- My diet always gets so crazy here. Well, this stay and the three months last year. I am basically made up of cheese, potatoes, and bread right now. My current favorite German thing is doner (slight misspelling, I don't know how to add an umlaut). It's Turkish but really popular in Germany. It's great, is what I'm saying. Also, lunch is a much bigger meal. The cafeteria (no one really leaves campus for lunch) has these large portions of heavy food. Lots of meat and potatoes, pasta. Stuff I think more typically of as an evening meal. It's honestly nice: have the big meal at lunch, prepared by someone else, then go home in the evening and just have bread and cheese. It's nice!
- I went from 0 to 100 on the trip planning this week. My aunt started to plan her trip in September. And suddenly I realize how much time I have ahead of me and nothing planned! I've got 25 days of vacation just sitting there. So I've started on that. There are four big trips that I will take one or two weeks of work for: Spain (primarily Barcelona and Madrid), Italy (Venice, Florence, Pompeii), Ireland/London (this is the only family is joining me for), and then the two weeks back in the States in May. Plus there are a lot of little trips, primarily over long weekends: Berlin, Vienna, something in France other than Paris. And hopefully a lot of day trips to places like the Black Forest and Munich. I need to get on it, basically.
- I miss Mexican food. I must be hungry because this is very food-oriented. Food-wise, this is really the only thing I miss. Everything else I'm able to find an equivalent for. But no Mexican! When I'm home for two weeks in May, in addition to hitting up every Mexican restaurant in Indiana, I might have to also stock up on Mexican seasoning so I can at least make some of it when I return. My cooking is extremely limited...
- And one more food comment: Maultasche is a local specialty, created in the state I'm staying in. I had it for the first time three weeks ago and suddenly it's everywhere. It's honestly great. The pre-made ravioli is available at the local grocery store but I need to figure out how to actually cook it. The packaging is all in German! And the story behind it is nice: Catholic Germans used this food to cheat during Lent, as they could 'hide' the meat from God. Thanks Catholics.
- My guilt about not speaking German peaked this week. In one meeting, I was the only non-German speaker (this is the case about half the time, sometime's I'm not the only one). There was some confusion between two of the colleagues that caused us to move a little slower and reiterate a point multiple times. I really think it was because it was in English rather than German. So that sucked. And then in another meeting, where I was again the only non-German speaker, the team had to switch to German for awhile because the discussion was too difficult to have in English. So I just sat there, tried to pick up every third word, then gave up and worked on something else until they reached a conclusion. Basically, I feel guilty and stupid. But the only solution is time travel. There's no way I can learn a new language, especially one as finicky as German, in enough time to help with this trip. Really, I should go back a few years ago and start then. Also, everyone struggles with translating idioms. Each language has its own idioms. And when I'm asked for an equivalent in English, they're suddenly very hard to think up on the spot.
- I'm really glad that there's a six hour time difference. For productivity reasons, because this election is driving me insane. I can't look away. I spend a stupid amount of time reading analysis and general news online. And the new stuff doesn't really come in until late afternoon here, so I read it when I get home or as I'm wrapping up for the day, instead of a steady stream distracting me all day.
NOTE: This was originally published on March 20th. Technical problems aside, republished March 23rd.