Two itineraries

March 12, 2010

March 28 – Apr 5

28 Zurich to Iasi, Romania

29 Iasi

30 teaching in the afternoon

31 teaching in the afternoon, photo exhibition and central american themed party

1 daytrip to Moldava

2visit a village then drive up to Suceava

3 visit the painted monasteries, attend a midnight Easter service at a monastery

4 travel back to Iasi

5 at the airport at 5am to fly back to Zurich

May 21 – June 4

21 travel to Trier

22 daytrip to Luxembourg

23 fly Frankfurt-Hahn to Osijek, Croatia

24 Banja Luka

25 Banja Luka

26 Jajce

27 Sarajevo

28 Sarajevo

29 Sarajevo

30 Mostar

31 Mostar

1 Split

2 Split

3 Zadar

4 fly home to Germany


Merry Xmas!

December 26, 2009

I’ve been a bit incommunicado (again), celebrating with the fam and beautiful weather though I did get to spend a few days with Franziska as she was on her way back from Hawaii back to Germany.  I had a great Xmas, got a new Sony laptop, some underwear, some Old Navy gift certificates and some knickknacks.

It’s been great hanging with family, eating some good food, I’ve probably already gained the weight I’d lost but I’ll just be starting again when I get back next week.  I fly on Tuesday back to Germany, I’m looking forward to being back but not the long flight, especially after the attempted terrorist attack on a Northwest flight to Detroit today.  In a way it’s “good” that  this happened on a quiet news time so that the DHS and other agencies can do the appropriate detective work before the media jumps all over this story without knowing the fact, like jackass extraordinaire Pete Hoekstra did.  I’m curious now what extra precautions there will be at the airport on Tuesday but as long as I get there safely, I don’t mind a little anal probing…no wait, I do but…

Merry Xmas!

Holland #9

December 7, 2009

I was just in Holland for the 9th time last weekend.  The flight from Basel to Amsterdam was delayed 4.5 hours and I ended up making it to Leiden at 10.30pm instead of 6pm! haha, oh well.    Met Janet and Maya at the at the station, and we soon found ourselves with some small beers in front of us.  Also, an Egyptian guy cheated us at dinner by charging airport prices for our small water bottles and then giving us the wrong amount of change.  Didn’t matter and we made it back to our nice Holiday Inn in the Business district around 2.30am and drank some more wine and laughed at bad TV until around 5am or so.

As you can imagine, we were a bit tired the next morning and made it out into the city around 11.30-12 and it was a great day to be in Holland because lots of little kids were dressed with cute little costumes and black-painted faces for Niklaas, a day more important than Xmas for them but with the same sort of feeling.  There was a great market and after a fantastic tomato soup, we walked around for hours, sometimes in rain, sometimes clouds and we did some xmas shopping, had a waffle and walked around more and more and once it was dark we started drinking those little Dutch beers again, got to hear some local people singing Xmas songs which was really cute and then met a weirdo named Ben who took us to a different bar than the one we were looking for but we some interesting people there.  Then we got some lasagna somewhere else and one of us — no name will be given — wasn’t handling her alcohol very well and we ended up getting a taxi around 11pm and going back to the room.  The other two of us had another beer in the bar, a snack and then we called it a night.

Sunday, we had time to walk in the rain, looking for a place to eat, found a small cafe and we all had pretty good food but it all looked weird! A train to the airport, waiting awhile and then flew home.

I’m super tired today, thank god I don’t have to work but I have a lot to do and I’m going to get started soon but wanted to give you a short version of the weekend.

Also, Happy Birthday to my roommate, Simone!  But she doesn’t read this blog anyway… 🙂

A big thanks for my life

November 30, 2009

I was sick yesterday and did not sleep well and woke to find that I am still sick.  A big thanks for my life because I don’t have to work today.  It’s true, I could have been earning a lot of money but the semester ended anyway and so I don’t have work on Mondays until the new year.  I am so grateful that, if I want, I can stay home the whole day and recuperate.  There is stuff I can do here, like my lesson plans and organize my desk and all that jazz and since I have to go into the city to work tomorrow morning, most of the other stuff that was on my list of plans to do today can be pushed back one day.

I have not seen Franziska for more than a month now.  True, we have skyped often and I’ve even seen her on video a few times but you’re kidding all of us if you think it’s the same.  I have accomplished some important things the past month, namely gotten a photo exhibition together, organized 2 more possibly (Romania and California) and finished writing AND typing my newest novel.  This novel is definitely one of the best of the 5 I’ve written and I’m looking forward to get a second draft finished and getting it out to some people, including publishers and then I’ll also look into self-publishing.  I’ve always been a sort of DIY-guy since I was 18 and first went to college.  Part of the influence of having been a punk.  It’s funny, I wasn’t a punk in the mohawk-sense but in my mentality, how I looked at things, borders I created for what offended or bothered me. Most of those borders were extended greatly by my time in college and yet some were shrunk, namely my feelings for lip-sync.  I am completely against lip-sync in any forum whatsoever and I am bothered by it when bands do it.  But most other borders, like people’s attitudes towards things started to become more of a curiosity rather than something that would make or break a friendship.  That’s probably one thing that led me to liking psychology, in addition to Robert Moser (rip), that punk rock had somehow helped me become a more understanding person and then psychology just sort of fit then.  I’d never thought about it like that but it’s interesting half a lifetime ago to think about such things.

I don’t accomplish nearly as much as I should in life but the problem is, compared to 98% of the people I know, I have accomplished “more” than they have.  Granted, many of them have children which in and of itself is an enormous accomplishment that I think I am still a few years away from.  I’m 35 and living like 25.  Is there anything wrong with that?  I don’t think so.  I’m responsible, I get my things done and I’m still thinking about the future.

And the future is telling me that I will finally see Franziska again in less than two weeks!  I’m flying home next Friday, I can’t wait!  I’ve got an interview for an internship before that and a short trip to Holland this coming weekend.  I think this will be the fifth year in a row that I will have flown in a plane more than 20 times in a year.  That is remarkable and I would guess that besides business travellers, there are not many people on earth who flew 20 times a year the past five years only for travel.  I’m proud of that, but I also know the damage it has done to the environment and that is another reason that next year I’m going to try and fly less next year.  It will easily still be 10 times because flying home and back is often 4 and if I do that twice and then go to Romania, bam! there is 10 times.  We’ll see.


I will Survive in the past tense

November 13, 2009

My work week is over.  It was a tough week, even if it was only 4 days long but now things are looking good for me.  I will have Mondays off until at least the new year and it will free up a day for me to get some work done, I’ll just have to decide what work I’ll do.

A shoutout to Maya in Norway whose sister just had a second child and now Maya is an aunt two times over.

This was my highest earning week of the year.

I plan to go to a concert tomorrow night.  Shaky Hands is their name and they’re from Portland, Oregon.

I inspected the photos for my new photo exhibition in 2 weeks and they look really good.  In fact, the manager asked me to order 3 more photos to cover the hallway as well!

I wrote an important scene in The Newropean that I think will push the story towards the end now.  I’m 4/5 done with the first draft.

I’ve been writing in my journal only in German since the beginning of this month. It’s going okay but I’m going to have to use some new words to get them into my vocabulary.

I’ll be in Holland in 3 weeks and I’m looking forward to it.

And you?

3.20am to 8.20pm

November 6, 2009

3.20am — picked up in a gracefully aging BMW outside the punk bar next to my place. He’s a pilot for Austrian Airlines, actually a subsidiary of Austrian Airlines, part of Star Alliance.

4.55am — we get stopped at the german/swiss border, probably because i offered with little provocation that I was off to Liechtenstein. they had our passports 10 minutes and 7 cars that came in while we were waiting just got waved through. They pulled us out of the car, more or less completely went through my backpack.

5.35am — i’m dropped off at Rorschach, Switzerland on the south side of Lake Constance.   the driver often pointed out the black hole dark lake but I could never see anything, i paid him 13 euros for the ride..  the first train for me is at 6.21am.  the station is not open yet and so i sit at the platform, watch two trains come and go before mine came. It was cold, just a couple of degrees above freezing.  At times that train, which I was in until 7.10am-ish was a full-on commuter train, but also for students.  It was shocking how packed that train was at 6.50am.

7.14am — i file out of the train with everyone else in the cold gray haze of 5 or so buses waiting to go different directions. we were literally a long golf hole from Liechtenstein at that point.

7.25am — the capital of liechtenstein, vaduz, has 5,000 inhabitants, i was the first person to walk into the main church that day, as it had been locked and then i saw lights and then went back and went in, then mailed a postcard and got a stamp in my journal, went to a cafe across the “street”, has a cafe creme and a gipfel which is nuss hoernle, weissch?  That was 6.30Sfr.

8.15am — i’m walking towards the Rhine River, then cross it in the old wooden bridge, cut south and end up walking until almost 10.30am along the river on a bike path with huge mountains on the left, snow on top and still fall foliage in the bottom third.

10.30am — i try to hitchhike from Truebbach to Chur but am unsucessful.  I miss another bus and another while discovering that the next train isn’t for 90 minutes.  I sit and wait 20 minutes for the post bus at the post office in that village.

11.33am — i board a train from sargans to chur, 19 minutes and it costs 10 USD.

noon-5pm — was shown Switzerland’s oldest city by a couchsurfer named Martina, a girl who now works at the library of her fachhochschule.  we shared a plate of fries.  7.30euros

5-8pm — sat in the passenger seat and discussed many difficult topics in german with the other three people in the car.

it’s almost midnight now, i’m exhausted but just think, in  a 17 hour stretch, that’s what I did.  I’m proud of today.

Booked two trips today

November 1, 2009

I use the word “book” loosely but I made concrete preparations for two separate trips today:

1)I have arranged for a car-sharing service from Freiburg on Friday at 3.15am and drive to Rorschach, Switzerland, arriving around 6am.  I’ll take a train to Buchs, then a bus to Vaduz-Schaan, Lichtenstein.  I’ll hang out there a couple of hours, then take the bus back across a river i’m presuming and then a train for about 40 minutes south to Chur, the oldest town in Switzerland.  At 5pm I’ve arranged another car-share all the way back to Freiburg around 8-9pm.

Costs: 2 car-shares and two train rides: 50 euros, another 25 euros for food, what not.

2)I have bought plane tickets from Zurich to Bucharest to Iasi, Romania for March 28-April 5, 2010.  It will be my second time in Romania, the first being in May 2008.  I will be there this time to teach English for a few hours, and then have the rest of the time free to explore.  Some of the teachers there will arrange some trips for me, including a two-night stay at/near the painted monasteries in the NE corner of Romania.  I plan to be at the midnight mass and possibly even sleep at the monastery one of the nights.  I’ll also do a half day-trip to Moldava while there, and maybe even another photo exhibition but I’m not sure.  This trip is paid for (flight, accommodations) and the teaching I do for free.  I like.

I did other stuff today too but it’s probably not as exciting but it could be.