Sunday, July 31

Toytown Munich

I'm so excited about this I just had to put it in here... I found a website today called Toytown Munich, it's a site for English speakers living in Munich. There are about 12 thousand native english speakers currently living in Munich. !!!!! 12 THOUSAND!!! I could count the number of native english speakers in Muenster on my hands, and americans on one hand. Anyway, this website is very helpful and exciting. They have all kinds of chat groups and message boards and usefull information about living and working in Munich. AND they have all kinds of planned social events like meeting at bars weekly, a knitting club, an indian resturant club, a frisbee club, an american fantasy football league. It's amazing! Of course I don't want to spend all of my time in Munich with Americans, that would sort of defeat the purpose, but still, it's so nice to know that they are there, and that they are organized! And I can meet people and ask questions and find help when i need it. Remarkable. Americans are so good at being organized and making things convenient. I am so incredibly lucky to have been placed in Munich... I still can't believe it.

Saturday, July 30

My give-a-damn's busted

I just got back from the Ribfest in St. Paul. It was a jolly good time. We went to see the free Jo Dee Messina concert. I didn't really know who she was, but Chelsea and Alexis are big fans. I don't exactly keep up on who's who in country music these days. It's not that I dislike all country, it's just that those few horribly sappy patriotic songs are enough to keep me from ever tuning in to a country radio station. But I've liked Garth Brooks, the Dixi Chicks, and Toby Keith, so perhaps I should be more receptive to the country music scene. Jo Dee Massina was really fun in concert, I liked her songs. Country music is great because even if you've never heard a song you can still sing along.
I didn't actually get any ribs at the ribfest. I wasn't that hungry and they are rediculously expensive, so Alexis and I just split a blooming onion, and it was oh so fried and tasty.
While I was there I was thinking about how American that whole thing was, ribs, country music, etc. and I was thinking of how I could describe it to German students. But thinking about it I realize that actually it's really very German. I whole Fest surrounding pork products, beer, and cheesy music. that's like every weekend in Germany. Our cultures really aren't all that different in the end....

Thursday, July 28

Yesturday I purchased this travelpack and this book. Have I mentioned how excited I am to go back to Europe?

Tuesday, July 26

double bogie

I went golfing today. I think it's the second time I've been, I'm not quite sure. We went to the driving range in high school gym class, if that counts. Anyway, my grandparents are here and Grandpa is crazy about golfing, so I agreed to go with him and Mom, because... what else am I doing? My first shot I hit the ball like two feel away from that swan you see in the background. When I went to get the ball he was giving me the evil eye and i got a little nervous. So I picked it up quick and moved it away before taking a swing. Overall I don't think I did to bad. Grandpa has a rule that he won't write down more than 8 for anyone's score, so I got a lot of 8's. But I didn't lose my ball once, and I even got a double bogie on one hole! Although I don't really see all the fuss about getting so few strokes... it just means you get fewer turns to hit the ball. Why pay all that money to hit it three times when you could hit it ten times?

Sunday, July 24

More about my upcoming year

Well we're over halfway through the summer now. I'm a little sad about this, summer's always go to quickly for me. My thoughts are turning more and more to preparing for my big adventure in the fall and it has occured to me that I haven't posted all that much about what exactly I'll be doing. So, here we go...

I have been awarded a PĂ„dagogischer Austauschdienst (PAD) Teaching Assistantship Fulbright grant. Most Fulbright grants are for reasearch, but this one is a little different as it involves working as an assistant teachign and is actually run though a German program, PAD, which recruits teaching assistants from the US, the UK, and France to assist with forigne language instruction in German high schools. As a part of the application process I did have to come up with some reasearch project to work on in addition to the student teaching while I'm there, but as I understand it none, or very few, of the Teaching Asistants (TAs) actually follow through on their reseach projects and Fulbright doesn't ever check up on you or require you to produce anything. Interestingly, they don't require reseach grant recipients to produce anything either. I guess they figure if you are motivated enough to apply and recieve a grant then you can do whatever you want.

So I found out that I recieved the grant somtime in March, and then several weeks later I found out that I had been placed in the state of Bavaria. Bavaria is down in southeastern germany on the border with Austria. It was part of the American sector after WW2. Bavarian culture is what most americans would associate with typical German stereotypes, it is the home of Oktoberfest, Lederhosen, Neuschwanstein, and Weisenbier. The people are supposed to be warmer and friendlier than the northern Germans I was perpetually complaining about last year, and they speak in a different dialect which I will probably have great difficulty undersanding, but Hochdeutsch (High German) is what they use in schools, so I should be ok.

So anyway, it wasn't until after I was home for the summer that I found out where exactly I would be. Finally the Bavarian Kulturminister sent me a packet of information and my school assignment. I have been placed at two schools just outside of Munich. This is a really really great assignment. Munich is one of the largest cities in Germany and probably the most popular tourist destination, partially because of Oktoberfest. That means that there is going to be tons and tons of stuff to do and people to meet and places to see. And there is a metro system. It is also great because there is a large university in Munich which means I can take classes while I'm there, and it means that there is a large student culture and lots of people my age. I am pretty lucky. TAs are placed all over Germany, including lots of itty bitty towns in East Germany. This girl kept a blog of her experience is just such a town, it's great reading! Being in a tiny town would have been a good experience in many ways as well, but being in Munich is going to be really exciting and I think it will give me a lot more oportunities while i'm there.

There are, of course, some drawbacks to living in sich a desireable area, maily cost. Rent, food, and just about everything else is considerable more expensive in Munich than it is in other parts of Germany. With my grant I will be recieving about 715 euros a month, that works out to about $900. That will have to pay for my rent, food, everything. The only thing Fulbright pays for is the plane ticket to get there. So, needless to say I'm going to be learning a lot about budgeting! Where am I going to live, you may ask? I'm not entirely sure. As I wrote in my earlier very frustrated Blog, I did finally hear back from the woman in charge of international housing at the university. I did e-mail her the forms and she responded to say I had been put on a list for housing. I don't know if this means that I will deffinitly get student housing or not. If I don't then I will probably just have to go and stay in a hostle until I can find something while I'm there. It's pretty difficult to go apartment hunting from another continent.

And what exactly am I going to be doing over there? Well, I'll start at the begining. I'm leaving Minneapolis on Sept 2. I'm planning to go to Muenster for a few days to visit Frau Henzelt and Silke there. Then I have to be in Cologne at the traim station on Sept 8th at 9am to meet the other future TAs for our orientation. The orientation is a few days long and after that we disperse to our assigned cities and schools. TAs are expected to work no more than 12 hrs a week. Since I'm at two schools it will be about 6hrs at each. I will be in charge of leading small discussion groups withthe students. I will come up with some of my own topics related to American culture to discuss with them and help them with their English vocabulary and pronunciation. And the time I dont' spend in the schools... well, I can do anything I want to. I plan on taking a few classes at the university. I also discovered a masters synchro team in Munich and will hopefully practice with them. Planning lessons will take up a chunk of time as well. I plan to travel as much as my budget and schedule will alow. And hopefully I'll have time to experience all of the culture in Munich, museums, achitecture, nightlife, beer! I'm pretty excited about being there for Oktoberfest. I know that it's become more of a huge tourist attraction than anything, but I'm still looking forward to experiencing it.

So, that's just about everything that I know about the upcoming year. I still have lots of stuff to get together and be prepared for before I leave. I want to be more organized and prepared before I go this time, I was a bit of a mess before leaving for Muenster. So I'm working on collecting the items that I will need, thinking of potential lesson plans and classroom materials, and making personal goals for myself for the next year.

I'm going to Europe! I'm so thrilled to have this oportunity. Life just gets better and better :)


Wednesday, July 20

Boy oh boy, what a day. It finally rained last night. Stormed, actually. It was pretty loud and I was having crazy Harry Potter dreams about wizards duling and making thunder (I finished the fifth book last night, so now I can start the new one). Anyway, this morning I got up early to go baby sit and found that I had left my car windows down. lovely. I swear, every time I forget to roll up the windows it like channels the rain gods or something. It never fails. So anyway, the girls were good today, we played with Play-doh, went to the park... nearly burned down the house. yeah..... I put a frozen waffle in the toaster oven for Sarah and then proceeded to turn around and make Molly macaroni. A few minutes later I smelled burning and Sarah started yelling about a fire... I opened the toaster oven and realized I had put the waffle on a plastic plate! genious. I stood there for a minute trying to think what to do, and weather it was ok to put water on it or not. Sarah was freaking out and grabbed Molly and ran outside. Good instincs. eventually I unplugged the toaster oven and poured water on the fire. Thankfully it went out without causing to much damage. Just one pink plate melted all over the inside. Luckily their parents are very nice and easy going and found it very humourous when they got home. Their dad said something about "How many Fulbright scholars does it take to work a toaster oven?" Sigh. Way to go Anne.
So that was my day. That and sitting in traffic in my hot hot car. And now I think I'll be retreating to the worls of wizarding once again...

Monday, July 18

Germanness! arg!

Stupid stupid German beuracracy and paperwork and incompetance! So I've been trying to contact the woman in charge of international housing at the University in Munich for over a month now. The teacher I will be working with has contacted her and I have also personally e-mailed her twice as well as asking the Fulbright kommision to e-mail her on my behalf, which they did. I recieved no response.

So today I got an e-mail from her. It says that the teacher she talked to asked for some forms for me to send back to them. I didn't get any forms. She says that they have unfortunately not recieved them from me. (!!!!!) And if I'm still interested in them finding me housing they need the forms by July 20th. That's the day after tomorrow!!!! Why on earth would she not have just sent the forms directly to me a month ago??? She had my e-mail address! and my home address!! why why why??? She at least attached the forms so I just filled it out on the computer and sent it back as an attatchment. I hope that's good enough. I guess I could try to overnight them by mail tomorrow.

arg. Germans. This doesn't bode well for the next year...

Friday, July 15

I'm melting! I'm melting! Oh what a world!

Seriously, can this heat go on any longer? What state are we in here? because last I checked this was Minnesota, not Virginia. I wouldn't mind it so much if I I had air conditioning in my house, or even my car, but, alas, I have niether. So I'm doomed to slowly melt into a puddle of anne-goo. Sigh. At least we Minnesotans can always find pleasure in complaining about the weather :P

Emily just left yesturday, we had a very fun few days. We went to the MOA and road the new roller coaster. Weeeeee! And I took her to her interview which I guess went well because they called her back the next day to ask her to come in again. Unfortunalty they called just as we were arriving at the lake house and we had to turn around. Oh well. I showed Emily the lovely Lake Minnetonka and dowtown Wayzata. Wednesday night we went to dinner in Uptown and to a trendy new bar then we went Salsa Dancing! I may have dragged her along a bit, because I'll use any excuse to get someone to go dancing with me, but after a few drinks she got into it and had fun.

Today I baby sat for the little girls I've been watching on fridays. They are very sweet and pretty easy to handle. Today I found out, however, that Sarah, 4 1/2, is terrified of dogs. There was one at the park and she refused to even be on the same half of the playground with it without me holding her hand. I'm going to be watching them four days next week. yay for money!

My family is up at the lake already I think, but I'm kind of enjoying our empty house,so I might stick around for a bit.

ta ta and keep cool!

Monday, July 11

synchro in the lake Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 10

Another lovely weekend at the lake house. Swimming, tanning , boating, fishing, reading... I'm not sure why I bother blogging, it's all about the same. I did go to the rodeo on Thursday with Mom and Tommy. Alexis left with her parents to drive to Reno. Reno stinks. She should be here. But oh well, summer goes on. My great uncle Fran is here this weekend. All he wants to do is fish all the day long. He's pretty funny. He's always fixing stuff up, can't sit still. He fixed all kinds of things at the new house, he even fixed an old ladder he found in the shed, we didn't even know we had a ladder.
I came home by myself this evening with half a cow in the back of the car. I'm not going to explain that, because whatever you may be imagining is probably more exciting than my story.
Anyway, so I watched "Into the West", which is a GREAT miniseries and I think you should all watch it. It's very educational and exciting at the same time. I have it all on TiVo, I'll send you a tape if you like. It's on TNT though, they'll probably replay it sometime.
That's about it for the weekend. Emily is coming tomorrow! My lovely duet partner. She's interviewing for a job at a research company in Minnetonka, keep your fingers crossed. She's from Georgia, but I've assured her that the winters here really aren't all the bad, and really it will just make her appreciate nice weather that much more ;)

Wednesday, July 6

Feelin' Independent

Happy 6th of July! I hope everyone had a good holiday weekend. I just got back from the Music in Plymouth and it was fabulous as always. The Minnesota Orchestra was there, and there was a really cheesy 80s style laser show and of course, Fireworks! woo hoo! It's amazing how many people will flock together to see things explode in the sky, and yet we do. Even though it means battling crowds and sitting in traffic, it's somehow all worth it. Fireworks are just magical somehow.
It has been a fun filled Independence day week for me. Shannon was here! She got in Saturday morning and I brought her directly to the Mall of America despite the fact that she had only had a few hours of sleep. And boy oh boy did we shop! We made it just about around the entire mall. Even I was ready to drop by dinner time. Sunday we slept late and then went up to the lake house along with Chelsea and Alexis. On the way up we did some Strawberry picking at a nearby orchard. It turned out that a good portion of my Dad's family was also at the lake house, so Shannon got the whole extended Family experience. Dad let me take out the pontoon with the girls so we went for a cruise around the lake and stopped at the point to swim. We met some random guys who gave Kelly a ride on their tube. People are very friendly up there. Especially when you have a whole boat full of 20 something girls ;)
Monday was jam packed with patriotic excitement. A bunch of my friends along with some of my parents' friends and thier kids all came to our little lake house. We went swimming and boating and ate lots and lots of wonderfully american food like fresh fish and hamburgers and watermelon. After dark we took the pontoon out again and watched the distant fireworks shows that could be seen around the lake. We also sang every patriotic song we could think of, and a few others just for good measure.
Tuesday just Shannon and I were left at the Lake house. We slept late, read a while and went for a spin on the paddle boat. It was quite relaxing and Shannon was quite pleased to be so far away from accounting! Then we came home and went out for dinner and a movie in Uptown. We ate at the oh so trendy Chino Latino and went to a French film at the Lagoon. Ah, Minnesota. A morning on the lake and a night on the town. Who wouldn' t love it here? I love having people visit so I can show them that MN is not the frozen wastland they may think it is!
Comming up this weekend.....The Hamel Rodeo! get excited people!