Rachel, what time is it there?
Depends on where you are in the world. I’m currently seven hours ahead of the Midwest, and six ahead of my cronies on the east coast.
Rachel, what did you do all day?
That, dear readers, is an excellent question. Mostly, I’m taking an intensive German language course (thanks, Fulbright!), making friends, eating food, and hiking. The group here is split up into four different levels, and my group has been focusing on grammar technicalities and pronunciation. At some point, I’ll accurately narrate my long and harrowing relationship with the German language, but suffice it to say that language for me is most often simply a means to an end, nuances be damned.
We are also taking a culture class three days a week, and our weekend trips are an extension of that course. Again: thanks, Fulbright! So far, we’ve been to the Edersee, Frankfurt, and we went to Weimar and Buchenwald last weekend. These trips are a great way to see parts of Germany to which I’ve never been, and they have all added to or challenged what I’ve learned (or thought I learned) about Germany in the past. More on that below.
Rachel, what do you eat?
A lot of carbs. Not alot of carbs.* That would be terrifying. Germans are big on their bakeries, and my love of grocery stores has shown no signs of subsiding. Marburg is big on Auflauf, which is essentially a personal-sized casserole with potatoes, noodles, and cheese.
*Four points for you, Glen Coco, if you caught that reference.
We also enjoy grilling, and sometimes even dress up for it. Haloumi cheese is my new favorite food, best enjoyed with a healthy dose of Sriacha sauce. That usually gets devoured far too fast to even consider taking a picture beforehand.
Charles’ birthday seemed an occasion worthy of a formal grilling session.
One common gripe about German food is that it tends to be absent of any sort of spice. Don’t worry, we’ve got that covered as well. With our resident Texan leading the charge, we made nachos, guacamole, and pico de gallo last night that cleared out my nasal passages.
Rachel, what did you do last weekend?
Last weekend was pretty sweet. I even have pictures! Fulbright was a champ and took us to Weimar. Weimar is rather important for the Erinnerungskultur (memory culture) in Germany, and while my inner historiographical nerd was going nuts, the rational side of me was not buying all of the references made to Goethe’s ex-girlfriend’s brother’s younger sister’s cousin and the like. Conspiracy theory: Goethe never existed, he is simply a brilliant tourism ploy.
Lucas Cranach d.A. is buried in Weimar! And has nothing to do with Goethe!
After our tour of Weimar, we took a tour of Buchenwald. I’ve now toured three former concentration camps with three different groups of people, and while I can and love to talk about the different ethics, logistics, and issues associated with these types of museum/memorial hybrids, I’m nervous to do much of that on a public blog. If you’re interested, let’s have a chat!
On Sunday, a group of us went to Documente, a modern art show that happens in Kassel, Germany every five years. Most simply stated, Documente was originally an effort to bring modern art back to Germany after World War II. It was a beautiful day, and we ended up abandoning the artworks to spend some time hiking in a park that is known for a gigantic statue of Hercules on top of a massive hill.
Another building that has very little to do with Goethe! Don’t tell the tourism board!
I’m considering moonlighting as a jumping picture evangelist.
I love art, but hiking here was easily the best decision of the day.
Rachel, do you have a place to live? I hear the benches in the Englischer Garten aren’t too comfortable.
YES. After the most painful housing search of my life, I am happy to report that I will have an apartment in Munich. The western, practically not-in-Munich edge of Munich, but technicalities have never been my strong suit. As soon as I send in my signature, consider yourself cordially invited to spend the night (or a few) on my floor.