10.09.2010

Essen!

I thought it might be nice to share with you some of the dishes I've cooked/eaten here so far. While I enjoy cooking for myself, I'm trying to organize and partake of more group meals in order to keep costs down. 

Pfifferlinge mit Zwiebeln, in Butter gekocht. 

Pfifferlinge

Camembert

Eier mit Wurst und Zwiebeln

Zucchini

Eier, Zucchini, Fisch (Note: I bought the fish pre-seasoned and pre-cooked)

Detail

Gemüse

Zucchini, Karotten, Zwiebeln

...mit Eier 

Detail

10.07.2010

The Great Recapitulation (Part 1)

Note: Before I get sucked into this whole "remembering" schtick, I'd like to fill you in a little on my current situation: I recently completed the September Course, a month-long intensive language orientation course at  Uni. Konstanz, and I'm now in the midst of preparing for my first semester as an exchange student. I'm looking at some really interesting lit courses for the next semester (all in English, except for one German course), and I begin my three sports—Lacrosse (I know, I know... Lacrosse in Germany? Blame my French friend, Thibaud, who wanted me to accompany him in a sport), Ping-Pong (Tischtennis), and classical ballroom dance—sometime around the 20th. Until recently, I wasn't eating particularly healthfully, nor was I exercising very much at all, but I'm starting to get back into the swing of things. Hopefully when sports start I'll get back into relatively good shape, and when I add to that my improving diet (almost paleo, but with a few European exceptions), I should be in a pretty good place.


Alright, here goes a whole lot o' somethin'!


MORE PRE-KONSTANZ

The rest of my time in Heidelberg was fairly low-key. With my energy restored from my long-night's rest, Garnet and I decided it would be a good idea to try and see if we could have our iPhone's unlocked by a T-Mobile employee (Garnet was quite sure that if he explained our situation clearly we would have no trouble getting the relatively simple procedure done); unfortunately, none of the stores we visited were willing to help us out, even as Garnet pointed out that stores in England and Australia currently perform the unlocking procedure gratis.

Feeling somewhat dispirited by the T-Mobile experience, Garnet and I returned to his apartment in the hopes that we would be able to unlock the phones ourselves. Unfortunately, the necessary software that allows one to crack iOS4.1 was—and remains to be—unavailable at the time, and I left Heidelberg without a functioning handy.

As we had done last summer, Garnet and I also cooked-up some tasty food this time around. While I don't have pictures of the deceptively simple but altogether delicious zucchini that we sauteed with shallots in olive oil (a meal, I confess, which launched my German love-affair with zucchini), I did manage to capture a video of some lovely zucchini fritters frying at Ellen's house.
video
Due to time constraints, my stay in Heidelberg was short-lived, and I left on Saturday for another familiar city, Schweinfurt, where I'd spent a good portion of my previous summer. While most of my ride to Schweinfurt was unremarkable, I had something of a frightening (though in retrospect, quite funny) experience at one of my transfer points along the way: as I walked up the stairs to catch my next train, I was halted by a police officer angrily yelling German in direction. I thought at first that he might have been calling to someone behind me, but when I pointed perplexedly at myself, he indicated in the same angry tone that he was indeed talking to me. As I nervously walked down the steps to the man, he yelled at me, "Passport! ID!" At this point I was a nervous mess, and I fumbled in vain for some identification, sure I had unintentionally committed some grave mistake and would never make it to Schweinfurt. However, before I could even finish blurting out the few German words I knew in an effort to save my ass, the officer unexpectedly shot out, "Wait, are you American? Never mind, you can go." Of course, I left in a hurry, and I don't think I've ever been more relieved to get on a train as I was at that moment.
Upon my arrival in Schweinfurt, I was relieved to see a familiar and ever-lovely face waiting for me at the platform—Anna Maria! It really was quite surreal seeing her again—the last time we'd seen each other in the flesh was a year ago as we said goodbye at Frankfurt airport—and even as we hugged each other tightly I felt as if in a dream. I was struck once again by how much time had gone by when I realized that Anna Maria had driven to get me; it seemed as if we had only just talked about her getting her license, and here she was—a real driver! She proved to be a good one, too, and the ride home was nothing but smooth-sailing. 

Back at the Malinowski house, we greeted Anna Maria's parents, Andrzej and Ewa, and their close friends, (and the other weekend guests) Tomek and Ania, a Polish couple who live in Britain full time and who, like me, speak very minimal German. When the greetings were complete, we rushed out the door to the nearby city of Dettelbach (I feel like leaving as soon as I get to the Malinowski house is something of a recurring theme—last year, we left at 2AM on my first morning in Schweinfurt to head to the Baltic Sea), where a vineyard-opening festival was taking place.
In Dettelbach, we greeted Roger "Rog" Bischoff—another very close friend of the Malinowskis—and the Herrmann family and sat down to dinner, wine, and some live music courtesy of a very good entertaining dance band. Here are some pictures from that evening:
The group meets
Dettelbach Street
We spent the next day relaxing, listening to music, and preparing a nice meal for that evening. When the night finally arrived, we reclined in the living room and waited for the last parts of the meal to arrive. Both Anna Maria and I took pictures with my iPhone, so the night is fairly well-documented... even if the picture quality isn't very high. 
Me
Photo: Anna Maria
Another Anna Maria picture
L-R: Andrzej, Ania, Me, Tomek, Ewa
Anna Maria
Andrzej & Ewa
Tomek & Ania
Me being freaky
Haricots Verts
Kartoffeln
Delicious Schweinefleisch courtesy of Ewa



***I'd like to add here that we listened that night to a wonderful Polish jazz album, Ewa Bem's "Be A Man". I'm sad to report that the album is almost impossible to find on CD, but if you can pick it up on vinyl, you will not be disappointed: Bem's sultry vocals are top-notch, and the band backing her is truly on form. Half of the album consisted of English jazz standards, while the other half was sung in Polish (this was my favorite half).*** 



The next day, we all sat down to a large and delicious "Frühstück" (German for "breakfast")—as seems to be the norm in the Malinowski house whenever I visit—and then Tomek and Ania prepared to depart by car for England, quite unwillingly, as the weather was not good at the time. 
Later, Anna Maria and I played around with my photobooth app while we attempted to find me a time and a ticket to Konstanz.

Classic
Super-Freaky!!!
Wait... how did we get to Times Square?

Of course, all good things must (temporarily, at least) come to an end, and a little after noon, Anna Maria drove me to the Hauptbahnhof  (Main train station), where, after a hug and a quick good-bye kiss on the cheek, I caught the train that would take me to my new life in Konstanz.
Up next: Arrival in Konstanz and getting settled...






10.06.2010

Intro to "The Great Recapitulation"

Because I feel I've really dropped the ball—hopefully not down a bottomless pit—on this whole "blog" thing, I thought I'd first apologize to those who've been looking forward to my blogging, then actually set about writing the damn thing so that I can begin to make it a part of my daily routine instead of just a random exercise in futility.

I'm sorry I haven't been as diligent as I should have been with this blog: I know some of you have been looking forward to hearing more about my experiences over here, and I feel bad that I really haven't kept my part of the bargain. The truth is, as much as I love to read and write, I'm also a lazy schmuck, and if I can find an excuse not to sit at my computer and blog, you can bet your sweet, sweet ass I'll use it. I'd also like to add that, for various reasons, I haven't taken as many pictures so far as I perhaps should have. Again, I'd like to blame laziness ("everyone else has a camera... why do I need to take pictures???") for that. I hope to do a better job of capturing my experiences from now on.


Thankfully, my year in Germany is only just beginning: although I've already seen and done a great deal, there is much, much more to come, and you can be sure I'll be documenting it! I hope you enjoy the following recap as much as I enjoyed living it!


Best,
Luke