Week Four

This was a busy week for me. Firstly, it was our last week in the Sprachkurse (language course). I admit, I participated little in the language course. Some of the teachers in my group in particular don’t seem to know how to handle a classroom, and that, combined with my stress over the housing hunt discouraged me from coming to a few of the classes. I would like to say that I studied hard on my own instead, but honestly, my brain is pretty kaput. I mostly just cooked food and played video games.

cathedral05

Another part of the Cathedral in Strasbourg. It reminds me of Anor Londo from Dark Souls.

I’m sad it’s over though, because the cultural events were really great. Having pre-scheduled social outings distracted me quite a bit from the stress of having to work through bureaucracy in a foreign language. And it was so nice to get to know so many different and interesting people!  On Wednesday, we had a going away pot luck party. Everyone made food from their country, and it was seriously awesome. I even got some stove top cooking ideas that I am really excited to try out.

On Thursday, I had to move out of the student dorm into my new place. I convinced the landlord to give me a lease for unbestimmte Zeit (indeterminate time), meaning I can move out whenever I want with a month’s notice… which is a good thing, because I’m not sure how I feel about the place, but it was the only thing I was able to find in all that time of looking.

It’s a room on the top floor of an old German couple’s house. The house is old, and the room isn’t the nicest. It’s tiny (14 meters squared) and kind of dingy, it has no oven and no counter space (only the same kitchenbox as in the dorms I was in). On the other hand, it’s furnished, cheap (€225/month), and in the perfect spot. It’s located on a quiet street right in the middle of the Uni and the town center, so it’s 10 mins by bus to get to either.

It sort of feels like staying in a homestay, because the German couple is very nice and quite chatty. I only understand half of what they try to convey to me, but I am learning new words. The woman is a Schriftsteller (writer), and the man is a Buchhändler (book shop owner), so there are a lot of books around which is similar to my parents’ house. It’s weird to feel like you are living in a parents’ house, but those parents aren’t even your own parents.

In terms of vocab, most of the words I have learned relate to things in rooms. I’m sure I used to know all of these words in the past, but it’s hard to memorize them until you really have to use them:

  • die Treppe – stairs
  • die Bettwäsche – bed linens
  • das Kopfkissen – pillow
  • die Decke – 1. blanket, 2. ceiling
  • die Licht – the light
  • anmachen / ausmachen – turn on / turn off
  • die Wand – wall
  • der Teppich – carpet
  • das Malen – painting
  • malen – to paint
  • abstellen – to park (a bike)
  • stören – to disturb
  • den Müll wegwerfen – to throw away trash

At the end of the week, I went to Luxembourg on a day trip with a few friends. The weather wasn’t entirely cooperative, but it was still a lovely day.

IMG_20161001_145953.jpg

One of the many overlooks in Luxembourg.

Because it’s such a centrally located and international city, almost everyone we met spoke German, French, and English to various levels of fluency, although it seems like French was often the preferred language. Since early schooling in Luxembourg starts in Luxembourgish (a West Germanic language) before moving to German and French, presumably most people also speak Luxembourgish as a mother tongue. Basically, many people in Luxembourg are quadrilingual.

Of course, I spent a lot of money in Luxembourg. Apparently, on Saturday mornings they have a farmer’s market, which reminded me a bit of the ones we had in Portland. Since I haven’t found much in the way of good produce in Saarbrücken, I was really excited about this. They had all sorts of fruits, vegetables, nuts, meats, and cheeses.. All in all, I liked the city and I’m looking forward to more day trips there in the future, which I will definitely plan around their farmer’s market!

Costs this week

  • €8 – snacks (not very healthy)
  • €5 – groceries
  • €2.7 – feminine hygiene
  • €15 – climbing gym
  • €10.5 – dinner with friends
  • €6 – washer/dryer (expensive because I messed it up again)
  • €7.8 – bus tickets because I forgot my bus pass (arrgh)
  • €15 – bus pass for the first week of Oct (still waiting on my student one)
  • €37 – sheets and organizational things to cozy up the new room I’m in
  • €225 – first month’s rent
  • €16 – bus to Luxembourg and back
  • €4 – ticket to the inside of Casemates du Bock
  • €13 – lunch in Luxembourg
  • €11 – farmer’s market in Luxembourg

By the way, for any women out there that might be interested, in terms of shopping for feminine hygiene, the options are quite normal (as opposed to some other places I’ve been). It looks like most places have OB tampons (the ones w/o an applicator) and Always pads, plus some generic brand pads, available at budget grocery stores like Lidl/Aldi/Netto, but the selection is better at Drogeriemarkts (drug stores)  like Rossman or DM. Drogeriemarkts also have a larger selection of make-up, shampoos, toothpaste, soaps, and similar. You can even find pet food and some dry food items (like grains) there. What you won’t find are pain meds, cold medication, etc. For those you have to go to an Apotheke (pharmacy) and may need a prescription (I haven’t had to do this yet).

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3 thoughts on “Week Four

  1. My German housemate in Honduras told me applicatorless tampons are the norm in G. She said she’d found the US applicator-style weird! (which I interpreted as women in G being less afraid of their vaginas.) Also: is a 2nd-hand toaster oven possible?

    • Yea, it seems like applicatorless tampons are more common in general. Maybe the applicator is meant to keep your hands clean or your hands out of your vagina or something, but I prefer the applicatorless ones as well, since I find them easier to get comfortably positioned.

      A second hand toaster oven might be possible… but can you make things like baked chicken or cookies in one of those? I’ve never had one in the past since I’ve always had an oven so I’m not sure about its usage.

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