Category Archives: Pictures

spreewald.

On Saturday, I woke up and headed to the train station.   I was going to Spreewald, a huge national park area south of Berlin.   Professor Neumann, his wife and son were there to meet me on the other end.  They were awesome, and I really enjoyed their company.  As you can see from the pictures below, this area was GORGEOUS!!! It reminded me of Venice, only Venice as a nature preserve. We drove to the town, took a boat ride tour of the area, got a traditional Babbenbier that is only brewed in the area, saw the castle turned hotel, grabbed coffee and cake, and headed back to their house.

They have sheep!!  In their back yard! One of the little sheep was only born 3 days ago, so it was really tiny.  It was funny because it couldn’t figure out who its mom was!  I was in for a treat because it was the city festival that happens once a year.  As we were walking through the carnival booths and food stands, Professor Neumann commented that this is the only time of the year you actually see people in the streets.  We went back to his mothers house who lives right across the street, and since we had some time to kill before my train came, we had champagne and chocolate.

It was good to be talking in German the whole day.

I mixed up the train times and ended up getting stuck in Berlin for 2 hours until 11pm.  I decided that instead of just sitting there and waiting, I would walk around.  Berlin at night is amazing.   All the lights, people, energy in the city… There ended up being this ritzy party thing going on with live music.  Then at the end, about 15mins before my train came, there were fireworks!! I LOVE fireworks, so this almost made my 2 hour delay worth it.  I immediately thought of 4th of July, so these were my 4th of July fireworks.

end is in sight.

example pp slide

That is an example slide from the final presentation I have to give.  I worked through about half of it today, so this is very first draft – in fact, I already see two mistakes just on this slide!  I am trying to use the power-point style that we use at Calvin in our engineering presentations… I’m not sure what my employers will think – hopefully they will like it!  It is very different from a few of the power-points I have seen that Sylvia has made. On Tuesday, Aug. 4, I will be going to the MWG headquarters to give this presentation of my work from this summer.  So MWG employees, Sylvia, Herr Ball, and Professor Neumann will be my audience.  I think it’s a very good thing that I have to do this, even though I don’t really want to prepare for it.  If this were in English, I would kill it.  But the fact that I have to do it in German… it’s going to be interesting.  I’m just going to have to practice… a lot!  This will be different from my night speech class last semester, where I would run thru a speech I had just written two or three times while eating, running out the door and walking up to class… and then have my professor say that I was one of the few that ‘clearly prepared extensively’.

But I’m trying not to look that far ahead yet, otherwise I will miss out here.

Things are simmering down in the dorms as people continue to leave… Or maybe it’s just me getting anti-social and removing myself a little more. Or I think I’m finally used to living here and the initial dorm excitement has finally worn off.  Despite this feeling, I know that I have made some friends here that I will keep in touch with.  And it’s great, because the invitation to stay with any of them if I travel has been extended.  I have also given the Chicago/Grand Rapids invitation… so we’ll see if anyone ever comes to visit!

elevator friends

bread and blanketsa few pictures of friends before and after we grilled in the park one night. countries represented: hungary, italy, poland, latvia, uruguay, united states of america. crazy huh?

OK really funny story.  So in the top picture, in the elevator, the guy on the far left is my hall mate.  He lives right across the hall from me.  He is the first person I ever met here, so he has a special place in my heart.  His name is Ferenc Kun.  His nickname is Feco.  This is pronounced ‘Fatso’.  Im not kidding.  When he first introduced himself as ‘Fatso’, I thought he was kidding.  He wasn’t.  The other day, I was in his room and he was skyping with his brother.  He said goodbye to him and I almost started dying of laughter.  His brothers nickname is ‘Chubby’.  No joke.  Feco didnt understand why I thought it was so funny, so I had to explain what being ‘chubby’ meant, and how it was similar to ‘fatso’.  So there we go, Hungarian brothers by the names of ‘Fatso’ and ‘Chubby’.

I have already gotten a few birthday things in the mail 🙂 I just open them – I can’t wait for longer.

Side-note: I hope it’s okay that I created my own Calvin logo up in the corner by cutting and pasting different images together… If it’s not, someone please let me know.

bremen und cuxhaven.

It was weird being back in Bremen.   Certain benches, stores, corners, statues, buildings, bars, clubs – they all have memories from two years ago.  It was overwhelming to be flooded back with all these memories of a joyous past time. Getting off at the Hauptbahnhof and walking outside – it was almost as if I never left.  But then again, things are very different from when I was 18. I felt immediately comfortable and at home, proud that I still knew the city.

bremen teerhofOn Saturday, I met Diane at the Hauptbahnhof and we walked to where the group of sophomore Calvin students are staying.  These are all the boys that I had in my German 101 conversation groups this past spring; I love them and they are a great group.  We met up with Chris and Eric, two other Calvin seniors who have internships in Bremen.  A group assembled and we went to grab a drink along the river.  Diane and I went to see where Chris and Eric lived, grabbed some dinner, explored the city, went and got another drink along the river and headed to bed.

Our alarms were set for 6am for an early departure to Cuxhaven.  Cuxhaven is a city on the North Sea known for its high and low tides, which produce really cool mud flats.  It took us an hour and a half of walking to make it up to the mudflats. We went and played on them for a couple hours – walking about a half mile and the water getting no deeper than mid-calf.  Plenty of men in speedos, crabs and cargo ships were seen.

mudflats cuxhaven

The group was really fun, we had a good time; lots of laughs and good conversation. Solid weekend. Diane and I parted ways at the Bremen Hbf and realized that the next time we see each other will be in Venice!! It was really sad actually, I’m gonna miss that girl for the next 3 weeks.

shoemaker.

Last week I went into Berlin.  Just for Wednesday night to visit a friend who is doing some traveling with his Dad in Europe.  I took the train straight from the dinky little two platform train station in Schönebeck  to the HUGE, bustling, 5 story open air train station of Berlin.   After a couple hours I was there, ready to get see a familiar face and have some dinner.  Ben is a friend from Calvin and also the student body president.  I will be working with (for) him when I serve on Student Senate this coming academic year.

We walked around for a while before finding a cute little place for dinner.  I had fun talking with the man running the place (think: waiter/cook/bar tender/cashier/bus boy) in German, and we all had the infamous German Wiener Schnitzel because it was the special for the day.  Going out to eat in Germany is not a quick process.  So not surprisingly, after we were done eating and got the bill, it was already time for me to go!

me and ben dinner

me and ben schnitzel

Mine and Ben’s engagement photos – haha KIDDING.

göttingen.

Last Sunday I finally got around to visiting Liz in the town where she studies, Göttingen. She met me at the train station and we walked back to her adorable apartment that she shares with two friends.  One of whom, Michelle, who will be studying at Hope next year! So hopefully I will be able to connect with her back home. She gave me a tour of the little city, the university, we got ice-cream and met up with her friends for dinner.  It was a beautiful day outside.  But even better, it was so great to connect again with her! She’s great. Here are some pictures from the day.

main square goettingen

the main square in goettingen.  tradition is, once you graduate, there is a big procession and you have to come and kiss this statue and bring her flowers. haha i love it.

university square goettingen

a little square/garden that has univeristy buildings around it.  a favorite hangout place among the students.

pools cafe

pools cafe, where liz and i went for coffee and ended up getting ice-cream.

me and liz :)me and liz. 🙂

besucher.

Diane came up to visit on Saturday.  She got in at 11am, I met her at the train station and we walked back.  We ate lunch in the Mensa, met up with some of my American friends and decided to go play volleyball.  We spent the afternoon in this sweet park on the Elbe.  We played volleyball, soccer and danced in the rain.  Then all of us went to dinner at this little Chinese place around the corner.  It was crazy, we had 5 Americans there!  Hung out with some people at night, but called it early because we spontaneously decided to go to Dresden on Sunday.  There is another American girl named Jingyun, who is from Detroit, but goes to school at MIT; anyway, she lives on my floor and invited us to go with her.  So we decided, eh, what the heck, lets do it.

It was 8 hours worth of train riding for 5 hours in the city.  I think it was worth it; the city was beautiful and we actually had great weather.  The minute we got on the train to come home it started down-pouring!  Dresden has two parts to the city, the “Alter Stadt” and the “Neu Stadt”.  The old part of the city was completely destroyed after WWII and is slowly being rebuilt and replicated to how it was before.  So all the buildings are not the originals, but identical to them.  I think that’s pretty sweet!  In the new part of the city there was a mini “Taste of Chicago” going on.  All the restaurants and shops had little booths outside and were selling food and drink in small portions for cheaper prices.  It felt like we were locals just enjoying the festival.  We tried the famous local dessert, a eggy cheesecake thing called Dresdener Eierschecke, and had a Bratwurst to make us feel truly German.  Both were really good!

Today work was good, I’m pretty much done with the first leg of this busy work stuff.  I started doing a little bit more complicated analyses and at one point I was thinking, wow, I’m actually kind-of doing engineering.  Tomorrow I think Professor Neumann is supposed to come and check-up on me.  So we’ll see how that goes!

Here are some pictures from Dresden.

Zwinger

This first picture is me inside the ‘Zwinger’.  This was originally a palace, but now it has museums in each of the four wings.  Zwinger means the no-man’s-land running along the city wall, so this area was once totally empty.  The prince elector that ruled here in Saxony was also was the king of Poland for a while.  If you can see on the left, there is a huge crown.  On the crown there are 4 golden eagles, symolizing the Polish royalty.

Frauenkirchethe Frauenkirche or ‘Church of our Lady’, which when built, was the largest protestant church in Germany.

theater platzin the main square, called the theaterplatz.

furstenzugThis mural is longer than a football field and is called the ‘Fuerstenzug’ or the Parade of Nobles.

IMG_0686my lovely travel companions 🙂

schilderijzaal.

dutch word of the day.

Schilderijzaal = Picture-gallery

pictures.

anne frank house.here is me in front of the anne frank house.

i amsterdamthe famous ‘i amsterdam’ letters.

sunsetsunset on the rooftop of our hostel.

rooftopsother view of rooftops.

skinny bldg.the skinny-est building in amsterdam.

bike on bridgeme posing with a bike over a canal.

typical bldgs.uh, i LOVE this picture. the boat house, the bright colors.

red-lightsa calm part of the red-light district.

bike in amsterdama sweet bike picture. might be my favorite of all i took in amsterdam.