Montag, November 06, 2006

Grüezi in Züri!

Yippie! I just booked the train tickets for our 2 day trip to Zürich on Nov 22nd ! One hour after my last exam we're going to sit in a nice ICE on our way to the land of cheese and chocolate, mountains and cows! AAAAAAH I already feel relaxed while thinking about it!

However this won't only be a holiday trip. Actually i'm going there to meet up with a professor at the University of Zurich to talk about the possibility of writing my diploma thesis there. Fortunately a fellow student of mine, Katharina, works for this professor and she's offered us to stay at her appartment for 2 days. That's great since Zurich, just as whole Switzerland, tends to be overprized for poor German students.

I'm already excited to see what Zurich and Switzerland is like. I hope I won't burst out laughing when I hear the first Swiss talking Swiss German. It sounds so funny! :)

Samstag, September 16, 2006

Things I want to do after my exams

Folks, i'm frustrated! I've spent the last 3 months sitting at my desk and staring at the monitor or on a book or lesson script for a change - haha. That's a real good way to miss out on the whole summer, miss spending time on the banks of the Rhine with friends, or having Italian icecream and a BBQ outside. I've not been to my hometown for 6 months now, which is the exact time I've been to India. At the end of my exams in mid November it's going to be 8 months*. Great. At least I'm able to look forward to spending christmas at home.

What keeps me up and running is the imagination of all the things I can do after my exams! The world will be open to me! No more books tying me to my desk! No more nightmares of failing exams. That's why I decided to make a list of things I would like to do after my exams - and I hope this list will motivate myself for the upcoming 4 oral exams.

There we go:

I'd love to...
... spend a day by the sea, facing the rough salty winds, collecting sea shells and taking tons pictures of lighthouses (I LOVE LIGHTHOUSES!).
... visit Amsterdam for a weekend.
... do an (in every way unlimited) shopping tour through Cologne.
... go shopping in Ikea a whole day long.
... do a Germany tour to visit my friends and relatives in Bonn, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Paderborn, Leinefelde and Kitzingen.
... organize a Bollywoold-Movie-Night for my friends.
... spend one night in a splendid hotel and loot the mini bar.
... spend a camping weekend on a lake with Ben.
... bake everything I ever wanted to bake but I never had time for.
... cook exotic food I always wanted to cook but never had time for.
... create a new design for my blog.
... create a new design for Ben's blog.
... repare my bike. (That's the last item because it's almost work, isn't it?)
AAAAH, now i'm motivated again! C'mon Johanna, let's get into NURBS and surface trimming!

... My list could be a bit longer though. What are your ideas for a perfect relaxing but exciting day after an almost never ending period of studying and being caved at home? Your suggestions are more than welcome!

* That phrase sounds kinda weird. I just don't know how to get the tenses right here, sorry Kent ;)

Donnerstag, August 24, 2006

[Update] Terror in Germany

Yikes! The second suspect, who's fist name is Jihad - how appropriate, was arrested in Lebanon today after he surrendered to the police. No idea why he did that though. German intelligence expects a whole Pro-Lebanon terror cell to stand behind the attacks, so they keep an increased security level.

A friend from AIESEC is going on a 4 week holiday to the States next week. Since he's going to fly with BA plus he's going to stop-over in London plus he's going to accompany a friend who's ill and needs medication during the flight, I'm expecting this to become an interesting travel story.

Samstag, August 19, 2006

Has terror finally arrived in Germany?

On July 31st two "suitcase bombs" were found in regional trains in Germany. One in Dortmund, and one in Koblenz (ya, that's were I live). The bombs consisted of a liquefied petroleum gas container and accelerants.
I didn't mention it on my blog because I thought that's only another stupid person trying to blackmail the Deutsche Bahn (German railway company). I was glad not to be forced to take a train that week though.

So now, there's news... apparently this was planned to be terrorist attack.
The police says the impact of that bombs would have been the same as in Madrid in 2004 (191 dead) or London last year (52 dead).

Great news.

The only reason the attack was unsuccessful was that the bomb builders made a construction mistake. The bombs were kindled, but did not go off. (At least they're not the brightest ones.)
They should have exploded simultaneously 10 minutes before the arrival. But since they didn't, train staff brought the left suitcases to the lost and found offices, where they found out about the bombs.

The suitcases contained white powder and notes in an Arabian language... now that sounds ridiculous! If I'm a terrorist and I'm about to blow off two bombs - in regional trains that nobody uses in Germany, but however - would I forget my shopping list written in some Arabian language in that suitcases?! Would I put white powder you can only buy in Arabian shops in those suitcases?! And in the first place - would I be too stupid to build a working bomb?

Well, maybe we'll get to know more about the 2 suspects soon. One of them was caught at the main station in Kiel (up in the north of Germany) this morning. He could be identified with the help of a video surveillance.

I still don't know what to think about this whole thing. Terrorists usually don't make mistakes like that. Or do they but we don't get to know about it, because on TV they only show the big attacks?
Why did the suspected terrorists select Koblenz and Dortmund? I always thought the main targets of terrorists are big world known cities - have you ever heard of Dortmund or Koblenz before (before you met me ;) ??
And why right now? What's different about Germany now than the years before? Is it the Middle East crisis? Or what?

Can anyone tell me please if I'm supposed to be afraid now? I still don't feel like it's dangerous to use public transport. Or to go to big populated places. Should I be?

Samstag, Juli 29, 2006


Amazing what words have made it into the English vocabulary. I've never heard of "dunkirk" before - well, I have heard of "Dünkirchen", which is the German name of that town, of course - but I didn't know of it's usage in the English language.

Why did I actually call my post "Dunkirk" then...?

I just found it quite appropriate for the news about Walmart leaving Germany. After 8 years of struggling on the German market and big words of changing the German supermarket sector into a whole new super-service-oriented American idol sector, Walmart sold all it's markets to the Metro Group. I can only guess the faces of the American big bosses of Walmart when they heard Germans don't want Walmart. Priceless.
I'm not at war with the US economy or any other company of American origin here in Germany. It's just a little bit satisfiying to see, that the American way is not always the successful one.

In its 8 years in Germany Walmart managed to change its Germany CEO twelve times. Only one of those guys was German. And he actually managed to stay in power for 4 years.

But still, things like banning relationships between their employees or singing motivation songs in the morning role call may work everywhere else - but not here. One of the bosses even ordered tons of coal before christmas. For North Americans that might not sound strange, but in Germany nobody has a BBQ on christmas. (I actually didn't know myself that it is usual to grill outside on christmas.) And after all Germans want to bag their groceries themselves!

Bye bye Walmart...

Samstag, Juli 22, 2006

It's getting hot in here...

A little bit less than 1 year ago in India, I remember me saying that "Next year I'll enjoy the nice rainy and cool German summer, without moskitos and without having to switch on a fan for the night."

Alright... it's the 3rd week with temperatures above 30°C now. The hottest day in Koblenz so far was last tuesday with 36.8°C. Of course that's still a lot less than in India at that time of the year. But pleeeassseeee, why can't we have a normal German summer???
I'm talking of 22°C, sun with some candyfloss clouds (is that expression common outside of Germany?) and a light breeze. You can ride your bike without grilling your bum! You can actually leave your flat before 6pm without being burnt in 2 seconds! You don't have to sit in a darkened flat all day. You can sit on a chair without feeling sweat running down your legs.

And the worst of it all? NO FANS! NO AC! Gooooosh, I wish I was in India right now!

Samstag, Juli 08, 2006

A sugar shock treat called "Gulab jamun"

I proudly present:
Almost self-made Gulab jamun for our AIESEC Global village event. Gulab jamun is an Indian desert, made from a milk powder/ flour - dough, deep fried and soaked in sugar syrup.
Thanks to Samantha for bringing us instant Gulab jamun powder from India. All in all it was really easy to make. Unfortunately I was hit by squirting boiling oil so I've got some nice "I made Gulab jamun" - burns on my arm. At least something not everybody has. :-)