Monday, April 22, 2013

Day Eighty-Eight

This morning I took my last walk down the Antwerp shopping street. Most of my day was pretty relaxing. I had done a lot of my packing already so I didn't have to worry much about that. I ended up re-dying my hair today so now it is brilliantly red once again. It actually wasn't too difficult to do it by myself and it turned out very well. I went to a movie with a majority of my classmates tonight. We saw a movie called "Side Effects". I didn't really know much about it and I only just watched the trailer earlier today, but it was still a decent movie.

I haven't done a whole lot since I got back from the theater. I mostly just hung out with my classmates and chatted for a while. I also weighed my bag to make sure that it won't be overweight. Turns out I am a packing master because it was exactly the maximum weight.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Day Eighty-Seven

I have come to the realization that my count of days that I have been is Europe is off by a day. This blog post is actually supposed to be day eighty-eight. I am not going to go back and change all the blog titles though because I would have to do all eighty-eight of them individually and that would take too long. I will be sure to have the numbers right in my Europe photo book though. I messed up by not counting the day I traveled to Europe as day number one. Instead I started with my first full day in Europe. Oh well. It will all be fixed for my book.

I left Germany for the last time today. I think it has been my favorite country to visit while here in Europe. I hope to come back in the future. The train rides back to Antwerp went pretty well today other than the fact that I felt kind of crappy and really exhausted the whole time. I was so tired that I even managed to fall asleep on the train for a little bit which never happens. I hope that tomorrow I feel better.

When I got back to my apartment I just took a shower and then relaxed while watching movies. I feel that it is going to be bed time soon since I am still quite tired.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Day Eighty-Six

This morning we took the subway back to Hafen City. Our teacher had a new type of experience for us. He took us to a place called "Dialogue in the Dark". In this place you are guided through a series of pitch black rooms by a legally blind person. You are completely unable to see anything and you can only feel where you are going with a cane. The guide for my group was named Yenz. He was very nice and it made the fact that I was in complete darkness way less scary. At first I didn't think I would be able to do the whole thing because I started to get really freaked out, but after a little while I got used to it and I actually really enjoyed it. It was really neat to experience things the way blind people do. At the end of the experience we were taken into a pitch black cafe where we had to order and pay for drinks by only feeling the change we were picking out. I'm really glad we got to do that today.

The rest of the afternoon we walked around the city center before ending up t the brew house that our teacher had made reservations at. After dinner I headed back to the hostel with some of my classmates and now we are just hanging out in the lobby with the free wifi.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Day Eighty-Five

Today we took a tour around a portion of Hamburg called Hafen City. It's an old port area that is now being rebuilt. There was some interesting architecture there. It was pretty windy and cold which wasn't very fun.

After the tour we went to lunch where I ordered a veggie burger. It was different from the ones I have had in America. There were big pieces of vegetables in this one, but it was still pretty delicious.

We walked around some more with our professor after lunch. When we got done with our tours or the day our teacher showed us where the Hamburg carnival was. We went back to the hostel for a bit and I ended up taking a nap.

After my nap we went to find some dinner. We ate at a restaurant nearby the carnival. There were so many rides and food stands. It was probably one o the largest carnivals I have ever been to. A couple of my classmates went on two of the rides. When they had had their fill of the rides we headed back to our hostel for the night.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Day Eighty-Four

Most I today was spent traveling to Hamburg, Germany. We had a little problem with our train again, but it all worked out in the end.

It was dinner time when we got there, so we checked into our hostel quick and then headed to dinner with our teacher and his wife. Right now we are all just hanging out in the hostel lobby using the free Internet for a while before we go to bed.

Day Eighty-Three

I just realized I never posted a blog yesterday so here it is now.

This morning we had to present our projects to some of the Antwerp students. Not too many showed up so it was nice and not as stressful as I expected. The presentations only lasted for about two hours so we got the rest of the day off.

I spent my afternoon watching movies, walking around the shopping area of Antwerp, and packing all my stuff up. I think that when it comes time to actually leave Europe everything will fit in my suitcase fine.

After dinner I went to the school with my classmates and just surfed the Internet for a while. When I got back to my apartment I just took a shower and watched another movie before bed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Day Eighty-Two

We finished up our studio project today. I am happy how it turned out and I am glad that it is finished. Tomorrow we have to present it to some people from the Antwerp architecture school. I'm not really excited for that, but at least I am not doing the presentation alone.

I walked around Antwerp for a while with one of my classmates this afternoon looking for chocolate shops to buy gifts for people back in the states. I was surprised how few there are in Antwerp. We had a hard time finding any while walking around. I think we may have only found three the entire time we were out walking and only one of them had decent prices. Oh well. They still had decent chocolate so it was okay and we even got to taste test a couple of their new chocolates which were delicious.

Since it was another one of my classmates birthday today we went to a small pizza place that we have grown fond of for dinner. After dinner we went to go see Oblivion at the local movie theater. It was a pretty good movie and I may even watch it again back home. They had a preview for Iron Man Three. I am extremely excited to see that movie when it comes out. I love the Iron Man films.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Day Eighty-One

It was a beautiful day in Antwerp today. The sun was shining and it was warm enough to not need a coat outside. Quite different from the weather I hear Fargo is having. Too bad I had to spend the whole day inside working on my studio project. The final presentation for this project is on Wednesday so we have been working almost non-stop today. I had about an hour and a half break for dinner today, but other than that I have been sitting in front of my laptop working away. I can't wait until this project is finally done.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Day Eighty

I got to sleep in this morning since our train back to Antwerp didn't leave until right before noon. We had to check out of our hostel by eleven so for the extra bit of time we had before we got on the train we sat by the lake drinking chocolate milk. It was a pretty great morning.

The trip back to Antwerp had some ups and downs. On the train that we were going to ride for the longest we ended up sitting in our own little six-seat room again on the first class car. Those seats were pretty comfortable for a while, but when you have to sit there for four hours it didn't feel like it mattered because my butt hurt anyway. There also weren't any outlets on that train which made it impossible to work on our studio project.

I think that our longest train may have had technical difficulties again because when were at the stop in Luxembourg we were told that we had to get on a different train to go to Brussels. The train to Brussels was horrible. It was packed so I was confined to a small space for the entire ride which happened to be three hours. Not to mention we hadn't had a chance to get anything to eat since breakfast because we were constantly on trains or trying to catch the next one. Usually at least one of our trains has a food car, but none of them did this time. When we finally got back to Antwerp we stopped at Quick Burger right outside the train station because we were so starving.

We didn't get back until after nine so when I got back to my apartment I took a shower and now I am just relaxing before bed.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day Seventy-Nine

This morning we took a boat across Lake Lucerne to the bottom of the Mount Rigi. It was about an hour long boat ride, but It was really nice because you could see the mountains the whole time. When we got to the bottom of the mountain we boarded a cog train that took us to the top. After having lunch near the top of the mountain, we hiked a little bit to reach the very top. It was really cloudy and since we were so high up in altitude we were actually within the clouds. That was pretty awesome.

As we walked down the mountain the clouds started to clear so we were able to see the surrounding area. I took a lot of pictures today because there were so many great views from Mount Rigi. At one point we stopped to sit on some benches for about ten minutes looking directly at the rest of the Alps. It was so peaceful and quiet up there.

To get back down from the mountain we took a gondola which was a little bit scary. I don't really like the idea of hanging from a wire so far up in the air inside a glass box. When we got to the bottom we had just missed the boat back to Lucerne so we decided to sit by the edge of the lake until the next one came. It was so warm sitting there that I was able to be in my t-shirt for a while. I even had to roll up my pant legs because I was getting so warm. The whole time I was sitting there I was looking at snow-capped mountains. This area is so awesome that you can be so warm and see so much snow around.

When we got back to Lucerne we went to our hostel and I ended up taking an hour nap because I had a bad headache. After I woke up we went to dinner and we ended up eating at a restaurant that had a unicorn as its logo. I think that place wins for best logo. We walked around Old Lucerne when we were finished eating and then we headed back to our hostel for the night.

Right after the clouds started to clear

Placemat from the unicorn restaurant


Friday, April 12, 2013

Day Seventy-Eight

I had to get up at four-thirty this morning to start our journey to Lucerne, Switzerland. That was horrible. My roommate was still sleeping so I had to finish packing in the dark. I can't wait to go back to an apartment with more than one room.

The trains turned out to be a little bit of a fiasco today. When our second train pulled stopped at a small station the power in it went out. We ended up having to run to catch a different train so that we wouldn't miss our connection in the next city.

After that though, the trains went really smoothly. We ended up getting our own little room on our longest train ride which was four hours. I watched a movie and then attempted to do some photoshopping. It turns out I'm not half bad at it once I know what all the fancy tools do.

When we got to Lucerne we checked into our hostel and then went to find some food. We ended up having a sort of picnic on the lake shore which was pretty cool because we were looking right at the mountains the whole time. When we finished eating we took a long walk by the lake through a few parks which was also pretty awesome.

Since we got back from our walk I haven't really done much because I am exhausted. It's not even nine yet, but I feel like I'm ready to go to bed.


Swiss chocolate milk!

Day Seventy-Seven

I didn't get a chance to post this because my roommate was sleeping when I got back to my room and I didn't want to be using such a bright object while she was sleeping. It's also extra late because the Internet at our hostel didn't really work last night

It was another normal day of studio work. I put together some of the last buildings on our site and did a rendering inside one of them that like pretty cool. I'm going to have to figure out how to doctor it in Photoshop though because it didn't turn out completely right.

After studio I went to the grocery store and then went to the laundromat. I'm excited for laundry to only be two dollars per complete load. It's quite expensive in Europe. Luckily I have only had to do laundry twice.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Day Seventy-Six

The internet at my apartment is still not working....yippee....

My blog posts are getting rather repetitive this week. All I do every day is go to studio and work on the project for a long while and then go back to my apartment for a bit of a break right before dinner. Then after dinner it's straight back to studio work. I guess it was a little different today because I went to McDonald's for dinner with a side of free wifi.

Our studio project is still progressing pretty well. We did a couple test renderings to see what some areas of our site look like and to figure out a where we might want to place our final renderings. I also practiced my Photoshop skills a bit and started some modifications to one of my classmates faces. I never really knew how fun Photoshop is. I never really used it a whole lot before because I don't really know what I am doing, but I guess the best way to learn is to just play around with it and see what everything does.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Day Seventy-Five

The internet decided to stop working in my entire apartment building last night before I got to post my blog. I hate how sucky the internet can be there.

Once again I spent a majority of my day dealing with Revit and its picky attitude. I was able to get quite a bit of work done and I feel pretty confident at the moment that we will be able to get everything done for the presentation next Wednesday. I guess it's good that I am working with Revit right now because when I work on my thesis next year we are required to use the program.

When we left the school we went back to our apartments for a little while before going to the grocery store. It was quite a surprise when we got to the galleria type building that the grocery store is in because Ben & Jerry's was giving out free ice cream. We got our groceries quickly and then got in line for the free treats. I ended up getting a kind called "Chunky Monkey" which is banana ice cream with walnuts and little banana-shaped chocolates. They even gave everyone a little Ben & Jerry's spoon that looked like a shovel. I love when you just happen to come across things like that.

For dinner the boys made sloppy joes which were really good. If I ever make them at home I may need to start making the sauce from scratch rather than buying the canned stuff. After dinner I worked on more of my studio project before going to bed.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Day Seventy-Four

For most of the day I fought with the 3D modeling program called Revit. It was very finicky and trying to take my model from one program and importing it into Revit has been a struggle. I think I have gotten most of it worked out, but there is still some parts that I will need to fix tomorrow.

Other than school, I haven't done a whole lot today. We all went out to dinner for my classmates birthday. I had some pretty delicious chicken. I tried to work on school a bit more after dinner, but I had had enough of Revit for the day so I just played Minecraft and surfed the Internet for a little while.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Day Seventy-Three

This morning we went to the Anne Frank House. We had to wait for almost an hour to get in, but luckily there was some nice sunshine to keep me at least somewhat warm. I wasn't able to take pictures inside the actual house. The house was different than I expected. I thought there would be furniture inside of it to give you a feel for how they lived while they were hiding, but I guess that would have gotten in the way of the walking path for all of the visitors. They did have pictures of the rooms in a refurnished state so that you could have a bit of an idea how the rooms looked. I also got to see Anne Frank's original diary. It was on display in the house along with some of the pages where she started re-writing her diary in hopes of publishing a book after the war.

When we left the Anne Frank House we went to pick up our bags from our hostel and then we went to the train station to leave Amsterdam. It took a while to get back to Antwerp because we had to take a weird route to get back and when we got to one of our stops we had missed the train by only a couple of minutes so we had to wait an hour longer. We eventually made it though.

After dinner I tried to work on my studio project with my group, but the program I was using was running really slow and I have been having a sort of creativity block lately. I did eventually manage to think of a couple things to add to the design, but we still have a lot of work to do in a little over a week.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Day Seventy-Two

This met with our professor near the Anne Frank house. We didn't get to go inside yet, but we plan on going tomorrow morning. We walked around that area a little bit so that he could show us and tell us about the canal houses that are located there. We then rode the tram to a place where we got an architectural tour of a social housing project for workers in old Amsterdam factories.

We also rode the tram way out into the new areas of Amsterdam. There was a neighborhood that was completely made of floating houses. It was pretty awesome. Another part had some really interesting row houses. It felt like an area that I would lie to live in one day.

When we got back to the center of Amsterdam our professor took us through the red light district. That was a bit odd. It's really strange to walk down streets and alleys where a lot of the windows have women in very little clothing. He told us a bit about how the regulation of the red light district works.

After dinner, I went with two of my classmates to the carnival and they rode two of the rides. They seemed like the type of rides that would make me vomit so I just watched while taking photos and videos of them. Maybe some of my videos will make it into the trip video for Amsterdam.

A community center that has an exterior covered in plants

The floating houses

There are some really strange houses in Amsterdam

Friday, April 5, 2013

Day Seventy-One

I had McDonald's for breakfast this morning. European McDonald's don't really have much for breakfast options. The only things on the menu that I actually liked were muffins and apple pie. So that's the nutritious breakfast I had, plus a cappuccino that wasn't very good.

We met with our professor this Koenig to go your around the city. Rather than taking a bus or a metro train to get to different places in the city, we took ferries to get around. There is a large canal in the middle of Amsterdam that makes traveling by boat a better option than usual forms of mass transit.

We went to a new theater building that had exhibits focused on film and photography. The building was really awesome on both the outside and the inside. We walked through the exhibits for a while, but I wasn't really interested by them. A lot of the films that were being displayed were really artsy and I just don't understand films like that.

It was really windy out today, almost unbearably windy. The sun was out sun was out so it would have been a really nice day if the wind had stopped making us cold. The worst place for wind was when we were walking to a complex of student housing made out of shipping containers. The area used to be where they built ships so today it is pretty wide open.

After lunch we went to a science museum that had a ton of fun interactive exhibits. It was more for children and teens, but we still had a lot of fun. When we were done at the museum we went to the library that was nearby. It was such a massive library. We rode the escalators to the top and went out on to the rooftop patio to see a view of the city. There happened to be another Vapiano connected to the library so that's where we went for dinner.

I did some souvenir shopping with one of my classmates after dinner while the rest f our classmates went out. We also walked through the carnival that is going on just down the street from where we are staying. There was a swing ride that goes really really high up in the air. I don't think I would ever ride on something like that. I can't wait for the county fairs this summer back in America.

There was actually a bike parking ramp in Amsterdam!

The photography and film museum called "The Eye"

Inside The Eye

Student housing made from shipping crates
The Nemo science museum

One of the things in the Nemo was a kaleidoscope you stand inside of

Day Seventy

I didn't get home until after midnight last night and when I got back I went straight to bed so I am posting this blog late.

We slept in this morning and then went to the train station to go to Amsterdam. The train we were going to take ended up getting delayed for an unknown amount of time so we waited an hour for the next train that went there. We didn't get there until late afternoon and once we got there we checked into our hostel and then went for dinner. I had an awesome steak with french fries.

After dinner we met up with a girl that one of my classmates knows and is currently going to school in Europe. We went to a bar and had a couple drinks and then afterward we went to another bar and had a couple more drinks. There was a DJ t the second bar who looked really drunk and wasn't even actually DJing. He just played music from her laptop and then took a smoke break every five minutes. I had a great time just hanging out and chatting with my classmates.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day Sixty-Nine

I worked more on studio today. I feel like I have gotten quite a bit done over the last couple days, but I am still a little worried about getting it all done for the presentation.

This afternoon I went to the fashion museum in Antwerp. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but I still enjoyed it. They had a whole bunch of different fabrics on display as well as some dresses, but there was a lot less stuff that I thought there would be.

I am both excited and slightly scared for this weekend trip I am leaving for tomorrow. We are going to visit Amsterdam with our teacher. I am excited because there is supposed to be some really awesome architecture. I am nervous and scared because marijuana is legal there. Using any sort of drug is something I have chosen not to do with my life and I don't want to get into situations where I might get pressure to do it. I know for a fact that I will not give in to the pressure because I am sticking to my decision, but I hate the possibility that people may not understand that and might still try to talk me into it anyway. I also don't want to be around smoke of any sort because lately I have been getting a shortness of breath from it. I think I may be slightly asthmatic. I hope that this weekend I don't have a daily account of pressure and uncomfortableness. I think that in the end I will have a great time though.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Day Sixty-Eight

We are drawing closer and closer to the deadline for our studio project. Today I worked a lot on the design and tried to get some good ideas down for the public plazas that run the length of our site. It is really tough to find things to add though since I have never really done an urban design project before. All I can think of putting in there is trees, benches, tables, and some bike racks. I have also created some patterns with the paving, but there is so much open space left that I have no idea what to do with.

Most of what I have done today has been school work with some breaks to watch random YouTube videos mixed in. It hasn't been a very exciting day, although the ice cream man did drive by the window earlier and he even had some music playing from a speaker on top of his van. I had a good laugh at that one. One of my classmates paid me back for the couscous dinner I made last week. He made a point to pay me the one euro in only copper coins and of the copper coins he only gave me one and two euro-cent coins. So now I have a ton of coins I will probably never use. I may have to do the same thing and pay someone back with them as a joke as well.

Day Sixty-Seven

Apparently this didn't actually post last night and only got saved as a draft.... weird.

A majority of today was spent traveling. We left Berlin around ten-thirty this morning since it is quite the trek to get back to Antwerp. It had been cold and snowy all weekend in Berlin, but most of the way back it was sunny and nice. It figures that would happen on the day that we were stuck on trains for hours on end. We didn't get back to Antwerp until a little after seven.

There has been a bit of a fiasco going on with my debit card this weekend. I checked my bank account while on one of the trains today and I noticed that there were withdrawals listed that I had never made. The one that especially caught my attention was one for four hundred and forty dollars that I had apparently withdrawn today, but I had not been to an ATM since Saturday. I sent an email to my bank when I got back to Antwerp and I also notified my dad. Everything got worked out in the end. The bank agreed that there were fraudulent charges and I was told the money would be refunded. I'm glad it all worked out and I hope that this doesn't happen again. I have

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Day Sixty-Six

I had some wonderful pancakes for breakfast this morning. They had bananas on them and they were nice and crispy. After breakfast we walked to an area filled with souvenir shops to find some gifts for our families. From there we walked to this large stone gate that I can't recall the name of, but I guess it has become a sort of symbol of the Berlin wall.

We walked through a large park today where we visited quite a few buildings. One had a roof that looked like a Pringle. We ended up walking to a church that looked pretty plain on the outside, but as soon as we walked inside the whole thing changed. From the outside you aren't able to tell, but all of the walls are covered in beautiful blue stained glass. It was really awesome to see such a difference from outside to inside.

I didn't really do a whole lot today other than just walk all over Berlin and see the outsides of a lot of buildings. My leg still hurt today, but at least for the first half of the day I wasn't limping. We had a late dinner and then we went back to our hotel to just relax. It has been pretty nice after being on my feet all day.

The Pringle-roof building

Exterior of the awesome church

The beautiful stained glass interior of the church

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Day Sixty-Five

This morning we walked to the Jewish Museum in Berlin. Along the way we stopped at a couple shops and saw some really sweet cars. Way out of my price range though.

The Jewish Museum was really interesting. Well, the building was more interesting to me than the stuff that was in it. I'm not big on history and all that. The museum had a couple spaces that are meant to provoke emotions of sadness and isolation. The Holocaust Tower was a tall concrete room with only a sliver of light at the top. There was also the Memory Void that was a three or four story space that had metal faces covering the floor and when you walk on them they make loud clanking noises. The overall design of the museum was pretty awesome.

After the museum we walked to see a couple more buildings and then we walked to the Holocaust Memorial. The memorial is a plaza filled with large concrete slabs that you can walk through. It was kind of eerie when you get into the really tall parts. We had a little fun with all of the different pathways that go throughout the plaza and made some videos for the overall trip compilation.

For dinner we went to a restaurant called Vapiano. We had already gone to one once when we went to Rotterdam and I fell in love with their pesto pasta so I was ecstatic when I found out that Berlin had one. Of course I had the pesto pasta again. I really want to start growing basil when I get back to Fargo so that i can make some of my own pesto.

Walking has been terrible today. I am still in pain from the Insanity workout I did on Thursday. My leg was in so much pain today that I had to limp around everywhere. I'm hoping its not as bad tomorrow because it really sucked to walk like that all day.

Yes please!!!

The Holocaust Tower

The Memory Void

The Holocaust Memorial

Friday, March 29, 2013

Day Sixty-Four

I had to get up at six again this morning to catch another train. It sucks that I'm not really able to sleep in any sort of vehicle. We are spending this weekend in Berlin and it took us around eight hours to get here. It was a struggle to keep myself entertained that long, but luckily at one point I had access to an outlet so I watched The Avengers on my laptop.

When we got to Berlin it was snowing and a bit chilly. I am hoping that the snow quits overnight because I don't want to have to walk around in it tomorrow. For dinner we went to a small Italian restaurant near our hotel and I had a creamy potato soup that was pretty amazing although I was hoping to have actual chunks of potato in the soup rather than a straight up puree-type soup.

After dinner we went back to the hotel for a bit and then the boys left for a rap concert that is going on tonight. I'm not big into rap so I stayed back at the hotel and I have been making good use of the awesome internet they have here. I have been watching YouTube videos and streaming music as well as just surfing random pages on the internet. I have also been playing a bit of Minecraft (of course). I'm not sure how late their concert is supposed to go, but I really enjoying just hanging out by myself right now.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Day Sixty-Three

We traveled to a city called Kortrijk in Belgium today with our professor. When we walked out of the train station we were surprised to find a carnival roller coaster set up right in front of us. Apparently there was a city-wide carnival going on while we were there and there are rides, games, and food vendors set up all over the city. It was really weird seeing carnival things all over because I am more used to the American way of just having everything in one place.

We met up with a Kortrijk city architect who started off our visit with coffee and a presentation. All of these meetings with architects are going to get me to actually like coffee if they keep offering it at the beginning of every visit. He showed us some pictures of various projects around the city that we weren't going to be able to visit during the day because they were too far out of the way.

After the presentation we walked around for a while looking at all sorts of buildings and pedestrian areas. We walked into a shopping mall in the middle of the city that from the outside you may not have even known it was there. It was really awesome how well it blended in. We also walked through a small section of the city that used to be a small monastery-like community and is still used in a similar way today. It was strange how when you walked through the archway into the central area all of the noise from the city just seemed to disappear.

We walked to the town hall and picked up some bikes for the second half of our tour. We stopped at a small cafe for lunch where they served your food in these weird glass bowl/jar type things. I had some sort of chicken and spinach pasta that was pretty good other than the hidden mushrooms in it.

Biking around Kortrijk was really fun. I'm tempted to get a bike rental pass for Antwerp just so that I can ride bike more often. We went to a few different places by bike. One of my favorite places was a new youth center that was being built. Inside the main building they were re-purposing and old bus and an old train into rooms for offices as well as music production. I wish we could see it when it gets finished because it seems like it would be a really nice space to hang out in.

Back in Antwerp I had dinner at a fast food place because none of us felt like cooking anything. After letting my dinner settle for a while I tried the "Insanity" workout with two of the girls that I am here with. I couldn't keep up with it very well and I felt like I was going to die the entire time. I feel fine now, but tomorrow will be a different story.

The monastery-ish comunity

I climbed those wooden stairs. They were the worst stairs I have ever been on. There are no risers, only treads, so you can see the whole way down

Day Sixty-Two

I forgot to post a blog last night so that's why I am posting this late.

When I went to the architecture school this morning we met up with our professor and discussed our latest ideas for our studio project. For me, that meeting was more about getting caught back up with what my group members had been doing for the past couple days. We don't have a lot of time left to finish this project so we split up the work a bit so that everything can get done in time. I will be focusing more on the public plazas the run the entire length of our site.

After studio I went back to my apartment and watched YouTube videos for a while as well as played some more Minecraft. I also signed up for my fall semester classes. I'm taking more than the minimum number of credits this time so that I won't have too big of a load for my final semester of college when I am completing my thesis. I am also completely on track to graduate with my undergraduate degree after this semester so that makes me pretty happy. I did not want to have to take summer classes again.

We had a group dinner again. This time we invited our professor to come to our apartments and eat with us. We had chicken alfredo with salad and garlic bread. It was really delicious. Our professor also brought a strawberry shortcake dessert with him which was also really good. It was a little difficult to get all ten of us around one table in one of our apartments, but we managed to make it work.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day Sixty-One

I was too exhausted last night to post this, so I am posting it now.

This morning I woke up at six to catch a train to Salmunster. When I got there I was supposed to catch a bus to get to Mernes, but after waiting for half an hour it never showed up. I ended up taking a taxi to get to Mernes. When I got there the taxi pulled up in front of a restaurant and some of my German family was standing there waiting for me. There was Jennifer Eich my second cousin, her brother Florian, Kerstin Bachmann their aunt, and their Oma who I apparently can't remember the name of.

The first thing we did was walk to the site where Oma's house used to be. It is now a garden with a trampoline in it and from what I understand it has only been that way for around five years. After that we walked around Mernes for a little bit and then went to the house of Margot Schmidt, Oma's niece. We sat around her dining table and tried to communicate, but only Jennifer could speak a bit of English. Luckily Florian, had a translator on his phone. We also looked at some pictures of my American family that Margot had in an envelope from Dave.

After chatting and looking at pictures, we walked to the cemetery. I find it really nice that the people of Mernes keep little gardens on the graves of their loved ones. We also went into St. Peter's church and I took a couple pictures.

We walked to Kerstin house where I met my great-uncle Heinz who is also my Oma's brother. Jennifer told him I was American and couldn't really speak German, but he continued to try and talk to me in German anyway. Apparently Kerstin has a dog named Sammy as well, although hers it way bigger than the cute, little, white fluffy Sammy I am used to.

For lunch we went to Burgoss and I had some chicken schnitzel. It was delicious, but it was a lot of food and I wasn't able to finish it all. Since I wasn't able to finish all of my schnitzel Jennifer and Florian's Oma wrapped it up in a napkin to give to her "hund".

After lunch we drove to Salmunster to walk around. We went into a couple little stores and Kerstin bought a gift for me that was from her, Jennifer, and Florian. It was a little teddy bear with a "good luck" sweater on because I had told them I was going to Berlin this weekend. We then walked around the town some more before driving over to Bad Soden. In Bad Soden we climbed a hill where there was a castle-type tower. The stairs to get to the top of the tower were horrible. They were just grates and you could see all the way up and all the way down when you were walking on them. I really hate walking over grates and I avoid walking on them whenever I can, but I really wanted to climb to the top of this tower to see the view. From the top I could see both Salmunster and Bad Soden and it was a really amazing view.

When we got down from the tower it was nearly time for me to catch my train back to Frankfurt, so they took me the train station and they waited with me until the train showed up.

I had a really great day in Mernes and I am really glad I got to meet some of my German family. They were all so nice and the area around Mernes was beautiful. I hope that I get to back some day.

The site where Oma's house used to be

The small river in Mernes

A street in Mernes

The garden on what I believe is Oma's sister's grave

Inside St. Peter's church

A street in Burgoss

Jennifer's Oma, Jennifer, Me, Heinz, and Kerstin

A church in Salmunster

Inside the church in Salmunster

There were so many trees everywhere!

The river in Bad Soden

The tower on Bad Soden

The view from the tower