Sonntag, 29. September 2013

1 Month

I have been in Germany for one month. CRAZY! The time has gone so quickly and I have really grown in leaps and bounds (cheesy enough for you?). Tonight is my second night in my new apartment. I am in love! I am living in Eimsbüttel at the very southern tip, which means I am very central, but it is more residential and homey than where I was before. No skyscrapers here! My street is called Schäferstrasse, which means Shepherd Street in English. It is a narrow street lined with trees and old apartments with pretty balconies covered in plants. I share my apartment with a man and woman both in their mid-thirties and they are wonderful. My room is the perfect size and I have CURTAINS, which means I can actually sleep in on the weekends. On every corner of my block is a freaking adorable cafe and on my street there is a little classy bar. Oh, also, my flat-mate has a black cat named Panther who lives mostly outside, but comes in every so often to have a philosophical and passionate conversation with me.
In celebration of moving into my new apartment I had a lovely dinner party. With the help of a fellow Fulbrighter, I made homemade lasagna with homemade sauce. It was killer and my friends helped to make my new home feel very warm indeed. I need a ton of stuff from IKEA, but at least I have a comfy bed.

I have been neglecting my blog because I am so busy and still adjusting to living in a city. I have almost completely mastered public transit, which was a pretty incredible feat. I am discovering the cheapest places to buy food, the best open-air produce markets, and of course, the best places to go out.

This week I am heading to Munich for Oktoberfest and to visit family down south. Next week, me and two girls from the program are hopping up to Amsterdam for 3 days! I can barely wait!

Missing New England Fall and my family and friends... happy to be here in Germany though.


Sonntag, 8. September 2013


On Friday night, I joined some of the other American language assistants and their various interesting German flat-mates on the Reeperbahn: more commonly know as the Red Light District. Apparently things don't really get pumped up in the city on weekend nights until midnight, if not later. Now, it is important to clarify that the Red Light District where the prostitutes are is not actually accessible to women. I heard that if a woman were to walk on the street where men go to have a good time they would get urine thrown on them. Bizarre. Coming from Wellington (population 280 or so) this is quite a shock. That being said, Reeperbahn is still tawdry and sleazy. Neon lights cover every corner of the long wide street. Signs like "Gay Sex Kino" and "Sex Wunderland" line the side-walks. Sex shops are more numerous than Dunkin Donuts in New England.

We drank some local beer at this very funky bar, which was simultaneously someone's home. Then we walked around a bit, found a convenient store where the others bought beers to stroll with. As it were, open containers are very much legal on the Reeperbahn on weekends. I guess they aren't really legal in the rest of the city, but if you don't cause trouble then no one will bother you, probably. We found an empty stage in the middle of the square and parked it there for a while to people watch.

We eventually made it into a club called Molotov where it happened to be Gay Party Night. We danced for a couple of hours before all the Americans turned in, because we aren't used to the crazy late-night hours of the Hamburgers.

An interesting experience. A colorful city.

Donnerstag, 5. September 2013

My first day in Hamburg. I am a bit tipsy from the delicious and absolutely perfect Riesling from Rheinland. After an intense, yet almost completely English orientation, I took the train from Cologne main station to Hamburg main station: 4 hours. My mentor and her friend picked me up and drove me to my apartment. They are young, vibrant, and incredibly nice. I was so thrilled and grateful to not have to take a taxi. After getting partially lost, we got to the apartment just before the office closed, which meant I could move in right away. I accidentally said, "Ich ziehe mich ein" when I should have said, "Ich ziehe ein" (I am moving in). My mistake was arbitrary, but had I said "Ich ziehe mich aus", then that would have meant "I am undressing". Anyway. It was funny.

My room is a single. Tiny kitchen and dining room. Itty-bitty bathroom and pretty spacious bedroom with a strange side room that has a sink, but no toilet. I am alone here in Hamburg. I have to say, it was wonderful to listen to Etta James, drink wine, and cook as wildly as I pleased without roommates. I don't mind solitude.

Before settling into my room I took a long stroll through St. Georg, which the part of the city that I am living in. I found an adaptor for my computer charger after three tries at various electronic marts. The third time was a charm and I was so happy that I told the cashier, "I am so happy that I finally found that thing!" Like most Germans, he smiled weakly and said "8 Euro 99, please". I know he thought it was funny though.

After discovering that three of the possibly million cell-phone stores in the city only offer contracts (when I want pre-paid), I went to "real", which is the cheap-ass supermarket/everything else you could possibly need store. I bought shit-loads of groceries and trucked them home.

For now, I am pleased. I feel incredibly fortunate. My meal was tremendous, the room is pleasant, I have a bed and kitchen wares. I am fortunate and I know that. I have never lived in a city, but I am prepared for all the excitement and over-stimulation. The only problem here is that I forgot to get sheets from the front desk. No Bettwäsche tonight. There are worse things.