30. September 2013: Mexican Food Version 2.0 and Würzburg

I’m probably skipping over some less than exciting details because I’ve mostly been exhausted this past week, but I’ll try and hit the high points of what happened before my trip to Würzburg this past weekend.

Probably one of the biggest accomplishments of my past week was making my new hoop so that I can practice my hoop dancing this week. For those of you who don’t know what that means, I’ll post a link here for you to watch. Don’t get the idea that I am actually anywhere near that good though. I’ve only been hooping for a little over two months so I’m still working on my inventory of awesome tricks. And not to mention how long it takes for my retard of a left side to catch up and be comparable to my less retard right side. But anyway, I’ve been hooping mostly in the nearby park, sometimes also outside my dorm. So strangers get to watch me throw my hoop around and hit myself repeatedly in the head and generally look like a fool. But the plus side is sometimes I actually do the tricks right, and that’s a good feeling. Anyway, if anyone is interested or knows anyone who is interested (in Germany of course) I have enough material to make two more hoops that I’m willing to sell.

I also got a somewhat tour of Erlangen by a guy in my dorm I met while hooping. It was pretty interesting to get the low down on some cheaper places as well as good places to go out. Yeah, I guess there really isn’t much to say about that, heh.

Thursday night was also pretty fun. I did some Zumba in the Schlosspark with a friend and then we managed to find all of the necessary ingredients to make some Mexican food for dinner. That being said, there was a good amount of tequila that night as well. Probably my favorite reaction was when any German/generally European person ate my jalapeno filled salsa. There reaction: HOT HOT HOT!!! Mine: hmmm needs more spice… Put it was a nice evening of talking with friends and even meeting new people. I even learned some amusing Polish hand gestures. Let’s just say for now that it gives a whole new meaning to both the loser L and the finger as gun sign in America…

Aside from that my week mostly consisted of going to class and continuously being yelled at by our teacher for some reason or another. But tomorrow is the last day of class, and I am really happy because 1) Going to class every day is something I haven’t done since high school, and personally, I’m not a fan. 2) I really really have some issues with our teacher. But I won’t bore you with the details. She will get a very in depth evaluation from me though, and from what I understand, most of my class as well.

Now for the more exciting part of my week last week: my weekend trip to Würzburg as a part of my scholarship program. The students there consisted of both Germans who have just gotten back from their study abroad in America as well as the newly arrived American students studying in various parts of Germany. So I met some really interesting people and learned about some tricks to living in Germany. I also learned that I will probably play the “but I’m an international student…” card a lot, especially in the university setting (which is, by the way, much different than in America. There are many differences but for the sake of time and effort, I would probably say that they resemble graduate school in America, only instead of having little assignments, you really only have one big test or term paper at the end of the semester.)

We also took a tour of the castle (which happened to be on a hill, heh). It was interesting though, instead of being built to protect the city from invaders, the castle in Würzburg was actually built to protect the duke from the people. There were a lot of peasant revolts because the city was not free like some other German cities, which in turn, also stunted the growth of the city. The original castle was built in the Middle Ages and was later added onto giving parts of it a somewhat Renaissance feel. There was also the St. Mary’s church (which was extremely small and interestingly enough, was used in the latest film adaptation of the 3 Musketeers). It was directly connected to the castle later on so that the duke did not even have to go outside to get to church. There were also some alters, two of which had some old religious relics stored in them. One of the others was dedicated to the 3 Irish priests who came in the 9th century to Christianize Würzburg. Just as an interesting side note, they were successful, but they ended up being beheaded because they protested the duke’s marriage. Also interesting was the garden behind the castle which overlooked the entire city. It had two overlooks which gently sloped upwards at opposite ends of the garden and made the garden look like a gondola. It was positively gorgeous.

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After that we went to an awards ceremony for Dr. Werner Micheal Blumenthal for the improvement of German American relations. Most of the ceremony was either really weird or boring, but Dr. Blumenthal sounds like an interesting person and I would like to read his book. As far as his early life goes, (at least from what I gathered) he was 13 years old when his father was taken to Buchenwald. Luckily (I think) his father was let go and they were able to escape to Shanghai and later moved to America. He did eventually return to Germany later in life as well. As far as the weird parts of the ceremony goes, there were times when we would applaud a speaker or Dr. Blumenthal and people would begin clapping in unison, which I later learned is actually associated with the Nazis in America. There was also this pretty awful band, whose saxophone player not only botched the National Anthem, but they also proceeded to play really weird and sometimes mildly inappropriate songs, like “Ain’t No Sunshine when she’s Gone” and “What’s up”. But after the ceremony was quite fun. We socialized (actually we talked to one of the men there who worked in media for awhile about how the news media is failing to actually report news now) and there was free wine.

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The next morning we also got to listen to a talk given by a woman who went to college in East Berlin during the Cold War. I think most of her time spent there was during the late 1940s and into the 50s. She was a photographer over there as well and took pictures of the Berlin Airlift as well as the revolt against the communist government in 1953, which she brought with her. She told us briefly about the history of the Cold War and divided Germany as well as some more personal experiences and just the way everyday people there lived. She talked about how during the airlift electricity was rationed to only 4 hours a day and how she remembers doing homework by candlelight. She talked about all of the destruction and how people’s homes would be missing an entire wall, but they continued to live in their homes going about their lives until they could finally rebuilt the missing front. She talked about how Germany was rebuilt by women called Trümmerfrauen (lit. rubble women) who would go out and clean up debris after the war. It was a really great talk and I wish we had had enough time for it to be more in depth.

Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all talks, tours, and awards ceremonies. We also went out both Friday and Saturday night for drinks and more socializing. On Friday we went to this nice little Kneipe (kind of bar) and just sat around and drank beer/wine (This area is in Franconia, which is known for making wine). Then on Saturday, after walking around for about an hour and finding that most places didn’t want to seat 30+ people and then consequently splitting up, we found a Mexican restaurant/bar and relaxed there for awhile. Ordered some chips and salsa/queso. The queso was cold. It was weird. But the beer was good, so no complaints.

And that pretty much sums up my weekend in Würzburg. Met some nice people and some good contacts in Erlangen. Oh, and on a bit of a sour note, broke my camera (or rather Trey’s camera) which it is still a mystery to me how it happened to begin with… But anyway, until next time!IMG_0899

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