Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Most Boringly Exciting Weekend...

So, yeah, it began as a very boring weekend and suddenly ... Without me knowing it, it became great!

I think I left off at Thursday, makes sense, my day on Thursday was quite uneventful. Wake up, work, home, bed. At work I finished my research project and showed my boss. He said that it looked good (the huge Excel spreadsheet I made with the info) and asked me to make a PowerPoint presentation from it. Jeez, sometimes it's just the same thing again and again. So I started making the PowerPoint and spent the day working on it. At lunch I went to the Canteen on the Benteler campus with some guys, Thorsten, Dominik, etc. They had meatloaf and potatoes, brussel sprouts, and lentil soup. I had potatoes and brussel sprouts and it only cost me 1,20 euros. Not bad for how full I was afterwards. Again, I worked on the PowerPoint presentation and eventually I left work around 3:30 PM and went home. Dinner was boring, only yogurt and some cucumber. 

Friday was just as uneventful at work. In the morning I had to attend safety training. It's funny that even in Germany, the same things are said in these safety training situations. I won't be around chemicals, but I had to learn what to do in the case of a spill and in case of skin contact, etc. It's funny too that Germany used to have their own symbols for all the danger warning labels on bottles, etc. But the recently switched to the "international symbols", the ones we have been using in America forever. I think that there was really only one "important" thing I learned during my safety training, that is how to "properly sit in a chair"

Also on Friday, my boss Francisco, invited me to a meeting next week where my information will be presented. I'm not sure if I have to present the info or if he will, but now I need to dress up on Wednesday. I was already over the 28 hours I needed this week (we had Monday off work) so at 1 PM, I went back to my apartment. Dominik invited me to go with him and some friends to "Brinkmanns Brateri", a new restaurant that opened at the beginning of May. Of course, I had no plans for the night and I accepted.

When I got back to my apartment, I took a quick nap, well ... a three and a half hour nap. Got up and showered and before I knew it, it was 7:15 PM and my ride was here. We went to Brinkmanns and had dinner, it's very common to sit and talk for three hours, eating, drinking, etc. This restaurant was different than most. You sit at the table and decide what you want then you go up to the counter and order and they give you a small box, like the ones you get when you go out for dinner in America and there's a wait for a table, it vibrates when you're food is ready and you go up and get your tray and take it back to the table.

I had a burger and fries, and of course, a beer. It was fun to be out with the guys. Of course, we talked about work and plans for the weekend. Schützenfest is this weekend in Schloß Neuhaus and I planned to check it out at some point.

"Ein Schützenfest ist ein Volksfest, das sich aus dem regelmäßigen Treffen von Schützenbruderschaften bzw. Schützenvereinen herleitet. Im Verlauf des Festes wird in der Regel in einem Schießwettbewerb der beste Schütze (Schützenkönig) bestimmt. Einige lokale Bräuche ermitteln den Schützenkönig auch durch andere Wettbewerbe, wie Ringstechen, Vogelschießen, Scheibenschießen oder das Schießen mit Pfeil und Bogen." - (German Wikipedia)

The best family a girl could ask for!
I got home from dinner around 10 PM and went up to my room. There was a big party going on upstairs on the roof, of, the balcony on the roof. I sat alone in my room for a while and finally worked up the nerve to check it out. There was maybe 30 or 40 people, that's a lot for how small of a space it actually is. I walked outside but there was no lights out there and I didn't recognize anyone, got a few weird looks and gave up. I went back downstairs to my room. I spent the next 4 to 6 hours on Skype with friends and family. I talked to my parents and brother, and of course Alexis. I even got to talk to Sam and Jess! Finally, around 4 AM I went to bed and slept amazingly well.

Saturday was a little more exciting than the last few days. I went into town in the morning, yeah, I was still awake before noon! I got up at 10 AM and got ready and went into the city center and found a market. I didn't know that they had a market in town on the weekends! I looked around for a bit but wasn't in need of fruits and vegetables (or flowers, though maybe at this point in my life, I need to buy my own flowers, I've never had anyone buy me flowers) but I did find one guy selling hard boiled eggs that were dyed like the German flag. Not the shell though, the actual egg! You can barely see the eggs in the picture to the left.

I looked in a few stores and found a SUPER cute pair of jeans. They're teal and have a thin leather belt, I nearly had a heart attack when I looked at the price tag though, 145,00 euro, that's about $179.99! FOR JEANS! They must have been a brand name, I had never heard of them though, and right now I can't remember the name. I gently set them down as not to damage them, and backed away slowly. I'm not sure that I'll ever get used to clothing prices here. Yes, this was an extreme case, but still! I went to a Mini Price, a grocery store in the city and bought a few things and headed back to the apartment on my squeaky bike.

I deposited me grocery store finds in the refrigerator, I finally found my Nutella and I even bought a Monster (everything in German on the can.) Mmm, a taste of home! Then I headed back out on the bike into Schloß Neuhaus to check out Schützenfest. Honestly, there wasn't much going on. I looked around the castle and found the grounds where the event will be taking place but in the middle of the day, no one was there. Only some teenagers really.

I found a museum while I was there too so I went in and got a student ticket for 1,50 euro. The museum had everything. A section about nature in Germany, plants, animals, etc.; one about the castle and artifacts found in it; one about prehistoric Germany; one about the history of Germany's army; one about plants and drawings of them during "discovery" from around the world; and finally, a whole section about Benteler and its history. I guess I didn't realize that this company was that big!
Reluctantly, I walked / rode my bike back to the apartment, stopping first for a drink at one of the grocery stores. I bought a vodka and energy mixed drink and took it home with me (it's in the picture with the Monster above.)

 I got back to the apartment, room, whatever you want to call it and had lunch at 4 PM or so. I had avocado and cucumber on bread, yum!  I was lonely and looking for something more to do on Saturday so I sent an "SMS" (haha, text message) to Marc to see what he was doing and if maybe he wanted to hangout. He responded with "Hey Gaby, I'm in Biefeld. I have no idea which time I will come back." OK, fair enough, I told him to let me know if he comes back and wants to do something. "Okay, but it could be that we're staying here the whole evening. If not, I will let you know." Man, back to reading. I sent another text to Roman too. He's in Bottrop for the weekend. "I wish you a nice weekend. See you next week." Poo! 

I spent a few hours reading my book at around 8:30 PM I decided to make dinner. I drank the vodka and energy drink that I bought and it was yummy! More boiled potatoes for me. When I went back to the kitchen to wash my dishes, I heard some people outside and went down to see what was going on. There was a LAN party going on in the gym on the first floor, hmm, so it's not only the Houghton nerds. 

I went outside and saw a boy I met during my first days here and he asked "is everything okay" and I was confused, yeah, I'm fine. "We never see you around here, you're always in your room" hmm, sounds like I'm becoming more German than I thought. He asked if I wanted to go out for pizza and drinks with his group, sure, I'm always looking for something to do. I ran upstairs to change out of my pajamas and grabbed my bike. We rode into Paderborn toward the city center where we went to a restaurant named "Orangerie." I had already eaten dinner so I only had a beer but we stayed out until they closed. Some people were going to go to a disco (a club) in the city and some people were going back to the B.I.B. (the campus I'm living on) and others wanted to go to a shisha bar (a hookah bar.) We stood outside and tried to divide up the group. In the end, most of us went back to the B.I.B. to smoke hookah and only one guy went to the disco.

We had an interesting bike ride / walk back in the dark and once we got there we decided to meet on house six's (the one I live in) roof. There's a balcony / patio there. I ran back to my room to change into warmer clothing since it was now dark and getting colder. I went upstairs and there was a hookah and we all sat around and smoked until maybe 1:30 AM and then people started dropping like flies. Some other people came up to the roof and stood at the other side of the balcony and smoked, I paid no attention to it at first. Eventually around 2 AM, I was going to head to bed. I said goodbye and as I walked toward the door, I hear, "Gabi! Is that you?!" from the people on the balcony. What? Who even knows me here?

It was Marc and his friend from his hometown who had come to visit for the weekend. I said I was headed to bed but Marc offered me a beer. Man ... OK, but just one! He went downstairs and grabbed me a beer. Everyone from the hookah group decided to go to bed and Marc returned with Jägermeister and beer. I took a long drag from the bottle, yuck. Becks Gold. it's like all the light beer in the states. I mean, it's not the worst, but it's not true German beer. Eventually we were cold and Marc invited me to come back to his room to hang out and listen to music and talk and what not (come on, don't think like that, we were not alone!) We stayed up and talked until 4:30 AM and finally, I had to sleep so I went back to my room. I passed out quickly, it had been a long day!

I woke up at 11 AM today and made breakfast, no, had breakfast. I then decided to paint my nails because they really needed it and began writing. Man, it's like 3 PM now. I guess this weekend wasn't all that horrible after all. And I even made new friends using my new tactic! Awesome! (Jess, my horoscope is already coming true this month! Haha.) It's been raining pretty hard all day so far today but it just stopped, I think ... I should go exploring!

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