She was… an American girl

Today was a lot better than yesterday. I found friends, which was very exciting: Stephanie from U of M, Sean from U of M and Mark from New Jersey. Oh, and Marissa from New Jersey.

Anyway, Stephanie and I journeyed to the Muenster, which is a beautiful gothic cathedral in the main “Platz” of Freiburg. It only cost 1 Euro to go up! And the view of Freiburg was gorgeous. After that, we got 1 “Kugel” of ice cream (I got Stratiacella, which is basically just vanilla with chocolate chips) for 80 Euro cents! How cheap is that?! Well, probably not that cheap, but it was good. 🙂

Getting a better view of the city was very nice. Freiburg is actually quite big, bigger than I at first thought it was. I still really don’t know much about the city, but I know where the dorm is and where the school is so that’s a start!

Speaking of finding the school, Steph and I went to find it. Upon reaching the school, we found our new friend Mark, who was just as lost and hopeless as we all were when trying to reach the dorm. Luckily we found him and showed him the way! Of course, the Zivis were no where to be found and he couldn’t get his room key so he put his luggage in my room.

Anyway, after that, we chilled on the balcony for a little while until we re-found Steph, who had found Sean and Marissa. Sean goes to U of M and lived in Markley. He’s also a FIJI, and has a FIJI tattoo on his ankle, which I find hilarious and ultimately a very dumb decision on his part. But that is beside the point – we all went to get food and I got my first Doener of the trip! Num num!!!! I missed them!

After that, we found our way to the Irish Pub, where the waiter politely asked us to speak in English. Funny. The beer was cheap and good and we all had a really great time. Turns out, Monday is trivia night which reminded us U of M people very much of Charley’s. And they do the trivia in English! OMG WIN.

Once back at the dorm, we finally found some Zivis and got Mark’s keys and my sheets. They didn’t do any help because Mark and I quickly figured out that the bugs in my bed are in fact fleas! Cool, I know. Again, I was very upset and this stupid Goethe-Institut is very stupid. Right. So tomorrow we are going to kick ass, as we will finally deal with adults rather than stupid Zivis.

Welllll tomorrow I finally get to go grocery shopping, since tomorrow is not Sunday or a holiday (that we know of…) and I will no longer be hungry at 2 AM, like I am right now. Grr.

Nothing too much more exciting. Tomorrow, after exploring more, I will make a post with some pictures and more details of the city. 🙂 Yay!

Until then…
Cheers,
Alaina

Internet: Found!

Well, I figured out how to get internet at my dorm. It’s in the common room area, not my room, though. I tried to find the network from my room, but that didn’t work. So I guess this is just gonna have to do.

There is a guy to my left who is watching movie trailers sans headphones. Annoying.

There are two girls behind me speaking some Asian language. Interesting. Everyone seems to speak there native tongue around the dorm. I guess I don’t blame them; I am also, sadly, avoiding using my German. Then again I’ve only been here like 24 hours, so I’m sure I’ll be talking up a German storm soon. Hopefully. (They just started speaking German, and I must say, Asians speak cute German haha)

Anyway, as my Twitter states, I found bugs in my bed last night. Super cool. Not. This is after I had been sitting in it watching a movie. I’m not too sure what I’m going to do about this problem. I slept on my desk (which is actually quite big and sturdy) and it sucked. I’m not sure if it is something I sound really worry about or not. It could maybe just be the comforter, and the bugs came out on to the bed but who knows. Also, I have yet to find out how to get sheets. Needless to say, this is pretty upsetting. I had planned to wake up at 8 AM to go to the main desk while someone was there to get help (they have funky hours- 8-8:30 AM then 2-6 PM or something), but since I don’t have a clock, I missed that.

So then I decided to head out for some groceries and food but, guess what!? It’s a holiday in Germany so everything is closed. Hopefully some resturants will be open- I need food. But who knows? Germans are weird about these things. At the very least, I’m sure McDonald’s will still be open……

I noticed that Germans smoke a lot more than Americans. Almost every other person I see is smoking, young and old. Which is kind of crazy because they all seem so healthy. And I have seen about 5 cigarette machines, like candy machines, on the street! Them crazy beer-drinkin, cigarette-smokin, bike-ridin Germans.

Speaking of bikes, I want one. Everyone rides one around here and it’ll be more fun than walking. I’ll have to look into that.

Well, as you might sense from this post, things are pretty rough right about now. Really all I want to do is sleep more, but the bed issue is really annoying. It is stressing me out that I can’t figure out anything and no one from the Goethe-Institut is around to help me. Grrrr. Whatever. I’ve only been here 24 hours, and things will get easier. Classes start tomorrow so I’ll meet some people and be able to get people to help me from Goethe.

Until next time…
Cheers,

Alaina

Finally in Freiburg!

Wellllll, let me tell you, traveling with 1 70-pound piece of luggage, 1 30-lb piece of luggage (on my back) and two carry-on bag/purses is not fun or easy. The flight was great but I watched Taken, which was a bad idea haha. Immediately after I got out of customs, I bought an Apfelschorle – great decision :). I missed that stuff!! So then, I bought my Deutsche Bahn (train) ticket to Freiburg and tried to start the transaction with my rusty German, but the lady saw right through that and continued in English haha. Good thing she did, otherwise I would have been quite lost. She roped me into buying a Bahn Card, which will actually be quite helpful as I will save 25% on all train tickets in Germany and some in surrounding countries (Austria!) for a whole year. Woo!

So, while making my way to my train, I met an Army guy when he offered to help me lug my luggage down a flight of stairs (the escalator wasn’t working!) and all I could think of was Taken, but he was legit and very nice. He’s almost retired from the Army at 30! Whoa.

Anyway, the train was lovely. I had to catch a connection in Karlsruhe, which almost shut me out but luckily some Deutsche Bahn workers saw me scrambling and held a door for me. Almost passed out on the train but I was too nervous to miss my stop ha.

Then, I get to Freiburg. I realize I don’t have the address to the place I’m staying. Smart. So I pay 50 Euro cents to check my email for the address. Good. Then, I start hunting (this is where the story goes south). I have all my luggage and I’m trudging – up cobbled sidewalks, down cobbled sidewalks, over bridges, back over bridges. It was bad. About an hour this lasted until I caved and got a taxi to take me there. Turns out, I was almost there once but turned around.

So I get there. I was only hoping for a place to store my luggage and didn’t expect to get my key until later, but of course they didn’t have a luggage storage room and since it is Sunday, no one was around. Luckily, the “Zivi” (Zivildienst- required service all Germans have to do when they graduate high school; the alternative to serving in the Army) saw me with all my luggage and got me my key. I find out that I have to get all my luggage up 3 flights of stairs. Cool. Finally get everything upstairs to find that I can’t open my door. Luckily, I hear someone in the next room, so I knock on the door, pathetically, and ask for help opening the door. I think his name is Venal? But since we were both speaking German and it was neither of our native language and I wouldn’t have understood his name anyway, I’m not sure. He was very nice though. And helped me get in and “Herzlich Wilkommen”-ed me (essentially welcomed me haha).

Then I passed out for about 4 hours, woke up, changed and decided to take a walk/find internet. Let me tell you, walking around a city you can’t figure out, with rusty German, no friends and an aching body is a little sad haha. But I found a McDonalds with a t-Mobile hot spot and I’m paying 8 Euros for internet. Since it is 2:30 PM in MI and my flight landed about 12 hours ago, my parents were worried sick about me. Typical haha. But I’m here to say: all is well, Freiburg is so far very nice, but overwhelming, and tomorrow I will play tourist and take lots of pictures. It’s fun people watching and interesting to catch people speaking English, French or other non-German languages (Turkish, Arabic, whatever).

Hope everyone is well! Miss you all already!
Until next time…
Cheers,
Alaina

Wow.

The big day is finally almost here. Can you believe it?! – I can’t. I’m sitting on my bed right now, unsure of what to do next. Fill out visa paperwork? Begin packing my duffel? Clean/organize my room? Write a somewhat pointless blogpost? Stare aimlessly around my room? I think you can figure out what I’m actually doing versus what I should be doing.

The reality of things is starting to hit me: I’m about to live in Europe for a year. And I won’t be taking classes the whole time, I’ll be working for a lot of it. I’ll be back at Christmas so it’s not like I’m completely freaking out, having second thoughts, etc. but it’s just kind of crazy. I drove home from Ann Arbor today (after celebrating Hilary’s 21st bday!) and it was the last time I’ll be doing that for a year. I said goodbye to friends I won’t see face-to-face until Christmas and it’s…. just wow. This is big.

My “To Do List” for tomorrow is long and daunting – it is scaring me more than actually flying to Germany on Saturday! I was never good at getting things done in a timely manner, and now I’m paying the price.

Anyway, I guess I should start this paperwork. My next post, I predict, will be from Freiburg 🙂

Until then…
Cheers,
Alaina

T-Minus 5….and counting

Well, Memorial Day Weekend is officially over, and that means that I am 5 days away from leaving (on a jet plaaane, don’t know when I’ll be back again…). Anyway, it’ll be a busy next few days with work, packing and cleaning my room (which currently looks as if a tornado has hit it). Should be fun. …

Might as well keep this first post short and sweet. I guess I should say the obligatory “stay tuned!” to all of my readers, for lots of good stories will be coming your way via this blog! 🙂 I hope you all make your own account to comment and give me your email and home addresses so that I can stay in touch!

Until next time…
Alaina