Thursday, June 17, 2010

hike for dinner...

This evening we took the bus to a fairly remote spot just outside of Tubingen and hiked up to the top of a hill to a restaurant for dinner.  (Some of the teachers in the group had taken some bicycles up there last weekend, so it wasn't completely random.)  The view was beautiful and the dinner was pretty good as well!  There were cows on the way up...and peacocks ( peacock and a bunch of peahens) running around the grounds at the top.  The peacock even put out his feathers for us to see (and take pictures of) - it was almost as though he knew we wanted to see his tail and probably waited for us to take picture for a good 5 minutes.  It was neat.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

fun thoughts...

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted anything.  Between Germany kicking Australia's butt in their first match of the World Cup and the 8 bajillion seminars I've been to every day - I have been too tired to post anything.  (NO lie - the other day I fell asleep at 4 pm and woke up again at 9 pm...ridiculous!)

So here's some more things that I've found to be especially interesting...enjoy if you will...

1. When I studied in Spain I fell in LOVE with the coffee.  I imagined it to be a similar experience here - not so much.  The coffee is really crappy.
2.  Watching the World Cup here is AMAZING.  When Germany won the other night - everyone marched down to the bridge and partied for hours.  It was crazy.  You would've thought Germany had won the whole darn thing...nope...just one game.
3.  Apple juice is incredibly popular here.  Not really sure why.
4.  Most schools have 15-20 minute breaks between classes.  When the break is over, the bell rings, and students go to their next lesson.  There aren't any tardies - I think its a great idea.
5.  Some school days in the Gymnasium (top-level high school) can last until 5:30.  Can you imagine teaching students until after 5:00??  CRAZY.
6.  There are very few administrators in the schools.  Usually one or two administrators, and usually they have teaching duties as well.  No technology person, librarian, guidance counselors, etc.  Only the basics.  In a sense, more money goes toward instruction - which is where you want it to go anyway, right?
7.  According to a recent study - 100% of students have access to mobile phones and computers, and 98% have access to the internet. 

Porsche Museum, Stuttgart

We had a free afternoon yesterday and a couple of the guys and I decided we'd take the train to Stuttgart to visit the Porsche Museum.  I'm not a HUGE car fan - but I figured that since I was here (and since I knew it'd make my wonderful father incredibly jealous) that I'd try to visit the museum.  It was built just last year - so its very new and VERY nice.  The museum is incredibly streamlined and clean - exactly what you'd expect from the designer of one of the best luxury sports cars on the market.  I'll post a few photos here - but the rest will be posted on facebook (I took over 100 photos in the museum - and can't really put them all on here).

(Just for what it's worth - I'm not a huge car fact, I don't know much about them.  But since I was here in Germany, near Stuttgart, I felt like I HAD to go to the museum!)

Here are a few of my favorite photos from the day...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Albert Einstein Gymnasium

On Friday we visited a high school in the neighboring town of Reutlingen.  The Albert Einstein Gymnasium is a fairly medium sized school - about 1100 students - and many of the classes are taught in English.  We happened to come on the day when the students were having a "pep rally" to celebrate the World Cup.  Unlike pep rallies in the US - this was completely student run (no teachers were involved).  The students met in the foyer area of the building and then went out into the courtyard and cheered for the German national team.  Students wore various types of soccer attire for the day - many of them in uniforms other than German. I took a few photos while we were outside watching the students...enjoy...

Notice the many different colors.  Germany is black, red, and yellow.  You can also see France, Italy, and even Argentina.
Here's a Spanish flag.

These kids are very excited.  The kid in the middle has a bottle of something (I'm assuming root beer!).

The German students are VERY into their soccer (fussball).  The headmaster of the school said that they stole this "idea" (the idea of the pep rally) from the Americans (at least we can do something right!)

This boy was waving around his German flag for about 10 minutes.  Notice there's even a Didier Drogba fan (Drogba is considered one of the best soccer players and plays for the Cote d'Ivoire)

World Cup...

So I'm sure you can probably imagine that the World Cup is HUGE in Germany.  The Germans finished third in the last tournament (2006 - which was IN Germany) and have historically finished near the top in each World Cup.  In Germany they have what are called "public viewings" - which is basically a large tv screen set up and lots of picnic tables, beer vendors, and tons of people.  We went to the USA/England game tonight and were lucky enough to be in the "VIP" lounge - which was for the Americans (through the German-American Institute).  So - we decided that since we're Americans, we'd check it out (and its RIGHT down the street from our hotel - so its not even a 5 minute walk to get there.

Here's a few photos from the night.  Tomorrow is the big Deutschland/Australia game - and I plan on going to that as well.  I'm sure the crowd tomorrow night will be NUTS - so luckily we bought our tickets in our hotel lobby so that we won't have to wait in any lines tomorrow. 
Flags on the way into the "public viewing" area.
The big screen with all the tables.  It wasn't even half full tonight (apparently no one in Germany cares about the USA/England) I can only imagine how FULL it will be tomorrow night. 
American flags on the tables in the "VIP" lounge.  The VIP area is on a platform at the very back of the public viewing area.  It was nice - we got free beer and hot dogs...

This was the free beer and hot dogs.  Apparently the Germans just cut a hole in a bun and stuff the hot dog in it - I did end up cutting my bun open long-ways and eating it...but I thought it was pretty hilarious the way they gave it to me.  I was slightly confused as to why they couldn't cut the bun open and just put the hot dog on it that way.  HAHA.  Crazy Germans!

There are a lot of American students studying at the University of Tubingen for the summer - so they came out to watch the match as well.  It was nice to see an American flag there!
We tied with England!  (Which is almost as good as winning - in terms of the pool play and points system.)  We play Slovenia and Algeria - and hopefully we won't choke and we'll move on to the next round.  In the next round we could possibly meet.....Germany. 

Tomorrow night we'll head to the Germany/Australia game - and hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures of what I expect to be a crazy night!

Friday, June 11, 2010

some photos for your viewing pleasure...

local market - Monday, Wednesday and Friday they have a market in the Marktplaats (marketplace) - full of fresh fruits, vegetables, plants, etc.  it's pretty amazing.
This is a house next to the Hauptschule that I mentioned in an earlier post.  Some of the students at the Hauptschule were responsible for renovating and remodeling this house which is used by some of the more severe children at the school (I believe their principal said there are about 10 students that are self-contained in this house.)
The students also designed and built an outdoor pizza oven.  Pretty cool, huh?

This is a picture of my 0,80 euro ice cream (that's 95 cents in US Dollars).  Its incredibly tasty - and I think I've had ice cream at least once a day since I've been here.  (Crystal - you'd LOVE IT!)

Just an artsy picture I took of the fountain that's in the courtyard at the Schloss Hohentubingen (Castle).

Another picture of the fountain - yes...that's all algae.  It's definitely not a fountain you want to stick your feet in by any means...

fun information...

I thought I'd share a few more tasty morsels with you that I've jotted down while being here.

1.  there's not really a school lunch - most kids go home for about an hour or so to eat lunch.  those who don't hang out at school with a lunch that they've brought from home, but they're usually pretty good about maintaining a sense of order while they're not in class.
2.  there's no census in Germany - ever since the whole WWII/Holocaust thing, I think they're afraid of "counting" people and ethnic groups.
3.  speaking of ethnic groups - there's a lot of diversity in Germany (you probably wouldn't think that'd be the case.)  the major minority ethnic group is the Turks - in Stuttgart about 40% of the population is Turkish.  chew on that one for a minute....
4.  "Das ist verboten!" - everything is "forbidden" in Germany.  there are TONS of rules - how to cross the street, where to put your trash, what not to do while crossing a bridge - its very interesting.  we see the word "verboten" EVERYWHERE.
5.  pencil boxes - all the students have them...girls AND boys.  i think its interesting that while MY students rarely have ANYTHING to write with...German students always have multiple things to write with.