Auf Wiedersehen, Deutschland!

Until we see each other again, Germany! Today was my last day of class and my last day in Germany. I leave tomorrow afternoon. I don’t even know how to begin this final post. I guess first of all, more people are following along with this blog than I ever expected. I’ve managed just under 2,000 views this month, which is pretty pitiful in Internet terms. But the goal of this blog was to keep my family and friends informed during my trip (and hopefully entertained), so I consider this a success. Some days I really enjoyed crafting my blog posts, and other days I typed something just for the sake of a daily update and making sure everyone knew I was still alive.

In class today, I got the official document that I passed. Cool! We played a lot of games… and I’m still the reigning champion of the der/die/das/den/dem game! I also gave my presentation on the CMU moon rover today. I definitely messed so many sentences up, but I just kept going. The class seemed to understand. My month in Germany definitely taught me to just keep going and not worry about all of the little mistakes. And even though this presentation was in German, it was nothing compared to the pressure I felt during the real moon rover presentation. Now that was scary!

If you remember back to the time I saw Wie der Wind sich hebt, I mentioned that I went with a friend. I had met this friend, Anastasia, at one of the Goethe-Institut outings. I remembered that she was an art history student, which is why I asked her if she wanted to see the film with me. After class today, she found me and gave me a beautiful little drawing she had made of the girl from the film and a plane in the sky. It made me so incredibly happy. I’m going to miss the people I’ve met here, and I hope to keep in touch with them.

I ate lunch with Annika, Alex, Alix, and someone else from the other class (I haven’t really met her before). I had a lot of fun with them this July, and I’ll miss them all! During this conversation, we got on the topic of the Bavaria Filmstadt, which has Falkor, the dragon from The Neverending Story. At that moment, I was overcome with regret. I had seen the advertisements for the museum in one of the train stations, but I totally forgot to look into it! And I fondly remember watching The Neverending Story as a child. Oh well, I lost my chance.

I got home and looked up the museum hours. The last tour was at 4:30. It was 3:00. I had time! I looked up the directions, grabbed my things, and ran out the door. When I got off the Straßenbahn, it wasn’t really clear which way to go. I actually found two girls my age from Nuremberg also looking for the museum, so we all found it together. And yes, I went on an hour and a half tour just to sit on Falkor (who seems to be missing a ton of fur on his face…).

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I had dinner with Alex in Hirschgarten for the last time! It rained all day long, so there really wasn’t much going on there. On the ride home, I thought a lot about what I learned from this trip and how I wanted to end my blog.

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I’ve never looked down on people who come to the United States with very little English skills. The way I always saw it was, “That’s great, they know at least one more language than I do!” But after my experience in Germany, I have so much more respect for them. As an American in a foreign country, things were easy because tons of people speak English. Not everyone has that luxury. I realize how much work goes into saying basic sentences in another language. No matter how well I know the grammar rules, without enough practice, I’m still going to mess things up while I’m speaking. And because of this, I’ve realized just how comfortable it is just to take a break and speak in my first language.

I also expect myself to speak a little more confidently at home; I’m looking forward to when I don’t have to think so intently about what I’m going to say.

I’m a little sad the month has come to a close already, but I’m excited to be going home. I have a lot of things planned for August, with old friends and new. And before I know it, I’ll be starting the new semester. Thanks for reading, everyone!

-Celeste

Level 24: Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst

Just finished my last homework assignment for the summer! I can’t believe tomorrow is already the last day of class. I’ve made plans with friends to go to Hirschgarten after class. It’s my favorite of the biergartens I’ve been to.

Today I went to the Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst (State Museum of Egyptian Art). I didn’t realize that the building itself was so new. The museum used to be in the Munich Residenz, but the collection has only been at the current location (near the Pinakotheken) since June 2013. The museum is very sleek and modern, but incorporates all of the old Egyptian artifacts really well (in my opinion). The condition of some of the smaller statues and paintings is amazing.

As far as the museum experience, it was a little stressful. I felt like I was in Tomb Raider, or something (sorry for being a nerd, everyone). The security guards at this museum were huge, dressed in suits, and didn’t make a sound as they paced the room back and forth. Everyone was being watched at all times. Pictures were allowed in the museum, but only without flash (which is pretty typical, no big deal). My camera flash was turned off, but these guys were staring me down every time I took a picture just to be sure. This one guy even took the exact same path around one of the display cases every time he walked by. This was literally a Tomb Raider level. It was a little bizarre.

So, with all of my homework done and my things mostly packed up, I’m going to sleep. I want to make sure I leave early enough before school to pick up my favorite chocolate croissant for breakfast (since it will be my last one… for now, at least). Gute Nacht!

(By the way, I passed the class.)

Bummeln

To stroll. This afternoon I took a leisurely walk around town with no real objective. I walked from where I’m staying to Isartor instead of taking the S-Bahn today. From there I went to Marienplatz and ate what was arguably the best pretzel in my life. I looked for sales in stores and tried some clothes on, but not much luck. Then I went home, did my homework, and finished my PowerPoint presentation for Wednesday. I’m doing my presentation on the CMU moon rover (Mondfahrzeug) project, which should be fun. So many new technical words to learn, though! 

So yeah, that was my day. I didn’t get enough sleep last night so I’m kind of tired right now.

Deutsches Museum

My friend and I ate an early lunch today so we could get to the museums we wanted to see. So I ended up starting a beer before noon today… I feel kind of accomplished. And sorry, Dad, I tried a pilsner today and didn’t like it. And despite getting done with lunch in a timely fashion, there was just too much to see at the Deutsches Museum to even go to the other one we wanted to see. But we’ll fit it in before the end of the trip.

I think the most impressive part of the museum was the large ship they had in the middle of the front room. The first exhibits we looked at were all about boats and airplanes.

From there we went to the exhibits on optics and sound. I thought the old microscope display was really neat. There was also an entire section dedicated to musical instruments.

Space! By the way, the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle is a 1:1 replica. You could definitely tell because they painted on the wheels to make it look like it went through lunar soil. They totally wouldn’t do that on the original (and why would they have the original, anyways?).

Probably my favorite exhibits were the printing and photography ones. I may have mentioned before that I find old advertisements fascinating. The printing press room was, therefore, awesome. I also thought the photography room was really well put together.

Despite being the largest museum of science and technology in the world, the Deutsches Museum’s robotics exhibit was small and outdated.

There were a lot of interactive physics demos in the museum having to do with magnets, electricity, mechanical work, and plenty of other topics. I’ll end this post with a picture of me doing one of the demos that shows conservation of angular momentum.

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It was fun.

Aktivismus

I had a wonderful lunch with my German professor and her husband today! We talked in German the whole time and it was really nice. I ate Käsespätzle and tried Johannisbeersaftschorle (sparkling currant juice). I definitely enjoyed my afternoon.

A few days ago, I got this email from the U.S. Consulate in Munich:

U.S. Consulate General Munich informs U.S. citizens that a demonstration is scheduled to take place in Munich at Orleansplatz on Saturday, July 26 starting at 1400 and concluding at Orleansplatz at 2030. The demonstration route is as follows:  Orleansplatz – Rosenheimer Platz – Rosenheimer Strasse – Gasteig – Innere Wiener Strasse – Steinstrasse – Preysingstrasse – Wörthstrasse – back to Orleansplatz.  The demonstration is being organized by the Palestinian community in support of residents of Gaza.  We anticipate the size of the protest to be approximately 5000 people.  

Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.

Well, too bad this is right where I live… Avoiding the area really wasn’t an option. I ended up seeing the demonstration today and taking some pictures with my phone. It was peaceful while I was there, and as far as I know it stayed that way.

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So then I took the S-Bahn to Karlsplatz to go to a bookstore… and I found Veganmania taking place! There was a band, vegan ice cream, and lots of people handing out flyers. I just found it really hilarious that the band playing was like, Gothic metal. They were pretty good, though.

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Later on I went with a friend to the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower). It’s a beer garden in the Englischer Garten. Unfortunately, it was pouring when we got there and there weren’t many people. However, we did get to see a group of men in Lederhosen try to get everyone sitting under the tower to do the wave.

I forgot to take pictures of the tower. Whoops.

Der Letzte Freitag

Three weeks down. It’s hard to believe that I only have three day of class left, and that I’m heading home in less than a week! I’m spending my last Friday night in Hirschgarten. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I will not want to write a blog post after I get back.

Taking some advice from my high school German teacher, Frau Chase, I stopped by Geschwister-Scholl-Platz. The square is named after Hans and Sophie Scholl, two siblings executed in 1943 for distributing anti-Nazi flyers at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. In high school we learned about the Scholl siblings and the White Rose, the non-violent resistance group they were part of. Not far from the Geschwister-Scholl-Platz is Siegestor, the gate between the Maxvorstadt and Schwabing districts.

All of a sudden, I knew where I was: the same place as last night. So, I walked around Schwabing a bit, got a slice of pizza, and then took the train home. It’s pretty cool how comfortable I’ve gotten with the public transportation. I don’t really have to think twice about which train I should be taking when I get into a station. I was even able to give some people directions today when they asked.

Anyways, I’m going to get started on my presentation for class before I go out tonight. Tomorrow I have lunch with Gabi, my German professor from CMU! That should be a lot of fun, although hope I improved enough…

Schwabing by Night

Today I went on a night tour of Schwabing, a borough of Munich. We made a loop around the area, seeing plenty of shops and restaurants, a little bit of the Englischer Garten, and a very expensive residential area. Afterwards my friend Caroline and I went to Cafe Reitschule. If you sit inside the cafe, you can actually look through the back windows into a real indoor riding school! It was a nice night so we ate outside on the front terrace. The atmosphere was really great and the street was surprisingly quiet. I had a chocolate brownie with fresh strawberries and mint pesto. Very delicious.