Sunday, August 17, 2008

I'm a newbie.


I'm really coming it at half-time on this friend blog. I've been reading through all the posts today. Pretty great stuff. Hopefully I can keep you guys up to date on my travels/experiences while over in the land of chocolate with a utilitarian sense of style.

Quick run-down of the experience thus far (apologies if my grammar and syntax are way off, I've been immersed in German for the past few weeks):

1. Started with a conference in DC. Met numerous officials from the State Department, their German equivalents, and senator Richard Lugar; one of the main supporters of this fellowship. Interesting conference and with some solid Q and A sessions. Unfortunately R. Lugar was the final speaker after a 5 hour session of talks and spoke for a solid 45 minutes. The speech was an archipelago of ideas. He somehow went from the an explanation on how he founded this fellowship with G. Bush senior to a discussion on his visits to a creek named in his family's honor in northern Indiana. Guy must be a terror during filibusters.

Other participants in the program are very interesting. There is a solid sampling of almost every industry and it's intriguing to see what other young people are doing out there. Example: my room-mate for the conference was a guy named Chris. He's a chef and has been working in G. Ramsay's restaurant in Manhattan for the past year. His placement is in Stuttgart with a German family inn and restaurant. One of his suitcases was filled with his cooking knives and needless to say he was worried it would raise some pulses at airport security.

I've been in my language school placement in the town of Radolfzell for the past two weeks. It's situated right next to the lake of Constance, or 'Bodensee' in German. Staying with a host family, the Wegglers. They treat me as if I am their adopted American son, it's great. During my first day with the family the father Wolfgang took me on a 40 km bike ride of the surrounding area. Before the ride he called himself 'the old rabbit' and proceeded to high-five his wife about five times while giggling uncontrollably. He is a true character. Family also took me on a hiking trip to the top of Feldberg, the highest peak in Baden-Württenburg. I ate lots of wild blue-berries, delicious.

Yesterday I went to a family gathering in the black-forest town of St. Märgen. It was in the house where my host mother Irmgard grew up. The house is a former cloister and right in the center of the town. Apparently her relatives bought the home when it was put up for sale in the early 1900's and has been in the family since. Ate plenty of good food and met some great people. My biggest fear was a discussion of US politics and fortunately the subject wasn't even raised.

Time to fix my bike. I bought an old junker from a man under a bridge (he was not a troll). The crank-shaft melted after about a week and I have since been riding the host-daughter's old bike. The host family call the bike "Pinky". I need to reverse this bad bike karma.

No time for pictures in this post, but do check out my web album:

- Paul


robert said...

welcome paul! Are the blueberries blue throughout? My swedish friend was outraged that blueberries in the states are yellowish on the inside...

KDHL said...

Your pictures are so quaint and pretty! Are you actually living in a Hans Christian Anderson story? I think you might be.