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Sunday, October 31, 2010


More overdue pictures, here.  The trip to Prague was amazing and we had such a great time there.  That said, Eastern Europe is scary, partly because we expected it to be scary and partly because we got yelled at a couple of times.  So, on to the pictures!

Picture 1: Karlovo Most (Charles Bridge)

For starters, Czech is a very different language from any that I have ever heard before in my life.  Sometimes, I thought it was Italian, and then I would swear Russian and suddenly German...then there were the times they were talking or I was reading and I was like WTF does this even mean?  It was fun to learn some random words like: rodina=family, tuky=fat, and most=bridge.  This bridge is one of those must sees in Prague and I can vouch for it, it is so beautiful and, as April would say, memorable.  There are tons of people on it, but it's cool because you are hearing so many different languages and seeing so many different styles and cultures all on this one bridge.  There are tons of things that you are supposed to rub for good luck or good grades or so that you will return to Prague, but we didn't do enough research on that, so...we just rubbed them. :)  This picture is taken from the top of the guard tower and is my favorite view of Prague.  I have a postcard hanging in my new room that is this exact scene (with some more sun).  In the distance you can see the Prague Castle and the huge St. Vitus' Cathedral.  This was another very magical place for me that I could spend hours just looking and people watching.

 Picture 2: The Escalators 

In this segment I am going to talk about both the escalators and the public transportation in general.  Riding on these escalators was one of the most trippy things I have ever done.  Why?  They are very steep and very very long, but it is not just that, the advertisements are crooked.  It feels like you are falling down the rabbit hole or something and you don't know if you're standing straight or you're bent and then you look over at the other people and you think they are all on their knees or maybe leaning way forward for no reason.  It's just very disorienting.  Whenever we rode one I always felt like I was going to fall.  Here is a video that kinda shows what I am talking about:
Now, the crazy public transportation.  We could not travel without something terrible happening to us.  When we first arrived in the country we showed them our tickets and we must not have gotten the right stamp and the woman was very mad about that, but she let us go.  Then, we were trying to go from our hotel to Charles Bridge one night and we met even more interference.  You see, the price for a single trip is pretty expensive, so the girls decided they were going to skip buying a ticket.  Why?  They're cheap.  Well, sure enough the ticket people were waiting when we got off the train.  Initially, I thought they were just poor people trying to get my attention because he was talking in Czech and let's face it that means nothing to me.  Then he said "Ticket Control" and my heart sank. Braden and I had bought a day pass because it was date night to the Hard Rock and we knew we were going to get our use of it, so I showed that to the man.  The girls, however, were not so lucky.  Oh wait, yes they were.  Apparently Braden and I are suspicious because he only checked ours.  So, needless to say...when in Prague, follow the rules exactly when it comes to their trains.  There was also the Kutna Hora incident that will be addressed in a later blog.

Picture 3: St. Vitus'

This church was huge.  I have seen a lot of churches and they get boring, for sure, but this one was SO big.  When I looked it up later, it turns out that it isn't actually all that big in comparison, but the way that it is presented makes it just appear to be one of the biggest places on Earth.  It is on top of a mountain overlooking all of Prague, you can see it from almost everywhere in Prague and the outside is beautiful and ornate.  This is only one picture of this magnificent structure.  There is more on my facebook or you can always look up St. Vitus' Cathedral in Prague to see some professional pictures and maybe an aerial shot, too.

Picture 4: Prague by Night

All the books say that you need to see Prague from the Karlovo Most at night.  All the books are right.  This was for sure the highlight of our time in Prague for me.  The view is absolutely amazing no matter which direction you are looking.  Even just staring at the river and the lights bouncing along with the rapids created by the dam could take hours.  It is just the most wonderful place in all of the Czech Republic in my opinion.  Look at more of my pictures or again, please, google this and see the amazing sights.

Picture 5: Our Hotel
Of all the things that make a trip really great, a friendly and personable hotel staff can really help and Gastone and Christina fit that description to a "T".  The very first day we arrived, we wanted to know what the best way was to get to one of the sights and Christina took us to her map and walked us through exactly what we needed to do, gave us some history of the place we were going, and then told us what we should do after we are done.  She then told us that we did not need to take the tram, we are young and not lazy.  She was right.  Every morning, except the Kutna Hora Incident, we had breakfast provided and made for us by Christina herself.  Her toasties were one of the highlights food-wise of the trip.  She would exclaim, "It's a must" whenever she asked if we wanted a toasties, she already knew the answer.  These two really made the stay in Prague great, and I would highly recommend Aparthotel City 5 to anyone travelling to Prague and staying more than just the weekend.  We had a kitchen, private bedroom, bathroom, and dining room table, it was just perfect.

Next up in the Travel Series....The Kutna Hora Incident.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I am now taking the London class, the prof e-mailed me and said there was room after the first class.

Also, I am going to do a travel update every Sunday, so next Sunday will be Prague and then Leipzig, etc.

Happy reading.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


This is overdue.  I am not going to do a detailed blow by blow of each day of our trip but I'll do two sets of these, one for Dresden and Prague each.  I'll pick my five favorite pictures and provide some background.

Picture 1: The Frauenkirche

Even though April looked sad in this picture, I promise we were all very excited.  The reason for her face is probably the terrible wind and rain we had to deal with the entire time we were in Dresden.  Had Dresden been any less breathtaking on its own the weather would have ruined the trip.  However, we were delighted to finally see the object of our 212 studies.  German 212 is the class that focuses more on literature and developing our reading skills and in this class we read the German classic: As ich ein kleine Junge war (When I was a Young Boy), by Erich Kaestner.  This book is so good at describing how beautiful Dresden is and how much of an effect World War II had on this city.  At the very end of the war, Germany would not admit that it was going to lose and just kept drawing out the fighting on both sides wasting lives for no reason.  The Allies knew they needed to do a massive attack somewhere to prove that Germany could not win the war.  So, the chose not a city that had huge industrial importance, but instead the beautiful and historically important city of Dresden.  The city was not important to the war effort, but was held in high esteem in every German's heart.  The attack went on for days and the city was completely razed.   The Frauenkirche (behind us) was one of Germany's most beautiful churches (which is saying something), and it fell to the ground after being fire bombed.  The history gets only more interesting for this church.  The whole time the East was occupied by the Russians they left this beautiful church in rubble.  They left is this way to constantly remind those living in East Germany that the West is their enemy.  It wasn't until the '90s the church rebuilding effort finally began and it was completed in 2006.  The beautiful church behind us has only been standing for 5 years.  What do I think is most interesting?  They were able to salvage a few of the original bricks from the first church and figure out exactly where they are supposed to go in the new church.  So, if you look closely you can see that there are black spots on the white church, those are the original bombed bricks of the Frauenkirche.

Picture 2: Pragerstraße 

This is one of the most famous shopping streets in Germany.  There a ton of stores and more than one mall.  It was also the way we had to walk through every day to get to the places we wanted to visit.  I bough my Hausschue (slippers) here and we found (get this Katie) a "T.K. Maxx" I don't know why, but it is not T.J. in Germany...very strange.  I also found a Mountain Dew in the Hauptbahnhof that is at the end of the Pragerstrasse.  I also loved the stark contrast from the glaring communist buildings housing the capitalist giant: McDonald's.  

Picture 3: The Weather

We tried to take this picture three times.  The first time, the wind blew so fast the camera fell over.  The second time, I forgot to set the timer.  The third time was this.  The wind blew.  Braden squinted.  Maria screamed.  April cried.  I, being the model that I am, posed perfectly through anything.  I think my training with the yearly Mother's Day pictures came in handy here.  But honestly, the weather was really awful.  Those umbrellas you see in this picture...only one still works.  The wind was very intense. 

Picture 4: The City from Above

Maria and I decided we were going to spend the 8 Euro (like $12) and go to the top of the Frauenkirche and see what we could see.  Granted, as you learned from picture 3, the wind was a bit scary and I was convinced I was going to drop my camera, but I didn't.  It was worth every penny.  From the top we could see the Elbe River flowing through the city, the Zwinger, our hotel, and the majesty of this wonderful city.  It was one of those moments in life where you think the world is truly a beautiful place.  This is one of the most beautiful cities I'd ever been to and being able to see the enormity and the beauty of it was so great.  Behind Maria and I is the Zwinger, the art museum of Dresden and one of the 1,000 places to see before you die.  See picture 5.

Picture 5: Der Zwinger

Although you can't read it, this is a very important sign.  You see, we went to Der Zwinger on Sunday and decided that we only wanted to get acclimated to the city and see the sights more the next day, Monday.  So, Monday morning we came back to Der Zwinger and went to open the doors and found this sign.  This sign was also very visible on Sunday as well.  It reads: Der Zwinger is open every day of the week, except Mondays.


Dresden was a WONDERFUL city.  The highlights from the Prague trip will be up soonish

Friday, October 22, 2010

First Week of Class

On Sunday and Monday: Desperate Housewives, Ocean's 11, Ocean's 12, America's Next Top Model, Dexter, perhaps more.  I also walked all around town and checked out where all of the campus buildings are and was successful.

Tuesday I had my first class and it was fun.  This sounds really brief but there really isn't too much to say so I'm just going to outline my class schedule.  I'll probably have commentary on my classes later on, but right now it is just the first day and therefore boring.

Intercultural and Regional Studies

The American Short Story
Academic Work in the German World
The U.N. Secretary General 

Intercultural and Regional Studies
The History of Political Ideas II: The 18th Century

I tried a couple other classes like "The 'Old' DDR" or "The German Kingdom 1890-1906" but they were way too hard and I couldn't really understand any of what was going on.  All week I have been coming home late from classes and have been too tired to do anything and have been going to bed early.  Braden visited on Tuesday and that was fun.  I might take a class called "London" on Thursday afternoons, but right now the class is full, so we will see if that happens or not.  I would really like to take it, though.  I'm excited to see how this semester goes.  What I am most looking forward to is the 12-14 page essay in "The American Short Story." I have the feeling that around that time I would love nothing more than to write an essay in English.  Not much of an update, but I have not done very much this week.

Something that was awesome?  Katie and the family, Mom and the girls, and Morgan McCall and I all talked on Skype.  Best. Invention. Ever.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Exploring Thüringen

This last weekend JAMB(Y) decided to explore a little bit of the area surrounding Jena.  So, on Friday we went West and on Saturday, East.  As we all know in Germany/Europe east=scary.  That proved to be very true.  First, I will explain the wacky adventures of four young Americans in Eisennach.

This lovely city is the birthplace of both Bach and Luther and is therefore one of the most historic cities in Germany.  The city itself is quite pretty, but the main attraction is Wartburg Castle on the very top of the hill.  There were two options for us at this point: 1)Take a bus about halfway up the hill and walk/hike the rest, and 2)hike from the Hauptbahnhof to the top of the hill that would take about an hour.  All of you who know any of us know that we picked the bus.  Obviously.  We hoped on the bus that Maria told us was right and it drove us through the great city and then started going up....and up....and holy crap thank God we didn't walk this......up.  It then dropped us off on an incline and we preceded to walk up...oh and up.  Wow, my heart was beating and couldn't breathe and it was just a lot of work.  Thankfully, us strong men (Braden and myself) were much faster than the women and we had to take breaks to wait for them and they didn't get breaks.  We (finally) got to the top and saw an amazing view of Eisennach from the castle.

The fall in Germany is really beautiful and much slower than I have experienced in Minnesota.  The trees all change at different times and there is still a lot of green!  I seem to remember in Minnesota it going from green to brown in a matter of a few weeks, the beauty here is more drawn out.  We then went into the castle to begin our exploration.  Here is a picture of the castle:

It is obviously very advantageous to build a castle on a hill, but after climbing it just once it amazes me that they had to bring stones all the way up here, let alone any other large personal objects or imports were carried up the narrow passages of the mountain/hill (depending on your standards).  When we got there, we went into the ticket/souvenir area and decided we really only needed to see the Luther Room and not the entire castle and purchased the cheaper ticket.  After walking through an art gallery we arrived at the Luther Room.  This room was where Martin Luther translated the Bible the first time into a common language of the people instead of the usual Latin, Greek, etc.  This was a huge part of the Reformation because now not only could priests and the like read the Bible and form ideas to preach, but any layman could do the same.  This effectively changed the entire landscape and leadership of Europe.  Therefore, this room is VERY important to world history.  Here is a picture of how simple it was:
After seeing the room, we continued to explore the castle grounds (which is so something I have only ever heard in books, movies, tv shows, etc and now I am saying it myself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)  It was really interesting seeing that a small town had grown up within the castle walls to facilitate the many needs of those living in the castle.  This picture is of that small townish area, also something about wagons are also so photogenic.
We then walked DOWN the hill and went into Eisennach to see some more of the sights.  We first went to the statue of Luther in the main market area.  It's big and it was impressive, perhaps more impressive than the one in front of the Frauenkirche in Dresden.  We then walked through the markt and to the town square with the town hall and Luther's birth house.  It was closing, though, and April and Braden weren't up for it so we went to the Bach museum instead.  I wasn't particularly interested in this one, so I walked around the area and took some pictures.  We then all went back home to Jena!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


On Monday, I had to take my first test in Germany.  It was of course in all German and it was going to place me in which level I should be in for the entire year.  So, there was a lot riding on it and it made me very nervous.  I didn't do the best on it to be sure, but I did what I could.  I know that I am not in a very advanced level of German, so I will be happy with whichever level I get in.  After the test, I decided it was time for me to visit Braden in Erfurt.  I hadn't been to his apartment yet and I was overdue.  I jumped on a train in Jena and worked my way to Erfurt and met him in the main square.  We had Burger King and went back to Ikea.  This time we looked at the time the bus left and made sure we were going to be there 10 minutes early.  We bought mats, blankets, pillows, etc so that we would have something to sleep on when we visit one another because our beds are so small and Braden had already slept on my floor twice.  We checked out and we were 12 minutes early for the bus to come and we walk out the door and watch it drive away.  We then have to wait 40 minutes for the next one.  I am really never going back to Ikea.  Never.  We get back to his apartment and it is cute.  He has no communal living space, just his room, a kitchen, and two bathrooms.  It's not very easy to meet or hang out with his roommates because of this.  I love his "Allied Powers" roommates (two Frenchman, a Brit, and him).  We then made a trip out to the Erfurt mall that was very nice.  We ate "Chicken and Chips" and they were so good.  I saw another scarf I may want at H&M.  We then took him grocery shopping at Kaufland and had a fun time picking stuff out.  I can buy a gallon and a half of milk for 3 Euro.  It's so great...except that it is on the shelf not in a cooler.  I'll get over that eventually.  We then watched more Xena and off to bed.

I left in the morning on Tuesday and went back to Jena to finish up Lost.  Finish it I did.  Cry I did.  It was just so so so so so SAD!!  I then went to a meeting for orientation teaching me how to sign up for classes.  I guess all I have to do is e-mail the prof and say, "Hey, I'm Justin and I'd like to take your class" and they say Fo' sho'.  I then started Lost Season 1 with April.  It's sad seeing everyone when it just began and seeing the people that died not knowing how they are going to die....oh wow that finale was hard.  And I'm crying again. :(

Wednesday was Glee night again.  I had to take my speaking test in the morning and that was interesting.  She asked me what my bracelet meant and I had to explain to her that it was gay pride.  That was fun.  Also, she asked why I wanted to be a teacher when all teachers in America get shot.  I said that I didn't think that happened to EVERY teacher.  She watches too much TV.  Then I went back home and watched more Lost with April and came back at 4 to see which level I was placed in.  I am in M2 which is intermediate, so I am very happy.  I was banking on not being in beginner, so I accomplished that goal.  I then came home to meet Braden and we looked at the classes I can take.  We then went over to April's for Glee night.  We ate Mediterranean food.  Cous Cous, Gyros, etc.  It was ok, not my favorite.  Maria and I bought our tickets to Dublin to visit Raquel in TWO WEEKS!!!  I'm so excited.  We then watched Glee.  It wasn't my favorite episode, but it was good :)  I then came back home and watched some Xena with Braden.

Plans for today (Thursday)?  Nothing.  Lost maybe.  Tomorrow I'm going to Eisennach and on Saturday we are all going to Leipzig.  Look things up to see what we'll see if you want.  I'll put up some pics when we get back, though.  I have written a ton of postcards, I just need to get some stamps on them!!!

Much love, Justin

Onions and Clubs

SOOOOOOO, it's been a week.  Sorry, I'll try to update this more frequently!

My last post was about last Thursday, so I will start about last Friday.  That is the day I lost my wallet.  I went to class and it was the last day so that was a lot of fun.  I had a very interesting time in class that involved me teaching American history to a group of Europeans.  In case anyone was wondering: yes.  I did teach McCarthyism to Russians.  Time. of. my. life.  I actually wrote down that experience as one of my possibilities to contribute to the intercultural newsletter at Concordia, so once that has been refined more I will post that.  When we broke for lunch break, though, I could not find my wallet.  I did run into Roisin and Doireanne (her name is pronounced: Deer-in also Irish).  So, I walked all around the building and couldn't find my wallet.  I started to freak out a little bit until I remembered that I went to a bakery in the morning for a Käsebrötchen (like a fresh roll with melted cheese on top).  I went there and asked if they had my wallet and the woman looked and me with a "you should have known better take care of your stuff" sort of look and handed it to me.  SUCCESS!  We then went for pizza at a restaurant.  We then planned on a time to meet the following day for the Zwiebelmarkt in Weimar.  You should all just look at this:


This is a map of Thuringen, the German state in which I live.  I then went back home and watched me some Lost.  The next day.....it was monumental...I SLEPT IN!!!  It was the first time since coming to Europe that I was able to sleep as long as I wanted.  It was really quite great.  I then met with Maria and April and we walked to the Westbahnhof in Jena (bahn=train hof=station, therefore Deutschebahn=German Trains).  When we got there it was PACKED!!

I was lucky enough to run into not only the Irish girls, but also many people from my language course.  The blonde girl is Katja from the Czech Republic.  The man in white is Filipo from Italy, red is Joris from France and head with the tongue sticking out is Christian from Spain!


We all got on the train to the Zweibelmarkt (Onion market) in Weimar.  That was the most full train I had ever been on.  We had such a great time in Weimar!  The Irish girls and Maria, April and I walked around the market that was filled with a lot of firsts for me.  My first German bratwurst and my first strawberry!

We then got a lot of alcohol.  This is a must at any German festival.  After sitting, talking, and drinking for a while, we headed back home to prepare for the evening's festivities.  My first time going to a European club!  Around 10:30 we all met at Roisin and Doireanne's apartment and hung out and had some great wine until we all decided to go out to the F-Haus in downtown for some dancing.  We had to wait for the train to come about a half an hour, so we were singing some songs to make the wait more interesting.  One was an original created by Roisin to honor the Peppermint alcohol that was all we had left that had Farbstoff in it.  That is food coloring.  That was SO fun.  We then got on the train and started singing the German drinking song our teacher taught us and the WHOLE TRAIN started singing with us!  It was one of those moments when I felt like I would be able to make it here ten months.  So much fun.

We then finally got to the F-Haus/Havana Club and started dancing after a brief trip to McDonald's.  Europeans are kinda strange dancers.  Their faces are very solemn and the sway side to side.  It's a little strange.  But, in the Havana Club there was a stage and we all took our turns jumping up on it having the time of our lives.  This is me with Alison from Ireland and Joris from France.

It was just such a great time.  We left around 3:15 and we had to walk home, but that was fine.  It helped us wind down a little.  I went to bed around 5.  It was just a really great day.

Sunday was also glorious.  I didn't leave the building all day and just watched Lost Season 6 and bummed around on the internet all day.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Exploring Jena

I woke up with Braden in my room and that always makes everything so much better in the morning.  I decided to be late to class and have a breakfast with Braden.  I bought Cinnamon Toast Crunch at Kaufland but a strawberry flavor…and it is not good.  The milk was though!  After getting to school we did some more exercises and other fun stuff, had a slight confrontation with Katherine, but that can’t really be avoided because I have decided to channel all of my anger toward her.  Not really, only kinda, don’t worry.  There were a few more changed with my class today.  The British girls were all gone, but there was now a British man, a new Russian girl, the Chinese girls were back and brought a friend, and there was a new Italian woman. I texted Braden and then called him at lunch and that felt so great!  I then met him for lunch and we had European McDonald’s which is not the same.  When I got back to class we talked about idioms like “who let the cat out of the bag” or “caught between a rock and a hard place”.  This was So interesting for me because I got to hear about not just German idioms but also Czech, French, Italian, Spanish and so on.  Me and the British guy, James, hit it off right away and realized our humors matched perfectly, so we had a couple really good laughs.  We both thought the Spaniard said Water boarding was a hobby of his when he really said water polo…still don’t know how I heard that.  We then started to watch Marley and Me which I am not emotionally stable to watch at this time.  I watched only up to the sad part and left to meet Braden.  We walked all around town and I took out money and paid him back for the groceries I bought because I had no cash last night and no one takes Visa.  We then went shopping for random little things I need like hangers, clothes pins, pens, notebooks, etc. I have to go change laundry, I’ll be right back.  Can we stop for a second and discuss the scary giant spiders that are all over in Jena….it is just really unnerving.  The rest of the day was uneventful.  The night though was AMAZING.  Maria and April came over for the first real Glee night (every Wednesday) and we, I mean they, made fantastic tacos with rice and apple strudel for dessert!!  Then we watched Glee, and I cried for forty minutes, thanks Glee.  Off to bed.  The next morning was nothing special, went to class for a while and then went all around town to get all of the stuff I needed to do done.  I signed up for internet, got a bank account, signed my lease, and got health insurance.  Check and check!  Then we all went to IKEA!!!  That was an adventure, it is in a field outside of Erfurt, it is not very close.  We shopped and had an awesome IKEA time.  We even hurried so we could catch the bus at 6:16.  So, we get outside at 6:13…and no bus…..for an hour.  So we sit and have a wonderful Rodina (Family in Czech) J(ustin)A(pril)M(aria)B(raden) party at the bus stop and watch the Glee Brittney/Brittany episode (for the third time).  The bus finally comes and we are very lucky with connections and make it back to Jena fairly quickly.  I get back to my room and find I have INTERNET!!! Talked with mom, uploaded photos to Facebook and updated this! J

I Hang Out with People from Ireland

Woke up and ate an apple and walked my ass to school.  I actually have been walking everywhere.  Even though I can take the strassebahn (street train) everywhere I think it is just easier to walk.  I hope that helps with weight… J  I get to class and I am ready for another day of great learning.  We have some changes in the class, a new British girl and the Chinese girls never showed up.  In class today we did some fun exercises that included me acting like an American shopkeeper…that wasn’t too much of a stretch, haha.  That was fun.  I had to act with an Italian man and French woman, and believe me I made that fun.  When it was time for lunch break, I informed the teacher I had things I had to do and would probably not return for the rest of the day but would try.  With Roisin, Marianne and the other two Irish girls, Alison (who looks like Blake Lively) and Dreea? I did some more registration stuff with the computers and to the town office.  I ended up spending hours with the Irish girls and I really hope we can be friends because they are awesome.  Very awesome.  I went to the Bahnhof (Train station) to see if I could find Braden when he was supposed to arrive, but I didn’t see him and I had to meet the girls at 4:30, so I went back to the town office and saw them.  We went back to the main school building and met up with Charlotte, a friend of Marianne’s who knew where to get cheap phones, and I NEEDED A PHONE.  I went with her to MediMax and bought my phone for 34 Euro and a pre-paid sim card for 1 Euro and it had 10 Euro on it!  That wiped me out of my cash, though.  Ah well.  I went back home and waited for Braden to show up.  It didn’t take long, though until all of them (April, Maria, Yvonne, and Braden) were knocking at my doors (the front one and the window in my room that opens into the courtyard).  Braden and I exchanged numbers very excitedly, the same with Yvonne, that was something I really just needed to feel whole again.  Braden, Yvonne and I decided to go on an adventure to Kaufland (like Cub) and buy some supplies for the month.  We hoped on the strassebahn and went shopping.  It was huge and had everything I wanted…well, that I could expect from it.  It even had .1% fat milk, which is almost skim!  1 liter was only .50 Euro!  So, I got four.  After we bagged everything up, we went to the stop to realize we missed it by 4 minutes and would have to wait a half hour…at least it was with good company.  We then somehow wound up on the wrong train and ended up in scary East European Lobeda West and discovered the train we were on was going to Lobeda East and none of us wanted anything to do with that and we ran away and waited for the next CORRECT train.  We got home safely, though.  Braden and I put away groceries and watched Xena: Warrior Princess.  It really reminded me of my old neighbors Marnie and Kim because of all of the lesbian references in it and the fact that they had every single episode on VHS.  Also, the acting is god-awful.

Classes Begin!!!!!!!!!

Met with my tutor Rico at 8:45 and walked all around the Haupt (Main) College Building.  We got into the line to Matriculate too late, so I just went into the language course main room.  Rico said he was just going to wait for me. I was the first one out of the Americans there.  Soon, Maria, Yvonne, and April arrived.  On the desk in front of me was etched the two towers with a plane crashing into it with “it was an inside job” written by it in English…I found that odd.  The main German teacher brought everyone to attention.  He spoke first in German and then in English.  He said anyone that could not understand what he was saying needs to leave the room and go into the level “A” class for basic German.  Everyone else left, which included everyone from Concordia, was told to decide if they thought they were a “B” or a “C”.  I knew for sure that I was not in the C level, so I went with the Bs, as did April and Maria.  Yvonne, who is Swiss and therefore has been speaking German her entire life, went in with the C level.  The Cs left the room and just the Bs were left and they numbered us off one through four for the four teachers of the B level.  The teacher for number four looked really scary and I hoped very much that I did not have her.  Also, the Irish girls that I very much wanted to be friends with were another factor I had to consider, I really wanted one of them to be in my class.  I met two of them with my roommate Marianne on Sunday, she is their tutor, and they looked like so much fun!  So, the numbers are being distributed and it’s not easy because of all the different languages…eins, zwei, drei, vier…and lo and behold who is a four, me.  Of course.  I turn around and watch the Irish girls and they are one, two, three.  This is when I decide to take my fate into my own hands.  Maria was a three and April a two and I didn’t want to follow them, so I decided my new number was going to be one.  I followed the teacher for number one up to the third floor and sat down at a table with the Irish woman, Katherine from Concordia and another blonde woman.  We, of course, played a get to know you game in German.  The Irish woman that sat across from me is Roisin (the s is pronounced the same as it would be in Sean or Seamus with a “sh” sound).  To my left was a woman from the Czech Republic, Katja (Katya).  It was interesting talking to her because I was in the CR only a few days earlier…and did I have some words for her about the train system and how scary it was to be yelled at in Czech (A story that I will probably tell on my blog at some point)!  It is so interesting listening to everyone speaking German (and English for that matter) with the different accents.  In my class there is Men: French, Spanish, Italian, American (me). Women: French, Italian, Russian, Irish, Czech, American, two British, and two Chinese.  It is such a fun and diverse group of people!!!  We keep going with the introduction game for a while and I meet Sylvia from Italy.  Her accent is beautiful.  While I am talking with her, Rico knocks on the door and asks where I have been.  WHOOPS!!  He asks the teacher, and we go get in line to register for the school.  Once that is done I realize how much I have to do before I can even get my Student ID!  But, with my temporary ID in hand, I follow Rico out into the town.  We go to the City Office so I can register into Jena, but the line is so long we decide that we do not want to wait and I return back to class. During break for class my head hurts a lot from all of the German I have been hearing and speaking.  It is like my brain can never rest and constantly has to be thinking!  So, I instantly go to hang out with my fellow English speakers from England.  Roisin and her tutor, my roommate Marianne, left soon after I came back to class, so they were my only hope.  They are SO funny!  Their humor, I just love it.  I also love the different things they say than we do like, “lass”, “wanker”, “grand”, or “Mum”.  It is just so cool, and it is great practice for my British accent that will be excellent by the time I leave.  We go back to class and do some more learning until it is time to go!  I walk around town with the British girls for a while and meet a friend of theirs.  I suppose I can identify these girls, Naomi and Mandi.  Mandi is Hindi and speaks like 10 languages, so that’s impressive.  I can’t remember their friend’s name.  While I was in H&M with them, I saw a scarf very similar to Yvonne’s black and white one that I wanted so badly for 7 Euro, so I bought that and I love it.  We then went to Aldi and I bought some quick groceries for the night, but I forgot bread…ah well.  I said bye (Tschuss) to the British girls and went back to Seidelstrasse 18 with my food and scarf a happy camper.  When I got to my room I put up all the pictures I brought with my with the blue tack and then watched the Britney Glee episode again.  Then I realized that I had no way of getting a hold of anyone.  I walked to Maria and April’s doors and neither were there and then to Yvonne’s to see she was also out (after a very awkward conversation with her roommate who did not seem to even know who Yvonne was, which she later confirmed to be true, he did not).  So I went back to my room, but I ran into Matthias and Steph, the other two people from Concordia.  I talked to them for a spell and then as I was walking into my room Yvonne stopped me.  Thank God.  I needed someone to hang out with!  I went up to her room and we talked for a while, then I went on the net and skyped Braden for an hour and that was fun.  We decided he would come tomorrow and leave on Wednesday.  Then I went down to my room.  I looked everywhere and could not find my temporary ID anywhere…not a happy camper anymore.  I need that for a lot of my registrations in the city.  Nothing I could do then, though and I started to watch Lost Season 6!  I didn’t get far, though, before Marianne, my roommate, came in and sat on my bed and we talked a lot about life and travelling and my other roommates and everything.  That was so nice!  After that I watched some great Lost episodes and off to sleep I went.