Tuesday, March 28

Maybe I shouldn't have made out with that swan...

Yesturday was the most beautiful day outside since september, and where was I? Sick in bed. boo :-( I rarely get sick so it was really out of the blue for me. I hope it's not bird flue :-0 ! I seem to be better now, I guess it was just a 24 hr thing, but I skipped school this morning anyway... no one feels good at 6am. Sigh. Caroline is here with her mom and grandma too, and I couldn't even go meet them for dinner. Hopefully I'll see them tonight after their trip to Neuschwanstein. I was perfectly healthy all weekend doing absolutely nothing, and then as soon as I have things to do.... bah. And now it's raining again and it's supposed to keep raining for the next two weeks.

Have I mentioned how excited I am to go to Greece??? It better be warm and sunny! I'm also excited because I have lots of babysitting work in the next two weeks. I just met a new mom this weekend with a teeny tiny little 8 week old baby. So cute :) They're going out of town around the same time I am for three months, so she only needs me the next two weeks, which works out well. I had to miss going yesturday of course, but will go this afternoon. I'm excited to hang out with a bity baby, it's been a while since I've had one of those around, and I'm excited to make some extra money to spend on my trip.

That's all my news for the week... Things should remail pretty dull for the next 11 days

Pics from Vienna are up!

Thursday, March 23

Good morning

It's unusually early for me to be posting, but I just got up to say good-bye to Jackie and it's too early to get ready for school. It was really nice to have her, I feel so popular with all my visitors :) It was strange as well. Jackie studied abroad in Vienna two years ago and was back in Europe for the first time since then. And she was so incredibly excited about everything European and being here and begging me to speak German with her. It made me realize... hey, I'm probably going to miss this some day. I'm so adjusted to all the little things that are different here. Walking to the grocery store, public transportation, sitting in a cafe for two hours in the middle of the afternoon, hearing German everywhere, beautiful historic buildings all around, being just a train ride away from six different countries, liters of German beer, and buying Milka chocolate bars on a regular basis! I've been kind of bored with it all the past couple months, missing home and waiting for it to be over. I don't especially love my job here right now. But I know a year from now I'm going to be sceaming and planning how I can get back to europe again (or convincing Eric to learn German). I still have three months left and I'm definitely going to enjoy them. In German they say "geniessen", to enjoy, savor, or relish. It's a word they use A LOT, which probably says something about their european mentality.

Spring seems to finally be arriving here, it's supposed to rain all week, which is better than snow. In Vienna they were putting in flowers already and Jackie saw them setting up tables in the Beer garden in downtown Munich-- a sure sign of spring around here! This weekend I have three days with absolutely nothing to do and I'm definitely going to savor, enjoy and relish it. I've been gone the past four weekends, I'm looking forward to some down time.

Tuesday, March 21


Jackie arrived here Friday morning. We did some shopping friday because I desperately needed a new wallet. Then we rented Sissi which I absolutely had to see before going to Vienna :)

We left for Vienna (Wien in German) on Saturday where we met Chris, Jackies friend who studied in Richmond whil I was abroad in Muenster, we stayed in his place. We did a walking tour of the city Friday and ate some Wienerschnitzle because I insisted that i had to eat it once while i was there! It is a really beautiful city. Considerably more impressive and big city like than Munich, despite actually being smaller. Sunday we went to three different museums which were all really good and I finally found out where all of Klimt's work has been hiding from me :) I got to see his "The Kiss" Along with his Bethoven freeze. It was very impressive, deffinitely something to see in person, with all the shiny gold and its really pretty big.

Monday we went to the Palace Schonbrunn and had coffe and the famouse Sacher Torte at the Sacher hotel. After some speedy shopping we were back on a train headed back to Munich. It was a quick trip, but I'm really glad I got to see Vienna and of course it was much better to see it with someone who has studied there and a real live Wiener (hee hee).

I'm at school now. blah. I'm meeting Jackie tonight at the Hofbrauhaus which I've been to, but have yet to actually eat or drink in, so it should be fun. I'll take pictures. I have pictures from the trip too of course. My camera cord hasn't shown up yet, I'll clean more thougholy this weekend.

Bis Bald

Thursday, March 16


icey flag
Originally uploaded by annieswims05.

icy cold germany

will spring ever come?


Originally uploaded by annieswims05.

The avian flu is coming to get you...


the whole gang
Originally uploaded by annieswims05.

Blue hawiian cowgirl, santas helper, two kitties, and one masked man... sounds like a recipie for a good time!

Karnival pics are up :)

Monday, March 13

Socialist Breakfast and other Berlin Adventures

If I lose one more thing.... I'm going to lose my mind along with it! I can't find the cable for my camera. Which is why I'm not uploading Karnival photos right now. But I didn't bring it with me so it has to be here somewhere, hopefully when (and if) I clean my room I'll come accross it.

So! It has been quite a week. One of the greatest I've had here I'd have to say. The conference was great. The actual conference parts as well as the massive amount of partying and socializing that went along with it. I love my Fulbrighter friends. I got to Berlin a couple days before the actual conference started to hang out with Caroline. Chris came down as well to escape bird flue up north :-P We did some exploring around berlin together. We also went to a socialist breakfast. Hee hee, I get a kick out of that every time I say it. They had a buffet of cold breakfast foods, all vegetarian and vegan, and when you were done you paid between 3 and 7 euros depending on how much money you have and feel you should pay. I love it.

Sunday we got to check into our fancy schmancy hotel on Alexanderplatz. Gotta love Fulbright. The next four days were kind of a blur. I went to some workshops, one on the push for elite universities in Germany (never going to happen in my opinion), one on Muslims in Germany, one on the city in german literature, and some research presentations. We heard the Mayor of Berlin speak as well as some other important people. It was a great atmosphere of academics and intellectuals. It really made me want to go back to grad school after next year. There were also of course free dinners and, more importantly, free wine! There was some exploring of Berlin, although mostly of the nightlife. There was a really really impressive Music Galla at the end with all the Fulbrighters studying music performance here. I met lots of people, got to hang out with my favorite people, and had a generally great time. When the conference ended Thursday afternoon I went back to caroline's and promptly crawled into bed for the rest of the afternoon. It was an intense exahsting experience.

Last weekend I got to hang out and play with Caroline and once again wish that I were living in Berlin with her. We saw a great art exhibit at the New National Gallery on the theme of Melencholy, we ate wonderful food, I got to go to Desperate Houswives night with some of Caroline's friends. Saturday we went to an amazingly cool poetry/rap/music open mic performance at a tiny callery/bar/soup place. There were some really really talented poet/rappers there and it was just so very... Berlin, big city. I liked it. Sunday I took a bus back to Munich because it's like a quarter of the price of a train. It was not as bad as I expected. I managed to sleep almost the entire 8 hours.

All in all, despite losing my wallet, my hat, my scarf, and my phone charger....it was a great trip! I wasn't terribly excited to come back to munich again, but I have so much to do and plan now that it doesn't really bother me. Jackie gets in this friday and we're going to Vienna together for the weekend, Caroline and her mom and Grandma will be here the week after next, then I leave for the big trip to greece! As soon as I get back Elena will be here and as soon as she leaves Shannon will be here and a week after that I'm going to Paris with Mom! So I'm not too worried about being lonely and bored anymore.

By the by, I just discoved "SkypeIn" and "SkypeOut" yesturday, so now I can call land lines in the US and I also have my own number with a VA Beach area code that anyone can call and reach my computer. It's pretty nifty. Technology is cool.

Thursday, March 2

Viva Colognia

Greetings from snowy Berlin! It's been a heckuva week. Karnival and chocolate and drinking and dancing and parades and pick pockets--- but I'm getting ahead of myself.

I very hapily bit fairwell to the shoe box that I call home in Munich on Saturday morning and borded a packed train where I got to sit in the smoking car allll the way to Duisburg. I'm pretty sure I lost two years of my life on that train. So, then in Duisburg I met Matt, Lindsay, and Chris and then promptly turned around and took a train back to Colonge to get Caroline and Marrissa. After luggage was saftely stowed in lockers we went out to hit the town. I heart Cologne. We waisted no time in finding some drinks and jumping into the throng on people on the streets. There were groups of tribal type drummers and costumes galore. I have loads of pictures that I'll upload when I get home. It was PACKED. Karnival costumes don't have to follow any particular rules, it's pretty much like Halloween, anything out of the ordinary goes and most everyone is dressed up. Somehow we ended up at some bars and did a whole lot of dancing- at least I did. We also met the TA who works in Cologne. Things get a little hazy at that point so I'm not quite sure how all the logistics worked out (I'm pretty sure Lindsay is the one to thank!), but we made it back to the train station in time to get the train back to Duisburg and crash there. It was an obsenely fun evening.

Sunday was considerably more low key. We went out in Dusseldorf-- oh the high school memories-- the city where I went to my first real bar ever! Monday was the big parade day in Cologne, it's called Rosenmontag (pink monday?), We got up really really early and Caroline and I somehow managed to paint on some wiskers and noses as well as craft some snazzy cat ears on teh incredibly crowded train. Yeah I know, a cat, my old fall back costume. We ate the traditional karnival food, Berliners, known in the south as Krapfen, known in the US as jelly dohnuts which go surprising well with the also traditional cheap champain drunk out of the bottle ;-P Then we waited outside in teh SNOW for nearly two hours before the parade started, but we got a darn good spot. The floats weren't really that impressive, they are mostly political cartoons. I had heard that karnival is kind of the one time in Germany when they can let down their guard and say and do whatever, including making lewd jokes about polititions and such. What the parade did have was candy and flowers and lots of them. We all suddenly became seven years old again waving and screaming and pushing to get as many low quality chocolates and candies as we could. And Marrisa worked her charms up front collecting a whopping boxload of roses and carnations among others. We left a bit before the end of the parade to avoid some of the crowds and because we were pooped. Matt left and it was just us girls for the night. We finally made ourselves some semi-healthy nourisment and crashed early.

Tuesday Marrissa left and in the midsts of cleaning up a bit and gathering my things I realized that my wallet was not in my purse. We searched the apartment with no success. I was still hoping it would miraculously show up somewhere, but then we went to the Deutschebank to report my lost cash card and found out someone had already tried to use it. :( So I cancelled it as well as my american credit cards. Thank goodness I still have my passport. I lost 50 euros cash :( And I found out in Muenster at the bank yesturday that someone took out 300 from my account on tuesday before I got in to cancell it. I reported it to the police and everything, and the banker had my sign some things, so hopefully they'll return the money too me. For the next week I just can only get money by going to a bank during open hours. Kinda sucks, but could be worse. I'm pretty sure someone must have grabbed my wallet while I was buying a bratwurst at the parade. I had some difficulty getting the mustard out and probably hadn't thourouhly zipped my purse yet. How can people be so mean? Sigh, ok, I've let it go now and I'm getting on with having fun for the rest of my vacation.

Wednesday I took the train to Muenster where I was welcomed with open arms by Eva. We hung out, had some meals, some coffe, of course cake, took a little buble around the city. Silke came over for a little bit but is busy working on her masters thesis. It was good to see them again, and nice that I always have someone to visit back in Muenster. Apparently there's another Richmond student coming in the spring! exciting.

Today I hoped yet another train to Berlin where I am at the moment with Caroline. Not sure what we'll do for the next couple days. The conference starts sunday. Good times, yay for Berlin!

updates and pictures will be coming in a while...