Posted on June 25th, 2011 at 10:21 AM by admin
After my year abroad in Austria I decided to attend a conference in Germany about foreign language testing practices and standards. Admittedly I really wanted to get home already but since I was selected to participate in this 3 week conference at no cost outside of some meals and transportation to and from, I figured I could handle getting home just a little later.


My host mom in Leipzig was about the same age as my 86 year old grandmother and this woman is still living it up I gotta say. She told Sylvia (another participant from the conference who was also being hosted by super-grandma) and I that she couldn’t understand people who get old and feel lonely because she still has a circle of friends of over 30 people that she’s known for 30-40 years. Although struggling with a slight hearing problem she was otherwise impressively sharp and active.


Our first official conference day consisted of a nice lunch and a tour of Leipzig. Our tour guide reminded me of just how inappropriate eastern German humor is from an American perspective. I certainly had a good laugh along with a lot of memories of my days living in eastern Germany back in 2005-2006. We ate at Auerbach’s Keller which is famous for its supposed part in inspiring Goethe’s Faust, which we read in our German Literature and History class in my first semester in Austria. We were to have 2 full excursion days (one to Dresden and Meissen and the other to Quedlinburg and Thale) during the conference as well as a free weekend, on which I went to visit my “German son” in Koblenz.

One of the rooms at the famous Auerbach's Keller

The National Library in Leipzig is shaped like a book!

Over the 3 weeks I met several like-minded teachers and lovers of German language and culture.  It was refreshing to see that other such people exist! At the end of the conference I realized I would definitely miss these people that I had come to know but I also know that our careers may bring us back together again. But until then…Alles Gute!!

Flowers in the main square

Posted on June 24th, 2011 at 4:34 PM by admin
One whole school year has now gone by and I must bid my home in Salzburg adieu. There were many moments that I felt like the year wasn’t going by fast enough but now that it’s done it seems like it did go by fast after all. I can’t say that I miss living in a shoebox but I had adapted. What used to be a nerve racking 15 minute walk to the doener stand at the train station across the street from my dorm is now no longer possible and therefore my doener cravings will not be fulfilled.


Although it was a tough load I will miss taking so many linguistics and foreign language classes and of course my friends in Salzburg that I barely got a chance to know since I was always so busy studying. I will miss this culture that cares so much about our environment and that puts such high importance and value on friendship especially in comparison to my home land. I will not, however, miss the lack of customer service. I know that it is acceptable for many who are raised within the culture but I must return to my roots for that “the customer is always right” feel that I can only seem to find in the good ole US of A.


In any case the beauty of Salzburg’s landscapes and the comfort of its quaint yet diverse atmosphere did capture my heart and in my last weeks I went out to photograph the city one more time before heading off to Germany for a conference and then moving back to the US for the foreseeable future.

Sundown from Kapuzinerberg

 

Historic downtown just after sunset (Hi Toni!)

Sunset out my window over the main train station

Posted on June 5th, 2011 at 8:46 PM by admin
Since our school program’s trip of the semester this year was Berlin I made my third appearance in this very large, diverse and historically very interesting city. We went on a long weekend during the public holiday of Christi Himmelfahrt (also known as Ascension Day). My religious beliefs are questionable but I sure wish we had this holiday in the US! Anyways, we went to many museums as well as spending nearly 4 hours on a river tour. I definitely could’ve gotten off after 2 but I’m sure it helped my tan to stay the extra 2. It also have me a chance to have a a ginormous glass of beer. As far as musuems go we went to the Alte Nationalgallerie (Old National Gallerie), the Pergamon Museum and the New Museum. I took thousands of pictures of course.

The group in front of the Konzerthaus at Gendarmenmarkt

Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)

Bode Museum - one of the only museums we didn't actually go inside

Awesome paintings at the Alte Nationalgallerie

How real does this painting look?!

Got to say another painting from one of my favorite artists - Monet

I found this picture very interesting - the title was something like Hell Island if i recall correctly

Loving the sculptures with babies 🙂

My favorite part of the Pergamon Museum was the Islamic art collection

 

at the Neues Museum -> walk like an egyptian 🙂

The hostel we stayed in was very close to a lot of the downtown monuments but the wifi had some serious issues. In fact, my number one complaint about Berlin is that there is no Wifi that works like anywhere in the downtown. I walked around for hours one day trying to find it and I ended up a very frustrated Julie to say the least (and I will say the least..lol). Well i’m going to keep it short because I have a lot of pictures to post and I think they speak for themselves for the most part.