Monday, June 16, 2008

Quirks...

WARNING: NOT FOR THE WEAK OF STOMACH!

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Hi all,
I just wish someone had warned me of this before I decided to have the peach for breakfast, because, honestly, that was a bit much for me. I still currently have 2 peaches languishing in my fridge...and from now on I'm sticking to bananas! Today's blog will be (if I can find all the random scribbled notes in my notebooks) on the quirky little things I've experienced in Germany. Starting with this morning...

Bus Annoyances
This morning, two of my pet peeves were present at the bus. At first, a lady was smoking and blowing it in such a way to waft directly into my face while climbing on the bus. Gross and not what I need when I'm barely awake. Secondly, the music. My Good Lord...the music. I understand the whole iPOD phenomenon now that I have one. Suddenly, you're in a bubble - your life has it's own soundtrack and you are in control. Who even knows what iPOD actually stands for? Not me.
So I googled it.
Apparently, it doesn't stand for anything, except "internet pod". How lame is that? I assumed the p stood for Personal. And it should. Because contrary to popular opinion, I do not - let me repeat that, do not want to overhear your crappy taste in tasteless pop/rap/etc music.
I sat down next to this girl today and literally (had I known the lyrics) could have had a sing-a-long. With all the volume leaking out of her headphones it's a miracle that she heard anything at all. Then, 3 rows back, Mr. Techno was jamming out loud enough for me to have a dance party. This is not good for my pent up aggression levels.
I derive happiness from the fact (and a sense of consolation) that they will both not be listening to their music in another 3 years as they will have gone deaf.

On the note of buses, including my Monday bus ride in particular, I have a "What?!?!" story to tell. About 3 weeks ago, I got on the bus and didn't take any notice of an older gentleman who'd also gotten on until I saw him using a mirror. To put on lipstick. Ok, you might say, the world is a different place - especially in different countries - than Good Ol' Minnesota. However, it was strange because he was very presentably dressed (nice, long-sleeved button-down shirt with dress pants) and didn't have any other sort of makeup on. Now, I would've written this off as a one-time oddity and shortly forgotten about it - until he got on the bus with me the next week. This time he proceeded to whip out his mirror and dry-shave his face for about 5 minutes. I mean, wouldn't that hurt? Plus, he looked shaved before he began.
This week, he disappointed me by being completely normal...but there's always next week!

Rulers...More than Just a Sexy Accessory
Wait, who says they're accessories? What a good question.
Wayyyyy back in October, I remember a friend (who happened to be a math major) explaining the "ruler phenomenon". That is, every time there was a need for a straight line to be drawn in notes: "swwwwwwwwsh", pencil bags (yes, everyone in the University has a pencil bag...) were opened and rulers whipped out. Nevermind the fact that they all take notes on gridded paper - in every subject. Now, you could be saying: "Ok, we all know math majors are a little wonky, and straight lines can be awfully important in Math". Fair enough.
How about in my castle/English class(es)?
Every single time that someone wants to underline a line of text (be it a header in their notes, or in the text we receive), out pops a ruler. And don't even get me started on hi-lighters...

"Open" American Professor
Due to a German friend's insistence that it'd be "fun" to take an English course together, I found myself in an 8:15 American Survey course. Now, I thought this would be a culture course - however I find myself thinking I can petition it into being an English course as all we do is analyze texts. The teacher comes from the US and is apparently infamous for never ever, stopping to talk. Nevermind the fact that there's supposed to be a 15-20 minute presentation each class or that he claimed it was supposed to be discussion oriented. Now, I'm ok with that, I really am as my brain refuses to function until at least 9. However, I started to notice a few weeks ago a new trend in his methods. He teaches barefoot.
He walks into class in his sandals, but somehow manages to step out of them in the course of the first few minutes of class (I have yet to catch him in the act, but I blame my numb brain) and proceeds to wander around the (carpeted) room, lecturing.
I really don't know what to make of it, it slightly blows my mind.

Upon reflection, perhaps this post should have been titled "A Rant on German Oddities", as I'm sure my displeasure was easy to read in passages. However, I mostly just quietly shake my head and wonder at the quirks I'm witness to. Perhaps earlier in the culture shock these occurrences would have made me wonder about the German psyche (and it's effects on foreigners). However, I know that annoying music-sharers are probably taking over the world's buses one at a time and that professors have to have their quirks to survive delivering the same mind-numbing information over and over and over and over. So I try to take it all with a bemused attitude and simply share it with you.

Hope all is well,
Steph







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