Saturday, January 17, 2009

die schönste stadt der welt liegt an der 4 of 4 for today

1445 local time
IC 2375

i am on a train (surprise!!) back to lüneburg to see some things i missed yesterday. around 1330 yesterday, i got on a train from lüneburg to timmendorfer strand, a coastal commnity on the ostsee (baltic sea). it was FREEZING, but a trip to the beach, even a short, cold one, is always worth it. i got back to hamburg and met up with rachel after collecting my things from rikes, and rachel, nina (a friend of rachels), and i went to the miller bar (yes, thats miller, as in miller american beer) that is catty-corner from rachels apartment. it was a good night out with the girls--i really enjoyed it :) today was kind of a slow day (hence only heading to lüneburg at 1430). tonight i think some of dinos friends are coming over, so that should be fun. i am off to go see the kurpark, lindenstraße 22, and buy some stuff for home :)

things of note:

°bananenweizen. this is a hefeweizen mixed with banana juice. sounds weird but is soooooo good!! try it, youll see.

°its already almost dusk. and its only 245 pm...

°lüneburg is so beautiful. you should come visit the former german salt capital. its great!

°i was in a mad rush to buy everything i wanted before all the shops closed. everything is closed on sunday pretty much, so i didnt have an option. shocker, huh ;) i got almost everything i wanted. i will just have to make ang buy the rest and mail it to me when shes back. hehe.

°i had a mälzer pils and chilli foodman döner tüte (complete with pommes and everything) for dinner. just for jesse. :) it was soooooooooo good.

°i am caught up on my blog! whoop! and i go home the day after tomorrow. :)

its a 'get caught up on your blog' sort of day: post 3 of 4

2320 local time
ahornweg 2, lüneburg

a lot has happened since i wrote a journal entry last! i got to germany well yesterday, but i had to come straight to hamburg because jessi was too sick for guests :( so, i got to hamburg and was supposed to meet rike later to go to her apartment after she got off work. because i had so much time, i hopped on the metronom express (a regional train) to lüneburg! when i got there, i didnt know what to expect. it was great!! unfortunately, i had to refrain from doing too much because i plan to return on saturday with rachel :) eventually, i headed back to hamburg because i was supposed to meet rike and her friend, hannah, at the theatre at 715 and i didnt exactly know how to get there. i found it, eventually, and had time to kill, so i did some window shopping--there is some nice stuff out there! i met rike and we went to the show, a play called 'das letzte feuer'. it was dark, but was raw and displayed the characters openly and well. after the play, rike and i got my things out of the lockers at the train station (you didnt think i had them with me all day, did you??) and headed, finally, to her apartment. she is cat-sitting probably the gentlest, sweetest cat in the whole world (i know, krista, i know), valentin. he is SOOO cute and sweet!! eventually, we all went to sleep...i got up this morning with a nagging bit of a headache. grrr...

i played around on the internet for a while and called meike to see about coming to visit today. she said that was fine, so i started working that way. when i finally left rikes, i forgot to bring my advil...and in germany, you have to go to the pharmacy to get any kind of medicine, which seems unnecessary to me, but whatev...

i got on the metronom and headed back to lüneburg to visit the martins and meet the little madita. when i arrived, i was warmly greeted and given tea, and meike and i just sort of spent the evening chatting about a lot of different things, eating dinner, and enjoying the company until daniel got home. it was great to get to be here with the martins this evening! because the last bus leaves so early and i didnt want to come home to rikes too late (and because i wanted to!), i spent the night at daniel and meikes. they are so kind, and my spirit is done well to be in their presence. loverly :)

things of note:

°madita is SO cute!!

°the germans use the word 'apotheke', which actually translates not to pharmacy, as they have written, but to apothecary. doesnt that sound a little intense for some ibuprofen? romeo and juliet, anyone?? ;)

°rednecks and hillbillies are fun to talk about with people from all over the world, right rike? ha. :)

°starbucks. i went to one today and i ordered and the guy, recognizing my accent, i suppose, switched to english. annoying! so, i answered his english question in german and he looked like he was really embarrassed. and i wasnt upset by that ;)

just a thanks

tampere, finland

only 5 more days until i get home!! i am staying at a ywca gone hostel tonight, which is only the 3rd night i have had to pay for somewhere to stay (really only 2, but thats a whole new years thing)! awesome!! and a huge THANKS to everyone! it was good to see everyone and to get to meet the söderbacka babies :) germany, here i come!

things of note:

°i believe i was supposed to come to finland. everything has gone so smoothly since i got here.
°there was a blackhawk helicopter that crashed during the winter ftx at a&m. thats crazy!! :( prayers for sure

it should always be colder in finland

1030 local time
tampere, turku, and tampere again

just to start...finland is an hour ahead of mainland europe. i got to the bremen airport around 545 germany time and everything has gone very smoothly so far. my seat reservation for the train to turku was only 3,60€ because i have a global eurail pass--sweet action! unfortunately, i have about 2 hours until my train, so i am eating a cinnamon roll in the only place thats open besides the train station, mcdonalds. i completely forgot that its sunday! it is already 1°c here! WHOOP!! it is snowing little and it is a little frustrating and hard to believe that it might actually be warmer here than in germany. it should NEVER be that way!! more later, when i have found diana in turku...

i got to turku, met diana, and went to her apartment for coffee and sandwiches. after we talked for a while, we went to maria & sixtens apartment. only sixten and fanny (the girl twin) were there because maria had to take melvin (the boy twin) to the doctor. they eventually returned and we sat down for dinner. we ate and had coffee and hung out for the rest of the evening. sixten and i watched some soccer highlights on dvd and he caught me up on liverpool and the rest of the leagues standings this evening. after that, we played darts (he was excited that a girl wanted to play; evidently i was the first one), watched a tv program about jack the ripper and eventually i won the darts game (501) and diana and i came home. tonight was pleasant and i am glad i came to visit. :)

today (12.1), maria came to meet me at dianas and we took a bus to her house. we ate, talked, watched the babies, and just spent time (i on the computer, she reading a magazine). later, sixten and maria got off work and showed up. we ate and then diana drove me into town so i could buy some things that one can only buy in finland. i got some gifts bought and bought a new purse, so i am pretty excited :) shopping in finland is pretty expensive, though, so i had to make sure i didnt buy too much! when we left shopping, diana drove me to see the harbor, the river, and the 11th c. castle...from the outside, at least (i have insider information that, since the swedes pillaged it and took all the nice things back to sweden, i am not missing out by only seeing the outside).

13.1: maria came to get me and we drove to naantali, a coastal town. we walked for a bit and saw moomin island (more about that in the 'things of note' section). it was REALLY cold and windy and so we only walked for a bit. it was pleasant spending time with maria and just talking. :) she eventually took me back to dianas so that i could get ready to head back to tampere, where i had to spend tuesday night so that i would make my wedensday morning flight back to bremen.

things of note:

°moomins! tove jansson wrote a collection of tales about moomins, an animal from finland. they are so adorable and one can hardly help falling in love with them! check them out!!
°on the bus from tampere to turku, i heard robbie williams's song, angels. i havent heard that on the radio since i lived in lüneburg. awesome. :)
°flying to finland was soo cool because we were above the clouds and the moon was still out. the moon shone upon the clouds and was sooooo beautiful. wow.
°i am really going to miss g.w. being president. i know that isnt a popular opinion, but there it is. i love texas!! ;)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

i like silly things

2354 local time

today, jessi and i woke up slowly, ate breakfast, and headed to bremen to spend the day. before we left her house, though, jessi got a phone call from her friend, elke, who asked if we wanted to stay at her apartment tonight because she lives a lot closer to the airport and we have to be there by 0530 tomorrow. we said we would stay with her and made plans to go to the ueberseemuseum with her and eventually also go to a movie. before we met her for the museum, we went to the bank, i put more credit on my phone, and ate lunch at a doener place--finally! when we got to the museum, they had a special exhibit on sitting bull and the :) after the museum, we went to starbucks to kill time before the movie. i was VERY excited to go to the movie because it was my first time to see a film in germany...we saw 1 1/2 ritter (one and a half knights), a german film by a comedian, til schweiger, and his friends. i bought a coke and popcorn (because i could, thanks laura and sarah...). the movie was very funny and nice to watch. afterward, we went to elkes and had some nightcaps, of sorts. tomorrow, we are getting up at 5 so that i can make my flight to finland. today was a very nice day. :)

things of note:

~NKOTB was in the movie!! and it was really them, not just a stand-in group!!

~they have student discounts at their movie theatres, too...WHOOP!

~in german movie theatres, there are assigned seats.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

God is so good, He's so good to me...

02:10 local time
Bassum (technically)

this morning, i got on a train in kaiserslautern at 938 to head to bremen to meet jessica. for once, all of the trains were on schedule and everything went smoothly! i met up with jessica and we drove to her apartment in the countryside surrounding bremen. we caught up over coffee and pastries and then we spent the evening chatting about the differences in the school systems (america v. germany), american politics, and ADD/ADHD diagnoses, all while she worked on school stuff for next week--shes a teacher--and i worked on a puzzle she had started. she made thai food for dinner and we kept chatting and working on the puzzle and schoolwork. eventually, we each finished our tasks and we looked over some of the textbooks she uses for teaching here. its crazy how different they are!! we also looked at differences between the books she uses for hauptschule and the ones other teachers use for gymnasium (high school). tomorrow (later today, really), we will go and hang out in bremen. i am glad to be here; what a good time!

things of note:

°9/11. some people over here think that the whole thing was fabricated by our government, esp. our president. thats insane.

°in one of the books, there is a story about matt and lilly. matt picks lilly up for a date, already drunk even though he is 17, and they go to an unchaperoned party where there are people taking drugs and eventually he gets mad and hits her and she leaves. its only interesting to me that this is in a school book. wow, crazy.

°there are many differences, even within the german school system. the issues in the hauptschule books are like the one i just said and the gymnasium ones are about things like migrant workers and civil rights and child labor laws...

°ADD treatment is different here. and people are expected to learn to deal with their problems without medication. awesome :)

liebe grüße aus dem großraum der bremen!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

this is the second post of the day; check the other one too

2355, local time
trippstadt, germany

well, i finally made it to mannheim and met up with weilun, whom i havent seen in about 5 years. what a blessing that he was willing to host me and make me so comfortable! he picked me up in mannheim and we headed to trippstadt, where he lives. when we got there, he reheated some homemade chicken pot pie casserole and we had a tasty dinner. he let me use his computer (which i am using right now, actually) and phone and i was up until about 230 this morning talking to my parents and that. i got up this morning at 630 and when weilun went to work, i went back to sleep until around noon. i got up, made more travel plans for tomorrow and went for a small hike through town. the hike was nice and i got warmed up so i unzipped my jacket for part of it, and the locals all looked at me like i had lost my mind since the high here was around 25 F. when i returned, i made a few phone calls and travel plans to go to finland (!) to meet marias twins!! :) :) so, tomorrow, i am going to bremen to hang out with jessica and on sunday, i will travel to turku, finland. i will return on wednesday and will be in the greater hamburg area until i go home. at the same time i cant believe i only have a week left, i am excited to get home and be in one place :)

this evening, weilun and i went into kaiserslautern (k-town) for dinner, and, in the end, he was wow'ed with my german skills, though he was a little uncertain for a bit. he also decided i would make a terrible spy.

when we got back to trippstadt at around 9 pm, it was already only 11 F. awesome.

things of note:

~i REALLY REALLY like sleeping.

~i am going to finland this weekend!!

~weilun is SUCH an awesome guy and friend!

liebe grüße aus trippstadt

God is good all the time and all the time God is good

1210 local time

i arrived in padova, italy, on saturday night. thomas and i walked to his dorm and eventually went to sleep. we got up the next morning, sunday, and headed to venice. venice was a very pretty city. we took the bus down the grand canal...their buses are boats...and got off at st. marks square. we went a little farther on foot and saw the arsenal where thomas has come for research. then, we walked toward st. marks square where we toured the doges palace, which is HUGE, but to be expected. afterward, we sat on some steps along the grand canal, facing the sea, and ate the lunch thomas had packed for us...tasty, fun, and economical! ;) afterward, we went into st. marks basilica, which was also very nice. from there, we continued to wander the city and saw some interesting things, such as part of the location for the chase scene in "indiana jones and the last crusade" and a collection of some very beautiful, old violins (and other instruments in that family). thomas was pretty excited, and i was, too, just not as much as he was, ha. we eventually returned to padova and thomas's friend, frederico, picked us up and took us to a pub where we had wine and spritzis (i think?...its an italian drink with aperol, whatever that is, and prosecco...) and discussed things like culture and politics. very fun. :)

monday, we got up and went to verona for another day trip. verona is an enchanting city about an hour west of padova, and the setting for "romeo & juliet". we went around the city, mostly taking in the sights and trying to stay warm...we saw juliets house (spoiler alert! balcony added for tourists), il duomo, and many awesome views from the grounds surrounding a hillside castle. then, we walked along the river, just hanging out and noticing the architecture (when i wasnt watching the ground to make sure of my footing). also, we spent a bit of time in the entryway of st. anastasias because i wanted to hear the organ was beautiful!! at 330, we met up with joel rinn, a missionary who thomas's church in little rock supports, to go to his home for dinner; on the way, we went by the building he has recently been able to rent for worship services--cool! dinner at the rinn's was SO much fun and such a blessing!! joel and jessica have four children, nico, emi, anna, and eti, and they seem to have a great time with life :) we had coffee, then the other guys (andre and manuele) went home. for dinner, we had margaritas to start and then risotto and wine. dessert was a traditional cake from the area, i think, and thomas was eventually coaxed (berated?) into playing the violin and we shared a digestiv of grappa, a local delicasy, before joel had to take us back to the train station. we got home and i. was. exhausted! but it was fun monday...

tuesday was a lot more low-key. thomas and i meandered through padova. we saw st. anthonys relics, though kind of from afar because they were closed off at that point (you could still see them up close, however), and his tomb. that was a very beautiful cathedral. we also went by galileos tower and observatory--SO COOL! we saw the old part of the university and went through a park. for lunch, we ate at a really nice restaurant. thomas had a pizza, which i tried--delicious!--and i had a trip of ricotti ends stuffed with a spinach, butter, and basil cream. amazing! we also had a really nice red wine that didnt go with my meal because i dont really like white wines ;) after all of this, we took a 40 minute bus ride to vicenza, to go to the px so i could buy some things. we also went to the library to use the computers since thomas's internet quit on monday. the weather was a lot warmer on tuesday than the previous two days, as northern italy has been having an uncharacteristically cold winter...seems i have a knack for finding those! we eventually got home and i got all of my stuff ready so that this morning would go smoothly...

this morning went mostly well. i ate oatmeal and we were at the bus stop at 740, in the hopes that we could get right on a bus, go to the uni and use the computers, and get me to the train on time. well, not surprisingly, we didnt get to get on a bus until right at 8, so we had to forego the uni and get to the station. thomas said he would facebook weilun for me to see if i have somewhere to stay tonight (remember that internet problem) since i couldnt get on facebook on base, neither could i reach him on monday, as planned. so, this train was supposed to get to basel at 330ish and then i would get a connection to frankfurt and kaiserslautern. operative words: supposed to. we were about 70 minutes delayed because of a blizzard in milan. everything we have passed has around a foot of snow...i wonder if the snow got to padova. we have made up some time and are only 55 minutes late, as of now, so i suppose we will see. i still need to get into contact with weilun, but i guess that will have to wait. all i can do is pray (literally) that he says i can stay, and that getting through the alps in this goes smoothly. oh, how i wish our train engineer were german so that he would have more experience with this weather!

things of note:

~il pannettone is an italian Christmas cake. its kind of like fruitcake but tastier. yum!
~tiramisu. this is evidently scarce at night. but we eventually found some and it was also tasty!
~there was a holiday for the magi getting to the baby Jesus. they evidently also have witch-burning bonfires on this day...strange.
~the man at the train station was extraordinarily rude when we tried to make a reservation for the train...he threw us out of line because we 'werent listening'. this was more frustrating because the next guy, who didnt speak english, either, was like 'oh, no problem' and helped us in about 30 seconds. ridiculous. but i found out that, when i get stressed out in foreign countries, i speak german. that one guy was enough to pretty much make me dislike italy. most of the other people were really really nice, but wow, what a meanie! grr...
~italy, take it or leave it? leave it!
~God waits until i am EXTREMELY desperate. he sent francesco when i needed help, but not until i was already on the train in help-needing mode. he sent weilun when i was only an hour from my goal and was past help-needing mode...
~there is a roman arena in verona. what a sight! so cool :)
~snow-covered italy makes for a beautiful train ride!

ciao from yet another train :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

one more short burst, then this week later...

1748 local time
EC 83

i am on my way to verona, where i will change trains to get to padova...seems like a lot of shakespeare, doesnt it? so the majority of this train is italians (at least my car) and MAN if they arent annoyingly loud (sorry if you read this, dino, but i consider you german). it is an interesting contrast to being on an all-germans (well, mostly) train. those are, more often than not, SILENT...unless there is a group of old ladies...young families...teenagers...american exchange students...but even if these groups are present, the rest of the train is quiet. these young italians make me wonder:

~are all italians 12 years old until they are 35?

~am i going to like italy?

i am doing my best to hold off on judgement though...

as we entered the alps, i put my ipod on shuffle and, with few exceptions, have gotten GREAT thinking, traveling, being quietly in awe songs. especially good were the first bunch, so i will share an "alps travel playlist" at the end of this...

in munich, i saw the glockenspiel, FINALLY!! it was sooooo cool and i was not disappointed at all. i took a video on my camera, but you will have to wait for that later because i didnt bring my connection cord.

thats all for now, short as promised!

things of note:

~glockenspiel. heard about this since high school german. missed it last time i was in munich. totally worth seeing.

~playlist for traveling in the german/austrian alps (listen to it--im sure youll be able to imagine what i mean):

1. long december. the counting crows
2. wild one. faith hill
3. the sound of music. the sound of music soundtrack (the ones with the kids singing the first time their father sings for them.)
4. band a drum. jon bon jovi (young guns 2 soundtrack)
5. beautiful disaster. jon mclaughlin
6. kathys song. simon & garfunkel
7. bedtime (instrumental). the little mermaid soundtrack
8. the one i love. greg laswell
9. tell her about it. billy joel

liebe grüße aus...somewhere in austria

everything in its own time

0750 local time
ICE 1503 toward munich

yesterday, i decided to travel to italy!! but, i had a few problems trying to plan my trip. i really feel like italy doesnt want to be my friend.

i am currently (as i wrote this, not typed it...i hope yall realize that thats whats going on here...) in ANOTHER train, from which i will disboard in naumburg. then, i have about 30 minutes to get a reservation for the train to padova (where thomas lives) from munich. i hope soooooo much that it works, but well see. i got up at 5 in my hostel in leipzig so that i wouldnt be late for the 6:01 train to naumburg. right now, everything is lining up for me to get to the station with enough time to figure something out...i hope it keeps going well today!!

actually, i got up at 4:37 because i had a really bizarre nightmare. it was so unpleasant that i almost cried and had to call my mom when i woke up :( i have had this dream before, but with a different beginning and not as many details...neither one had an ending

location change!! but still on a train, just a different one. ;)

right now, the sun has almost come up and many small trains are still asleep--a very romantic picture from the german alps.

alright: 1045, 3.1.09, ICE 925 to munich.

okay, so. when i got to naumburg, i went directly to the travel center to make my seat reservation. the line was almost too long to stand in because i had to catch a train at 1002, but i knew that this line would be shorter than the one i would find in munich. unfortunately, both trains that i had found options for were full...i almost freaked out on the lady, and she finally found a connection for me. it leaves munich at 330 and gets to padova around 10...a REALLY long day (around 16 hours of travel time!), but thats how it goes sometimes, right (does it seem, to anyone else, that i have been saying that a lot lately)?

so, i am currently...on a train!! shocking, right? ;) i am on the way to munich and am listening to my ipod because the people across from me are arguing. sa-weet.

tonight, i will be in italy!! in munich, i have a little time, so i think i am going to put my things in a locker at the train station and go to marienplatz to see the glockenspiel and get to a computer to email thomas (i was going to put this on the blog then, too, but that obviously didnt work). when i write again, i will be in italy...and hopefully a little shorter for words :)

liebe grüße aus die züge :)

in his heart a man plans his paths, where he will go

but the Lord directs his paths...

1908 local time
ICE 1517 toward leipzig

today, i was awoken by some stupid alarm of peters at 7am...grr. especially because i didnt have to get up until 9. i got out of bed, prepped, and set out around 10 to get to the brandenburg gate at 11 for a free (whoop!) tour of the city. i thought that i would get to there with plenty of time to spare...good thing i left almost an hour early! at a little past 11, i got to the brandenburg gate, but the tour was running behind, so everything worked its way out! :) it was an interesting tour. we saw the brandenburg gate, the reichstag (german parliament building), the memorial to the jewish victims of the war, hitlers bunker, checkpoint charlie, the opera house, the museum island, and humboldt university, where albert einstein worked before he came to the united states; it lasted around 4 hours. at the end, lucy, our australian tour guide, told us the story about how the wall fell.

after the city tour, i went to alexanderplatz to buy a new räuchermännchen and went to the reichstag again to try to go into the top, but the line was too long, so it has to wait until next time...sad...but, that means there has to be a next time! ;) also, i wanted to go to hackeschermarkt to get a döner kebab, but that has to wait until next time, as well :( i will try to get back to do those things when i have time toward the end of my trip.

so, because i had too little time, i headed back to luises to get my things and to see her quickly before i left. when i got there, i realized that i had an extra hour than i had thought, so i ate dinner with her. then, i was disappointed because i found out via facebook that thomas still hadnt gotten his eurail pass and would not be able to meet me in weimar. laaaaaamesauce. outside of that, i was a little frustrated because i had already booked a hostel and everything...oh well. :/

now, i am trying to decide whether or not i will forego the things and rearrange my schedule to get to italy would be a big overhaul in plans, but at least i have until tomorrow morning to figure it out...

so, i am sitting now on the train, drinking a starbucks white chocolate mocha on the way to leipzig--with a stubborn taste of madagascar tofu in my mouth. :( what a day!! tomorrow MUST be better....

things of note:

~"happy birthday Jesus". was written on some windows in berlin facing the s-bahn for everyone to see :)

~at the new years party, we discussed a certain sentence with flamethrowers and told some...interesting jokes :)

~the americans on the tour said that i am not a real texan because i had no cowboy boots, no bucket (their word...i corrected them) hat, no big belt buckle, no accent, and i dont drive a truck. ha. :)

liebe grüße aus leipzig!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

berlin ist mein liebhaber

00:45 local time
birkenstraße 13 b, berlin

so i got back from the party at sophies around 530 or 545.  then, i slept until about 3.  i played around on the computer until around 7 and then i ventured out to cancel my hotel for tonight in person and make sure that there was no additional charge for a 'no show.'  that was interesting to try to find on my own...and i did it all by myself!  ;)  when i was heading back, i decided to try to find something to eat at the main train station (everything was as sleepy as promised).  on the way, i helped someone find his correct subway line. ha.  when i got to the train station, i bought a new prepaid cell phone because i am certain that it will make traveling sooooo much easier since everyone is basically telling me 'oh just give me a call when you get here and/or if you need help!'

the number is:  0049 0176 54 84 62 42.  try it, see if it works...i get texts, too ;)  just make sure you get a parents help first because it could get costly. haha.

after that, i went to mcdonalds for fun.  they are having the monopoly game and they have very funny names for the streets (for example, theatre street or goethe street).  hahaha.  but the happy meal toys are german versions of boardgames such as battleship and hungry, hungry hippos, so i might have to go back because that is AWESOME!!  super great toys!!

the party last night was very fun.  there were about 15 people in attendance and everyone was very nice.  we went, at about 1130, to the river to watch fireworks.  it was THE COOLEST.  they have sparklers (zauberkerzen (magic candles)) that are about three feet long!!  sa-weet!  the coolest thing, though, was the fact that the river was frozen, so when the others who came shoet their bottle rockets horizontally, they glided across the water, or skipped across the ice when they were shot 'into the river'.  

at midnight, there were great fireworks to see over the city of potsdam.  enchanting.  we hugged, said happy new year, and passed around some bottles of champagne.  great fun.  :)  then, we went back, had a white elephant party (of sorts...they use dice to control the gift giving order.  very interesting.  way better), ate jelly donuts (berliners), and danced the night away.  

what a unique start to a new year!!  God is absolutely taking care of me while i am here and it is a good refresher course in how to be an independent person but still have to be dependent on God to get through the randomness of life.

things of note:

°our cultures are so different, but so the same.  new years parties.  storytelling games.  being with friends.  

°days pass VERY quickly when you sleep until 3pm. especially when youre already seven hours ahead!

°tomorrow i am going on a walking tour of berlin and then heading to leipzig where i will spend the night and head to weimar to meet thomas!

lieben grüße aus berlin...dein sarah

ich esse ein berliner

18:45 local time
birkenstraße, berlin

day 2.  immediately, i am sitting in the roommate, peters, room, while my former roommate, luise naps before we go to her friends for a new years party.  Guten Rutsch, so the germans say.  it is pretty cold, but that was to be expected, right?

yesterday, i was met at the airport by rike, a friend from lüneburg.  we took my things to leave at dino and rachels door and went to wander around hamburg.  there is a giant, almost normal (read: american) mall there where we had thai food for lunch.  then, we went to her apartment and a little laters i met rachel at the main train station.  when i met rachel, we went to her apartment where we were greeted by dino (another friend from lüneburg. ask about him, cool story).  they live in st. pauli, a young, somewhat crazy neighborhood that has some really awesome apartments, which we saw on ou way to dinner.  i had apfelschorle (apple juice w/ sparkling water) and salami pizza.  we came home, watched napoleon dynamite, and i went to sleep.  and got the best sleep ive had in probably three weeks--9-10 hours!! amazing!!

this morning, we had breakfast and rachel took me to meet my train for berlin.  it was 35 minutes late--crazy--especially for a german ICE (fast) train.  i was sent on my way with some pastries, most notably, a berliner!  

>>evidently, a german new years tradition is to have berliners and pass them out and whomever receives one filled with mustard instead of jelly is supposed to have a year of bad luck!<<

apparently, it is customary, when a train is very late in germany, to get a fere tea or coffee.  the unusally friendly girl in the seat next to me went to get ours, but the line was to long so the effort was retired.  also, the conductor was pretty funny.  the whole train laughed when he spoke, another unusual thing.  perhaps everyone is in a good mood because it is a party evening.  its really neat, though.

things of note:

°lovely luise:  always the hostess, she is keeping me for the night and tomorrow, too, probably, and she made dinner, too! and she is taking me to a new years party in potsdam. 

°no travel companion, as yet. thomas couldnt come, and i was waaaay bummed.  he says maybe in weimar on saturday?  i hope so!!

°new years fireworks. normal, but a little strange to hear in berlin, methinks.

lieben grüßs!...sarah