Friday, May 29, 2009

Abrupt Change of Topic: Germany?!

Well I hadn't decided whether or not I wanted to blog about this particular adventure, but today I decided that 6 months from now I will probably regret it if I haven't written anything about it. I am presently in Germany (Cottbus, approx 2-3 hours South and kind of East of Berlin) for an internship that will last from May15 to Jul 16. I got here about 2 and a half weeks ago, and as I said I am here until Jul16. I won some kind of scholarship that pays me to come to Germany (except the plane ticket) and learn some stuff about science by helping out a phd student in a lab. I am working in a soil physics lab, learning about things like water retention curves and hydraulic conductivity. My phd student person is super nice and is called Annika. Another key piece of information here is that I do not by any means speak German. Ok, here we go:

Hallo from Germany!! Cottbus is a nice city in east germany. The architecture at the university (BTU) is super modern and weird, it's all glass and metal and concrete. Lots of gray. Also, the library, it has to be said, is truly horrendous. If you were looking at it from above it would look like an amoeba or something, and its just seven stories straight up in this weird shape, all glass with giant letters, and the inside is enthusiastically decorated in hot pink and lime green. The main feature is a giant spiral staircase and mysterious chain link fences. I'm not sure I understand art. But anyway. The rest of Cottbus is very cute with european-looking buildings and a river (Spree, it's called). Apparently there's a big foresty thing nearby, that I am going to visit at some point I hope. It's not a super exciting city though, it has to be said, so I'm kind of bored as I don't really know people at all. I do know people at work though, and they are very nice and I enjoy going every day. Which is good, because I have to lol. There's an unusual amount of graffiti around - I don't know why or if that's typical. People bike a lot here (as you probably have heard), and do in fact eat a lot of sausage. They also eat something mysteriously white and gooey looking with potatoes. It looks frankly gross. Other things I have noticed since I got here:

1. older german women have a strange tendency to dye their hair a weird shade of very dark red
2. pretty much all male germans have really nice shoes
3. most of the german people i have met have been super friendly and helpful if you talk to them or clearly need help (like when i asked a stranger if he could please translate the cooking directions on my frozen peas), but they mostly don't smile as readily as americans, which sometimes makes me feel like i'm in trouble or something because everyone looks so serious.
4. people biking have these nifty yellow things to keep their pants legs away from their pedals, that are like slap bracelets for their legs
5. putting dogs on leashes when you take them out and about is apparently not such a big deal, and they can follow you onto public transportation it seems. and the dogs never run away or get distracted. interesting.

i think that is enough for now. i am off to explore Potsdam and Berlin this weekend, and will tell you about that when i get back. ciaociao. er...tschüss!


Amanda said...

Oh kathy..i did lol when i read is so you.
Girl it is not too difficult to make frozen peas.
And also you are so observant. I am glad that you are liking your 'dirty' (get it??)internship : )

Anjali said...

I would like to second the peas comment :p

Kate said...

lol that is what i learned when the guy told me how to make them. i'd never done it before!

Mom said...

I am third on the frozen peas thing.