The blogs must go on. Sorry that I have not written much in the last few weeks... I've been not exactly busy. The wedding was amazing, Sam was gorgeous, everything went relatively smoothly and it was soooo much fun. I want to be a bridesmaid again (just in case anyone I know is getting engaged anytime soon)! Then it was Christmas time, and I had a lot of napping to catch up on. Still working on that one, but I am sleeping like a champion.
So now it's New Years Eve, and I am going to hang out with some of my friends in a little while, and possibly see a movie. This break I've seen Sweeney Todd (It was the Count of Monte Cristo with more blood and less plot - better singing though) and Juno. Juno was very cute. I think that tonight we're thinking that it will be the Bee Movie. All I know about it is that there was a review in the New York Times that bashed it for not being scientifically accurate. Should be amusing.
So in addition to sleeping and watching movies, I've almost finished my scrapbook from Deutschland (if anyone would like to see it, let me know) and I've come up with a four year plan. But I'll write about that tomorrow, since it's kinda like a New Year's Resolution. Happy New Year's Eve everyone!!!
It is soooo good to be back. Not so good on the whole getting back thing, but I suppose that you can't have everything. Amanda and I left for the train station in Marburg at 6:20 AM. Twenty-five minutes later, Amanda handed me off to Ericka so that she could help me get all my luggage to the airport. We were joined halfway through the trainride by Ericka's friend, who very graciously agreed to help. It was a good thing he did- my stuff was heavy.
My flight was delayed slightly going out, so we left around 11:40 instead of 11:10. Full flight, and no window seat for me. It ended up being really fun though, because I was sitting next to the coolest lady. She was an older lady who had studied abroad in Germany when she was in college. And she lives in Virginia. By way of Haverhill, Massachusetts. And she was five months in to an eight month trip around the world. She had done a month and a half of teaching English in China, and then her husband had joined her and they did the Trans-Siberian Railway to Scandanavia, then down through Denmark, to Germany, Greece, Italy and Switzerland. She and her husband were then flying to Guatemala. So cool.
We landed on time, but flights were massively delayed getting out of Newark. After taking about an hour and a half to get through the Custom's lines (I got stamped back into America, which I thought was a little weird- and he stamped over my Ireland stamp. Loser), my flight was delayed by two hours. Not so hot. Then once we finally boarded, we had to wait on the plane for a few hours. Needless to say, I did not get the meatball sub and diet coke that I was craving. Ashby, Troy and Jes picked me up at the airport, and we were forced to Pepsi-providing Applebee's. It was really good though, so I shouldn't complain. I did, however, manage to leave my wallet there. Big fun.
So that was my getting home adventure. I left out the bouts of extreme cursing, but you get the gist. It's very good to be back in the states.
So for the last three days, Amanda and I have been going to Christmas festivals right and left. We went to the one in Frankfurt, the one in Nürnberg, and the one in Marburg. Frankfurt was the best, Nürnberg was the oldest, and Marburg was by far the easiest to get to and from. While we (our friend Maya was there with us) were in Nürnberg we also got to go on a tour of the Courthouse where the Nazi Tribunals were held. That was quite interesting. I was really glad we got to see that. In general, I find it very surreal that I will be going home tomorrow. I've really settled into life here (and into Amanda's room, thanks to the ResLife policy) and it seems strange to be going back to America. This has been a really positive experience, and I will be sad to see it end. It was so nice to be able to travel around Europe more or less at a whim. Not that I won't be traveling next semester, but it won't be the same as taking off to a country where you don't speak the language with just your best friend. Kinda empowering. It will be amazing to be back in the states and able to see everyone though. Mixed feelings, I guess. But they're generally good feelings all around. I have very few regrets regarding this trip, which seems to be the best way to come out of it. Things I will miss: Amanda, Traveling, Pretzels, IUSP, My Economic Policy Tutor, Exploring, Having a Kitchen, Miss Ericka Weissenbeuhler, Maya B, Obsessing over the Exchange Rate (though I suppose I can still do that), German Toothpaste (but I bought a stash), Kids Movies in German, Kneeling Busses, Taking a Nap everyday, Capitalizing Nouns, European Money, and, well, Europe in General. Things I will not miss: Reslife in Germany, Lack of Campus, Lack of Extra-Curriculars, Trains Breaking down, Traveling with Fußball fans (before and after the game), Poorly-behaved children without parental guidance, Busses that only come once an hour in the rain, Sunday closing laws, having no freaking idea what's going on in my classes until I get to the tutorial, Excessive Smoking, Getting to and from Ryanair, Communicating across the Atlantic, and Time Differences.
Well, I'm down to one final and one class. Yesterday I had a Jewish Life presentation, which I think went relatively well. There were a few questions that I didn't know the answers to at the end, but I was reporting on International Jewish Organizations that are assisting with the Jewish Revival in Former Soviet Countries. There's not actually a ton of literature on that. Oh well. Then this morning I had an Economic Policy final. My first ever oral exam. That was stressful. I think it went pretty well, except that I mixed up common goods and public goods at the end. He didn't even ask me about my favorite method for internalizing technological effects (it's tradable rights to damage through certificates, by the way... it's the best one). He asked me about negotiations, which isn't as interesting and only works on a small scale anyway. Later on today I have my Finance final. We shall see. So in and amongst all these lovely finals, I've had to do fun things like de-matriculate and whatnot. One of the things I have yet to do is have my house mother check my room so that I can go and get my deposit back. And guess what? After she checks my room, I can't live in it anymore. And guess what else? I leave Marburg at 7:00 AM on Monday, and she only works on the weekdays. I am effectively homeless (i.e. will be sleeping on Amanda's floor). Later on, when I do lists of things that I will and will not miss, reslife policies will be going on the latter. Oh well, off to study for finance.
.67 Euro = $1
1 Euro = $1.46. Sweet. I get to change my money tomorrow!
Not only did we make it there, but we made it back too.
In thirteen hours. Projected time to get back? Eight-ish hours. So what were the hold-ups, you ask? Well, let me tell you. First, since it was Sunday, there was a limited shuttle service to the airport, so we had to leave the hostel two and a half hours before our flight left. The shuttle took all of 20 minutes. That was actually okay though, because I got some Jewish Life homework done. Really rough flight (I slept through it anyway) with a group of, shall we say, dipstick boys who dinged the flight attendants every two and a half minutes. Still, this is all fairly reasonable. Until we land. It's so windy in Frankfurt (Hähn) that the plane is moving on the ground, and it's drizzling too. Basically a miserable day. So we get off the plane and walk towards the building, only to be stopped outside in a ridiculous line. Our flight was detained by passport inspection, and instead of working it out so that we could at least be indoors, we were stuck outside in the elements. Not the nice ones, either. So half an hour later, we finally get our passports checked. By this point, I'm relatively annoyed, and the nice passport checker person making fun of my German language skills did not really help. But he seemed to have a good sense of humor, so I belayed the minor hissy fit that they soooo deserved. As it turns out, we were left out in the cold because Ireland and the UK do not have the full EU Mobility that Amanda and I have grown to know and love. We're planning on writing a protest letter. Anyway, this lovely adventure caused us to miss our bus, and have to wait another hour or so. This was followed by a two hour bus ride, only to find that we had missed our train to Marburg by mere minutes. So we had another 45 minutes of waiting. And an hour long train ride. Followed by a bus ride. Might I just say that as much as I love traveling (and I do), it will be quite nice to go back to the half-hour rides to Richmond, followed by the hour and a half flight that does not require a passport, followed by an hour drive home. That will be nice. Absolutely loved Ireland though!
This was written at 4:23 this morning on my economic policy notebook, which was the only thing within easy reach at the time. "The older gentleman sleeping diagonally below me snores. A lot. To the exclusion of my sleep. This bites." Just wanted to share. Today was an awesome day, but we're going to go watch Beowolf (in English) in a little while, so I'll have to write about it later.