I know I am about a week late with this. I wanted to start making a list of my favorite things I come across at the end of each month; anything from food to art supplies! A lot of people vlog about it instead of blog their monthly favorite things, but I’m a wee bit camera shy, so I’d prefer to do it this way instead. :)
Grove Square Hot Cocoa for Keurig
A cup of this hot cocoa and a banana has been my breakfast for the past while! The KEURIG machine is great…it requires only water and one of these little cups and the best part is: NO MESS! The water heats up quickly with the press of a button. When it’s heated up, a little light will blink next to a button with a cup on it. Press this, and your cup will be ready as soon as it’s finished pouring! I add a little milk and voila. Love it! Not sure how many calories are in a little pack, but since all I generally drink is water, I am not too terribly worried about it.
Mega Monster Energy
Now I really don’t drink energy drinks as often because they tend to make me shaky, but as a college student, there are some nights that you get little to no sleep and you need a little kick! Mike and I went to the Tool concert in about 3 hours from where we live in January and I decided to grab two of these at the gas station for the whole event, since we’d have to drive back home that night and go to class the next morning. o.O I made sure to eat enough food along with the drink, otherwise it would have made me very shaky. It got me through the whole drive to keep Mike awake and the second one kept me through the next day in school.
I’ve had Red Bull before, but it doesn’t make me feel good for some reason. ESPECIALLY when I haven’t had enough to eat! Monster is the perfect dose of kick and I prefer the taste over Red Bull!
House of Night Series
The House of Night series is a vampire series targeted at a teen a female teen/young adult audience. When I say vampire, I am not talking Twilight sparkly vampire. The vampires in these books are really like no other vampires you’ve ever read about. They are much different and in my opinion more vampire-like than the Twilight vampires.
They focus on a teenage girl who has been “marked” (chosen to be a vampire) and is sent to go to a vampYre finishing school (they spell “vampire” with a “y” instead). Here the girl encounters many struggles with this new lifestyle, but also the struggles of a teenager, relationships and feelings. I will not say any more, because I am the type of person who prefers to grab a book at random and begin to read without reading the description, because I don’t want to read anything that may ruin the story.
The thing I really like about these books, is that they portray teenagers the way they actually are. The teenagers sound like typical everyday teenagers…they curse and discuss intimacy. (I would not recommend this to anyone who is offended by foul language or sexual references!)
Wreck This Journal with a few things I’ve done so far.
I ordered this book in a set along with two others off of Amazon as a late Christmas gift to myself (yeah I know xD) and I couldn’t be more pleased! I haven’t even done a whole lot yet, because I don’t want to fill up the book so fast! I had posted an earlier entry about “Wreck This Box” which contains “Wreck This Journal”, “Mess” and “This Is Not A Book”, where you can read more about this “journal”. It is perfect for any perfectionist who always feels the need to make everything perfect. (ME!) This book’s instructions are to DESTROY. Well, if it’s telling me to…I guess it’s okay…. ;D
Avery Slash Pocket® Insertable Tab Dividers from Staples
I am an organizing FREAK and really want to get good quality and durable products that I am going to be using on a daily basis and need to keep my documents etc. nice. That particular binder is the best one I’ve EVER had. Because of the material, It won’t get bent or beat up when bouncing around in my backpack and it will keep my documents nice but not be too heavy at the same time. The variety of colors makes it easy to color-coordinate.
The Slash Pockets are great for handouts that I receive in class, when I don’t have a hole punch handy. It’s also nice to be able to stash my artwork and other various things that I don’t want to punch holes in! Each folder has pockets on both sides, so each subject can have two pockets to store in. They also come with plenty of labels to insert into the tabs, as opposed to writing on the tabs, so that you can re-use the Dividers for something else later.
The pouch is great for pens and other random little items that you’d like to keep in one place. There are several slots on the back side to store index cards…basically anything flat. The front has a netted pocket (I am using it for paper clips) and then an inner, bigger pocket with lining in the middle, which separates the bigger pocket into two parts, if that makes sense. (Very hard to describe without being able to show it! Sorry!)
BEAUTY AND HYGIENE
Japanese Cherry Blossom collection from Bath and Body Works
I got these for Christmas and MAN! It smells SO GOOD! I have been using them on a daily basis and I would highly recommend them! The mini spray and the mini body wash were part of a set with another mini lotion, which I keep in my backpack as a hand lotion. :)
Clearasil Rapid Action Pads
I got these at Target for about 8 bucks…sounds a little pricey, but I use these at least every other day and I bought this in AUGUST. The pads are sliver-thin and extremely effective! I am not very prone to acne, but every time I experience it a bit or feel that my skin is getting oily and bumpy, these pads get rid of it. I tried the Rapid Action Face Wash, but I really like the pads the best. However, it is important to use a face cream after using these, since they contain alcohol and really dry out your skin! (Warning: They’re strong! Definitely avoid contact in eye area.) Also, these pads are perfect for taking hair dye off of skin. I have tried so many different methods, but these work the absolute best; I promise you!!
Oral-B Professional Care SmartSeries 4000 Electric Toothbrush
I used an electric toothbrush when I was younger, but as I got older, I really hated using them. This one has four different brushing modes (Daily Clean, Sensitive, Whitening and DeepClean) that are specific to what you want to get out of brushing. The brush, as all others, will do the work for you and more. You can tell it what to do by pressing the arrow button. It came with two different brush heads: the FlossAction brush (right) and the ProWhite brush (left). The FlossAction brush gives me the feel that I’ve flossed when I’m done and the ProWhite brush really helps the whitening. Since I can no longer afford expensive WhiteStrips, I take a Q-Tip (I have recently found this out) and dunk it in Hydrogen Peroxide. I rub it over my teeth and leave it there for 30 seconds before I begin brushing. I do this once a day, so I tend to use the ProWhite brush in the morning and the FlossAction in the evening. It works really well and I am already seeing fabulous results! I am hoping to keep my goal of never getting a cavity!
Snark Instrument Tuner
This little guy is great! It can be used for any instrument (here I am tuning a violin) and will clip onto it without slipping off. Very easy to use, GREAT design and very accurate! Highly recommended for any musician.
Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse
I actually got this for Mike for Christmas. I can see why he loves it so much. You keep in it’s flat state when not in use to save the battery (turned off) and to switch it on you just curve it! There is a strong magnetic piece in the bottom of the mouse in one area to hold the Nano Transceiver piece that you plug into the computer, so it won’t get lost. (And trust me, if it were to somehow come off in the bag, it would re-attach itself quickly…that’s how strong the magnet is.) The technology allows it to work on any surface, be it carpet or a marble counter. You only need to flick your finger on the middle piece to scroll up and down. I am half tempted to buy one for myself! Comfortable and amazing technology!
Faber Castell Perfection Eraser 7056, Master’s Touch Blending Stub (3/8)
and the KUM Elipse Pencil Sharpener
I bought all three of these at Hobby Lobby, mainly for my Art class. I enjoy sketching and these will be extremely handy! I am so glad I found the eraser…I had one in Germany. It allows very detailed work.
The blending stubs keep you from having to smear around with your finger!
A girl in my class had this sharpener, which worked wonders in comparison to my old one or the one on the wall of the art room. It is very sharp and handy to carry around! Just be sure to empty it on a regular basis or it will begin to get clogged.
Zig Millenium Pens (Sorry about the blur!!)
I’ve had these for a while, but decided I’d post it here anyway, since I haven’t before and I have found them so useful! I bought them together in a pack at Hobby Lobby around Christmas 2010 when making Christmas Cards with comics on the front. I always hated only having one pen thickness and never being able to draw a smaller, more detailed and precise line. These pens make that possible! And they’ve lasted me quite a while…I use them all the time! And they don’t bleed. :D
Festivals: Every time I see a post about which bands are playing at Summer Breeze, it makes me want to cry. The music festivals in Germany are about 3 days long. (Some across Europe are even longer, like Metal Camp, which is 7 days long) You bring your camping gear, a lot of beer, canned food and a good mood. Out of all of my “vacations” (the vacations I have taken in my life have pretty much always included visiting family), Summer Breeze Festival has belonged to my favorites. I miss the way everyone was there for the same reason: the music and good times. It didn’t matter if you knew anyone or not. You rarely ever saw fighting and if there was any at all, it would be forgotten a few hours later at the latest. xD Here in the States I don’t know of any festivals that last longer than a day or that don’t require getting a plane ticket. = /
The S-Bahn: I have no idea why I miss those trains. The tickets are overpriced, if you are riding in town you are lucky to find a seat on the train and Oktoberfest or any other “Fest” is (or at least used to be) a nightmare on those trains. But they were so practical when you wanted to go out for a drink or when you were tired. You didn’t have to worry about parking, car trouble, getting gas (even though that is replaced with the need to buy tickets) and it didn’t require much effort on your part. I miss the sound of the trains starting (as odd as that sounds!!) and the driver’s announcements over the intercom. And I also miss that stupid dark and light blue boxy pattern on the seats, which weren’t too terribly comfortable.
Small Shops and Strip Malls: There is just something much more welcoming about a small shop with brick walls in a strip mall as opposed to a huge building like Walmart or the mall. I liked being able to walk around Marienplatz on the cobblestone with the fountains and the chimes and the people sitting out drinking coffee. Then going into little shops along the “street” that was off limits to vehicles.
My SCOOTER!: I live in a smaller town, so you have more cars than pedestrians. And you most certainly don’t have scooters around. I haven’t seen a single one. My scooter was my transportation. He was my buddy. My friend. I even named him Gismo. =( (I can’t find a picture at the moment, but I will update as soon as I find one!)
Safety: I don’t know what it is, but ever since I moved back to the States, I’ve felt the need to keep my mouth shut, my doors locked and to stay inside late in the evening. In Germany, I would bike around at midnight or even walk and not have to worry about any creepers jumping out of the bushes. Plus, if someone was pushing my buttons, I could give them a piece of my mind without having the fear of possibly getting stabbed in the chest or shot.
Heathcare. Honestly, I think just that word says it all, if you are at all familiar with European Heathcare.
Skiing!: It was SO much cheaper to go skiing in Germany than it is here! It was 28 Euros for a day pass at Ski-Paradies Sudelfeld, which is about 36 bucks. Not bad! (This includes the lift btw…not sure how it works here in the states, but your day pass is basically a lift ticket in Germany)
The Clothing: I can’t find anything similar to http://www.emp.de/ or http://www.queen-of-darkness.com/ except hot topic…but it’s really not the same. If anyone knows of anything at ALL, PLEASE let me know!! I looked a bit on Amazon but I didn’t find much.
The Food!: Man I would give anything for a bowl of Knödelsuppe and then a big plate of Kasspatzen with a side of Gurkensalat, Kartoffelsalat and Wurstsalat. That is way too much food but I’d eat it all!!
Beer: If anyone in Germany would be willing to send me a few bottles of Augustiner Hell and a few bottles of Tegernseer Hell, I would love you forever.
Nougat Bits: How can they NOT have this in the States?!
Pfanner Green Tea: I haven’t been able to find anything like this. I LOVE IT.
I don’t like my art class. At all. It is a required class for Digital Media Arts and Design and I can tell you right now that I am not learning anything relevant to my major.
Our professor studied architecture quite while back and never learned to use AutoCAD (the program now used for architecture) and has refused to. So basically, he isn’t a computer person at all. Except the few people taking the class for fun, the entire class is made up of only Digital Media Arts and Design students; in other words: graphic designers, who use the computer.
Our class is two hours long twice a week and he reads us the whole book that we got for the class. He talks a lot, but nearly everything is coming straight from the book. Because of this it’s really difficult to even pay attention.
There is no room for creativity in that class at all. At the beginning of the semester, he told us he wants us all to buy a sketch book for the class and use it to write down assignments, take notes, draw sketches etc. I am a terrible perfectionist and when it comes to writing, the paper must be lined. Why can’t I use lined paper to write down my assignments and put it in the binder I use for my classes and then draw my sketches in the sketch book?! Also, he asked us this before anyone got their grants. So he is expecting us to spend 10 bucks + on a sketchbook we will waste for a single class. We are college students. I don’t believe we should be told EXACTLY how to do everything, what pencils to use, what brand of paint. My goodness.
When he has us write down our assignments, he goes completely overboard. One assignment takes up a full page in my notebook. It’s explained in so much detail, to narrow the whole thing down so that I’d do it right, I might take up just the first few lines in my notebook. Basically:
"You can use pencil, crayon, pen, colored pencil (but don’t use this and that brand because I find that the lead breaks off when you sharpen the pencils. They also aren’t a very high quality and don’t quite do what they are supposed to. As far as crayons go, I would prefer you to use Crayola over Rose Art because Crayola has less wax then Rose Art and they tend to melt…………)"
Congratulations. You have turned what should have been a short sentence into an essay. Make sure to pick up your gold star before you leave. >.<
The projects also really limit our creativity, at least the ones so far. He assigned us recently to make a sculpture along the lines of Louise Nevelson, who my professor loves, which makes sense, since her art is basically architecture. I personally am not the biggest fan of her work, so I wasn’t looking forward to the project much anyway. But we weren’t allowed to create anything on the computer. We had to take a bunch of junk we found laying around, attach it together and spray paint it black, gray or white. The art class is also mainly 2D design based and he was assigning a 3D design project. o.O
Our next assignment is to take a bunch of white paper and a pencil, put the white paper on a textured surface and rub with the pencil in order to create a design on the paper. Then we are supposed to look for things in the pencil rubbings, cut them out and create a collage. >.< How is this helping me AT ALL towards my graphic design degree? I might have enjoyed this in Kindergarten, but certainly not in college. It’s so frustrating and I am tempted to skip out on this project completely. He will tell us to have fun and be creative, but just don’t do this, that, the other thing and whatever else you’d like to do to make the project more to your liking. But have fun!!
I don’t understand why one must be so single-minded, ESPECIALLY when it comes to art. I had an art teacher last semester who said on the first day:
"I want you to take what I teach you in this class and apply it to YOUR need for it. I don’t care if you paint, draw or use the computer as long as I see elements of what I’ve taught you and I can see you understand it."
Awesome! So I did nearly all my projects in Photoshop, learned a TON about the program and learned the principles of what was being taught as well! And she even asked questions about the program, because she was eager to learn, even though she was a painter. I thought it was awesome. I really learned a lot. But the art class I am taking now doesn’t allow me to do anything I am at the college for. Anything foreign to my professor is discouraged. Wouldn’t it be more interesting to see so many different aspects of one type of design? It would make the class so much more fun, even for our professor to see people come up with things that he might not have even encountered or considered before.
I have had a lot of nightmares in my life, but the one I just had topped them all. It was the worst one I have ever had in my life. All of my friends in the US were all at one location: the mall. We were eating and joking around - having a good time. Then the fire alarm went off. We thought it was a drill, since nobody was causing any commotion yet, but then we heard the gunshots. There were people coming around every corner with guns, shooting at everyone they saw. My group managed to flee to the parking lot, where we encountered even more shooters. People were dropping left and right and I couldn’t find my fiancee anywhere. We all escaped to the train station and jumped on a train that would get us to safety. There, I finally found my fiancee, and the two of us sat up front with the driver, so that we could come up with a plan. Every time we passed through a station, everyone had to duck down, because there were people there waiting to kill us. After a while, when we didn’t hear anyone speak in the back, we opened up the door leading to the back compartment, and everyone was gone. They were either dead or missing completely. I remember trying to call my parents and the only person I was able to reach overseas was my brother. I told him quickly what was happening and told him and my Mom that I loved them very much and I loved Dad. We pulled into the next station and there they were. I whispered to my mother that we were surrounded, said my last goodbye and hung up. That’s when they broke in and the very first thing they did was grab my fiancee by the shirt and blow out his brain. Then I woke up. Bawling like a baby. Because everything in that dream felt so terribly real, that it felt like it had happened.
And you know what is really scary? You read about things like the Haditha case, where a US marine killed 24 Iraqi civilians in 2005 and will face no jail time. THINGS LIKE THAT HAPPEN EVERY SINGLE DAY. And it is completely ignored! It makes me SICK! If I woke up screaming and crying from a DREAM like that, then I can’t even imagine how devastated others are right now at this moment who have just lost an innocent loved one.
In 2011, our taxes funded about $ 1 TRILLION spent & approved war-spending.
A UN issued report dated Sept 20, 2006 stating that Iraqi civilian casualties have been significantly under-reported. Casualties are reported at 50,000 to over 100,000, but may be much higher. Some informed estimates place Iraqi civilian casualties at over 600,000.
I don’t want to bash the troops what so ever. I have friends and family members who are and were in the military who are and were just trying to keep us safe. But why on EARTH would we send them all out into an unnecessary war? Yes, I understand that after the 9/11 attacks, our country was in danger, but what good is it doing now?! What ever happened to turn the other cheek? I am not trying to preach a sermon here. I am not trying to get all religious here and say what “the right thing to do” is. And I am not trying to say that I have a huge grasp on politics. But have you ever hit someone back in grade school after they hit you? What did that person do? They hit you again. And this continued until either someone broke you apart, or one of you stops in defeat. War is no different!!
And people talk about pride…”We need to win our pride back!!” Bullshit. Who cares about pride?! Why can’t a country decide to be SMART and the “bigger person” and say “We will not stoop down to this country’s level!” And by “country” you are actually addressing a small fraction of people from that country, who are a few bricks short of a load. The majority of people you are going to put to harm are all innocent and unarmed and want nothing more but to live their lives normally. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be attacked by people from another country speaking a foreign language, when I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong! And I am sure the majority of you reading this feel the same way. Then why do we have to do this to others?! This country desperately needs to sort out it’s priorities and maybe ask the question “Hmm..what is it that WE are doing wrong?” instead of blaming it on everyone else and their dog.
I was at home the other night in the middle of my dinner when the phone rang.
AT&T:Hello, this is AT&T.
ME:Is this AT&T.
AT&T:Yes, this is AT&T ...
ME:This is AT&T.
AT&T:Yes, this is AT&T ...
ME:Is this AT&T.?
AT&T:Yes! This is AT&T, may I speak to Mr. Byron, please?
ME:May I ask who is calling?
AT&T:This is AT&T.
ME:OK, hold on.
At this point I put the phone down for a solid 5 minutes thinking that, surely, this person would have hung up the phone. I ate my salad. Much to my surprise, when I picked up the receiver, they were still waiting.
AT&T:Is this Mr. Byron?
ME:May I ask who is calling, please?
AT&T:Yes, this is AT&T ...
ME:This is AT&T?
AT&T:Yes, this is AT&T ...
ME:The phone company.
ME:I thought you said this was AT&T.
AT&T:Yes, sir, we are a phone company.
ME:I already have a phone.
AT&T:We aren't selling phones today, Mr. Byron. We would like to offer you 10 cents a minute, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
ME:Now, that's 10 cents a minute, 24 hours a day?
AT&T:(getting a little excited at this point by my interest) Yes, sir, that's right! 24 hours a day!
ME:7 days a week.?
ME:365 days a year.?
ME:I am definitely interested in that! Wow!!! That's amazing!
AT&T:We think so!
ME:That's quite a sum of money!
AT&T:Yes, sir, it's amazing how it adds up.
ME:OK, so will you send me checks weekly, monthly or just one big one at the end of the year for the full $52,560; and if you send an annual check, can I get a cash advance?
ME:You know, the 10 cents a minute.
AT&T:What are you talking about?
ME:You said you'd give me 10 cents a minute, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That comes to $144 per day, $1008 per week and $52,560 per year. I'm just interested in knowing how you will be making payment.
AT&T:Oh, no, sir. I didn't mean we'd be paying you. You pay us 10 cents a minute.
ME:Wait a minute, how do you figure that by saying that you'll give me 10 cents a minute, that I'll give YOU 10 cents a minute? Is this some kind of subliminal telemarketing scheme? I've read about things like this in the Enquirer, you know.
AT&T:No, sir, we are offering 10 cents a minute for
ME:THERE YOU GO AGAIN! Can I speak to a supervisor please?
AT&T:Sir, I don't think that is necessary.
ME:I insist on speaking to a supervisor!
AT&T:Yes, Mr. Byron. Please hold.
At this point, I begin trying to finish my dinner.
SUPERVISOR:I understand you are not quite understanding our 10 cents a minute program.
ME:Is This A T &T?
SUPERVISOR:Yes, sir, it sure is.
ME:(I had to swallow before I choked on my food. It was all I could do to suppress my laughter and I had to be Careful not to produce a snort.) No, actually, I was just waiting for someone to
get back to me so that I could sign up for the plan.
SUPERVISOR:Ok, no problem, I'll transfer you back to the person who was helping you.
I was on hold once again and managed a few more mouthfuls. I need to end this conversation. Suddenly, there was an aggravated but polite voice at the other end of the phone.
AT&T:Hello, Mr. Byron, I understand that you are interested in signing up for our plan.?
ME:No, but I was wondering - do you have that "Friends and Family"
thing because I'm an only child and I'd really like to have a little brother...
When I first moved here, I only had a brief idea about how high school and college work. They were completely different systems than I was used to…it was all Greek to me. I’d never had a locker, the same classes every day or the ability to drive to school in my own car and have a parking space. After looking into college and what I wanted to major in, I didn’t even know what a credit hour was. I really had no clue.
I spent the first several months in the US talking to people at the school’s financial aid office, which was a complete nightmare. Since my parents were overseas and not supporting me financially, I had to apply for financial aid in order to pay for my books and tuition. Because of all of these “special circumstances”, I had to have someone at the Financial Aid office actually fill out my FAFSA (The Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for me, in order to get any financial aid in the first place, since none of my given information was being accepted. I believe the FAFSA didn’t even give me the option to list a foreign country as a place I’d previously lived.
I spent the longest time doing “research” and broadening my knowledge about college and which grants and scholarships I’d be eligible for.
I have now started my third semester in college, and am in the DMAD (Digital Media Arts and Design) program. Although the classes are VERY demanding and time consuming, I absolutely love the program - the classes have taught me so much and our main instructor is just awesome. This is just a general idea of what a weekday in my life as a college student looks like:
8:45 AM Alarm goes off, usually playing Nirvana or Sublime. I press the snooze button.
8:54 AM Alarm reminds me again to get up. I press the snooze button.
9:03 AM ”I’ll just press snooze one more time…” Z…z…z…
9:12 AM "I’ll get up in fifteen seconds. one…two…three…four…five….six…seven…eight…nine…ten…eleven…twelve…thirteen…fourteen…fifteen…fifteen…fifteen…fifteen…"
9:15 - 9:40 AM I roll out of bed and creep to the bathroom, get dressed and ready for the day. I try to force down a banana and finish packing up my backpack.
9:40 - 9:45 AM "WHERE are my F***ING KEYS?!"
9:45 - 9:55 AM I drive to school and chat with Mike…usually about the drivers who have apparently gotten their license out of a gumball machine at the mall.
10:00 - 4:20 AM/PM Sitting in class, (minus the lunch break in between the first and second class, which I spend at home with Mike watching South Park) usually wishing I hadn’t put in contacts, since I would spend the majority of the day staring at a computer screen. Luckily, most all of the time, the classes I take require less verbal and more physical participation, which means I can listen while drifting off into my world of imagination and creativity and not have to worry about getting in trouble for it. I remember the times when doodling or drawing in class as an absolute no. Now, it is encouraged, as long as it is along the lines of what is being taught and discussed.
On Mondays and Wednesdays I only have one two hour class from 10 AM to noon, so afterwards I use that time to do some homework or skype with friends or family overseas when I can.
4:30 - 6:30 PM ”Free Time”. This doesn’t mean I can do whatever the hell I want. It means I can choose freely in what order I want to do what. It can be anything from homework (which it most always is) to running errands. On occasion, I will spend time with a friend, but that is fairly rare during the semester. Unless on vacation, in most all cases this time is spent doing homework, since we have so much of it. When I have several projects at the same time, I usually have just enough time to use the bathroom in between. Sleeping is kept to a minimum and eating meals usually takes place while I’m working. There are some days that I spend around 6 hours or more on homework, because I will not allow myself to do “the bare minimum.” If I am not happy with a project, I won’t stop working until I am certain I will get an A.
6:30 - 7:30 PM Either go out to grab dinner with Mike and his family or eat dinner at the house. Sometimes even eat dinner while I’m working, as I mentioned before.
7:30 - ??? PM/AM I take this time to continue my homework or other side projects. As you can tell, I am not at ALL a morning person, so this time of day is actually when I work best. My mind is most active and I like the peace and quiet at night. If I happen to have finished everything I need to get done for the day, Mike and I watch a movie together or I curl up and read a book before bedtime.
On Weekends, often times our instructors give us big assignments, so I spend the time I have all day to work on a project in one sitting. When I am really on a roll, I have a hard time quitting what I am doing. I just want to keep working until I’m done. So if I need to sit down for 8 or more hours at a time, the weekend is really good for that. When I can, I do like to get out a little bit and see some friends or go to Mike’s band practice with him. I also like to spend my weekends getting caught up on the sleep I lost in the past week from being up until all hours of the night or pulling all-nighters doing homework.
I’ve found that time in college can be a great mixture of things:
It can be a fresh start: Generally, you won’t know anyone at all when going to college, so you will have a completely clean slate. Nobody will know that you’re the one who passed out in gym class or that you were once a band geek with braces. It will be an opportunity to meet new people and start from scratch. You will also be able to find new groups of people, who share your interests and goals; people you can really relate to and who can also really relate to you.
It can be a great and important experience: You will finally be able to figure out which direction you want to go and who you really are. You will be able to express yourself in many ways you weren’t able to before. If you are staying in a dorm at a four year college, you will often times encounter things you never have before, since you’ve (in most cases) been dependent on other people all your life, so you will learn what amount of detergent you need for a load of laundry, not to put aluminum foil in the microwave and why your parents were so anal about you not staying up until all hours of the night.
It can be a challenge: With all this new freedom, you are now responsible to discipline yourself. You need to know for yourself if it’s okay to stay up until 3 AM or if you can afford to go to that big party instead of putting off studying or homework. It’s a time of trial and error. Some people are better prepared from previous experiences and some people are just learning.
From my experience: College is not a big party. It is not like it is in those cheesy American teen movies about parties, relationships, sororities and fraternities. College is some serious business. That of course doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun or go to a party once in a while. But if you came to college to Party, good luck finding a job. In all seriousness. If you really want a degree and good grades and perhaps even to be on honor roll, you are going to be sitting at your desk on your butt studying and doing homework the majority of your time spent in college. And trust me, it pays off and it feels really good to see your high GPA after all that hard work.
College has also really helped me learn that when I have my mind set to something, I am capable of much more than I was aware of. I am a much happier person than I was before I started college, because I have found something I am really good at. Taking classes that I enjoy and have talent in really give me hope and let me shine in a way that I wasn’t able to while taking classes I hated back in “high school”.
I am sure that my experiences are much different from yours. This is only my perspective. How is/was your college experience? What did you love, what did you hate? If you aren’t in college anymore, is there anything you miss or don’t miss so much? What was/were the most important lessons your learned while in college? Feel free to comment. :)
We all have them. Here are mine…it actually feels good to put them in “writing”:
The House of Night Series. A girly vampire series (although not at all like Twilight) and good example of what my cousin’s husband would call “girl porn”.
Chocolate. I love it; my hips don’t.
Cheese. OMG. I LOVE cheese. Especially straight out of the shredded cheese package. Or just a big block of mozzarella.
Cheetos. Once the bag is open, it’s only a short matter of time before it’s completely empty, regardless of the bag’s size.
Cigarettes. I know. They’re terrible. They’re going to kill me. They’re destroying my lungs. I’ve heard it a gazillion times and guess what? I’m still doing it and I will quit when I decide to.
Singing to myself in front of the mirror when I am getting ready for the day. There is just something about singing along to my favorite tunes while I’m doing my hair that puts me in a good mood…but if anyone hears me, I will crawl under a rock and die from embarrassment.
Wearing boxers and flannel pants when I’m at home. As soon as I come home, it is out of the jeans and into the flannels. I hate sitting on the bed with my laptop and have the it scrape against my belt. Besides, flannel pants are just plain awesome. Period. I probably have about 10 pairs by now, and that’s not counting my fiance’s pairs. (We share them :3)
Staying up WAAAYYY past my bedtime. (Feel free to look at the exact time this was posted :/) There is something awesome about the silence of everyone around you being asleep.
Sleeping in WAAAAYY too late. (Comes along with the night owl thing.) When you’re up too late, you sleep too late. Go figure.
Billy Talent. The fact that I could find that…umm…interesting voice so awesome is beyond me.
Dubstep. Okay fine! So I like a couple songs! Sue me!
Facebook. Especially since I got the iPod touch app. I can’t leave it alone!!
Teen Mom. Cheesy teenie-bopper drama. I can’t get enough of it, especially in combination with the flannels and one of my guilty food pleasures. Couldn’t tell you why and this one is by far the hardest to admit.
Buying Journals. I love the crap out of journals. If I had the money, I would buy every journal available. Don’t even take me into the notebook section of Staples, or I’ll end up broke. Same goes for pens or any other writing utensils. If you were to ever need a gift idea for me, just get me a pad of paper and a pen and I will love you forever. xD
Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja. I have kept away from them for enough time now, that I am not having cravings to play, but if I start either one of those games, quitting is not going to happen unless I need the restroom, food or a drink. (And usually afterward I end up just going back to playing the game anyway.)
Harry Potter. When the movies started coming out, I was so obsessed that I used a chopstick for a wand and had a whole collection of newspaper snippets, magazine articles and pictures all about Harry Potter. I also made a list of all of the spells and memorized them. >.<
Now before I begin, I will make one thing very clear. This is just MY opinion, and my opinion isn’t everything. So you can love this post or hate this post; my intention is not to criticize anyone’s preferences or attack anyone in any way. But this has been bothering me for years now, and I feel the need to express MY feelings.
Before my family moved to Germany, my brother and I were all about the Disney channel. When I was very little, I adored shows like Welcome to Pooh Corner. Later on, I enjoyed watching So Weird and Jett Jackson and also some of the Disney Channel original movies, such as Brink. I remember watching these shows every afternoon after school with a little plastic cup full of raisins and goldfish crackers. :)
In Germany, the Disney channel really didn’t exist. I think there was Nickelodeon, but it was very different and shared with another channel, if that makes sense, so it switched to something different at around 8 PM. Anyway, when we came back to the states to visit, I couldn’t believe what had happened to the Disney Channel. The Suite Life of Zack and Cody? Hannah Montana? REALLY?
I am a weird person in general when it comes to television shows. I am reeeally picky about sitcoms. I don’t like the fact that there has to be a laughing audience in the background, that is basically encouraging you to laugh. I mean if the audience thinks it’s funny, you probably should too, or something might just be wrong with you. I am not saying at all that I don’t like sitcoms. I love That 70’s Show, Friends etc., but the laughing audience has always bothered me. When you’re a child, you laugh at what adults find funny, even when you have no idea why they are laughing. You laugh to laugh along. No wonder kids get such a kick out of Zack and Cody and Hanna Montana. They all have the laughing sitcom audiences in the background!
These shows also seem to be directed at preteens as opposed to children and adults. I mean, look at Aladdin! I find that movie more funny now than I did when I was little. And when I see Hannah Montana, I can’t sit still long enough to listen to a full conversation because I just don’t find the jokes funny. In my opinion, Disney used to be about family. My parents enjoyed watching some of the Disney shows and movies with me and my brother almost as much as we did. Today, I have no idea how parents can stand having the Disney channel running in their house at all.
And one must also keep in mind, that little children are watching these preteen shows and finding themselves little boyfriends and girlfriends in first grade. Because if Hannah Montana has a boyfriend or is kissing a boy, it is of course okay for the child watching it to do the same thing. How are the children supposed to know any better if these are the people they are looking up to? (Cooties apparently don’t exist anymore…)
Family is not what Disney seems to be about anymore. As my Survey of Mass Media professor likes to say; it’s all about the MONEY. And that’s it! So what would make a lot of money nowadays… hmmm… how about DRAMA! And maybe a bunch of really terrible Disney movie sequels such as The Lion King LIII. Classics are being destroyed and children’s minds are being filled with bad ideas and garbage on a daily basis. At this point, I would rather spend money on seasons of shows for my future children to watch than even have cable in the first place. Why would I want my children to look up to a preteen or a teenager going through preteen and teenage issues at such a young age? In my mind, that is completely inappropriate.
Which brings me to a further point: back in the “old” Disney times, you didn’t have posters of the Disney actors and actresses all over your walls. And for the most part, they didn’t have acting, singing, dancing, designer etc. careers all at the same time to see just how much money they could make. Does anyone even know what happened to Cara DeLizia from So Weird? I sure as hell never saw her face all over merchandise at Walmart and Target. It’s probably because she doesn’t need all that fame to act well in a good show.
I find it sad, that all of the harmless shows I grew up with have all disappeared and been replaced with the shows you see on Disney today. If you are a teenager and like these shows, that’s cool. You have at least developed the decency to know what is appropriate for your age and what is not. And you have developed your own sense of style, likes and dislikes. But a young child has not. A young child does not possess these abilities yet, and parading all of these so called “roll models” in front of a child on Disney on a daily basis is not going to do their development any bit of good.
For over two weeks now, I have been having terrible trouble sleeping. I am very good at getting my internal clock completely messed up, especially when I know that I need to be up by a certain time. So I’ve basically been having my daytime at night. I go to bed early as hell in the morning on weekends (as a matter of fact, it is now about a quarter to 6 in the morning), wake up mid-afternoon and am up all night. Now that I have school tomorrow, I won’t be able to go to bed until after class, which won’t be until around noon. Lucky for me, I only have 2D design in the morning for two hours.
Even if I had gotten up terribly early (for me) and feel the need to go to bed at a decent hour at night, I end up laying in bed with my mind racing, even though I am exhausted and in desperate need for sleep. I am exhausted now and am going to try my absolute best to sleep for the two and a half hours I have, but I’m not sure how successful I will end up being…we’ll just have to see. Because I know for a fact that I am not going to make it from now until tomorrow evening with no sleep; I need to skip the nap or I will never get my internal clock set straight.
So the computer I use for school just got a virus. :/ I have been spending the last two hours moving all of my documents, pictures and music from my computer to the external hard drive so that I don’t lose everything in case I have to completely reinstall windows. >.
I have no idea how I got this virus, but it is extremely frustrating and I am half tempted to look into getting Norton. I keep so much stuff on my computer…every picture I’ve taken since 2006 would be lost if something happened and I could not stand that.
Hopefully I can get everything fixed. This was definitely NOT the way I was planning on spending my Saturday….
While living in Germany for ten years, I had to adjust to all of the cultural differences between Germany and America. Trust me, there are a lot. I am listing several below, that I have come to learn throughout the past years. It seemed that not a month went by without learning something that I hadn’t known before about the German culture, especially when spending a lot of time with my German friends and families.
Falls ihr das liest, bedanke ich mich VIELMALS für die Unterstützung und Hilfe in den letzten zehn Jahren, obwohl ihr es bestimmt unterhaltsam fandet mir zuzusehen, wie ich das erste mal die Weißwurst MIT Haut gegessen habe und meinen Maß nicht richtig gehalten habe. Und ihr lacht euch bestimmt im Moment auch über meine total schrecklichen Grammatikfähigkeiten den Arsch ab. Aber ohne euch, wären mir bestimmt viel mehr peinliche Sachen passiert. xD
Lifestyle and Behavior
You will never see the elderly wearing shorts, tennis shoes and/or baseball caps. Ever.
In the winter, nearly EVERYONE you see, even men and teenage boys, will be wearing a scarf and have at least one metal thermos of their favorite tea with them everywhere they go.
You will find that German media such as television does not censor anything. If you were watching Jerry Springer in Germany, you would hear it without a single beep. Sexual topics are also much more open in Germany and sexual education is much more common and informative in schools than it is the United States.
Don’t be surprised if a German tells you straight to your face that your shoes are ugly, even if you didn’t ask for their opinion. White lies are practically non-existent. This is not a sign of disrespect, though. Consider it a truthful, honest opinion, no matter how blunt it is and try not to take offense. I know it’s hard. xD
If a German shows they like you and enjoy your company, you can (in nearly all cases) be certain that this person likes you. The automatic American “hi-how-are-you-niceness” is something you will not see in Germany, so if the conversation is good, that is probably a good sign.
"Gleiches Recht für Alle" (Same rules go for everyone) is something you will hear often. This is the main reason I learned German quickly. There were no special exceptions for me, just because I couldn’t speak the language.
Staring in Germany is more okay than it is in the US, where parents teach their children that staring is rude. So don’t be surprised if you are being stared down by the old woman sitting across from you on the train, especially if you have colorful hair or piercings.
Germans wear their wedding bands on their right hands.
That Germans are all dressed in Lederhosen, Dirndl and forest green and brown hunting clothing is completely false. (Most of the time ;D) Germans have a very good sense of style and the fashion scene is rather chic. You rarely ever see anyone over 25 wearing a t-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes. (Sorry, Mom! ;D) As a matter of fact, tennis shoes are very uncommon. In comparison to the US, I find the German style a little more artsy-looking in your average teenager/young adult.
There is no American football in Germany. There is “Fußball” (soccer), which nearly every German obsesses over. Crowds in the streets are also much more common. Whenever Germany wins during a big game (World Cup, European Cup), you will hear people honking, screaming, chanting, whistling and making noise in the streets for at least an hour. People will pile up into cars, sit on the hood and the trunk and hang out the windows, sometimes even driving tractors, holding flags and screaming their favorite soccer songs and chants at the top of their lungs. Either very entertaining or extremely annoying.
I find that Germans don’t get into physical fights as frequently as Americans. The fights tend to be more verbal. (This doesn’t mean that a German won’t kick your ass, especially when politics are involved. You do NOT want to be caught between left- and right-wings in a fight. Trust me.) Beware when debating, fighting verbally or arguing with a German; you’d best be armed with the ability to articulate yourself and the gift of improvisation, or I can tell you right now that you’re doomed. You can also feel more safe to get into a verbal fight without being stabbed or shot at in Germany. But be careful, if insulting someone verbally or with gestures in traffic, you could end up paying a huge fine. And insulting a cop will allow them to legally throw you behind bars.
When speaking to someone older than you, of higher authority or an adult, it is ESSENTIAL that you refer to them as “Sie” (formal version of “you”) instead of “du”. Saying “du” is only okay with someone you either know very well, or who has specifically said that it is okay. Otherwise, it is observed as disrespectful.
Germans have a lot of respect for the elderly, so it is basically expected from you to greet the elderly with a friendly “Guten Tag” (good day), hold doors open for them and let them have your seat on the train.
Ciao is not just Italian. It is frequently used to say “Goodbye” in Germany.
Germans shake hands a lot, even if you’ve met several times. So it is always best to keep eye contact and your hands out of your pockets.
The Public and Transportation
Phone booths and mail boxes are all yellow, except for the Deutsche Telekom phone booths. They’re pink.
Taxis are usually Mercedes Benz’s or BMW’s and are a tan color. They are often seen parked at a train station.
In nearly every German restaurant, especially fast food restaurants in big cities, you will find a “Klofrau”; a woman who cleans the restrooms. It is expected from you to give her a few cents for keeping everything “clean”. Some restrooms in public places such as the train station cost about 50 cents to get into, which is in your favor. Trust me.
You can order beer nearly everywhere, including McDonalds. No, I am not kidding.
Cars are common, but there are definitely not as many in Germany. Most Germans rely on public transportation; the S-Bahn, U-Bahn, Straßenbahn and Bus (trains, subway, buses and street trains) to get from A to B, which are located everywhere. It is very uncommon to live in a town without its own train station. But don’t get caught without a ticket, or you will receive a hefty 50 Euro or more fine from the Bahnpolizei (transportation police). We won’t even get into the prices if you fail to pay the fee on time.
You will find that gas prices are outrageous in Germany. This is meant to encourage people to use the public transportation or carpool, which is better for the environment. German metropolitan areas now require that any vehicle entering the city MUST have a clean air emissions certification sticker on the windshield, or they may not drive, unless the car is considered an antique.
It is true - if you are on the far left lane of the Autobahn, you can basically drive as fast as you want (within reason and when not stated otherwise for rush-hour or weather reasons). But watch out. German drivers on the Autobahn, especially the ones driving the expensive German cars, are really fast and don’t appreciate being slowed down.
If you Jaywalk in Germany, you can expect to be ticketed if the police are around, or smacked by an elderly German woman’s umbrella or purse.
The German Home
When using the bathroom in a German home, sometimes you will find a shower and a sink, but no toilet. The toilet is in a completely separate room; sometimes with a sink, sometimes without. Bathrooms also almost always include a place to hook up a washer and dryer. I don’t believe I have ever seen a laundromat in Germany.
You will find almost no doorknobs in Germany. Most all of them are handles.
Doors in a German home are always closed. It is a symbol of privacy. If the bathroom door is closed, don’t stand around waiting. Because chances are, it is not in use and you will be waiting there for a long time.
When looking for a new home in Germany, you will find that the kitchen is completely empty; cabinets, stove and all. You have to provide your own cabinets and appliances, which are required to be installed by a professional. Do-it-yourself is not okay.
German homes are made from brick, and therefore have extremely thick walls and good insulation. Nearly all homes have basements.
You will rarely ever find air conditioning in a German home. It is seen as unnecessary and wasteful. (And it’s too cold to really need one in the first place!)
When walking into a German home, you will find everyone’s shoes right next to the front door. A lot of Germans have several extra sets of “house shoes” or slippers for their guests. Always be prepared to remove your shoes when entering a German home unless told otherwise. It would be best to automatically take them off and not ask if you can keep them on.
Food, Mealtime and Eating Out
Germans generally have their warm, bigger meal at lunch. For dinner, there is usually “Brotzeit”, which is made up of fresh bread, cheeses and meats.
If you order pepperoni on your pizza, you won’t find your favorite American pepperoni topping. You will have large, green hot chili peppers covering your pizza. If you want anything close to pepperoni, ask for a salami pizza.
When you ask for a glass of water in a home or at a restaurant, you have to specifically ask for tap water, or you will receive a glass of mineral, fizzy water. The first time I experienced this was on our Lufthansa flight to Germany when we moved there. Asking for free tap water along with a meal in Germany is frowned upon. (Every time I’ve done this in Germany, which has been VERY often, I was looked at like I was crazy. xD)
When you walk into a restaurant in Germany, you can sit wherever you’d like. You don’t have to wait to be seated.
When you are finished with your meal, leave your fork and knife in the 4:20 position. If you aren’t finished and for some reason must put your knife and fork down, cross them on your plate and the waiter or host will know not to take it away.
Unless eating at a “Imbissbude” (food stand), you will rarely ever see paper plates or bowls, even at a cook-out.
The “Weißwurst” is a very popular sausage in Bavaria, often eaten with a glass of “Weißbier” to go along with it. However, there is a strict rule about the Weißwurst: you must lightly cut through the layer of skin and peel it off before eating unless you want to be looked at like a complete idiot.
You will notice that when a German eats Spaghetti, they roll the noodles onto their fork by placing their fork in their spoon.
Generally, all shops and stores are closed at seven or eight PM, Sundays and all Holidays. Unless you want to pay the extra money at a 24 hour gas station (if the town you’re in has one), you’d better get everything you need before closing. You will find that shops and stores are busiest right before a holiday or on the weekend, because everyone is stocking up.
When you go shopping at the grocery store, make sure you have a Euro handy! All shopping carts require a Euro to use. You get it back once you return the cart. Good idea!
Germany is a very “green” country and you have to pay for plastic bags at almost all grocery stores. Germans generally bring shopping bags/baskets/carts with them on a trip to the grocery store.
Tax is included in German prices, so you always know exactly what you have to pay to the cent, which I find extremely practical.
There are plenty of people who work at a store or shop, but don’t expect to be asked by any of them if you need any help finding anything. You have to go to them and ask.
Bookstores in Germany are for buying books only. If you want to drink coffee, go to a coffee shop. If you want to read, go to the Library. Most bookstores in Germany are actually very small and the chances that the book you want is not available at the store, is very likely. Almost all the books I’ve bought at German bookstores have had to be ordered and picked up on a later date.
Drinking and Smoking
Germany is a heavily smoking country and it is not as frowned upon as it is in the States. I remember being able to smoke in restaurants until 2008, when they changed the laws to outdoors only. The smoking age was also 16 until September of 2007, when the age was changed to eighteen, which meant that I was legally allowed to buy cigarettes for only a few months and then had to wait to legally buy them until my eighteenth birthday. You will not find a lot of garbage on the streets in Germany, since, as I said before, Germans are very “green”, but you will see cigarette butts EVERYWHERE. People habitually throw them on the ground.
You will see cigarette vending machines all over Germany. Most all of them require a bank card or identification card with a chip inside, which states that you are eighteen. This is only practical in the sense that the stores aren’t open as frequently as in the United States.
Drinking in public is legal in Germany, so avoiding the public transportation systems late at night during the Oktoberfest might be a good idea, unless you don’t mind excessive rowdiness, loud people, puddles of vomit in public areas, the smell of beer and broken glass.
When you go to a party at a German’s house, no matter what age, you drink beer in a bottle and in some cases, a glass. You will NEVER see the typical American college party red plastic cups.
You can’t turn a cap to open a beer, so don’t even try it. You will need a bottle opener, or, as many Germans do it, a lighter, a robust surface such as a table or in brave cases, a strong pair of pearly whites. I have seen a million more methods, which I will not list here, because the list is too long. xD
When you toast in Germany, you say “Prost!”. Make sure to look the person you are toasting with in the eye. It’s considered bad luck to not do so.
"Vorglühen" is a German term for drinking before going out to drink. When using public transportation to get to a club, bar, concert, soccer game or party, it is normal to have a few beers or other alcohol along with you for the ride. Only in Germany. However, all the alcohl you have with you must be drunk by the time you reach your location, or it has to be thrown away or hidden in the bushes. Also, there are no bathrooms on the train, so if you are about to take a 30 minute train ride, you’d better limit your drinking or have a very strong bladder. I speak from experience.
All bars and other places that serve alcohol except for some clubs, do not require an ID to get into. (Although for many places, you can enter at sixteen.) As long as you look around sixteen or older; sometimes the age doesn’t even matter, especially when accompanied by an adult. Getting drinks underage is much easier in Germany that in the United States.
Police officers wear green and khaki uniforms, which, as you can imagine are highly attractive. O.o (The design is slowly being changed to blue everywhere but Bavaria and Saarland.) They drive around in BMW cars and generally Mercedes-Benz or VW vans in Bavaria, which are the easy recognizable colors of bright green and white. (Like the uniforms, in all of Germany but Bavaria and Saarland, the colors are slowly being changed to bright blue and silver.) The vans are refered to as “Grün-Weißer Partybus” by many Teenagers and young adults. (The green and white party bus).
Undercover police are very common in Germany. At the Frühlingsfest, (a mix between the county fair and Octoberfest, just much smaller) you would see them wearing Dirndl and Lederhosen, walking around, pretending to be enjoying themselves. How do you recognize them? They aren’t drinking and snap their heads in the direction of a fist fight in an instant. When driving around on a daily basis, you recognize the black, fairly pricey German car. (The undercover police in our town were easy to spot, because of the license plate stating that the it’s county was Rosenheim.)
Police officers make security rounds around town on a regular basis. If you look at all suspicious (troublemaker appearance, young smoker, in a loud crowd, drinking etc.), you may be stopped by the police and searched or asked for your identification. If you don’t have a valid ID on you, the police may take you into the station.
If you are smoking underage and look that way, the Police may confiscate your pack of cigarettes and call your parents to tell them how naughty you were. In most cases, a German parent will truthfully tell the police officer that they gave the child the pack of cigarettes and scold them for taking their child’s property. Smoking under eighteen is not allowed in public, but allowed in the home if approved by a parent. However, selling cigarettes to anyone under eighteen is illegal.
You are required to sort your garbage by paper, plastic, remaining, compost and glass. If you fail to do so, you may find all of your garbage bags dumped in front of your door.
Fishing and Hunting is only allowed with a license.
You have to be eighteen to receive a driver’s license in Germany and seventeen for a permit. Parents don’t teach their children to drive, as many do in the United States and Driver’s Ed is not offered in schools. You pay around 2000 Euros for your classes and license. While learning and on the driving test, you are required to drive a stick-shift. Automatics are very seldom in Germany.
There is no right on red in Germany. If you turn right at a red light, you can expect to go for a ride in the Grün-Weißer Partybus.
By the way, just to be absolutely clear: these are of course all stereotypes. As a friend pointed out, of course not ALL Germans walk around in a scarf drinking tea in the winter. ;) What I am referring to in this post, is the big picture! No offense at all intended. :)
Well, one of my resolutions for the year 2012 was to start a blog…so here it is. I haven’t ever blogged before, nor do I have mad writing skills, so please bare with me.
I am not really your typical American Girl. I really never have been. In 2000, my parents decided to move to Germany for my dad’s job, so it was goodbye USA and comfort zone and hello culture shock. I remember shortly after my parents had told me that we were moving to Germany, I looked for a book on Germany in the school library. It was full of pictures of people wearing Dirndl and Lederhosen and spinning on hilltops, like you see on the Sound of Music .
When we moved, I wasn’t even sure if there would even be television. You can imagine what that thought would do to a 9-year-old. When we arrived, I was surprised to find that Germany DID have TV…in German of course and people were just as up to date with the latest music hits as the US was. The first month and a half were spent living with colleagues of my Dad’s and with people from our new Church, while we searched for our new home. Once we found our apartment, we lived with no furniture but a few mattresses and donations from the church for months until the crate with our American furniture arrived. (You can probably imagine the cartwheels I did when I came home from school to my old furniture.)
Because of my Dad’s profession, my brother and I didn’t get to attend any of the international schools for free, so we were put into the German school system. The German school system is, to put it bluntly, bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, you will get an extremely good education in Germany, especially in Bavaria (The “State” we moved to), but you have to keep at it from first grade till finish. If you mess up in third grade, that could mean that you have a low income job for the rest of your life. And that is not an exaggeration. For those of you, who aren’t familiar with the German school system, it is explained in the post directly below this one, (which I would recommend reading right now) so that I don’t bore you to death with information you already know.
I had just finished up third grade in the US with fairly good grades. But since I could not speak a word of German and I’d be going into fourth grade, which, if you read the post about the German school systems, is a crucial year. So my parents decided it would be best to hold me back and have me repeat the third grade. Wonderful. But since I had always been the youngest in my class in the states, there would still be students older than me in my new class. I remember the first day of school as if it had been yesterday. I walked into a classroom full of kids speaking a language I didn’t know, wearing slippers/house shoes, which I found very odd and staring at me. I remember my teacher standing with me in the front of the room, holding my shoulders and talking to the class in gibberish. When I took my seat, everyone stood up and greeted the teacher with a snappy “Gu-ten-Mor-gen-Frau-War-li-mont!”. This was a routine, I was not aware, would follow me until my last year of school in Germany. Luckily, there was a handful of girls in the class happy to show me around, teach me German, introduce me to the culture and generally help me out. Without them, I swear I never would have learned German so quickly! At the end of third grade, I was wearing a borrowed dirndl, which ended up being a gift and playing a part in a play that our class did. I was also in the Orff Schulwerk, an approach to musical education and played xylophone and djimbe, which I enjoyed, especially because of the fact that it didn’t require speech. xD
I ended up in the Hauptschule in fifth grade, even though I had the language down. I am not saying that every Hauptschule is like this, but most end up being the school foreigners and kids with rough home lives attend. So I went through a lot of bullying that year, because of my accent and being American. But I worked hard and at the end of the year was recommended to attend a Gymnasium. Since my parents weren’t familiar with the area, they took the advice of my principal, who recommended a catholic all girl Gymnasium that was 45 minutes from where we lived. Because of moving schools, I was forced to repeat fifth grade. I lasted two years in the Gymnasium. I struggled in math (which has always been my weakest subject), had issues articulating myself in my German essays and had the most difficult time learning Latin in sixth grade in GERMAN. Besides that, there was the fact that I don’t get along with girls very well and was constantly in fights with girls in my class. Needless to say, I ended up going straight to seventh grade in the Realschule. By the time I got to that school, nobody noticed I was American until hearing my accent in English class. I chose the french track because of my heritage. I really wanted to be able to communicate with my Grandmother in her native language. Besides, I found the language beautiful. Unfortunately, this was before the art track was being offered at the school.
I did much better at this school; relationship- and grade-wise. But once I hit eighth grade, a lot of drama in my home started, which caused my school to be neglected. I missed a lot of class and failed several classes, causing me to repeat, for the first time that was actually my fault. So I was in a class with kids between two and three years younger than I was, which was a constant discouragement, which followed me through to tenth grade. In tenth grade, I was diagnosed with depression and was barely making it through school, being in an even worse state than I was in eighth grade. I failed tenth grade and watched all of my classmates receive their diplomas. This was in 2010. I got a part-time job at a clothing store at the mall in our town and was making minimum wage.
I knew I wasn’t happy in Germany and the only further school I had interest in going to was a graphic design school that was 9000 Euros a year (over ten grand) and offered no financial aid to anyone but German citizens. My aunt and uncle had been talking with my Mom and asked if I wanted to come and live with them in New Mexico. Even though my life basically sucked where I was at the time, I still had friends, a band and a relationship that were keeping me there. Not to mention a comfort zone, which I had built up for ten years.
I finally made the decision to leave after looking at all of my educational options. At that point, there was no way in hell I was going back to the Realschule to face another year of failure with little kids laughing at me. So, I packed up my things, booked a flight for 3 weeks from that day and said my goodbyes…and I left. Another part of the reason I decided to move was because I would be forced to quit the constant partying and do something constructive. I would also be able to afford my driver’s license (in Germany it costs 2000 Euros!) and a car AND school with help from financial aid.
The first five months in the States were very difficult. I cut my smoking in half and didn’t drink at all. The partying automatically came to an end, since I had no friends to party with. A few months after I moved here, I grabbed a GED book at the bookstore and started studying. I studied for a total of…maybe a few hours. I found it extremely easy compared to what I had been used to. I made the appointment to take my test and got all of them knocked out in two days. I passed with honors and got to take part in my first cap and gown graduation, which I was absolutely thrilled about!
I started my first semester of college in the Spring of 2011 and met a few new people including my boyfriend and currently fiancee. :) I experienced a happy feeling that I had been lacking for so many years, I had completely forgotten how to feel this way. I got a single B that semester and the rest were all A’s. I got my learner’s permit in the spring and practiced driving throughout the summer. I had sort of learned how to drive a stick with my Mom in Germany, but I hadn’t had much practice and it had been years earlier. My boyfriend and I got engaged in the summer, which seemed quick, but it was what my heart truly wanted. I knew for certain that I had found my soulmate. He is basically me, different gender. In the fall, I started my second semester, got my driver’s license and finally my first car; a red Chevy Cavalier, thanks to my awesome cousin. I passed my second semester with a 4.0 GPA, made honor roll and was accepted into the National Society of Leadership and Success.
I am extremely pleased with how far I have come since I moved. Sure, living here has definitely had it’s ups and downs, but I am certain, that this is where I am currently meant to be. Don’t get me wrong. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss my parents, my brother and my close friends. I haven’t been back to Germany since my move and am constantly asked when I am coming to visit again. But I don’t regret the decision made. If I hadn’t made it, I would not be where I am today, would have never met my fiancee and would definitely not be as motivated and confident as I am now.
So why do I say that I am not a typical American Girl? I am a third culture kid…I don’t feel American and I don’t feel German. I am my own species, if you will. So if you ever speak to me and wonder why I sound like such a martian, this is why. ;)
Thanks for baring with me…I can guarantee this will be my longest post ever. :P
I have been asked so many times by so many people how exactly the German school systems work. I am sure it is a little different in every “Bezirk” (State), but this is how it was for me when I went to school there.
The public state-run schools are free, but charges and fees for books and general materials throughout the year do come up. Going to school from first to at least ninth grade is mandatory and there is no homeschooling in Germany. You generally start out with Kindergarten, which is more like Preschool in the United States. It is not required and you don’t really learn anything.
Then you enter the Grundschule (Primary School), which lasts from 1st to fourth grade. You begin to learn English from first grade all the way until graduation. In first and second grade, you don’t receive grades. In fourth grade, the grades you make will depend on which secondary school you are placed into for fifth grade until you graduate. If you grades aren’t good enough to make it into the higher schools, you can take qualifying exams. If you pass, you’re in, if not, you’re out. That simple.
Secondary education in Germany is split up into three levels. The Hauptschule (secondary general school: prepares you for employment and ends with the Hauptschulabschluss dipoma after ninth or tenth grade, depending on which type of diploma you are on track to getting), the Realschule (intermediate school: more intense and prepares you for either a further school to eventually lead to University or employment and leads to the Mittlere Reife after tenth grade) and the Gymnasium (grammar school: prepares you for University, ending with the Abitur diploma after twelfth or thirteenth grade).
If you end up in the Hauptschule, and your grades are good enough in the first year, you can be placed either in the Realschule or Gymnasium, which requires repeating the fifth grade. You also have the opportunity to take the exams again. If your grades are good in sixth grade, you have one last shot at the Realschule, but no longer the Gymnasium. Most people I know who got the general Hauptschulabschluss ended up working as craftsmen (mechanic, carpenter, brick layer etc.), but some also went on to the Berufsschule (job school), where you receive training and education at companies and part time vocational schools. However, there are two types of grade 10: one is the higher level called type 10b and the lower level is called type 10a; only the higher level type 10b can lead to the Realschule and this finishes with the final examination Mittlere Reife after grade 10b.
In the Realschule, you are required to choose an education track in seventh grade: math, art, language and business, which will offer you specific classes to your interest. After graduation, you generally continue on to the Fachoberschule (Vocational upper secondary school), which can lead to University.
In the Gymnasium, you are required to chose a second foreign language (French, Latin, Italian etc.) in sixth grade, which you will take until you graduate.
A day in the life of a student:
School generally starts at around 8 AM. You go to your homeroom, where you will have all your classes with the same people in the same seat. (Acception: classes that can’t be taken in a homeroom such as chemistry or PE) Your class schedule is different every day and takes a little while to memorize. Each class is generally around 45 minutes. After your first three classes of the day, you have a “Pause” (recess and snack time). In the Grundschule, it is about half an hour long and it secondary school, it is about fifteen minutes. There is usually a small area where bread, sandwiches, pastries, snacks and drinks are sold during this time. After the Pause, you have between one and three more classes before going home. If extra curricular classes are offered after school, such as band, volleyball or french conversation, you have an hour lunch break where you can either bring your own lunch or eat in the cafeteria. After school, you come home, eat lunch (which in Germany is generally a hot meal, like the American dinner) and have an hour long “Ruhezeit” (quiet time). During this time, most stores are closed for a few hours and you aren’t allowed to play loud music or make a lot of noise and disturb your neighbors. This time is mainly used for resting and napping. Homework and studying takes about as much time as it would in America.
Other little differences about the school systems:
at the beginning of every class/day with a teacher, the whole class stands up and chants “Gu-ten-Mor-gen-Frau/Herr-___”.
in the Grundschule, you wear house shoes/slippers in the classroom. There is usually a place to hang coats and put shoes either inside or right outside the classroom
throughout school, you either have a Catholic, Evangelic or Ethic religion class, which is required.
when you raise your hand, you raise as if you were to tell your teacher you need to use the restroom; with one finger pointed up.
from first through fourth grade, you are required to use special lined paper, to teach you correct penmanship
from first through fourth grade, you are required to use only blue-inked fountain pen
pencil is not allowed for ANYTHING but art class in Germany. Even math. If you need to erase something, you are recommended to cross it through with a ruler or use a special fountain pen eraser. Wite-out is discouraged.
German school desks seat two people. They are long and have two spots underneath to put things under the desk. It is a smart thing to pair up with a pal quick or arrive early on the first day of school, because in most cases, you will be stuck there all year and not be allowed to switch.
dress code is not very strict in Germany. Of course, there are limits; you shouldn’t be walking to school in a mini skirt and a tube top on a daily basis, but you aren’t going to get in trouble for crazy hair, a lip ring or ripped jeans.
there are no hall passes. If you need to go to the bathroom, raise your hand and ask. Most teachers are okay with it.
there are no lockers. Since you are generally in the same room all day, you have no need for one. You can leave things under your desk or at your seat. The risk of anything being taken is very slim…theft is not bad an issue in Germany as it is in the states.
there is no student parking. Since you have to be eighteen to get a license in Europe, student parking isn’t very necessary. If you do, however, have your own transportation besides a bike, such as a scooter, you’re going to have to find your own parking spot.
chalkboards aren’t mounted to the wall. They can be adjusted up and down and even open up. Certain parts of the chalkboard are even with normal lines or graphing lines. They are not cleared off with American erasers. In Germany, you use a wet sponge and a squeegee. Most classrooms come with a sink and a mirror to clean the chalkboard and wash hands. (Germans are very hygienic people…and the girls love to crowd around the mirror between classes to retouch their makeup ;D)
"its like a never ending feeling, that nothing will ever get better. Theres so many things that are hidden behind the mask we wear everyday. </3"
"laying on my bed thinking about why something always has to go wrong."
"why does something always have to ruin my day?"
"fml. don’t bother txting me. cells off."
You all know those people. You see them all over Facebook. They tell all of their friends and their friends’ friends and their friends’ friends’ friends about how much their life sucks. They say things like “don’t text me. my phone is off.” or “nobody cares anyway…” etc. etc. etc. Then you read the comments underneath: “what happened?” “what’s wrong?” “are you okay?”. And then the person who created this depressing status update in the first place responds with either “I don’t want to talk about it” or “Text me.”
DEAREST PEOPLE OF FACEBOOK. IF YOU ARE GOING TO POST SOMETHING IN A STATUS YOU DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT OR YOU DON’T FEEL COMFORTABLE SHARING, DON’T FUCKING POST IT! I mean, my GOD! And if all you are seeking is attention, which in most cases you probably are, post: “Facebook friends, I need attention as soon as possible. Please send me a text, a message or ask me what’s wrong so that I can add you to the list of lame ass things that boost my ego.”
"Bob Whatshisface is "in a relationship" with Tammy Talksalot."
two hours later.
"Bob Whatshisface went from being "in a relationship" to "single"."
one day later.
"Bob Whatshisface is in a relationship and "it’s complicated"."
rinse. lather. repeat.
People, it gets old. If you’ve just met the girl of your dreams while drunk at a party and you’ve decided right then and there that you want to begin a relationship with her, wait until the hangover has passed before getting on Facebook and sharing the peachy news.