Tag Archives: birthday


Today was my 21st birthday.  I am offically an adult – everything is legal to me now as an American citizen.  Crazy.


I do wish I was home so I could have celebrated with my friends and family.   I had a typical day in my Magdeburg life, with one suprise! Feco’s parents are here!  So I got back from work, took a little nap, went and played volleyball at the beachbar, Feco’s mom made some killer Hungarian food for dinner and then we all went back to the beachbar where I enjoyed a Gin and Tonic.  It was a very pleasant night; weather was perfect and the people were fun.   What else is there to say really? I don’t feel any older haha but now I have to get used to saying that I’m 21!


last real week.

This is my last real week of work.  Im making steady progress on my powerpoint. Today I went to the Fachhochschule to meet with Professor Neumann.  He has a special program that I used to complement my analysis for the PV (photovoltaic) section of my project.  It went ok… its hard to do such a large analysis on over 200 buildings! So I starting to realize that my data is not going to be as accurate as I would like.   And without any actual building data, how accurate can one be?  But the goal of this summer project was just to get a basic underlying foundation for the continuation of the whole project and to project the first feasibility analysis.

Sorry I have been anti-blogging lately.  It’s just that I stare at a screen all day.  And then I come home and get distracted with friends or go play volleyball.  The past couple weeks have been busy with goodbye parties because everyone is leaving.  By this Friday most of my people will be gone.

pics and cardsHere is my wall!! It is shaping up nicely. Filled with pictures, a Uni Magdeburg Calendar and birthday cards!  Shoutout: Em! I tried to copy your picture wall, haha… a pathetic attempt!

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.

and so it goes.

Right now I’m sitting on the roof of my apartment building.  I knew I was going to sit down and write a bit, so I thought, eh, why not go outside and catch the setting sun.  I hope I don’t’ ever get in trouble for coming up here.  I’m listening to Duets: An American Classic by Tony Bennett and feeling quite jazzy and romantic.  How could I not with Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder serenading me? The only thing missing – a glass of wine.

I’m at the point in the trip where I have settled into life and routine.   There aren’t going to be anymore huge surprises or bureaucracy that I’ll have to go through.  I’m perfectly content to be here.   And at the same time, I can’t stop thinking about excited I am for my last year at Calvin.  I can’t wait to start my classes, my senior design project, live with my girl friends again, figure out what the heck I’m going to do with my life…

Today is Monday, July 13.  It is my Grandma’s 87th birthday!  I called my Grandparents from Skype to wish her a Happy Birthday; it was good to hear their voices and words of encouragement.   I’m glad I actually got through and they picked up!

Work went by surprisingly fast today.  My workstation has been moved though.  Instead of working from Herr Ball’s office, I will be working in the conference room with this other new guy.   I’m not sure if he was hired full time, or is just doing some contracting work.  But he has been around for a couple weeks now.  It was crazy though – he didn’t take a lunch break I don’t think he ever went to the bathroom!  I am constantly drinking (they have bottled water and juice available) so on my third trip to the bathroom I was feeling kind-of ridiculous.   Working in there will add a little accountability to not get distracted.  And I get to see and hear more interactions between the engineers, instead of being so isolated in my old office.

As to the status of my project, I am pretty sure I am done with all the basic busy work.  Ok, anything to do with this project will feel like busy work because I have to do it over 200 times.  But the most basic busy work is complete.   In the next part I will actually be producing numbers, not just presenting background information and collecting data.  This excites me, mostly because I actually have no idea if this project is feasible.  As the CEO of MWG said to me when we parted, “What you are doing here is very important; it decides if we move forward with this project or not.”  Yikes! Pressure is on!  But as with every project, in hindsight I can see so many better ways to accomplish what I have done.  I feel like one trip to MWG could have provided so much information that I am merely estimating.  A week working with an actual MWG employee would have been so beneficial.   But all in all, I am fairly confident I will get this project done.

In other news, my left foot has really been bugging me.  It started to hurt a couple weeks ago, but I just kept running and playing basketball on it.  Well I went for a run yesterday and had to stop because it hurt so badly.  I’m kind-of limping actually :/ I’m trying to take it easy for a while.  There is no way I am going to get tangled in the medical system here if I can help it.  I’m nervous though, because when I go to Italy I’m going to be walking a LOT.  I really hope it feels better in 3 weeks!

me on roof

And we have moved on to cello sonatas in my iTunes.  Now I’m feeling classy!  Well I’m going to read for a little bit up here.  I borrowed a book from a friend.  It’s Death in Venice and seven other short stories by Thomas Mann. It is in English, which is a cop-out since he is a fairly well known German author.  Gosh it is just so peaceful up here.   It’s nice to escape and be above all the hustle and bustle of the city.  The image to my right: windmills lazily turning above the tree tops with a hazy orange sky and a lining of clouds above them, and with a bright blue sky above the sun.

Thanks for keeping tabs on me.