Monday, January 26, 2009

My First Day of Student Teaching!

I can't believe that it is finally here!! Besides being in Europe, I feel like I am constantly dreaming because I have now officially started my last semester of college. (Well, at least for now and I will be officially a college grad soon). Yeah, 119 days to go! - I'm not counting the days till I leave but the days I have left before I graduate!!

Rothenburg, Germany

First lesson in German - Rothenburg is pronounced Row-ten-berg. Okay now that that is over, let's move on.

Rothenburg is a medieval village about 18 km from where I am. Within the fortress they filmed the old version of "Brother's Grimm". (Sorry not the Matt Damon version girls). Once you enter the 'town limits' you climb stairs and walk along a wall that is probably 2 or so miles long. Along this wall you can look out at the rooftops of Rothenburg and the other side is a stone wall with a few peep holes that were used as spyholes or a place to shoot arrows at intruders. That's the summary, now here's the pics!:

Picture through one of the peepholes. Nice view eh?!

So cute isn't it!!

Rothenburg is now a tourist town but at the same time it really did not feel like it. They had shops galore with beautiful teapots, cuckoo clocks, souvenirs, and small cafe's. It was a very nice and relaxing environment. We just walked the streets, looked at the beautiful buildings and checked out the cute stores. One of the stores is the famous Kathe Wohlfarte collection. The store is full of Christmas ornaments, more than you can even imagine! They even have a museum but we didn't feel like spending the money or time there. Check it out online. It is amazing!

Truck parked outside Kathe Wohlfahrt store.

The rest of the pictures are of some buildings that I thought were pretty cool. Also the pic of me on the stairs is in front of St. Jakobschricke church. We didn't get to go in but apparently there is a scene of Christ and Judas that is remarkable and also a huge organ. I hope to go back there again so maybe next time.

Just a cool looking clock down one of the streets.

This last picture is somewhat of a famous scenery spot from Germany. Mom, you will have to check and see if that puzzle I bought before I left is a picture from Rothenburg and is part of this scenery. And somewhere there is supposed to be an old castle but I don't think I got a picture of it. Maybe I will go back when its spring so everything will be in bloom. Oh how gorgeous that will be!! - Jan 24th, 2009

Next post...Nurnberg, home of the Nazi Party Rallies and Nurnberg Trials

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Journey - 1st blog from Germany

So do you want the long version or the short. Short version is that it took me 6 days to get to Germany but I am finally here. For the long version continue on or else skip to the red writing.

So to begin my flight was scheduled to leave Sunday, 18th January at 8am. I was not able to get on the flight to Atlanta because it was full (I had a stand-by ticket). Little did I know that the valley had thousands of extra visitors for the NFC championship game, P.F. Chang's Rock and Roll marathon, and Barrett-Jackson car show. Not to mention people leaving AZ for the inauguration in D.C. I tried for a 1:30pm flight but it was overbooked so I definitely didn't get on the flight. So I then called my sister to pick me up and decided to try again. What's one more day eh? Monday came, no available flight. I then tried for a flight at 1am Tuesday. Yep, that one was full because so many other people had been bumped from previous flights the last 2 days they filled up the supposedly 'empty' red eye flight. Well, the next flight to Atlanta was 6 am so I decided instead of having Heather bring me back in just a few hours that I would wait. We did go to Denny's and had some delicious pancakes and then we slept in the car (or at least closed our eyes) until 4am. Luckily I did make that flight because it was time to get somewhere. I thought I was on my way. Yipee!!

I hadn't even mentioned yet that during my days in the airport, my luggage had traveled across the U.S. I guess just like me they wanted to go to New York. I don't know why my luggage got special treatment but I certainly wanted to know the secret. Needless to say the workers where supposed to NOT load my luggage UNTIL I boarded an airplane. Well, someone must have misread the bright green tag that read "stand-by baggage" and loaded it on the first flight I tried to get on. Then since my next flight was going to go to New York, they sent my luggage from Atlanta to New York. Yeah, it kind of made me nervous not able to see my luggage. And luckily I had packed some extra clothes in my carry-on. Now we continue on with the rest of the story...

So I finally made it to Atlanta. My flight landed about 15 minutes before the inauguration so I headed to my next gate even though my connecting flight was 5 hours away. I got there and pretty much the whole airport paused for the inauguration. It was kind of cool to be there in the South for the 'momentous' occasion of the first black-president. Anyways, after that I needed to check on my luggage because I didn't want to it to not make it to Frankfurt. Well, short story-I spent the next 2 hours trying to track down my luggage which had not been sent back to Atlanta from New York even though it had been requested 24 hours earlier. I then was not able to make the flight from Atlanta to Frankfurt because I could not leave the USA without them and they could not fly from New York to Frankfurt without me. Yep, once again I was left in an airport with no flight out. Luckily my cousins live in Atlanta so I spent the next 2 days with them. What's that? 2 days you say? Oh yeah! The next day we tried for a flight from Atlanta to Frankfurt once my luggage was in but that flight was cancelled due to mechanics. (Glad to know they DO check the planes right?) So yet again I was delayed another day. - side note again, thinking that I was definitely getting on this flight because there were a lot of open seats I had put my shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, and stuff in my checked luggage. - Thursday I spent the morning hanging out with my wife's cousin Kelli, who is awesome may I just say, and we went to a chinese restaurant. I'm thinking I should have eaten Chinese a few days earlier so I could have gotten a furtune cookie before this. But I did not just receive one fortune, I received four! At this point in time, I definitely was in need of 4+ fortunes! My favorite, which gave me hope, read "Keep up the good work. You will soon be rewarded." I took this as a good sign that my flight that was 2 hours away would get me to were I needed to go. And as luck would have it, I did!! Wahoo! Let me tell you it was so great to get in the air again.

The flight over here was fine and wonderful. First class was an exciting experience!! Definitely paid off all the hectic stuff I had been through the last few days. Even though I was able to lay down all the way, on a full stomach I really didn't sleep much. I wasn't really tired because it was 2pm to me but I think I got enough rest that it helped me push through the next 24+ hours of having to stay awake to beat jetlag. I got to watch new release movies for free, first course was hummus stuff and it didn't look appetizing so I didn't touch it, soup, and spinach salad. The soup was pretty spicy. The first bite I was coughing because it was so spicy. Hopefully no one saw my reaction because they probably thought I didn't like it but I did. I didn't have anyone next to me so that was nice too. For the 'main' course I ate sun-dried tomatoes w/ravioli. It was delicious! But I was pretty full so I only ate half of it. Then came dessert-oh wait, it never came!! Mark and Mike (my cousins who are pilots) told me to definitely try the ice cream sundae so I was going to go for it. I didn't want the fruit and the lady took my order for the sundae but she never gave me any!! I kept waiting and saw that no one was eating it either so I didn't think of it much until they stopped walking the aisles. I was bummed! Oh well, less calories right?!

Next was customs after landing. When I was going threw customs, the guy checking my passport kind of gave me a hard time since I didn't have a visa. So that definitely scares me for my return because one dude on base said that you have to leave the EU (Europe) area in order for it to count not part of your 90 days. So hope that I can reenter the U.S. with no prob cause Italy is not going to solve my problem like I thought it would. Going to the UK might though, we will just have to wait and see. (If not then NAU is in trouble because they advised me not to get a visa eventhough I am going to be over 90 days!)

My bags were the first on the baggage claim carousel so that was a relief to stop worrying about whether they were there or not. I also think everything arrived safely. I was afraid that some of my clothes had fallen out when my luggage ripped but it all looks good. --Whao! I forgot to add this to the list but when my luggage returned from New York, my brand-new luggage had ripped all along the top seam on one of my pieces. Luckily the airline had extras on hand to replace it.

My next problem was finding the train station!! Seriously I had to go up a floor, walk 100 feet, catch shuttle, go back down, walk 100 feet, go up, go down, get ticket, go down, and then get on the train. Let me say that with stairs/escalators or whatever it is not fun with all the luggage I had. My last down to the train only was escalator and I couldn't take the luggage cart so this indian guy who also had lots of luggage, just grabbed my carryon (which had me laptop bag tied on) and just sent it down the escalator. Well, needless to say I am glad my laptop is still in one piece because from it 'falling' down the escalator I was afraid it might have broke. All I'll say is that they need elevators and little lift door things (like what they have an handicap vans) to lift people with heavy luggage onto the train. My shoulder is a little out today. I think from lifting my bags hundreds of times. I had to get on and off 3 trains, 1 bus, and then 2 cars yesterday. (The 2 cars were Mr. Young, who picked me up at the station, and then Ms. Deatherage when we came home.) There were a lot of gentlemen who helped me (which I was nervous about) but I am glad they were nice, honest people who helped me and didn't rob me cause they just smiled at me while they grabbed my luggage. It was just scary when people kept reaching for my luggage to help because I just wasn't sure what they were going to do. :)

I was able to meet some of the teachers at the school once I FINALLY arrived at Ansbach. The teachers are really nice. I will have to re-introduce myself to them on Monday because when I met them yesterday I looked horrid!! I have proof because its on my base id!! So much for dates! I will now be know as the ugly-traveling-student-teacher on base! Oh, yeah, I had to get my id asap I guess. It was raining/snowing when I got here and after standing at bus/train stations over and over my hair did its wacky curly thing. And I didn't have makeup on AND I hadn't brushed my teeth for 48 hours because I had put my hygeine stuff in my big luggage once it got back from New York not expecting the flight to be cancelled. AND I had worn my black undershirt for 4 days without washing it but it was the only thing I had AND I was lacking in sleep! (I know TMI right but there was nothing I could do with no luggage for 5 days!) After I got ready today I went down stairs and Ms. Deatherage's reply was "WOW, You really do look different!" In my head I said Yeah tried telling you that yesterday but just smiled. It was wonderful to feel and look like a normal human being.

Well, that is the beginning adventure(s) and I have more because I did get to see a cute medieval-ish town today. I'll prepare the post tonight or tomorrow so look for more. Don't worry it will be more pics and less 'talk'.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Christmas, New Year's, A Week and Counting...

Yes it's been almost a month-well okay exactly a month since I last wrote but I have had this and that with the holidays and exercising and planning my trip to Germany. Plus I usually go on 'strike' with the computer after each semester because I seem to have it attached to my hip 4 months straight (as all you college students know) so it is nice to step away from the technology. Okay enough excuses but it is all true. Here's how the last 744 hours went for me...

After school ended, I was welcomed back into reality and fun. I have been able to spend some time with Kyler, my nephew. He is a brilliant genius (but then what genius is not brilliant?). But literally this kid is too smart. His mind picks up anything it sees. Just amazing-I will post a video of him later singing the abc's.

I also had time to spend a week with my other nephews and niece. We played the Wii, jumped on my bed, decorated cookies, played ping pong, shuffle board (on the kitchen floor) and more. Oh and Christmas was fun because we played this game called "Sorry Sliders" (the game "sorry" but you slide your pawns) and I highly recommend it. I think its $12-15 at Wal-Mart. It is fun. We played it pretty much all day. Christmas was so wonderful. We spent good quality time with the family and I should say even though it was a change from the traditional Christmas we had had in the past, it is a Christmas at the top of my list. Not because of the gifts but of the time I had with the fam and the spirit of the holiday that I felt. :)

New Year's - what can I say?! The clock struck 12. I could really 'vent' about the turn of the year moment(s) but its in the past and I must move on. New Year's day was spent on the road. My cousin Brittany and I headed to Mesa once our eyelids opened from all our 'wild partying' hours before. We spent the whole weekend shopping. It was nice and I have some nice outfits for student teaching :) Shopping is fun (but very emotional wouldn't you agree?!).

**WARNING! - NEVER, EVER use a piece of icicle tinsel stuff as a head band!! It will burn your skin!! Yes, this happened to moi right before we headed to the movies. It hurt and left a red mark on my head for a good deal of time! **


So what else is up? Not much from what is mentioned above. A week from now I will be in the air, flying over the Atlantic Ocean, with 3 hours before I set foot on foreign soil for the first time in my life. (Well I guess I did set foot on Mexican soil when I was 10 or so for 2 hours but this is just a little bit different wouldn't you say??!) I will land in Frankfurt Germany, and from there take a train to Oberdachstetten where I will be staying with the principal and her fam. Hopefully I will be able to sleep on the train over otherwise I will be looking at a 36+ hour day.

I am really excited. I must admit that my mind is constantly occupied with the upcoming experience that I could not even concentrate in church today. I had to keep pulling myself out of the clouds. (But I did remember some things I have to do before I leave so it was not a total loss). And I am not saying that the talks and lessons were boring, I just could not keep my mind from traveling off to Germany if you know what I mean.

That is it for now. Trust me, my blog will be rockin' in just over a week. In a week and counting I will take you to places you have never seen and will experience the remarkable culture, nature, and people of Europe.

Few more things before closing...
1. I miss hot chocolate! I have only had 1 this winter which is BIG for moi. Darn calories!
2. I enjoyed seeing all you 'chubs' over the holiday. Keep in touch eh!
3. I know the second coming is soon because the Cardinals are in the NFC championship game-only 1 win from going to the Super Bowl. Good luck you red birds - if you win...Well, I guess I am already at a loss of words.
4. This blog is long enough.
5. I really shouldn't keep on typing
6. because it is long enough.
7. I guess there are longer blogs
8. out there but I
9. just have to keep explaining why this is
10. SOOOO long. That happens
11. when you don't post anything for 744 hours, i.e. 31 days
12. on your blog. Did you know Kate Winslet
13. won 2 Golden Globes tonight?
14. Her first 2 ever even though she has been
15. nominated for 8. Just shows to never
16. give up. Oh what's that you say?
17. My blog is long?? Well then stop reading! If
18. you would stop reading then I would
19. stop typing but since I know you want to ignore those
20. dirty dishes in your sink I will keep typing. I just
21. typed "talking" like "will keep talking" because it does
22. seem like sometimes you are talking to the people who read your post
23. instead of typing your thoughts and memories.
24. We have eliminated interpersonal relationships and replaced
25. them with blogpersonal relationships.
25. Yes I made that word up but I think I will get it copyrighted
26. because that is how our society works. We socialize through forms of communication
28. That avoid real human interaction. I would totally write an article on it because
29. I think of it all the time how we not longer do things with out technology and they all or mostly avoid real human interaction.
30. I'm not saying that we should get rid of blogs because it has been helpful to know what ya'll
31. are up to but how many of us really talk to fam and friends on the phone (and
32. I do not mean texting) but actually "Hello?" "Hello, is John-Jacob-Jingle-Himmer-Schmidt there?" "Oh yes, let me get him for you." telephone conversation.
33. I'll drop it there. But seriously, are you still reading??
34. Did you notice that I typed 25 twice and not 27? I
35. didn't do it on purpose I just had to fix a sentence and
36. didn't want to fix all the numbers after it so I let it be. Okay seriously I am stopping.
37. Have a good day, afternoon, dusk, twilight, night, midnight, or what ever time of
day you are reading this. I must be really tired or bored
38. for writing all this. Oops - Call me Britney Spears-I did it again. I am typing or should I saw 'talking' again. - I'm stopping now.
39. Dowt!!