I have been kind of slacking on writing these blogs lately. I haven't been doing anything really groundbreaking so there is not much to write about. Let's see what I have been up to over the past week.
On Sunday I went over to Dajana's house. She is an exchange student in Germany from Bosnia. Here's a pretty cool fact, her host sister spent a year in Hamburg, New York. Unfortunately she is vegetarian so we couldn't really discuss chicken wings but it was still nice to talk about Buffalo with someone who has been there. Sunday was Dajana's mom's birthday so of course we skyped with her. It makes the birthday call way more personal when some random American is in on it too. I got to speak a little Serbian with her mother. It was just normal "hi, how are you?" but I think they were still impressed because no one expects foreigners to be able to speak Serbian.
Ok, so who remembers the story of how I became known as "Andreas". Long story short, my German teacher used to repeatedly call me Andreas. Well now my Religion teacher thinks my name is Steve. She used to know my name so I am not entirely sure how I became Steve but whatever. So far my teacher's have called me Steve, Andreas, you Ami and my personal favorite "American in the back of class". To be completely honest though, I still don't know the names of about half of my teachers. Hopefully by the time I leave we will all know our real names. There is my new exchange goal.
Let me just say, the weather here has been amazing. Except for today, it has been warm and sunny. It is almost spring weather. I went out a couple times in just a tshirt. Today it started to snow again but nothing like what I hear is going on at home. I hear that they still have a lot of snow. I'd welcome the snow here, except Germans don't believe in snowdays and unlike Buffalo, we haven't had 5 snowdays already this year. Althought I can't really complain. Yesterday I got to sleep in and then went to school for one class. All of my classes were canceled except Religion. Today I had a random 4 hour lunch break. I got to go home, take a nap and then go back to school for my last class.
I know how much you all enjoy reading about me embarrassing myself and of course, I did it again today. My GMK teacher told me to go and ask the Hausmeister what we had to do for some work day thing next week. So I walk in and ask but he just cracks up laughing and then gives me a weird look. So then another kid steps in and asks him the same thing. Of course, he answers. Apparently, he couldn't understand what I was saying. That brings me to a good point; my accent.
You know how everyone finds foreign accents attractive on other people? In the US, people love when foreigners speak with accents. The American accent in German is unfortunately not such a chick-magnet. They compare it to someone stuffing their mouth full of oatmeal and then trying to talk, which as you guessed, is not attractive. Apparently it is just fun to laugh at. I wanted to hear what my accent sounded like so I recorded myself speaking German. It really does sound different when I hear myself talk from when I hear how others hear it.
Thanks to a group of about 4 people who alert me almost everyday, I know exactly how many days there are until I go back to the USA. I also know that February 7th is my half-way mark. With this big milestone comes the next "phase" of my exchange. Let me just tell you, it is not that great of a phase. It's just that everything here is becoming normal. That is not a bad thing, it's actually a good thing. I have friends, a family, a daily routine and all of that. Now that everything feels normal, the hype of being in Germany is kind of gone. I don't want you guys to misinterpret that. I still love being here and am still enjoying it but it just feels like normal life again.
That is why I do not write so often anymore. Now that everything is routine, you have heard it all before. I don't have that much new to write about.
On to one of the best things about foreign cultures; the food. German food is not just beer, sausages and pretzels. Those make up a good portion but there are a few others. On to what I consider the best part of "German" food; the Turkish food. Three things brought in from Turkey but are borderline German are döner, yufka and döner box.
Döner is a special meat that is thinly sliced and then put on a pita with vegetables and sauce. It looks like this.
Yufka is a bigger version of döner and it is rolled up like a taco. It looks like this.
Döner box is just döner meat and sauce on top of french fries. It just looks like the meat on top of french fries. There is probably a picture on google.
On to some more traditional German food. Things like Maultaschen, käsespatzle, schnitzel and sausages and kuchen.
Käsespatzle are little pasta-like things. Just make sure not to ever call them pasta in front of Germans because THEY ARE NOT PASTA, THEY ARE SPÄTZLE! They can be made with tomatoes, spinach but normally are just made with cheese. They are typical of the region where I live. They look like this.
In the picture of the käsespatzle is the infamous Schnitzel. Schnitzel is a thin cut of pork, veal or chicken (called Escalope in English) that is breaded and then fried on the stove. It's pretty amazing.
Maultaschen are still kind of a mystery to me. They are kind of like dumplings but filled with spinach and meat. It's basically as Swabian as the food around here gets. They are sometimes boiled in broth but the real way to make them is to fry them with eggs. They might be my favorite German food. They look like this.
And what would German food be without the abundance of sausage. They have about as many different types of sausages as we do breakfast cereals. I can't even begin to list all the different types. Here is a pretty good picture of some German sausage.
Cakes in Germany are kind of like sausages, there are way to many to list. There are however, no normal cakes (you know, the ones we bake from the box?). That type of cake doesn't exist in Germany. They opt for the ones like this.
One thing I still don't quite understand about Germany is that they eat a lot of raw meat. I don't know if it has chemicals to kill bacteria or if they just don't care but they eat raw meat. Ham, sausage, bacon; it's completely normal to eat it without cooking it. Another thing I don't understand is the milk in Europe. It doesn't need to be refrigerated and has a shelf life of about 6 months. In Germany, you can buy normal milk (and Gott sei dank we do) but you can also buy the weird shelf milk. In Spain, there was no normal milk, it was all that other milk.
I have been showing them our food as well. The other day we had German "goulash" which was really just stew. It was really good but it wasn't our goulash. I made our goulash for dinner and I gotta say, for being a 16 year old boy, the goulash turned out pretty good. Today I made breakfast for dinner. I made French toast, bacon, eggs, hash browns and eggs in a basket. It's hard to make new foods for them because Philipp spent a year in America so they know just about all of our foods. They didn't know about French toast or eggs in a basket so it was cool to show them.
Here is a video that I found pretty interesting. 2010 was the 20th anniversary of the reunification of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic (West and East Germany). This video gives some information about it.
Thank you to everyone who voted in the blog competition. I will let you know what the results turn out to be. They come out at the end of February. Do you guys still remember that poll that used to be on the side of my blog? The question was "What country would you like to visit most?". The results came out to be
Costa Rica 5
Ok that's all for this one. Hopefully I will blog more often.