Monday, September 5
Ich bin Münsteranerin
Here's a picture of the Asee Kügeln (balls), coincidentally, they were desigened by the same artist who made the cherry on the spoon in Minneaopis. How about that?
It's been so nice here! Last night Silke came over for dinner and then she and I went out for coffee while Eva stayed in to watch the political debate. There's an election coming up for Chancelor. It will most likely be between Schröder (Social Democratic party) and Merkel (Christian Democratic Union). Silke thinks Merkel will win because the economy has been so bad under Schröder. The CDU is more toward the right end of the spectrum. Merkel is a woman by the way, I think it's pretty cool that this seems to be a non-issue here, although Silke says she doesn't like her because she's ugly and mean looking! The Al Gore problem... Germany isn't quite so dominated by only two parties though. I've been seeing signs in the city for a Marxist Lenenist Party! Anyway, talking to Silke was much more informative for me than watching the debate I think. We talked about all kinds socio political economic issues in Germany and the US. She is such an interesting person to talk to, she always has a wordly kind of perspective on things, perhaps because she has grown up in the US and in Germany and sees the flaws in both systems. She also has had to fight had to get through University because her family can't suppot her. She knows that socialism doesn't always work.
We talked a lot about our diffent school systems and what the pros and cons are. In Germany kids are tracked after 4th grade into Gymnasium (college track) Haubtschule (usually go on to apprenticeships) and Realschule (the lowest level). In theory it is more fair because students are tracked based 'purely' on grades and test scores. Of course that doesn't always work. For instance someone with dislexia is pretty much doomed to be put in Realschule because they don't have special education classes. Also, immigrants from Turkey or anywhere else are most likely put into Realschule because they haven't learned the language well enough yet and the schools are not required to teach them. So, the system is flawed. But is it worse than our American system where kids are doomed simply because of their parents income and the school disctrict they live in? I don't know. There has to be a better atlternative.
Anyway, Silke and I had a nice talk over coffee. Today I went out into the city again, but today the stores were actually open :) I went to Deutschbank to see if I could still use the account I opened last time, which I can. I had -1 euro in it! But I deposited some money and got my account number and they'll mail me a new card. I was pretty proud of myself because I did this all auf Deutsch. Then I went to buy a Handy (cell phone) and the guy started talking about networks or something... I must have had a pretty blank look on my face because he asked where I was from and then spoke english to me. But I got the cell phone, so all is good. I did a little more shopping, made the mistake of going into H&M where I naturally wanted to buy everything, but I resisted when I remembered how heavy my backpack already is... I did give in and buy a new book though because I wanted a German book to read. It was so exhilerating to walk around the city when it was so busy. It's been a while since I've even seen that many people at one time... much less that many Germans! I went to a cafe to have a coffee and read.. and there was Silke! That's the nice thing about little cities... So I had coffee with her and her friend and we arranged to meet later by the Asee Kügeln, which we did. We sat on the grass, drank some wine, Silke played guitar and we sang some great Folk songs, a few German ones but mostly American of course. It was odd to be sitting with a bunch of Germans singing... 'West Virginia, mountain mama, take me home, country road...'
Oh, and Eva let me use her bike so I took the long way to the Asee... Weeeeeeeeeee... I miss riding a bike everywhere! How could I ever have disliked anything about this city?? Oh right.... rain... and Germans... :-P
Tomorrow I'm off to Köln! (I love having ulauts again! äöü)