Monday, August 31, 2009

Cali wrap-up

So California was fun. I flew home today. It was a sleepy ride home.

Last night my dad and I stayed in a hotel called Citigarden in right near SFO airport. It wasn't a great hotel. Don't stay there.

We also payed a million dollars for gas. Friggin' California.

But all in all, it was a successful trip. I think I'll apply to Stanford early action, and I think I'll apply to Berkeley regular. I don't think I'll be going to Davis.

The golden gate bridge was wicked fun. (haha, I said wicked and described the West)

Also, I got to see Soraya, my best cousin, again. It'll be just about forever before I see her again, so that's cool, too.

Here's a pretty picture for you:

Sunday, August 30, 2009

UC Davis

The final campus on our little tour, UC Davis was also nice. But that's about as far as I'd go, personally. I know some people who loved it there, but it's not really my type of school.

See, I like to be connected, to know what's going on . UC Davis... it's not connected. It's kind of in the middle of nowhere.

I mean, yes, there are busses to San Fran, but honestly, it is pretty remote.

After touring the campus (it has the London's 1st double decker bus, and a superman-style telephone booth) Soraya and I went into the town of Davis to find some plush eats. We found a supermarket and she got a salad.

I'm going to go on a little side note here: California supermarkets are not like Massachusetts supermarkets. Not even a little. It doesn't matter if we're talking Trader Joe's or Albertsons, a California supermarket is not a Massachusetts supermarket.

For one, everything is fresher. All the fruits and vegetables, they're always ripe and fresh. For two, everything is healthier- there's so much more healthy stuff in general. It's like they're all Trader Joe's type places, and the Trader Joe's are super Trader Joe's. There's more transparency, too- ingredients and nutritional values are advertised, not hidden.

There's also a California store (it's actually English, but whatever) called fresh&easy that has Big Hunks of Chocolate. My dad likes those.

Anyway, in said grocery store (it happened to be a co-op), Soraya and I met a UC Davis Junior named Winn (I think that was his name... he was Asian). He told us the weather sucked there.

All three of us drew pictures of dogface butterflies and played I Spy. It was fun.

I liked Winn.

EDIT (9/05/09): Soraya liked Winn too, his name was spelled Ndujenyarbavaha, and her salad was almost as colorful as the spelling of his name.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

UC Berkeley

Day two of our California Adventure.

I think it's funny- everybody in Massachusetts associates the name "Berkeley" with music, largely in part due to the Berkeley school of music. The music building at UC Berkeley, though, is the most pitiful building on campus.

Needless to say, UC Berkeley isn't known for music.

Soraya and I toured the campus today and then checked it out ourselves. I must say, the tour was really bad, and the admissions session afterward may have been fantastic or dreadful, but I'm not sure because I was sleeping. Just wandering the campus, though, made up for most of that.

One cool thing was there was a room in the library for sleeping. That's all. Studying is actually expressly forbidden- if you study they shoot you. The room is guarded by snipers and dogs.

The campus was a liberal as its reputation- we (Soraya and I) spent the better part of a half hour talking to a militant communist who was trying to recruit us to join the violent overthrow of "all this shit"... he wasn't very specific. There was also a smoke shop off campus with at least a hundred different things to smoke.

This is California.

San Fransisco

So everyone's heard about the Golden Gate Bridge. Most everyone has seen it, or a picture of it. Some people have driven across it.

Me, I get to bike across it. All one and a half miles of steel, cable, rivets and international-orange paint of it. It was pretty sweet.

See, it started because my dad wanted to ride across the bridge- he said that it had been one of his dreams since he was eighteen years old. Lucky me, I didn't need to wait 32 years old.

It was kind of funny, too- you're riding along in San Fransisco (we had to ride to the bridge before we could ride across it)- and the weather is in the high seventies. You get on the bridge, and it instantly drops ten degrees. On the other end, it's warm again.

The change in temperature was so drastic that you could literally take two steps and change ten degrees. It was pretty cool.

or hot.

On the other end of the bridge is a town called Sausalito, which is probably the prettiest little town I've ever seen. The lights, the small streets, the well-placed trees- it was very nice.

Here's a pretty picture:

Friday, August 28, 2009


So today I had perfectly lovely flight into California with my father.

Agents Timothy and Robert Miller and Soraya Farhadmotamed
Mission: Explore UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and Stanford Campuses

see, it's cool because I get to pretent I'm a secret agent.

We're staying at the Radisson at Fisherman's Wharf in San Fransisco. I recommend the Radisson at Fisherman's Wharf in San Fransisco to anybody who wants to visit San Fransisco- it's right in the middle of everything and everything, and generally a pretty good place to be.

Today I snuck in to the Discover Stanford tour, a tour aimed a prospective undergraduates. See, I had signed up for the tour, but when I got there they said no-way Jose and kicked me out. I'm still not sure why. Fortunately, the tour was easy to sneak onto as soon as it was out of sight from the Admissions building.

Stanford has a beautiful campus, partly because it's very well laid out, and partly because there is a very strong architectural theme. It's surrounded by the beautiful, albeit small and expensive town of Pallo Alto, the huge and sprawling San Jose, and the generally pretty sexy San Fransisco. Another great thing about Stanford is it's transportation- it's very well connected to all three.


I just went to pull all of the Stanford literature I collected to give you some facts, and they've all fallen apart. Stanford, I was going to praise you, but instead I'm going to tell the world that your binding sucks.

World, Stanford's binding sucks.

Actually I really do like Stanford- it's totally bike friendly, it has one of the top rated Engineering programs in the world, it has very good financial aid programs- these are all good things. Stanford has also won the Director's cup for about a million years, which means it has a great athletics program. It's also strategically located near Silicon Valley, which is good for job-bound graduates.


Here's kind of a neat fact: If Stanford athletes had represented a single country in recent Olympic competitions, their medals would have placed it seventh in the world. Given about 6,700 undergraduates, that's got to be one of the highest Olympian-densities in the world.

Stanford also has some great trees. And a Jamba juice.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

dieses ist eine Karotte

So last night I had my Eagle court of honor and we had a lot of carrots left over, so Nelia and I decided it would be a really good idea to hit them across the yard with Daddy's tennis racket.

I really hope Daddy doesn't read all of the old posts if he ever finds this blog, which he probably will, considering he's on facebook more than I am.

Well, it was really cool- carrot chunk flew everywhere, and the little baby carrots were completely obliterated. It also made a mess of the racket, so we cleaned it up real good and put it back where we found it so that he'd never know the difference.

We switched to a badminton racket after that. By the way, snap peas don't explode. Only carrots.

Here's a pretty picture:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Host Family

So here's the lodown about my host family.

5 Children
Lotta- 16 years old
Mia- 13 years old
Hannes- 10 years old
Stine- 9 years old
Jasmin- 6 years old

Lotta will actually be in Iowa, staying with her aunt and uncle, the first half of the year, so I'll be taking her place in school, I think. I'll be going into her grade. I think.

The parents are named Anke and Alex- Alex is a hydraulic engineer.

From what I understand, I'll have one neighbor and then nobody for two kilometers. Maybe I made that up, but I think I read it somewhere. The house I'm staying in is an old house, and the heating is through a wood-burning stove, so I should expect to be cutting wood in the winter.

Also, the school- Waldorfschule Lubeck- is eight kilometers or so from my home, which I'll be riding to and from every day.

I'm going to come back jacked.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I forgot I had this, but then I found it. So now I remember.

I figure I may as well right some stuff in this blog even before I leave, so I'm in the habit of updating it.

Anyway. I've been working on my German, slowly but surely. Mostly speaking, though- I can't spell anything. I had been using Rosetta Stone, but then it got a fatal application error, and so now it's nicht gut.

I really liked Pimsleur, though, but I only had the beginner set. Now I'm using Learn-In-Your-Car tapes (what a great name), which are okay, but not the most intuitive product.

Meanwhile, I have been in contact with my host family- I'll be in a small town called GroƟ Sarau just outside of Lubeck, which is a city of about 200,000 not too far from Hamburg. And yes, I do get a funny looking "B" (it's called an Eszett, I've since learned) in my town name.