28 Jul 2017 08:40 am
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
I put highlights of my pictures into a Google Slides thing. To view it as a slideshow (fullscreen), click View -> Present . There are 162 slides, about 10 of which are title cards.

feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Uh, hi, I guess I didn't update my journal very often. I kept a paper one, though! Because I needed to keep track of stuff so I can turn in a paper for the people who gave me a grant.

Hamburg was nice; I met with a professor whose research interests me, and he gave me some advice on things to look at (including some translation theory, even) and wanted to hear more about my research in the future, because it's an interesting topic. (So I know one place I'm going to send my exposé once it exists, even if the prospect of living in Hamburg doesn't fill me with glee.)

Dresden was AMAZING. I really liked it there, and the Altstadt was beautiful, even if half of everything was under construction. I took day trips to Leipzig, Bautzen, and Pirna, and Ben and I went to Saxon Switzerland, which is a place I could definitely go back and spend a week in a cute vacation rental or hotel and go hiking and work on a novel. But there isn't a university for me there, because the TU doesn't have anything that matches my research interests.

Berlin was, as usual, great. I got to see [personal profile] kriski and [personal profile] dirtyzucchini and kriski gave me a copy of her poetry collection, which I am excited to read. I flipped through and the one about the woman at the knitting group punched me in the stomach. Good job! I can't wait to share these with my classmates.

I also got to see some parts of Berlin I'd never made it to before, because I didn't have to go to the obligatory tourist sites. I didn't even set foot on the Museum Island!

I have all my photos up on GPhotos; let me know if you want the link (or if you have a GPhotos/gmail you want me to share it with). They are sorted by city but otherwise unlabeled. That's a huge project...

I learned that you don't have to live in the same city you are doing a PhD in, if you are doing a solo promotion and don't have to meet f2f with your advisor very often, which means that theoretically I could live in Berlin while promovieren in Hamburg and go there every other week or whatever. And that your student ID is valid at all the libraries in all the universities :O

I just don't know which city Ben would have better luck finding a job in. Both have a lot of tech/software stuff, but they're both also full of young jobseekers who are more the type (ie cheap labor) startups want. So idk. But any decision is at least 2 years off, because I won't finish here until May 2019 (that's the target) and I doubt I'll finish my thesis and immediately want to write the exposé for winter admission (October). Summer admission (March/April) might be better, even though I'll probably have to turn it in around October anyway.

... yeah, I kind of fell into a really cool dissertation idea, so...

I'm going back to Georgia on the 2nd, so I have another week here. I'll start packing up at the end of this week or the weekend. Mostly I just have to put my clothes into suitcases and streamline a lot of loose crap floating around.

Oh, and I'm going to a roller derby boot camp, so I might join a roller derby team. (My academic schedule may prevent me from participating much this semester, but we shall see.)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
The weather is, as expected, alternately pleasant and raining. Yesterday it was even warm enough for me to wear shorts and a t-shirt and sunny enough to *get sunburned.* Today it was 65 and cloudy with occasional sprinkles.

I've seen a lot of things in Hamburg already. There are still museums I'd like to get to before I go. Several things I'm able to cross off my list because of the Goethe Institute's culture program (or will be later). On Saturday I took a day trip to Lübeck with 4 people from my class, which was really nice. We saw most of the Altstadt and got some cool pictures. A+ would go back again.

Hamburg is ok. It doesn't have the pull that Berlin does, but I feel like it's a place I could be for a little while (ie if I decide to 1) work on a PhD 1a) in Germany 2) in Hamburg). The feeling is different than Berlin, likely because it's a port city. (The largest port in Germany, even.) Lübeck, despite being small, all of 225k residents, felt nice, though. It was super adorable in the Altstadt. It also seems fairly cheap to rent there. (Though at the rate it seems to be growing, from the quick google I did to get the population, that might not last long.)

My class is going ok. The group is weird; 5 of them are returning from previous months and already know each other, and the other 6 of us are all newcomers. It's awkward and cliquish. But it's ok; several others among the newcomers are nice, and we (as I mentioned) traveled together. I'm preparing for the C1 Exam at the end of the month; it's going to be a little tough. There are a lot of things on the exam that I already know I'm shit at (ie the things I missed on the placement test, which are a) verb collocations, b) prefixed verbs (wirken/auswirken, forschen/erforschen), and c) formal/business letter (email) writing. Considering that I'm shit at business writing in English and I've never learned it in German...), and I asked the teacher if we can practice them more. I *think* I'll pass, but I want to get as high a score as possible.

I'm working on scheduling a meeting with a professor at Uni Hamburg to talk about his research and maybe mine, see if he seems like a person I could work with for a few years and if he's even willing to consider me as a student. (There are other professors at other unis whose work I find interesting, based on their CVs & bios on the website. I'm just here at the moment.)

Anyway, it's time for me to write in my fancy paper journal. I should probably also finish my homework. (I just have to make some notes about whether I agree with a dude about some stuff and learn some vocabulary. I finished the rest.)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I finished Sociolinguistics, and I think I got an A. Grades aren't officially posted yet, maybe at the end of summer.

My flight leaves at 5:41 pm today. I'm going to Paris, where I have a 4-hour layover, then on to Hamburg. 4 hours should be plenty of time to get through customs, recheck my suitcase, and all that. I can get a Real Croissant in Paris (at the airport, ok, but whatever) and experience Parisian attitude about language in person.

I got a fancy notebook/journal thing to write about my trip in, and a set of 6 fancy pens. I have to write a short essay for the grant people about what I learned or whatever, so I'm going to make myself write down, in addition to what I did, how I can use it for teaching purposes. I can even take notes on the teaching methods/activities, though I probably won't be teaching that level at UGA ever.

It would be a lie if I said I had no apprehensions about the trip. There's so much violence happening in Europe (mostly England at the moment), and the child in charge of the US could start a war or something while I'm gone. My last surviving cat is getting older, and, while she's pretty healthy, so was Claire until she died very suddenly of a blood clot. I already feel terrible about spending so much time away from her; I would be crushed if she died while I'm away.

Something could happen to me; something could happen to Ben. Something could happen that makes it impossible for me to get home. But I can't let worry stop me from doing things. That's what terrorists want.

If you're in Germany (especially the Hamburg, Dresden, or Berlin areas) and want to do something (like get dinner) let me know!
feuervogel: (sakura)
Update the first: I was accepted into the Linguistics MA program! So I will be in Georgia one additional year (and hopefully only the one). Ben doesn't want to move to Georgia, so we will be maintaining 2 residences. I found a new apartment that is closer to campus, has 2 bedrooms and a kitchen with actual cabinet space (though still not a lot of counter space) AND is almost $100/mo cheaper. Plus it has central HVAC. I look forward to it.

Update the second: The paper I submitted to a conference was accepted (as a poster)! I will be going to Austin April 20-23 to hang out with a bunch of Germanic linguists and tell them about how cool my research about German memers on tumblr is (and get them to tell me what else to look into). I applied for a travel award through the department, and I hope I hear about that soon, because I need to book the hotel room; if I don't get the grant, I will beg for floor space with a grad student at UT (or find a roommate).

Update the third: GERMANY! I bought my plane tickets and have an itinerary. I will be in Hamburg June 5-30, Dresden July 1-13, and Berlin July 13-17 (and fly out the 18th). While I'm in HH, I will be at the Goethe Institute, so I'll be spending the afternoon there and doing as much of their Kulturprogramm as interests me (tours, excursions, museums; probably not ballet, though if there's opera, I'll go). I don't know how much free time I'll have.

The class I was planning to take in Dresden was cancelled, so now I'm on my own for there. Because of the grant I'm getting, I have to make it related to my education as a teacher, so I'm going to keep a journal of how I can use various things to teach my students. I'm mostly going to go to Cold War-related sites (including a day trip to Leipzig), but also the usual Dresdner Altstadt stuff. (I'm going to have to go to the Oper for reasons relating to the story that's coming out in fall.) Ben is probably going to come join me for part of that week. I want to try to swing a trip out to the Sächsiche Schweiz, but I don't know how much time I'll have.

Then in Berlin I want to see an exhibit in the Alliierten Museum, probably stop in the Deutsches Historisches Museum to spend more time in the modern section than I had last time, and go to the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer, and if I have time/schedules work out, take another Berliner Unterwelten tour. I also want to try to see a Hertha training day (if they're there and not off in Turkey) and meet up with friends.

Classes and stuff: the 2 classes I have that aren't literature are going pretty well. Old Norse is fun, and the term paper, in which we translate something and justify our decisions, sounds like fun. Syntax seminar is harder, but also kind of fun, because we get to talk about language acquisition, and our term paper is partner work and will be about second language acquisition. Literature seminar is still overwhelming and I have no idea what I'm supposed to write about; the instructions are "choose something in the broad thematic we've discussed this semester" and we read a novel every week how the fuck do I even begin with that.

In fall I will have 4 classes again and be teaching 2 sections of 2nd semester German, I am going to die. But Phonetics & Phonology is supposed to be not a lot of work, and Language, Gender, and Culture may or may not be; Medieval Courtly Literature will be tough but fun because we're reading parallel texts of Middle High German and modern translation. Culture Seminar will be Jewish Studies because of who's teaching it, and we will have to read a lot of novels (but less than this semester, thank god).


2 Jul 2014 01:00 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
Been home a few days now, but there's been football and unpacking and homework and this fucking cold. I never really posted much after the first couple days in Berlin, so I'll give a précis for the rest of it. The weather was variably terrible and bad, with a brief foray into pleasant followed by an immediate return of terrible.

June 20 )

June 21 )

June 22 )

June 23 )

June 24 )

June 25 )

June 26 )

June 27 )

June 28 )

I dumped my pictures into dropbox. This link might work; I can't tell because I'm logged in.

Ben posted a bunch of photos on tumblr, and he collected them here. He had a photo pass for Sanssouci, so he got inside pictures, whereas I just got outside ones.

I feel really comfortable in Berlin. I can't get Ben to do much more than say "yeah, it could be fun" when I discuss moving. But that's an entirely different blog post, and this one's taken me an hour to write already.

I'm home.

25 Feb 2014 11:21 am
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
My return flights were blissfully uneventful. The worst I had to deal with was an over-tired child shrieking on the train.

I got a whole row to myself on the transatlantic leg, and the vegetarian lunch they served was actually pretty good. (Nicely-seasoned tofu, cooked to a good consistency; the mashed peas glob was nasty, but I hate peas. I think it was maybe partly potatoes too?)

I unpacked and got a good night's sleep, though I may take a nap later.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
May the travel gods smile upon me this time.

ICE 612 Stuttgart-Frankfurt (M) Flughafen 09:51-11:06
DL 107 FRA-JFK 13:45-16:45
DL 2920 JFK-RDU 18:45-20:17

Week 2

17 Feb 2014 09:02 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I don't want to go home :P My flatmates are nice, and I feel comfortable here. But I need to go home and see Ben and the cats. Also all 11 kg of my course materials are at home.

I've been poking around the GI website, because I'd like to take the C2 exam (the Grosse Deutsche Sprachdiplom) eventually, and I was looking for some self-study materials, etc. They have some free online, or I could buy this book. They recommend a distance learning course in grammar, which I may opt to do even if I don't take the exam. (After I finish the current study thing. Two at once is absurd.)

I don't know that getting that qualification will do anything special, other than show that, hey, I can speak German really well, so I'm not going to teach people terrible German.

Of course, afaict there are no sites in the US where it's given. Oh, no, they'll give it at the GI in DC and Boston. Getting to DC would be easier & cheaper for me, though since my sister moved back out to Maryland, I don't have a convenient downtown location to sleep for free. The one in Boston looks like it's on the red line between Arlington and Copley.

Either way, this won't be happening this year, and next year looks less unlikely, but they only offer it once or twice a year. So.

La. I think I'm going to go take off my makeup and wash my face.

To do

13 Feb 2014 08:05 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
-Go to a Schreibwarenladen.

-Alternately, go to the Schreibwaren department of Galeria Kaufhof.

-Buy a Lamy Al-star with a fine nib, if such a thing exists. (Thalia seemed to have mostly medium nibs.)

-See how much the new German away jersey costs and buy one if it isn't stupid expensive. Jerseys are $90 plus tax and shipping at, or $106.29. So if it's €78 or less, it's a better deal to buy it here. (Even if it's €90, it might be ok, because I can get the MWST (VAT) refunded when I leave. If I remember to get a VAT refund receipt or something. But then I might have to mail it home; my backpack is quite full.)

-Wander around MA and hack some Ingress portals. I can make a couple control fields that go to my apartment. Unless this guy takes them over for green first :P

-Get a train ticket to Stuttgart. I can go in ~40 minutes on the ICE for €39, or I can go on the S-bahn and IC in 1h15 min for €30. On the one hand, save money. On the other hand, takes longer. Maybe I'll do the cheaper one since I'll have to use the ICE to get to Frankfurt airport Monday morning.

-Sleep more.

Day 3

12 Feb 2014 06:11 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Still liking this practicum thing. All the teachers (and also my WG people) say I have clear pronunciation and have only a slight accent, so I just need more self-confidence. -_- They mostly think I could teach within Germany, at VHS oder so. The teacher from Monday meinte, that some Goethe Institutes allow non-native speakers if they have 100% perfect German. It's a level I aspire to, but yeah. Gar keine Fehlerchen.

I feel like I'm learning a good bit about methods and how to teach at different levels, though I'm not sure how best to integrate two different levels within the same class. But then, neither have been any of the teachers I've worked with thus far. It's a difficult question.

I went shopping at Thalia again. The train stop is right outside it, and I am weak against bookshops. I was looking for a Schreibwarenladen, and I know I saw one while I was out flanieren the other day, but damned if I remember where. I'm also looking for books to use to teach Ben German, and I'm also looking for some C1-level review/etc books for me, because I'd like to take the GDS at some point. (Though I suppose I should actually take the C1 exam first...I don't think they require it, though.) I'd want to be living in Germany for at least a few months first, though.

I picked up 2 kids' books, one Pixi Wissen about football, and one story about a hedgehog that was cute. There's this series that looks popular now about a dragon that goes on adventures, but those were more expensive. I picked up a pocket reference for verbs and a vocab trainer, both for Ben. For me, I got a German dictionary (monolingual, finally, the pocket Duden) and a 5€ book on whisky. Klar. It was €5.

I'd like to pick up the Dreyer-Schmitt grammar book, of which I have a very old edition already (from before the spelling reform; I think it's about 1990 at the latest). They have the newest edition at the Institut, and I really like the new layout. Also it has the new spellings, which I still haven't quite worked out.

I'm going to reheat dinner (I had some spinach and cheese ravioli and vegetarian bolognese from rewe last night, and I couldn't finish it) then take a look at the books that the teacher I'm shadowing tomorrow uses. Then probably hit the hay. I have been SO tired.

This weekend I might make a day trip to Speyer, visit the cathedral, that sort of thing. Dunno yet. If the local Ingressers go out, I may join them.

Day 1

10 Feb 2014 05:12 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I've gotten settled in here in Mannheim. The rest of the people in my WG are nice, and I made a pot of curry for dinner last night, which we shared.

I had my first day of the Hospitation today, in an A1 (first level) class. Tomorrow I'm going to an A2 class, then B1, A2, etc. I only have a day (8:30-1) in each class. Because I didn't start until about 10 am today, I need to make up about 2 hours of instruction-observation time, so I'll have a couple times when I go to an evening course, which serves a different population. Should be interesting.

The teacher today let me help out in class, which was neat. She had me go around during group work. Not everyone will, so I don't really know what I'll be doing the rest of the time, other than observing and taking notes about how the course progresses.

In school-not-related stuff, (I just started writing this sentence in German) I bought some tea that is really nice from Teekanne, Spanish orange. Kind of like Celestial Seasonings' Mandarin Orange Spice.

It is also apparently extremely difficult to find normal stick deodorant in this country, or at least in dm. They had a ton of roll-on, which counts as a liquid, which means I'd have to throw it out in 2 weeks when I leave, because it won't fit in my 1-quart zip top bag (which is already full). I found three sticks, one of which wasn't also anti-perspirant, so I picked that up for like €1.50. I can shove it in my normal toiletry kit.

Now I should get off the computer and flip through the books tomorrow's teacher uses so I have an idea of what she'll be doing.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
This practicum in Mannheim is expensive, so I've put up a GoFundMe page.

Feel free to link to this post and the page.


20 Nov 2013 01:31 pm
feuervogel: (writing)
1. I have a room in Mannheim for February, and I have plane tickets.

2. I've now had a mobile carrier called Fonic thrown into the mix; apparently they use O2's network. The rate is similar to Telekom's, so I guess it'll depend which store I find first.

3. I have three short stories out on submission right now. This is highly unusual and is a result of Viable Paradise. One story is my application piece; another is the dreaded Thursday Story.

4. I am re-reading up to where I left off in writing the novel, and I had a terrible (in the good way) idea, so I think I have to use it. But that idea kind of sets up a sequel, and *flail*.

5. I may have to reread the whole thing to make sure I didn't put any hints in that I never followed up on, but that's the thing that will happen when I get to the end of this draft (which I tend to call draft 0, because it's a glorified outline).

6. I joined SparkPeople; let me know if you want to be friends there. It's part of Operation: Fit Into The Jeans That Fit Last Winter Goddammit. Paying attention to what I eat is a pain. Also, I may be making lentil stew to freeze and have for lunches, because I need more protein, and lentils are full of protein. Added bonus: Ben won't eat them, so I don't have to worry about sharing.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
1. Bought plane tickets to Frankfurt for February. Procrastination/indecisiveness paid off, because between last week and yesterday, the price dropped $130. I'll be arriving at 7:50 am Feb 6 and leaving at 1:45 pm Feb 24, and the last weekend I'll be visiting a friend in Stuttgart and hopefully seeing Hertha play live, depending on what the DFB schedules.

2. I got a response to my WG-Gesucht post! The room is 90€/week, which is super cheap. She's going to email me photos.

3. Can you buy just the extension part of a MacBook cord? I don't want to deal with outlet converters, since I only have one. The part I'm talking about is the part that snaps into the brick if you slide off the flippy thing, the extension cable. There's this, which goes into the brick, but I don't know how far the cord will have to reach for an outlet.

3b. What's the best place to pick up a USB charger port thing? tells me they're called a Ladegerät. (Ie what's a German Best Buy type store?)

4. Vodafone vs T-Mobile/Telekom vs O2 vs other: go.

5. I really need to get off my ass and finish this module (on language acquisition theory and language pedagogical theory) so I can get at least another after that done before I go teach for 2 weeks.


7. Contemplating (again) applying to the Middlebury MA program. 4 6-week sessions where you have 3 classes doesn't seem too bad, and the course offerings sound interesting. And maybe I can place out of/get credit for one or two with whatever certificate I get from this thing. Augh. (Mainly considering this because there are so many "MA required" jobs out there.)
feuervogel: Mesut Özil hugs Cacau (german team 10)
So, I need to go to Germany for an internship for 2 weeks in February, and I'm not sure where the money's going to come from. Which means I'm going to beg from people on the internet, I guess.

I know people who have used indiegogo to fund an educational thing, and people who have used GoFundMe, too. There are so many crowdfunding sites out there now, I hardly know where to start.

I'm leaning toward indiegogo, because I feel like I should offer people something in return for them throwing money at me. Straight up donations makes me uncomfortable, but I don't know why.

I could offer related things, like German lessons (over Skype or in person) or postcards. But those are very specific, so I could also offer unrelated things, like quilted e-reader or phone covers.

What do you all think? What are your experiences with these sites, and how do you feel about donating vs getting something in return? Other thoughts?
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I've put up a listing on WG-Gesucht. Maybe someone will be looking for a short-term sublet.

(Does my entry look OK? I've never done this before.)
feuervogel: (michel)
Hi all!

I finally have time to look into the problem of where to stay while I'm doing my practicum in Mannheim in February.

There's a place called Bed & Breakfast Mannheim which gets mediocre reviews on TripAdvisor. It's apparently an unregistered hotel, which makes me kind of ~_~. It might not be bad (and it's cheap -- two weeks would be under 500€ (about $650 at today's exchange rate)) but some reviews said it was dirty and there's mold in the shower, or the beds have hard foam mattresses. So I don't know.

So I looked on airbnb, and there are a couple rooms at similar reasonable prices, but I have no idea how I feel about using that service. The first one (a WG) is further from the GI, but about 20 minutes by transit (if I could take a direct route by foot or bike, it wouldn't be bad, but it looks like highways). The second one is closer and more expensive.

Do any of you have experience with airbnb? Is it worth it to stay in the closer flat, or should I take my chances in the WG? The flat has more reviews, too. It would run me about $760--more than the B&B (which is really a furnished room with shared bathroom & kitchen).

Mobile phones

I'm trying to figure out what to do about my phone. I want to use a German SIM in an old phone, but I'm having problems with my existing phones. My HTC One X would be great, except a) it doesn't read SIM cards anymore (which is why I have a One now) and b) it's technically still under contract, so I'm not sure AT&T will let me unlock it. I have my old Captivate, but a) it's running a ROM, so I'd need to do a factory reset to unlock it, b) it's a piece of shit, and c) it uses the old, large-size SIM cards (2.5x1.5cm/1x5/8in). I have no idea if you can still even buy those.

I want to get a prepaid, and it looks like T-Mobile has the best plan (Xtra Call; the triple whatever one would be great but it looks like it's a monthly service, and I just want to put money on the card as needed), though Vodafone has highly competitive rates. Both providers have prepaid phones you can buy, but I'd rather avoid buying yet another goddamn phone. Especially because the ones that use the non-monthly service are crappy old phones just like the ones I already have. (Like my old RAZR flip phone. Just newer.) I'm going to be back in Germany in June, so I can use it then as well.

The main thing I can't figure out is if the XtraCall option is available in the old, large-format SIM (not micro- or nano-) card. Do any of you know? Or can you wander over to a Telekom shop and ask? (Or a Vodafone shop for the CallYa Talk & SMS one.)

Also, do the minutes/does the money expire?

Are there better plans with better coverage? How does o2 compare, for example?

(Also what is with all this Denglish? Oy.)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Have been for several days now. I wrote a post about it here. It's entirely inadequate, though.

I've been catching up on things, doing laundry, napping, and getting over the plague (which came to us courtesy of Lynch and Bear; hey, someone's gotta be the plague bearer among the 40-odd people). All I have left is a bit of a cough, so that's nice.

Friday I'm driving to PA for my 15th college reunion and seeing old friends. Today I got my oil changed and my tires rotated (and patched up a bit where some asshole hit me while I was parked). My brakes are ok, but I need to get them changed soon, they said.

Have I mentioned how awesome our mechanics are? I trust them not to bullshit us into spending more money, and they certainly go beyond the call of duty. One of them loaned Ben his personal car (truck) for a couple weeks while Ben's Golf was having the entire steering column replaced. Wagner Tire in Hillsborough, NC. Good people.

Anyway. I'm also researching flights for my practicum in February. Leaving the US Wednesday or Thursday the 5th or 6th and coming back Monday the 24th costs the same ($1077 on Delta right now). It's just a matter of whether the inexpensive B&B is available and if I want to try the youth hostel instead (cheaper, but shared bedroom and no guaranteed desk space). Now, it'll be February, which isn't exactly prime time for tourism, so the hostel might not be too bad.

I also need to decide if I want to fly back through JFK and leave on a 1:45 pm flight, which would allow me to leave my friends in Stuttgart at a reasonable hour Monday morning or avoid JFK and potential ice by flying through Atlanta (9:45 am departure), which would necessitate an evening train to Frankfurt and a hotel. There's one at the airport that's cheap (45€/night) and has a free shuttle. Honestly, given my travel hell flying through JFK in NOT bad weather, I'm inclined toward ATL regardless.

I won't know until mid-December at the earliest when the Hertha v Stuttgart game is going to be. If it's Friday night, I won't likely be able to go. If it's either Saturday game or Sunday early, it won't be a problem. Sunday late would be less ideal but still manageable (since I'd have to get that late train to FRA for an early flight if I went through ATL). But even if I can't make it to the game (the Friday night match is 1 out of 9), I can see Joey, and he can show me around Stuttgart, where I've never been. And if I can make the game, he can get us tickets, and we can watch together.

I've also revised and submitted the UST short I was working on. If CG doesn't want it, I haven't lost much. I don't know if there's enough of a spec hook for other magazines, but I also am not allowed to reject myself from magazines; that's all the editor's decision. But I need to make sure it's not something completely off their regular list. (ie, don't send it to Analog or F&SF or Lightspeed. Which rules out a lot...) Even if I can't sell it anywhere, I've got some character backstory for the novel, which isn't a bad thing. I like writing character vignettes for backstory.

I need to revise my Thursday story and submit it; I haven't had a chance to start that yet. I read a collection of Grimm's fairytales I picked up in college to prepare for it, though. I also need to revise my application story, which I haven't had a chance to even think about yet. Except that I'm indebted to Bear for the new title of it. Which is a good one, actually. (I am rubbish at titles.)

I'd intended to take a nap this afternoon, but that hasn't happened. Oh well.
feuervogel: (shiiiiiiiiiit!)
I'm so not ready for VP this weekend. Augh. I've got laundry drying right now, so I can pack tonight, if I'm lucky, or tomorrow. I still haven't figured out what I'm going to wear.

I'm close to finished with this short story (which needs a better name; I am terrible at naming things and I hate it), so I'm looking for a few good beta readers. I'll email you the file (.doc, .rtf, or .odt--your preference) and hope to get it back by the 20th. I won't have time to work on it while I'm at VP, of course. Comment or PM me.

I get to finish things off in the house, like the almond milk I use for post-workout smoothies, which Ben won't use and won't keep until I get back. Not sure whether I want to make a smoothie for lunch today or tomorrow, though. I also have a persimmon I bought Saturday that is finally starting to become edible. I hope it's ready tomorrow.

I still need to finish The Lies of Locke Lamora, which I am enjoying a lot but not having time to read. I can take it on the plane, but I was kinda hoping to sleep, since I have to get up an hour early Sunday. We'll see.

I'd also like to make more progress in this module, which has finished being about language acquisition theory and turned into instructional methodology.

On which note: progress! I am confirmed for Mannheim Feb 10-22, and after I get back, I'll look more into flights and housing. The woman I've been conversing with sent me documents with hotels and apartment search information, which I will make use of. If any of you German friends of mine are in Mannheim or have friends there who are willing to put me up for about 18 days for less than 500€, please let me know! If you have any tips about Mannheim, also let me know. I've never been there.

(The youth hostel works out to about 440€ for the length of time, and it includes breakfast. But it's a shared room, so ... One plus is that each room has its own shower. I don't know. Hard to unpack in a hostel I think, but everything else is so expensive.)

Anyway, I'm hungry, so I need to get lunch and then get back to revising this story.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
Because people ask me a lot where they should go when they go to Germany (I'm apparently the local expert for many of my friends), I decided to write a blog series to answer the question. Unfortunately, my experience is confined to the southern third and Berlin, with brief excursions to Potsdam and Leipzig, so when I get to the northeastern third, I'll just be making things up or listing the major cities and saying "read the wikipedia entry." (I did visit Köln one day. All I remember is the Dom, and that's not hard to find at all. Exit train station. Look up. If you don't see it, turn around.)

I've always wanted to visit Dresden, but I've never managed to make it there, and there's not much that I know of in the eastern third. (Ossis, please correct me.) There's the cities I mentioned already, Cottbus, Chemnitz, the Baltic coast, and ... what else? Jena, I suppose, and the Erzgebirge (mountains are cool).

And if anyone has awesome things to say about NRW, Bremen, Hannover, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, or Niedersachsen, chime in! You can see what I've talked about already here.


16 May 2010 09:57 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
I got up nice and early this morning (6:15) so I could wash my hair & let it dry before catching a bus to Potsdamer Platz to catch a cheap train to Leipzig at 8. (I also needed to get breakfast & coffee at the train station.) I met C from my class, and we went down together.

I was planning to meet [personal profile] kriski, but she got a cold yesterday (it was terrible weather; I'm surprised I didn't convert from "getting over a cold" to "walking pneumonia" during the Potsdam trip), so she stayed home. Alas!

So, we walked through the old city. It's not very big, maybe a kilometer across. We saw several churches (Nikolai and Thomas) and some old buildings and a statue of Goethe. Then we walked to the building where the Stasi had their operations center in Leipzig, which has since been turned into a museum. They have everything from the spy equipment to disguises to jars of scents of detainees (for dogs to find them later). It's some really creepy 1984 shit, except 1984 was fiction. The emblem of the Stasi (MfS, Ministerium fuer Staatssicherheit/ministry for state security) is really fucking creepy: a hand holding a machine gun with the DDR flag attached to it.

They also had a special exhibit about the popular uprising in 1988/89, which had a lot of participants in Leipzig. I hadn't known that before. Leipzig is called the Stadt der Helden (City of Heroes) because of the major role it played in 1988/89.

A lot of the documents had BStU stamps on them. With really low numbers: 0001, 0030. Of course, in November 1989, they started pulping their files, so many were lost.

Mostly we wandered around, had a late lunch at a potato restaurant (where the menu consisted entirely of dishes made with potatoes in some way; mine was baked and stuffed with tzatziki), tried to find the Bach museum and failed, wandered around some more, and had coffee and cake outside before heading back to the train.

My cold from last week has progressed from nasal congestion (though I still have a bit of sniffles) to an irritating cough, which basically manifests as an itch in my trachea, which I scratch by coughing. Yay. Then it works a bit of phlegm loose so I have to clear my throat, then, hey, I trigger another round of coughing. I had something like this twice in high school, and it lasted at least a month. Though it was winter, and my mom's cigarette smoking didn't help any. So maybe this time it'll be better. I hope.

So that was my day. Now I might go to bed, since I got up so damn early and am trying to get over this illness.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Who wants one? Leave your address here. Also note if you have a preference for city (your choices: Berlin, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest) or theme (eg, East Germany, imperial stuff, art, cityscapes, night shots, architecture).

Comments screened!
feuervogel: (hetalia germany with beer)
-Call Visa & let them know I'm going to Europe so they don't cancel my card when there are charges in Europe
-Figure out what the BofA and SECU international ATM fees are & decide which card to take; transfer money if necessary
-Send updated contact info once I get my address
-LJ voice posting?
-Decide whether I want to take a 13-hour overnight train from Berlin to Vienna or a 2-hour plane trip. Train is less expensive, longer; flying is a pain in the ass.
-Get a haircut
-See people before I leave
-Make a packing list

Crabtree (Lush, Ann Taylor, H&M, Body Shop)
-King of the Mods, 4-oz body wash
-clothes? jeans, tops, skirt?
-face wash for Ben, travel size body wash if on sale

-underwear, socks
-cat litter
-bathrobe for Ben?
-Kashi bars (or Chez Teeter)

-Anything on packing list I don't actually have on hand.

Why are Ann Taylor pants so expensive? Why are they the only store I can reliably find pants that actually fit all my measurements? :P
feuervogel: (smiling Zuzu)
When's the last time I wrote about what I've been doing, other than writing? Uh, can't recall. April 10, maybe?

Let's see. Sunday the 11th I went to the park to practice San Shou with my tai chi school, then went to UNC for the anime club's spring picnic/ohanami. That was fun, aside from there being no fucking parking on campus diediedie.

I did the usual weekday stuff during the week, then Friday I went to Charlotte to stay closer to where I was going for a writers conference. The conference itself was OK; it was only $20 so even if the session I went to in the morning was billed as a workshop but was more of a lecture on what to do than how to do and there were so goddamn many Christian-interest writers there, it wasn't a huge waste.

The afternoon session I went to was David Drake talking about how he writes - his process, that sort of thing - and taking questions. It was interesting, and he's really intense. He told me I shouldn't read Hammer's Slammers, because it would disturb me (eh?) because he wrote them after he got back from Vietnam and they were a form of therapy. Now, I like a good, realistic, gritty war story, so I'll see how that goes. I might have time to start reading again soon.

Saturday evening, since I was in the process of flipping out about that volcano in Iceland, after I got home, I texted my ex-coworker and we went out to the bar in Hillsborough. (There's just the one, actually.) Then I tipsy-posted when I got home.

Sunday I went to a Turkish festival out at the fairgrounds. It was OK; there was Turkish coffee, and for an extra $5 I could get it in a Kütahya porcelain cup to take home. I bought some more helva, and Ben got some chocolate-creme-filled cookies that were pretty damn tasty. There were demonstrations of ebru (video) and folk dances (these guys were pretty amazing).

Monday I went out to Greensboro to meet [ profile] xjenavivex and J, to talk about starting a regional genre writers group, for things like networking, promotion, support, etc. The coffee machine at the Borders was broken, wtf. It was fun, and we're going to work on how to make it bigger & better. And maybe if we get enough interest, we can do a writers retreat out at the Outer Banks in like January when it's cheap(ish).

Coming up: Saturday I'm going to a conference/CME event on pain, addiction, and the law (from 7:30 am to 5 pm...but I'll get close to 8 hours of CE credit for it.) Sunday we have to run another blood glucose curve on Isis, so I'll be home all day. Then next week, I'll be running around and getting my shit together for Germany (clothes, toiletries, hair cut) and trying to see people before I go. L's having her birthday party Friday the 30th, and I may or may not go. I probably won't decide until Friday, actually. My plane leaves at 12 something (I forget if it's noon or like 12:45), so I'll have to be at the airport at like 10:30. We'll see.

Also, thanks to [ profile] av3rnus I have a lot more German industrial & techno. I need to find time to sit down and make note of which bands I liked enough to want more of, now that I've listened to all 3 CDs like 2 or 3 times each. (The only band whose song I skipped was Einstürzende Neubauten. Sometimes music hits certain frequencies or rhythms or something that makes me either cringe or become anxious. I can't reliably describe what exactly it is, either. EN tripped that button, each time I listened to it. Thankfully, I know how to use the 'next track' button.)

Right, then. Time to get the last few scenes on this novel draft edited/written. I only have 4 left. Which means I'll need a few hours tomorrow to finish it, because I'm good for about 3 scenes a day, if they need extensive reworking, and these, uh, do.
feuervogel: (sideways days)
Fuck, fuck, fuck. They're saying this eruption wossname could last for days or weeks, and that the last one lasted TWO YEARS. It could continue disrupting travel in Europe for days or weeks, and no one knows.

I don't have time right now to flip the fuck out about how my travel plans could collapse completely and I'll be out lots of money and extremely disappointed and it'll be terrible, as much as I would like to do just that.

I really hope I don't have to flip the fuck out.
feuervogel: (writing)
Scenes edited & written: 2
Today's word count: 1707
Total word count: 67742
Scenes remaining to edit: 40, give or take a few.

Also, also, re Berlin: in the email we got, they said to let them know if there were any special preferences we had, like no pets or an internet connection. So I wrote and said I need a non smoking apartment, because I can't breathe smoke, and internet would be cool if possible, and if I could live in the city center that would be cool but I understand if they can't accommodate that request. And pets are OK, and I like cats, and maybe if there's a cat I won't miss mine so much.

The housing director wrote back, and said that non-smoking was no problem, and there's no lack of apartments with cats in Berlin. As far as internet and location, they'll see what they can do, and hope they can offer me a suitable apartment.

Holy crap, y'all, this is getting real! And coming up really soon! And I'm so not ready oh god!
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
I leave for Berlin in 23 days. There's so much I need to do!

I got some information from the accommodations department, but it's not terribly specific. Just things like "you'll have a fully-furnished room and linens and a shelf in the fridge where you can keep stuff" and "you may arrive 2 May and you must leave by 29 May."

Also, we're to show up at the Institut for the language placement test sometime 3 May and the course begins 4 May at 1 pm (ish). I'm terrified that my reading comprehension and written grammar (which the online placement exam puts me in C1 for, where C2 is the highest) will be higher than my conversation ability, which has suffered greatly in the dozen years since I've actively spoken in German.

Wenn ich auf Deutsch schreibe oder lese, kann ich Wörter nachschlagen, etwa überlegen. Ist nicht so einfach beim Reden, weisste? Wird sehen, ja?



5 Mar 2010 09:17 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
So, I emailed K about my pay stubs (which were ... less than they should have been in some case, by like 15 minutes, but I got mileage, which I wasn't expecting. This is where I admit I hadn't looked at them since, uh, the end of January. Money goes into my bank account, it's all good.) and asked if she had anyone to cover next week.

I had a chance to check email on my phone (I love having internet on my phone like you wouldn't believe), and she'd written back, letting me know that she had every day covered except Thursday. I said I could do it, and here we are. She was worried that I hated it and was miserable there; far from it! I told her no, I like the work and the people, but I need time to get my novel edited and get ready for Germany, and if they need RPh vacation coverage and I'm available, let me know. (She knows I write; I explained that when I was hired.) So it's all good, huzzah.

This means I don't have to spend this weekend starting on house cleaning for the party, since I'll be home during the week (except Thursday). And that means I'm going to the 2-day san shou workshop. Unfortunately the first day, the long day, is in a crappy cement-floor building. But it's by Locopops and Phydeaux, and I guess I can get lunch at Whole Foods, though I'd rather not. It's kinda expensive. But I don't have anything to take with me, either. And going to the Mexican restaurant sounds like a bad idea. I'm sure people will figure something out. Last year I went home for dinner and took a nap, but it was much closer to home.

My life! I can have it back! Now I'm not overextended! Just sort of normally overbooked, I guess. I wouldn't be me if I weren't. That's where the J aspect comes in very handy.

Speaking of handy*, the SIM card I ordered for Europe arrived today. I can try to get AT&T to unlock my Razr tomorrow, since I'll be around the corner. And I missed delivery for a box of Turkish books and media from [personal profile] jerakeen, but I'll send Ben to pick it up tomorrow morning (though it may be out for redelivery anyway.) AND my new Fluevogs have left LA, traveling via UPS ground. I don't think I'll have them by my birthday.

*It's the German word for cell phone.

OK, now I'm gonna play with my new SIM card. It's got some fancy US/UK stuff I need to figure out.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
This means I'm holy shit actually going to Berlin for a month to unforget my German.

I'm alternatingly excited and terrified. Excited for fairly obvious reasons: spending a month in my favorite city, re-immersing myself in German language & culture (with the benefit of being 13 years older than my junior year abroad), meeting new people.

Terrified because I'm going by myself, not knowing anybody. I'm a Jungian extrovert; I become extremely miserable if I don't have people in meatspace with whom I can connect. With the combination of 5 hours of class 5 days a week and a roommate I'll be "on" enough for it not to be overwhelming, but even if I had a nerdy person to have dinner/beer with every Friday or something, that would go far. (It is extremely unlikely to be as horrible as the year I spent in Oregon for my residency. For one thing, it's one month, not twelve.)

Terrified because I'm breaking my routine, getting out of my comfort zone. Every time I've taken an MBTI, I've come back strongly J. 100% J. I like things in neat rows, orderly, and well planned out. Not knowing where I'm going to live, what sort of person my roommate will be, whether the people in the class will be friendly, how easy it'll be to get to talk to Ben (via phone, skype, or AIM).

I don't remember being nervous about going to Marburg for a year, though there was one other girl from my class who went. We were in different housing areas (she was in the Studentendorf, and I was stuck out in Wehrda), and we basically never spoke. I met some other folks in my mandatory language class, though we lost touch afterward. (I ran into one of them, another American, around the end of June, and she invited me to a 4th of July thing she was having down at the river. There were some other Americans, some Canadians, and a few Germans there. The Germans were horrified by marshmallows: too sweet! Which reminds me of the time when I Really Really wanted a Mountain Dew, so I searched the import area of Ahrens and found a single 12-oz can of Dew for ... 2,65DM, or about $1.95 at the time. Damn right I paid it, and bought an equally overpriced can of A&W. My floormates, especially Olav from Bremerhaven, were horrified at the nuclear yellow Dew and thought the A&W was too sweet.)

Though I have this weird ability to accept things once they happen and adapt readily. (Apparently that's part of being ESTJ, according to the internets. Though I'm apparently borderline T/F.)

So I may be overly worried, because I can't plan this thing 100%. I'll work on planning the subsequent two weeks in Vienna and Budapest instead. For me, half the fun is in the planning.


feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)

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