Today was one of those days that make me extremely glad to be in Germany. In this post, you will learn why.

Guess I should change "today" to "the last 36 hours", because it really all started with the Faschings party in Kuckuck (our student bar), which I should rename to "the best party of all time". Seriously, it was one of the top three I've been to here in Germany. We threw a kitchen party for the people in our dorm who are moving out soon, which was low-key but a good time, since we got to say our final goodbyes to the 4 people leaving us for their home countries (2 of them) and for other living spaces (the other 2). We bought t-shirts and wrote messages on them:

T-Shirt signing and chatting prior to the Faschingsparty in Kuckuck Posted by Picasa

Since it was Fasching, most people played along and wore a costume. Early on, I had planned as dressing as Pippi Longstocking, but I wasn't sure if Germans would know the reference. But much to my surprise, Pippi is not only THE children's book in Germany, but also in most of Europe. Almost everybody who saw me sang the theme song to the TV show in their mother language. I think I heard that ditty in Turkish, Bulgarian, German, and Italian last night. Other notable costumes were Elif, Clara and Susanna dressed as snowflakes, and Julian as the bubble wrap guy from "Dude, Where's My Car" (haven't seen the film myself).

The three snowflakes: Susanna, Clara, Elif Posted by Picasa

Julian as the bubble wrap dude Posted by Picasa

Pippi after the party Posted by Picasa

We danced late into the night and had a generally wonderful time. Sometime around 3:30, I could be spotting running around the student village in my costume, wired braids bobbing, trying to outsmart the cold 0 degree weather. Didn't work so well - should have worn a coat.

Since I had a great time Friday, it was poetic justice that not only made me have to get up early this morning to visit Jeff's relatives (early? Okay, 9:30 AM), but also to just barely miss the train, causing us to wait another hour for the next. Actually, it turned out not to be a bad deal, because we got to eat breakfast and didn't really miss anything in Wernau. So the reason we were going to Wernau in the first place, besides to visit Jeff's relatives, was to watch the big Fasching parade. Apart from having to drag my butt out of bed, this sounded like a ton of fun, because I'd never seen a Fasching parade before, Wernau isn't very far away from Tuebingen, and I adore Jeff's relatives in Wernau and hadn't seen them for a year and a half. So, despite wanting to sleep in, I went.

And I'm so glad I did. There were a plethora of things that made me extremely happy today at the parade, a few of which I will list here:

1. The aggressiveness of the paraders. These people were relentless. Freed by the anonymity their masks provided, any of the creatures in the parade could grab you, the innocent bystander, and do whatever they wanted to you, the least of which was painting your face, cutting your shoelaces, dousing you in confetti, or bopping you on the head with a pillow-like object on a stick. Many people were dragged into the parade, messed with, and then tossed back into freedom:

PWNED! Posted by Picasa

The worst I think I saw was when Jeff's cousin Clarissa was kidnapped by a man who put her on his troop's float, and then they literally fed her body through a small tunnel with a spiderweb-like net on the other side. When the men on the other side caught her and set her down on the street, she was covered from head to toe in a net that they quickly tied off. Clarissa had to hop her way back to our group, covered in this net she couldn't escape. It was hilarious and reminded me of the trees they sell here at Christmastime:

Viennese Christmas tree lot. These were all over Germany during the holiday season as well. Posted by Picasa

2. Ladder escapades. A troop of witches broke the line of spectators and headed toward an open window that had two people looking out of it, watching the parade progress. The witches were carrying the shoddiest ladder I believe I have ever laid eyes on. To me, it looked like a giant Lincoln Log with small twigs serving as rungs, and I very well thought the contraption could lead to somebody's death, or at least a very serious injury. Undeterred by things like consideration for their personal safety, the witches laid the ladder up against the building, and three of them climbed up and into the window. The closest anybody got to injury was when the guy at the top thought they were done and let the ladder go as another witch was climbing, but he soon figured out what was up and took hold of the ladder once more.

3. Smurf Noob. This little guy was across the street from us the whole time, and he was one of the main reasons I stayed through the entire 2 1/2 hour parade. What genuine hilarity! I can't do anything but post the picture of him, because words just don't do it justice.

AHAHAHAHAHA. This is the Smurf Noob. Posted by Picasa

4. Anglicisms. Today's crowd of teenagers near us had some mighty fine misplaced English expressions to yell out. This happens a lot in Germany, because apparently English is cool, so I'm used to it now. However, you gotta make a point about it in your blog, when you hear the following all within a 2-hour time span:
(as a witch snuck around behind the line of spectators and pounced) "Attack from behind!"
(as a gremlin-thing was hitting one of the young female spectators on the butt with a wicker shovel-thing) "Spank the monkey!"
(as three of the guys line up back-to-front, as if in a spooning fashion): "We're making a sandwich!"

That last exclamation was made by, of course, the fat one, which makes it funnier, and then the words themselves lends evidence to the theory that European men are inherently gayer than American men.

Okay, well I'm getting tired, but I do want to finish my story. I ended up coming back to Tuebingen around 8:30 because my friend Peter from Hungary leaves Monday for home, and I wanted to meet him for a drink and say my goodbyes. (Jeff stayed in Wernau to get a little more time in with his relatives.) Turns out that he was invited to a birthday party at the dorm of Niko, a German guy that I met at the beginning of the year but never really hung out with, although we do have quite a few friends in common. So I met Peter at the train station and we took off for Niko's. Ended up being quite a good party, mostly because I got to spend some quality time with Peter and got to know Niko a lot better.

(Side note - Niko studied abroad at UMass all of last year, and we dicovered tonight we have a lot in common, from musical tastes, to a love of the Pacific Northwest, to missing the same things about America.)

It was also good because it was a party whose guests were mostly German. You probably wouldn't believe me unless you've studied/are studying abroad in Germany, but this doesn't happen as much as you might think- you usually end up hanging out with the international crowd or other English-speakers. I found another guy, Johannes*, who I could speak German to really easily. He didn't believe me when I said that I came from the US - said you couldn't hear it when I spoke - which for me is always a confidence booster. I think the ethanol helped, as well. For Peter's benefit, we took some pictures of the people he and I knew best at the party, which was him, me, Niko, and Gary from Switzerland.

Peter and Gary are hilarious. Posted by Picasa

From the left: Peter from Hungary, me, Niko from Germany, and Gary from Switzerland. Posted by Picasa

This is our best photo. We all look raging hot, in my humble opinion. Posted by Picasa

Okay, time to go to bed, for I am going to yet another Fasching Fest tomorrow. It's in Rottenburg, a small town near Tuebingen, and since I was allowed by the people who invited me to bring a guest, I'm bringing Peter with me. So I guess tonight wasn't goodbye, after all. But tomorrow will be.


A list of things I found on the Internet today that I found hilarious.

1. There is a woman on eBay selling homemade knitted monstrosities that no other human being on earth could possibly want to wear. Proof for that statement is that she models the "garments" herself - she couldn't get any volunteers, or even PAY somebody to do it. You can judge for yourself by going to her eBay store. Your favorite is sure to be the mohair catsuit.

2. This guy has the greatest name ever. My firstborn shall have his last name.

3. Apparently I speak normal American English, for the most part:

Your Linguistic Profile:

80% General American English

10% Upper Midwestern

5% Dixie

5% Midwestern

0% Yankee

I guess point #4 means that I have to go be productive now. I guess I will go clean my room and get ready for tonight's Fasching- und Abschiedsparty. Happy weekend, everyone!


Here's my recent plunder from the Drink Market at Marktkauf, plus 3 Belgian beers, and the one on the far right is Jeff's. Hi Dad! Posted by Picasa

First Ben Folds comes to play at the Paramount, and I'm missing it. Not a huge deal - I saw him on the same tour ("Landed") in Portland last summer with my dear Ashley, on a night which very well could have been the best night of my life (discounting the tire blow-out on I-5 on the way back at 12:30 AM). Plus, I saw Death Cab for Cutie in Munich last Saturday (great concert in a wonderful, intimate venue - I was front row, got the set list after the show, and Ben Gibbard heard me ask a question and ANSWERED IT), and I'll be seeing Bloodhound Gang on Tuesday in Stuttgart with Jeff and Scott. And we know that'll be the Chuck Norris of all concerts, no question.

And I miss a few other Seattle concerts, like Coldplay, and then of course EVERY SINGLE WONDERFUL SHOW that The Senate has put on. Okay. Coldplay's overrated. The Senate will still be melting faces with their acoutic rock when I get back to SeaTown.

But then, I see this.

I CANNOT BELIEVE I am going to miss a performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I just REFUSE to believe it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. And I'm not there for it.

You - yes, you, living in Seattle - NEED to go see this show for me. I'm not kidding. It's amazing. It had better tour back sometime after September 2006, or the cast will know me with all my fury and rage.*

Another thing I wanted to share real quick is the fact that Jeff and I are trying to sample every beer we can get our hands on before we go back to the States. We have learned that a lot of imported beers are actually more available at home, since Germany is a country of beer snobs and they drink mostly locally-made brew. (Which is fine; I could drink Fischer's for the rest of my life and I'd be happy.) So to get, say, an Austrian beer (we loved Schladminger's), you have to actually go to Austria to find any. But this morning, Kiel introduced me to the wonder of Marktkauf, a store that isn't great but they have a Drink Market that is out of this world - some Czech beer (Rick and Matt will remember Pilsner Urquell), and beers from other parts of Germany, not just Baden-Wuerttemberg. So I raided the store and took home whatever I could carry, plus a few cans of Red Bull. I'll post the picture in the next post, because obviously I haven't figured out Blogger after 2 years of using it.

Okay, back to studying. Just one more test to go, tomorrow at 12:40, an oral test with a professor who has already done 4 straight days of examinations with other students. And it's in German. This does not bode well.

*Don't have much of either of those.