was so tired and the task seems so daunting, I've done so much in the last week or so! It's all been really great though, a very good break all together.
So from the begining... I left very very early Sunday morning and after a very long train ride arrived at Rostock, a smallish city a couple hours north of Berlin, sometime in the afternoon where I met up with Chris and Julia, two other TAs, at the station. The other TAs from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (German state north of Berlin) also came. It was really interesting to hear about all their experiences thus far. Definitely completely different from mine. They are mostly in these tiny towns where the differences between East and West are still very apparent. Unemployment is really high, it sounded like many of their students have unemployed parents. We talked about German's perspectives on reunification. Many east Germans feel that they lost something when they unified, lost their identity in a way. I could go into a long schpiel here about recent German history, but I'll spare you until a later date. It's just such a different atmosphere in the East from my ritzy suburbs of Munich.
Julia and her flat mates threw a Halloween party in their place Sunday night. It was great fun, a good mix of Americans, Germans, and Brits. I think I stayed up later than I have since getting to Germany. Monday afternoon I walked around Rostock a little with Julia, it was nice to catch up a bit. Rostock is quite a nice little city, I was suprised, it's bigger than I expected.
Monday evening I made my way to Berlin where I stayed with Caroline. No sight seeing or anything, but we did go out to dinner at a Japanese place where I had some very tasty noodles and laughed at Caroline attempting to eat noodle soup with chop-sticks.
Tuesday I flew to Oslo! Phil picked me up at the train station. I hardly recognized him, he had a mustache! apparently it was part of a halloween costume from the night before. He was also limping. He somehow hurt his knee and it had been getting progressively worse and worse until he could hardly walk by wednesday. So he didn't get to go out sight seeing with me. But we did get plenty of time to chat and catch up on the last few years which was nice. I also met some of the others in his study abroad program. So many Minnesotans! I guess it makes sense... who else would go to Norway? It seems like a really cool program though, very well organized. I wish I had done something like that for study abroad, as opposed to my year of being lost and confused in Muenster. It was interesting talking about and comparing Norway, Germany, and the US with them. I got a better perspective on Oslo talking to other americans who've been living there than I would have just being there alone I think.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I did lots of wandering and sight seeing. I saw the Nobel Peace Center which is a brand new super cool interactive museum dedicated to the spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize and those who have won it. It was an inspiring place.
I went to a few art museums including the Edvard Munch museum and the national galery where I saw his painting, "The Scream".
For the most part the city of Oslo is not particularily beautiful, not as pretty as Munich anyway, but there is one little section of town with cute little scandiavian houses.
I also saw some real Viking ships which was pretty cool. They were found buried in clay so they were remarkably well preserved.
Friday I took the ferry boat out to one of the islands just off shore near the harbor. I hiked around a little, saw the ruins of an old abby, took some pictures, it was fun. I pretty much had the whole island to myself. Not a whole lot of tourists out on a rainy fall day.
One of my favorite things in Oslo was the sculpture park designed by Gustave Vigeland. It's full of sculptures of people in a wide range of poses and showing a range of emotions and phases of life. It's really big and really cool. I took a ton of pictures and could have easily walked around all day looking at each sculpture. I'm not entirely sure what kind of emotion this man juggling babies is supposed to represent... but I think I've felt it before after a long day of baby sitting.
so in conclusion: Oslo is cool.
Satuday I flew back to Berlin where Caroline picked me up. We met up with some other Berlin Fulbrighters and went out to her favorite pizza place. Afterwords we went to another Fulbrighters apartment for a very christmasy type party with Gluwein (warm spiced wine) and lebkuchen (German ginger bread), yum. After the party we went out to a swingin' little bar where I very hapily paid 2.60 for half a liter of delicious German beer. Norway is rediculously expensive and the beer is definitely not up to par now that my tastbuds are aclimated Bavarian brew. We did a little dancing and hung out quite late. I ran into a Fulbright TA who I vaugely remembered from Orientation which was really crazy. I'm slightly jelouse of the Fulbrighters in Berlin... it's such a big cool raw gritty kind of city, totally the opposite of kitschy gemuehlich little Munich, but I love them both. Caroline has a view of the television tower in Alexanderplatz from outside her apartment, which I think is pretty cool, every time you step out the door it's like, hello communism!
It was fun meeting some other research Fulbrighters, it's such a strange program. It's a bunch of intelligent people partying and studying in Germany for a year, in that order. And they are all studying random stuff, it's the only group of people I could tell about my research proposal about the German facination with Native Americans and they wouldn't even batt and eye. Hooray for obscure academic research topics...
Yesturday I spent mostly sitting on a train on my way back. Today I got up at 6am to go to school which was quite a shock to my system. It's going to take me a few days to get back into the swing of things here. I came home to a rather messy room and I don't have the energy or motivation to clean it at the moment. Right now I've go to go try to do some of the reading I didn't do for class tonight.
That's all for my super long post. I hope the pictures made it slightly more readable :) There are lots more in my Flickr account.