and then back to studying solo. It'll be a good, productive day.
I'll post again in 29.5 hours, when I emerge from my bio final an emancipated and victorious woman.
Okay, so it doesn't make my life easier, really. It just makes blogging easier. Am I spelling "easier" right? It looks weird.
I just took my physics final. It was hard, hard, hard. Hopefully I did alright - but somehow that class really got away from me. I thought I was doing well, and then WHAM - angular acceleration and simple harmonic motion exploded and got the better of me. It didn't help that I couldn't sleep very well last night, either. At least I know what to do better for next quarter (the most obvious being "take tutorial more seriously").
Wow, it's been a long day and it's only 11 am. I get paid today for the parking job, so I'll go pick up my paycheck and then grab some food or something. Then I'll think about taking a nap before work at 4:30... but only if I have time. I have to get some bio studying in there, too. Otherwise it'll all be postponed until tomorrow, and I have to get going on it sooner than that, since the final is on Wednesday. Hmm, aren't we all glad we know what Kyla is up to.
Want to know why I had trouble sleeping last night? I was thinking of all the things that I want to do in Seattle, but hardly ever do since I'm always bogged down with work and school. I got to thinking about this because Brad invited me last-minute to go watch live bluegrass after work. Since I had my bike and I couldn't do much more to prepare for my physics final anyway, I decided to go. Plus, Brad said they started at about 8 and would be done around 11, and we got off work at 10, so we'd missed most of it anyway. It was good music, and nice to just sit there with Brad and have a pint and listen to music for a bit. Then when I went to Jeff's later, we looked at old pictures of us on Facebook that Ronda took in Europe. The silly expressions on our faces and the sights of the different cities caused the memories to start flooding back, and I just started laughing. Uncontrollably. I laughed, and I laughed, and Jeff wondered what was wrong with me, and I kept laughing. In hindsight, I think it was a round of hysterics, because I realized that there are things that I want to include in my life, things that bring me joy, and that my life, as it stands at this moment, does not have time for many of these things. Moreover, I love doing things that require high energy levels, and I almost never have that either due to school and work.
So I couldn't sleep because I was thinking of all the things I really want to do here in Seattle: go to the symphony, feed the ducks at Greenlake, ride my bike EVERYWHERE, shop on Capitol Hill, go to the Rocky Horror Picture show, see Twisted Flicks at Jet City Improv, go to the Russian baths downtown, find perfect reading spots, see the sunset at Golden Gardens, work out at the IMA, listen to local live bands and go to more shows. There's just so much, and it all ran through my head last night.
So in short, I'm still working on finding a balance, and I want to be able to strike that balance soon. Hopefully I'll have time over Winter Break to do some of these things that I love but never have the time or energy for. And maybe I'll use some of that free time to dream up ways to find a sustainable balance.
I just went to the fridge for a refreshing glass of sparkling pink lemonade. I got the bottle out, removed the cap, and promptly poured the juice into a bowl.
I bet when I was little, when I thought about how I would be when I grew up, I never thought I'd end up to be THIS cool.
**Edit: Heavy sarcasm is hidden in that last line. See if you can find it.**
I have zero motivation to study for finals tonight. I wonder if I should consider physics a lost cause and just concentrate on biology.
A guy on the Ave asked me if I was a Rastafarian or an artist. I said neither. He said he liked my dreads on me anyway.
I had good Thai food for dinner on the Ave with Devin. I wanted to go to Thai Tom's, but that place is a zoo at dinnertime. I called ahead to get take-out but I basically got the equivalent of "screw-you" over the phone (by which I mean they said "It'll be an hour" and then, after I said "okay", they said "okay, bye" and hung up). Devin was already at the library anyway, so Thai 65 was closer. We decided against AppeThai.
I want bubble tea, and I don't know where my cell phone is. I think I left it in my room. Otherwise, I really have no idea where it could be. I'm tired. Man, this post is lame.
The mistletoe didn't work out quite as well as we were hoping. Only a few people got caught under it. Although I do have to say, there was one incident that I felt made the mistletoe worth its purchase: as Max and Carol were dancing the tango, they passed under it and I called them out on it. Since Carol is awesome and crazy, she uttered no word of protest and shoved her face up to Max's and kissed him quickly. Max's reaction was amazing: He tried to get his face into a kissing postion, but it only happened after Carol pulled her face back. Then Max looked bewildered, and said, "I just got punched in the face by your lips." I thought it was a hilarious interaction.
Other amusing things that happened last night:
1. A football player wandered into our party from off the street. He took some egg nog, talked to me briefly, and left. Everyone was slightly confused.
2. Hung hijacked the stereo system and started playing German hiphop from his iPod. All the German speakers rejoiced. Everyone else kinda went "wtf?" and stopped dancing.
3. I spilled some egg nog on the floor while Max was standing next to me, and without even barely communicating, we cleaned up the spill. It was kinda scary how fast we went into Trader Joe's clean-up mode - he stood there to protect the spill, and I went and got towels. We laughed about our TJ reflex, and it may only be funny to us. But that's how jokes go sometimes.
4. Early on, we all danced to Scissor Sister's "I Don't Wanna Dance". It took my breath away, and not only because I was dancing like a maniac on speed. It's moments like this that I live for.
5. We had our disco ball up and running! And we lit it with my bike light, which I found hilarious. I just hope those batteries still have plenty of juice. The whole thing reminded me of a middle school dance, and we even played that out a little bit, with the whole awkwardness thing - Max danced with Carol and pretended that the girl he REALLY wanted to dance with was across the room.
6. Carol carried Max over her shoulders - twice.
So it was a good, long night, and now I have to go do parking duty for 3 hours and try to earn some of that money back that I so casually spent on my party last night. And then study for finals, which is what I should have been doing all along. YAY!
I cannot wait until finals are over. Less than 10 days from now, I can go home and not worry about school for a while - just about going to work, and enjoying Christmas, and seeing friends from Oly.
Last night, a kid at work got injured pretty badly. A case of olive oil that he was lifting broke open from the bottom, sending 12 bottles to the floor. All but 2 shattered, and my co-worker slipped in the puddle of oil. When I came around the corner to see what the crash was, I saw him sitting on the floor, with olive oil all over his back, and not moving. Upon closer inspection, it turns out that he was bleeding profusely from his hands due to two large gashes from the glass shards. He was taken to the ER, and all of us were pretty shaken up about the whole thing. His girlfriend was especially torn up (she works there too, and saw the whole thing happen.
So that was depressing, and we wrote him a card. I know it sounds cliche, but I hope he gets better fast. The weird thing is, we all know in the back of our minds that such a thing could happen to any of us.
And now, time to go to work.
1. Ronda said that she got the impression that the Kyla I am in the US isn't the same as the Kyla I was in Germany. Kind of a weird observation, we felt; as Ronda remarked, I'm still the same person, obviously. But I agreed, in a way: circumstances were different there, and I reacted to them differently. I had less to do, and as a result I got more sleep and did less activities than I ever did in the US. It was a year of rest, and a year of fun. And here in Seattle - I don't know, I guess I'm just more stressed, busy, and sleep-deprived. I wonder, if I go back to Germany, can I get that relaxed lifestyle back? Would it work? I think I'd like it better than this daily frenzy that I'm currently a part of.
2. We couldn't believe we'd spent a whole year in Germany. This has come up before. The year really flew by, so of course it felt shorter than it really was. But sometimes I think back on it, and it seems like a distant dream that never really happened. And in a way, it is a dream, because I will never be able to recreate the experience I had in Tuebingen. My room is gone, most of my friends are gone... Tuebingen is still there, but it's not the same, and never will be.
I can't wait to get back there, or go do something else besides school and work. Only one quarter and already I'm bored. What's next? I need to start planning my next great adventure...
...which is, by the way, the way I'd like to view the rest of my life. A series of great adventures, the next each picked out because it's something exciting and amazing that I want to do before I die. Yes, a series of great adventures is exactly what I want to do with my life.
1. I saw old friends, including old blogger buddy Rowan. We hadn't seen each other for a few years, and we had been good friends in the last two years of high school. So our reunion was nothing short of spectacular. Being able to pick up where you left off is always an indicator of a great friendship.
2. We all went to 80's night at a bar in downtown Bellevue, and
3. We danced to 80's music in our 80's clothing for 3 1/2 hours straight.
All in all, it was a fantastic evening. Sadly, we had to leave at 10 the next morning because people had to work in Seattle the next day.
Friday I basically wasted by hanging out at home, making one outing to see the Borat movie. The Borat movie is hilarious and I recommend that everybody see it. I especially like the naked wrestling scene because it is sheer genius.
Saturday I worked for parking for the football game. It was the last one of the season, so we stuck around for a bit afterwards and ate some food that people brought, and asked each other if we were working next season. My reply? "I'll think about it." The best part of working that day for me was at the end, when one girl, who we'll call "Ann", was telling our supervisor the problems she had encountered that day. Ann and I have been working parking on and off for about 3 years (she might have an extra year on me). I for one do not take parking to be a hugely serious job, so I have fun out there, chatting with the customers and joking with my co-workers. Ann, however, approaches this job a bit differently, and reflected it as she told our supervisor about the most outrageous thing that had happened that day:
"This lady was driving a white Mazda and raced out of our exit. I don't know where she came from, but somebody must have made her mad, because she flipped us all off! All six of us!"
A few of us were standing around. One guy (a big fellow who has also been around since the season I started) chuckled and said, "You shoulda thrown that one right back at her."
I laughed, and jokingly agreed, "Haha, yeah! I so woulda done that."
But Ann did not see the humor in this. She looked at me and said, without an ounce of humor in her voice: "That would not reflect well on the university."
Is she serious? I thought incredulously. There was no way. But as I stared back at her in disbelief, I realized that Ann was not joking, and that she truly believed that if I had seen this rude woman commit her little act, I would have turned around and shown the lady some fire power of my own.
"It was a joke," I said in a tone that was probably more condescending than it needed to be. "I would never do that." And it's true, I wouldn't. But I can certainly joke about it, which is more than I can say for Ann.
Alright, enough about my weekend. I have to go eat and then study for a quiz. After that, I'll go think of ways to celebrate my birthday on Friday...
Oh yeah. Happy birthday to Ashley and me! 20 and 22 (respectively). I was greeted this morning by Ashley, who burst into my room and woke me by pounching on me. She presented me with a gift wrapped in what she referred to as a "bunny hat". To me, it looked like a crunchy white cellophane-like spherical mass with bunny ears protruding from it. I asked if it was really a hat. Her reply? "I wore it on my head once."
It was a great start to my day. Love you, Ashley darling. Have a wonderful birthday.
Edit: I forgot to mention that on Saturday night, Jeff and I went to Die Bierstube to check it out. Result: nice place, great German beer, definitely going back.
"History was made this week! For the first time in four election cycles, Democrats are not attacking the Diebold Corp. the day after the election, accusing it of rigging its voting machines. I guess Diebold has finally been vindicated."
We all know Ms. Colture is crazy, but I think she has a point here...
Anyway, I'm going up to Western tonight to hang out in 80's clothes with friends I haven't seen for a year and a half. It should be super-exciting! I'll be back pretty early tomorrow, hopefully in time to go to the symphony matinee. Sweet!
Alright, time to get to my physics homework so I can have some fun tonight.
boo for school. can't I just be done with it, already?
can't wait for the holidays... or just some days where I don't have to do much and can enjoy life for a bit, instead of letting it drag me around by the heels like most of the time.
at least I have the next 4 days off from work, and 2 of them off from school. This brings me immense joy at the thought of not really having to do anything for 2 days after I get out of class on Thursday. yes!!!
I'm going to Western on Thursday afternoon to visit some old friends. should be a grand time.
Not only did I sleep late yesterday, causing me to miss my German proctor class, but I slept late again today, waking up at almost exactly the same time. 10.46.
Today was not so cool, though, because I had a physics exam that started at 10.30. Yeah.
So I rushed to get ready and headed out on my bike, cursing myself for staying up late and wondering how I was going to rush through this exam and still get some semblance of a good grade. I ran in with 20 minutes to go. The professor handed me a copy of the exam, looking worried for me, and said I could stay late and get the time I missed to work on the exam in his office. This was very relieving.
The professor actually was very sympathetic. After the class period was over and everybody else had turned in their exams, we took the elevator together up to his office. I broke the awkward silence, saying that I couldn't believe I had slept in and that it's such an awful feeling when you look at the clock and realize you're late. He came back with a story about how he was supposed to proctor a really important exam for grad students one year, but he had had a visitor from out-of-town the night before, and they had gone out to Pioneer Square. He slept in by accident, and awoke to a massive hangover and urgent messages on his answering machine. He got there late, and had to suffer 4 hours without aspirin as people yelled at him for not being there on time.
So that was a bonding moment, and it turns out that my professor, while being a horrible lecturer, is a cute, nerdy old science guy with a social life.
But I still did badly on the exam, on account of being half-awake, having had no breakfast or coffee, and being rushed to finish the exam. Yeah, so we'll see how that one turns out.
Rest of the day looks better: just have to finish a summary of an article, go to my last class, start studying for my midterm on Monday, go to a review session later on, and then have a little bit of fun this evening at the Senate show and the parties afterwards. Gotta unwind, because after tonight, it's power-through until next Thursday...
"This mouse is dead."
"This computer is OFF."
Thank you, Captain Obvious. Just keep typing and eating your sandwich. Don't talk anymore.
Friday after class (well, 5 minutes early, so I wouldn't be late), I raced up to 45th and Roosevelt to pick up my 2nd new bike. This time, I was smart about it and bought a bike from a Craigslist posting. The guy was nice, and so was the bike. It's a maroon ladies city cruiser, and it's beautiful! I love riding it. It was only 50 bucks, which is about the maximum I was willing to spend after my original new bike got stolen on Wednesday. I just bought a lock today for it, which is supposed to be much more secure than the last lock I got.
I had to work Friday evening. Saturday, though, I had completely off, and I was ready to make the most of it. My sister, who was supposed to come up to Seattle that day, unfortunately couldn't make it, and so that was disappointing. But there was plenty of other stuff to do that day, for it was my 1st year anniversary of dating Jeff! Yay! So whatever we were doing that day, we had to be going by 5.30 to make our 7 pm dinner reservations at Salty's. Ashley and I had decided earlier in the week to bike to Ballard together, so we got up at 9 am and did just that. The ride to Ballard is very flat, very scenic, and just plain awesome. Ash and I did our "Ballard Breakfast" routine, which we hadn't done in over a year, and which goes as follows: 1. We go to Great Harvest Bakery and buy a loaf of delicious, warm, gooey bread that we just want to bury our faces in and make satisfied noises, and 2. we take our bread down the street to Cupcake Royale and ingest a delicious latte or mocha along with our bread and maybe a cupcake. We had our coffee and our soul-warming loaf of apple cinnamon bread, and then we pedaled our way back to the U-District.
Next up, we had Ben's barbeque at his house. Although Jeff and I knew that we could only stop in for a bit on our way to dinner, we ended up getting behind schedule and missing busses so that our hour of Ben-time turned into about 25 minutes. Still enough time for a Heinekin, though. And it was nice to see Ben up on his feet again and moving around, as opposed to covered in iodine stains and lying half-naked in a hospital bed. He had the bike on display, the one he was riding when he was hit by a woman in a car doing 30. It was pretty mangled, as one might expect. So we had just enough time for a few stories, and then we were on our way again.
We used the bus system to get our classy selves over to Alki for our dinner at Salty's. Unfortunately, we missed our stop and got off at the end of the bus line. We walked about a block down the hill through a residential area before we stopped on a corner, wondering which way was the best way to get down to the water. At that moment, a car pulled right in front of us into their driveway. The driver opened the window and said, "You guys look confused. Where are you trying to go?" When we told him Salty's, he and his wife laughed. The wife explained that Salty's was not withing walking distance, especially if we had to make reservations. They offered to take us down there, and after a few modest declines, we agreed to let them take us in their car. It really was a huge blessing, because although not that far away, Salty's was down a big hill, and definitely a 20-minute walk away from where we had been. Our reservations would have been long past if we hadn't. We thanked the couple profusely for single-handedly saving our night. We were seated at a table in a darkened corner with a view of the water and of downtown Seattle and the Space Needle. Needless to say, it was very romantic. Our waiter was of course courteous and professional. It was really nice to be served for once, and we were very appreciative of his efforts. We had a wonderful crab and cheese dip for starters, and then we had a nice champagne along with our dinner. Jeff had a ribeye steak with bleu cheese, and I had apple wood-smoked salmon. For dessert, Salty's gave us a piece of their signature white chocolate cake, and we ordered a creme brulee to share. It was all delicious, and classy, and while I felt somewhat out of place with my dreadlocks and my lack of reverence for all things classy (I definitely burped at an inopportune moment while asking Jeff a question, which made us giggle for a solid 5 minutes), we had a great time, and I loved it. I felt like I wasn't a student anymore, but a real adult who has a life, and can afford things like a fancy dinner.
Of course, that feeling vanished after dinner, as Jeff and I left to trudge up the hill and find the bus stop. The walking directions from the Metro website led us up a dark hill in the middle of the woods. It was kinda creepy, but things were okay until we realized that the bridge that was way above our heads was the bridge we were supposed to be on to catch our bus. There were no stairs or any other apparent way to get up there, even though Metro wanted us to "take a left" onto it. So we had to keep walking up the hill, and do a 180 back around to the bridge. We were a block away when we saw the bus zoom past. So we killed time by walking around, going first to Starbucks and then to Safeway to stay warm. Starbucks had one customer sitting at a table, and the employees were cleaning up, so we went to ask if they were still open, since it was 20 to ten, and all we wanted was a place to stay until the next bus came at 10.26. The following humorous conversation took place:
me: "What time do you close?"
Starbucks Girl: (looking at the clock) Nine-forty. But we can still make you something, if you want."
me: "Um... no, that's okay."
SG: "You sure?"
Nine-forty? Was she serious??? It's not often that you read the clock, and then tell the customer that you closed the minute before. Whatever. We had Safeway to keep us warm and entertained.
We finally caught the bus to downtown, and from there immediately caught a 71 headed to the U-District, so that went relatively fast. As the bus made its way up the Ave, Jeff pointed out Finn MacCool's, reminding me that the Senate was playing that night. So we went in and listened to the show, which was really fun. It was an interesting transformation, to be back in student-land once again, drinking microbrews along with the rest of the twenty-somethings in the pub and listening to a great local band.
We got back at 1.30, and I had to be at work at 10 this morning, so we didn't stay up too much later. Now I'm back from work, and I think I'm going to eat some food, take a shower, and go to bed - this weekend has completely worn me out. But Saturday was a wonderful, wonderful day. Can't wait for next weekend - it won't be quite like this one, but it's Halloween weekend, so it's sure to be fun and exciting, and full of sweet costumes. I'm going to be a mermaid!
Constant sleep-deprivation is also something I have to reacquaint myself with. In Tuebingen, I always had enough sleep because I had enough free time. Now, I consider it success if my lack of sleep doesn't result in me getting sick.
Other random notes that relate to my life at this moment:
-I am addicted to avocadoes. I eat at least one a day. I hope they are good for me. God knows I probably shouldn't be buying them, considering how much they cost.
-At work yesterday, there was a 4-pack of avocadoes in the trash because one of them had split open. The other three were fine, but they had to be tossed anyway because that's the policy at TJ's. Last time that happened, I wrote down the price on the spoils sheet and took the other 3 to the breakroom so people could eat them. It kills me to see such good food go to waste. Andrea would have a fit working at TJ's.
-I am going to buy myself a bike in the near future and ride it everywhere. I should do it sooner than later, or else I won't get to enjoy it in connection with the splendid weather we've been having lately.
-My neighbors are the coolest bunch of people ever. We all play dress-up every day.
-Being back at UW, I feel like I encounter a whole bunch of walking cliches as I make my way through campus. Sorority girls in their North Face jackets and their straightened hair. College boys with long hair and cargo pants. So much of the same thing. I'd rather see some diversity; I love seeing it when people are different and wear things they like, and do things they like to do. That's why normal is boring, and why my neighbors and housemates are so cool.
-My physics exam this morning wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be. Sweet. Hopefully my bio stuff on Monday will go just as smoothly.
-I love and miss my family. They will be up tomorrow for the UW/OSU game, and I can't wait to see them.
-The sun is out, and I'm going to go enjoy it a bit before it's time for work. Ciao!
... but since I am already posting, I might as well post a little bit of something. And it's going to be about customers in stores, especially at Trader Joe's, and what you should or should not do as a customer.
My list of do's will probably be short. But what else can you expect from the employee?
-DO ask the employees where stuff is. We'll help you find it faster than you just wandering around, and we don't mind.
-DO apologize for getting in the way of an employee, especially if they apologize to you first.
-DO be at least a little friendly when you interact with us. We're people, too!
-DO bring your own bags - either old paper ones or reusable cloth bags. Save a tree.
-DO bring things to our attention. We need to hear feedback, because we want to offer stuff that you people want to buy. We need to see when something is missing a price tag, or is located in the wrong place, because that way we can get a price on it, or move it.
Now, the list of don'ts:
-DON'T dig in the back for the freshest milk or cheese or meat, unless you need it to last a while. You should see the stuff that gets thrown away at night at a grocery store.
-DON'T just sit there and watch us bag your huge cartful of groceries. The checkers at TJ's don't usually have baggers, and it's stupid to just sit there and do nothing while the checker scans everything, then bags it for you. Help out!
-DON'T walk up creepily behind an employee and start asking your question. Say "excuse me" or "hi, can I ask you a question?" This is basic human decency. If you fail to lead into the conversation, how are we supposed to know you're talking to us? I think this has to be my pet peeve, when I'm doing something and a person behind me just blurts out something like "do you have any rice noodles?" It shows complete arrogance on the part of the customer.
-DON'T scold us for things like high prices or low quality of a product. Low-level employees have nothing to do with these things. Submit a complaint or talk to the management. They get paid more to deal with that kind of crap. We get paid low wages to stock shelves and lift boxes.
There are many reasons why customer service is crap. In Germany, they don't give a flying frick about customer service. You gotta eat anyway, right? So you have to shop at a grocery store. They win their consumers over with low prices. That way, they cut out this whole thing where you have to kowtow to the customers' every demand. The customers know that the employees personally don't care if you find everything you're looking for or not. In the US, the employees don't care either, but they have to pretend they do. It's really just a bunch of BS, and it's nice that Europeans tend to bypass that.
I'm sorry, I don't know how I got on that rant. I'll just go to bed now, since it's almost 3 am anyway. Have a good night.
Working at Trader Joe's started out pretty stressful, but I think it's going good now. Today was the first day that everything went completely smoothly, which is to say that, unlike at least one of the other days, I did not minorly hurt myself, make a big mistake, let a shelf get too empty before I restocked it, or drop anything. Also, I felt like I was getting along better with my co-workers than before, and I can answer a lot more questions from customers. So things are good. Now, if I can only get it to where I'm working 3 shifts a week, and not 5. That will be a lot nicer.
Trader Joe's is generally a cool place to work, because the people who work there are mostly young too, and the customers tend to be really awesome as well. We carry a lot of strange items that you can't find anywhere else, so we attract this weird mix of hippies buying organic/vegan products, young college-age people buying cheap booze and ethnic foods, and yuppies buying expensive cheese, wine, and trail mix. I think my favorite is the first group, because they always wear cool clothes and have neat hairstyles, and they bring their own cloth bags and help you bag their groceries. Because of working at Trader Joe's, and also because of being in Germany for a year, I think it's really dumb when people just stand there while you bag their food. They've got nothing else to do, so why not help? Seriously, it helps everything move a lot faster. I know it's my job, not theirs, but... I still think it's dumb. The Germans do it right!
Wow, a blog can get really boring when all you have to talk about is work. Let's see, what else do I have...
Emily came up this weekend to visit. She had studied abroad in Tuebingen with us last year, and goes to school in Oregon. She and Ronda had worked it out so that she could stay in Ronda's room for two nights and hang out with us. So Friday night, Ronda and I picked her up from the train station, and after dropping her stuff off at the house, we went to the Mix and got some ice cream right before they closed. Then we went on campus and sat in the Quad, eating said ice cream. It was delicious. Then after work yesterday, we hung out with some friends at our house and played Cranium and drank PBR. It was quite pleasant. Jeff and made a few runs to some other parties on our block. We couldn't find the host at the first one, and since he was the only person we knew there, we left and went to the neighbor's to the left of my house, since they are awesome and there is always something going on at their place. Sure enough, people were in there talking about deconstructionism or something, so we sat and talked for a bit, then went to bed.
Wow, all this work stuff doesn't leave a whole lot of time for other stuff. Better watch out for that...
Time to study!
I came across a saved conversation that I had more than a year ago. It made me laugh, so I decided to reproduce it here. Screen names removed to protect the innocent:
Kyle: mornin :-P
K: how goes your monday?
Me: kyle, what universe are you living in?
K: what do you mean?
Me: Today is Wednesday.
K: that's not funny
K: i have a project due thursday
K: AH CRAP!!!!
K: why does nobody tell me these things???
K: and it's 11 PM ?!? damnit!!!
Me: kyle, you're freaking me out
Me: what are you talking about?
Me: it's wednesday...
K: how the hell did i lose 2 days???
K: well, i guess almost 3
Me: kyle, are you serious?
K: wtf! this sucks
K: :-K: good to know i can not exist for 3 days and nobody even notices....
Me: you didn't even go to class?
Me: I saw you walking on Monday
Me: the real monday!
K: when? where?
Me: yes!!! from red square towards Bagley!
K: i see....
K: and you didn't even say hi?
Me: Well, you were far away... and I was talking to this high school student prospect that I was showing around
K: high school prospect? can't find a guy good enough for ya in college?
Me: so, did you skip tuesday?
K: i'm in the labs
K: and are you sure it's not monday morning?
K: cause i swear it is
Me: it's wednesday
Me: check on the intranets
K: i did
K: i don't believe it
Me: it's true
Me: you didn't go to classes yesterday?
K: did you?
Me: i'm going to bed
Me: night kyle
K: April Fool's!
K: g'night :-P
K: i'm slow, what can i say
Me: wait you're serious?
Me: i don't understand you
Me: bye kyle!
K: what do you mean?
K: and nobody understands me, especially me :-P
I got home a few hours ago from my first day working at Trader Joe's. First day on the job, and I already feel like I kind of belong there. The staff is all really friendly, and some of them are so cool that I can't believe I've met them. (Okay, so this is first impressions here, but still.) The job pays well, but it's a lot of work. If you've ever been to the U-District branch, you'll know that the place is always bustling with staff and customers, since the store is quite small and not open 24 hours a day like many grocery stores in the US. So you're constantly on your feet, responding to calls, looking for something to do, be it stocking, making basket and cart collection runs, and dodging other people. Needless to say, I came home dead-tired. Now the laundry I was supposed to do is waiting for me in my closet, the paper I still need to write is still unwritten, and surprise! I'm working every day this weekend, starting Thursday. It's going well so far, though.
Of course, classes start tomorrow. I'm not quite ready, but ready as I'll ever be. So there's that.
It feels like life has been nothing but work, which is partially true; I'm still doing some stuff with parking, so I've been busy with that as well as interviewing and starting at TJ's. So I was working at a lot this morning and yesterday morning. Aside from getting up at 6.30, it hasn't been bad. We had to stand there and tell people they got to park for free in the Montlake parking lot, which elicited smiles, cheers, and brief, bright outpourings of gratitude. (The fee for the lot is usually $5, or $2.78 with a student I.D.) Today we realized that if we just taped up smalls signs over the card swipers that said "free parking today", we could sit off to the side and read in the early morning sun for three hours, interrupted only on occasion by a customer with a question. ("Why is parking free today?")
In comparing the jobs, I've realized that parking isn't so bad. Sure, it's a mundane job, and usually you're charging obscene prices, so most people hate you and the office you work for. But work times are super-flexible: you get an email stating dates and times that they need people, you sign up for what you want, and then you work. Usually half that time is idle time, either because customers aren't coming in droves at the beginning, or you're being driven from the office to the lot. Shifts tend to be short, only 3 or 4 hours at a time (except for football days). Plus, you get to work outside, which I've really enjoyed lately due to the nice weather. (I know that last point will change when the weather does, and that will be soon.) And the people at parking are a mixed lot. Some are awesome people working to make some extra money, and they're pretty laid back about the whole thing. Other people... are weirder. And I'll leave it at that.
In other, non-work-related news, Jeff and his parents showed up in Seattle last Friday. I took the bus to the airport to greet them, and we all helped Jeff get his stuff into his new house. He lives a good 20-minute walk from my place; it's down the hill, which is only an advantage in one direction, but there are buses. The next day, I worked parking all day and then went to the game with the three of them. It was a blast, and the Huskies destroyed the Bruins, so the evening was peachy. Sunday morning we went to Mass at St. James downtown, then to a lovely brunch at Ivar's. Related: I love crab legs. Mmm-hmm. After eating all that food (actually, after an entire weekend of wonderful food - we also visited The Ram and the Mongolian Grill within 48 hours), Jeff and I rode the bus back to the U-District and crashed. Four hours later, I woke up and proceeded to do nothing - something that I haven't been able to keep up since. We did try to go to Compline on Capitol Hill that night, but due to a mysterious bus disappearance, we didn't get there until 10 minutes before the end, so we missed most of it. Which sucked.
Yesterday was a fantastic day as well. After a lazy shift at parking, I interviewed at TJ's, which went even better than the previous interview. Then Andrea, in a move that involved absolute perfect timing, called me from France right as I walked out the door, and I proceeded to wander north through the U-District, not caring where I ended up as long as I still had Andrea on the end of the line. Talking to her definitely brightened my Monday. After catching up for a good half hour, she concluded that the people in line behind her for the phone should get their turn before they forcibly took it. By that time, I was on Roosevelt and near a thrift store, where I spent 5.73 on a cool jumper thingy, a shirt that Jeff told me was "me", and light bulbs that still don't fit the lamp I need light bulbs for. Grr. But anyway, the jumper made good attire for the Flogging Molly concert that Jeff and I attended on campus a little later that day, at 5 PM. I'd never seen a show before and frankly didn't know their music very well, but I'm glad I went because they rocked. Jeff and I moshed up front and got sweaty and dirty and bruised. So it was a success. I felt great being back on campus and seeing familiar faces again, and so I swang into social mode, handing out Parking Services flyers to as-of-yet jobless frosh, and greeting those people I recognized from before Germany. After the concert, we met the bass player, Nathen Maxwell, and he signed Jeff's flask with a skull and crossbones. His attention was directed to us because somebody had worshipfully given him some weed, and Nathen made mention of my dreadlocks, saying, "You're the one with the dreadlocks; you've gotta have some rolling papers!" I said I didn't, but would he mind signing my boyfriend's flask and letting us snap a picture of him. So that picture should be up on Facebook soon. Then Jeff and I dragged our butts up the Ave to WOW Bubble Tea, then took showers, then hung out at my house, exhasted, for the rest of the night. All in all, a pretty sweet day.
You know, that laundry's still sitting there, and it's not going to wash itself. Dinner won't cook itself, either. Plus, I think I've updated you on everything there is to update on. And there are classes tomorrow, which sucks a lot, but it's that time again. So have a good rest of your week, faithful readers, because you aren't going to hear a lot more from me in the next few days.
I miss Germany.
Gotta go; more on this topic later.
Anyway, I have been working on writing a paper for the better part of my day, and I think it's starting to mess with my mind. Time to go home and carry out another task: organizing my stuff for the move up to Seattle on Saturday.
Yesterday, my sister and I hung out as I went through some of my stuff. We ended up trying on my old dresses that I found in a box, and she picked out one that I wore as a junior to homecoming. She'll probably take it in to get altered and wear it to a dance. It looks so nice on her!
Anyway, we gotta get going if we're going to make it to the trail in time. Til later!
Then at home, Alex and three of his friends were watching more football in the theater room in the house. Dad walks in the door, turns the TV in the other room to football, and pulls out food from the fridge, adding it to the piles of food already on the counter. I stop to make myself a quesidilla, which as you probably know consists of two ingredients: cheese and a tortilla. Well, Dad looked at me, looked at the food covering the counter, and said, "hey, can you clean some of this up?"
What am I, a live-in maid? None of that mess was mine. Sheesh. I'm going to Seattle the next chance I get. Next weekend can't come fast enough.
So, on a more positive note. Seattle was wonderful today, with beautiful 90 degree weather. Unfortunately, I spent the entire morning selling parking passes again. I told myself at the end of sophomore year that I wouldn't ever go back to that job, but turns out that traveling in Europe is expensive. Who knew. At any rate, it's a job and it'll earn me some money for the year. After I got off work, I went up to Ashley's apartment and saw Ash, Fletcher, and Andy. I was so happy to see Ashley again! We're all going to be roommates and it will be peachy. We went to the house today to meet the landlord and move in a bit. Rondar came! In a Kermit shirt! It made me happy! As for the house, I hereby declare it fabulous. My room is on the top floor in the back of the house, and has a large closet space for all my junk. Our landlord is also pretty much the coolest landlord ever. So all this makes me very excited to live in the house, and I can start as soon as I want! So, I will... next weekend. Woo! And every day, our house will be host to Naked Disco Happy Hour, and due to the abundance of mini-fridges in the house, we will never, ever be more than 10 steps away from a cold beer. Best. House. Ever.
Settling back into the American way of life is going pretty well. I'm not used to sales tax yet, or the new 10 and 20 dollar bills, or getting carded. (Bought my first 6-pack today in Seattle. What did I get? That's right, Pilsner Urquell.) But things are going well. When I was talking to him on the phone about cultural differences, Jeff pointed out that we can say "Sieg Heil" in the US without repercussions. Thanks, Jeff, for helping me remember the most important differences. But really, it made me laugh really really hard, and made me miss my boyfriend even more than I already had. Come back to Washington, baby!
(Oh, and by the way, we can technically deny the Holocaust in the US without getting thrown in jail, too. So that's another difference.)
One more thing before I go: I found my Arrested Development DVDs!!! They were in the attic among boxes of other things that belong to me. So tonight, I'll probably watch about 10 episodes. Maybe not that many, but I'm sure I'll watch more than I intend to. Joy!!!
Okay, I'm tired of typing. Til next time.
I guess I should leave a little bit of time between touchdown and speculation, but I can't help but offer some quick observations. I'd forgotten what culture shock is like, and reverse culture shock is another flavor of the same thing I went through last fall. Normal culture shock means being surprised by the little things that are done differently, but in reverse culture shock, it's stuff that you are shocked by, and then feel dumb about it because you already knew about it, but had forgotten. So far, it's just been little things: using the US plug-ins again, receiving embarrassed smiles when you catch somebody staring at you, strangers asking "how are you?", unnecessary small talk, dollars instead of euros, having to apologize when you brush by somebody, asking officials questions in English instead of German. Things like that. I can imagine it's going to get worse before it gets better.
Anyway. I've been doing nothing for the past 24 hours but sit, eat, and sleep. I think it's time to go to the hotel gym and work out, and maybe even get some laundry done while I'm here. A month on the road in Europe has not been friendly to my hygiene. Then it's off to the football game, that good old American institution. More on all this later.
Expect little or no updates on this blog for the next month or so. Instead, you can follow our exploits on the aforementioned blog, as we leave Tuebingen, travel with my dad and sister across Germany to Austria, and then spend about 3 weeks moving through Croatia, Italy, and Spain. It's going to be a great time! And now, I have to go to my last class. Ciao!
like yesterday, tomorrow I have to sing with my choir. Sadly, it will be the last time.
tomorrow, i must go to the gym and work out. I must also prepare pasta salad. and at half past 5 i must be at the stiftskirche to start warming up for our concert at 8.
what a stressful life I lead here in tuebingen. and it has to come to an end, oh so tragically. sad.
back to drinking water, it's the best decision i can make for myself at the moment.
Then it was choir-time. I first went to our dress rehearsal for the KHG choir at the Stiftskirche. Then I cut out early to perform with the International Choir at our concert with the theater group. It was actually pretty fun, and afterwards we went to a nearby bar where the proceeds from our show (donations from the audience) went towards buying us unlimited French fries with ketchup and mayo. Delicious and certainly fattening. Mmmm.
Ronda and I stopped by a party in Haus 3 on the way home, but the people were drunk and we didn't know many of them, so we stayed for about 15 minutes before coming back here to watch Conan (me) and use the internet (Ronda). All in all, it was a pretty relaxed day, and I think most of my Tuebingen days will be like that, right up until the end, which is very soon.
Tomorrow is the KHG choir concert in Balingen. Since Jeff has relatives there, we'll probably go hang out a little beforehand, and then I'll go to rehearsal while Jeff spends more time with them... then he'll eventually come to the concert at 8. Afterwards, we'll come back to Tuebingen for the big party-palooza at Joker and Kuckuck. Fun times.
Andrea comes on Tuesday!!! I am sooooo excited! Our trip is about to start, the one we've been planning and dreaming about all year!
And it was gone. Just like that. Not there anymore. Somebody either wanted it for themselves or needed the Tupperware or something, but whatever the reason, it was gone and I couldn't eat it.
I. Am. So. Pissed. (and hungry)
I guess I shouldn't complain, because yesterday Jeff and I had an absolutely fabulous dinner at the Greek place up the street. We used to go there a lot for gyros and a great appetizer platter, but lately we've been trying to save our money. But in these last few weeks of life in Tuebingen, Jeff's dad decided he wanted to treat us to a nice night out at a restaurant. So we chose Greek and ate til we couldn't eat anymore. It was great. Too bad I didn't wake up still full, because now I could really use that pasta. Grr.
I suppose this means I should go shopping and get some food for the next few days. Yup. And then write my letter of cancelation for the people at 02 so I can get out of my 2-year cell phone contract with them. And then print off travel information for my upcoming trip with Dad, Jamie and Andrea. And then clean my room. And then go to a never-ending night of choir (first dress rehearsal for the KHG choir, and then a performance for the International choir). Ooh, and it looks like it's going to rain outside. Fun.
Alright, off I go to Treff for groceries.
Seriously, I want to stick my head in a bucket of ice water and leave it there for half an hour. It didn't help that I decided to go staple-food shopping today. While that means that most of the stuff I got was light (pasta, rice, dumplings, etc), I went to the cheapest store in town for it, which is in South Tuebingen. And of course on the way back I missed the bus, so I just walked back to the bridge to catch a different one back to my dorm. (It's not very far, but there's a slight upgrade to most of the walk, and I DID have lots of groceries.) Result: I sweated buckets.
I think I made a good choice, though, because shortly before going to the grocery store, I was in H&M trying on clothes that were 50 to 70 percent off. I almost got two different items, and then aborted my purchase at the last moment. I'm trying to go funkier with my wardrobe, so I was thinking about getting this cute front-lace-up shirt with a bit of lace on it (I'd describe it as "hippy flare") and a super-short blue and black ballet poof skirt that would have looked great over jeans or even leggings. I was especially happy with the skirt because it fit my hips more perfectly than any skirt ever has, and I'm not being sarcastic here. But I dropped the top before getting to the register because it was way too low cut for me to ever wear in public, and the skirt (which had a "50% off" tag on it but not the original price), which I thought would be about 5-8 Euro, was going to be 12 Euro. And I just don't have money right now to spend on clothes unless they're going to be functional, i.e. shorts I can wear on a month-long trip through Europe, or flip-flops I can wear in dirty communal showers.
So I think the money was better spent on food, which is usually the decision I come to when the choice is between clothes and food. (Okay, okay, between ANYTHING and food.) However, the clothing would have been easier to carry...
Today was my last bio seminar, which meant a lot of summary and a lot of feedback. It was one of the harder sessions for me, since everyone was throwing out ideas all at once. Trying to catch all of this in a foreign language, even if you're fluent, is like watching a World Cup soccer game through a kaleidiscope. It's easy to focus on one player at a time, but you're not going to see what the goalie is doing, or who's coming up the side of the field, or who's rolling on the ground faking an injury. Besides, in the seminar, even if you're doing a good job of keeping up with the discussion, what happens when you want to say something that you're thinking? It might have been said already, and you missed it. Or you might not know the word for something. What if you oversimplify, and it comes out sounding dumb? Or what if you don't articulate it correctly and everyone looks at you like you just headbutted somebody? (Not to slip back into the soccer analogy... but I couldn't help it. hehe.)
Bottom line, it's hard. After getting out of there with a whirlwind of German swirling in my head, it was time to take a break, and that's when I got the idea to go shopping. And it's weird, because I don't usually like shopping for clothes. Go figure.
I think it's about time to start studying for my exam, which is tomorrow. Or eat dinner. Hmm, dinner...
My choir sang at a Catholic mass this evening. I'd say we did a fine job, and it was a nice mass to boot. Tomorrow I need to go out and buy a black folder (thanks to Matt for lending me his for tonight) so that I can have something to hold my sheet music in. Also, I need to hang up some posters advertising our concert next Sunday! If you would like to come, it's on Sunday evening at 8 in the Stiftskirche. Admission is 5 Euros for students/children, 8 for adults. You know you want to!
I also went to a goodbye party in the French Quarter that was sweet. Met a lot of people, had some fun conversations, and got back late. So now I'm watching an episode of Scrubs before I go to bed. Tomorrow includes a trip to the gym and singing at a church service at St. Johannes with my choir. Yay!
Addy's departure marks the beginning of the end. She's the first of all the Americans to go back. Her leaving makes me dread my own imminent departure. And it's sad.
Well, better go back to enjoying the last weeks of Tuebingen life. Today there's a few festivals in town, and tonight there's a concert put on by the international choir. Time to go have fun!
And now they're celebrating by taking off their pants. On live television. Still on the playing field. What the heck?
Isn't it funny how 3rd place is a happier place to be than 2nd place? I'm pretty sure there will be no reveling in the streets tonight in France like there was last night in Germany.
At least Zidane went out like a true bad-ass. Last game of his career, and he goes out by head-butting Matarazzi, or however you spell his name. He head-butted him. In the chest. And he was stealthy enough that the ref didn't see it. But the Italians complained, and he got the red card.
The French were supposed to be the victors in this final World Cup game. Not the Italians. Not the Italians.
Not the Italians.
This composer (and his work, Ave Maris Stella)
And finally, this quote:
Adulthood is the ever-shrinking period between childhood and old age. It is the apparent aim of modern industrial societies to reduce this period to a minimum. -Thomas Szasz(1920- )
So, Germany found their feet after the devastating loss to Italy and beat the Portugese, 3-1. Two amazing long-shot goals from Schweinsteiger really helped to seal the deal.
Since this game was only for 3rd place, I expected it to kind of be a bust, a game with no excitement. I thought all the anticipation surrounding the World Cup here in Germany would be gone, and the game would feel empty, like a party balloon that had lost its air.
But the magic was back for this Kampf um den dritten Platz, somehow. The Germans had seemingly recovered most of the good spirits they had before losing to Italy. Bringing back Olli Kahn to play keeper certainly didn't damper the mood. And above all, I think the team wanted to give its fans another chance to celebrate the German nation. They wanted to show the people that they really did have something to be proud of.
After watching the game in my room with some friends, we headed down into the city to watch the celebrating. It was pretty decent - the Neckar bridge was completely blocked off by revelers, and cars were zooming around everywhere with flags and people hanging out of them, honking and yelling. It was like any other regular World Cup victory, and I regretted not going to Stuttgart to watch the game. Of course, I couldn't help but think how much bigger the festivities would be if we had really become the Weltmeister 2006. But why wish for something that's already been decided?
At least we can root for France to win tomorrow's final.
Well, that's that. I'm tired, and I have choir tomorrow starting at 10 AM. Aaaaaand out.
More exciting: Oliver Kahn is playing keeper tonight instead of Jens Lehmann. AND he's the captain!!! You really don't know how much joy this brings me, because for some inexplicable reason, I LOVE Olli Kahn. LOVE him. Go Olli!!!!!!!
Alright, game's on, gotta go. I'll get back to y'all later with results.
France beat Portugal tonight, 1-0. I hope they also beat Italy, those flopping, whining Pizzalieferants. Boo.
I finally ordered my Eurrail pass. Apparently Andrea has checked by the STA travel office a few times looking for it, hoping that I'd ordered it already. The lady working there recognizes her now. So when she goes tomorrow morning, it should be ready for her to pick up.
I'm actually quite tired and the only reason I didn't shut down my computer as soon as I got in tonight was the whole Eurrail pass. So now that that's done, I should probably high-tail it into bed. I don't think my sentences are even making sense at this point. Bleh.
Have a good night. And I'd never thought I'd say this, but: Go France!
But bad is 1. I have a paper to write, even though I want to go to the BBQs surrounding the game and our Independence Day celebrations, and 2. my sweetheart is sick. He's been lying in bed since yesterday morning and feels just awful. So that's putting a damper on things lately (the second point, that is. Not so much the first).
Of course, I'm wearing red, white and blue to celebrate our nation's independence. I have yet to decide if I'll add the German colors to that mix for the game, but of course I probably will. (Minus the flag and the scarf I lent to Niko.)
Alright, less writing on my blog and more writing on my paper that's due tomorrow. Crap.
That's all I got for tonight. Germany plays Italy tomorrow and I have it from a good source (i.e. my boyfriend) who says that Germany has never beat Italy in World Cup play. Hopefully tomorrow will be the exception to the rule...
Happy 4th of July, you Amis out there!
And that's really all I got.
9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (The countdown)
-last place you were: Jeff's to say hi after being gone all weekend
-last cigarette: don't smoke cigs, they're gross
-last beverage: a whole 0.7 liter bottle of carbonated water
-last kiss: Jeff, of course
-last movie seen: Funny Games
-last person talked to on the phone: Jeff
-last cd played: the whole CD? Pinkerton by Weezer
-last bubble bath: not recently enough. dorm life doesn't allow for such luxuries
-last time you cried?: haha, Friday. I was stressed after the trip to Weimar and I got there and got all teary for some reason. I'm weird.
8 have you evers.
-have you ever dated someone twice: yah. bad idea...
-have you ever been cheated on: ...and that's why dating twice is a bad idea
-have you ever kissed somebody and regretted it: probably, but not in the last year
-have you ever fallen in love: love is a tricky thing... I don't know if I know what it is yet.
-have you ever made out in the woods: haha, of course. I love nature
-have you ever been depressed: very mildly, mostly weather-related
-have you ever been drunk and threw up? can we say Oktoberfest?
-have you ever gone to the bathroom with the door open: haha of course! it's a fun risk to take
7 states you've been to:
6 things you've done today.
-woke up at 11, when we were supposed to check out of the hostel
-stole someones computer to check emails
-said goodbye to the people I met through the Federation this year
-spent 6 hours in a car from Weimar to Stuttgart, then another 80 minutes getting from the Stuttgart airport to Tuebingen, all in the name of saving as much money as possible
-took a break for some gelato and McDonald's. We're healthy people
5 favorite things.
-awesome theme parties
-good late-night discussions in either English or German
-grill parties (aka BBQs)
4 people you miss.
yeah I miss more than 4 people. but i'm not abandoning the list form so I'll kinda cheat:
-my entire family. (told you I'd cheat)
3 favorite colors.
2 things you want to do before you die.
-live in former East Berlin
-work in or run a hostel
1 thing you regret.
-not finding a job or a volunteer position in Germany
Ich fürchte mich so vor der Menschen Wort
von Rainer Maria Rilke (1898)
Ich fürchte mich so vor der Menschen Wort.
Sie sprechen alles so deutlich aus:
Und dieses heißt Hund und jenes heißt Haus,
und hier ist Beginn, und das Ende ist dort.
Mich bangt auch ihr Sinn, ihr Spiel mit dem Spott,
sie wissen alles, was wird und war;
kein Berg ist ihnen mehr wunderbar;
ihr Garten und Gut grenzt grade an Gott.
Ich will immer warnen und wehren: Bleibt fern.
Die Dinge singen hör ich so gern.
Ihr rührt sie an: sie sind starr und stumm.
Ihr bringt mir alle die Dinge um.
I was so enthused by this poem that I sat in class and tried to come up with a good translation of the last stanza, which happens to be my favorite. So here it is, for those of you who don't speak German:
I always want to warn you: Stay away.
I like to hear the things sing and play.
You touch them all: they are stiff and dumb.
You're taking the things and killing them.
Around the 85th minute of the game, I was on a bus, heading to class. The bus, which I take every Tuesday to get to Spanish class, had about 10 people in it. Normally, this bus runs late and once it finally gets there, I have to cram myself in, nestle myself in among the sweaty bodies and baby buggies, and wait impatiently as the bus lumbers along its route. Today, without the usual mass of rush-hour humanity, the bus jetted through the near-empty streets on its way to the French Quarter.
Getting out of the bus, I saw people pouring out of the many bars of the French Quarter. Many were talking excitedly, their hands wiping their faces and accidently removing sections of facepaint along with beads of sweat, smearing black and red and yellow over their cheeks and chins. I could tell my own facepaint was beginning to fade from almost two hours of perspiration, brought on by sitting for two hours in the hot sun wearing two tank tops, a Germany jersey, a flag as a cape, and a red scarf.
Walking down the street away from the crowds and towards my classroom, I hear a child's voice call out "Deutschland! Wir fahren nach Berlin!" I turn and see above me two young German children clothed in white jerseys, helping each other wave their country's flag atop their balcony. I smile and wave at the two, who in turn squeal in delight and wave back.
Spanish lasted an hour and a half. I was the only one on time. Half the class didn't show up, and half of those who did were mildly to full-on drunk. Our opening exercise was answering the question, "Where did you watch the game?" The lesson was continuously interrupted by passing cars who had no problem with serving up the neighborhood a peppering of car horn blasts.
Getting back up to the student village proved difficult, as the amount of people celebrating Germany's victory was enough to block up the main street to the point where the busses could not run anymore. Even then, two hours after the final whistle, we still had to take a long detour.
On the bus ride back up, my dormmate Clara and I were talking to pass the time. Clara is taking Spanish with me to round off her 5-language repertoire, which, amazingly, does not include English. I mentioned that I had never seen so much German pride in my life.
Clara nodded, and said, "Of course not. This is the only time we're really allowed to show any pride in our nation, when it's for soccer."
And it's true. Germans could of course fly a flag outside their house if they wanted to, or celebrate their national day, the 3rd of October, with giant city festivals and fireworks. They have, after all, much of which to be proud. A functioning socialistic slash capitalistic society and a major player in the EU, Germany takes good care of its people, and the people in turn take good care of the land and of the environment. They are world leaders in technology, science, and industry.
But show one ounce of nationalistic pride, and immediately it is construed not as nationalistic, but as national socialistic. No way would any self-respecting citizen speak too highly of the merits of the German people or, God forbid, start flying a German flag outside of their home. To do so would be to open oneself up to the criticism of being a potential Neo-Nazi.
This is the kind of abashed self-loathing that the German people have lived under for 60 years. I don't think anybody, including themselves, believes that they deserve it. Not now. Not today. They don't deserve to see documentaries about the Third Reich daily on TV, they shouldn't have to keep paying reparations to Israel, and they certainly shouldn't feel the deep shame for their nation that is still prevalent in the country today.
A recent set of advertisements popped up last year across Germany. The tagline was "Du bist Deutschland" - "You are Germany". The advertisements, designed to raise German self-esteem and with it the rate of employment, were so cheesy that they were met with instantenous and unending ridicule. Germans still don't believe they can show any pride in their country, the only exception being during the World Cup.
"Die Welt zu Gast bei Freunden" is the slogan of the 2006 World Cup in Germany. "The world as a guest here with friends." If only Germany started believing that the world is its friend, and not its enemy as it was 60-plus years ago. Then perhaps more German houses would, like the two children in the French Quarter, wave the flag from their balconies, full of pride for what their post-war nation has accomplished, and what is yet to come.
Black, red, and gold.
Good thing that guy moved away from Germany, because doing what he's doing in America would be considered a punishible offense on German soil.
What have I been doing lately, you ask? After finishing all my schoolwork, going to all but one of my classes, and a fun but short surprise visit from Rick, I've been chilling today and watching soccer. There was the added bonus of the annual Tuebingen Punting Races, which had a huge turnout and ended up being really fun to watch, even if they didn't last very long. And as for soccer - the World Cup madness continues to hold all of Europe in its iron grip, and Germany, being the host country for the event, is hit especially hard. The fall of Poland to Germany triggered a night-long celebration that pulsed through the streets of Tuebingen (and most every other German city, I must imagine), with lots of broken class and people cheering at each other. A popular chant was "Ihr koennt nach Hause geh'n", meaning "Might as well go home!", directed at the Polish team right after Germany scored the only goal of the game in overtime. Despite all of this (or perhaps because of it, because of all the drunk people in the streets), there were no night busses, so Ronda, Jeff and I walked from the French Quarter up the hill to WHO, which took about 80 minutes. No harm done, though - it was a good night.
Today is a holiday, so theoretically I'd have time to fill you on our Penecost Break trip to Prague. But, I think I'll turn on the England vs. Trinidad/Tobago game and maybe take a nap.
A week off in Prague and Berlin made for a great, fun trip, but OH MY GOODNESS the stress! I have a 3-page paper to write and two presentations to give in the next two days, all the while trying to cram in a choir rehearsal, the US vs. the Czech Republic World Cup soccer game, Spanish class, and two other classes! This is probably the most work I've had to do all semester, and thanks to my big week-long break, I'm cramming it into 48 hours. Wonderful.
So if you don't hear from me until Thursday, you'll know why. It'll be non-stop until Wednesday night, when the German team plays Poland and hopefully kicks their butt. Hopefully after that, I'll have time to sit down and tell you all about my weeklong trip over Pentecost Break.
(Pentecost Break? for a whole week? What kind of school do I go to???)
|American Cities That Best Fit You::|
|70% San Francisco|
|65% Los Angeles|
|60% Washington, DC|
Pretty sure that's not true at all. Where is my beloved Seattle on this list? And I think we all know that I wouldn't be able to handle LA.
Since we're leaving for Prague tomorrow, Jeff, Ronda and I went down to the train station early today and bought our tickets. I'm so excited! Now Jeff and I just have to figure out if we want to go to Berlin afterwards, or come straight back to Tuebingen, or what. By the time we were done with this small task, it was 10:30, meaning it was time for Ronda to go to Stuttgart, time for Jeff to go back to bed, and time for me to work on writing a presentation I have to give the week after Prague. So that's what I've been doing for a solid 4 hours now (which feels like a heck of a lot of work to me, sadly), and as a result, on the bus going back up to my dorm, I came up with an extremely deep thought, which is as follows:
If you have two M&Ms in your hand, and one is red and one is brown, which do you eat first? Because the one you leave behind will inevitably melt a little in your hand (if you eat M&Ms as slow as I do), so which color stain would look worse? Red, which could be construed as blood, or brown, which could be construed as dirt or silver nitrate or poop?
So that's something for you to ponder while I'm away in Prague. You can leave a comment and share your own Deep Thought!
Have a great week.
And in regards to the very last line of the video: If it's true that none of you really matter to us (a false statement, I feel), things would be way different if we weren't the most powerful country in the world. I have a feeling you guys wouldn't give a crap about us, if you could help it.
I think the British guys who made this video are harboring a bit of resentment stemming back from 1776...
So the newest challenge starts today: to survive the rest of the week only on pocket change. And I'm going grocery shopping right now... This is sure to be lots of fun. But you haven't been a college student until you've tried something like this.
So you can guess what we did today. Yes, that's right, we went back to that small village and invaded their Weinfest. I'd post pictures of our adventures, but Ronda took them all, so you'll have to become friends with her on Facebook and then look at the pictures.
Spending the entire weekend with Ronda inevitably ended in me contracting her illness. So now I feel like crap, I napped 4 hours today, my head is throbbing, and I desperately need to go make some soup. But at least tonight I'll be able to do some homework, and maybe recover enough to go out tomorrow for Armin's going-away party. If you know anyone who is in Germany and can bring me homemade chicken noodle soup, I'd be much obliged.