Monday, October 29, 2007
Things that make you go hmmm
So, the title of this blog should be pretty obvious - lately I've just noticed a lot of things that have made me laugh or at least smile because I'm confused.
So, when I go to karate on Thursday nights, the people on the other side of the cloth gym divider like to play music. Not just any music, however, just a very select repertoire. It consists of the "Splish-Splash I was taking a bath" song, a recording of frogs croaking, and then one of flatulence. What they were doing remained a mystery until last Thursday. Karate ran late, so we were still there when they raised the barrier - revealing a group of about 20 people eating ice cream and drinking gluehwein sitting on giant inner tubes (like, tractor sized) surround by what looked to be 20 decapitated beach-ball sized Kermit the Frog heads. So, I guess what they're really doing is still a mystery but I guess the frog soundtrack has been cleared up.
Hold your Applause, but Knock on Wood
In most ways I am finding that a University is a University no matter where they are but they all have their little quirks. Regensburg is no exception. For example, when a UND or Augustana Professor gives a lecture you simply sit there, answer as needed and phase in and out of concentration. At the end of lecture the teacher either makes a beeline for the door or waits around for questions. If a guest lecturer/speaker is present, there might be a quick round of polite clapping. However, I was a bit confused when I was sitting in my English class (taught by a German "lecturer") and the class ended with some vigorous table thumping. Apparently it is traditional to knock on the desk (instead of applauding) after every class.
The Boy from Minnesota (!)
Today I was sitting on the bus with Molly (a CO student) and we were discussing our weekends and classes in General. She suddenly remembered that - "There's a boy from MN from my class!" I asked her what his name was and from which University he was coming from, but she said she actually hadn't talked to him yet... This I found to be really interesting since I thought I'd met all the Americans and certainly all the Minnesotans. Well, I was on my way to Phonetics class, which I have with Eric. I told him that there was another guy from MN (who couldn't be Brady because he has a higher UNICERT level) and Eric also got quite excited about meeting a fellow Minnesotan. The excitement was shattered, however, when he asked me who Molly was and figured out that, sadly, He was the boy from Minnesota. Well, maybe it was funnier if you were there.
Do you have a License for that Radio Ma'am?
Sometimes I think the Germans could tell me anything and I'd believe it. Not necessarily because I'm utterly gullible, but just because sometimes you find out the weirdest things. Yesterday I was at Max's for "Sunday Dinner" and he switched on his Radio joking that he hoped someone had a license for it. Confused, I turned to Claudia and asked what he meant. Apparently, when you go and buy a radio it comes with paperwork and you have to send it in with a fee to attain a "license" for being able to play the radio. It is apparently also enforced (Claudia once had them come to her door) but you can refuse them the right to search your house. Weird huh? Now, I could understand this if they had commercial/sponsor-free music stations - but they don't. So, I'm not sure if it's a post-war law (to prevent people from tuning in to the BBC?) that's become outdated or what. Maybe someone can enlighten me.
Saturday evening I went Ice Skating with a small group of people at the Donau Arena. We picked a bad night to go - it was "Disco Night" so it was teeming with tweens and thugs-in-training. It was particularly bad for a couple of the Irish girls who'd only been skating once or twice before - with little speed demons knocking into people, even I could barely keep my balance.
Yesterday we had a good Sunday dinner. I thought I was going to be contributing so I made a pizza and the pasta pesto chicken tortellini dish. I soon found out I was the only one cooking, so they also ended up ordering in a couple of pizzas. Mine was better... : p
I guess things are going well, classes have been interesting and the homework not to staggering. Today we were learning how to say the German "f" and so we got to play with fire. The teacher literally whipped out tee candles and matches and has us pass it around, making the sound to blow it out. This is guaranteed to give me weird sound associations for the rest of my life.
Today I bought a "Bahncard 25" and a ticket to Heidelberg for this weekend. The card gives you an automatic 25% on your ticket (second class, in my case) and I got the Heidelberg ticket for under 50 euros. I'm going with Eric who's going to see a friend. I didn't mean to invite myself along - I just asked if he was going to go again nearer to Christmas (because we only got to see it briefly on our German Club trip and Eric described a lot of neat shops) and he said nope and I should just come along. The nice thing is that we will be staying at his friend's house, and so there's no cost for accommodation (except bringing a little gift for his friend's generous parents). So that's really nice. Anyhow, I think that's about all for now.