Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring Break

I'm going to try to accurately describe my Spring Break!  At this point, I'm really so busy that I have about a million other better things to be doing than my blog, but then it occured to me that there's no other record of my time here, because I've long since stopped writing anything in my paper journal.  And I've got to write down some things, so that when I'm old and grey, I can look back and remember these things.

So, I went to Scotland first.  I went to see Bill and Gwen, who are two of the loveliest people I've ever met.  They fed me and gave me a place to stay and took me all over their part of Scotland, and I saw so many things.  But more than that, they gave me a place to feel at home for 5 days (well, the better part of 5 days), where I didn't have to worry about anything at all.  Gwen cooked some of the best food I've ever had, and Bill taught me to play this addictive card game called Phase 10.   It was like being at home.  I got a little teary when I left, because I so enjoyed my time there, and I so enjoyed being around Bill and Gwen.  Bill took many pictures wherever we went, so I have those to remember my trip by, and I'm in a lot of them.  He even has a picture of me sticking my hand in the North Sea, at St. Andrews.  And I got to meet some friends of theirs and see a really lovely farm.  There's just some part of me that's at home on a farm.  We saw Stirling Castle, another littler castle, several towns (I'll have to get the names from the pictures or from Bill), and some lochs.  And I also saw Highland Cattle, and took lots of pictures of them for Caitlin.

I also went to Germany.  We went to Berlin first, and spent two days(ish) there.  One day we took a tour of the important landmarks, and saw just about all of the major ones you really hear about.  The next day, we went into the Holocaust Memorial Museum, which made your's truly cry, and then I headed to the zoo, which was... definitely an odd sort of zoo.  Very progressive in a lot of ways, very outdated in others.  But I did see Przewalski horses, which was a highlight.  Saw the panda, too, but really could have cared less.  It didn't look very happy.  And the hostel we stayed in was fantastic!  We met a guy from Uruguay who was the only stranger in our dorm.

From Berlin, we went to Dresden, which is where Daniel lives.  Saw all the important stuff there, too.  I took loads and loads of pictures!  I got to have a whole conversation in German (the only one I had) while buying three books at a bookstore.  Decided I could probably be persuaded to love Dresden, because it's not very big at all.  We went from Dresden to Cologne via Leipzig, and got to spend the whole afternoon doing tourist things in Leipzig, which meant going to a museum on the reunification.  Everything was in German, which was excellent practice for me, but rather boring for my non-German friends, I think.  It was actually really interesting.  Then we got to Cologne, where we met up with Nerea.  We stayed in a wicked awesome little hotel there.  The folks who owned it live on the premises, and it's more like a bed and breakfast.  They're not... totally German.  Daniel said he thinks they were Czech or something.  They spoke German with a very interesting accent.  Super nice people, though, and breakfast was really great every morning!  We did the tourist thing in Cologne, too, and saw loads of the town and the Dom.  That's the big cathedral.  We also witnessed one heck of a pillow fight.  We made dinner at Nerea's flat, and they went out to party and I went back and watched Castle in German.  Another day, we went to Bonn, which is a lovely city.  But it was Easter weekend so everything was kind of dead.  Still, we got to see Beethoven's house.  I can officially I've read music written in his hand.  I actually stood there and read the notes and dynamics and everything, just so I could say I had.  And I bought a fantastic scarf with a whole piece by Bach on it.  Wicked.

Efferen is the name of the place our friend Nerea is staying, btw.  It's just outside Cologne.  It's a really nice little village, I think.  I wouldn't mind Cologne, either, if I could live on the outskirts of it.  Our last day in Cologne, we climbed to the tippy top of the Dom, which nearly resulted in Caitdeath by asthma, but didn't quite.  The view was gorgeous from up there, but uh... I don't ever want to climb that many stairs set in a spiral ever again as long as I live.  No thank you.  Still, I'm glad I did.  And the weather that day was gorgeous.  We sat outside the train station with no jackets, our sleeves pushed up, and got hot.  It was fantastic.  I think if I'd sat there long enough, I would even have gotten sunburned!  Then we returned to the Land of Rain (aka England, aka The Motherland).  And here I am.  There were tears on leaving Cologne.  See, they're all planning to get together this summer, so their goodbyes aren't for very long.  At any rate, they're all in Europe, and a short flight on Ryanair away from each other.  For me, it feels like a more final goodbye.  It may be years before I can see them again, and as easy as Facebook makes keeping in touch, I am already having trouble keeping in touch with some people.  But I'm determined not to lose touch with these friends.  It's funny, cause sometimes I feel like we don't really know each other at all.  I don't know their favorite colors, their birthdays (okay, they've been celebrated, but I've forgotten), their favorite movies or books, or any of those silly things you learn about people.  But I also realize that we kind of know each other on a different level.  We know each others personalities and quirks, and what irritates some people, and that some people snore and others need more sleep than others.  It's the knowing that you get from living with people for an entire 9 months, and really being each others' family, in a way.

Anywho, eventually there will be a last post here.  It will feel both too soon and a long time coming, and I'm sure I'll wax poetic and all that good stuff.  But right now I'm just trying to have as much fun as possible in the time left over here, so that I can say I made the most of it.  I can't believe we've only got two months.  Where did the time go?