Monday, March 10, 2008

Spring Break

Hi all,
So my last week and a half have been rather eventful - so here it goes.

Steph Gets Kicked out of College
Yes, it is official, I have been kicked out of college. Apparently it's easier than I thought it'd be. Now before anyone hyperventilates and does anything drastic (like calling my mother...), I will explain. Apparently, some time in November, a letter (probably in the same letter that told me I had to reapply for my room that I ignored...) was sent to me. It essentially said that even though it was months away, we should remember to pay our 77 euro semester fee in February. And apparently they don't believe in reminders or messing around. Soooooooo, a few days ago I got a letter in the mail containing my "ex-matriculation" papers. So I immediately freaked out very calmly talked to Eric about it. Apparently he'd gotten it too and all we had to do was transfer the money (never mind they had all our account money and automatically transfered out our insurance money every month...) and return the ex-matriculation paperwork. So I transfered the money this week and will see the lady tomorrow.

Chris Comes to Germany
Now, this was quite exciting for me. I could post on and on and on and on about it, but I'll try to just hit the high-lights. Chris had booked a non-stop flight, and he called once he was in the Frankfurt Airport and had found the train station inside. I figured that the rest should be easy. However, that morning I had woken up to pea-sized hail pelting my window (big Green Giant® variety size hail) and apparently a tree fell across the tracks - delaying his train one hour. But he made it. Sunday night I was supposed to make pizza for us, Eric and Claudia and two UND friends, Sarah and Andy. However, Sarah and Andy got caught smack dab in the middle of the Luthansa things did not go well for them. They showed up a day late (had to stay in a Frankfurt hotel) wearing the same clothes for 4 days. Their luggage finally arrived the 2 days before they left, which was only one, practically. But Andy got clean socks and Sarah got a new pair of "shorts" out of it. At any rate, they weren't particularly happy campers - and I can't blame them!

Chris also had a frustrating time with his bank, and I would not want to be the next Citi Bank (I think that's the type) employee he sees. However, most of the visit went smoothly - excepting Neuschwanstein. We tried to go one day, only to never have our connecting train show up from Munich to Fuessing. So we went to the Hofbrauhaus where Sarah and Chris got their first Maß of beer. Then we went to Dachau. It's hard to say "I really enjoyed visiting a concentration camp", but it was really good to see it again. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time in the Museum before it closed to see even close to all of it, but it had a very sobering effect. Did you know that "sombering" isn't a word? I just tried to use it...which is odd because you can say it was a sober/somber crowd. Anyways...

We also went to Sweeney Tod on Monday night since it was the English Movie. I was excited to see it, but I marvel now at my own stupidity. Somehow the fact that I knew that plot summary (a guy hacks up people and they get made into pie) didn't effect my reasoning to figure out - "Oh, hey Steph...this is a SCARY movie..." - so I didn't fully enjoy it, although I had a hand to hold at least.

We went to Nuernberg on Thursday and saw the castle (they only gave tours in German and the local dialect...) and had good wurst. We also took the slowest train ride home EVER. Usually it's a 45 minute ride, but we hit every village stop known to mankind...taking us a thrilling 1 hour and 45 minutes to get home. Our sign should've been the fact that the train was only 2 compartments long...yikes. One day Eric gave a mini-city tour (he's been gimping along since Monday...had his foot sliced open in the name of science) and another Chris and I did some biking to the point now known as "That Freakin' Large Bridge".

I must say I ate quite well this last week, with pizza, burgers, TONS of various wursts and more. We managed to ingest vast quantities of ice cream (Chris kept laughing at me when I kept suggesting we get some, and then was the one doing the suggesting after his first taste!) and also fell in love with Lara's Doener. Only the best...

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and so yesterday afternoon we traveled to Frankfurt together (since his train left early in the morning and there's no train leaving early enough to get him there) and stayed a night at a hotel. As we walked the 4 short blocks to our hotel, Jake's (an apt mate) parting words - a totally off-hand comment meant as a joke-rang true: "You know, there's a lot of prostitutes in Frankfurt..." Not that he knew personally. We soon found ourselves in the heart of Frankfurt's very own little Red Light District. At first it was "Oh, well....would you look at that...gross." Soon we walked down a street with needles openly displayed; the crowning moment was seeing the guy with his pants off in the street rolling something to smoke. Yeah, I was a little out of my comfort zone...and DEFINITELY glad to have Chris there.

However, our hotel was decent. Not exactly feeling the desire to venture out again (and also glad that it was a Sunday and not a Friday or Saturday night) we decided to order out. So, I am VERY proud to say that I managed to order a pizza to be delivered all by myself. And sure, as you can see in the very light picture in the album above, they spelled my last name "Manzen", but they got the toppings right. I was so excited I literally jumped around for 2 minutes (to Chris's great amusement).

If you offer a German man a Beer...
He will give you an orange! (And an apple...). But I'm getting ahead of myself. Anyways, after I got Chris to the airport and we said our goodbyes, I had about 3.5 hours to burn until my train came - except I didn't. The train strike had re-started (it's been a horrible year for trains here...sigh), and I wanted to make sure my train wouldn't be affected. It wasn't, and the lady at the counter very helpfully offered to put me on the train leaving 2 hours earlier - so only just over an hour's wait. So, since my paper journal had been utterly neglected for the last 10 days, I settled down. I hopped on the train just fine and continued to scribble away for another 2 full hours. At a point about 1.5 hours into the trip an older German gentleman (around early 60's I'd guess) sat next to me, with his wife in the seat across.

We'd pretty much ignored each other - he was speaking in either Bavarian or Frankish (another unintelligible German dialect) and I was writing. However, once I stopped he asked me why there wasn't a title on my "Book" - in German. I responded that it was a Journal (luckily, it is the same word...although I was only guessing at the time). After a while, he was eating a meal. Mindful of the fact I had 3-4 beers in my bag (Chris wanted to bring them along and thought we'd both drink one or two...and we hadn't), I thought: "Hey, he's German...and what German man doesn't like beer?". So I asked him if he'd like one, saying that they were my boyfriend's and that I didn't like to drink beer. I don't think that's what HE heard, however.

He gave me this slightly-scandalized look, shook his head and said something about 20 year-olds (not sure exactly what...if he was implying he wasn't 20 or lamenting the 20 year olds of today's day). I mean it was only noon...but he was still eating. I think he thought I was going to drink one and so was offering him one - obviously he hadn't understood what I'd actually said. Anyhow, I pulled out my chocolate - which he said was good. I was staring out the window, a little confused, when *plop!* an apple is tossed into my lap. I was startled, and looked up - only to see him rummaging around in his bag and pulling out more stuff. The next item he pulled out was a lemon (which he thankfully put back) and then he took out an orange. Figuring he accidentally dropped the fruit in my lap - I offered it back to him. He declined, and then gave me the orange too!

Slightly bemused, I thanked him...but he wasn't done yet! Next, he said "Smoke?" (in German) while pantomiming the action for cigarettes (I hope...). At this point I'm completely lost to his meaning, and since I neither smoke, nor have a cigarette for him I just say no. He nods and says good. Apparently I am not beyond all Then his wife starts talking to him and I catch the phrases "English (as in he thought I was English, not American)...doesn't understand German". Which was pretty silly, because it all started because he didn't understand me and was speaking Bavarian/Frankish.

At any rate, it gave me something to secretly smile about as I obediently ate the apple and waited for the long ride to end.
So, that's it for now folks - enjoy the pictures (as soon as I remember how I did it last time!)

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Congratulations! You won my "Name That Man" contest! Chip O'Daly was a brilliant suggestion.

If you're interested, please email me where I can send your trophy at