18 December, 2009

Yep, still in Germany.

Right, so it's not been for lack of things to write about that I haven't updated this blog in six weeks. I've just been a little busy. Since Halloween I have gone caving in Budapest, seen the Budapest Symphony Orchestra, gone to the Louvre in Paris, eaten escargot, sung at Karaoke night, played the drums in a worship night at church, acted in two performances of a stage play, finished all but one of my finals, had an interview in German, lost my roommate (no he's not dead, he just went home), gone bowling with a bunch of people from my floor, and drunk a fair amount of Glühwein (this stuff is everywhere).

Yes, it's been an eventful month and a half.

We took a class trip to Budapest because our program's director lived there for a few years. It was raining most of the time, but the subway system is pretty good in Budapest, so we didn't have to walk around much. The Budapest opera house is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. Find some pictures of that trip here. I went to an opera and a performance of the Symphony Orchestra because the tickets were dirt cheap. Also while in Budapest I went caving with three of the others. That was an interesting experience. I actually blacked out at one point after pulling myself through a hole. A little scary, but I'm okay now. Everything was a little cheaper in Hungary, so that was nice. There was a little pastry shop in the subway station by our hotel that made these amazing rolled donut-like things (video link).

A week or so after we got back from Hungary we had a class trip to Paris. That trip was guided by our Art professor, Herr Springer. He showed us around the Louvre and the d'Orsay. Everyone in class had prepared a presentation on a piece of artwork. I had The Coronation of Napoleon. This painting was massive. It was really cool to see it in person. I stayed in The Peace and Love Hostel with some of the other guys. As you can imagine, that was a ton of fun. I ended up in the 14 bed dorm room. They had a bar as their lobby. Herr Springer took us out to dinner at a cute little restaurant, the Chartier, in the Montemarte district. That's where I had escargot. The Eiffel tower had a really cool light show installed. I think it was for its 150th anniversary or something. Here's a video so that you can see it for yourself.

Didn't do much traveling after the Paris trip. Except for a small trip to the Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt with Ryan. That was really neat. The market was huge. Just about every large town has its own Christmas Market. They have vendors selling roasted nuts, wool socks, wooden ornaments, clay incense holders, anything you want basically. And every third stall has Glühwein (hot and spiced wine) which comes in mugs unique to that market. You can return the mug for a small deposit or keep it as a souvenir. I now have a small collection of such mugs.

This whole time I was also preparing for a stage play. The show was an original script written and directed by one of the faculty here at Reutlingen University. The project's aim was to give non-native English speakers a chance to improve their English skills while learning about acting and putting on a show. Since I've done a little bit of acting in the past, I offered to help. They needed some native speakers to help with pronunciation. Well as it turned out, I played one of the leading roles (MacBeth) in the show. It was really a fun experience and it's nice to know that I can still memorize lines and remember them in front of an audience if I have to. We performed it this week on Monday (the other Valpo students' last night in Germany) and again on Thursday.

Melanie Dark (graduated from Valpo last year and is currently working as intern in the Reutlingen International Office) and I are singing with the Reutlinger Liederkranz this Sunday in their Christmas concert. I think I might have mentioned this group in one of my earlier posts. It's basically a singing club. Mel and I are probably 30 years younger than the average in the group. It's been really fun learning some traditional German Christmas tunes. And old people are always fun to hang out with. Another perk is that the concert is going to be in the Marienkirche which is like 600 years old. It's fabulous.

I'm currently looking forward to a visit from my family. They are flying into Paris on Saturday, doing the tourist thing there and then taking the train to Reutlingen. Then we're going to visit Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna. I think on the itinerary is La Boheme in Munich and Beethoven's 9th Symphony in Vienna. It's okay, you can be jealous. I can't wait to see them all again and visit some beautiful cities with them.

Sorry for keeping you hanging for so long. I'll try to update with news from the family trip soon after we return. That's all for now I hope you had fun following all of those links.