Sunday, January 27, 2008

...of rain

It has been months since I last visited what is quickly becoming my beloved Bremen, but today was the day for it. These January days are, to my mind, best used to travel. So long as the conveyance is closed and can boast a functioning heating system. After the normal greet and coffee drinking that characterizes the close of all the church services I have encountered here in Germany, I tossed my pack onto one of my shoulders and marched practically across the street from my church into the train station. Then it was off to Bremen. There is always this quick moment of panic as the conductor approaches to confirm my fare. I have no idea why, because free weekend rides to Bremen are one of the bonus features of my year long bus ticket, and I pat myself down multiple times on the way to both the bus stop and the train station every time; still those posted warnings about the illegality of riding without a ticket seem to have seeped into my innermost thoughts emerging to toy with my anxiety at will. Despite that moment of trepidity, I spent 40 pleasant minutes on the train and disembarked to find (na Klar!) that it was raining at my destination. To correctly understand the air of resignation I then forced upon myself, you must first understand my relationship to rain. It is of the polar persuasion. Born in the high desert, I grew up being more familiar with cacti and dry, cracked knuckles than synonyms for precipitation. On those delightful evenings when it actually rained it worked to make up in enthusiasm whatever was lost by its prolonged absence. When it stormed we got the whole show: lights and drums. At eighteen, when I moved to Oregon, my understanding of rain was quite altered. The rain started around September and didn't let up until June. It is the sort of rain that must have inspired Chinese Water Torture. I endure this sort of rain primarily by reminding myself that it is the source of the incredible green I am dazzled by throughout the year, but most especially spanning the entire summer. Without that constant reminder, and the frequent application of warm beverages to my internal organs, there is only a fraction of a possibility that I would have lived in Oregon as long as I have. Ironically, the area of Germany in which I find myself has precisely the same weather pattern found in the Willamette Valley with the increased discomfort of a slight general drop, and an increase in windiness in temperature. All of that is to say that it was raining in Bremen. Still, I acquired and partook of the aforementioned hot liquid, sat with my books and unfinished letters, and spend a delightful afternoon in the town next door. At the termination of my visit to Bremen I had another peaceful (although delayed ten minutes by an accident on the rail) train ride home where I now sit in a cozy corner writing a long-overdue blog, which I now close with the wish that you may soon find a moment of weather most particularly suited to your tastes or the ability to endure that which is instead set before you.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The hardest things...

...make us stronger, right? Well, there have been no monumentally difficult things such as me breaking up with a boyfriend, or family or friends dying, but rather the thing which has been continually difficult for me here is the solitariness. Not that I am alone. I am constantly surrounded by people, occasionally to my annoyance. No, the difficulty is having this "experience" that I know is forming my mind and life, and yet not sharing it with someone. If you ever move to a different country for a year, bring someone with you. I am at the point now that I am just looking forward to being home, hoping that things and people haven't changed too much in my absence. Will I look back on my time in Germany with a warm fuzzy feeling? Not immediately. I will always be grateful for what I have learned and experienced, but it has been a consistently difficult year so far. Six more months. Gestern bin ich alleine ins Kino gegangen, und das war ein bi├čen traurig. Das Film war toll aber ich weinte, weil neimand mit mir war. Experiences, both good and bad, are always enriched by being able to share them with others. That is partly why I blog, but it doesn't really scratch the surface of what I am doing here. So those are my thoughts which close the weekend, amplified by the fact that I watched a movie alone, and had my sister here for a couple of days two weeks ago; a reminder of how much I miss home, family and friends.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Introductions

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls I would like you to finally meet my charges:
Felix...
...is bigger now,
but he looks just the same when he's sleeping on my arm.


Carolin...
...likes making messes when she bakes, and even when she doesn't



Felix
is in here twice because he's so cute, and I think this picture is funny

So now you have met them.

Photos von Urlaub

I promised that I would actually put up a couple of pictures of things here, so I will try to do that the next couple of blogs. My apology in advance, that my pictures with Katie and Matt haven't made it onto my computer just yet.

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I last talked about my day with the street musicians. Here are those charmers. As you can imagine, there was always a huddle of 16-25 year old girls freezing themselves and listening. I found out later that Dave (far right) connected with his girlfriend while he was "busking," as street entertaining is called. They are (from left, just like reading): Dominik, Samuel and David.


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Katie woo took this picture of me walking through the monument to the fallen Jews in Berlin. It's an awesome monument. Really solemn and yet really alive, with people usually running through it.















<------- On our one day tour through Berlin, I made Katie and Matt wander around with me until we found Fassbender & Rausch, Chocolatiers Am Gendarmenmarkt,
again so that I could buy amazing chocolate even by German standards. This is a picture of a model of two famous buildings in Berlin (I only remember that they're nicknamed the lipstick and powder box) but the whole model is made out of chocolate. They also have a model of the Titanic, which is probably 5 feet long. It's deeply tempting, but that little placard at the base says not to touch, and for some reason I tend to obey the placards.