Monday, May 31, 2010

First Full Day

I set two alarms last night, one for 7:30 this morning and one for 7:31 this morning, just in case the alarm-goblins visited my phone during the night. But apparently they were hungry, because nothing happened at 7:30 or 7:31, and it was by the grace of God that I woke up at 8:30. So I rolled over, looked at my phone confused for multiple seconds, trying to grasp just what it is the Muses of Time have against me. Then I jumped out of bed and got dressed at the speed of light and ran down the EXTREMELY LOUD stairs. I had to be in the classroom at 9:00, and I had absolutely no idea where, in a city of 65,000 people, the classroom, let alone the Bauhaus University, was.

If I were a guinea pig, I would have looked like this:

So then I pulled out a map of the city, found something that looked familiar, and figured out the way to the closest Bauhaus University building. Then I ran there, asked for directions to the Sprachzentrum (language center) which I assumed was where the classes would be. It was around a corner, through an alleyway, and down a street on the left. I ran there and ran up to the second floor (which is actually the third floor in American floors). Then I recognized the sound of someone I knew talking and ran in the room at 9:05 AM. I felt like the worst-ass person in the city at that moment. Assuming "worst-ass" is the superlative of "bad-ass."

Classes started out very easily. I have three classes: one on the language, one on economy-German, and one that isn't actually really a class at all. It's a series of essays I have to write and some projects to do over the next six weeks.

After classes, I went into the city and found a stand that sells Thüringer Bratwurst. Along with a Drogerie (drug store), two barber shops, two antique shops, an Indian store, two toy stores, and countless restaurants. The amount to explore here is almost overwhelming. I picked out some things for people back in America. Also, I ran into this guy (the one in the middle) in one of the stores. His name is Bernhard "Kani" Kanhold and he used to be the lead singer of the band Rest of Best. It was cool- he was wearing a leather jacket and an American flag tie. I got his life story from the owner of the shop. He fell in love with America at a very young age, learned to play guitar, and went to the United States. He joined a band and wore a different pair of Elvis shoes every day. At some point, he stopped being in the band and went back to his house, which is just a block from the store I was in. He had just fallen on the way into the store a few minutes before, and was on his way to the hospital to get checked out. As soon as I walked in, he asked me if I liked Goethe, Schiller or Herder. I told him that of the three of them, I was the biggest fan of Herder (never actually heard of him). He showed me a huge 400 euro bust Herder for me to buy. I said I would think about it.

After he left, the store owner gave me a free postcard with the band on it. We got to talking, and when they found out I was from Atlanta, they told me they would give me an autographed picture of the band by the end of the week if I came back. I should really figure out something less than 400 euros to buy in that store...

While shopping today, I found proof that the dollar is secretly stronger than the euro. The cost of my items was 3.98, and I handed the cashier a 5-euro bill. She handed me a 1-euro coin and an American penny in change. God bless the USA.

Je suis in Germany. Wait...

So yesterday and the day before count as one day in my head. Mainly because I didn't sleep, but partially because there was no definition of where one day ended and the next day began, aside from pausing Pirate Radio on the in-flight movie screen and checking the time to see that it was 12:40 Atlanta time. Which meant it was something like 2:40 AM wherever I was at the time. After leaving my mom, I went to the terminal (gate E-11; I remembered it by the Imperial blaster in Star Wars) and sat down. 14 or so seconds later, Anna Myer found me! So then we waited another hour or so and Josh Gloster showed up. Of the nine or so people leaving two days ago for Frankfurt, the three from Chamblee happened to be on the same flight.

So the next nine hours were spent sitting on the plane next to like 6 German people. I was very clearly the odd one out, mostly because I wasn't wearing a cowboy hat. Though in retrospect, I definitely should have. And should always. I watched Pirate Radio and The Hurt Locker. Sleep was hard to come by, particularly after Señor Inconvenientéin front of me decided he wanted to push his chair all the way back into my face. You know what I've noticed?Whenever people do that to you on a plane, they always do it really slowly. Like they want to make SURE you know they just did that. Hey jackass, see what I'm doing here? I'm pushing my seat back into you. Yeah, you like that? Almost halfway there. Kind of reminds you of something else, doesn't it...?
Anyway, then we got off the plane and struggled slightly to find Frankfurt Fernbahnhof (it was after a maze of maps and escalators). Hats off to the cowboyhat-Germans, though. They got us going in the right direction.
After an hour of waiting, Anna and I took the four-hour train ride to Weimar. Poor Anna had to spent 44 euros on another ticket, as she didn't want to go alone on her later train. And then I sort of fell asleep maybe 30 minutes before we arrived, so Anna had to be awake to get us off the train. I'm gonna be really nice to her for the next two months.

The BEST PART of arriving in Germany was taking a look at my phone. Not only had the time been automatically updated, but where "AT&T" used to be, it magically changed to "!"

You'd think after 24 hours of traveling and little to no sleep, we'd be able to get some rest. But after taking the taxi to the Hedwig-Pfeiffer Haus, we had to take a test to split us up into two groups based on German proficiency. Apparently I got put in the good group. Then we got room assignments (room 205 for me) and keys and lugged heavy suitcases up the EXTREMELY LOUD stairs.

Still not allowed to sleep. Then we went to dinner at the oldest bar in Weimar, which I had no idea was going to be payed for by the LBAT program. So when I was confused by so many people ordering drinks upon drinks upon drinks, it would have been totally free. Ah well, I justify it by saying that I saved the program some money.

Finally, after dinner with the German tutors, it was time to go back to the house. I took a shower and fell asleep immediately.