I still cant really believe theyre coming. I dont feel too excited, but then again, when i think about actually seeing them, i smile automatically. right here in this massive accomplishment of German Engineering. Some people would say, come on now its only been 8 and a half months.
But i want to show them what i have done. In this country and with myself. Now my newly formed difference will be more apparent, Parents.
i have some thoughts about this:
1. perhaps the experiment is being done by someone else, and so, the bikes karma is not destroyed.
2. leaving it at the most dangerous place in town WITHOUT securing it to the bike rack with a tied white plastic bag could have possibly been a sub concious attempt to indirectly end the trial. that day i did almost have two accidents with cars and other bicyclists.
3. i ride the bus to school again, but some days, win and i walk to school, because we get there too early anyway.
4. the rear wheel was very very bent. in german, it had an 8. and i think that i made it worse because eventually it would start braking itself.
5. the best use for the bicycle was to akwardly fly into the school parking lot and ring the bell loud and then proudly park it into the rack. also, it was very useful in getting the attention of pretty girls on the streets. my friend sebastian thought it was a very very good idea.
i must say that girls here are weird. and date mysterious, annonymous guys 6 years older than them. i have discerned that there is hardly a point.
my parents are coming in 5 days and counting. what perils will we discover together? hopefully not the realization that wed rather spend time apart across oceans. that would be a total devastation of my maturing progress here.
if i were to step onto russian soil, i would be arrested for eshewing mandatory military service. not much difference in the states, as i am NOT a citizen and still must register with the service.
the service. how about some service here for my... for my... for this hole that has appeared in my cordoroys?
i also want to wish Ben and My mother a wonderful birthay, and a wonderful 20th and xxth year on earth.
This week was an excursion to the Rhon region of Germany. This lays pretty much dead center and is characterized by splendorous views of rolling, cleared plains. Germanic people cleared the forests out 2000 years ago, and so the land is still used for agriculture. Like all the different parts of Germany, this part is known by Germans as a good vacation place. It is relatively sparsely populated, too. There is some influence from southern Germany, which is the source of all stereotypical German culture, but actually, I didnt meet any people from the area and we stayed in sweeping farmland anyway. Win, Bianca(Australia; a new one), Karla and I. In front of a castle of a Prince who ruled the surrounding area before Germany was united and was just a bunch of small city states. Bam.
(Ah just look at me, jeeeeesus, what am i doing?)
were invited by Rotary for a Family Weekend and so collected after school on Friday,
And set off. We thought it was going to be just us kids isolated from the old, business suit German Rotaries but this was delightfully far from the truth. This was really a family vacation, and so only the younger Rotarians were there with their wives (ohhh German moms
) and their romping 10 year olds and toppling toddlers and babies. It was very delightful and the children really put a great atmosphere into everything. But hey, so did we.
The Rhon has a lot of hilly plains and so is the best place in Germany to invent motor-less flight. Here are the exchange kids in front of the Glider museum.
And what waits within. Mwahahahah!
The pictures were all of winners of the Annual Glider contest. These pictures made me think of the inevitability of age. Youth is sometimes a sad thing. Someday kids will look at my pictures too, you know. My mom will now worry because i am thinking too much about death. Eh, this picture just made me sad.
This says: The Rhon Mustard Cow For your bratwurst.
We went for a hike with some of the older couples. They were very nice to us and we were very surprised how young they were at heart. This was on the worst day on top of the highest hill in the area. Very wet and very windy, but therefore, hilarious.
And this is what was behind me. Through a break in the fog, you can see the endless rolling hills that reach out towards Poland (not seen here).
A majestic memorial to all people involved with flight. Including me in 2 months yesterday!!!
This is a picture I would like in a museum. Too bad I didnt really do anything just before it was taken.
On one of the mountains was this completely ridiculous roller coaster deal. You had breaks and slid down 1000 meters on a metal track. 1.50 euro for questionable safety and survival chances. But at least there was a roof. And it was sweet. Thanks Rotary!
On Saturday night, everyone was collected for a tour of the area by an old man claiming to have been the Mayor of the village once upon a time. He really did talk forever. But I like those moments when tour guides talk for a long time to exchange kids because you can look around and most of them have these blank stares of deep concentration, because they have lost track of the speech, because it was too fast or too boring, and are now lost in their own thoughts. The slightly opened mouths are what to look for. And I stand there and chuckle inappropriately. The swords are torches that eventually blazed out of control on everyone and had to be thrown into wet grass and stamped and extinguished. Also funny.
Oh a very typical German Beer Garden place. Occupied by fat old people and their skinny wives. This is in a monastery, where they brew their own beer which was pretty good and cheap. Rotary coyly admits that exchange students can drink beer in Germany. Win and I shared one, though I was constantly suspicious of a Rotary trap!
My councelor and his daughter. I still didnt catch her name.
Another great view. Like WV right?
The Rotary Presidents wife is on the left, and another lady is smiling at some kids. The president is awesome, smokes a pipe, too. That smell makes me nauseous, actually.
15 US dollars my good Californian!
Sunday night we had a wine tasting. The exchange kids were also invited. It was nice but after a few different types I couldnt really describe the differences. You can taste them but I still find wine culture to be slightly aristocratic and pompous. Who cares, I say. The adults tried to defend it, and I can appreciate the whole idea, but honestly, it isnt my bag of tea. Or whatever that expression is.
Ah awesome. In this area are these fields and fields of Raps. Its called Raps in German but Wins dictionary says its called Rape in English. We looked it up together and then were silent and then he said, that cant be. I dont know if I have heard of Rape before or not. They make ethanol fuel with it and also feed it to cattle. So I guess its alright to say that throughout the wide open Rhon Region are flowing Fields of Rape. Sorry, but its true. It still looked nice.
We came home Monday evening and I was pretty tired, even though the weekend was totally relaxing. I went to the sauna everyday and even got myself lost jogging through the farm land. There were also some great discussions with the adults, and even though I am disadvantaged in my higher German communication, I still felt appreciated and well understood. I also enjoy when young dads make good jokes and even poke fun at their kids behind their backs. Thats the way it should be. And then they all tear out of the parking lot in their family SUVs and station wagons, children and fun noodles dangling out of half-open rear seat windows.
Tomorrow, Thursday, I think I am helping my host dad lead a group of Irish teenagers through the Roman Rock quarry tour. So no school for me. Then in the evening, I am going to a play put on by my friends. Friday evening is a big dance at the other school, but other than that, nothing so big is being planned.
Thank you for looking. Have a wonderful week.
Good day. Last week was fast and exciting. On tuesday, we had this Europa Fest at school. Our school is crowned with a EUROPA SCHULE title, and so, it sort of belongs to a coalition of the willing... no no a loosly organized group of schools in europe. they sometimes do exchanges with one another and so forth. Well our school hosted the first annual meeting of these schools, though for some reason, it was just a bunch of little kids everywhere. Parts of the 12 grade helped out, including my class. we sold drinks at 50 cents a pop, and there was a huge inflatible slide, regulated by (L-R) Martin, Henning and some other guy. they eventually just started throwing the kids down. i appologize for the violence, but this picture turned out very very good. i think Ben will laugh for a good while.
In the back, with the sandy colored jacket is Herr Mescher, the principal of our school and also a very good math teacher, my friend Constantin reports. The man on the left is Herr Kossman, my art teacher who has a bored look and a very sepulchral sense of humor. i look forward to his lessons, actually.
I tried to take a picture of all the teachers hanging out and chatting, but i was caught. ahhh. turn away pretend nothing happend.
I want this bicycle. Located parked at the Train Station was the Mountain Ass bicycle. Shear Brilliance. Awards, applause. And i dont think there is anything more to say about the Mountain Ass.
And on friday win and i went to Frankfurt, again, to pick up his friend Jar. Here is why this restaurant has been closed. So I will never get to eat there. But the disappointment is now justified, and i feel a little better.
A train. I just love these things. this is the train station in Frankfurt. I am there a lot, and its sort of modern mixed with old. and some flowers. In frankfurt i bought 4 books, underwear, and put money on my phone. i also ate Döner, which i cant really explain. turkish fast food. Win and Jar talked thai together, and so i waited patiently for a translation. but that is alright, they dont see each other that much. Jar went home with Win, because on SATURDAY, we went to Mainz.
Here we are cold and having fun fun fun. Tik had a birthday party, and so we all went to visit her, and to see each other. An exchange student meeting is always desired. This is a cool statue, and here is my very cool umbrella, a 3euro umbrella, which broke a few hours later.
Lets see, Jar, Hisa, Tik and Win. Hisa is from Japan, but the others are from Thailand. They are good good kids. The pink umbrella is by far, the greatest. Tiks school is in the back ground. her mom conducts at the Mainz Theater, and she gets to go all the time. I am envious.
Everyone taking pictures, which is sort of all that exchange students do. the far right is sunny San, the 4 Thai kid. Taking his picture is the marvelous Fiona from france. Then in the middle is Kazumi from Japan, Tik is sprawled out, and then Erika from OH CANADA on the left.
Action and adventure and hardcore clothing styles.
Win cooked a delicious Thai dinner for us. here we are in the kitchen cleaning up before departing sunday morning. This picture is very very very good. I am from the 50s. in this 70s kitchen. strangely similar to an old american typical kitchen
My friend Steffen helped me fix my bike a little and this is what we found in his house. this is someones name. really.
and an update on the bike. as you can see, the experiment is still going. Win is confidently riding the bicycle, which still requires a name and a new paint job. The tires are pumped up and the handle bar has been tightened. I took the brakes off to work on them at home, but i better do that soon, because my shoes are really eatting it. they will be gone within a few weeks if i keep up my braking habits. but the bell is by far, the best best part. tonight it is behind the town hall. of course it is not locked up, but i am again confident that it will be there when i get off the bus tomorrow moring. riding to school is so wonderful, i recommend it. i wish i could take this bike home with me and use it in Ann Arbor. i would be a king.
this weekend i am going on a trip with rotary. they are taking us to some resort and it will be the 4 exchange students from bensheim and rotary families. i dont know really what to expect except a swimming pool and hiking. and schnitzel. oh yea. and all expenses paid. the update, when we return. enjoy it. 9 weeks left. my parents are coming to visit on may 30th. wonderful.
Hello! I must say that I have been living quiet a different life recently. I also wish I could update this site more. Ben really has a great publication and mine is just a half assed throw together of pictures I took on the run run run run. But then again, I again I am on the internet for possibly 3-4 hours every week, and I think I do alright.
I have left my old host family. They certainly were caring but oh, I feel so good, you know. Today I saw my host dad driving in his car. He didnt see me, but it just made me feel so happy that I was headed in the opposite direction. I really must affirm my respect and admiration of the family, though. It is just nice to have a change. A good thing about exchange year is that it isnt permanent. When people stay in the same situation, no matter if its good or bad, it is still trying. With this, I have something and then am allowed to dismiss it, to change when most others cant.
Here is where my life was for 6 months. On this desk. Christmas cards, valentine presents, letters, music, movies, books and books and toys, letters, memories, tears, sweat, time. Oh look how barren it is. I think it will miss me. I think I was a surprise for it.
Last Wednesday I went on a spontaneous trip with my Biology Teacher Dr. Trostmann to an archeological excavation site. A pre-prehistoric volcanic depression turned ancient lake turned possible waste depository is now closed off to the public with exceptions of teams of scientists and guided tours. Here is our tour guide, standing in front of the entrance to the Grobe Messel; entrance forbidden due to dangerous surroundings. The girl was a geology major and reminded me of Nisa, if anyone remembers who that was. (lived in my house this summer)
Here is a team of students and a professor, and they were looking through this rock made from pressed algae. There were bugs and fish and such. Most of the rock was thrown into this huge pile, which would sort of disintegrate in a year, because the rock is actually sort of powdery organic waste.
We ate some. Tasted like earth, but was soft.
Afterwards, we went to Darmstadt to see a museum and to walk around. An architectural mistake, if I would say so myself. Though the man silhouette is a great idea.
The biggest one of these ever found. A giant squid would have used it.
What a wonderful inspirational idea. A college girl must have done this. There we descriptions of different types of animals and next to Human (Mensch) is just a mirror. Brilliant. Notice the hair cut.
Sven down and out. (Nothing to do with the excavation site. He didnt come. New theme.)
Everything has bloomed and now its green everywhere. Finally. It feels so so so good. High spirits abound.
So I live in the sticks, the boonies, hick country. But that is the only set back. My new host family is so great. The mom, Barbel, and I talk forever sometimes, because she likes to talk and I like to listen. And she is a teacher and READS and is intelligent. She buys us sweets and is just a good mom. The kids are named Jacintha(14), Dominik (18) and Bernadette (19). The two older ones have both been on Rotary exchange to South America, and so are very responsive and empathetic to my situation, even though its really going great for me.
The dad, Joachim, is pictured here,
,and works as a biologist for a water treatment mega company. His hobby is to give guided tours of the mountain near our house, where the Romans came to quarry rock. Though the funny thing is that the granite formed here is faulty due to the high amount of imperfections in it. So everywhere are rocks that were attempted to be split, only to have splintered in an unpredictable direction, and so, the mountain was abandoned.
A sign of the Romans!
Here is a giant Column that was almost finished, but for some reason was also abandoned. Supposedly, Napoleon wanted to take it away, but couldnt figure out a way to lug the beast down the hill.
And the attraction is called the Felsenmeere/Romersteinen. You can see the Sea of rocks here that were naturally formed. It up and down the mountain. Its complicated to explain, so I will say it was a result of tectonic activity that also formed the mountains here AND created the European Continent, partly. These things were like bubbles of magma that floated up to the surface, basically. Thats about as far as I can get into it, anyway. BUT, its amazing, and it looks like it was done by humans but no, no no no.
Oh last weekend was the celebration of May 1st. The Socialist holiday. The adults go out dancing and the kids have their own thing. We went up to the mountains and made a fire and listened to music. It was warm and fun and a clear night. On the far right, one can see Sven, but other than that, you dont know anyone else there. I dont really either, hah.
Walking down to town. Totally dark. In the way back is Steffen, the gentle Giant.
Ohh at school yesterday was this beautiful car. Cherry red, surprise infront of the school. I love those things, that people casually park and allow to be eyed. I was the only one that was really that impressed, though.
The same day, we big kids interrupted a 6th grade class taught by an attractive young teacher to fetch this slightly deflated soccer ball from the roof. The children were very impressed, even though they are all little smart asses, somehow. Here is Max, proudly holding our entertainment for the cancelled class period. I got sweaty.
One more picture for now, hopefully, not the last update on this new project of mine: I found a bicycle and it is my goal to keep it as mine. An experiment, if you will. We pulled it out of a bush on the way home on that May 1 party, and I have been leaving it around town for 5 days now, coming back the next day and its still there. I dont lock it up, but I do try to hide it a little. Here I am leaving it on Monday evening. It doesnt have brakes and the shift cable is also broken. So these sort of cancel each other out, because the rear derailer is constantly in the highest gear position, so I am forced to ride very slowly and arduously, making the lack of brakes a little more permissible. But I am currently working on fixing the back brake so it will be safer. I also have to tighten the handlebars and the back tire is very bent, rubbing against the frame with every revolution. But I dont know how to fix that
But this is the only thing keeping me going now. Hehe. My new darling to worry about. Tonight it is in an alley behind a tree. I will go soon and take the brakes off and take them home with me, so I can clean them and oil the cable and so on.
So I will keep you posted on this experiment. I hypothesize that when the brakes become functionary, I will have to start locking it up, as it will become a semi-practical vehicle, and therefore, more valuable. Also, note the big Mom Saddle. For my big, mom ass.
Ignore the way I look in this one, which I will describe as Ridiculous.
This weekend is a possible unofficial exchange student meeting in Mainz. Exclusive, man.
And tonight is ice cream paid for by Rotary. Oh dear.
Have a great week.