Monday, December 19, 2011

The kind of embarrassing moment every exchange student hopes they don't have, but they inevitably do....

 On the upside, my embarrassing moment took place during a time which I was completely alone. On the downside, that was the reason why the moment became even took place. These past couple of weeks are what are called “Vorabis” Vorabis are like midterms, only on steroids. They are all six hours long... yep... six hours of writing and scrambling your brain looking for that one answer. Sounds pretty horrible to me, and that's why, holding the lucky position of “already graduated” exchange student, I opted out. Haha. Anyway, that means that once or twice a week I have no school. Last Friday this was the case. It also happened to be a day where the housemaid Manja began her vacation. That meant that I got to spend until lunchtime alone in the house. Honestly, as an exchange student, true alone time tends to be nonexistent. I believe that most of cherish these short hours alone where we can truly unwind and relax. I like it because I can do things that I do in my own home, like going barefoot and staying in my Pj's until noon. Unfortunately at eleven, as I was sitting upstairs putting the final touches on my college applications, the doorbell rang. Now, most houses in Germany have a speaker system and a buzzing system built into the house so that you don't have to run to the door, and my house especially. My house is HUGE. The bottom floor is a two-car garage, the washroom, the storage room, a doctor's practice, and my host father's dentist practice. Yes, really. We live on the second, third, and fourth floors. The entrance, however is on the first floor. You then walk up a flight of stairs, through a door, across an open corridor, through another door, into the mudroom, and then through the front door. Complicated, I know. It's even more complicated when you don;t know how to buzz someone in, and in your comfy short-shorts Pj's. So I scramble and pull on a pair of pants and run. I run downstairs and then through all of those doors. By the time I get there, no one is there. “Okay,” I think, “Cool. Just saved myself some major embarrassment. No one will see me like this afte rall.” I then walk up the stairs and look. Every single door shut behind me. I have no phone. No key. I am quasi in my Pj's and I am barefoot. This is getting good, isn't it? As I sit on the steps, I think over my options. I could wait for someone to get home around two. I could walk through the first floor corridor and into the practice and ask for a key. Yep.... That's pretty embarrassing. But there was no way I waiting for someone to get home. So I go down to the corridor and as I'm walking through I peek in the washroom and see a pair of sandals,; I throw those on to preserve a bit of dignity, and then I go to the door to the practice. I stood outside of that door for about ten minutes, putting off the inevitable embarrassment. That;s when another option hit me: Ring on the other resident's doorbell! We also rent a small apartment to an old woman on the second floor. I rang her doorbell, and she answered. The problem was that she had never met me. I explained, and I think my accent mixed with my desperation and the state I was in convinced her that I probably was living in the house. So she let me in, and no one but her would have know if I had remembered to bring the shoes back down to the washroom... shoot... haha.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Long Time No See....

So it's quite obvious that I am not very good at maintaining a blog... I am very sorry about this, and I will try to do better for all those of you that check hopefully everyday.  One of the problems is that, while I am very busy and experiencing all sorts of things to include in this blog, I am getting settled as well.  So now something that would make a great blog seems more like the norm to me, and I don't recognize it for its blogging worth.  Again, I will try to do better.  Here is my life since November 1st.

On November 12th I switched my host family.  I now live in town, rather than on the top of a mountain.  I have two host sisters: Lynn (19-20) and Gesa (17).  Both of them are very, very nice and very, very fun to hang out with.  My host parents, Astrid and Charles, are also awesome.  Charles is actually from England... yes, England.  It's actually quite helpful to have someone who went through the same process of learning German though.  My German has improved tenfold since I moved in.  

Thanksgiving was a depressing and fun time at the same time.  Depressing because I only saw digitalized versions of the delicious food and wonderful family, and fun because I saw digitalized versions of the delicious food and wonderful family.  Jealousy to all you people who actually saw your families in the flesh and got to EAT THAT FOOD.  My mind was quickly drawn away from Thanksgiving because the next day I drove to a Rotary weekend in Wenigrode.  Wenigrode is a small town about forty-five minutes from my town, and it was definitely me favorite weekend yet because all my Rotary friends that live in and around Hannover (that = all of them) got to see what the country looks like, and quasi where I live.  They thought it was so beautiful and quaint.  Don't get me wrong, it is both these things, but they forget that I am also cut off from all the things they get to experience.  Each place has its advantages and disadvantages.

Christmas is a huge deal in Germany.  Not the buy blow-up/light up snowmen for the yard crazy, but city-wide Christmas market crazy.  They have a book full of foods solely for the Christmas season.  It will make me fat, this book.  Advent is also an important part of the way they celebrate Christmas, meaning that the Advent Calendars are out of this world.  Advent Calendars are actually large cloth things that people buy here. Some are in the shapes of Christmas trees, with little pockets, some are a string with 24 stockings on it, etc.  Then what they do is that they buy 24 things to put inside each year.  Not just candy, other things too.  Then there is the evening of December 5th/ the morning of December 6th, which is the time you put your biggest shoe out for Saint Nicholas to fill with candy and presents.  basically, I have a mini Christmas morning out.  My host mother told this funny story about how when she was a kid, she would put her shoe out the first night, get presents; put it out the next night, get presents; put it out the next night, get presents; and put it out the next night, and get coal.  Haha.  I decided that I have enough candy and sweets, no need to test that theory out.

Hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings and wonderful Christmas preparations, please enjoy it all a little bit extra for those exchange students that don't get to do so.  Until next time, which will hopefully be soon!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cruising :)

Ok so I'm not gonna lie:  I have always been one of those people who make fun of cruises.  I think about how cliché they are, and how it's like taking a vacation with 2,000 people you don't know and having every minute planned with them... I don't know I've never seen the appeal.  I was quite wrong.  Cruises are awesome!!  There is always something planned for you to do, if you want, like volleyball on the deck, the food is free and there's plenty of it, and when you go to explore a city you have a guide that knows where they're going.  It was actually a lot of fun.  Here was my itinerary:


This day was mostly a loading day, getting settled, meeting the crew, and exploring a little bit of the Spanish island Palma de Mallorca.  I loved it.  It was very interesting because most of the store owners spoke German even though it's a Spanish-speaking region because the number of German tourists is so high.  That night was a late night celebration for taking off, and we also stayed up until midnight to celebrate my eighteenth birthday (picture below).


My birthday was the one and only sea day, a day where we made no stops.  We lounged on the deck, I read books, listened to music, swam.  It was nice to really relax for the first time in two months on my birthday.  


We stopped on the island of Corsica on the third day.  Our activities for the day were visiting a turtle park and going to the beach.  Yes, I said a turtle park.  Initially, I was quite interested in the turtle park because a) I had never been to one, b) I have friends that LOVE turtles, and c) turtles are cool.  When we got there and started looking around, we couldn't see any turtles... It was too cold out and they were all in there little incubated areas.  But then we kept walking and found the turtles that were willing to brave the cold and come be fed by us.  These turtles were humungous! I have videos and pics for people who want to see.  It had warmed up by the time we went to the beach, and for those of you that know I'm beach crazy, you can imagine how excited I was to get to swim in the ocean.  Well, the water was so cold that at first I didn't notice how different it was from any ocean I had swum in before.  The water was crystal clear.  I could see my entire body as if I weren't in water, and I could see everything else too.  I was surrounded by fish.  It was awesome.


In Rome I did a panoramic tour of the entire city, which was really interesting since I got to see everything in a nut shell.  Then we had free time and my host family and I went exploring.  The street we took, however, was the most exciting part of Rome for me :)  It was, of course, the shopping street.  Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Gucci, Tiffany's, Mui Mui, Missoni, etc. Right there!  I didn't get to go into any though :/


In Pisa we did the obvious:  We visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  I found the stone that the tower was made of to be very beautiful since it was so white and gleaming.  We also almost missed our bus back here and had to run to catch it.... yeah that was an interesting site let me tell you.


This was probably my favorite day because we saw so much and heard about so much interesting history, not to mention we were in a very rich area where the taxis were BMWs and such.  In Monte Carlo the normal streets that cars drive on had diamonds mixed into them so that the streets glinted in the sun.  Beautiful, and horribly expensive.  Monte Carlo is also home to the casino where the first of the modern James Bond movies was shot.  So cool to actually be in the place where those scenes were shot.  


In Barcelona my host parents split from the host kids and me.  The host kids and I went on a bike tour for the entire day through Barcelona. If I had known that Barcelona is quite hilly, I think I would have rethought my choice to do the bike tour.  All in all though, I bet the bike tour was the best way to see an awesome city from head to toe, and my legs didn't hurt... that much... afterwards :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sorry For Taking So Long...

Hi everyone!

I know  haven't written a blog post in weeks, and I'm sorry, but I was vacationing for two weeks and letting college applications suck the life out of me for the others.  As for my vacationing, let me sum it up for you :)

Ok, so my overall view of London, Oxford, and England in general was that it's freaking awesome!!  I am in love with London and Oxford.  I could totally see myself living there one day.  It's all so saturated with history; I love it!

MONDAY:  We arrived on Monday morning at 10:30 in the morning.  No, we didn't come by plane, we came by bus, and the promised 12-hour bus ride actually ended up being more like 16.  Trust me, those four hours do make a difference in one's ability to walk.  Once we put all our luggage in the lobby of our very creepy and cheap hotel (the rooms weren't ready yet), we moved on to doing the Queens Walk, which is from Tower Hill to the London Eye.  2.5 hours later and still walking, I asked myself why we were doing all the walking on the day where we didn't sleep at all?  I'm still waiting for the answer myself.  It was quite beautiful though. Once we arrived at the London Eye, which I believe is the biggest "ferris wheel" in the world, we actually got to ride it, which was pretty awesome.  After that we had free time.  Yes, in Germany when you go on class trips you don't have to stay with your chaperones all the time and you have a pretty late curfew :D

TUESDAY:  Tuesday we had a Panorama Tour of London.  It was here that I truly fell in love, since I saw everything and heard about all sorts of history and traditions.  After that, and this will interest all Harry Potter fans, I visited Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross.  Yes, it does exist, but they've moved it outside the station now.  I even have a picture :P  I then visited a very cool art museum that I currently can't remember the name of, but I bought lots of things there for people because art museum gift shops are the coolest stores ever.  

WEDNESDAY:  Oxford Day!!!  This day was sooooooooooooooooooooooo cool :)  Oxford University has a fascinating history and a fascinating structure.  There are actually 38 independent colleges that make up Oxford University, and when a student applies, they have to choose which college they want to be a part of.  If not, a computer chooses for them.  The colleges are very different, so I wouldn't recommend the computer strategy.  I also saw many places that scenes, once again, for Harry Potter were filmed.  I was in Hogwarts hospital wing, where Harry regrew his bones, and I was in the courtyard where "Professor Moody" turned Malfoy into a ferret.  Haha.  Sorry, Harry Potter moment there.  

THURSDAY:  On Thursday we visited Shakespeare's Globe Theater, the rendition, of course, and that was one of the coolest things we did on the trip.  Partially because the tour was in English, partially because I love Shakespeare, and partially because I had an amazing English teacher named Mrs. Knudson that drilled all sorts of history and facts about him into my brain, so I knew way more than anyone else.  After that tour, I went to Oxford STREET in London.  Anyone who knows Oxford St. and me would know that that is a very dangerous situation.  Oxford St. is the shopping street, and yes, I shopped. :)

On Friday I flew out early from the trip because of the cruise my family got me.  England or Cruise?  To be completely honest, at that moment, England won hands down.  Ok I'm gonna save this and write another with the rest before my internet dies and I lose all this.  I'm back everyone :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

Ok so this is going to be a somewhat random entry that basically sums up what is going on in my life and what i've been wanting to write here but haven't had the time to do so.

Tonight I'm getting on a bus with my class for 12 hours (yes, 12 hours) and we are driving to London for the week.  That's a German high school's idea of a class trip.  Awesome, I know.  But 12 hours? All night long?  We'll be stepping off the bus in London at 8 am and beginning our tours.... yeah I hope we can stay awake during the tours too.  I'm so excited!!!

I then fly home on Friday a day earlier than my class rides back on the bus (1 hour plane ride, 12 hour bus ride... haha in your faces) because I have to repack and fly´to Spain to go on the week long cruise that my host family gave me for my 18th birthday.  Yep, my host family is awesome. 

Anyway, that's all that I have time to update you guys on, but I miss you all.  Tschüss!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Was passiert in München, bleibt in München....

A group of people were wearing homemade t-shirts that said this at Oktoberfest in München.  Yeah, I got to go to that. :) It's only one of the biggest drinking parties in the world, where women are wear really cute dresses and men wear... um... interesting short/pant thingys called Lederhosen. All things said, Oktoberfest is like one, huge, city-wide fair.  There are cool rides, disgustingly delicious foods, things to buy, etc, only German style.  Here's an example.  They had funhouses where you had to go through a series of obstacles in order to make it through, and the first five or six things they had in the open so people walking by could stop and watch.  Now, the first couple things were fun and interesting, like having to run through a part that will randomly squirt water at you, or walking a cross a floor that randomly switched planes, but they were also easy enough for people to figure out.  This was a trick, my friends.  For once they made it through these obstacles, they came to some stairs (a warning already).  Now, this "obstacle" was purely for crowd pleasure and aimed toward women.  For the moment that you stepped on those steps, an air gun was aimed perfectly to send any women's classic german dress sky high.  It was also strong enough that there was no way to 1) hold your skirt down 2) pull your skirt back down.  We saw everything.  It was hilarious.  My favorite ones were where the girl didn't know about it and thought it was sweet that the boys said, "after you, ladies first."  Those ones were hilarious.  Just a bit of German fun.  As for everything else that happened, well, was passiert in München, bleibt in München... ;)

Monday, September 26, 2011

The True Lesson Of Gym Class

In Germany gym is organized into different themes and then you pick one theme for each semester.  For example, this semester my options for gym were gymnastics, track and field, or dancing... yeah... For those of you that know me those options are very, very funny.  I chose the "best" out of the three: track and field.  I am one of three girls in this class, and it is a legit track and field course.  But you see, here in Germany students don't get an A for effort in gym class.  You don't get two points for dressing for class, and two points if you try really hard that day.  Here you get graded on talent.  I have to throw a certain distance or I fail.  I have to run a certain time or I fail.  You get the point.  Anyway, these numbers that I have to get to pass are all on a little chart in my gym teacher's notebook, and they are really old and really ridiculous numbers.  I have to run a 800 in less than 3:30 seconds to get an A.  Yeah...  So anyway, since these grades count in student's final grades for college, they work their way around the chart.  They take a 3Kg ball instead of 4Kg,  pulling the tape measure in, etc.  And all of a sudden, everyone in class is a star.  Cheating in its prime here.  Haha.  It is hilarious.  The only thing that everyone sucks at is running, and the teacher drops our lowest grade, so no one cares.

Call Me a Math Genius

 So far in math I haven't been able to understand most anything. This is because the lesson is in German and I have never done this type of math. Today, for some reason or another, I got it completely. Math class is very different here in the sense that there is a lot more individual work, you struggling to figure out the problem with the little you've been taught, and the teacher sees who can figure it out on their own. We were assigned 15, 16, and 17. I was done in 15 minutes. Everyone else was still on number 15, so I started working on college applications when my teacher walked over, ready to explain everything in English to me (since obviously I hadn't understood instead of finishing). I explained that I had finished and he just kind of looked at me. “Then do 18,” he said and turned to another student. At the end of the class he started to give them a hard time about the fact that I had finished my math and none of them had. Their first excuse was that I had already learned the math. My teacher asked me, and I said I hadn't. Then they said that I was actually really good at math in the USA, and that was why I could do math so well. I started to protest, but the looks I got around the room made me change my mind. I am now a supposed math genius. I don't know how well that will go when I can't understand math again, or when I fail the tests.... lol.

Friday, September 16, 2011

"Jo, the United States of AMERICA is Canada, the US, and Texas, right?" .... What?!

That is by far the best question asked of me so far, and I'm sure the very independent state of Texas will appreciate the fact that some still believe it to be a lone star.  My host brother asked me this question at the dinner table the other night, completely serious, with the rest of my family looking at me expectantly (Tiffy, the one who spent five months in the USA, wasn't present).... like it was a perfectly normal question.  With a small smile, and a small smile is pretty good restraint considering how funny the question is, I answered, "No, North America is Canada, the United States of America, and Mexico."  I'd say I respected the question pretty well.  I am always trying to remember that I probably ask the same exact types of questions here, and that they (usually) don't laugh at me so why should I laugh at them?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The American Stalker Girl Who Doesn't Even Dress as Nice as a Boy!

Here this statement would probably be a fair description of me by my classmates..... I don;t mean to stalk people, it just happens.  We are going to the same place, but I don;t really know them, so I follow at a safe "no talking" distance.  Then all I get are glances backward like, "Why are you following me?!"  Since I only know one route to all the places I want to go, it's not like I can take another route to make everyone more comfortable.  I'll take being a quasi-stalker over being lost in a foreign country any day.  I am not good about asking/understanding directions in English, much less German.  You know you're getting somewhere though when you say something and they look at you, repeat what you said in a high pitched voice, giggle, and say to you, "so süß!" (which means "so cute!").

EVERYONE dresses nice here.  Every morning I look in my meager exchange student closet, trying to figure out what I have already worn this week and what I haven't.  I painstakingly pick out an outfit - some combination of a shirt and pants - hoping that wearing this shirt with those pants will somehow make them look newer.  Once I get to school and look around though, I know it was a lost cause.  Here I am, in a pants, t-shirt, and sneakers.  I wish I could even say that the boys were dressed the same, but I can't.  How were they dressed?  Nice pants or slim jeans, a button-down shirt or a v-neck t-shirt and trendy sweater, and loafers, boots, or sweet sneakers.  Their hair is also perfectly styled.  Some boys even straighten their hair here.  I am not lying, I've seen it with my own two eyes!  I'm lucky if I remember to brush my hair, and the only thing I know how to do with it is put it in a ponytail.  American men, are you feeling a little underdressed and "understyled" right now? Cause I am.  The inbound boys from America are even more uncomfortable than I am.  One of them told me that the girls at his school told him that they would take him shopping soon to help him out.  Looks like I'm in need of a makeover as well.

The two statements above are from yesterday.  Today, however, I am more of a success story.  I got up early this morning, determined to define my gender as "girl" with my clothes.  I pulled out all the stops on the makeup, threw on my black skinny jeans, and a brown suede tunic-top thingy that I bought for parties and stuff.  I considered the grey leather booties that I bought, but I had to walk a mile downhill to the bus stop and well, let's face reality.  So the sneakers stayed, and I was off to school.  I have never had so many double takes in my life. I really think they hadn't realized I was a girl.  Three girls told me I looked really pretty today, and tons more asked me where I got such a cute top.  I wish I could flip my hair and say, "The States," but I couldn't.  I got it here in H&M, with the help of my host mom and Tiffy, but it's a start.  Too bad it's the only top I have like that and I have one more day of school this week.  Might need to get up even earlier tomorrow to figure that one out.  Bis später!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Tales of a Pale American Girl...

Olivia, I think you can relate to this. So far, I have been asked the same exact question five times: Why are you so pale when you live in such a sunny place (aka, the USA)? I then lift up my shirt , showing my paper white stomach, to explain that this IS me tan and that I spent a whole week tanning on the beach before I came. That just increases that shocked factor.  I hope you can see my "tan" in the picture I posted.  It's something, right?  My host sister says that they just have to paint me. My other relatives asked me if I go outside in the USA. Gotta love my life.

An Unexpected Visitor (September 10th, 2011)

In Germany, air conditioning = the windows in your room. Not even fans. Every morning when I wake up I open my windows all the way so that I can get as much air in as possible before I have to close everything up and be on my way for the day. Nothing was different about this particular Saturday. I had finished getting ready for my day of tennis and shopping, was downstairs eating breakfast, when I realized that I had forgotten my key and to close the windows. I ran upstairs, opened my door, and all I saw was flapping wings and all I heard was squawking. I slammed my door shut and ran downstairs as fast as possible. My fright showed all over my face, and my host sister Tiffy looked at me like, “What the heck is wrong with you?” I told her that there was a bird in my room. Once again I was not believed. She came upstairs, opened my door, and was greeted by the same flapping and squawking. She slammed the door faster than me (ha) and then opened it very slowly. The bird then flew out the window on its own. Smarty pants. Nevertheless, I do not open my windows quite as wide anymore.

Cow Tits and Other Fascinating School Adventures

Ok so because I do not have the internet everyday I write my blogs in word and then copy and paste them when I can.  That is why there are three posts with "September 13th" as the date.  They are all from this past week.  

 (Sept. 12th) Yes, “cow tits” will be explained in an appropriate manner. Because of the language barrier, many of my conversations with my classmates are a mix of horrible German and garbled English (at least we try :P) Many times either I or they cannot find the word we need in our less perfected language, and thus we have to use other means to get our point across. In this case, the word “udder” was the unknown. Therefore, cow tits was the most suitable substitute :D OBVIOUSLY. Not to mention our entire group spent the next 15 minutes laughing, saying “cow tits,” and then laughing more.  Oh, and this story also explains the reason that Vivi posted those picture to my wall.  Ok onward and upward.

(Sept. 9th) The other day I was asked a question by Sina, my guide/lifeline at school, in a very serious manner. “Do you really have yellow buses for school in the USA?” I said yes and proceeded to explain the “school bus” concept. You know, a bus only for students, the stop signs, flashing lights, stupid bus drills, etc. I don't think she quite believed me. Here we ride the public buses and trains to get to school, which means that you have to watch out for yourself. No stop sign and no guaranteed stop at your stop (you have to remember to push the red button, which signals the driver that you need to get off). When she asked, “But what about the public transportation?” I explained that we practically have no public transportation. That answer solidified her disbelief in my story.

( September 6th) Most of you that are reading this know me very well, and know that I'm not much of a comedian. However, here they do not know me well, and seem to find me very funny. I bet that is my pronunciation, my overall confused look, my misunderstanding of their everyday culture, and my stomach growling. Yes, I just said stomach growling.... I was REALLY hungry, okay! I had slept through my alarm and didn't have time for breakfast. Here you can't just pull a snack out in class if you're hungry. Instead, we have designated breaks throughout the day when we can eat. My stomach didn't make it to the break. Yeah, everyone liked that one.

Today (Sept. 13th) we had our fire drill. Apparently we only have one a year, and that was it. It was announced over the intercom, and initially the person announced it to be the lock-in drill of the year, but in mid announcement she decided to make it the fire drill. So once everyone was all locked in with the windows closed and the lights off, we had to turn the lights on, unlock the door, and run outside. Yes, in Germany, they run. And they talk. And they bring their things so that they can listen to music and text. Yep, Germany fire drills are way more awesome and way less safe than American fire drills. I think I prefer the safer.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I know it's a little bit late... but here I am! :)

So I have actually decided to not only design a blog, but to also write in it! What an idea, right?  You know what convinced me?  Olivia's blog.  It's so funny and perfect and I decided I wanted one just like it.  Well see if I can compare to a 5'8'' red head in Japan, since I'm a 5'7'' light-skinned blonde in... Germany... Yeah I pretty much blend in.

To begin, I will explain what my life is like here.  Then I will proceed on to all the stupid/funny things that have happened to me so far.

I live in Bad Lauterberg, Germany.  I have a mom (Kathrin), a dad (Erik), two sisters (Charly, 19, and Tiffy, 17) and a brother (Maurice, 15).  They are awesome.  I go to school in the town next to Bad Lauterberg, it's called Herzberg.  I am in 12th grade and, depending on the class, understand absolutely nothing.  People say that my German is good but I know that they're being nice, smiling, and nodding even though they can;t understand a word I'm saying.  I know because I do the same thing to them.

Ok, I'm done with the basics.  Here are some things that have happened to me so far:
          - Germans bring breakfast to school, not lunch.  Ok so this one isn't really my fault, just my ignorance.  How am I supposed to know that a sandwich, and apple, and a chocolate bar is breakfast when I eat a bowl of cereal at home before school?  Well anyway, when I got home and they asked me if I ate lunch, I said yes.  When they asked me what I ate, I got a little confused.  I answered, "what you packed for me."  My host mother then had a horrified look on her face, and Tiffy quickly explained.  Now they think I don't eat.  My host father checks the dish washer to make sure I've put dishes in it, and my host mother always begs me to eat a little bit more.  lol.
          - It's ok to touch, and it's ok to shove.  I found out both of these things the hard way.  Well, not hard, just funny.  My first experience with the whole touching thing was in Religion, when my religion teacher, Frau Apel, was explaining that Jesus is "flesh and blood." As she said the words, flesh and blood, she ran her hand up and down my arm.... yes, a total look of surprise and confusion was on my face, which caused my class to roar with laughter.  Since then there have been hugs, hand shakes, pats on the back, etc from people I barely know.  Cultural differences and all.  Shoving has to do with the bus.  Yes, you begin in the normal, civilized line as you wait at the bus stop, but the moment that the bus arrives the shoving begins.  I always start at the front and end at the back.  It makes me furious, you know? lol.

This is already way to long, so I'll end it here.  Keep looking though, who knows when I'll post next. :)