Friday, September 9, 2011

Big Long Update

we drove about an hour and 20 minutes to Erding to go to the disneyland of waterparks! I was so impressed. They had a ton of huge waterslides (including the longest one in Europe) and a kind of oasis with a bar in the water and really good food. I had vegetable and cheese Spätzle and it was amazing. The weather wasn't too great and therefore the place was really, really crowded. We only had 4 hours there, but I definitely could have stayed longer cuz it was so cool. We went on this one slide where there's two slides next to each other and you race the other person down. I hit both of my elbows on the sides of the slide as I started down the slide. That hurt. We drove back and Michi went to Dany's. I stayed at the house and hung out with Cezanne and talked to Luke and Andy on facebook.

Michi and I were gonna bake cinnamon rolls but out of no where he had to go see Dany because she was having an emotional issue. But when he came back we went outside to play with Cezanne and Sandra (Michi's mom) and I had a beer. There were a lot of bugs outside that day and I got bit several times on my neck. Then we got ready to go to Munich to go to a club called Nox for hardstyle (at type of hard techno music). There were very few people there, but Michi told me it would be that way. It was fun tho. We went with Michi's coworker, Bela. And when we went outside for a breather, I ran into couple of australians who i think were drunk and looking for their next club/bar. They tried to get into Nox but after a few minutes of conversing with the bouncer, they weren't allowed in because they told me he said they were too drunk. Earlier I had a big beer and for the rest of the night my stomach felt a little weird. I think drinking a large amount of alcoholic liquid and then moving around a lot isn't exactly a combination for well-being.

Can't exactly remember when we went to sleep the night before, but we woke up around 2 pm. Sandra made this awesome apple strudel thing which we ate some of before going to the store because I needed shampoo and toothpaste and stuff. Later that evening we went to an all-you-can-eat joint called the Nudelbar in Augsburg with Dany and Andy. It wasn't a buffet but rather a menu with numbered items and you just said what number you wanted and they bring it to you each time. Each item is pretty small, and I was scared that after we ordered 1, that's all everyone would eat except me, and I didn't want to look like a fatass and keep ordering more stuff when everyone else wasn't. But that wasn't the case. Andy ordered 4 different things. When I tried ordering something myself, the waitress thought I said 210 when I said 215 or something like that. So they brought the mistake before what I actually wanted and it turned out I liked the mistake better than the one I originally wanted. Then Andy and I went to Rockfabrik while Michi went to Dany's. I brought my stuff beforehand and stayed the night at Andy's after we went to Rofa.

Michi picked me up in the afternoon from Andy's house and Michi's sister Silvia and her boyfriend came over. Michi and I went on a lovely walk with his parents, Silvia and her boyfriend, their little dog, and Cezanne in the fields behind their house. When we came back we had ice cream and more apple cake that Sandra made a few days earlier and chatted. In the evening Michi and I went to the bowling alley with Dany, Andy, Bela and his girlfriend. Then Michi drove me back to his house and went to Dany's.

I called Gloria, my homestay mom from 2005 and had a nice conversation. She told me to give her a call in the next week when I knew more of my plans so we could arrange a visit. We then figured out the ingredients we would need to make cinnamon rolls and went to the grocery store. We came home and made the rolls which turned out pretty well considering it was my first time baking with the metric system. Michi's parents liked the rolls, but thought they were really sweet, which is very true. But they went pretty quickly haha Then we went to free pool night again with everyone from bowling the night before. I learned a new german phrase Bela made up: Hammergeilscheisse :D And i learned to play snooker, although I don't really like it because you constantly have to remember which color ball you need to hit: either red or colored, and I easily forget.

This day was Neuschwanstein day! We woke up a lot earlier than usual and stopped in Landsberg at a grocery store so we could pick up a few snack things. The weather was so gorgeous and it was warm until about right before we left. Plus the drive out there was beautiful as well. We decided to do both castles (until recently I thought there was only Neuschwanstein) but I thought I should see both. So we saw Schloss Hohenschwangau first. We first bought the tickets down the road and made the walk to the castle. By the time we got to the gate, we had about 45 minutes before our tour, so we just hung around. Fortunately for me we took the tour in english but Michi said he could understand pretty much everything. After that tour we made the long walk to Neuschwanstein. First we thought we'd take the bus up to the castle, and now I wish we would have, but we read that it was only a 15 minute walk. It felt longer than that, and it was quite uphill. Not to mention that there was horse poop all over the road with tons of flies (which i despise) and Michi would get embarrassed everytime we would be walking and i would make a B-line to the other side of the road, away from the mass swarm of flies around a huge pile of poop. I told Michi that he could get friendly with the poop but I'm getting as far away as possible. We finally got to the castle and there were (unsurprisingly) many tourists but it wasn't as bad as I could imagine it being on a weekend or during summer (because this day was the first day of school). There was a man up there in lederhosen which I thought pretty awesome. We waited for 30-45 minutes for our tour, and I bought a small book of pictures from inside Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau because photos inside weren't allowed due to copyright. The castle was pretty sweet, but the tour was only 30 minutes, and I think they could show you so much more of the castle if they wanted to. Michi wasn't too impressed with it and liked Hohenschwangau much more. Then we made the walk back down the hill/mountain, again avoiding horse poop.

This day was pretty chill. I went with Michi to his work and met his co-workers again and they had a little meeting to discuss when they would start having their once-a-week english discussion to practice english. They made their planning decisions and then they asked me to speak about myself. It was pretty fun, but I tried my hardest not to speak too fast or use weird/uncommon vocabulary. I think I was pretty well understood for the most part. After the meeting, I stayed at the office waiting for Andy to finish work while Michi went to Dany's. Then Andy and I went to the grocery store to get ingredients to make chili sin carne from scratch. It was delicious and very healthy. Practically nothing but veggies, tomato juice/base, and a couscous-type wheat product (can't remember the name). We ended up making an entire huge pot full. When we were done Michi came to get me.

We went to Sealife, an aquarium in Munich. There was a card you got when you entered that was a quiz with answers you scratch off, because inside there was plaques with questions. For some reason I didn't see them all as we walked through, but I got most of the ones I did see wrong. After sealife, we walked around the Oplympia Park and saw a guy on a nearby lake wakeboarding, although there was no boat. Instead he was being pulled by a kind of zipline. Definitely something I wanna do next time I'm in Munich and it's warm. We almost went up the giant "Fernsehturm" (TV tower) for a great view of Munich, but it cost something ridiculous like 4 euros. So we just looked at the gift shop. Then we went to the BMW showroom that was nearby. I was in heaven. We saw some people getting in the cars and taking pics, and I wanted to have one taken in a yellow convertible. Michi asked an associate and they said they had to get the keys to open it because at the moment no one was watching it. I had to do it quickly because they didn't really want everyone to see me in it and then have them all want a picture in it. I felt special :) Now if I only could have discreetly driven it away... They even had floor cleaning robots. It was crazy. You can rent a BMW at 40 euros an hour lol. I just want to rent one for a little while so I can drive it on the autobahn at 200+ mph. But I don't nearly trust my driving skills for that. Then we hit a little bit of a traffic jam (a "stau" as you commonly see displayed on signs in Munich during rush hour). On the way home we went through Fürstenfeldbruck, and Michi showed where he used to live and grew up, and we stopped to buy some pizzas for dinner. When we got back home we chilled out and watched "Remember Me".

In the afternoon Michi and I went out again to practice snakeboarding. I really feel like I could do it if I had a decent amount of practice. I never even fell on my butt!! (Although I almost did a few times, and I did fall on my palms once, but I didn't hurt myself). Then we picked up Andy and Dany and went to the mall in Augsburg because Michi and Dany needed to get a birthday present for Dany's dad. We went back home and got ready to go to Rockfabrik. This night was pretty sick because it was hosted by Captain Morgan (got a couple free Captain and Cokes). Once I had to sing something to get one, and then the next one I had to talk in a low man-voice, as guys had to speak in a high voice. The bartender guy asked me what I wanted and I had to say "Captain Coke" nearly like a sailor lol. It was hilarious. Not to mention that it was also buy 1 drink, get 2. Michi was in a corner with Dany somewhere most of the time so I didn't get to hang out with him there as much as I wanted, and at one point Andy had to meet with a girl (and ended up having to drive her home, so I didn't see him for a while) so I thought what the hell, and ended up drinking something like 4 jager shots, and 2 beers, in addition to the captain cokes i got for free. It helped pass the time while Andy was away... When we were on the dancefloor, at one point I got a face-full of someone's dreads, which was pretty gross, but being drunk helped me deal with it. Then Captain Morgan came on the stage and they were doing a limbo game to get a free captain morgan hat. I went up there but didn't do the limbo, but Andy did. One of the captain morgan guys gave me an awesome flashlight shaped like a captain morgan bottle, and on the dancefloor we ended up taking a picture with Captain Morgan and he gave me a dog tag with a key on it. I guess it was for some treasure chest but I think it was gone before we realized the key was for it. Then Captain Morgan threw out the rest of the hats into the crowd and I caught one. When we left, I went with Michi and had to say goodbye to Andy. I may or may not get to see him again before I leave, which is sad because we had a lot of fun together and he was a good source of support for me.

We got home around 5 am from Rofa and crashed. The next day I said goodbye to Michi's parents and gave them the cheese board made from oregon red alder. Sandra cried a little. Earlier she said she was sad because I became kind of like another child to her :) But she said we'll see each other on skype. Then Michi brought me to the other Andy's house and we said goodbye for now. I'm hoping to see him again before I leave. Andy was at handball so just Heidi was home. She's so adorable, and I was surprised at how much I can understand her. Either that or my German has somehow magically improved since last year. But she's also used to speaking to people who don't speak German well. So we went out to do some grocery shopping and we stopped by a couple of dirndl stores and I tried a few on. There was this black and pink one I absolutely fell in love with at a clothing store we went to, but it was 130 euros (not including with blouse that goes underneath... generally another 25-30 euros) and Heidi and Andy said that because it's a clothes chain that doesn't specialize in dirndls, the quality isn't as good. But I didn't buy one because Andy wasn't with us and I promised him he could take me dirndl shopping. Later on we went to the sports center where Andy had finished training/hand ball game. We had dinner with his teammates in the sports center restaurant and I had schnitzel and spätzle (which i absolutely adore), and a weissbier. When we left I asked the waitress lady if I could have my schnitzel to go, and she kinda scoffed, but gave it to me wrapped in tin foil. I guess asking for food to go in Germany is as bad as in France. When we left we went to Andy's friends apartment and had a little get-together and played a soccer game on xbox. Then we took a taxi back to Andy's.

In the morning we had Weißwurstfrühstück, which is white sausage (I have no idea why it's white, and that scares me a little) with pretzels and white beer (typically), but they had no beer. Then Andy's friend picked us up to take us back into Landsberg to get the car. Then we drove to Kempten, where Andy studies. When we got to Andy's little flat, we hung around a little while then we went to a handball game a little bit outside Kempten. In the past, Andy had played for both teams so he wasn't really cheering for one or the other. Then we went back home and had pizza and I hung out while he went to meet a friend to give him some stuff.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Zoo in Munich!

Tuesday we went to the zoo in Munich. It was a perfect day to go too. We took the autobahn to get there too and that's always interesting. I think at one point we were driving 111 miles an hour. Spent the day at the zoo and hit a bad traffic jam leaving Munich on our way back to Michi's. Then a little later on Michi went to Dany's and I hung out.

Today we woke up around noon and the weather wasn't great so great and we thought about going rock wall climbing but decided against it. Instead we had a kinda lazy day and played video games. Then I finally showered and got ready to go to Rockfabrik, a rock club in Augsburg, with Andy while Michi went to see Dany. It was gothic night so we danced with the goths, which was kinda funny. And I tried a special beer that's only made in Augsburg by "goblins". I think we'll go there on a normal night next friday.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Friday morning I thought waking up 3 hours before my train departure would be enough time. I was so wrong. I didn't get myself organized nearly soon enough and we left Sev's place at about 12:10 when my train was supposed to leave at 12:26. And we had traffic on the way to the train station. Needless to say I was freaking out. Sev helped me run my suitcases to the elevator and said goodbye. Thank god that my train was 10 minutes late. It really ended up being about 20 I think. I wanted to see a friend at the train station and she was trying to call me but at this time my french phone decided to quit working and I couldn't answer her calls or read her texts. And I couldn't find her once I was on the platform. I felt really bad about that because she made the effort to come say hi/bye to me. The train ride to Strasbourg was pretty pleasant and I was surprised that we didn't even go through Paris. In Strasbourg I could hear french, german, and english. I wish I could have been able to see more of the city. Fortunately my second train left from the same platform that my first train arrived at. Shortly after the train left the station I got my meal of some kind of sliced beef, potato salad, a shrimp cocktail, and beer. I still can't even believe paying $40 more for my train ticket from Poitiers to Augsburg got me 1st class all the way, absolutely no hassle in Paris, and a meal. Michi picked me up and we went to McDonald's. When we got to his house, I met his parents and his german sheppard, Cezanne. I was too excited to give Michi his late birthday/thank you presents. One present of which I've waited 4 years to give him.

Saturday: We went to Augsburg and first picked up Dany. We walked through the mall and went into a dindl store because Michi needed shoes for his lederhosen. I took a look at the dirndls and most all of them would have been 100 euros or more with all the pieces you need. Then we walked around the streets some more and went to a cafe where I drank a Becks. We went to the city hall, a nearby church, and the tower of the church where we had a great view of Augsburg. Later that night we went to a mini-oktoberfest and walked around and sat in a beer tent. Then we went to a night club which was super great. 11 euros entry with 5 drink tickets (most drinks being 1 ticket).

Sunday: My eating habits in Germany are terrible. Actually it's fantastic... but I feel like I eat the whole farm everytime. Eggs, meat, milk, cheese... Michi had to take Dany's ID back to her from the night before, so I stayed at the house and got ready for the day while he was away. When he got back we went out to ride his snakeboard and I got a little lesson. I still suck at it but I think we'll try again in the next few days. Then we had dinner of amazing Spaetzel that Sandra (Michi's mom) made. I gave them my oregon picture book and showed them some of my videos from college on youtube. I also played their piano some and there was a ginormous storm outside. Sandra is hilarious. She kept offering me more beer :D and said "you could tell your parents we made you drunk" hahaa Then we watched a couple movies before bedtime.

Monday: Today we went to Michi's work because he needed to talk with some colleague and I got to meet them. Then we came back home and had lunch of leftover Spaetzel and talked with Sandra. Then we had a great drum lesson :) Around 7:15 we left to pick up Dany and Andy and we went to a pool hall where we had a beer and played a lot of pool games, because it's free on Mondays. Then Andy and I split a pizza. Andy and I won most of the games against Michi and Dany.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Many Days' Update

Been busy and super tired at night to update the blog everyday.

Sunday: At Sophie's we went in the afternoon to go buy our train tickets to Poitiers and then we came back and played halo and guitar hero with her dad and little brother. We took the TGV to Poitiers, but we had to sit in the awkward place between the cars because there wasn't any more room for my suitcases where you put the suitcases so we had to keep them in front of the doors, so we sat there. Plus someone was sitting in our seats, although we could have asked them to move. Sophie's boyfriend Guillaume was late picking us up so we sat in front of the train station. But out of nowhere this drunk old man sat near us and started talking to me. I didn't know what he was saying but I just said "ah oui?" just to replay with something, but Sophie told me he was saying really mean things about some of the people around us so now I wish I hadn't acknowledged him. We finally decided to get up and move to the other side of the front of the train station. Guillaume arrived and we drove straight to their new apartment because they were late in meeting the landlord to sign the papers and do the damage inspection. Then we went to Guillaume's to drop off some stuff and then we went to meet Sophie's friend from Tennessee who just arrived in Poitiers to study for the year. We had dinner at Quick (pretty much a french mcdonalds). Then we walked around downtown Poitiers a little and then we went bowling. I did pretty well actually. Then we got back late and went to bed around 2 am. The sleeping situation was a little tight because Guillaume only had 1 twin bed so they put the top part of his mattress on the floor and slept on that, and I slept on the bottom part.

Monday: Woke up early so Guillaume and Sophie could drop me off at Severine's before they went back to Niort because Sophie had to go to work. Severine wasn't there yet because she was getting her phone fixed but Sophie helped me get in her building and I just waited until she got there. Severine took me to meet her downstairs neighbors who are going to the U of O in a couple of weeks. Then we had lunch in the mall downtown and I was stupid and at the register I set down my tray with my sandwich on it and I lost balance of it when I was trying to pay and I dropped the tray and my sandwich on the floor. Fortunately the lady behind the counter gave me another, but I think she was a little annoyed. Then we went to the french walmart (Leclerc) to get some groceries since Severine was out of town for the weekend and didn't have much food. We ran to the university after and we saw Sylvie (my on-site coordinator from last year) and that was nice. I got to her office just as she was leaving to go somewhere and she saw me and said "Well I know you!" Had to remind her of my name though haha. She said the new students from Oregon were in their meeting with the bank lady and she brought us to meet them and a few of them asked us questions. During that time we met a girl from Portland who's looking for a permanent place to live and Severine was interested because her sister is looking for a roommate. When we left the university, Sev dropped me off downtown and I just walked around for 2 hours just being nostalgic. I ended up walking really far. But it was quite nice. Sev picked me up and we had dinner and then went downstairs to watch a movie with her neighbors. But before we watched the movie, I helped them call the electricity company in Eugene to help them get that set up. Unfortunately they wouldn't talk to me alone and put a useless translator on the line.

Today, Tuesday: Went to the mall with Sev to just do some window shopping, and looked into getting my nails filled, but they told me exactly what I was expecting: that they would have to redo the whole thing because "it's not the same product". Plus it's nearly 50 euros. Went back home for lunch because I wanted to save money. Later we met Melanie at the university to bring her to Thomas and Yasmine's so she could bind her report like Sev did a few days before. Then we returned to the university to pick up Ashley to show her Sev's apartment, and afterwards we were gonna drop her off in downtown but instead we went to roche d'argent (where I lived last year) to see if they had anything available. We had to leave her there because Melanie called and was waiting for us. A couple of Sev's friends were also in town to drop off their reports, so both of them and Melanie all stayed at Sev's overnight. We walked to Leclerc to get some stuff for breakfast and alcohol. Then we had a little soiree :)

Wednesday: Sev took everyone to the fac in the early afternoon and I stayed at the apartment. They were gone for quite a while. I still had a headache from the night before and was feeling tired so I took a 2.5 hour nap. In the evening we went to McDonald's with Thomas, Yasmine, and Maxime. McDonald's is a lot better in France than the US, and much more expensive too. They're amazed at the idea of a dollar menu. Then we went to the grocery store to get beer and went to Maxime's place to play pong.

wednesday: not much

Friday, August 26, 2011

Limoges to Poitiers/Niort/La Rochelle

Updates for the last 2 days since I was too tired/lazy to write a post for yesterday.


Melanie took me to the train station in Limoges and I took the train to Poitiers. I first sat down and then came along 2 smelly backpacker-looking and their dog who sat next to me. I kinda couldn't handle the smell and the dog constantly in my space so I finally moved away. Fortunately they got off at the first stop. Arrived in Poitiers and drug my suitcases down and up the stairs to the main lobby to see what platform I needed to be on for the train to Niort. Which sucked because it took me like 2 seconds to look and I had to turn around and repeat the suitcase-stairs process again and I think the second train arrived on the same platform as the train I was on before. On the train to Niort, there was this other backpacking smelly man. He was asking people around him to use their cellphones, but what's weird is that before arriving in Niort, he starting talking very loudly on a cellphone I believe was his. It went something like this:

"OUI JE SUIS DANS LE TRAIN.... EHHHHHHH.... NAN JE VIENS CHERCHER MA FEMME... EHHHH..." and so on. Unfortunately he was getting off in Niort like me.

Sophie and her dad were at the train station to pick me up. We got home and had tea and cookies with her mom after sharing awkward greeting kisses. I have a tendency to do the 2-cheek kiss going right side-left side. But everyone else wants to do it left side-right side. So I don't know how many times I've almost accidentally kissed people on the lips.

Then Sophie's boyfriend Guillaume came over to pick us up to meet some of her friends to have dinner at a nice pizzeria. Unfortunately it was rainy and quite cold. Guillaume is pretty adorable and hilarious. We had a good time at dinner. Everyone ordered a pizza except me because I knew it would be huge and covered in cheese. It's what I would have preferred at first, but I ordered a salad with raw salmon and avocados on it. And it was delicious, so I'm actually glad I didn't order the pizza.

Today I woke up at 9 to get ready to go to La Rochelle for the day with Sophie and her mom and brother. In La Rochelle we rented bikes and rode through town and out towards the shore and along it. I saw where I stayed in 2007 too. We stopped at a food stand out away from town and had chips (french fries) and sausages. I was worried about the weather on the way to La Rochelle because it started raining when we were in the car, but it ended being absolutely beautiful and not too hot. After we returned the bikes, we walked around La Rochelle a bit because there was a lot of market stuff going on. Sophie and I stopped to watch a dog trick show that made me want to die because it was so cute. Then we got ice cream and sat by the harbor. At 5 we met back up with Sophie's mom and brother and came back home. We had a lovely dinner of lamb and watched the french version of who wants to be a millionaire.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Last day in Limoges

Today we left the house around 2 to go to Melanie's brother's house to watch her niece and nephew while her brother went to an appointment. Unfortunately la petite Marie was with her nanny and wasn't feeling well, so I didn't get to see her again. But Camille and Alexandre are both very sweet kids. I think Camille is 10 or so and Alexandre looked about 8. We swam in the pool and then we spent the rest of the afternoon eating snacks and playing a few games of jungle speed and a couple games of "devine-tete" where you wear a card with the identity of a famous person on your head and ask yes or no questions of the others to guess who you are. After we left, we went to the mall to walk around a little while. We had lunch at home and hung out for a while before we went to downtown around 9:30 to have a drink.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Limoges again

Melanie and I got ready at our own pace today and we went to Leclerc (giant French grocery store) where I bought my favorite soup, and we went into this clothing store connected to the grocery store that sells this French brand of clothing called Little Marcel that I fell in love with... but sadly, it's pretty expensive. 10 euros for just a tiny change purse. 60 euros for a decent-sized purse. Then we went to the train station so I could buy my ticket to Niort for Friday. And then we drove around Limoges for a while because we had a hard time finding a place to park. But then we walked around Limoges and visited the cathedral, the botanical garden, the river, and this really old house that's leaning. We made friends with a very beautiful and quite friendly kitty. On our way back home we stopped by the cemetery which is enormous, with 40,000 graves and 200,000 people buried there. Many think it's the biggest in France but I read that it's not. But it was still very impressive. We got home and ate, watched tv, and then we watched French Kiss. Tomorrow we're going to babysit Melanie's nieces and nephew. Excited because Marie (the 2 year old) is especially adorable.