My last full day in Europe for 61 days

July 25, 2009

is spent hungover.  What a way to go out!

I haven’t been blogging much lately, partly because it’s summer and I am outside more often and also with the semester ending always being chaotic, and with the facebook status updates making it almost too easy to make a “blog postlette”, I haven’t really been motivatd too much.

I did get a new job for the fall, a company in Muellheim.  Two classes back-to-back on Wednesday afternoons are worth more than 500 euros/month.  That will be a huge cushion I need, especially because I want to be able to try and save some more money for next year.  I was able to save 2500 euros this year and I want to do the same or maybe even 5000 next year but that will be tough.  Then again, I don’t plan on spending as much travelling next year as I have the last years.  In fact, I’m probably going to try and go out of my way to NOT travel as much as I have been the past 5 years.  Franziska will be working on her masters thesis  and studying for big exams through November of 2010.  I want to start something in October that will help me better myself as a human being, whether it be:

  • taking a German class or a ceramics class or a Swedish class
  • studying to pass the German “language exam” as proof my German is good for “any” level
  • do a masters program via a “long distance university” online
  • do a bachelor’s program here in Freiburg.  I could do that and work at the same time
  • finish writing my novel The Newropean and look into publishing it
  • get my photos printed onto canvas and have a professional exhibition
  • work more

These are all possibilities and there are even more out there I’m sure but this is a good start.  Franziska will be working hard and I feel like I should be doing something productive to improve my and by extension, our lives.

But for the meantime, I’m on my way to California tomorrow, a direct flight from Frankfurt to LAX, arriving at 5.20pm, plenty early that we should be able to hit Chipotle on the way home!


What I love about living in Europe, pt. 3542

July 17, 2009

Franziska and I are meeting some friends at 6pm, a loose mix of folks, most of whom know someone else there but not everyone knowing everyone.  We are getting some half-price cocktails at Maria Cafe and then going to see some Iranian music at 7.30pm in a nice old building.  That will last less than an hour and then we are going to another different old building for some Franz Joseph Haydn at 9pm.  He’s up there with Mozart and Beethoven apparently.  After that, if we’re able to get the tickets will be some Renaissance and Middle Ages music at 10.30pm.

This is called Fest der Innenhoefe which means “Festival of Courtyards”.  Last year Dr. D and I saw the last few minutes of one concert in a small church in one of my favorite squares in Freiburg, a tiny little thing with a pricey italian place subdued on one side, a large, dark tree overhanging almost the whole thing and two groups of two benches on the other 2 of the 4 sides.  Beautiful acoustics in a centuries-old church, that much I can assure you.

Last weekend we took the train 20 minutes north to Waldkirch, a town of about 20,000 with the ruins of an 800-year old castle overlooking the charming little town, the luxuriousness of the Black Forest lazing all around the horizon.  It turned out there was a Middle Ages Festival in the town that day and we went in (it cost 5 euros) and about 50 percent of the people were dressed up in the middle ages, complete with music and horns and the most awesome tug-o-war of all time: 4 groups of 4 kids pulling at 90 degree angles of each other trying to pull some wooden thing off a table in the middle.  Good stuff.

Here comes the band!

Here comes the band!

I had some honey beer which actually wasn’t very good but still, it was part of the moment.

We’re planning on going to one of the best circus in Europe in the next few days and I’m sure a beer garden or two will sneak in there….


July 14, 2009

I went to work yesterday, two hours by train and by foot and then found out that I would not be used this week.  The class hadn’t liked my lessons but actually, there were other factors as well, but just to play it safe, they wanted a different teacher for that same class for their second semester.  I was pissed off to have travelled so far for work in a tie no less to find out that I would be losing 1000 euros.  That did not sit well with me.

I had to talk to the professort at 1pm today.  I was afraid that he would say, thanks, but no thanks and I would lose that job for the Fall.  But he was a very nice guy, didn’t discuss the comments at all but thought about how to shorten the classes and break them into 2-3 groups.  So, money lost, that sucks.  Assurance that I should be teaching the class in the Fall is huge.  Therefore…phew.

Don’t neglect me, baby…

July 8, 2009

…I want you to be my conspiracy.


I love those black crowes lyrics.

As “summer” has come and rained, and with me going to California for the summer in 2.5 weeks, I’ve been pretty busy doing stuff lately.  Things like grading exams, packing up unnecessary stuff into boxes, exercising, chilling wif my lady, ya know, life.

I downloaded a Black Crowes show last night and it is from 3 nights ago in Columbus, Ohio.  First off, it’s so cool that I can be in central Europe and have music that is 3 days old blasting in my headphones.  Secondly, I remember Columbus, Ohio from the summer of 1991.

Me, and Mark and his dad drove to Ohio so Mark and I could try and qualify for the US Junior Amateur in golf.  Why did we drive to Ohio?  Well, the course that the teenage golfers could play in Ohio to try and qualify was a famous golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus called (I think) Muirfield.  Every year there is a golf tournament played there called “The Memorial” and the tournament is held on Memorial Weekend.  It has permanent TV camera towers on many of the holes, which had some of the widest fairways I had ever seen.

It took us about 5-6 days to drive there and we played golf a few times along the way.  I remember clearly (more or less) hitting golf balls at a driving range in Albuquerque, New Mexico on the 4th of July, the day we departed.  It had been a hot 13-hour drive to get there and it was awesome seeing the thunderstorm happening down the hill as we were hitting balls.  We also played golf somewhere in Chicago and Indianapolis, both famous courses that were ranked in the top 100 in America.  You may not know this but I may have played about 10 of those courses, but this was back in the day, in the parlance of our times.

It turned out there were 2 golf courses there, one for the tournament and one for the members.  I shot a 92 the first day that should have easily been 85 but those greens kicked my ass.  The next day I played like a man posessed in one of my best rounds ever, a 76 on a tighter golf course.  I think I’ve shot 76 in official tournaments less than 5 times so that’s a pretty big deal.  Considering I haven’t played golf in 18 months or something crazy like that, I’m interested to see what I’ll shoot.  Then again, I probably will not play by the rules this time. I may move the ball around a bit and even give myself a mulligan!  Oh, the times have changed.  I used to eat breathe and sleep golf back when I was 16/17 and  now I can’t remember my last round.  That’s gonna change soon.  Golf is singing, “Don’t neglect me, baby…”

Getting it together

July 3, 2009

23 days until I am on a plane to California for the summer baby!  I got a pizza in the oven, was just at the fitness studio, went by the Jos Fritz to get my photos from the exhibition and also was at L’egere cafe for a large coffee and to work on my novel.  I was working on the scene at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Palestine.  This is not too difficult to write in a way because a lot of it more or less happened.  The tricky part is having the protagonist’s attitude come through the words rather than just mine.  Remember, the majority of the character, plot, and scenes are fiction.  They did not happen to me.  There are stories in it that are real, only because some stories are good as fiction or non-fiction.  The part of the book in Israel has a chance to be poignant for several reasons.  First, the character has been living in Germany many years and is having difficulty staying in Germany.  He is Jewish but does not practice it.  The connection that Germany and Israel have, or rather what binds them is about as intense as any other nation’s except for the United States.  The history of the Jews laid bare, as he tries to make sense of the injustice that a small-minded bureaucracy has caused against the greater story of the relative peace in the world at the beginning of the 21st century.  Iraq and Afghanistan notwithstanding (and I know but they are very much part of the world scene), the freedom of movement and of opportunity that enlightening individuals of this century are unparallelled.  True, some people throughout the ages have been able to transcend whatever caste-like categorization a society had but the real story is about all of those who could transcend but nonetheless were snuffed out, killed senselessly, imprisoned, or a host of other undignified endings to people who really could exist and take advantage of the moment, of that time.

So, coming back to my point, the protagonist’s trip to Israel is a codifying experience, in terms of suddenly being in the position of knowing how lucky he is, all things considered, of being able to put things into perspective as they’re happening.  That’s what this character is about, and that ability is what’s going to accelerate the story once he returns to Germany to deal with The Situation.  Or so that’s my plan.