Monthly Archives: January 2012

January 18 through January 27 Video Blog

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Newfound-bad-habits! CIGARETTES

Your Marlboro Light 100’s (the GOLD pack) has finally gotten me in its tight grip. After just 15 days here, I have become addicted to them. I feel like such a hypocrite.

Just kidding. The closest I come to tobacco in my possession is when EVERY article of clothing I wear out comes back soaked with 100 different types of smoke. Did I scare you, Dad?

I love you and I want you around forever – you know who you are!!!

No sleep. No blog – These are two bad habits that I must eliminate!

It has been too many days since my last post. I have had all of my classes, my first quiz, 3 papers, and 2 presentations since my last post. I have been to Koln three times. I have stayed out until 5:30 am. I have seen the 2nd largest furnisher trade show in the world. I have watched American Football in a German Pub. I have eaten “baby pig.” I have gotten an infection in both of my achilles tendons from walking and exercising too much then proceeding to exercise immediately after seeing the doctor and spend then entire next day walking and climbing tall buildings. I have seen Beethoven’s house and many amazing things there. I have seen Roman ruins. I have seen an AMAZING Cathedral (that took 6 HUNDRED years to build). And…for a short while, I have seen the back of my eyelids.

I will get into more detail in a later post, but for now, here are some photos because I am working on not keeping my bad habit of waiting until 2:30 or 3am every morning to go to sleep. The other bad habit will be kicked tomorrow.

Here is preview


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Day 6 – Reflective

Day 6 – Already?

Today began in Monreal with a 6 mile hike in the frigid German winter air. It was great! Challenging, beautiful, and fun. About half of the group went on the hike through the hills. We saw some deer, many trees, a small river, little secluded houses, and a man who came out to see why his dog was barking to greet us with “guten morgen.” I like it out of the city.

After the hike we had breakfast which felt amazing after 2 hours of hiking on an empty stomach (although I cheated and had some weird health drink..about 5hr energy size..that Jurgen gave me yesterday which wasn’t bad). Eggs, cold cuts, bread, jam that tasted like wine, orange juice, and coffee. I loveeeee breakfast!!!!!

After breakfast we had a “Cultural Adjustment Workshop” where we talked for many hours about our experiences and what to expect while we study abroad. It was helpful, fun and interesting. I think it also helped our group get to know each other better. I have learned that no one is how I expected them to be-I like it.

We rode the train home. I asked Victoria about where to go to start my photography project and I had an idea that it may be interesting to find Jewish people who were around during or shortly after the Holocaust and interview them and have portraits of them. Something maybe a little bit different than the idea I had before.

I had a dream that I was home last night. I woke up and was confused then sad! The dream seemed so real. Maybe if I have more dreams like that I won’t miss home as much eventually because I can be there for a little bit. ūüôā

Today was a good day. Tomorrow is a free day-my last before school starts. I want to go for a run in the morning. We will see if that happens!!! I am happy but missing home more than I have yet.

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Day 5 – Tall, Old Buildings ….& Fire

Day 5 – Bonn, Eifel, & Monreal

Today we left the AIB at 7:30am for the city of Eifel. Eifel is a small town formed by a volcano. We visited a 700 year old church which was built using the volcanic rock among other things. It was beautiful. We attended mass which was given in Latin and German-traditional Catholic mass. The Church is called Maria Laach. The Monks at this Benedict Monastry product their own crops, products, fruit, and have a fishery. They also are known for their sculpting facilities, and more. The Monks try to live all on the money/things they produce themselves. The singing during the mass was very beautiful. Something out of a movie-dramatic even.After the mass, we enjoyed some coffee and hot chocolate then left on the bus for a castle in Eifel called Schloss Burresheim. It was also about 700 years old and is the only castle in the EIfold-very cold. They developed different methods of heating rooms like metal pot sort of things with strategic openings, hot coal, etc. The Germans have learneel region to never be destroyed meaning it survived the 18th and 19th centuries and the French Revoultion. Apparently a scene from Indiana Jones was filmed with the castle in the background in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” The castle was amazing…so many details that allowed it to be fortified against attackers. It was very interesting to me to discover how every detail of the castle, including the direction of the spiral staircase (clockwise, not counter clockwise) was designed in order to defend in case of an attack. The walls were at least 5 feet thick, very few windows, s shaped entrance, etc. I also was surprised to learn that living in a castle SUCKED! It was freezing because they were made of stone and Germany¬†is cd to be very efficient, I think very much in part to the cimate. At my host family’s house, like most others here, there are many doors which are almost always shut to keep the heat in each room.

Next, we were bussed to Monreal which was destroyed by the Swedish in 1632 and by the French in 1689 – but since then they’ve managed to build more buildings in that short of time. ¬†… The town is beautiful. It was actually rated the most beautiful city in Germany at one point. Quaint, stereotypical German houses nestled between the rolling hills with ruins of a castle on the horizon. Perfect. We hiked to the top of the hill and onto the remains of the castle that was there. It was really fun, muddy, and a little bit challenging but not too bad.o get to my bathroom I have to go through 4 doors (that are always shut). Anyway, the castle was amazing. There were ancient pieces of furnisher that had been actually lived in among other things like many paintings and deer antlers. I very much enjoyed the castle.

We had a break that most of us utilized as nap time (including me) and then there was dinner in one of the bed and breakfasts that the boys stayed at. I stayed in one too…It was cool! A small “apartment” which was very comfortable. Anyway, dinner was eggs sunny side up, a bunch of cold cuts, bread, cheese, and 2 different kinds of wine (we were wine tasting technically). It was delicious..I am lucky that breakfast is my favorite meal, because this was definitely breakfast for dinner. We had some plum pudding and/or cheese cake for dessert which were both delicious and home made.

After dinner we went on a night hike with torches into the forrest for about 45 minutes. It was very fun! Fire is pretty dangerous and we were surprised they let 19 city slickers play with fire in a forrest in Germany. Nothing bad happened…some torches were tossed in the river (with permission) which looked and sounded realllyyyy cool. After the 2nd hike of the day we went back¬†to where we had dinner. I’m gonna let Winkipedia do the explaining here….

Feuerzangenbowle¬†is a traditional¬†German¬†alcoholic drink for which a rum-soaked¬†sugarloaf¬†is set on fire and drips into¬†mulled wine. It is often part of a¬†Christmas¬†or¬†New Year’s Eve¬†tradition. The name translates literally to¬†fire-tongs punch.”

It was DELICIOUS. Took about 20 minutes to prepare and was well worth the wait. It was bedtime shortly after. Today was my favorite by far.

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Day 4 – The Run from Sud

Today was a day to myself. Not really on purpose, but it just happened. I accidentally slept until 12pm. The blinds here do a wonderful job at blocking out what little sun there is. So, I woke up, had breakfast, showered, and went into town to shop for some things I needed. Bandaids (for my wounded feet), shampoo and conditioner (I bought this really cool bar S&C that smells amazing and is all natural…we will see how good of a job it does), soap (nothing to say about soap), and a rain jacket.

I did not want to spend a lot of money on the rain jacket so it took a lot of searching to find a cheap one that I liked. I did find one at TK Max (TJ Max) for 17 Euro! I like it but it’s not very warm.

I was supposed to be home for dinner at 7pm but did not leave the city until after 7. I was running late and got off of the UBahn (the train) at 7:20-ish knowing I still had a 5 minute walk home. ….I looked up and found that I was off at the wrong stop. I was in Tannenburg Sud and not Mitte. There was 23 minutes until the next train, making me about 50 minutes late for dinner. I decided to try to walk home (I saw a sign that said “Tannenburg Mitte 1.1” so I assume it was 1.1km from that point but who knows how far it was to my house) in the dark in a strange city by myself. I had to ask a total of 3 people on the way how to get to where I needed to go but my sense of direction definitely helped. I made it back after running and sweating with my heavy jacket and several bags in my hands only to come home with dinner not ready. Which was probably the best outcome possible.

Dinner was delicious as always. Salad, potatoes and chicken! Yum! I didn’t go out – had to be at the AIB at 7:30am to go on our first trip.


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Day 2 and 3 – Bonn

The days are long and cold.

January 12 (gestern) seems like so long ago already. We had an orientation meeting at the AIB ¬†gestern Morgen for a few hours to go over necessary information and then we had lunch and a tour of Bonn. For lunch I had my first Kebab which was actually pretty good! It had meat (pork ich denke), cabbage-both red and regular, some sort of garlic sauce, and tomatoes on it. I had my first bier- “gold” something in a bottle. I still don’t like Bier. After lunch, we had a tour around Bonn to try to learn our way around the city. It is beautiful-2,000 years old. I was interested to learn that they have a fresh produce market in one of the 4 squares every day expect sunday…and they were out at least until 19:00. After the tour I was excited to finally make it home. We (me and several of the girls) wanted to figure out how to take the Bus home so that we could do it easily later last night. We figured it out and got home safely.

I had dinner at “home.” I ate by myself because I got home so late. It was “Chinese” food. Rice with mushrooms, veggies and chicken(?) in a sauce. Es war gut und f√ľllen. I Skyped with mom and dad for the first time. It was nice to see them! I also got to Skype with Pascal. I was planning on napping after the long day but did not have time. We went out for the first time last night to a bar called Bla and the to a club two doors down. We got lost getting there but made it OK. Played Foosball in Bla and made some German acquaintances. Had another bier. The club next door was fun-we played the “loud, obnoxious American” part. The music is pretty much all American and we know most of the songs. We took the Bus home-by 3:20.

Photos below are of Bonn in the city, the trees are at Bonn University, and the food is my first Bier and Kebab.

January 13 (day 3)

Breakfast is wonderful here. Bread, butter, jam, Nutella, cold cuts, fresh orange juice, coffee, tea. Wonderbar!!! ¬†Same thing today as I had yesterday. Discovered I woke up too early and had more time than I thought I needed, which was nice until I was actually 15 minutes late das morgen. Had my first German lesson today! Hilde is my Professor and she has a great sense of humor-I can tell that she loves teaching, which makes it fun to learn from her. We had lunch at the University cafeteria-Gnocchi was like fried and nasty. I’ll try something else next time. After lunch was more German lessons and then a scavenger hunt around Bonn where were had to answer different questions about specific things in the city and do different tasks to earn points. Don’t know what the prize is yet but we will find out by Monday. My group consisted of Nick, Jen, Ali, and myself. We went in to Beethoven Haus (where he lived) to find a list of over 200 songs he wrote-we are hoping this will get us the 200 points we were looking for by going inside for the list. The hunt helped me orient myself in the city and it was fun! By the end my feet are officially blistered in several places and I was tired so I skipped the next 30 minute tour to go home for dinner and rest after 3.5 hours of sleep last night.

Dinner tonight was delicious as well. We had carrots, potatoes, and some sort of egg dish with pudding for dessert. Tea was on the table too. I had an interesting conversation with Uschi. I ended up telling her about homeschool which she had never heard of before. She was quite surprised. And, to top it off I told her I am Jewish and she seemed shocked for a minute-like she didn’t know how to respond. She talked of how her generation is the “young generation” and that they had nothing to do with the Holocaust. I asked her if they taught it to her in school and she said that they taught a little bit, but kids today learn more about it. She got up and told Laurent and Jurgen that I am Jewish and Laurent tried to explain to me that people still feel guilty for it. He said that his mother feels guilty still, but she disagreed with him. Uschi explained to me that Jurgen’s ¬†mother is 88 and when Jurgen asks her about WWII, she does not want to talk about it. The conversation was directed toward Israel and Palestine and how both parties are wrong. Uschi said that Germany tries to help Israel a lot. maybe too much. I found it interesting and found myself wondering if I should have waited a little bit longer to say anything about it. I just wanted to know if they could help me get to a memorial or concentration camp tomorrow because I have a free day and a big project to work on. She didn’t have those answers, but I will ask the student workers at the AIB as soon as I can.

I got to Skype today with Pascal which is always nice and comforting. I don’t think it has hit me fully that I will be here for 4 months. But every time I think about how long 4 months is, I try to tell myself that it isn’t that long. We will see!

I look forward to planning my weekend trips and taking photos!

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Day 1 – San Francisco, Frankfurt, & Bonn

Today has been a longggggg day. Not sure how many hours I’ve been awake. Since 8am January 10th in CA, and now its 7:30 pm in Bonn January 11. So I guess that is just 25 hours?

Anyway, I flew out of SFO at 1:45pm. On the flight I read an entire book from start to finish. My first kindle book…The Hunger Games. I really liked it, apparently. There were a few other LMU students on the flight which was really nice.

We arrived in Frankfurt, Germany at 9:20am January 11. From there we took a bus to Bonn where we were dropped off at the AIB (the people & building where we will be getting assistance while in Germany). My host father was the first to arrive. ¬†We took the subway to Tannenbusch where I live for the next 4 months. Its not too long of a ride! It’s really nice because there is public transit at all hours of the day. Jurgen, my host father, made chai tea and we had 2 cups together while we got to know each other. I showered, unpacked, and got some help with getting the internet working.

I just had my first dinner. First was the bread, caprissi, salad, and white wine (which I was told is usually red, but not tonight). I thought this was everything but then pasta with meat sauce came out next. Then some sort of sweet yogurt that was delicious-I am hoping I don’t get a stomach ache from it.

I hope to do some Skyping tonight and then finally get some sleep.

Tomorrow will wear me out I’m sure.

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Three Days Till Germany

Today I drove from Newport Beach to Tracy so that I can pack and be home for a few days. On the drive, I decided that I’m going to record how many miles I travel in 2012 – today I’ve reached 366.

It is becoming more real that I’m leaving after starting my goodbyes.¬†


I am dreading packing, but looking forward to being a minimalist…who has too many cameras (not a complaint). But first I have to unpack my car after pretty much living out of it for 12 days.

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