NO way it's already NOvember!
And here we are again, a month between posts, but I have thoughts in my head and pictures to share so we carry on. I simply can’t believe it is already November (and almost December, but we won't even talk about that).
I have been in class for a little over a month and it has been really thrilling to be back in a university setting. At the risk of over-romanticizing academia (which is a pretty messed up institution overall, I keep learning) there is just something about being in a place in which everyone is seeking to learn new and exciting things that makes me believe there might still be a little bit of hope for the future. I am taking six classes: 3 in German and 3 in English. My English courses are Masters courses and the German undergraduate. They are also almost all from different faculties, so needless to say I am getting plenty of variety! The various subjects include Transcultural Studies, Museum Studies, Musicology, East Asian Art History, and of course, German.
For anyone who is primarily interested in the differences between German and American University courses, I hope to write a full blog post on this in the future, but for now primarily: less in classroom time, more reading, and at the end of every lecture the students knock on the desk as a way of thanking the teacher (very cute, but very confusing the first time if you don’t know what’s going on)
I have really enjoyed my classes a lot, as well as getting to know the professors and other students. I even found some research topics I am really excited about! (International theatre festivals as a window to the cosmopolitan in rural German communities anyone?) I am excited to continue working throughout the semester and see what else I learn. There's another difference! My brain is having a hard time remembering that the semester doesn't end in 3 weeks, just before Christmas but rather continued well into February… weird.
Outside of school, I have been keeping myself busy as well. (I have an inescapable feeling that as the days get shorter and the air gets colder if I don't keep myself busy, I may fall into a bottomless pit of homesickness and despair #cutefallthings)
I joined a choir that rehearses every Monday night. This has actually been a perfect fit for me, as almost all the other choir members are German and this gives me a chance to 1. Sing 2. Meet locals and 3. Practice my language skills as well. I also am taking Zumba classes through the university gym. I love finding things that allow me to practice my German while also at their core transcend the language barrier, music and dance tend to be the perfect examples. Continuing with music and dance the official Theatre and Orchestra Heidelberg has something called the Student Flat Rate that is basically my favorite thing ever invented. Basically, with my student ID I can see any show within the next five days completely free… from any seat I select. So, you can guess I’ve been second or third row at a different show pretty much every night of the last two weeks. I just really want to make sure I am taking advantage of such a great opportunity….. I'm not avoiding my homework AT ALL. I also am trying to keep a spreadsheet of all the theatre I see while I am here, so hopefully, I can have a cool post on that at the end of the year as well!
Well, there are the basic updates, here are some other thoughts and musing in my head:
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the idea of anonymity. I think it's something I’d like to explore further. I feel as though I often act differently based on the fact that people don’t know me here. I feel drawn to the idea of being new and reinventing myself, but then am unexpectedly hit with an overwhelming need to be known by literally anyone, maybe it's a balance. IDK
Time continues to be something I will never understand. On one hand, I can’t believe how quickly it's passing, we are approaching Christmas and in my head, I still think it might be august. And on the other side when I think that there is still AT LEAST 6-7 months before I see my family I want to just CRY. I’m still stumbling through the balance of fitting as much adventure into this year as possible, while also not completely running myself into exhaustion. But maybe that's just life in your twenties....fun!
Thanksgiving is next week, which seems so simple and silly, but I’ve never been away from my family on Thanksgiving and I think that has me feeling a little on edge. This will probably be the case for the next few months of holidays. However, I am trying to focus on new and exciting things. Me and another American have teamed up to throw a thanksgiving for a few of our international friends, so hopefully, I can give you the full report on how wonderful that was next week. I also got to go to my first Weihnachtsmarkt this weekend. Yes, they are exactly as magical as you think they are going to be. ;)
Overall, it's getting colder and darker, my workload is getting a bit heavier, I’m getting a bit more homesick, and the pressure of needing to find a job in Germany in the next few weeks is looming like the fog covers the mountains every morning. BUT….I really am still enjoying myself as much as I can. Even just sitting and writing all this out was the perfect chance to step back and see again how cool it is that I am even here. Like, woah….. I did that…. I'm doing it…. I live here! Wild!
Talk again soon. Here is a month worth of pictures…..enjoy!
EINS) The group of Erasmus students I was lucky enough to stumble my way into the first week here. They really are my crew here in Heidelberg. I would be sad and friendless without them.
ZWEI)People who share their own exchange experiences with you upon finding out you are an exchange student. I met a really nice man yesterday who told me all about his exchange to Michigan in the 70s and reminded me to always ‘Sprechen ohne Scham’
DREI)The sun. I have a way of hyper-fixating on Noah Kahan lyrics whenever I’m abroad. In Greece, it was ‘If I could get this all back, I would be home in the morning’ Here in Germany I think to myself daily, ‘I can stay grateful for the sun, though it’s getting in my eyes’ Beautiful.
An example of the aforementioned fog in the evenings...
And also during the day, it does however still manage to be beautiful, despite being depressing
My beautiful yellow leaf views are coming to an end, but this moment made me chuckle. The youtube video was called 'autumn vibes lo-fi music' or something like that and the screen to window match was a little on the nose.
I kid you not, I took this waiting for a bus at the bus stop. It really is stupidly beautiful.
And from the same bus stop when class got out, love me some lights!
Erasmus Family dinner has become somewhat of a weekly tradition, seriously this is what gets me through every day.
Weihnachtsmarkt trip #1, I call it that cause I might be there every night until Christmas.
A Highlight of the last few weeks was my first return visit to Saarbrücken. Arthur was really happy to see me. ( Or I was just really excited to see him, and he tolerated it)
And a fireplace tea with my sweet sister Julie. Heidelberg is beautiful, but I left a big ol' piece of my heart back in Saarland for sure.
ALSO: I took a weekend trip to Bavaria. Nothing quite like a good Alp Sheep.
Sweet Genie did not understand the assignment with the framing of this photo, but the castle way to the left of my hand is Neuschwanstein Castle.
Fall Leaves just don't look like this in Idaho.
Erasmus crew at Blaubeuren.
And lastly: 'I can stay grateful for the sun, though it's getting in my eyes'
Bis Zum nächsten Mal!