Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Okay, this is one of the most difficult posts for me to choose pictures for... This weekend I went to Konstanz, which is one of the most photogenic cities I've ever visited. :) I constantly (haha, no pun intended) felt like I was in a fairy tale land...or a Hollywood movie set for Sleeping Beauty or something.
I stayed with my former roomate Katrin, who had just passed her exams and is now done with her university career! So we celebrated from the moment I arrived.

Konstanz is located in far, far southern Germany, on the border to Switzerland as well as near the Austrian border. Because of its proximity to Switzerland the allies didn't bomb it in WWII, afraid about what a miss might mean. This means that Konstanz has amazing old buildings and a totally preserved Innenstadt, which is very rare in Germany.
This is the city hall. Absolutely gorgeous.

On Lake Constanz (German: Bodensee), the biggest lake in Germany
I love how so many of the buildings are painted. It's really beautiful. Much more typical for southern Germany than the north, or even the southwest where I live.

Then we took a ferry to Meersburg, a really gorgeous quaint little town

Did I say how much I lucked out with the weather as well? GORGEOUS.

Here are some more examples of how the houses are painted, as well as given names (some dating to the 14th and 15th centuries!!!) Dad, the pheasant house picture is for you. :)

translating, interpreting

This month I have been able to both translate a website professionally, and interpret for a visiting soccer coach from the US. This has been such great experience!

The translation was really, really difficult. Translation is not something I want to do as a career. Although it does largely depend on the text, and I was translating business speak full of euphemisms and technical language, but at least it was German into English.

And yesterday I went to the State Sports School (of the Saarland) to help interpret for a soccer coach doing a workshop here for young girls and coaches. It was soooo challenging. It's always easiest to translate into your native language and most of the work last night was English to German. I worked with this English teacher from my school, who did most of the work. He just wanted me there to be able to take over for him every once in a while because it's really tiring work. And when the German coaches asked him questions I did all the English to German interpreting. I am going back this afternoon to do a bit more.

Interpreting is definitely more interesting to me than translating. I have so much respect for the teacher I was working with. He was really great. Partially it's also knowing how to summarize well, because you don't need to translate every word. So the coach would talk, explain a technique or drill and what it does for the soccer player, and then we would interpret. (So it wasn't simultaneous, we took turns speaking, English/German).

So I learned how to say muscle strain, guard, cones, fundamental drills, pre-season, dribbling...

Monday, April 28, 2008

small anecdote

Michaela and I were biking yesterday, and I reminded her that everything is going to be closed in Germany on Thursday, because it's May 1, "Tag der Arbeit", the day of work.

Michaela's response: "If it's the day of work, shouldn't the people be at work instead of have the day off?"

Just then some guy we were biking past responded, "NOO!" in this flabbergasted tone. Ha, those Europeans...


On Wednesday I traveled to Paris with a professor I know from the University of Saarland, who was the director of the Deutsch-Französisches Gymnasium last year.

We took the high speed train at 8:00 a.m. from Saarbrücken and arrived in Paris before 10:00 a.m. We were traveling at speeds above 300 km per hour. It was amazing. This is what travel should be!

Since we were only there for a day, I spent the morning walking around the city, visiting some of my favorite gardens and sitting and watching people a lot.

At 3:00 pm we met at the Sorbonne, the University of Paris, and went up to the Grand Salon, where we were part of a small audience which bore witness to an official presentation of the second volume of the French-German history textbook, which has just been released.

Left, Klaus Wowereit, the mayor of Berlin, addresses the audience.

Here you can see the textbook.

Pictures from http://www.france-blog.info/

The park near Les Halles.The Louvre gardens, with Maillot sculpture.

Along the Seine...
Jardins de Luxembourg, my favorite...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

es wird Sommer in Saarbrücken!

First of all, an apology to you Minnesotans who still have snow on the ground. But it is starting to be beautiful here in Saarbrücken. So everyone flocks to the Saar. Especially on Sundays. You would not believe the pedestrian traffic, people going for walks with their families or friends or whatever. It's great. And there's an ice cream truck! And the driver actually has a bell! A real one which he sticks out the window and shakes as he drives along! It's hilarious!

Saarbrücker Frauenlauf

I did a 10K run with my roommate which went along the Saar River.

we are somewhere in the crowd

after, all smiles. :)

Friday, April 18, 2008

For your health, avoid eating too much fat, too much sugar, too much salt

Okay, the French are officially extreme. You've all seen those warnings on cigarette packets, right? WARNING: Smoking causes lung cancer. WARNING: Smoking causes early death, etc.

Wedneday night I went to see a movie in France, and at the bottom of the ads for soda and chips they had a warning displayed the entire time! Here are some examples:

"For your health, eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day."

"For your health, undertake regular physical activity."

"For your health, avoid eating too much fat, too much sugar, too much salt."

"For your health, avoid snacking between meals."

This is a new law in France, which has now been in effect more than a month. What do you think about this? Obviously obesity is a problem, in France not even to the extent as in the US.

In France just slightly more than 9 per cent of the 63.4 million citizens are obese and fewer than a third are overweight, according to government figures. In the United States, by comparison, one-third of adults are obese, about two-thirds are overweight.

Here's a good article about this in English.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Benzinpreise (gas prices)

And you think you're paying a lot for gas?

Gas prices in Germany are about 1.45 a liter right now, which translates into $8.759 a gallon. How would you like to be paying those prices?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dzien dobry! (POLAND!!!)

Square of Warsaw at night.

below: at the Russian Market in Warsaw

consists of lots of lard-cooked things
above: cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and meat, mushroom sauce
above: complimentary "Polish peasant bread with lard"
(Yes, that is a whole little vat of lard. just for us. mmmm...)
Perogi, yum.


So this restaurant lured us in with the promise of "a greeting gift", and then once inside I thought this was the best menu I had ever seen. Here are some highlights: (And I really shouldn't laugh at their English translations, as I can speak NO Polish (po polsku).

"Piglet in plums and garlic"
"...slaughting of pigs..."
"Fare for a woman" (thin veal petals)
"Winged Poland: that is chicken wings roasted in honey and sesame"

below: please note the poster for "Friends". If you know what the American logo looks like you will laugh at Polish for FRIENDS. Sooooo many consonants!!

below: Polish Zloty (We were rich.)


More text later...these are just some pictures while I'm waiting to have time to write thoughtful commentary.
Fernsehturm (TV Tower, icon of East Berlin) on Alexanderplatz, looking towards Rotes Rathaus (city hall, red brick building on left)

Below: Brandenburg Gate looking down on Pariser Platz.
My amazing friend Katie ran the Berlin half marathon on Sunday, so we cheered her on from the sidelines.

Plaque on Bebelsplatz, where there was a Nazi book-burning. Quote from Heinrich Heine reads: "That was a prelude. Only where people burn books do they ultimately burn people." Below: Holocaust Memorial with German Reichstag building in the background (actually titled: Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe)
Remains of the Berlin Wall: In certain spots there is this row of double bricks marking where the Berlin Wall used to stand.

Ole Reunion!