Sunday, December 27, 2009


Hello there!

I want to apologize; I had a really wonderful Weihnachten, but I can't write about it right now.   These last few days have been monopolized by family, friends, and UPenn's app.  And now, we're headed out the door for our Musikweek!  I promise to tell you all about that- and Weihnachten- as soon as I get back... pretty sure that's the second of January.

Guten Rutsch!
Happy new year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening (Robert Frost)

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


For the last two weeks and the rest of this week I've had Informatik as my HKTU unterricht.  I'm actually in class right now.  We've been designing websites and learning HTML, which is pretty cool.  I doubt I'll actually do anything with the website, but I think it turned out nicely.  If you'd like to take a look, you can find it here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

In a fit of productivity, Tim pulls off noch ein post!

So yes, enough with backtracking.  Or at least, enough with so far backtracking.  Yesterday, I met up with Devin, Rachel, and Todd in Hamburg.  Devin, Rachel, and Todd are all AFS USA.  Two other girls- Alejandra and Marethe (or something like that), also joined us, and even Lotta and Mia joined us for a while.  We did some Christmas shopping and sight seeing, and we checked out Hamburg's Weihnachtsmarkt.  It's got nothing on Luebeck's.

Unfortunately, I didn't take too many pictures of that.  I'm waiting for Devin to put his on Facebook, and then maybe I can add them.  We'll see.  What I do have, though:

A relatively epic photo of the Rathaus, albeit a little blurry.

The remains of our dinner.  Merethe's pants ripped, so the girls went off an looked for some jeans.  Us men, meanwhile, had much more important things to do.  Todd happened to have a coupon for a free jar of Bruschetta, from REWE, a grocery store here.  We got the Bruschetta, but then we realized that you can't eat bruschetta without baguette.  So then we grabbed a baguette from the bakery.  THEN we realized that our meal would be that much classier with a bottle of wine, so we found a nice Italian red and a few cups.  Then we figured that we had come this far, we may as well go all out and grab a candle, for effect.  Finally, we shared a very lovely candlelit meal of baguette and bruschetta with Italian wine on the streets of Hamburg.  Pretty classy.

Later, Todd, Rachel, Devin, and Marethe came back to Luebeck to spent the night at my house.  We raided the supermarket, grabbed some quesadilla stuff, eggs, peppers, and a few drinks, hit up the movie store, picked up some badass Viking beer and Feuerzangenbowle, and then came here.  16 quesadillas, a couple glasses of distilled Viking, a classic deutsch film, and some friends together makes for a pretty good night.

BUT this morning is snowed!  I'm not too happy about that, but I guess it was inevitable.  It had to happen sometime.  And I can't lie- while snow is cold, wet, dirty, and not fun, at least it looks nice.

Advent in Deutschland

I suppose now that I'm back on my blog writing stuff down I ought to mention Advent here in Deutschland.  It's   much bigger deal than in the US- the advent wreath is omnipresent (even in school!), people wish you a schoenes Advent as a farewell, and sometimes we all sit and eat cookies and sing advent songs.  It's kinda nice.

In school, first thing every Tuesday during Advent we all sing some Advent songs.  With the exception of a stark few, I'm very impressed with the impromptu chorus made out of the Oberstufe (grades 9-13).

There are some things very specific to Advent time:

The big cookies are called Lebkuchen, and they're pretty much the cookie of the season.  The little round balls in this photo are Marzipan Kartoffeln- translated literally, marzipan potatoes.  There's no potato in them, though, they just look like little potatoes.  They're super sweet.  Marzipan is around all year here in Luebeck, but there's certainly more come Advent.  Also- clementines (here called Mandarinen) are another advent-specific treat.  I like clementines.

Luebeck has one of the most famous Weihnachtsmarkts in Germany- the whole center of town is lined with stalls selling food- usually bratwurst, candy, sweets, or baked goods- drinks- usually Gluehwein or Punsch, fortified with Rum or Amaretto, and handmade arts and crafts things.  It's fun just to walk through the city and take it all in. 

By far the best part of the Weihnachtsmarkt, though, is Mutzen- think fried dough, except baby-sized, and German.  It doesn't get much more delicious than that.

Also, check out my sweet hat in this last photo.  Thanks to my family back at home for sending that package!  The raisins are all gone, but my trombone is beautifully clean and my ears are warm once more.

Geo and I went and did some Christmas shopping last Friday, and on the advice of Anke we looked in Heilige Geist, an old hospital-turned-Weihnachtsmarkt during the Christmas season.

It was very nice, and there was an amazing amount of variety in there.  From alpaca sweaters to salmon-leather belts to the biggest spoon ever invented, it was all there.

Anyway.  Luebeck is very beautiful!

Heute ist Sonntag

Hallo!  Ich habe leider für zu lang nichts geschrieben...
Some very important things have happened, though!  Very important indeed- shoes, candy, the whole show.  On the fifth, we all cleaned up our shoes for St. Nick.  Mine were particularly dirty- Alex is rebuilding the bathroom and I helped in take a wall out, and half of the wall turned into shoe dust.  From this photo you can see the difference.

Anyway, once we all had our shoes gut-geputzt we stood them all by the door, along with cookies for Nikolaus and some straw for his donkey.

In the morning, the shoes were filled with delicious treats!

Mmyes.  That's pretty cool.  Later that day (the 6th), there was an AFS chapter meeting, and I actually got to meet Nikolaus and his friend Knecht Rubrecht himself!  Mr. Ruby hit me a few times with a stick, but then they gave me a present, so alles war wieder gut.

Here's a nice photo of Vincent and me.  Geo's in the back, too, but I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say it's a nice photo of him.

Monday, December 7, 2009

And now, lots and lots of words of the day!

COMPLIMENTS of ALICIA HULL, another fantastic AFS-USAer.

I'll give you a real update soon, I promise!! In the meantime, Deutsch crash course:

There are a few good words and "special things" about germany you should know, less than a vocab unit in your german class, that would make adjusting here so much easier. here goes.


Ich muss pissen. - I have to piss. I have to drain the lizard. I have to "insert dirty word for peeing."es gibt..... - There is.....
genau - quite possibly the most popular word in deutschland. means "exactly"
echt/ wirklich - really
geil - horny.  Sometimes.  More often, it means awesome.
scheisse - Shit. except grandma's and teachers say it too.  And Germans also say shit.  And shit, but like shite.  They've got all sorts of fun words.
poopsen - fart. not poop.
Wie geil?!? - how cool is that!?!

** Nothing is open on sunday in germany. So if you happen to have an accident involving your arm and a bandsaw, you better hope you have it on a weekday... otherwise...well yeah, you'll be the awkward one-armed person in the room.**

** Everyone rides bike. Get it out of your head that this is a recreational activity. This is one of the main forms of transportation in germany. seriously.**


müssen (must, have to)
können (can)
dürfen (allowed to)
möchten (would like to)
sollen (should)

kommen (come)
gehen (to go)
laufen (to run - medium speed)
rennen (to run - very fast...sprinting?)

machen (to do, make)
glauben (to believe)
denken (to think)
versuchen (to try)
finden (to find - an opinion)

haben (to have)
geben (to give)
nehmen (to take)

suchen (to search for)
erklären (to explain)

aussehen (to look like)
klingen (to sound)
riechen (to smell)
sagen (to say)
schreiben (to write)
lesen (to read)

verboten (forbidden)
weinen (to cry)
sein (to be)
schlagen (to hit)


komisch - weird
seltsam - strange
anderes - other-ish
unterschiedlich - different
geil - dictionaries will say "horny" but every person will say "awesome".
lustig - funny
witzig - comical/funny
schön - pretty
hässlich - ugly
sauer - sour
süß - sweet
chic - chic
jung - young
alt - old
reif - mature
besser - better
perfekt - perfect
normal - normal
schwer - hard/heavy
schwierig - difficult/hard

kompliziert - complicated
einfach - simple or simply
langweilig - boring
interessant - interesting
wichtig - important
hammer - usually goes with gut to mean really cool/ awesome "hammer gut!" or "hammer geil"
schwul - gay.

Xmas in the US

Okay, two fake posts, and then I'll put up a real post later tonight.

FIRST:  a short presentation I wrote (and then gave in German) for an AFS meeting.  For all of you in the US, it may be quite boring.  It's basically just what you do every year.


Christmas in America.

Before we start, let’s get one thing straight.  Mr. Santa Claus, the celebrity among celebrities around Christmas time, ISN’T EVEN AMERICAN.

He’s a poser.  In fact, he’s not even real.  He was invented by the Spaniards, right after the developed the California coast.  San Louis Obisbo, San Fransisco, Santa Anna, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, BAM!  Santa Claus.  They couldn’t stop at making cities, they had to make a magic man that flies around the world and sits in chimneys, too.

Actually that’s not true.  Mr. Claus actually originated a little closer to here- his legend stems from the story of the bishop Nikolaus, aus Turkei.  But with a title like Santa, we need to extrapolate these things, you know?  Anyway… Mr. Claus is the symbol of Christmas in America- his jolly face, button nose, fat belly, sack full of goodies, and his reindeer-driven sleigh are omnipresent come the Christmas season.

But we’ll get to that later.  First, there are a few things you should know.

The US is more than 75% Christian.  We also have Jewish people, though, so the Christmas season is never limited to just Christmas- for every couple Christmas trees, you have a menorah or two.  Also, Christmas Caroling isn’t complete without the yearly rendition of “My Dreidel” or “Shalom Chaverim”.  I’m pretty sure “Shalom Chaverim” isn’t a Hannukah song, but I’m not totally sure.  Maybe it is.

Anyway, you know it’s Christmastime when the electricity bills start to rise.  Not only do the heaters start coming on for the winter, but every house also puts a bajillion and fourty-four Christmas lights outside their house.  Lining the gutter, draping the roof, along the walkway, in the massive stuffed reindeer out front- Lights, lights, lights! 

You can also tell it’s Christmas time when people start putting up Christmas trees.  Like here in El Deutschland, we have Christmas trees- usually pine, conical, and decorated with loverly ornaments, lights, popcorn, and topped with a star or angel.

Christmas starts with the day after Thanksgiving (okay, who am I kidding.  It starts the day after 4th of July) and culminates on the 25th, Christmas Day.  Usually, small children across the country unwrap their presents the morning of Christmas.  Santa Claus, the aforemention fat chimney-raiding man, distributes these presents underneath the Christmas tree and in stockings, which are hung by the fire with care.

Oftentimes, families either go to the Christmas Vigil Mass, at midnight of Christmas Eve, or to a Christmas Mass the morning of Christmas.  Afterall, Christmas originated as a celebration of Baby Jesus’ birth.  Usually churches have nativity scenes set up during the advent season, and on Christmas the baby Jesus is placed in the manger.

While not widely observed, the official end of the Christmas season is Epiphany, 12 days after Christmas.  Auf Deutsch, Epiphany heiBt Der Tag der Heilige Drei Konige, and it celebrates the arrival of the Three Kings to Jesus.
And to close up this presentation, I think it would be just fantastic if we could all sing a Christmas Carol or two together.

(Now we sing Jingle Bells)