Archive for June, 2010

Taxis and Trains; Birthdays and Soccer

It feels like the real countdown has begun today. I am slightly panicky about getting to the post office all the stuff I need to ship before I leave. I am also a little nervous about my going away party this Saturday, especially with recent disappointing news of a few people who aren’t able to come as I had thought. At the same time, being such a short-timer provides somewhat of a sense of freedom from responsibility that I am tempering carefully. I’m still getting my work done, but I feel less pressured about it. The same goes for what I write in the blog. But still through storms of disappointment and waves of nerves I write on.

I spent the week doing my usual events. Tuesday karaoke was fun but frankly compared to other weeks there, not particularly memorable except for seeing Adam, Melon and a few others perform “Too Sexy.” Thursday on the other hand was quite interesting. I met up first with Oana and the latest intern (my replacement essentially) at ESO, a Scottish fellow named Olivier in town and together we headed over to Lowenbraukeller. When we got there I was a little concerned about finding the group but luckily we found Jon, Andy, Hannah, Amy, and several others I didn’t know without much difficulty. Amid rearrangements of chairs and tables I introduced Oana and Olivier around, learned the technique Amy (American) used to paint German flag colors on her fingernails, and acquired a mass of beer. The beer garden was fairly full from people watching the latest World Cup game, but somehow most of the incoming Toytowners were able to find some sort of place to sit. I discussed with Roel possibilities for extended Dutch travel outside of Amsterdam and said hello Fraser, Olly, Patrick, Kerre and others as they arrived. It was quite a lot of fun and I had some pretty amusing chats with various folks both new and old, aided in part by the two masses I consumed. Casey, Aleks, Jennie, Morgan, and Morgan’s new friend Colleen showed up not too long before the beer garden closed. There was the usual debate about what to do, and the usual conclusion that we should all acquit ourselves to Die Bank. I originally was going to go home at this point because it was close to the last chance to catch a train and my fellow ESO workers didn’t want to stay later and make a cab more economical for me, but at the last second I decided that I am not here so long as to make staying up late a bad idea and, with a little help from Kerre, negotiated my way to Die Bank for further fun. I did my usual wanderings, talking to Jana, Amy, Kerre, Fraser and the rest. Jennie wandered off at some point and the rest of us stayed until about two. I left with Fraser and the girls, Fraser went home while Read more…

Categories: Germany, Personal

More Strange Search Keywords to Find the Blog

Just saw this and thought it worth saving on the blog…

Top Searches:

he is not texing me to munch, fraser carlin, artist hal schwartz 2010, galactic center research/dance of the stars, hal schwartz artist

How strange…

Categories: Uncategorized

I Can’t Hear You Over the 3-D Movie Soccer Circus

Sensory overload. My ears are still ringing from M-park this weekend. My eyes sting still from the smoke, and my brain whirls with memories from Saturday night and from this whole last week. Work and other commitments kept me from doing much writing this week so I have a lot to cover, yet I fear I cannot do it all justice. At the same time, I feel almost a little bit of stage fright having spoken to several people (Jack, Stuart etc.) whom I was unaware read the blog at all. I feel more “on the spot” in my writing than I normally do, especially after Jack’s criticism of my “atrocious grammar.” As I explained to him, I have no editor, I post almost immediately after I write, and I deliberately write in a stream-of-consciousness, informal manner suited to the tone and content of the blog. That said, perhaps I will go back and edit my previous entries for grammar errors.  At any rate, some of this may be more highlight reel than in depth analysis (if you’ll pardon the sports analogy from someone notoriously uninterested in sports). And now, on to the week!

Tuesday at Shamrock was a bit odd, even for karaoke night at Shamrock. Not many people showed up. Apart from Lydia, Charne, Adam, and myself it was exclusively Eurocopter’s boy interns there that I knew (plus a nice newcomer from Malaysia). It was fairly quiet as these things go minus a few moments worth mentioning: Melon and Lydia performing “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” from the Lion King, Charne going up to sing and falling flat on her face, splashing beer on the back wall of the stage, and a surprisingly funny and good collection of karaoke songs, especially for Germans, like “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go,” and “Barbie Girl.” I had been looking forward to performing a Bon Jovi song with Melon but alas had to leave before we were called because the whole night was delayed due to the World Cup match between Brazil and North Korea. Everyone was surprised by how well North Korea did against Brazil, it’s soccer though, and so I still didn’t care much.

Thursday’s Toytown was at Substanz bar, a place that I could have sworn I had been to before, but did not recognize at all once I was inside and according to my writing, have not actually been to before this week. It was a disconcerting sort of half déjà vu feeling. On my way there I ran into Jon and (New Zealand) Jack. We were the first to arrive so Jon got a round in and we got a table to watch Mexico thrash France, much to the Germans approval. The place filled up pretty quickly with a mix of new and old Toytowners. Roel was back from his (random) trip to Cuba so it was good to catch up with him. I spoke with Hannah JRS for a while as well, always a pleasure if only because she is a veritable font of hilarious lines (even funnier when taken out of context. As I promised I would, I hereby mention that I saw and spoke with Patrick (of Limerick), discussing our continued disagreements on alliteration, his hatred for the French soccer team, and sundry other topics. The World Cup really does warp people’s lives. Jana told me about how much difficulty she has just getting into work when she spends so many nights out late drinking and watching the game.

Fraser and Jamie showed up near the end of the game, along with Jennie, Olly, and Jamie’s visiting friend Anna (remembered from stories of Jamie’s trips to the Netherlands to see her). Also, to my surprise, Mauritz, Eva, and Morgan came along. As the Scots would say, it was good banter. At this point in the week, most of that night is disjointed memories: Jon dancing, Hannah’s exclamation of “Damn it you’re too slippery!” Charne and her little brother showing up and recapping her Tuesday escapades, Meeting Adam’s little brother as well as his visiting friends (a real weekend for visitors apparently). All in all, a very nice evening.

Friday I was quite excited because Deidre, a new friend Claire and I had met during our trip to Paris while she was there with her friend Ben, came to visit. She’s American, but has spent the past semester studying in Bamberg, just a few hours north of Munich. As she had a weekend free, I invited her down to visit and see first-hand a bit of the Munich weekends I had described to her. She arranged a shared-ride down to Garching, where I met up with her after work. Originally I hadn’t any plans for the evening, thinking we would perhaps go get dinner in town but not much else. I hadn’t counted on the Read more…

Categories: Germany, Personal

Two Brief Thoughts on a Sunday Evening

June 20, 2010 1 comment

Whilst working on my latest blog entry, I perused a few older ones and noticed that I am not always good at getting names right after first meeting people whether it’s correct pronounciation or spelling. For instance I wrote Tennr the first time I met Tenna, and Kris, the first time I met Cris. Yet somehow I got Sorcha right even though I pronounced it “Soy-ka” for the first month I knew her because that’s how I heard her say it… Well, I thought it was interesting at any rate.

In addition, here’s another look at search engine terms people have used that led them to my blog. Some of them are just strange. I mean even if the blog came up on the search for “mpark system glasgow” why would you click on it? At any rate, worth a chuckle I would say…

“german fraternities”, nuremberg rabbit statue, eso apartments germany, long weekend paris from usa, homemade karaoke cake, morgan mauritz, mpark system glasgow, eric schwartz blog munich, first time watch rugby usa, glockenspiel munich running times

Categories: Germany, Personal

The Scotsmen Interview: Part Two

June 17, 2010 1 comment

Part Two of the Scotsmen Interview. A direct continuation from Part One. This time, the beginnings of the Saturday Night Crew, and the origin of Jamie’s hair.

ES: So you had your trip, you realized it was good not to live together, and then you got to Munich and you started working. Now Fraser, you have three flat mates who are all German, and you Jamie have a flat mate who is not from Germany [Roel], he’s from Holland.

JD: Netherlands to be precise, he gets annoyed when you say Holland.

FC: Yeah they’re not the same.

JD: Holland’s a region of the Netherlands. I didn’t know that until we started living together.

ES: Okay, so you’re set up and you’re working and then you set up this whole system of going out. I mean I’ve heard stories of you guys going out a lot.

FC: That’s pretty much all that we do. Recently Jamie said he wasn’t going to drink but that there was nothing else fun to do and I was totally in agreement.

JD: If I weren’t going to drink I don’t really know what I would do… (laughter) and then I had a drink that night that I wasn’t going to drink.

ES: So when I came, six months after you guys arrived, I came in January… I came into what seemed like a fully formed group, with a fairly solid core social group, you guys seemed to have pretty good plans for what you were doing, at least Thursdays and Saturdays. Did that just grow? Did you go to Toytown immediately and just go from there?

JD: We never really planned what we wanted to do. We never said we were going to try and create a group. We didn’t have a plan straightaway it kind of like morphed.

FC: It didn’t really happen until after we started going to Toytown.

ES: When was that?

FC: We talked about going while we were still

JD: I think we went maybe two weeks in.

ES: So in September?

JD: We must have gone after three weeks. I’m not really sure we made friends there, I mean Read more…

Categories: Germany, Personal

Munich Weather Makes No Sense, But At Least There’s No Snow

Just four weeks left here in Munich, a chilling prospect if only because of how quickly time passes. Still, reflecting on the past week, I can console myself that I’m definitely getting the most out of the time I have. Perhaps a tad ironically, that very busyness (and busyness at work) means that this entry may seem a tad hurried and circumscribed in details, just because of other demands on my time today, so onto it with all due speed.

Perhaps it is because the end is near and perhaps it is for totally unrelated reasons, but I’ve started singing more at Shamrock on Tuesday. This week I performed two duets, Barbara Ann and Kung Fu Fighting, with Melon and Jennie respectively. As the pictures clearly show, it was much fun. And as always the…eclectic mix of people on Tuesday led to interesting conversational mixes. I relaxed at home on Wednesday, figuring, correctly, it would be an uncommon occurrence the rest of the week. Unfortunately, while the warming weather has been wonderful for a lot of things, it has turned my room into an oven. The windows face east, so all morning the room gets hotter and hotter, and that heat just sticks to the room so that even in the middle of the night I often feel like I’m in a sauna. I never thought I would be relieved for the current rainy and gray weather, but at least when I’m trying to sleep it’s very welcome.

So, already feeling a little fatigued, I made my way to Hofbraukeller on Thursday for Toytown, randomly running into Prashant and Becky along the way. The beer garden was nice, although the drinks area where they just sort of throw the stein at you wasn’t my favorite system. There weren’t too many people I knew at first but it wasn’t long before I saw Adam, Jon, Fraser, Oliver, Kristyn, Katherine and others. I had a very amusing conversation with Hannah (of the three last names) on subjects like Scrabble words, the effectiveness of beer as medicine (she’s in favor of it) and the hilarious pictures on Jana’s camera (worth a robust guffaw). Aleks, Casey, Jennie, and Barbara showed up later on, having gone to see the latest Sex and the City movie earlier. By the time they came though, the garden had already stopped serving so Barbara, Aleks and Casey went to see if the next-door bar would still serve. That was the last I saw of them for a while. The beer garden started flashing the overhead lights in an incredibly irritating manner, which did certainly accomplish their goal of chivvying people away. The general consensus at that point was to shift to Die Bank for the remainder of the evening and in slow fits and starts we all made it to the tram stop.

On board the tram, Fraser, Kristyn, and I observed how Jennie and Katherine, in order to presumably enjoy listening to Flight of the Conchords, put on their sunglasses and revealed their inner gangsters. The five of us actually rode a stop beyond Die Bank so Katherine and Kristyn could be closer to their train as they weren’t coming with us. Jennie, Fraser and I headed over to the bar afterward, squeezing in among the crowd that filled the bar to get drinks and then mingle. Entertaining moments included (American) Amy having Jon stuff money down her top (I still don’t know why exactly), the arrival of the missing three blondes and the recounting of their epic journey to get there, Hannah and Jana’s comedic performances, and discussing how to be photogenic with Oliver. I randomly met a new ESO employee named Chris who convinced me to stay a bit later than I normally do because we could split a cab back to Garching. We did so, and indeed he was nice (or drunk) enough to not want me to pay at all, so it worked out quite well for me.

The next day at work we had a fire drill of all random things, though I was happy it didn’t last very long and wasn’t a very big deal overall. It was nice to get in the sunshine though. Other than that I was just relieved to have the weekend begin, especially since it had been the first full five-day workweek in a while. Although the Saturday night crew is so-called for a reason, this weekend the plan was to go out on Friday instead because Eva’s sister was in town visiting from Sweden and their schedule really didn’t allow for going out Saturday. I also invited Read more…

Categories: Germany, Personal

La Ville-Lumière: A Long Weekend in Paris

To La Belle France

There are so many words written about Paris, nearly as many as the number of pictures taken at and of the Eiffel Tower. My four or so days there confirmed that the reputation of the “City of Lights” is well-deserved, even if it also confirmed every negative French stereotype I had ever heard of, and several I was unaware were stereotypes. But c’est la vie as the French might say. Here’s my own story of a long-weekend in Paris.

I had been discussing a trip for a while now with Claire, a friend I studied journalism with back at the University of Arizona. I hadn’t seen her since I had graduated (she was a year behind me) but had been in contact with her on and off, more so since I arrived in Europe because she has been working as a teacher in Malaga, Spain since fall. Our original plan was to go to Rome, but between scheduling, airfare, and other concerns, our plans shifted to Paris. As there are plenty of places I have never been in Europe, one was as good as the other to me, and indeed it seemed like Read more…

Categories: Germany, Personal