Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Life as a German College Girl

Well, I guess going to school alongside mostly German students, allows me a little insight into what college life is like here. For the most part, it is the same as attending university in Australia, and I imagine in the US as well, however there are some little quirks which I just had to mention and hence the nature of this blog entry today. So here is a narrative of a typical day for us. Because I know you are dying to know what it entails....
Zev and I start our day off with a coffee. We wake up at the same time (6am) and while Zev is getting ready, I make his coffee (heating the Starbucks travel mug up first of course); slice his apple; write his note and pack his pre-made sandwich with his peanut butter crackers and peanut butter granola bar and greek yoghurt into his lunch box. Every single day. I like doing it. It is the little things that count. And I have to say, Zev really likes it too. I look after him; he looks after me. Speaking of...
Have you ever tried a "Pumpkin Spice Latte" from Starbucks? No, I am not trying to plug Starbucks here. There is something almost surreal about how this particular (seasonal) drink simply appeals to my senses, especially when I drink it in Autumn (Fall) time. Something about the smell and taste and texture of the pumpkin spice; the pumpkin; the milk, the coffee and sugar. It truly is amazing. I KNOW that there are readers out there nodding their heads in agreement. Some of you may even be actually DRINKING such a latte right now as you read this. If so, enjoy it. Savour it. Zev treated me to 4 Pumpkin Spice Lattes during our time in New York. The German Starbucks do not serve this drink. The week we got home, Zev surprised me with his home made rendition of my favorite Starbucks drink. It really tastes soooooo good and I actually like it more than the original. For example, if I was out in town and passed a Starbucks, I would wait until I got home to make my own latte now. With Zev's Pumpkin Base. He really should patent it. Basically, it comprises of canned pumpkin mixed with a little vanilla extract and pumpkin spice. After I make the coffee and froth the milk, I stir in a teaspoon of The Base. I've said it before, and don't groan because I'm going to say it again: I love my husband.
Ok, moving on to another topic....
The Right School Bag.
Once I found out that I would be going to uni, I searched online for the Right School Bag. I had many things to take into consideration, including the fact that law books (in every land) are known the Weigh a Lot. Also, I looked for a bag that would also provide protection for a laptop as well as enough space to carry my "extras" (wallet, keys etc etc) AND be comfortable to wear. 
Enter the "TimBuk2" Messenger Bag. I even got to pick out the pattern. I love it. One day it will hopefully double as a diaper bag. I try to be resourceful like that...
The Train Ride. Germany has an EXCELLENT public transport system. So much so that it is more convenient and perhaps even more financially worthwhile to catch the train and the bus, when you add up parking costs and wear and tear on a car. And I get to study on the train and review my notes before class.
 You can pretty much guarantee getting checked for your ticket on every train ride to and from school (Stuttgart to Tuebingen and back). It is about a 45 minute train ride with buses on either end, but all in all it goes by pretty fast. 
I like walking through these hallways on my way to class. The ceilings are so tall and the windows so large. I love to sit down on one of those window seats and just browse the internet for a while or read quietly. You can do a lot of good thinking on those window seats!
Yes, I even took a picture inside one of our lecture theaters "Hoersaal" in German. This lecture was for Criminal Law I, which is interesting for me, because I am constantly comparing the elements of German criminal offenses with American/ Australian ones. It is here that I need to make special mention of this unique German concept known as the "Akademischer Viertelstunde" which means "The Academic Quarter Hour." The first week of class, I kept wondering why all the professors, and even students were always running late. Like at least 15 minutes late. Well, it turns out, that in Germany (the land of precision engineering and punctual people), there is such a thing called the "Akademischer Viertelstunde". What does this mean? Is it sanctioned? Written down somewhere? Not only is it "written down" there is actually a LATIN term for it. As I was explained, when you see a "start time" for a particular lecture or seminar, if it has the letters "c.t" next to the time, that means "Cum Tempore" which translates to "you have 15 minutes leeway AFTER the posted start time to make it to class, get settled in and wait for the professor." Most professors arrive between the 15 and 20 minute after point. If you see the letters "s.t" that means "Sine Tempore" which apparently translates to "be punctual otherwise you will get a talking to for being late. No excuses." So there you have it. Just another little good-to-know-fact should you ever find yourself attending university in Germany. 
Coffee time! Thankfully we get to pay student prices for coffee in the "Studentenwerk" or uni cafeteria. Here are three of my colleagues: Andrea from Brazil to my left; Yaneli from Mexico across from Andrea; and Houssine from Morocco. I feel blessed with an awesome group of fellow candidates.
Since the weather was actually nice this afternoon, I walked to the station from campus. It's actually not very far and I try to walk the route instead of catching the bus. This afternoon was beautiful. Chilly but the sun was shining.
And the best part of today? Zev and I are home at the same time. Off to cook dinner now.
Have a good week,
Zev and Fifi xo

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