Friday, September 9, 2016

A Month In!

We have been here a little over a month now! We arrived in Marburg on August 7, so we're trucking right along! We will go to Munster on the 23rd and will be able to settle in there and really unpack, and I'm excited for that but we really do love the place we've been!

The days here in Marburg are passing quickly! We are doing language classes Monday-Friday so we're getting a little bit of a routine. Since the research hasn't started and we're often around lots of other Americans, this still feels a bit surreal and maybe like a vacation. I'm not sure still if it feels like we really truly moved to Germany. It may be because we're living in dorms and everything is just so new, but I'm guessing one of these days it will set in!

We get up as late as possible each day (well, I do), walk to catch the bus at 8:30, or sometimes walk, start class at nine, have a break at 10:30, go to lunch at 12:30, then at 2 we either have a "culture class" or language class. We're usually done and traveling home at around 4, depending on if we have errands to run or not. In the evenings, Carson takes his laptop to the wifi to work on things, while I sometimes nap or hang out in our apartment. We spend the last part of the day together, walking or talking or watching something on Netflix. We read a little and go to bed. 

We ride the #7 bus from down the hill from our building to the Elisabethkirche stop by the conference center where we have classes.

We have really simple dinners - it's hard not to - we have two burners and no oven so that limits us a bit! In fact, the other day we finally bought bowls, so we have options now. We are the proud owners of two mugs, two glasses (the day we got here McDonalds was for some reason giving away these colorful glasses with orders and we both got blue so they even match!), two forks, two spoons, two knives, one sharp knife, one spatula, one little pot and one tiny pan. We keep them on the counter most of the time because everything gets used daily. It's nice having things this simple, but I miss ovens and honestly I really miss my food processor too. 

Language Classes
My language class took a trip to the grocery store where we had a sort of scavenger hunt, finding prices, words, certain products. It was pretty useful! Here are some words we learned:

Masculine, feminine and neutral nouns are so confusing! I'm hoping it clicks soon, but for now memorizing the articles die, das and der with every noun I learn is not going so well!

My class and Carson's class got a little random field trip this week. We went to Aroma, this really great Eis (ice cream) place, and then sat on the little beach area across from it and played Taboo Jr. We played in German of course, so even the Junior version was really challenging.

Culture Class
We have a culture class every other day where we learn about different aspects of German life, or sometimes we take field trips as a part of our class. We've been to the bank, the registration office, had a lecture about different dialects of German, a lecture on Germany since WWII, a field trip to the museum inside the Schloss, and most recently, a trip to the Anatomy museum, which was interesting but also really creepy. I discovered that I'm okay with bones, but not okay with things in jars... draw what you will from that.

We have my laptop hooked up to Ethernet cable in our room, but Carson's laptop doesn't have the port for one, and our phones can't connect to it either, so anytime we pass wifi, we stop and take advantage. We went on a short walk the other night and made a pit stop at the student center to upload some pictures.

We tried out a burger place over the weekend and it was pretty good! They had American pop music playing, so we listened to old Britney Spears tunes while having burgers. It felt a little bit like we were back in the States, and that was nice for a moment. I will say that the decor was not what I was expecting when I thought of a burger joint... it looked a lot like a fiesta in there!

We don't have enough time to go back for lunch each day, and we don't have the things you'd need to pack a lunch each day (ice pack, even a plastic bag), so we've been buying lunch most days between classes. We found a grocery store with cheap food options and a huge line of people waiting for them, so we took that as a sign. This was one Euro (it bugs me that I don't have the Euro sign on my keyboard). 

This may not look beautiful, but it's pretty good. It's called Doener, and from what I've been told, it's a food created by Turkish immigrants to Germany. It's a sandwich with shaved meat (lamb, I believe), sauce, veggies, and it's cheap and really quite tasty. There are lots of Halel places around here that serve it.

We have a table in our room, but we most often opt to sit on the beds and eat while watching something.

Mom got me a watercolor kit before we left and I've been trying to experiment with it a little. I've always doodling with letters and words, but I feel like with watercolors I need to branch out and do something different... be kind in your judgments because I don't know what the heck I'm doing! It looks so easy when other people are doing it!

I may have mentioned this, but I discovered that I can call US phone numbers for free on Google Hangouts. This is great! If I do call you, just know that when Carson ported our US numbers to Google Voice, he accidentally added my number to his account and vice versa, so if I call from Google, it's going to be confusing and say it's Carson. It's really neat to have the option at all, honestly! I haven't Skyped with anyone yet, but I'm excited to. 

I have also video chatted using Google Hangouts and it's great. On this day, I chatted with Christina and Emily. There's a Google Hangouts app that I have and that Christina was using too... it's good to know that we have the ability to be face to face thousands of miles apart and six-seven hours time difference!

The Group
We've really enjoyed getting to know thirty new people! We are spread out over a few dorm buildings, which is probably for the best, because sharing tight spaces with so many people for six weeks could spell disaster. Everyone's from a different background and area of study and so there's a lot of diversity within the group. Even though I'm technically an outsider, since I am not a grantee, I've felt very much like a part of the group. I wonder if it helps that I'm older, but either way, I'm really happy that we came for the language course (it was optional) and that we've been able to experience this! Neither Carson nor I have lived in a dorm before so this was totally new, and although I'm glad it won't be for the entire year, I've really loved this time in Marburg!

We've celebrated birthdays (lots of September birthdays for a group of thirty people!)

On the 4th of September, there were fireworks in Marburg! There were posters all over town for them and even a little festival. I knew I was going to have a long weekend, so I didn't want to go down, but Sophie and I went up to the top floor of my building where there's a GREAT view. The door to get on the roof was locked, sadly, but we could still see and hear all over Marburg from our vantage point, so we had a great fireworks show while eating some tasty chocolate she brought along.

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