Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I need to write this blog now while things are still sort of fresh in my mind. Well, you know, as fresh as they can be after 4-5 one Liter beers at the Hofbrau Festhalle. Good lord.

So this last weekend I decided to go down to Oktoberfest. It seemed like an appropriate event for me because, well, I like beer and I like to dress up and I like to have fun. I took the train from Saarbruecken down to Munich, and I think it was roughly a five hour ride. I left at 6:45 in the morning, which is just a TAD bit early for this gal on a Saturday. I decided not to wear my dirndl on the train a) because I was not in Bavaria and the last thing I wanted was for people in Saarland to be like "what the hell" and b) because, knowing me, I'd spill something on there that would DEFINITELY leave a stain. And if I'm going to spill anything on my dirndl, it's going to be beer, dammit.

I got into Munich and followed the instructions I had written down to my hotel via the S-Bahn (Munich's above-ground train). Well, apparently I am a shitty writer of instructions as I went 45-minutes IN ENTIRELY THE WRONG DIRECTION. When the train stopped and shut down in this tiny little town in God-only-knows-where, the only thing going through my mind was "Expedia so lied about the distance of this hotel to Oktoberfest." I went into the train station and found a younger man who spoke very broken English who informed me that I had fucked up big time and I had about an hour and a half train ride in the OTHER direction ahead of me. Cranky beyond belief at this point, I got back on the train, headed back in the right direction, and an hour and 45 minutes later ended up at a train station that is actually IN Munich.

In the meantime, Beth, my friend from Milan, had called to inform me that she had missed her flight to Munich and was driving up with a friend of hers. It was going to take her longer to get there, so she told me just to head down to Oktoberfest since Brice and Nathan (the boys from Saarbruecken) were already there. I quickly changed, left the key at the front desk for Beth to pick up and took the train BACK to Oktoberfest.

Now I'm going to try to actually describe what I saw when I waltzed into Oktoberfest. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. Try to imagine a fraternity party, times a billion. And with liederhosen. And more boobs. And LOTS more beer. It was outrageous. I just stood in the opening for a good five minutes assessing the situation and debating whether or not it was entirely wise for me to enter the pearly white gates. Well, fuck, of course I was going to enter them, I just wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting into. Who was I kidding. I was already contemplating the mathematical probability that I would flash someone boob. And you don't have to be good at math to figure out that brain teaser.

Brice had texted me and informed me they were at the Hofbrau Tent. Just as a point of clarification, the Hofbrau tent is sort of like the Cancun of Oktoberfest. Everyone who is a tourist or a foreigner or young and stupid and looking to get wasted and into a fist fight goes to the Hofbrau tent. Now I had wanted to go to a more traditional Bavarian tent, but by the time I actually got on the right train, found the hotel, got changed, got on another train and found the Hofbrau Tent, I was so anxious to drink a beer I probably would have burst into tears had I had to wait any longer. I stood outside waiting and could not find Brice anywhere. There were so many freaking people. Here is a photo of the line OUTSIDE the tent (taken when I was already inside, but I think this is necessary to convey the craziness):

I shit you not, within two minutes of getting into this massive line of people, the Polezei (who I later would become VERY acquainted with) started shoving through the crowd of people with three guys in headlocks, covered in blood. The Polezei literally THREW them out of the beer garten area and into the crowd of people. Blood was everywhere. I could not believe what I had just seen. I definitely needed to get the hell out of this spot.

I finally found Brice and he showed me the ACTUAL entrance into the beer garten. I was quickly met by our friend Nathan, who was wasted beyond wasted and spitting German phrases at me. Nathan, you're lucky I didn't punch you. :) When you want a beer and have not had a beer and drunk people are all over you, one's instinctive reaction is forcible castration.

As if by magic, a beer wench appeared with a giant one liter glass of fine, fine German brew. I started drinking and instantly felt at ease with the world.

Because I figure describing the inside of the beer garten would best be accomplished with photo, here is what I was dealing with:

And here is a photo of me in my dirndl with Brice's friend Brad, who was also from Idaho and studying in a different part of Germany:

Dare I say this is roughly the last thing I remember with any sort of cohesion or clarity. It's amazing what one liter of beer will do to you. Unfortunately, I think I consumed several more than just that one liter, but University of Idaho, I would have done you proud!

We met so many people whose faces randomly appear on my camera. I can't remember too many of them, where they were from, what they were doing, if I stole anything from them or if I or anyone at my table made out with them. But Oktoberfest is not about remembering things! It is about doing things that you will probably regret in the morning and just praying that you don't wake up the next morning in a puddle of your own urine with a communicable disease. No worries, this did not happen to me.

Beth and her friend arrived after I was lit up, and apparently at some point, I had been given a bracelet, which granted me access INSIDE the tent. If you were not at the tent earlier in the day, it was next to impossible to get inside. I believe some older woman gave me hers and she and her husband were leaving the tent. At least that is the story I have conjured up in my mind, and that is the story I am sticking with. Once it started to rain, being inside sounded like a fantastic idea. I got Beth and her friend in by declaring adamantly in German repeatedly "Sie ist meinem Schwester, sie ist meinem Schwester" which may or may not be grammatically correct and was definitely not true.

Once inside, it was crowded, it was smelly, it was loud and I did not have a beer (which is not a problem at Oktoberfest as you can get a beer from practically anyone). I'm not entirely sure from whence the beer I received came, but it obviously was not roofied as I am still here. I'm fairly certain I bought it. Maybe.

Because everything that happened after that is a bit blurry (including me almost getting in some fight with a guy because he put a sticker on my boob, which I promptly removed and threw in his drink. Or all the random people that I was photographed with. Or finding the bathroom) I'm just going to do a little fast forwarding to AFTER we left Oktoberfest. Because this is where my evening gets freaking EXCITING.

Because Beth doesn't drink beer, she was our DD on the way to the hotel. She was driving her friend's car which, thank GOD was a Passat and not some shitty mini-European car that looks like a lego toy. We were a mere 4 minutes away from our hotel, and I was happily drunk texting in the back seat when I heard sirens coming very fast behind us and then felt my body snap forward and snap back (yes, folks, seat belts are massively important). I had no idea what had just happened until I looked up and noticed that there was a police car on our right completely smashed in the front. Beth kept asking if everyone was okay and I kept asking what the fuck was going on. My head instantly started to hurt, and I couldn't move my neck too well. I sat in the car and all these police officers came up to me and started asking me questions in German. I couldn't answer them because I had no idea what had happened and oh, I don't freaking speak German, assholes!

This is what went down:

Apparently a police car traveling roughly 40-50 mph rear-ended our car while we were waiting at a stop light. The entire back portion of Beth's friend's car was destroyed, and the back window had been completely shattered. The hat I had been wearing had someone ended up out in the middle of the street, probably flying through the shattered back window. I was extraordinarily dizzy and nauseated and could not stand up, so Beth insisted that they call an ambulance and take me to the hospital.

I would like to take this opportunity to discuss what happened in both the ambulance and in the hospital. At no point in this entire experience did anyone take my vitals. In fact, in the ambulance, they sat me in a chair in the back and left me alone, where I kept falling asleep and waking up when I would smack my head against the side of the seat. I'm fairly certain that if I had had a concussion, it was only exacerbated by the shitty care I received in the ambulance. Once I got to the hospital, before treating me, they made me fill out all these forms, which were all in German. I kept telling the woman I didn't speak German and I didn't know what I was signing and I felt like I was going to throw up, but she insisted on making sure I had health insurance and that I signed these forms. I'm sorry--isn't your health care socialized in Germany? Might I have a concussion?? I finally just gave in and signed the fucking forms so they would do something about my headache. A doctor came in and examined me in the chair I was sitting in and determined that I needed an x-ray. He told me where to find the x-ray room. That's right. He told me where to go and then went to go look at another patient. I was barely able to stand on my own. Awesome.

After they took the x-ray, he said the he and the radiologist agreed that I may have potentially fractured something in my neck and needed to go get a CT. He then sent me ON MY OWN down the hallway to find the CT scan room ON MY OWN. Can I reiterate, this entire time I may potentially have fractured something in my neck, am dizzy and and nauseous and blacking out, the doctors left me ON MY OWN to go find the CT room. Apparently the only thing I was able to communicate to him with any clarity was my distrust of the German socialized health care system and my dislike of Germany at that point. I think I even asked him if he was even a real doctor or if he got his degree at a school online in Aruba.

If this is what happens when a country socializes their health care, i.e. a complete decline in the standard of care, I am going back to American and rallying HARD against its implementation in the states. If we don't pay doctors a wage which accurately reflects the work they do and the education they receive, we're going to have super-shitty health care. And now let me step off my soap box.

It turns out I didn't have a fracture, but do have a serious case of whiplash. God only knows what forms I signed in my impaired state, but I'm sure one of them entitles German to sell my future children into slavery. And I got some Advil for the pain. Thanks, buddy. I have the Costco sized container at home, I could have saved you the trouble.

So yes, anyways, that was my Oktoberfest. Beth and her friend had to rent a car to get back to Italy, and now they have to deal with all that insurance hoopla because the POLICE rear-ended us. It's two days later and my back is killing me, so yours truly gets to begin the epic adventure of finding a physical therapist in Saarbruecken that speaks English and doesn't suck ass. Hoorah.

I swear, shit like this ONLY happens to me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Yup he drew a penis on the board.

I'm really hoping this blog title got your attention. Because it happened. It really happened. At first, I thought he was drawing utters on a cow. I was wrong. So, so wrong.

Today started off a bit wonky. I got up super early to get to class, showered, got dressed and was almost headed out the door when I double-checked to make sure I had an assignment and noticed that, oh, I didn't have to be to class until 10:00. Awesome. So I was awake with nothing to do for about two hours (oh, facebook, how you keep me entertained). The first class I had was the listening comprehension course, and I'm going to be honest: I'm not entirely sure of the point of this class. Yes, I'm being exposed to new vocabulary, but he seems to be the sort of person who, oh, I don't know...MAY have adult ADD. He's not the sort of person you can just ask a question to because he will go off on 20 minute tangents. I shit you not, he could talk forever. And he loves to draw pictures. If we don't know a word, instead of just saying it English (because over half the class speaks English) he'll take the time to draw a picture for us. It makes me laugh.

So today we were reviewing vocabulary words on a worksheet we had been given, and he decided this was the perfect opportunity to teach us new words that pertained to the male and female version of different animals. So he takes the time to draw a cow on the board. Then he gives it horns and explains that it is "der Bulle." He then removes the horns and gives it utters and proclaims "die Kuh." Then, it happened. It appeared he was drawing more utters, which was strange, but when he stepped away from the board to admire his fine artwork, it was most definitely a penis. With testicles. My mouth dropped open. I just stared. I looked around the classroom and noticed some other students were deciding if he really had just drawn this. He then went into great detail about the penis and proceeded to "erase" the testicles from said cow. "This," he pointed to the cow's nether region "is der Ochse. Der Testicles *snip snip." I couldn't help it. I started laughing. Hard. I tried to cover it up, but just ended up snorting even harder. I mean, really? I think it is more pressing for me to learn something like how to order bread or dial 110 (911) or actually hold a conversation with someone where I'm NOT talking about cow testicles. But I guess I'm just expanding my vocabulary? It was amazing. I don't think there was any way anything could top this.

My next class was reading comprehension, and that is taught by Frau Schmitt. I really like Frau Schmitt. I realized today, as she was explaining directions and how to ask for them in Deutsch, that she reminds me so much of Marianne. I think if Marianne were German, she would sound like Frau Schmitt. And this woman always smiles at me. All the time. It makes me so happy, because so few people in Germany smile on a regular basis. Dare I say my smile quota from other people has been cut in half. Germany is not really the sort of place where you say "hi" to people you walk by on the street, or smile at as you walk by them on the sidewalk. I'm determined to change this. I smile at everyone I come across. Some people smile back, while others give me the "who the fuck are you?" look. Unwind your panties, angry Germans, and smile. It will make you feel better.

I have also become friends with several of the Bulgarians in my class. Bulgarians are super, super nice! And very, very friendly. One of them invited me to join them for their picnic tomorrow. She said that I am a very nice American (in comparison to the other two Americans in our class who are not so nice. One of the girls asked me why they were so cold. I told her they were from Seattle). Anyway, it's time I learn where Bulgaria is on a map! I'm just excited to be meeting new people. And I guess since we're all in the same class for the next 6 months, it's better to be friendly than to make enemies. (Speaking of people in my class--the two Asian girls who were afraid of the sweet black kitty are TOTALLY in my class. YES!)

I was in class until about 4:00 p.m., walked back home and had a notice that I had a package waiting for me at the DHL packing center, which, by the way, is fucking 400 miles away at the Bahnhof. I'm assuming this is one of the two boxes my mother sent me, which inevitably leads me to ask, where the hell is the other box??? Oh well. I'm going to be happy to get whatever is in this box. Hopefully it is the one with the new pairs of jeans in it because, despite the fact that I am eating like the world may end tomorrow (and drinking beer to boot), I have somehow lost almost 10 pounds since I arrived her. I attribute it to the massive amount of walking I do. But I still feel like maybe I should start running, or at least power walking, again. I think just doing 30 minutes, three times a day will be sufficient until I start half marathon training in January. I have three I would like to run (Geneva, Prague and Vienna...I take that back, four including Paris) but I am still worried about how unstable my knee is, so I don't want to push it too hard. I did sign up for swim classes, taught in German of course. Good thing I know how to swim, or I could be in trouble.

That's all for today. Oh, I'm officially on the Oktoberfest countdown. This Saturday, my friends. This Saturday.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Erste Monat

Yesterday it dawned on me that, holy shit, I've been in Germany for one month. I flew in on the 18th of August, and yesterday officially marked my first month in Germany. It certainly does not feel like I have been here a month. In fact, it feels like I just got here yesterday.

Things are getting progressively easier: I'm not as timid about going out alone and trying to communicate with people. For the most part, if people speak slowly, I can understand what they are saying, or at least infer the general meaning. I'm still too nervous about actually trying to speak German. Alex gave me shit about this last night. If you're reading this, Alex, I promise I'm going to try. The problem being I know I sound like an American trying to speak German, and that annoys me. I know that the only way I'm going to actually perfect my German is to speak it, but for now, I'm content with my pointing capabilities. I did learn an important phrase last night, though. "Nach einmal, bitte." Roughly translated: "One more, please." And this is, of course, in reference to das Bier. I do think I might try to incorporate more Deutsch into this blog. You all can learn German with me!

Gestern, I decided to go exploring the forest around my apartment building. There is a trail right behind the parking lot, so I started walking up it. About 15 minutes later, I popped up in this very organized hiking trail area. There must have been at least 7 or 8 different trails for me to choose from. I started walking up one and ended up hiking for two hours. It was so lovely. I came back down the mountain and went to die Backerei to pick up some Brot. I googled the area and found out there are enough trails to keep me busy for a while, at least until the weather turns shitty. But it was while I was walking around in the forest and through town that I realized this place is kind of growing on me. I'm still not happy with the shower situation, nor am I happy with the fact that I can't shave because my shower is about the size of a small pod used for space travel, but Saarbruecken is starting to get a little more comfortable, and despite the fact that there are some very sketchy places and some very strange people, there are areas that are quite nice and people that are very friendly.

I met up with Alex (the girl I met a few weeks ago whilst drinking at Vapianos) last night to go "out on the town" and we met two American men doing "business" in Saarbruecken. I can safely say that even by German standards, these two guys were super, super creepy. Unfortunately, I was a little inebriated (as was Alex) and they were paying for drinks, so whatever. I was at least sober enough to make the guy drink any drink he bought me first, in case he was trying to slip me a roofie. Yes, these guys looked like the sort of assholes that would drug a girl's drink. We ended up at this club, that I can't rightly remember the name of, and they were playing a shit-ton of techno and there were all these emo-looking German people everywhere. Alex is going to argue with me and tell me they were playing "house" music but my God. It all has that god-awful beat that just makes my head hurt. That still didn't stop me from bobbing my head occasionally. The two sketchy Americans realized that they weren't going to get laid, so they left to go to a bigger club. I hope they found some nice, skanky girls with syphilis to bang. :)

I think I got home home right around 2:30 in the morning. This club, evidently, stays open until the wee hours of the morning--like 7 a.m. Now I enjoy partying, but I don't think there is any way I could have stayed awake until 7 a.m. I got home and immediately showered and passed out. And yes, today has been rough. But we went and got pizza, so I at least have grease in my stomach. I'm just prepping myself for Oktoberfest next weekend. Oh, I am so, so excited.

All in all, things are going well. I'm going to be really excited when I can finally communicate with people. I'll let that happen whenever it may (preferably sooner rather than later). I have a feeling by January, things should be looking up in the ol' language department.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

German Music...sigh

Everyday, I have about a 30 minute walk from my apartment to campus, and I've been listening to a lot of Black Eyed Peas and Brandi Carlile because, well, that is all I downloaded to my itunes on my new computer. I've been trying to find some good German music that does not involve what I'm going to call cock-grabbing techno music, and my efforts were in vain until Katrin gave me some cds that she said were "good German music." Boy howdy, was she right! So for all my friends in the states who are looking for good German music (because let's be honest, who the fuck isn't??) here are some recommendations from yours truly:

** Die Happy--not ACTUALLY a band that sings in German, but they are a German band and it is fun to listen to their English lyrics that sometimes don't make any sense. But I love, love, love them. I think I have all their cds now. This is my new band to run to, though. Or just rock the fuck out alone in my room.

** Silbermond--this band DOES sing in German, and it's some great stuff. I imagine that if Brandi Carlile were German and in a band with Uh Huh Her, it would sound like this.

** Wir sind Helden--I would like to compare them to a more upbeat version of Rilo Kiley. I liked them so much I bought another one of their cds. I most definitely reocmmend this (and I think you can actually buy their cds on itunes for pretty cheap).

**Die Aerzte--another good band that sings in German. And their cd came in a pizza box. A fucking pizza box! Genius.

In other news, I've been joking about how I'm going to be coming back the states with adult diabetes with all the pastries and chocolates I'm eating. Well, shit, it might have actually happened yesterday. My eating habits have been a bit weird because I'm in class for a good portion of the day, and if I miss lunch at the Mensa (today's menu included something that looked like what my cat may or may not throw up) then I am on my own. Well yesterday, I got out of class, walked downtown to mail some postcards, picked up some food at the Netto, went to the baeckerei to get bread and this thing called a Berliner, which, come to find out, is the equivalent of a doughnut, and then went to the meat market and picked up some sandwich meat and cheese. I got home around 4:00, made myself a sandwich, ate a banana and then partook in the awesomeness that was the Berliner. About five minutes later, I got incredibly shaky and dizzy, sort of like I had eaten a pot brownie. I started to freak out, thinking I had accidentally consumed a tree nut, and immediately called Brice because I refuse to die in my apartment, only to be find 10 days later half eaten by flies and birds. It took me 5 minutes to dial his number because I was shaking so much, and my vision was completely blurred. Brice and I determined that whatever was happening was not an allergic reaction and I should not shoot myself up with the Epi-Pen because that would only make things worse. I laid down, drank some water, and about 10 minutes later, felt better.

What I learned:

I am no longer consuming sugar. OMG. I think my body is freaking out because I'm not a big sweets eater at home, but I've been so overwhelmed with the selection of fine sugary treats that I think I have to try it all. Plus, they don't use any of that fake sugar in their sodas, and though I'm normally not a soda drinker, I could not get enough of those cola-wiesens! Well, no more (except for the two I had tonight). I'm going to try to eat on a more regular basis, and definitely incorporate more vegetables into my diet. I am not going to die in Germany. I'm worried that my eternal soul will be forced to wander around aimlessly with German souls and I won't be able to communicate with anyone and I'll be miserable for eternity.

Class is still going well, and one of my teachers really likes me for whatever reason. I think it's because I always show up right before class starts and sit in the front and nod at whatever she says. I don't know if she's figured out that I have no fucking clue what she is saying, but I think she enjoys my silent participation. She always asks me questions and I just point. I've become quite a pointer. When ordering food, buying detergent, getting groceries. I just point. I'm trying to speak more German but my God, I SOUND like such an American. And that's even assuming I say the right thing. Case in point:

Tonight at dinner, I wanted to ask the waiter if they had cola-weisen. I said:

Hast du cola-weisen?

Now people who have studied a foreign language that has a formal and informal version of "you" knows that I fucked up big time. Because I should have used the formal version of "you," the question should have been:

Haben Sie cola-weisen?

You know what? At least I fucking tried. I really am trying. Ugh. German makes no sense. I've heard so much German in the past four days that I just want to tear my hair out. I did finally buy a television because we apparently have cable already hooked up to our rooms, and I've been watching a lot of "Law & Order" dubbed in German. And "Grey's Anatomy." And my new favorite: "Popstars: Girls Forever." This week they moved all the girls into the same house. OMG. I love all the drama. I think what I love even more is all the fucking crying. These German girls are fucking pussies! I love it! If you can get on to this site, please watch it:

(why the hell don't links ever work on this fucking site??? http://www.prosieben.de/)

I think it's one of those things you can't fully appreciate until you watch it.

I am now going to bed since I have class early. Again. Balls.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Brain so full of German

I've been meaning to write a blog about going to Metz, France last weekend, but my stupid computer is NOT having any more of me uploading photos. I have to do it in 20 photo intervals or the system shuts down. Fuck you, HP laptop. This is what I get for going the "cheap" route on a laptop. My thinking when I bought it was that I would only be using it for a year, but next time I just splurge and by the Mac. I have a feeling I'm throwing this son-of-a-bitch out the window before I leave Germany anyway.

Well, I officially started the "full" day of classes this week, and by classes I mean non-stop German. SO. MUCH. GERMAN. By the time I leave class, I feel like my brain is going to explode. I have four different sections of German taught by five different teachers (professors? Lecturers?): Hoerverstehen, Leseverstehen, Kommunikation and Grammatik. Yesterday I had Kommunikation and Leseverstehen and today I had Hoerverstehen, Leseverstehen and Grammatik. Sweet Jesus. We do a lot of reading, I take a lot of notes, and we do a lot of speaking. Thank God, though, because I'm having one hell of a time speaking German. They make different sounds for everything. For instance, "z" is not pronounced like we do in English. It has a sort of "ts" sound. So I sound like a dumb ass when I try to say it. And the "r"s are funky, too. Like they ALMOST roll their r's, but not quite. It's like a half roll from the back of the throat. Really? Let's make this shit just a TAD more complicated. Oh, and then the difference between the "ch" and "sch" sounds? That's what is making my head hurt. I know that one day it is just going to click, but for now, at the end of my 5 hour day of nothing but German, all I want to do is come home and drink (OMG, which reminds me--whilst at the Netto, which is sort of like our Winco but WAY smaller, we found a HUGE bottle of Jaager for, like, 22 euro. 22 euro! I dislike Jaager, but I thought about buying it just out of principle).

I also need to talk about the people in my class. It is high time I vent about this. Most of the people in my class are really nice and speak English (at least broken English). Since we all pretty much speak little to no German, we speak English when we can't figure out what the other is saying. But there is this one guy in our class, I'm not sure where he is from (Bangladesh? Pakistan? Iraq? Fuck, I don't know and I don't care) and I can already tell he is going to be a giant pain in my ass. It's nice to know that ass-kissers transcend across borders. I'm pretty convinced this guy does nothing but go home and study vocabulary words in German so he can come to class and talk non-stop. I could tell our Frau for the Leseverstehen was getting fed up with him, too. If I knew how to ask her if she wanted me to jump him after class in German, I would have proposed it.

I ate lunch today with two very nice girls from Bulgaria who are now living here. They have names I cannot even begin to pronounce or spell (I think one is Desislava and the other is Kremena?) but it's nice to finally get to know some new people in my classes. That doesn't mean that I'm going to spare them anything when it comes to taking this test in six months. I'm gonna bust some serious shit out. Due to my type-A personality, I am now reviewing notes by re-writing them and organizing them by color in the notebook I bought. It will be nice to bring it back to the states with me, too, in case I have friends who want to learn German from my copious amounts of notes I'm taking. And I'm buying a television tomorrow because the computer techy on the floor below me told me that there is a satelite hooked up to our building already, so I basically will have free cable. You know what that means? "Law & Order: SVU" and "The Closer" from, like, two seasons ago (because Germany is an entire season behind on all shows from the states) dubbed in German. Let the shitty Germany television excursion begin!

Yesterday, Brice and our new friend Nathan, who is on exchange from Missouri, and I went downtown and then wandered through Old Saarbruecken, which is actually quite lovely. I didn't know there were nice parts of this city (well, at least parts not covered with graffiti, or dog schiesse every 10 feet). We walked around for the better part of the afternoon and into the evening, and then capped it off with a visit to an erotic store. That German erotic store kind of scared me. There were things in there I didn't even know existed. And almost an entire section of incest porn. Really? THAT is FUCKING gross. I mean, to each his own, but I judge. I judge a lot. Is incest even legal here??? Sick.

Tonight, Brice and Nathan came over to my apartment and we made some sort of German noodle soup thingy with bread and some desserts I picked up at one of the 4000 baeckereis in this city (specifically at my new favorite one, which is near the train station, because I've gone in a few times now and the same woman is always working and she is very, very nice to me). And I bought a beer (and a coke) from the vending machine in my building. Ah, wonderful. I feel like less of an alcoholic if I'm buying my beverages from a vending machine in the basement of my apartment complex. I also bought my first household item, a thing of what I'm assuming is the equivalent of Draino. If it weren't for photos on the front of everything, I would be so screwed. But I finally got fed up with my shower filling up with water, oh, and my sink. Gross. There's nothing quite like standing in your own dirty water in your own shower. But now that it's fixed, I have a feeling my seven minutes of warm water are going to be THAT much more enjoyable.

Katrin also shared some more German music with me, and these are actual German bands singing in German (although I still really like Die Happy, even though it's in English and the lyrics make, well, sometimes no sense at all). So I'm listening to one of the bands now, Wir Sind Helden, and it's got a nice beat. I don't know what they're singing about, though. Flying monkeys? Beer? Everything in German is about beer. Or sex.

Okay, I think that is all for today. If I can get these stupid pictures uploaded, I will tell you all about the trip to Metz, France. It was killer.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Death by German Tongue

I want all my readers to know that half the battle in writing these blog updates is coming up with a title. It was always the hardest part of being an English major--coming up with witty and captivating titles for my essays. I hated it. Almost as much as I hate writing conclusions. Why should there be a conclusion? I don't need to wrap anything up! Yeesh.

Okay, yes, I've had a few drinks tonight, but only a few, I swear. And here's the thing: I'm only here for a year. I need to experience as much as the culture as possible, yeah? I think there are over 400 different types of beers in Germany. And I plan on trying every single one. That's a lot of work for one person but as they say, when in Rome. Or in this case, when in Saarbruecken.

I tried to find a time to write this blog when I had not imbibed a few tasty brews but alas, this is as sober as I am going to get. I guess it makes for a more entertaining rant.

So today marked day two of class for yours truly. The first day was yesterday, where they handed out the syllabus, a timetable, etc. So I was really only in class for an hour. Today was a bit longer as we actually learned some German. All I can say is these courses are going to kill me. I have, on average, 5 hours of German a day, starting at 8:15 a.m. I want to know whose idea it was to start class at 8:15? Do the professors really want to be there? I don't think so. I mean, fuck, we're in Germany! Aren't they out drinking on weeknights, too? This just seems absurd to me. Not only that, I go straight through until 1:00, except on Thursdays when I go until 2:30. I think this is because I have Wednesdays off. Because it makes total sense to give me Wednesday off but make me go to class on a Friday. WTF?

Neither here nor there. Let's talk about my class. There are roughly 30 students, all of the same level of Deutsch as me, and it is CHALK FULL of Bosnians. I mean, half the class must be from Bosnia. Sorry to be a total Westerner, but I don't even know where the fuck Bosnia is, or at least I couldn't point it out on a map. All I know is that it is in the general direction of Eastern Europe, i.e. countries I have no intention of visiting, thank you. In addition to the Bosnians, there are four Americans, some girls from Korea, a few people from Iraq and a girl from Argentina and another from Cuba. The one thing we all have in common: we all speak little to no German. In fact, dare I say I may have known more German than some of the people in that class. I know, I know, hold back your shock. But the good news is, I'm fairly confident that by the end of this six month stint, I'm going to be at least semi-fluent in German. I found out there is a test at the end of the term (February 18th) that we have to score a 60% or better on in order to proceed to the next level of German, i.e. DK II. If not, we have to take the same level over again.

I have already made it my mission to score the highest grade on this test. Blame it on my type A personality, but I've spent 3 years in a degree where I'm lucky to even pass my fucking courses, let alone get the highest grade. So all these students better watch out. I mean, shit, I watched three hours of "Popstars" today, all in German, which I think is the equivalent of our "American Idol" but it is only for girls. In fact, the tagline is "Girls Forever" or some bullshit like that. The show is HORRIBLE, like maybe worse than horrible, but it's like a train wreck. I cannot stop watching. I have no clue what anyone is saying, but I'm fairly certain crushed dreams is something that does not require words. I just wish one of them was more like Simon. They are German for Christ's sake. They should just have to speak to crush dreams. They could tell me I have the most beautiful eyes in the world and my voice is made of rainbows and I'd believe they were trying to suck my soul out with their words. Case in point:

On a different note, one of the judges is in a band called Die Happy, which I happened to look up because, well, I had an open afternoon, and I actually quite enjoy them. Here is a video:

There is just something funny to me about Germans who sing in English. I think it's because German just doesn't translate well lyrically. Anyway. They have a concert in Saarbruecken in December, so I'm pretty stoked about that.

In other news...

Last night, Brice and I went to this lovely restaurant called Gasthaus Zahn (which I actually think translates to the "teeth restaurant" but whatever). I was so freaking hungry because I've been living on cheese and apples and cherry tomatoes, and despite the fact that Paris Hilton might consider this a healthy diet, I was about to die. So I might have overdone it with the food. But it was so, so worth it. And so were the three beers I had last night. And in the event that my mother is reading this, I am only drinking twice a week, so don't remind me that beer packs on pounds. I'm quite aware of this. Remember, I'm walking everywhere. If I'm not losing weight, I'm at least balancing some shit out. Leveling the playing filed. Ya know.

This evening, Katrin and I went to this lovely Brazilian bar and, dare I say, I may have gotten ahead of myself with the alcohol. But it was so good! And there was a young man playing the acoustic guitar like I've never seen. And everyone in the audience started to join in with tambourines and maracas. It was a lot of fun. I am definitely going to have to go back there.

Oh, and I finally got my PIN to my debit card from the bank today, and it's about fucking time because I'm sick of being ass-raped every time I make a cash withdrawal with my Mastercard. UGH. They send EVERYTHING separately, so I've received like 14 different pieces of mail with 14 different codes that I apparently need. The only one I care about is the one that gives me cash, bitches.

I think that is all for now. I must go to bed because we are going to France in the morning. Please contain your jealousy.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

In a land called Germany

I've been sort of MIA lately because the weather here has been, well, shit. It was pouring rain all night Monday, all day yesterday and part of this morning. It finally cleared up, so I moseyed on down to the Farmer's Market, which, I have found, takes place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And it is perfect. I get my fruits and veggies and meats and cheeses and breads, all for under 10 euro. And I don't starve, like I almost did yesterday. AND today marks the first day I was able to order food by myself! Well, at least I tried. The woman at one of the stands was very patient with me, and when I didn't know the word for something, I would point and she would tell me how to say it in German. Germans are, I have found, much nicer about any language shortcomings when one at least attempts to speak German.

I would also like to bring up an important observation: German's make some fan-fucking-tastic bread. In fact, it gives a whole new meaning to the term "carb-loading." I cannot get enough of it. And there are Backereis all over the place! And they sell everything: pretzels, cheese-covered pretzels, sandwiches made from pretzels, millions of different types of breads, croissants, etc. I could park myself in front of one all day and people watch and eat pretzels. And drink beer. Oh, I cannot get enough of the beer, either. I think that will be the thing I miss most about Germany. The cheap, delicious beer.

In other news, the girl I met on Friday night when I was all sorts of drunk has been chatting with me on facebook. She's speaking English with me right now, which is awesome (even though her English is not fluent, I can still understand what she is saying), but she did tell me that we are in Germany and I should be speaking German. So I've been working on integrating German words into our conversation. And she's writing more in German, so I'm spending more time translating what she is saying. It is going to be a slow process, but I think that is what I need in order to become, er, fluent? How about to the point where I can at least hold a conversation with a four-year-old? We're going out on Friday, and I'm super excited to meet new people in Germany. It's been weird hanging out with myself and my movies in my dorm room.

In other news, there are several things that are different in Germany, and I feel it necessary for me to share those things with people thinking about coming. Other things are just observations or things that have made me laugh:

1. In Germany, you seat yourself at restaurants. You don't have to wait for someone to come seat you. This would have been nice to know earlier on when I was standing around like a douche-bag waiting for someone to show me to a table.

2. Along those same lines, you don't tip in Germany, either. You CAN tip, but it's not like we tip in the states. Apparently waiters and waitresses make fairly good money. And -10 for Sarah again.

3. Observation: they sell g-strings, condoms and lube next to the vending machine that sells coke and beer in the basement of my dorm building. Germans seem to be much more open about all their sex stuff than we are in America. That would explain the preponderance of erotic stores and, *cough* prostitutes *cough*

4. There is also no dryer in my dorm. Well, I think there is a dryer, but it looked rather sketchy. Like it might try to eat my underwear or dye it orange or something. I purchased a dryer rack thingy to dry my clothes on and, almost 24 hours later, my jeans are still wet. It is freaking humid here. LAME.

5. I don't know if I have mentioned this in previous blogs, and I'm far too lazy to go back and check, but Germans only use cash. (This is starting to sound familiar, so maybe I have mentioned this?) Anyway, I've used my credit card quite a bit, and the waitresses/waiters get in a big huff about it. I'm sorry, I come from the land of credit card debt and "cash can suck it." Maybe if you didn't charge a fucking arm and leg for me to withdrawal cash from your ATM's (here called Geldautomat--don't ask someone where the ATM is because they will stare blankly at you, probably thinking "goddamned American.") I would be more inclined to use cash. I did open my German bank account the other day (YAY!), so I'm just waiting for my pin to arrive so I can start withdrawing cash FOR FREE.

I think that is all for today. I start my classes tomorrow, thank GOD because I need something to do. This bottom-level German course goes all the way until February 25th, and I think I'm going to take it again next semester as well. Since there are different levels, and since I am just here to learn German, I don't see why not. I need to figure out what sort of credit I can get at BSU if I do it twice. Woot.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Weekend of Food gloriousness.

This weekend, my friend Katrin invited me to her home for food, a hot shower lasting longer than 7.35 minutes and a tour of her home town, Blieskastel, which is roughly 30 minutes outside of Saarbruecken. I was super excited a) for real food, b) to not sit in my dorm all day watching the very few movies I brought (since I'm still unable to get hulu or netflix live stream because the university has some sort of block that prevents me from downloading a program that would trick said video-watching entities into thinking I'm in the U.S.--assholes) and c) to see more of this wonderful place called Germany.

Well, okay, I'm not going to lie and pretend that I DIDN'T sit around my dorm room watching movies all day Saturday because, well, I was kind of hungover. Not hungover like I get in the states where I just can't function or move, unless it is to get up and throw up, but hungover in the sense that, well......yeah, okay, so it was that kind of hungover (minus the throwing up). I keep trying to convince myself that I am not getting hungover after a massive binge of fine, fine German beer, but who am I kidding. My liver needs more training!

Anyway, Katrin and Florian picked me up around 6 p.m., so I managed to watch "Star Trek" and "Love Actually" and take a nap or two in there before they came. We drove to her town in her cute little car, and when I walked in their house, it was seriously like walking into an art gallery. A super, super colorful art gallery. There were paintings and drawings everywhere! And it was immaculately clean. Like my house was in Boise BEFORE I moved in. I had never seen anything like it. And then I went in her bedroom. And my jealousy meter went up about 20 notches. She has undoubtedly the coolest bedroom I have ever seen. She has this sort of living room/office area downstairs, and then this freaking cool metal winding staircase that leads up to a tv room and her bedroom. And the whole thing was extremely colorful and made me wish I had a windy metal staircase in my house.

Moving on.

Her mom made a "German" pizza, which consisted of dough, tomato sauce, cheese, olives, artichokes, salami and these freaking adorable little wieners. Those little wieners were like heaven! I had two slices. And then for dessert we had ice cream with slices of peaches, strawberries and cantelope and a dash of champagne. Really, my second moment of bliss since coming to Saarbruecken.

Today, Katrin took me on a walking tour of her town. Like I said, the only reason I am not going to get fat whilst in Germany is because I fucking walk everywhere. It is ridiculous. While we were walking through town, there was some sort of old car show going on, and we came across this little number:

If you're looking at this and thinking "hmph. I see white-trash P.O.S's like this in the states all the time, what gives?" yeah, I thought the same, thing, too. I'm particularly fond of the horns on the front of the Chevy Bronco. I think it adds a certain flare to this German antique car, don't you?

Next Katrin took me up a hill to check out some churches that overlooked the city. And there were lots more crucified Christs everywhere (haha I thwarted spell checkers attempt to tell me there is no such thing as a plural of Jesus). I told Katrin Germans really like their crucified Christs. I think it might serve the German people well to see a happy version of Jesus, like him healing the blind or turning water into wine. I KNOW the Germans would love that.

She also showed me this peculiar stone hedge formation thing, which the Germans had to cut into four separate pieces during the war so that it was not some giant "bomb here" signal to the opposing countries. And because it was rather phallic looking and tall and in the middle of a field, I had to molest it:

On a completely unrelated note, I'm going to have to buy new jeans, as you will note in this picture. I can actually PULL OFF this particular pair, which is awesome but not that awesome given my limited wardrobe.

We got home and ate "dinner" (or lunch, not sure) at 4:00, which consisted of this A-FUCKING-MAZING soup with some sort of dumpling or pasta ball, salmon, peas and rice and brownies and ice cream for dessert. Hmmm....maybe I should hold off on buying that new pair of jeans. I feel my ass getting wider...

By the time I left Katrin's, I felt totally German:

Yup, because nothing screams "German" like a hooded sweatshirt, jeans, a pair of flip flops and some yahoo waving a German flag around.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Drunk Sarah blogs at last!

YES! Tonight marks the first night that I have gotten slightly inebriated in the great city of Saarbruecken! And do you want to know how it all started? With a beer + cola mix at the movie theater, seeing "Step Up 3" in 3D!

The one great thing about movies like "Step Up 3" is that, despite the fact that it was dubbed in German, I was able to follow the majority of the storyline because shitty movies like that have a weak plot and are made for people with IQ's below that of the average person. But hey! It was in 3D! And there was great dancing! And I got to drink booze in the theater without having to endure an independent film at the Flicks! (Side note: must remember difference between "Boy" and "Girl" in German so I'm not surprised by a urinal in the bathroom again).

After the movie, Katrin, her boyfriend Florian and I went to this Italian restaurant, I believe called Vapianos? I could be totally wrong on that. But they had great pizzas and great salads and HUGE beers. So of course, I had to continue drinking. After the second Hefeweisen, I was feeling all sorts of friendly and decided I was ready to meet people in Saarbruecken! I noticed two women sitting at the table next to us, and they looked like nice enough people, so I walked over and started talking to them. Now sober Sarah would not have dreamed of initiating a conversation with someone in Germany because it has been my experience that people in Saarbruecken do not take too lightly to random people who don't speak German interrupting their conversations, but these two women were very, very nice, and we ended up having a lovely conversation with them. I even explained what a douche was in English (because the German word, and the French word, come to think of it, for showering is doucher, which makes me snicker every single time). One of them gave me her email, and I'm hoping to meet up with her so I can work on my German. She speaks some English, (way more English than I do German), but it would be nice to have someone that can help me with my German (and drink with me, ha ha). I also think she may have challenged me to a drink off. I can't be too sure. Someone did, this I know. And I have accepted! Liver training to commence tomorrow morning!

Overall, drunk Sarah is quite content tonight. I'm beginning to warm up quite nicely to Germany.

Oh yeah, I'm in Germany

I keep having these moments throughout the day where otherwise simple tasks are complicated exponentially by the fact that, oh yeah, I'm in Germany. Case in point: I'm running out of clean underwear. Currently I'm at threat-risk level orange (which I think is the default threat level in America, but if we were assessing the ACTUAL level of risk to me running out of clean underwear, I would be at orange, right below red). Because I don't want to hit threat level red (because that would mean I'm going commando), I decided to do some laundry today. Also, I don't have any clean shirts and my jacket is starting to smell like a dirty hippie from the northend. Or a European! Ha ha, I'm so funny.

First off, it took me a while to find the facilities. Whilst on my journey to find the washing machine the other night, you will recall I was distracted by Asians overreacting to a domestic housecat. After wandering around the basement of my building for a good five minutes (by the way, not something I recommend. There were what I can only assume to be warning signs, as would be indicative of their bright red color and dominating black letters in bold I'm sure telling me "cross this door and the Hausmeister is going to steal your kidneys") I finally found them in some sketchy backroom next to the ping pong tables and vending machines selling Coke and beer. Having successfully located said facilities, I started to head back upstairs to gather my dirty laundry when I noticed that I did not recognize the words on the machine. Oh fuck me. The fucking washing machine is in fucking German. I stared for a good two minutes, thinking that I could figure out what each word meant. I mean, I've been doing laundry for the better part of my adult life. How much different can it be? Alas, I was quite unsuccessful in my translation attempts. I ran back upstairs to get my German-English dictionary, went back downstairs and translated each word on the machine (turns out I wasn't even looking at the washing machine, I was looking at the dryer).

I decided I didn't have the energy to attempt to do laundry, especially since I have a meeting up at the campus at three and don't want to get half-way into my washing of the clothes before having to leave. I'd probably have to fucking re-translate everything anyway.

On a different note, I'm finally legally "registered" in the city of Saarbruecken. Oddly enough, one of the questions the woman asked me was my religion. Huh? I thought for a second and I was like "none?" What an odd question. Katrin told me that in Germany, the church and state are very closely connected, which is supposed to be different in the states, but whatevs. This explains, though, all the crucified Jesus(es)--what the fuck is the plural of Jesus? Is there a plural? What if I see more than one--in those small towns in Bavaria. Creepy or not, Germans love them some crucified Jesus statues.

We also stumbled upon the local market in Saarbruecken and I was so freaking excited. Apparently it takes place three times a week, so guess where I will be going to get all my fresh veggies and cheese and meats and breads? I just finished eating my gouda, salami and tomato sandwich on fresh cooked bread. Heavy sigh. It's amazing how good food can make life better.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I have found Heaven

And it's name is Cafe Schubert. More to come on that later.

All I have to say is thank GOD for Katrin. Otherwise, I would be stumbling around Saarbruecken like a mad woman (a mad woman who does not speak German) trying to figure out how to do simple things. Like open a bank account. Or register oneself with the city (which I still haven't done. The line to do so was LONG and, like a very wise friend once posted on facebook: just because there is a line doesn't mean you have to stand in it. Amen, sister). So instead, we went to eat pastries. At this glorious, oh, what do I want to call it? Bakarie? Cafe? A small slice of heaven wrapped in gold and presented to me by Megan Fox and Jonathan Rhyes Meyers naked?

Let's start at the beginning.

I slept in. That's right.. I stayed up until 2:00 a.m. watching one of my all-time favorite movies "Fear" and I needed to sleep after that. And if you just judged me, puh-lease. We all have vices. Mine happens to come in a mid-90's thriller where Marky Mark takes his shirt off and Reese Witherspoon is, *cough* pleasured on a rollercoaster. Plus, it makes me long for Seattle. And Nordstrom Rack. I digress.

So I slept in. Until around 11. Because I was tired. I feel like it has been nothing but go, go, go since I got here and I needed to unwind a bit. I should say I actually woke up at 9, but I spent the majority of my morning talking with my friend Beth who lives in Milan, planning our Oktoberfest outing. Oh wait, I want to make sure you caught that--I'M GOING TO OKTOBERFEST! I'm so freaking excited. We booked our hotel, our respective modes of transportation, and I plan on being a drunken mess for 24 hours straight. In a drindl. I can barely contain my excitement. I hope being naked in Munich is all right, because I'm gonna lose my top (I hope my mother is not reading this).

I later walked downtown, which is about a 30 minute walk from my apartment but oh-so-lovely, in an attempt to once again register myself with the city. Apparently Katrin had read my blog and decided to not make me suffer in my non-German proficiency alone, and called me to say she would meet me downtown and come with me to open my bank account and register me with the city. Yay for her. And she brought me some tropical island posters to decorate my room, so I'm not staring at the depressingly white walls smudged with black god-only-knows what, paint peeling from the corners, spider making cozy little homes by the window. Shudder.

While I waited to meet her in sort of the pedestrian-ruled, open market-type area, I started to keep a tally of certain things I saw. I love to people watch, and I'm particularly fond of people watching in Germany. I counted 87 people who walked by me smoking, 32 teenagers in skin-tight jeans and converse (or Adidas with gold sparkles or these funky sandal thingys), 9 couples initiating some form of PDA and 4, oh, how would I classify this? White trash? Yes, German white trash. Imagine American, but German trying to be American white trash. It's quite a spectacle. And if I may get slightly mushy, I also saw an old couple, probably in their early 70's, walking in complete unison for almost 5 minutes. When one would stop, the other would stop, and then they would pick back up in the same stride, and they held that stride for 7 blocks. I know because I followed them. Not in some sort of creepy stalker sense, but because I had never seen two people fit each other so perfectly that their strides matched. It was quite adorable.

I met up with Katrin and like I said, the line to register with the city was long. And super, super smelly. I don't know what makes people think it is okay not to wear deodorant. Or not shower. I mean, if I were friends with these people, I sure as shit would say something. Like "dude, you haven't been laid in like two years? Maybe it's because you smell like a dirty diaper. Just sayin'." Instead of doing this very important task, Katrin took me to Cafe Schubert. I can only compare it as such--if Goody's sold not only ice cream and chocolates and candies but also personalized cakes and pies and pastries and had a huge open seating area like a little shop on Main Street at Disney World, that would be Cafe Schubert. I ordered this puffed pastry covered in a decadent chocolate shell. And wanted to cry. I think, for the first time since arriving in Saarbruecken, I experienced my first moment of pure bliss. *small tear*

We then met up with Brice, the other student from BSU who, as it turns out, had a malfunctioning cell phone, so he didn't stand me up! My record remains intact! YES! We went to have dinner at the restaurant, I believe called Tante Maya, and we were served by an extraordinarily bitchy waitress, but whatevs, because I had a fatty piece of steak, a salad and two of these wonderful concoctions called Colaweissen. And yes, that is half coke half Weissbier. I'm not sure what it is with Europeans and mixing their various booze with soda, but it was amazing. After the second one, I was feeling a little shnockered, so we went back to the Cafe Schubert and I had another dessert.

(As a side note, I've learned something very important about Germany. If you order "eine Bier" you get a Pilsner. You can probably drink 3-4 of these before you get hammered. However, if you order a "Weissbier" or a "Hefeweisen" I'd say the max is two before you start shedding clothes and ravaging the closest consenting adult).

Katrin then took us to a store called "DM" which I guess I would compare to a Walgreens? Maybe? All I know is that I was so excited to see things like Fabreeze and q-tips and laundry detergent that I almost cried again. Today was a great day for Germany in the chapters of Sarah's life.

Lastly, I received this gem of a message from a friend of mine on facebook. This person shall remain anonymous, unless they so choose to come forth. This message made me laugh pretty damn hard:

"hope you are doing well over there.
i enjoy your blogs-- you are a good writer which is surprising since you say dumb things in person.
enjoy your adventure - you'll have a great time"


(a little Cowboy Junkies to make your day).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day of the Placement Exam

I should probably clarify that I am actually writing this blog on the day it occurred, so, what? Today is September 1st? Yes, so this is a blog about today. I know I'm going to confuse the shit out of all of you.

Today I had to get up early, and I mean early (6:30 a.m.) so that I could walk to campus and take my placement exam for the Studienkolleg. For those who are not entirely sure what that is, the Universitaat de Saarlandes has a program for international students that is, in a sense, a language intensive program. Basically I will be subjected to four hours of German a day, four days a week. Intense German. Like, 'speak English and we'll beat your knees with bats' sort of intense. But because everyone has varying degrees of proficiency in German, they have to test all the students to determine the appropriate level of German. Anyone who knows me and my knowledge of the German language knows exactly where this is going.

I had intended to get up early and review all of my notes from my German 102 class the morning of. I already knew I was going to 'suck balls' with this test, but I didn't want to suck too many balls. Well, I hit the snooze alarm probably 19 times before I finally rolled out of bed. I figured my shower would only take 2 minutes since I have a limited supply of hot water.

Oh yeah, I forgot that story--yesterday I go to take a shower and literally, I have two minutes of hot water before my shower gets so cold I figure it would be a better bet to go out in the freezing weather naked and shower in the rain. I probably could have made some money off of that. I figured it was probably because they had not turned the hot water back on since the last girl had moved out. Oh no. I have, literally, five minutes of hot water, and by hot water I mean kind of luke-warm. The boy down the hall told me that if I only turn the pressure on half-way, I can prolong said shower for almost seven minutes. Germany, you're not giving me too many reasons to like you right now.

I digress. Anyway, I managed to squeeze seven minutes of semi-warm water out of this shower, which is five minutes longer than I was anticipating, so now I'm really behind. I figure, well shit, I'll just take the bus since my month long pass started today. I race out the door with my bag and an apple and rush to the bus stop, which is supposed to arrive at 7:57.

Now if there is one more thing you should know about the German people it is that they are never, never late. And this holds true for any form of public transportation. Aliens could invade Germany and blow shit up and you can bet your ass that if someone has an appointment to make, they will kick alien ass to make it to that appointment on time. So imagine my surprise when 7:57 comes and goes and there is still no bus. Five minutes later, at 8:02, I start to panic and decide that I might as well walk the two miles to campus to make the test at 8:15. Yeah, right. I walk fast--I don't walk that fast. Of course, as soon as I get about five minutes up the hill, the fucking bus drives past me. Oh, and they WILL NOT stop if you are not at a designated spot. Nor will they wait for you should you come running up behind it in an effort to catch it.

I make it on campus BARELY after 8:20, but luckily, there are a TON of people waiting to take this test, and they haven't done any sort of attendance. We all then get herded into another room, where we have to stagnate ourselves to take this test. Right, because I'm going to cheat to get in a higher class? I am not what you call...motivated to stress myself into success this year. Language is an art, it is supposed to be free-flowing and natural. (Of course, if you've ever truly heard German spoken, you may argue that it is not in fact an art...it is a bark. A command. I tool for intimidation).

The first part of the exam required us to read a text then answer questions pertaining to said text. Easy enough. BAHAHAHA! Yeah, no. Did I have ANY clue what ANY of that text said? Hells no. I caught a few words and phrases here and there, but that text could have been about a one-legged, toothless prostitute named Aunt Emma and I wouldn't have had the first idea. Per the instructions given by the proctor at the beginning of the exam, I got up, walked down the stairs, and gave him my blank test. He grinned and said "giving up"? I replied, in perfect English, "no, Sir. Giving up would require an attempt on my part." He did not see the humor in that statement. My wit does not seem to be translating well in this country.

So yes, yours truly is in the BOTTOM level of this language intensive course. Like I said, I could have saved them the trouble and just told them that's where I belonged. *sigh* It might be a long year. I might need to come back to Boise for Christmas.

All of this happened before 10 a.m. So what did I do with the rest of my day? I wandered around. Because that is all I can do in this place. I walk. Everywhere. There is public transportation, but I fear that the weather is going to turn very soon, and I want to utilize my legs while the sun is shining, fucked up knee and all. I also was supposed to go to the city hall and register myself as a citizen of Saarbruecken. Unfortunately, I could not find it, nor did I even know how to ask in German where it might be, so I eventually gave up and walked home. But not before stopping at the grocery store and picking up some food. I'd been starving. Problem being I can't read any of the fucking labels, so I just grabbed fruit and vegetables. No labels required.

I've been sitting in my dorm room working on photos and reading (Eat Pray Love) for the past few hours now. I was supposed to go to dinner with the other student from BSU here but alas, I was stood up. I think that might be a new record: stood up in a new country in less than a week. I am a winner. I've become quite used to eating on my own, though, which up to this point in my life has really bothered me. If there is one thing the past two weeks of traveling alone has taught me it's that I don't need to worry about being alone. I actually quite enjoy my own company. I'm able to observe more things, waiters are exponentially nicer and bring me free drinks, and inadvertently, if I want to start a conversation with someone, I can get myself invited to their table (this happened a few times whilst on my journey).

On an unrelated note, I must share this story. I went in search of the laundry facilities about 30 minutes ago and heard/saw two Asian girls screaming like they were being attacked (this is outside my dorm building). I rush over to see what is going on because far be it for me to leave a damsel in distress (after all, I've been told I'm built like a brick-shit house, another reason I was not worried about traveling alone) and I see these two girls throwing their shit up in the air and screaming and making a huge fuss because a cat, a fucking CAT was following them around. And not like a rabid, angry cat, but a nice little black kitty, meowing and purring and just wanting attention. These girls were about to lose their shit. I mean seriously, you would have thought a tiger was trying to attack them. I walk over and pick the kitty up, and they run away yelling "danke! Danke! Danke!" I look at the cat and start laughing so hard I almost pee my pants. And just a few minutes ago, through my open window, I could hear them scream again.

Occasionally, things in Germany make me smile.