Tuesday, July 31, 2012

'Merrica

Prompted by a blog from a classmate who is ending her time studying in Spain soon, I decided to do my own version or her recent post which can be found here. She began by saying: "You can never truly appreciate your country until you leave it for a significant amount of time. This is how I feel. There were things about the US that I didn´t even know I loved until I didn´t have them any more." I'm feeling the same sentiment while living in Germany, but my time here is just beginning it seems. I also made a post about some of the differences here.

So, here's a basic list that will probably grow over time of the differences I see between America and Germany. Not all of these items are bad differences, but it does seem that these ones are having the most impact on my life right now, generally in a negative way. 
  1. Germans are ALWAYS punctual
  2. Germans are very private
  3. Germans can be some of your best friends once they open up
  4. Germans have fairly good customer service, especially in restaurants
  5. There is no such thing as a free refill in Germany
  6. It is rare, but sometimes there's free water, usually you have to pay though
  7. It is acceptable to smoke nearly wherever you want in Germany, however, they did pass a similar law as in the US to prohibit smoking in the workforce and in restaurants
  8. Most restaurants have a 'smoking room' still that is blocked off by doors.
  9. No matter where you go, you can find a German smoking
  10. Air conditioning is not common in a lot of buildings
  11. Trash is always all over the street and parks but there are people who drive around in carts and pick it up
  12. Drinking is a daily activity
  13. There's always fresh bread and a bakery on nearly every corner
  14. McDonald's and Burger King are just as popular here, if not more so, than in the US
  15. For a lot of Germans, breakfast is just coffee
  16. There is no concept of personal space here in Germany, I think this is a European thing
  17. Stores in Germany close at 6 PM at the latest though you can sometimes find a store open until 8 PM but they're rare
  18. Religion is very important in Germany and work is prohibited on Sundays
  19. To be prepared for the weekend, you must complete your shopping before 6 PM on Friday
  20. Pedestrians truly have the right of way in Germany
  21. There's always bikes, every city has them, and it is common for you to see all types of people on a bike
  22. French fries and bratwurst are very common, every festival has them
  23. Graffiti is everywhere and a lot of it is in English
  24. Mayo goes on everything
  25. Ketchup for your fries is curry flavored
  26. Mustard is only used on meat
  27. Potato chips aren't available in 'normal' American plain flavor, it's Curry, BBQ, or sometimes Sour Cream and Onion
  28. Potato chips are extremely expensive
  29. American music is popular here, but so is Spanish, Polish, and music from other nationalities
  30. There's laws about when a song can be played due to copyright
  31. YouTube cannot play many American songs because of this law
  32. There is nearly no such thing as a public restroom in Germany the ones that they have you must pay to use and the ones that are free are not a place you want to visit
  33. Shopping bags aren't free, you have to pay for the plastic ones and you have to pay even more for cloth or reusable ones
  34. There are different levels of deposits on bottles for drinks due to the material that it is made of
  35. Bathrooms never have paper towels, and some never have toilet paper
  36. Europe only has roll-on deodorant
  37. You can buy peanut butter but only in very small jars and it doesn't taste nearly like American peanut butter plus it's quite expensive
  38. Eating in a restaurant is quite expensive but buying your own food can be just as bad, especially when you want a 'taste of home'
  39. Germans are obsessed with Americans, they think it's so cool that I'm from the US
  40. The first question I am asked when I say I'm from the US is always, "what's different here than in the US?"
  41. August is officially German Vacation Month, when everyone goes away to wear overcoats on cold Scandinavian beaches and be really excited about it.
  42. Germany uses the 24 hour clock
  43. .............
I hope to revisit this list at least once a month until I leave. I plan to edit it for contradictions I have found and to add differences. Hopefully I can do like my friend leaving Spain and make a final list before I leave.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Libori.. The Beginning.

Friday

Libori began on Friday night so I very much wanted to go out into the city, the downpour of rain didn't help my case though. I wound up staying in my room, watching the Goofy movies. Don't get me wrong, it was a ton of fun, but I wanted to see the carnival lights and experience the atmosphere.

Finally, around 10 PM, the rain let up enough that I decided to check out the city but of course, it began to rain again when I was on my bike into town. Surprisingly, it was really bright outside at 10 PM. I got into the city, locked up my bike, and walked around. Sadly, everything was closed and there was nearly no one in the city because of the rain. Man.

While in town, I decided to buy some beer and dinner because there are a few stores that are pretty much always open. I think all they sell is beer and smokes but when it's 1 AM, isn't that all you need..? Wait, no, no it's not.

As soon as I got back to my bike and I was ready to hop on and ride home, it began a torrential downpour. Just my luck. I ducked under an awning and waited it out. Once it was thin enough that I could see 10 feet in front of me, I jumped on the bike and made my way home.
The always adorable, and always
trouble, Rylan. Just look at that face.

I would up on Skype with my brother later that night and it was really good to see him. I miss my family a lot and the fact that my brother has two amazing children isn't helping much. Skype can only do so much, but at least it's something. We talked until about 1 AM my time and I finally went to bed.

Saturday

I got out of bed around 8 or 9 AM to take on the day but wound up back in bed until about 11 AM. I went and began my laundry and both the washer and dryer were free, score! I washed my clothes but when I went back to use the dryer, it was full..? Like someone skipped the washing all together and just dried their clothes.. Weird. While I was waiting for the dryer, I ran into the Irish guy, Padraic and he invited me to go into the city for the open ceremonies for Libori.
Around 3:40 PM, we met up and it was only him and I that went into the city. We bought beer steins for 6 euros each and with the mug, we got three free refills from the "beer fountain" in the city. Sweet. A souvenir and beer! 

Yup, that's my stein with an MTU lanyard
on it so I could tell it was mine.
We met up with some other friends from the B.I.B. in the Cafe Bär-Celona and waited for the beer fountain to open at 4:30 PM. We got in line and I even met a woman from Rochester, NY who is married to a man from Paderborn and they visit for the festival every year.

After an hour in line, playing 20 questions to get to know each other better, we finally got our beers and decided to wander town to see what else we could find.

Part of Petite Paris

We found some more friends from the B.I.B. and together we wandered the town to find "Petite Paris" and the carnival game area. Gosh, this whole festival is a bigger deal than everyone was even making it out to be. And that's saying something.

We found the Ferris Wheel and the rides but it cost 4 euros to go on the Ferris Wheel and no one wanted to go with me, so maybe that's something for another day.

Some of the girls we were with went on another ride so I went with one of the guys to buy some sweets. I got a chocolate covered banana and a chocolate covered chili pepper. They were both really good. The chili pepper was interesting since it was hot and sweet, nearly the perfect combination.


Padraic had invited me to see the new Batman movie later with some friends so we went back and he even cooked me dinner. What a nice guy!


We had spinach, kidney beans, and chicken. Sounds weird but it was delicious! We even got to make a dessert. We didn't eat it though, it was for a party on Sunday he was going to, but it was still fun, a guy who cooks is a good thing. We made eton mess which is really just heavy cream whipped with strawberries, raspberries, and we threw in broke up macaroons. A bit jealous of it, it looked so yummy!

We went to the movie, and it was great! Nice seeing something American! When we got home, it was about 20 after 1 AM and we went to our rooms then stayed up until 3:30 AM talking on Facebook. Gosh, what's happening here? 

Sunday

I got out of bed as 9 AM, like usual.. I need to work on this whole sleeping issue I have.. I had a yogurt for breakfast and headed out for an adventure. I decided to go for a bike ride around the Padersee then I went into the city.

It's weird, the town's usually dead on a Sunday but today there were people everywhere. I parked my bike and set out on foot. I got to see more of the festival and even found a market selling everything from food to kitchen supplies to underwear. I mean, this place had everything. I spent more than two hours walking through the market and I even bought a new wallet that's a lot smaller than my usual one. It fits better in my new purse.

Also while I was out I found this organ thing that played music and have figures moving. Here's a short video of it:

video

I was getting hungry by this time and I would up going back to where the carnival games were and I bought a gyro for lunch / dinner, walked around more and come home. Overall a good day, and hey, it was even sunny! Now that I'm done writing, I think it's time to get back out for another bike ride!
The large heart shaped cookies are called "Lebkuchen" sort of like gingerbread and they're really popular at all festivals
in Germany. If you don't see them, it's not a true German festival.
Tons of people in Paderborn!
Beginning of the market.. In front of the cathedral.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Back to Making Art

So, I got some inspiration recently to begin creating artwork. I thought I would share it with you along with some of the story behind each piece, the process of making them and the adventure I went through trying to find supplies.

I began creating "art" like this because of an assignment in my Graphic Design class at Michigan Tech. It was an ice breaker on one of the first days of class. My first attempt was quite sad, but I think I'm better now.

So, here goes. This is the beginning of my first piece. I had a marker but it died before I could finish the outline. Issue one. I left it like this for a day and went to the store to buy a marker. Done. The dollar store by work is a great place to buy office supplies.

 

Once I got the marker, I outlined the words and I had some highlighters in my bag (from the US) so I began adding embellishments to the letters. Issue two, the orange marker was dying and the purple one I really wanted to use had been broken in the US when I allowed a three-year-old draw with it.

quote accredited to Antoine de Saint Exuper

In the end, it didn't turn out to bad looking. So I decided to make another one. This time, I chose pink and yellow highlighter and I began to realize that my color palate was quite limited. Issue three.

 
Dazed and Confused quote

So, here's where it got fun... You'd think finding markers would be easy, right? Wrong. SO wrong. I swear, I went to not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not even SIX different stores to find markers. On the seventh store, I finally found some. And they must be the suppliers for ALL the markers in Paderborn because they had a huge selection. I wound up grabbing this pack, marked an unbelievable 6,99 Euro and went to the cash register. On the bright side, these are double pointed markers, one end is a thick point and one is a thin point.

Wow, I guess I missed the sign that said everything in the school stuff area was so far on sale it was nearly free, because I wound up only paying 2,50 Euro for this pack. Now that I think about it, I should go back and get more!

My new markers!

When I got home, I immediately began on more pieces.

For Faye

For Andrew - Carl Sagan Quote

Another for Andrew - Another Carl Sagan Quote

And the last one for the night.
For Andrew.


If you want me to make one for you, just comment and leave a quote. I'll do my best to get to them in a decent time. :)

Woah, a Mid-Week Post?!

Tuesday

Well, we all know what I have to say about work, I really didn't do much. I finally finished the presentation for Dominik and then, since no one had work for me to do, I started working on a Microsoft Word document to detail all the work I have been doing here so far. I didn't realize it, but I've actually done quite a bit. I mean, yeah, some of the projects I have done are total busy work, but I looking at it all again, I feel like I'm actually helping the company with my presence.

Who would have thought? Right?!

I thought I'd share the information with you guys too so I didn't feel completely worthless.








I apologize for image quality as these are only screenshots of the Microsoft Word document. BUT, I have nearly 6 pages of things I have done in the past (nearly) three months!

After work, I went into the city to get some shopping done and it was a beautiful day. I took the long way around and took my good time coming home, honestly, I think I got a bit of color from sun! I don't think it's been this sunny and warm in about a month. Sadly, once I got home I wound up going to bed around 7 PM. Maybe I'm getting sick, I can't sleep enough. I really hope I'm not though. This isn't like me though, I usually don't sleep much and now I can't get enough. Maybe it's the weather?

Wednesday

Wednesday at work wasn't too busy and I didn't get much work to do. I filed some papers in the shared drive and organized some Excel Spreadsheets but, it wasn't much. Around 11 AM, Katharina told me that they would have work for me to do later. That's great, and all, but... What do I do until then..?

Stay Tuned... (Yeah, that's right, I wrote a blog post while at work... Again...)

Monday, July 23, 2012

To Hameln and Beyond!

Saturday

On Saturday morning I woke up around 5:45 AM and decided to get up even though my alarm wasn't set to go off for another 15 minutes.

I began throwing things in my back pack, rain coat, umbrella, water, fruit for lunch, my wallet, a shopping bag, etc. and went to have breakfast in the kitchen. I grabbed a yogurt and ate it while looking out the window. I saw Marc walking with his suitcase and he waved goodbye.

I was running early, as usual, so I decided to watch a TED talk (this one I found particularly interesting) before I left then I gathered my things finally and hopped on my bike and went to the train station.

Of course, I was early, like I always am so I sat on the platform and waited for the train to arrive. It was time for me to leave so I hopped on the train, grabbed a seat and went back to my reading. It was no time at all the announcer came over the speaker to say that the next stop was Hameln and the exit would be on the left side in the direction of travel.

I got off the train, went out the doors and was greeted by a large bus station. I walked past it and found a statue of a rat with a bus map painted on it and then I found signs directing me everywhere. I started by walking into the city.

Surprisingly, everything was really easy to find. My first find was this statue in the city. It was in front of the headquarters for the News Paper for the town and a passerby asked me if I wanted my picture taken in front of it. I said no, but only because the guy was giving off a creepy vibe.

I continued walking deeper into the city and found the Museum but it wouldn't be open until 11 AM so I kept walking. Once I found the rats painted on the sidewalk, it was a breeze to find anything. The city was covered in these things and if you followed them, it was a walking path to see the sights associated with the Rattenfänger von Hameln.


I there were also larger than life rats throughout the city, I mean, I understand that this is what the city is known for "and all that jazz", but, some of them were just weird. Like this one, in front of a pharmacy. All I could think is that this guy had a serious drug addiction. Am I right? It's even as if it just broke out of prison with those stripes, I mean, rats are color blind, aren't they? It's almost black and white stripes.

Since nearly everything else was closed, I went looking for churches, I mean, those are always open, right? Wrong, the churches didn't open until noon. Wait, really? Great. I went in search of something to do and I found a market (yes! score!) and walked around a bit, I didn't find anything I couldn't live without though so all I did was look. Next to the market was a garden / park thing and I wandered around there for a while to see the flowers of all types. I found a bench and had my lunch which I packed in my bag. Yum! I only ate fruit so I was feeling energized and I packed some water too.

Around ten the stores began opening up so I looked in some of them. I found a store that sold different types of alcohol, homemade ones too. The best part of the store was all the free samples. I'm sure you don't need to ask, but in case you do, yes, I tried every alcohol they had. I even bought a bottle for whiskey for a friend in the U.S. I was very tempted to buy this bottle of Absinth labeled "Rat Poison" but they wanted about 8 euros for 100 ml and it wasn't the best I've had, I mean, look at the color.

The next store I found was like an art gallery with clothing for sale. "This shop had clothing for sale but you had to custom order it because an artist paints a picture then paints / dyes clothing (most often pants) to match." How cool is that? I didn't even want to know how much they wanted for the clothing though.

When I left the store, I went into the main church in the town and explore. It seemed much larger from the outside. Luckily, when I went in someone went upstairs to practice on the organ so I stayed and listened for a while. According to a plaque inside the door, "This church, at the end of the second world war was destroyed, because of excited claims from the citizens of the city, in collaboration with the community members, and aid the city, the church was rebuilt in the years 1957/59. - Church Board" So much history!

I found another church but this one was different. It had this weird Amnesty International interactive exhibit in it. I think it was for kids, but of course, I played for a while too.

I went towards the river next where I found the Rattenfänger - Halle, a performance hall in the town and attached to the hall is Grimm's Restaurant Cafe. Wow, the Brothers Grimm are huge here! I guess that makes sense though! They were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, and authors who together collected folklore (Wikipedia).
By this time, the museum was open so I went in. It cost me 4 euros for entrance and pictures weren't allowed, oops, I took a lot. Shh! The museum was interesting because it covered the history of the town and the story of the pied piper as well as the churches history there. (Germany is a VERY catholic country.) One of the things I will remember the most about the museum was this play though. It was really weird and told the story of the pied piper but it was like... Machines and imagery and... Just weird. I only took a very short video and it was on my phone so sorry about quality and the length. The whole thing was 12 minutes long and this is only about 30 seconds or less of that time.
 
video 


On the third floor of the museum, they had these blocks that allowed you to see what life was like in the "old days" and they had weights written on them and the equivalent on them. I could do up to 40 kg (a sack of potatoes), but the larger ones were just too much!
After the museum, I went in search of dinner. I stopped at a Dönner and bought some food. I think it's all the Turkish guys who like me, but the guy who made my food asked me if he would have my phone number and asked if I was coming back to the town. I told him I didn't have a phone and I probably wouldn't be back. Man, I'm such a heart breaker.
I went back home at that point and while I was on the train, I read some of my book and it only felt like ten minutes, I had arrived back in Paderborn. Woah. Where did time go?

Of course, there was a party that night to celebrate someone going away so I relaxed a bit and eventually went upstairs to the party. Lots of beer later, I went back to my room for the night and slept like a baby.

Sunday

Sunday was nothing. It was an inside kind of day, I spent a lot of time reading and writing. Cooked some dinner and wet to sleep around 5 PM. Yeah, that's right, I had about 13 hours of sleep last night!

Monday

The daughter of the assistant of the CEO started working with us today. I was told we need to be on our best behavior, though, I don't think we're ever not on our best behavior. Humorously, her name is also Katharina.

I spent most of the morning working on finding imagery for the presentation I'm working on. It's hard to find things to put into it though. I guess Dominik might have ideas for it. But I can't really tell what they are since he's gone for vacation for two weeks.

Francesco is also on vacation for the next three weeks. What will I do? I guess the summer is the slow point for most of the automotive industry (though, we're not entirely automotive we do supply to the automotive industry at least a bit) but most companies shut down during the summer at some point.

Also, in Germany, employees have much more vacation time. While in America, when beginning work at a new company, you may be lucky to get two weeks of vacation a year, in Germany it is more common to have a mandatory three weeks of vacation for all employees and over time, you get more time. 

Not to mention there is a card swipe system in place at Benteler. When you arrive at work, you have to swipe the card and when you leave and come back from lunch you swipe it. And finally, when you leave for the day, you need to swipe out. You're only expected to work 35 hours a week (in my case) and maybe 40 hours a week (for full time employees). Anything that you work above and beyond that is considered "Hoch Zeit" or high time (as a direct translation) and can be accumulated and used as vacation or to leave early on a Friday or something. Not that they're all that strict on hours with me.

Getting home today I went shopping for something for dinner and came home to write. Hmm. I feel as if I'm getting boring. Well, next weekend is the beginning of Libori (a big, catholic, celebration in Paderborn) and the schedule is online now. Lots of music, food, shopping, etc. I think there's even fireworks at the end!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Week on the Weekend..?

So, I know I didn't write this week but there wasn't a lot going on except work and rain. I'll give some information on the last week, but don't expect anything too grand! I really need to stop doing this to myself.

If you haven't seen it yet, here's the red hair!


Monday

(here)

Okay, so, Monday morning was where the rain began. And it didn't stop all week. I put on my Benteler rain coat and headed to work. It's nice being able to stay at least half dry! Work was work. Honestly, what else can I say?

It was Thorsten's birthday but he wasn't in the office, that's okay, we'd celebrate later.


Tuesday

In the morning it was still raining, not quite as much as Monday, but it was rain none the less. Again, I threw my rain coat on over my outfit and biked to work. I stopped for breakfast and bought another Amerikaner. Mmm, lecker!

I got to start on my project for Dominik and Benteler Rothirst, so at least I had something to do! I spent nearly the whole day working on the research and PowerPoint presentation but didn't finish.

I got a call in the morning that my package from my mom had finally arrived too! It took about a month and a half to get here and I was thinking that it wasn't ever going to show up, then again, my medication was in it so, it probably had some trouble getting through customs. It was SO exciting! My mom (and probably my dad had something to do with it too) sent me some necessary medication, a big bag of Jolly Ranchers, circus peanuts (my favorite candy, but only when it's rock hard), American chewing gum, and my international driver's license. All of these things were awesome to get!

At lunch, we celebrated Thorsten's birthday and he bought a bunch of pizza (three huge ones to be exact.) We all gathered in the meeting room ate the pizza and had a good time.

Wednesday

Work, was work. I continued working on my presentation about competitors. It's funny, I feel like I have looked at this information so many times now. All for different projects but still, every time I look into it again, I re-do the research. It's difficult to take the research from a million places anyways. Maybe this coming week I'll go through it and try to make a compilation of it all to make it easier to find and use it.

I wanted to make plans for the weekend because the plans that I had made to go somewhere with Kathrin (the Canadian girl) fell through. I started looking online for things to do in the area. Nordrhein Westfalen is the region of Germany that I'm living in and I just searched for things to see and do in the region (those are the cheapest train tickets.) I booked a trip for Saturday morning to go to Hameln, the city famous for the story of the Rattenfänger von Hameln, to the people in the U.S., that's the Pied Piper. Check out this wicked sweet website I found for the city too!

After work I went shopping for some food and, of course, beer. You know, the necessities.

Thursday

Again, work was a bit like work and I spent a lot of time working on making the presentation. I wound up going home around 3 PM, or 15:00 as they would say here.

Personally, I don't think it's important really, as to which clock is used. Everyone is free to choose whatever format they like. I like the 24 hour format because it's easy and logical. Anyway - here's my reasons:

And look how much cooler the 24 hour clock
can look! (here)
The 24-hour time system has been used for centuries, primarily by scientists, astronomers, navigators, and horologists. There are many surviving examples of clocks built using the 24-hour system, including the famous Orloj in Prague, and the Shepherd gate clock at Greenwich. - I mean, it worked in the past for groups of people, why not now?

In Europe, the use of the 24-hour clock in daily life has grown steadily since the beginning of the 20th century. - Let's face it, Europeans are awesome, so why not try it too..?

In most of America (Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Mexico, etc.) we use both formats. It's only the U.S. that uses the 12 hour clock exclusively. 24 hours is a standard in most of the world.

In my experience in Germany, using the 12 hour clock is too confusing. Maybe it's because everyone uses the 24 hour on already but, when someone says "at 5 o'clock", you always have to ask "in the morning or afternoon?" Using the 24 hour clock makes it easy to decipher between the morning and the evening. Especially since I stay up so late on the weekends, it makes sense to say 4:00 for the morning and 16:00 for the afternoon. I mean, if I got to bed at 4:00 and I get up at 16:00 someone might think I didn't sleep, or that I slept for 24 hours. It makes it shorter too.

Friday

It didn't rain on Friday morning! Woo! How exciting is that? I mean, it's kind of a big deal! I think work was a bit easier since it was sunny, the whole day kind of flew by. I finished my presentation, okay, I didn't finish it totally, I need to look for some sort of graphics to include with it. But, it's looking good.

Hannover (here)
I was invited to go to Hannover for the evening. A bunch of people would be leaving the train station in Paderborn at 6 PM and going to Hannover where they would have food and drinks, maybe go clubbing, then catch the first train back in the morning, probably around 5 AM. They were going to celebrate Thorsten's birthday and while I sounded like a lot of fun, I already had plans for Saturday and the train ticket would cost 50 euros. A bit much for a last minute trip.

Katharina suggested that I go and find a hotel for the night and explore Hannover on Saturday then come home in the evening. While that sounded fun, finding a hotel was difficult. Maybe I can do that another weekend!

Friday was Wolfgang's birthday so he (I think his wife actually) made frikadellen, noodle salad, a vegetable tray and dip. It was delicious! And hey, a free meal! After lunch, I left work for the day.

I gathered all the bottles I had in my room and returned them to the nearest grocery store and went into the city to do some shopping. It felt good to just be able to relax and try on clothes for a while haha. I wound up buying a new purse because it goes over the shoulder (across the chest) and a few unmentionables.

When I got home, I got into bed with a book and stayed there late. I got up to Skype with Andrew, but then it was back to reading and I stayed up until 11:30 PM, oops! I had to get up early and catch a train.

Well, that was the week. I'll post about Saturday in Hameln soon. Maybe even tonight!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Real Rainy Weekend

Friday Night

Since I was leaving early for Muenster on Saturday, I didn't really do much on Friday night. I stayed in my room and read some books then went to bed, boring, I know.

And here's a sneak peak of one of my pictures from my "photo-a-day idea." I'm wearing the new Benteler polo that I got at work on Friday and my hair is a disaster from Friday's rain.

Sadly I can't say the weekend's weather was much better though. But I'll get to that soon enough!

Saturday

Waking up at 6 AM, I took a quick shower, got dressed and left the apartment to go to Muenster for the day. Honestly, I should have stayed in bed. Just like Friday, it rained all day Saturday. I biked to the train station and got on my train.

I guess there's some sort of construction or a line down, I could only get to Geseke, only three or so stops from Paderborn. From there I had to get on a bus to get to Bad Sassendorf. My plan was to take my bike along for the day but I couldn't take it on the bus so I had to leave it at the Geseke train station for the day. Great, so much for that plan ... I got on the bus to Bad Sassendorf and after 40 minutes I arrived at the train station. I went to the platform and the next train was running late so 45 minutes after scheduled departure, I finally left. I had to make another switch in Hamm (Westf) and caught a train to Muenster, finally arriving a bit after 11 AM.

Whoa, I was finally there and didn't even get lost on the way! I made a bee line into the city but it was a bit hard as the streets were literally full of bikes. I mean, look at all these bikes. All locked up on the sides of the street, maybe it was a good thing that I didn't take my bike with me, I don't know where I would have parked it!

Picasso, I finally realized I haven't
seen a photo of him before. He does
look a bit deranged.
This piece was made for the youth
in Germany after the unification.
Interesting.
Lots of doves in this second exhibit.


I even found the Picasso museum without issue. I bought a ticket, 8 euros to get in (and that was the student price!) I was a bit disappointed with it though. It was only one floor of his work and one floor of other artists from Germany. Don't get me wrong, it was interesting and I'm glad I went, but for 8 euros, I think it was a lot. Not to mention I had to pay 1 euro to lock up my bag in a small locker while I went to look at the museum. Actually, I got the euro back at the end when I took my things, I guess it was like a deposit. 
Not sure about this
chicken, it was creepy
and had ruby's for
eyes making it look
crazed.
 
After I left the museum, I went further into the city and found what I can only assume is the "Dom" or the main cathedral. The Rathaus was right next to it too. I paid 1,50 euro and got to go inside to see the meeting room that was used. Like many buildings in Germany, the Rathaus was destroyed during WWII and was rebuilt but this room was saved somehow.
I think these are bloody thumb
prints next to the person's signature.

After I left the museum, I went into the cathedral and checked it out quickly. Not too much to see really, another church.

I then crossed the street to find the market that I wanted to see! Wow, so my train trip was really bad, but in the city I was finding everything I wanted to see! It was actually much bigger than I was expecting and the focus was mostly on fruits and vegetables but there were a few people selling purses and jewelry. A lot of vendors from bakery's and people selling food. I bought some "Pommes Frites", or french fries. They were cheap too, 1 euro and I was full.

I had a lot of time left before my train left and I wandered the city aimlessly. I found a lot of churches, like every other city in Germany. Germans are quite the religious people as a whole (not to totally stereotype) and most holidays are related to the church. Nothing is open on a Sunday because of the holiness of the day, or maybe its labor laws?

Blurred from the rain
sliding down the window.
The more I think about it,
I really should have bought
this. Even just as a souvenir.
I found a TK Maxx, it's the German version of TJ Maxx and I found this there. I really needed to fight the urge to buy it, but for 40 (maybe 50) euros and nowhere to wear it, I just couldn't justify it. It was quite cute too! I couldn't even try it on because I was sure I would buy it if I did and I don't need to be spending that much money on something I didn't need. BUT it would be humorous as a Halloween costume in the future or for when I go to Ocktober Fest. Hmm, maybe a trip back is necessary.

In case you couldn't tell, I didn't get to see the building I wanted to see on my visit. I think if I took my bike with me it would have been easier and I could have went on some bike trails outside the city. Didn't get to though. I'll need to revisit sometime before I go home!

I left the store without buying anything, a miracle if you ask me. That's when it started to absolutely pour down rain. Crap. I had an umbrella so I got it out of my backpack but it only did so much. It was at this point, still sour with the train trip and the disappointment that was the Picasso museum, that I was going home early. I went back to the train station (which I found without issue!) and into the "information center" for DB. I asked for a plan on how to get home and got on the next train into Hamm (Westf).

The trip back was a bit less eventful than the trip there but that was probably because I was expecting it this time. Luckily, I needed to stop in Geseke again so I could even pick up my bike, but I'm getting ahead of myself now.

I took the train from Hamm (Westf) to Soest. Got off at Soest and followed some fellow passengers to the bus. Waited another 40 minutes in the bus, arrived at Geseke, grabbed my bike, boarded the train and after a few minutes of waiting, I was on my way. One stop from Paderborn the ticket checker came and asked for my ticket. Seriously, this was the first time that day that anyone asked. She asked if the bike belonged to me and I said yes. Crap, I had to pay for a bike ticket and I hadn't. It wasn't too bad, I went to the self-serve kiosk and paid 2,20 euro to get home with it.

Finally, I was back in Paderborn and on my ride home, I ran into Haitham and Ahmed, the two Egyptian guys I know from the B.I.B. and we talked a bit before they had to catch a bus home. I rode home and met up with them there later. I was invited to a party later and I said sure (even got an invitation on Facebook.)

When I got to my room, it was still early so I decided to take a nap before we went out. I set an alarm for 10:30 PM and fell asleep. I woke up at 4:30 AM. Crap! I slept through the entire night. How did that happen? I was wide awake too so I've been up since then. I guess I needed the sleep anyways, right?

Sunday

It's been raining all day today so I've been inside relaxing. Nothing's open today anyways, right? I feel like the weekend was wasted but, hey, it was an adventure.

Since I had nothing to do, I took the plunge and finally decided to dye my hair. I am officially a red head. I'll post pictures soon since it's still wet and you can't tell what it really looks like. Lets hope for the best!

On Another Note, I Made Countdown Clocks