Category: "Welcome"

Observations (Pt. 1)

06/02/10 | by Comp615 [mail] | Categories: Welcome, The Life

Germans have a habit of closing doors and leaving them closed. For instance, in an office building in America. A worker would generally leave his door open if he were available, and close it when on a phone call, away, or in a meeting. This extents to other areas as well, I repeatedly found bathroom doors closed in peoples houses, and other private environments. Maybe it's just me, but I always find it more clear in America. If the door is open, you can go in, otherwise you can't. (Well I guess you can knock anyways). But in the case of the office, you generally wouldn't.

I think this is points to Americans avoidance of conflict. IN much the same manner, an American coverstaion might go something along the lines of:

A: "Man my computer keeps making this weird noise."
B: "I could look at it for you"
A: "When? Now?"
B: "Let's shoot for sometime next week" (And it actually gets looked at in a month)

Germans would probably not offer to help because they were either busy or not technically able to (At least that's what I'm told). I'm not advocating either approach, just stating differences. Even on the street, Germans seem to be more willing to bump past people. A lot of customs in America are centered around avoiding conflict. Even we we aren't qualified to help someone, we'll probably say we'd like to anyways, just to be helpful.

The Department of State is even less helpful in Germany than in America. Not only is there a huge line, but they close at 12...noon. Meaning they are open a total of about 4 hours on a given day. Gah!

Final thought: I've discovered that the word "Not" means emergency. Which if you didn't know German could lead to problems. For instance, when I saw "Notbremsen" meaning Emergency Brakes, I couldn't help but think: Oh, it's just telling you these aren't the brakes...look someone else. Perhaps even more problematic would be the "Notausgang" meaning Not-an-exit or Emergency exit depending on how you look at it :-P

Jetzt ist Sommer

05/14/10 | by Comp615 [mail] | Categories: Welcome, The Life

So, it's summer officially! I'm already in Deutschland (Germany), and very nearly over the jet lag. I hope to update you with fun anecdotes from my trip and photos periodically over the summer. I'm also working on getting the photoblog we did last summer going again, so stay tuned on that front.

For now, I'll recap my first day or two in Hamburg (and Germany). Hamburg is a nice port city in northern Germany. I was surprised to see how busy the port is, there's tons of cranes and containers all over as the city has a direct connection to the north sea. I also got a chance to see the World Press Photo exhibition which is currently up in the lobby of German Publishing company Gruner & Jahr. A lucky find wandering around.

We also stopped by the tunnel which runs under the harbor (~1 mile long). It's defunct now since it used a car elevator type lift, but still a lot of fun to walk/bike down. The weather has been standard European weather, cloudy and cold. This didn't seem to mar the festivities which occurred on Fathers Day yesterday.

The Germans are great, however, because this in not your typical fathers day. As it turns out, it falls on a Thursday and is actually a national holiday (Stores and schools close). This holiday should actually be called Bro Day, because literally the entire holiday entails guys getting together and getting smashed. That's it.

I frequently saw two guys carrying a case of beer between them down the road. One guy struggled to keep control of his bike as he flipped our train off with one hand and tried to steer with his beer in the other hand. Sounds like a great holiday doesn't it?

Well that's about all the excitement so far from Germany. For the next month or so I'll be roaming around the country, and then I have an internship in Munich. So stay tuned for more fun and fotos from Germany. Bis spater!

A collection of musings from my time at Yale along with some thoughts about my "Freshman year of life" in San Francisco.

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