Saturday, December 8, 2007


Hi all,

I know this will come as surprise, but I have a confession to make. I've fallen deep, head-over-heels into a shameful addiction. I never thought it'd happen to me. I'm not a gambler, a lush or a pothead. In fact, I barely drink at all, and that's my most mindful bad "habit." It started out slowly. I didn't even like it at first, when I tried it a few years ago. I thought it tasted gross and I didn't mind telling anyone who asked that I didn't like it. I think I can safely blame it on Vasso for establishing my habit - although I should really take the responsibility and not play the blame game. She had cooked us dinner and provided everything for us, and it would've been rude to decline - especially since we were celebrating Niamh and her birthday together. I sat there, looking at it for a while, but managed to choke it all down. I had more than I should have, but I would've felt bad leaving any. However, a seed was planted when I realized "You know, that actually tasted pretty darn good..." A few nights later I was up with Meike (a friend of Christian, who is a German who lives on my floor) and Jake and I was once again offered some. Peer pressure. I just haven't had enough experience dealing with it to say no. I was hooked.

A week later I bought my own stash, and I've had some every day. I had to stop keeping it in my room because it looked at me in such an enticing manner that I knew I was courting temptation. I have some left, but I already wondering if I should buy some more. I mean, it's not all I think about, but whenever I have some, it's in the back of my mind...

Damn you, Nutella...


So a week ago today I went to the Christkindlesmarkt (Christmas Festival) in Nuremberg, which is rumored to be the largest in all of Germany. I'll believe it. We (Eric, Claudia, Carol from France and another friend of Claudia's) walked around for over 5 hours and saw less than half of it! It also got super-crowded in the evening, which was not as enjoyable. It's a bunch of booths with everything from Gluehwein to liebekuchen (sort of like gingerbread and supposedly invented in Nuremberg) to any sort of knickknack you might like. The Crepe stands were a huge hit but they also had live music in the form of alpine horns and a full band in one of the squares. The market is open every day throughout most of December, but since it was the second day it was open when we went (not to mention a Saturday) it was SO full by the time it was dark it was miserable to try to negotiate the crowds. I heard so many people speaking American English. It's kind of funny, but the longer I'm here, the more reluctant I am to engage in conversation with American strangers (unless they need help, of course). I've noticed that a lot of other Americans at the University who have been there for a few years. It's not out of meanness, but I think it just makes you feel like you fit in more - especially if you can get by mostly using German.


So today I had a "Zwischenpruefung" - which is essentially a "midterm". It was for my phonetics course, and it was a partner endeavor. So this morning I found myself jolted awake at an hour I'd lost to sleep for over a month at least now. 8 AM. (I know, I's not that early, and I used to get up at least at 7 at home, but my whole sleeping pattern has drastically changed here). Anyhow, Sara had her test (same class) at 9 and I was at 9:15. Things got off to a rocky start when Sara's partner didn't show up on time, and the teacher didn't know my name and thought I was her partner. After we cleared that up, the teacher decided I could take it with Sara for the grade and then do it again with my partner without a grade. It was pretty easy - only a short conversation about booking a hotel room, and it went really well for both of us I think. Sara's partner showed up in the middle, so it was decided she would test with my partner. However, he never showed up and when I got home and turned on my cell (which is almost dead because Eric has difficulty returning my charger to me promptly...hint hint...) and discovered that he'd sent me a text, begging my forgiveness. Apparently his phone had died and since he used it as an alarm clock he had overslept. I'm not sure what happened to him in the end, but I'm glad that I was able to take the test.

Anyhow, I hope everyone's doing well and I'm counting down the days until Christmas!


Monday, December 3, 2007

Margarita Mishap

This is a tale, a primeval tale, a tale of man versus his worst enemy: technology.

Let me start at the beginning...
My tale of woe begins about 5 hours prior in a kitchen far, far away from the quaint land of Minnesota. This kitchen is the domain of the Brave Sir Eric (or, BS Eric, a rather unfortunate acronym), who rules his land with ample fridge and stash of Pepsi. Our tale unfolds with the appearance of all innocence. Desiring a frosty and refreshing beverage to accompany his extremely tasty Turkey Stew, and upon earlier procuring the ingredients, BS Eric proceeds to show his drink mastery. From his room he removes the much-sought-after and justly paid for prize: a blender. His humble apprentice (possessing no talent of her own to be taken lightly) assisted by helping put ice in this noble contraption. Next, he took forth the bag of the finest frozen strawberries and also added them. Finally, he swigged in an unknown quantity of traditional of Mexico's finest beverage (for overage consumption...that is) to finish his potion.

His apprentice stood in awe of the quantity of ice and strawberries but thought herself too unskilled in the talent of mixology to dare question his knowledge of this dark art. Or perhaps she figured that his great trust in his contraption was surely warranted. Upon twisting the dial, the machine gargled to life, causing much noise and commotion. Soon, however, the assistant's fear was realized, when the great machine ground to a murmuring halt.
"No problem!" Her master proclaimed and showed her a secret beyond her wildest imagination-
"It has reverse!" With a great smile of confidence, the dial was again swirled and the machine sprang back to it's grinding.
Too soon, however, did it stop,forcing the master to call for his secret weapon: a spoon. Taking the great lid off the mighty machine (and making his apprentice really nervous) the BS Eric proceeded to unjam the concoction: whilst the machine still ran!
In total awe of his prowess, the apprentice could not but help feel the tiniest tinge of alarm...and was about to blurt out "Is that such a great idea?!?" When the inevitable occurred.

Which a loud "PLURPT!" the temperamental concoction gave a great surge and exploded out from the blender. By the power known to man only as "Karma," did the majority fling itself out to be attached to the persons of BS Eric and his humble assistant.

Momentarily did the apprentice loose her head and after not finding her master's camera, set about in a frantic effort to find his detergent (for stains are mankind's second primeval assailant) quite unaware of her master's condition. BS Eric, for his part, manfully held his eyes from watering - an unfortunate chemical reaction due to the potion's strength.

My tale has an ending that leaves room for it to be interpreted by the reader's will as either happy or sad. Whilst the shirts were restored to their former brilliance by swift attendance, the concoction was ruled to be undrinkable due to a rather high ethanol content. It was also found out that while BS Eric has had many seasons of prosperous kitchen management, his strength was not to be found in slushy concoctions. This was found to contain considerable irony to the apprentice, whilst she had mixed many a fine concoction in her brief life.
The End.

In all fairness, he did clean up after himself and it was hysterically funny at the time.