Germany Thus Far: 15 Months

Another month in Germany has gone by…

While I can obviously complain about the horrible weather and lack of snow in southern Germany in December, there’s also plenty to be happy about (like the fact that I have tons of snow now!).

Around Baden-Württemberg

I celebrated my birthday this month with some friends from the Uni. We made up five nationalities: Bosnia, China, Germany, Georgia (the country, not the US state), and of course the US. Thanks you guys for an entertaining night and the epic multi-lingual toasts / speeches that you gave me!

Christmas markets were also in full swing, and I got my fill of Glühwein. I certainly made sure to visit the Konstanz market as much as possible since I will be living elsewhere next year. I also made it back to the Ravensburg market and the very last day of the Ulm market.

Christmas Cookies

My Christmas was celebrated with my adopted German family. No snow, but lots of food and singing carols (which I will forever hate). All in all, it was a relaxing holiday weekend.

In the Books

December was a busy study month. From midterms, to take-home exams, to a few papers, I didn’t have much downtime. I would have liked to have gone out more, but that’s life as a Master’s student.

New on the horizon: a Master’s thesis. Right before the break, my study program (all five of us) had a meeting with our advisor to discuss the upcoming thesis registration. I need a topic, and a thesis advisor, plus a second grader. There are a lot of topics that I find interesting. Too many in fact. Now the game is to narrow it down from my list of twenty to just one and make a proposal.

Speaking Denglish

Over Christmas, German had my head spinning. I spoke so much German that I had difficulty forming proper sentences in English by the end of the night.

I also noticed several times over the last month that I’ve been forgetting English words that I should know. For instance, I was at lunch a few weeks ago being quizzed on German words, and discussing trickier words which sound alike. We landed on the topic of the wood chip stuff that you put around trees and flowers. I used to work in a garden center, so I should know this word. Only a few days ago did I finally remember that it is “mulch” that I was searching for.

So that was my month. In other news, my mother sent me my little sister’s senior photos. I can’t help but show off how cute she is. She graduates from high school in May!

C's Senior Photo

Cheers!

Germany Thus Far: 14 Months

November is about gone, and the new year is just around the corner. This month has been a wild ride. To be honest, I’m glad it’s almost over.

Around Konstanz

Several things happened this past month here in Konstanz. First, the weather has become quite gray and cold. Today, I was pleasantly surprised with some sunshine, but I know that the fog will descend again soon. November was when I started hating Konstanz’s winter last year as well.

On the other hand, the good thing about winter in Konstanz is that the Christmas market is going! Several weeks ago, the stalls were being built up. On Friday, I had my first trip there where I ate some delicious falafel from one of the food stands. (I have a falafel addiction….) I was also there again yesterday.

The second time around, I bought some waffles which were more like crepes to me. I think that it will be a long time before I get over the fact that waffles and pancakes in Germany are just not as fluffy as in the States.

Finally, after a wait that was more than the one month which the Immigration Office mentioned, I was told my residence permit arrived! Thankfully, I didn’t need an appointment like last year (if I had to get an appointment, it would have taken several more months). Instead, I could go to the Immigration Office’s Service Center and pick it up in about five minutes (after waiting 30 minutes in line).

In the Books

Studies are moving along this month. I gave one presentation in my Political Economy of Asylum Policy seminar, and it went well. Now I am preparing for midterms which are coming up in the next month. I also have several presentations coming up in January and February which I should prepare for in the meantime. Okay, let’s be real. I’m going to procrastinate.

Speaking Deutsch

As usual, my German is getting better. In fact, my German is almost getting too good. When I tell people that I’m in a B1-level course, they seem to think that means that I am conversational in German. Yes, I can talk about some things, but my confidence is shaky and my vocabulary is still growing. I guess I’d better watch some more ZDF (a “free” German television network financed by the government, which charges all residents of Germany).

Cheers!

Germany Thus Far: (Belated) Three Months In

So I’m almost half a month late, but I’d still like to highlight everything that happened during my third month in Germany. So December…

Travel

December is a special month in my life, because it is the month that I celebrate being born and not dying in the past year! Yay! I hit up some Christmas markets to celebrate this event. Here’s to hoping I survive another year…

RV Christmas Market
Ravensburg Christmas Market

Also of note in December is the Christmas holiday. This Christmas I stayed with a German family. Afterwards, I wrote a little comparison of my interpretation of “German Christmas” vs. “American Christmas.”

Studies

In December, I finished out my 2015 lectures. Then I started panicking about my upcoming final exams. The semester dates are quite different from what you’d experience at an American school. I’ll actually be taking my finals in February.

Konstanz Windows

Between my studies, I also wrote a short post to show everyone what the Konstanz Uni looks like.

German

In the third month of my language learning journey, I introduced Deutsch Donnerstag. This new series highlights some adventures in my language learning, as well as happy accidents. The first post is on a cool word: Schnee.

Well, there’s my month in review. My last of 2015, my third in Germany, and the coldest this winter so far (but where is the snow?).

Cheers!

Another Birthday Abroad

I celebrated my twenty-third birthday this month in true Lynnae fashion: with Mexican food and Christmas markets.

I went to the Christmas market in Ulm and enjoyed my first ever Feuerzangenbowle. It’s a type of Glühwein with a little cube of sugar on top covered in rum and lit on fire. Luckily, I didn’t light myself on fire. Though, I did see one guy light his shoe on fire, so it seems to be easily done.

Afterwards, I went to Enchilada, one of the few Mexican restaurants that I’ve seen. It was pretty good, but not as good as the American-Mexican and Southwestern food that I can get back in the states. It was also nowhere near as good as the Mexican food that I had in Oaxaca. I quickly cleared my plate all the same.

I also went to the Ravensburg Christmas market on my birthday weekend. I was surprised at how big it was for a small town. While I was there, I had some yummy spring rolls.

RV Christmas Market
Ravensburg Christmas Market

Overall, I’d say I had a good variety of some of my favorite cuisines, including cooking my favorite lemon chicken and pasta. I also got to see some really festive Christmas-time celebrations in Germany.

After this weekend I had one major conclusion. I have missed people drinking in public and during the day like in Northern Ireland. And the strange thing is that even with the public drinking, it still feels more like a family event than anything I’ve been to in the States.

What do I think about birthdays abroad? Not so bad. Sure, I’m not with family, but at least I have a good view, though no view can beat last year’s.

Cheers!

Deutsch Donnerstag: Schnee!

Deutsch Donnerstag

Hallo! I’ve decided to start a new series called “Deutsch Donnerstag,” or “German Thursday.” On as many Thursdays as possible (I am a busy grad student after all) I will try to write a little snippet about some German that I learned during the week, or share a story about German gone wrong (it’s pretty easy to mess up).

To begin, I’m going to tell you the best word in the German language (that I know of so far; this is likely to change often). It’s Schnee.

Schnee means “snow.” It’s my favorite word right now because of both its meaning and awesome pronunciation.

You might think that it snows a ton over here in Germany. In some places, it does, but here by the Bodensee I actually don’t get a lot of Schnee. The lake keeps the air relatively warm and humid. The couple of times that it has snowed so far, it melted right away or quickly turned to rain, while people north of the lake got a nice dusting of Schnee. Needless to say, I’ve been so jealous.

My birthday is coming up on Sunday, so I’m traveling to Ulm to visit a Weihnachtsmarkt, or Christmas market, and have some Mexican food to celebrate! Perhaps I will get lucky and be able to run around in the Schnee at the Weihnachtsmarkt

Cheers!