Gift in German means poison.

here are some more funny things:

im sure there is engrish in japan. but here too? yes. slight, subtle engrish.

at my language course, there is an italian guy. he is very fun. for my birthday, he gave me a bracelet with the italian colors on it. it smelled like cigarettes, so i put it away for when it doesnt. i like him though.

and i had my birthday here. i think im the first kid from morgantown to have had a birthday on the exchange. it was a little difficult at times. but everyone here made a big effort to make me feel happy.

in the morning, i got up at 6:30 and we ate breakfast by candlelight.

it reminded me of my room one night in july.

they sung happy birthday in english for me and i got a alarm clock and a card. and candy.

and tickets to a musical that night.

more on that later.

my parents called. i was a little hesitant to answer the phone because i thought i had to speak german, but i was alone, and figured who would call this early besides my host parents, who had just left for work. i answered and heard "uh uh uh konstantin uh uh uh" and it was my parents. it was such a good surprise.

this is me talking with my mom, getting ready for school also.

i went to school and gave everyone candy for my birthday. we were learning about dates and how to tell someone what date it is. and birthday were the example. it was so perfect. then we practiced giving gifts, and using that verb, so everyone came to my party and gave me gifts. i got a TV a car, 2 ties, a flower, a book, and candy.

at home, i ate a good lunch and people just kept coming for coffee. my host mom invited a lot of people for my birthday, and it made me feel good. they sung happy birhtday in german. it is much better than the english happy birthday. with clapping and its very long. they didnt want to sing all of it. and it was cool how all the little kids there knew it and sung loud and knew when to clap. basically, it was more complicated than ours, and that makes it better.
i got a journal, stationary, lots of candy, some comic books that should help me with the language. (donald duck and simpsons)

and a german novel i said i will save for june. i also got this beast kinder chocolate surprise:

i dont know what to do with that.

a lady that has a wine making factory gave that to me. she speaks perfect english and said she would take me to the factory sometime. they are global, she kept saying.

we ate lunch and had coffee and tea for me.

then we drove to stuttgart to see the musical.
i was prohibited from taking pictures of the show, but outside were some fountains

the play was called Mama Mia. it was basically "Who is Cartmans Father" but without the denver broncos and it wasnt funny. i found it hard to pay attention to because i couldnt understand it very well. but i got the idea.

the best part was that it was a musical "with the hits from ABBA" hahaha. every once in a while, they would play dancing queen. thats the only one i knew, but all the germans danced in their seats to EVERY song. and all the women clapped all the time. the worst parts were when everyone in the theater laughed and i had no clue what was funny.

we got home at 12:15 at night. but we would have gotten home later if there was a speed limit and we werent going 200 kph on the autobahn!

that was the best part of the night. and it was a full moon. :)

im going to school. bye!



I went for a long walk through the mountains today with a rotary rebound. she was in south africa, and of course, said she had a great time.

we talked about things i like, like my family, and things i dont like, the weather, and things i found strange, like the light show.

she was nice and helped me with my phrasing, and i learned a new word.

and i got to speak english, which was nice, and i found myself using slang and casual words and it felt so different and nice.

this area makes wine

all the mountains are braided with these lines of grapes. i wonder what prevents people from eating them.

it was a good walk.

i also saw this.

people are surprised when i tell them my jeep was considered small.

in terms of trucks, at least.



Big Saturday

Today Otto, Gudrun and I drove to Frankfurt am Main to shop.

every single one of these buildings belongs to a different bank. Frankfurt is the bank capital of Germany. This is the new side of frankfurt. there is an old side, but much of the town was destroyed in the war, so there are more new things then old.
And supposedly, every building is a different exhibit of books or cars or electronics, but i didnt really understand their explanation. so i will leave you as confused as i was.

Then we bought a snack.

i dropped a piece on the ground later. and kicked it as it fell.

This man was in this iron lung looking thing and there was all this loud water swirling around in it, and he had a massage. there was a plastic sheet that separated him from the water, but it was like he was in a car wash, with automatic sprayers and stuff.
there was a big crowd.

and me with Gudrun. She was the proud owner of two new shirts and a pair of pants. and i had new gloves :)

Then tonight we went to this weird light show. there a bunch of big boulders on the hill and some company set up a light show on them.

they moved and swirled and all to the sound of The Prodigy. i laughed out loud, it was a little rediculous.

There was a couple dressed in "old time" outfits. Otto asked if we could take their picture, and they said, "its our job!"

i was laughing because i couldnt understand what they were saying, because they had a different dialect.

then the man said, "hello mr. bush" to me. and i said "no bush!"

and he laughed.

There were little kids with glow sticks around, and these two girls were pretending they were angels. i thought they deserved to have their picture taken, even though you can only see their halos.

in my town there is a play ground in downtown. it is very modern and the climbing things look like sculpute rather than jungle gyms.

but there is a cool miniature Canal Lock activity that kids can do. there is a pump with water and they can turn all the locks and possibly make boats and bring them.
i will do that someday.

oh yea...

heres my room

there is a night light on my desk. it turns on at 10.


If you check this web log, Kenley, this one is for you.
On friday night, we had a party for my host moms birthday. some guests where there besides myself. It was a very good dinner, though very excessive.

there is an electric oven on the table, and you put a long piece of cheese on your mini frying pan.

and then on the cheese you put fillings, like meat, more cheese, tuna, corn, onions, etc. and then you fold the cheese over and stick it in the mini oven on the table. while everything melts, you eat salad. and then you scrape this melted cheese and hot filling on your plate and cut and eat it. i ate maybe 5. it was very good. then everyone took a pause and breathed a lot, and started again.

AND i had to eat two bowls of ice cream because one woman was too full. and ice cream doesnt deserve to melt.

here we are in their party cellar. they have a disco in their basement, with a sound board and lights and a dance floor and a bar. its very funny, and quirky.

(the guy on the bottom owns a clothing chain, so i talked with him about clothes, because i love clothes. and he is an ironman triathlete.)

and then tonight i was called down for dinner and i was told earlier we were having toast, but i came down, and it was toast indeed, but on top was ham, pineapple and melted cheese, and THEN they put a fried egg on top.

i ate 2 and a half.

crazy, but if you can imagine, delicious.


Laughing with my family

today, i laughed a lot.

my little brother is 13 so he is going through puberty or some thing.
so he is always yelling and whining. this morning i got to sleep an extra 30 minutes because he was crying downstairs and arguing and i did not want to interupt.

so, today at lunch, he started crying about something. i did not understand, but i think he did not like the meal. and was complaining there was not anything for him to eat.

i do not know, but he was really loud and obnoxious. and my host parents just laughed at him. and he was yelling and every once in a while you would hear one of those laughs that come when you are trying to keep a straight face, and all three of us would chuckle.

and he just got more angry.

then they told him to clean the table and he was not going to but they threatened a seisure of dessert so he obliged.

and they were teasing him so they told him to get the chocolate sprinkles for the pudding and he was still whining and crying and kept saying i won't get the choco-streusel. and i laughed even more, suppressed though, and he kept saying choco-streusel in the crying voice. "i dont see the choco-streusel. you get the choco-streusel." and my parents and i would just keep laughing.

oh it was so funny. i said i am sorry for laughing at him but just that word choco streusel sounds funny in that voice.

minutes later, was more laughter.

a background´:
at my language course is one other rotary student. a girl named Karla from Mexico. she has been here a month and her parents won't do anything fun for her, she is bored and doesnt have any friends.

so i said, i am sure my parents will let me go to Frankfurt alone, and she said she would ask hers.

well my host mother called the other mother and asked her if Karla was aloud to go sometime. and she got a kurt NO and she said that Rotary will not allow it and she has to go with an adult.

and my mom said that we are adults, being 18.
no. it is against rotary rules.

and it just went on and on and now if i do anything, i have to keep it a secret from any one rotary.

and i looked at my mom and she made this awesome face, like "blaugh blaugh blaugh"

and i had to leave the room i laughed so much.

and then my mom and i talked about it and she said, you will never go live with those people.

i said that those rules are supposed to be broken by rotary kids, and that is what i have heard from every single rotary kid that came back.

she said, yes i agree.

which made my day.

i laughed a lot. it was good.

so, my host mom will ask my councelor if i can get around alone.
if he says no though, i will still do it.
it will just be a secret.

hopefully, i will make some unrotary friends when i start school in november.

in a month i am going to Bavaria and then to Berlin for a tour.

and in december i go on a ski trip

sometime there is an only germany tour
and then in march is a european tour. i do not know exactly though.


Funny things in Germany so far.

This is a street that is just around the corner.
I walked on Karl Marx street on the way to the super market to take a picture of this:

Yes, I know.

and finally we see here the gratuitous button for flushing the toilet.

thank you. thank you.


it reaPictures OMG

OK. Here is my WONDERFUL host family. They are very jovial and fun. Julian is 13. he looks like harry potter we decided. Kostya is almost 18. Gudrun is a good mom and can speak english. she teaches chemistry and gym in a high school. this was her birthday. and Otto is a lawyer. You'd think he would be mean but he's very nice.

This is our house. it is in a row of townhouses and they have two garages. one for their car and one for crap. my room is at the top, of course.

this is their high tech kitchen. the motion sensored lights were turned on by the flash of the camera. i was so amazed by it, but they explained what happened. its still amazing.

this is their "garten". there are supposedly fish in the pond but i haven't seen any.

the living room is where we watch soccer and where i wait to go to school.

this is their street. lots of small cars and the speed limit is 30 kph. so i am guessing 15 mph?

and i woke up on monday, opened the blinds, and this is what i saw. it is by far the craziest, most beautiful sunrise i have ever seen. it was so nice and reassuring that i would be ok.

and here is my language teacher. i go to a language course in the morning. i do not go to high school yet. it is pretty easy and i know almost everything we have done so far. i did learn how to do the clock though. like 20 til and 5 after.
if you cannot see or notice. Volker(my teacher) has a handle bar mustach and wears chucks. he has at least 3 different pairs. he is a wine critic for a living i think. that is what my host dad said, because they know each other.

this is part of the class. i am the only american but i am technically russian so there are not any americans in the class. that is very foreign (hahahahaha) to me but it is definately alright and infact exciting. a lot of people speak english but you do not need it because Volker introduces new words by acting them out and the result is that there is a lot of laughter in this class.
i even have homework. it takes 5 minutes to do though.

and finally, last night i wanted to go to get the car filled. you can be astounded for yourself. thats about 60 to 65 dollars. for a small mercedes station wagon.

the car is nice :)


i also have to walk to school. it takes 20 minutes but today i had music in my ipod. the batteries are dead and i do not have a way to charge it yet. so tomorrow, i'll ride a bike.

the walk is nice though.

have a good day. hope you like the pictures.



I live in Bensheim, Germany.

I was roused from my 16 hour marathon sleep by my 13 year old brother Julian. It was 11 in the morning here, and i went downstairs to eat breakfast, which is big bread buns cut in half that you make open faced sandwiches from.

so i have 4 or 5.

then i got dressed when Gudrun came from church and she and i went back to her church to look at a festival they were having. it was just people sitting around, so we went back home. we took the car to the local 1000 year old castle

but before that she took me to meet my host aunt and her family. they have 3 very nice blond children who are also very curious. and shy.

then the castle was in a forest very much like west virginia's. the mountains here are very rounded and small too.

we ate a mittagsessen, which is lunch, and the main, hot meal. it was mashed potatoes, ground beef fried and an onion dish i can't describe.

so after wards, my host mother and father took me "downtown" where there are a lot of shops and cars cannot go.

i saw where my intesive german course is tomorrow and i ate ice cream. i got vanilla for a comparison and it was definately better than what i was used to. probably because it wasn't was i was used to.

we also saw the oldest house and the old city wall and blagh blagh blagh.

so back home i read a book and their child who is my exchange and is in michigan called. i talked to him and told him i like his room. he said he will be back before i leave next summer.

and we ate dinner which is basically breakfast again and i watched TV.

what did i watch? English CNN and Sumo Wrestling, of course.

now i will go to bed to wake up at 8.

i'll try to get some pictures for you.


here we go

well i arrived at 8am german time, 2am mz time, and am still up and running. iƤve been awake for 24 hours.

how does it feel? pretty bad.

so i got off the plane and they were waiting for me. a camera flash and a colored sign that said, "welcome to germany kostya"

it was held by a teary eyed woman. she is awesome. she loves her son max to death. he is over in the US. he's everywhere in that house.

i hung out with my host mom all day. her name is Gudrun.

we went to the grocery store. mr. clean is called Meister Proper.

you get your groceries and the lady beeps them in super fast and throws them into your cart. no bags. you take the cart out to the car looking just like it did before you bought it, and then unload itinto your car. they have baskets for it.

anything too big you can take the packaging off, and that packaging goes into a special box near the store.

we also saw my school. i won't be seeing it very much in the next month.



Go Go Go

chin up

foot forward

before another

move move

i love you


I like this already

So I started this so people can see how I am doing and what i am doing. I'm hoping its as exciting as Ben's or Rahul's, and that I have that much fun from the start.

I may update a little while i'm still in Cincinnati so that i can become familiar with this site, but don't expect anything until i leave on the 17th.