Hi from St. Ingbert

Hi everyone,

I have finally arrived in St. Ingbert, only to leave again in the morning! I got in last night and Christoph and Coralie picked me up at the train station.(Christoph is the father of the family I will be living with and coralie is the oldest daughter, she’s four). They took me back to the house where I meet Nanette and Alexa(the mother and the youngest daughter 9months). They are all extremely nice and very welcoming. We had a great dinner and after the girls went to bed we stayed up and ate candy, drank wine and talked, in English! It is really nice to be able to speak English again after a three week break in Erfurt. Both parents speak English fairly well and we didn’t have any problems communicating. Christoph is working a 24 hour shift today/tonight so Nanette and I are here with the girls. She also cares for two other little girls and one of them was here this morning. I had the luxury of sleeping in until 9:30 which was amazing and the girls were remarkably quiet. My room is right next to theirs, but they have very thick walls to save on energy costs so it is extremely quiet. I have a great room with huge windows which open up to the outside, an orange couch, a desk, closet and a comfy bed. i have already unpacked most of my things and it is looking good, if a little sparse.

I think the rest of the day will be spent doing laundry and then I believe Christoph’s parents are coming for dinner. It is a bit like a hotel around here. They don”t have a key for the door, but instead a fingerprint ID. system and ten people can unlock it at the moment. There is also a renter living in the basement who I haven’t met yet and Christoph’s younger brother lives down the street with his parents and dropped by unexpectedly today. Apparently he is here all the time too. Finally I guess I will learn to eat Rabbit here. Christoph’s father raises rabbits and I guess rabbit is common dish in their house.

Tomorrow I will take the train to Passau and meet Babsi there. We’ll travels for a while and then I head to colgne for a little bit of training before I begin working on the 9th of September.

Pictures again!

Hi All, Sorry for the lack of captions, everytime I add a caption I find it changes everything on me. These pictures are from a fortress, our hike and the zoo.I#ll let you guess which is which! There are more pictures of Erfurt in the previous post as well!

More Pictures!!!

Hi All, today’s post will be almost entirely photos!

The main square in Erfurt

Half Way Point

I was informed that today marked the half way point for my course. It has gone by extremely fast and we are already starting to plan for the closing party!

Last i posted we were on our way to Weimar! Well we got there and it is indeed the cultural center of Germany. It seems like every other building is a museum of some famous person or event. We spent our time investigating the lives of Schiller and Goethe. They seem to have been the equivalent of  todays’  Hollywood stars.

Goethe’s house was absolutely huge and in the most prominent place in the city. Of course he also had a “garden house.” When he need quiet or wished to entertain outside of the public eye he retreated to this house in the country. it was really funny because in the middle of this giant park that was filled with tourists there stood a herd of sheep, being sheep. One wonders what Goethe would have thought of this intrusion into his idealistic world. Goethe was a bit of a rebel. First he married a woman 7 years older than him, and then later separated from her and brought back a mistress from Italy whom he lived with in secret for 18 years(and had 5 kids with) before they finally married! During which time no one had any idea that she lived in the house. Including Schiller his best friend and neighbor.

Schiller’s house was not nearly as impressive, but it still had an entire floor for entertaining. Schiller lived directly across from Goethe, which probably made his house look a little more humble, but at the time he was the more famous of the two. Schiller was less idealistic and kept a strict account of how many poems, plays and stories he must write each year in order to feed his family. he prodouced elitist works, but more often he wrote for the common theater and had a broad audience.

After visiting these houses we had two hours on our own, but almost immediately it started to storm. So instead of wandering the city as i planned a friend and I went to an ice cream parlor and hung out there for a while.

On Saturday we had instruction followed by an excursion to the city Art museum. It was a very interesting museum and i enjoyed most of it. There is one room in the Museum which was hidden during the Nazi reign and it is a fresco of the world of men and the world of women meeting. I’m not really sure why the room had to be hidden, there wasn#t much controversial about the painting, but it#s possible the artist himself was the controversy. I ran errands the rest of the day and wondered about enjoying the lack of rain.

Yesterday I felt the need to leave the apartments even though it was absolutely pouring down rain. So i went to the zoo. It is just a little zoo, but I enjoyed myself. They have about six lions and the big male lion was rolling around on the grass like a kitten while two of the females played with a  tree trunk. it was really quite cute. Then they started chasing one another, until the male got really pissed off and knocked one of the females over. I couldn’t believe how active they were! I also got to see a baby Rhino playing with its mother. It is insane how tough their skin is. The baby would come crashing into the mother thrusting its horn into her side and she would barely even twitch. Watching them “fight” eachother really makes the phrase “charging rhinos” a little more serious. I don#t think a human would survive even the baby’s play attack. much less a real attack by an adult.

Today we are back in class and then tomorrow we will go to a concentration camp. Everything is starting to wrap up and I have to begin planning for travel between work and class!

Photos?

It looks as if i may have been successful sooner than I thought! This is the Krammerbruecke in Erfurt. Theres no sense in wasting perfectly good space, just because it happens to be over a river!

And the next photo has nothing to do with Germany, but some of you may find it entertaining…

By the way, half are seals!

Back online!

Hi everyone,

As you may have noticed Ive had some technical difficulties over here, but for now all is functioning as it should be! You might be curious about a normal day here so a brief overview. Everyday we have six hours of class and an evening activity. In the mornings we have three hours of somewhat formal instruction, but we often get very off track and and end up talking about everything from British soccer teams to the types of Tea drank in Georgia(the country). We also spend a great deal of time helping each other with vocabulary. We don#t use a dictionary since every speaks a different language instead we are dependant on our own descriptions and or charade version of the word. After class we have an hour for lunch in the dining hall. The food is pretty bad, but filling and cheap, like 3 euros for a full meal and a LARGE drink. in the afternoons we have a “Vortrag” which is a lecture which every attends and then we break up into two or three groups for special seminars. Yesterday i went to a seminare about the development of the fairytale and its place in the school system. It was exteremly interesting. Throught the week we also have phonetic lessons to practice pronouciation. Finally at the end of the day we meet for some sort of activity, we went to a choir\Organ concert last night and then to a beer garden.

In the evenings we all sort of do our own things or just hang out. Im learning tons about the rest of the world. For example in Uzbeckistan my parents would only have one more year to find me a husband, before I was considered too old! Also the first book was not printed in Germany, but in Belarus. And north Korea sold part of a mountain to South Korea, I believe they paid in livestock. And for the world cup watchers out there the general sentiment appears to be that no one cared who one as long as it wasn’t England! Those colonial ties are hard to break!

we also have lots of field trips. On tuesday we went to the Wartburg, which is essentially a castle\fortress, but what is really cool is how many famous people hung out there. Everyone from from Saint to Wagner. And my personal favorite, Martin Luther, he lived in a hidden room there under another name while he translated the Bible into German.  Tommorrow we are going to Weimar, seat of the Weimar republic and hometown of artists, composers and philosphers to boot. We are going to go to Goethe and Schillers’ houses. i feel very unprepared for this, apparently Goethe and Schiller are super famous in Eastern Europe and most of the students can recite poems and so forth. i thought i was doing well just to know who they were!

It has been raining here nonstop and we have even dipped into Thunder and lightening a few times. I m hoping that it clears up for the weekend, I would love to use the time to play outdoors and maybe go to a festival or something, but right now that doesn’t look too promising. i hopw you are all enjoying better weather than I am. Until Monday!

Allison

Ps. I still havn’t figured out Pictures, but that is my task for next week!

One week later

Ok so just kidding I wrote a long post on my laptop, but somehow it got lost in the transfer, so lots more details, hopefully on Wednesday, but for now I leave you in suspense.  The abbrievated version of my post is that the language test went well, i was put in an intermeddiate group which is great because it is all review for me. The event in the park was spectatular, we had a traditional meal and drinks on the waterfront and I meet tons of people. On Saturday We had a great creative writing class and also a tour of a meusum followed by going to an outdoor theater in the ruins of Church and we saw a hilarious version of The Taming of the Shrew. Yesterday I went to mass in the Catherdral, (i think im involved in some sort of Catholic conspiracy, my friend asked if i wanted to go with her to church but failed to mention the catholic part. Tomorrow we have a field trip but now i must go to class