''what do you eat in germany?''

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

sometimes people ask me this question
and the answer is actually very simple.
i eat the same things every day.

breakfast: fruit, fruit and fruit.
blackberries (with vanilla soy yogurt), kiwi, oranges and banana.
(sometimes almonds or pine nuts)
yes, this is a lot of sugar.
no, i don't eat all of them at once.
...or at least i try not to.
i asked my friend andy the other day,
''what would you think of me if i only ate fruit and nothing else?''
and he said,
''i would think you'd be diabetic in 4-6 weeks.''

lunch:1 of 2 types of sandwiches,
depending on if i'm eating at school (a packed lunch)
or at home (where i can cook).

my packed lunch consists of
a peanut butter and nutella sandwich
(with or without bananas)
on wheat bread
......a half liter of milk.
the milk here is sold by the liter
and, embarrassingly enough,
i have to stop myself from drinking the entire bottle.
i am my father's daughter.

if at home,
i will cut 2 slices of this ''vollkornbrot''
and spread honey on both sides
and scramble one egg
with a tablespoon of pesto oil,
a little salt and a lot of pepper,
add 2 slices of swiss cheese
and then make a ''honey-egg&cheese'' sandwich.
and it is so good.

and dinner: spätzle
(this pan is not my portion size)
((i make a whole pan when serving friends))

with the following (not pictured) chopped vegetables:
3 mushrooms, 1 carrot,
1 small can of corn,
1/2 a potatoe, 5 cherry tomatoes, 1/2 an onion,
some broccoli, artichokes,
a little salt and a lot of pepper
and pesto.

i love eating.

i have never identified with a person more than i identify with mark twain

Some exerpts from his essay, ''The Awful German Language'':

''Some German words are so long that they have a perspective. Observe
these examples: Freundschaftsbezeigungen, Dilettantenaufdringlichkeiten, Stadtverordnetenversammlungen. These things are not words, they are alphabetical processions. Or: Generalstaatsverordnetenversammlungen, Alterthumswissenschaften, Kinderbewahrungsanstalten, Unabhaengigkeitserklaerungen, Wiedererstellungbestrebungen, Waffenstillstandsunterhandlungen. Of course when one of these grand mountain ranges goes stretching across the printed page, it adorns and ennobles that literary landscape but at the same time it is a great distress to the new student, for it blocks up his way; ... "

''My philological studies have satisfied me that a gifted person ought to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years. It seems manifest, then, that the latter tongue ought to be trimmed down and repaired. If it is to remain as it is, it ought to be gently and reverently set aside among the dead languages, for only the dead have time to learn it.''
''It is easier for a cannibal to enter the Kingdom of Heaven through the eye of a rich man's needle that it is for any other foreigner to read the terrible German script.''

I think this quote, below, is my favorite because it comments on the difference in a word's gender and a sentence's case. That is to say, there are several different ways to say ''the dog'' depending on what you are trying to say. So, you don't learn one word for ''the dog'', you have to learn, like, 10. And yes, this applies to all nouns.
''A dog is "der Hund"; a woman is "die Frau"; a horse is "das Pferd"; now you put that dog in the genitive case, and is he the same dog he was before? No, sir; he is "des Hundes"; put him in the dative case and what is he? Why, he is "dem Hund." Now you snatch him into the accusative case and how is it with him? Why, he is "den Hunden." But suppose he happens to be twins and you have to pluralize him- what then? Why, they'll swat that twin dog around through the 4 cases until he'll think he's an entire international dog-show all in is own person. I don't like dogs, but I wouldn't treat a dog like that- I wouldn't even treat a borrowed dog that way. Well, it's just the same with a cat. They start her in at the nominative singular in good health and fair to look upon, and they sweat her through all the 4 cases and the 16 the's and when she limps out through the accusative plural you wouldn't recognize her for the same being. Yes, sir, once the German language gets hold of a cat, it's goodbye cat. That's about the amount of it.''

''In early times some sufferer had to sit up with a toothache, and he put in the time inventing the German language.''
''Never knew before what eternity was made for. It is to give some of us a chance to learn German.''

Actually, this one (below) might be my favorite...it's so true.

''How charmed I am when I overhear a German word which I understand!''


I started learning this dreadful language in the fall of 2007. Yes, I can speak it, and yes I can understand it and yes, I can even read/write it. Do I communicate with others? Yes. Do they understand me? Yup. Do I speak perfect German? Um.....that is not possible, sorry. I don't know if there will ever be a day I speak perfect German. It drives me crazy. Literally, I feel like living in this place is a mental boot camp. It makes me think the Spanish language is a gift from the heavens. It makes me resent anyone who was lucky enough to be taught this language as a baby. It makes me irate everytime a student says to me, ''English is soooo easy, I love it!''. However, it's also the most gratifying feeling in the world whenever I have a conversation in German with someone and it ends without me making 5 mistakes per minute. It is addictive, this language. I have a love-hate relationship with it. Some days it's all love....most days, it's all hate. Some days I say to myself, ''Oh my gosh, I just realized I don't know German.'' Other days, I say to myself, ''Oh my gosh, I know German!''. I know more German now than I ever have. But I am also exposed to more German now than I ever have been. Salzburg? Living with Americans (and international students who spoke English to everyone). Vienna? Working with Americans (and Austrians) but speaking English the majority of the day. Here, that is not the case...which I love....and hate.

sometimes after a series of horrible days, you have a really great day.

For me, that day was yesterday.

I ride to school every day now with a girl named Melanie who is another English teacher at school. She is 26, cute, tiny and looks just like a brunette version of Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail. She is the only other person under the age of 40 who lives in Uttenreuth (most likely). She actually lives in an apartment above Rewe (the only supermarket in Uttenreuth), which I think is a great location, since Rewe is pretty much the hot spot in town (sidenote: when Katherine came to visit me, we purposely spent over an hour in the supermarket just because we had nothing else to do…it’s more fun than one would think). Anyway, I walk 10 minutes to the supermarket in the mornings to meet Melaine there and she then drives me the 20 minutes to school. So, riding with her to school yesterday morning (despite the near-freezing temperatures and the pouring rain) was a nice start to the day.

I taught from 8:05-3:15 today with 2 two-hour breaks. A common factor amongst my students is that everyone wants to hear what a Southern accent sounds like. I hate doing this because I feel like I sound like a hillbilly, but they don’t even know that connotation. To them, it’s very interesting and they love hearing it. When imitating this accent, I usually either channel George W. Bush, Brad Pitt in Inglorious Basterds or my dad. Another comment I received today was: “I thought all Americans were fat, but you’re not obese at all!” My reply: “Thanks.” Another remark: “I can’t believe you speak 2 foreign languages when the rest of your country is too lazy to learn even 1!” The funny thing is that the students don’t mean these to be insulting in any way possible. Actually, one did purposely attack the U.S., now that I think about it. The teacher I was assisting was brainstorming on the chalkboard and she said, “What do you think of when you think of Americans?” and the teenage boy said something derogatory (in German…cowardly move) and it took all that I had within me to not say, “That’s funny, do you know what Americans think of when they think of Germans? Take a look into your history, oh, 6 decades back.” But I just smiled and recited to myself in my head, “I have to keep my job, I have to keep my job”.

Anyway, I am loving teaching and all of my colleagues are so incredibly nice. I don’t know why I’m so surprised by that. I think because they have a Fulbright student every year so I would imagine they’d tire of being so hospitable. But they’re great. One thing that gets annoying is everyone (and I mean everyone’s) preference of British English. Basically, if you speak American English, you’re a less educated version of the proper English speakers and you spell words incorrectly, too (British spelling: favourite, colour, practise, the list goes on). This is frustrating. But, moving on….

After school, I had Melanie drop me off at the bank, where I realized that my paycheck finally came! I then walked home to find 2 of my birthday packages from my mom (1 which I opened today, 1 which I am saving for my actual birthday!) and then I took the bus to Erlangen (remember – the city I want to move to but just can’t seem to find a way) and went to my favorite coffee shop. I ordered an apple juice (I have been obsessed with these lately) and a couple of hours later, the guy behind the counter walked over to my table. He said something really quickly and for the life of me, I had no idea what he was saying. I stared at him blankly and he just kept talking. I assumed he was telling me that his shift was ending and he needed me to pay him for the apple juice so I got out my money and he started shaking his head and telling me to put my money away. Then he said, “Sie müssen entscheiden” which means “You have to decide” and I said, “Was muss ich entscheiden?!?!?” which means “What am I deciding?!?!?” He told me to decide what I wanted to eat and that it was on him. I said, “Ohhhh ich habe keine Ahnung gehabt was Sie gerade mir gesagt haben.” Aka “Ohhh I had absolutely no idea what you were saying to me just now” and then asked him what my choices were….he brought me a meal for free…..what the heck? Oh well! My friend Andy met me at the coffee shop (he lives in Erlangen) and then I took the 8:22 bus back to Uttenreuth and walked home, slightly in shock that my day wasn’t horrible! Hopefully this is only the beginning of a series of good days, to combat the series of bad days…only time will tell.

apple juice (my favorite drink these days)

(tomato basil mozzarella sandwich)

friends make things better.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

surprisingly, my start at fulbright has not been all that i thought it would be.
"jennifer, sad in europe" sounds to me like an oxymoron.
but actually, it's not!
not loving my living situation and town
plus having issues with my paycheck
kind of inhibits my absolute happiness
but things are slowly getting better...i think.
regardless, the past 2 weekends,
i've had friends visit me.
and that's kind of a sacrifice
since my town offers NO attraction whatsoever.
there is literally nothing to do here
except hang out in my kitchen
and cook
and eat
and bake
and eat.
so that's what we've been doing.
my friends are fellow fulbrighters
"stationed" around bavaria.
so the fact that they have come to visit me
two weekends in a row
is quite nice, really,
since it costs them to transport themselves here
and they could be in far more exciting places.
so, to look on the positive side:
at least i have friends!
even if they don't live in my town.

last weekend: cupcakes and Katherine
Katherine came from Passau, Germany
(so close to Salzburg...lucky her)
and we made Funfetti cupcakes
(her mom send her the cake mix from the US)
which was a little slice of American heaven.
we invited other friends over
and the 5 of us consumed 18 cupcakes in 24 hours.

this past weekend: food, food, music and food
Emily and Gemma, who are teaching in Forchheim
as well as Andy, teaching in Erlangen
came for cooking, eating, music, laughing,
Andy is a DJ so he brought his iPod
which was a special treat.
(he is in the process of planning
a Halloween dance for his school,
which he himself will DJ.
if it happens,
i will be there).

friends are kind of essential to life, i am learning.

nuremberg, again.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I was invited by my Gymnasium faculty to do a tour of Nuremberg with some visiting students. A German class from Slovakia came to my Gymnasium for a few days so this tour was arranged for them. 14 Slovakian students attended and 14 German students (with whom the Slovakian students were partnered). This was actually my 2nd "field trip" with the school. (The first was a trip to the zoo! I didn't take any pictures, unfortunately, but I want to go back.  Eva told me that Nuremberg is known for their zoo and I was not at all disappointed.)

I could not help but notice a huge difference between these German school field trips and American school field trips. For instance, the Gymasium students were told to meet at the train platform (which is right by the school) at a certain time. The teachers had already purchased the train tickets and told the students to pay 6 euro once they got to the platform. In America, there would have been permission slips and pre-payments involved. In Germany, the teachers just ask, "Okay, who hasn't paid?" and then pocket the money themselves since they were the ones to buy the train tickets. Also, there are no chaperones. Since German children have most likely been riding public transportation their whole lives, they get on the trains and the trams and the U-bahns on their own and the teachers just trust that everyone will remain together as a group (which they actually do). The students are so independent. When we got to the zoo, the teachers said, "Okay, you have 2 hours, meet at this point on the map at noon."  And the students came back when it was time. On the Nuremberg tour trip, the teachers said, "Okay, we're done with the tour, you guys can do whatever you want" trusting that the students can navigate themselves home from Nuremberg (which they definitely can). Granted, these are Gymasium students so they range from ages 12-18, but I still couldn't help noting the differences.

When you ask non-Americans (particulary young Germans who are brutally honest) what they think of the USA, the common responses are: "Americans love guns"..."Americans hate Muslims"...."Americans are fat"...."Americans like to sue people". There are, occasionally, positive responses, too, like: "Americans are friendly"..."Americans are successful"....and, of course, "Yes we can!" which people who can't even speak English love to say (one time, 3 people said it to me in 1 day!). I think the "Americans love to sue people" observation is especially funny and, for the most part, quite true. I think a lot of my surprise toward the German field trip experiences stemmed from my knowing that American parents at home would undoubtedly sue the school if their child was lost on a field trip, whereas here, it probably wouldn't even be an option. ?

At the end of the Nuremberg tour field trip, I had the option to ride back on the train with the faculty or stay in Nuremberg. I called a fellow Fulbrighter who lives in Nuremberg because I was really needing what I call "American time". Speaking German all day, every day can be mentally exhausting and sometimes, I just need to speak English. Also, "American time" usually takes place at a restaurant of American origin (and there are plenty of options to choose from). That day, for instance, "American time" took place at Subway.

I am really liking Nuremberg and I think my friend Andy described it best when he said, "Going to Nuremberg is like walking into a fairy tale land".

the tiny german village in which i live

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The entire town's area is a little over 2 sqaure miles. The other afternoon, for instance, I went running (which, in reality, means jogging, which, in reality, means walking at a brisk pace with my iPod and ear buds!) and realized after 20 minutes or so that I had reached the next town.

 To better visualize, know that this little village consists of: 1 main road (and lots of side roads), 1 supermarket, 1 liquor store, 2 banks, 2 restaurnts, 1 bakery, 1 pharmacy, 1 doctor's office....and 2 bus stops.

 Needless to say, there is nothing to do here, so on the weekends, the best option is to take the bus in one direction to Nuremberg, or the other direction to Erlangen. It's cheaper to go to Erlangen, so that's where I've been spending my time lately. Erlangen and Nuremberg are where I'd love to live....still working on that one. Anyway...last weekend, when Katherine came to visit, we took a walk through the 'town' and after 10 minutes, we had seen everything there is to see. We met some friends in Nuremberg and then caught a bus home that night around 9 or 10 to Eschenau, where we would change buses to get back to my village, only to realize that the next bus going back there left at..... 2:45 in the morning.

 Katherine said, "Can we walk it?". We had a friend in Nuremberg google map the distance, which turned out to be 12 km...so no, we could not walk it. We could either wait until 2:45 am (at that point, it was 11:00 pm), call my landlord and landlady who were most likely fast asleep and ask them to pick us up (which I was not going to do) or take the train back to Nuremberg and stay in a hostel or with friends.

For some reason, I had a very strong feeling that we would get home safely, though I can't really explain how. Katherine kept saying, "What are we going to do?" and I kept saying, "It will be okay, it will be fine, I will take care of it". I knew there were other buses leaving from the Eschenau station, and I saw that one was parked with a driver in the driver's seat but no passengers on board. I decided to go talk to him and ask him what we should do, if there was a taxi number we could call, etc. Just for the record, the fact that the buses stop running this early (most buses stop running well past midnight) only further emphasizes how small this 'lil town really is. And - lesson learned- in the future, I will always check the bus timetables before leaving town. I stepped on the bus and was delighted to see that the driver was "my driver"; my favorite driver who drives me home from school everyday on the bus. !!!!!!  I explained to him our situation and he told us that if we waited 30 minutes and no one got on his bus (which was a different route), that he would change routes and drive us home on a special route. We thanked him and sat and waited.....

While we were waiting, we saw something that looked like a rat....which turned out ot be a hedgehog. Katherine wanted to hold it and take it home with us. I did not.

Finally, after no one showed up at the bus station to catch the bus, "my driver" got out of the bus and called us over. We thanked him approximately 100 times and he told us not to worry. As we were driving away, we saw a group of teenage boys running to catch the bus. Katherine and I knew that technically, this was their bus route and the driver would probably stop and let them on since he said he would only drive us home if nobody needed to get home on the other route. So I watched in fear as the boys chased after the bus, yelling and hitting the windows, asking him to stop. Thankfully, though, "my driver" yelled back while shaking his head, and then commented to us that they were drunk and stupid. We felt very priveleged to be driven home on a special route! I guess one good thing about living in a small town is that you get to know people easily....which is especially helpful if the people you get to know drive buses.

my apartment

Friday, September 24, 2010

For the record, my apartment is really nice and I am thankful for it. Ideally, I would like to move into another town and live in a smaller place that I can afford (since I really can't afford this one). Hopefully I can move somewhere else soon...but this is nice in the meantime.

Katherine, another Fulbrighter from the US, came to spend the weekend here with me last weekend so I wouldn't be so bored. We made cupcakes! Her mom mailed her the mix from home. So fun. Emily, another Fulbrighter here in Bavaria, came too. I took some pics of around my apartment. There is another room I did not photograph....it's the "office" and not so cute...I haven't done much "decorating" in there...I just leave the door shut. :)  Overall, I'm pretty happy with the place.  Here are some pics:


Thursday, September 23, 2010

I really like Nuremberg (Nürnberg in German). I have only been there once, believe it or not, but if I can ever find a reasonably priced living arrangment, I will be able to go there more often (it's only half an hour away).   And here's a fun fact: there is a statue in the city center (shown below) that is said to depict the stages of marriage. All I could really understand is that it ends with 2 skeletons killing each other and somewhere along the way, there is a giant lizard involved (seen with water shooting from its mouth).

Like I said, I have only spent one day there, but I am really looking forward to the months of exploring I have ahead of me.  And most importantly, Nuremberg is the Christmas capital of Germany. That means that for the month of December, tourists from all around the world come to Nuremberg just to see the Christmas markets. I cannot wait for this!! I typed google imaged ''Nuremberg Christmas market'' and these are some images I found:

Christmastime will be so fun. I can't wait.