Friday, March 03, 2006
i miss snow
I haven't written much lately because honestly, nothing much has been happening. It is hard to believe that I have been with my new family for a month and a half already. Even though I enjoy the musical environment and my family, it is difficult to find things to do when there are less than 300 people within a 3 mile radius. We finally have some snow, about an inch, and I have to say that I really miss snow. Especially skiiing and snowboarding and igloo making.
I have had a few opportunities on the weekends to do some things. Herr Heinzel took me to the Netherlands and I got a chance to try out my Dutch (not very good.... but i can actually understand a little bit of it!) and to walk around the city of Gröningen, which is about 30 minutes inside the boarder. I have been learning a lot about archeology with Herr Heinzel, and in particular, the people and the land of this area and how they are unique. Surprisingly, the Netherlands are very similar to East Frisia. The question is.... why does the Netherlands have a sucessful and growing economy while in East Frisia the economy is sputtering out, and dying. (I call it the Netherlands because in actuality, Holland is only a province in the southern part of the country) And there are in fact tulips, lots of fish, grass in the cafes, and wooden shoes (but the are used in the garden, as work shoes.... and acutally quite practical). After only a few hours of exposure, I can say on a first impression basis that the Dutch are a very diverse and open people and their culture is very much based on the ocean, in that they eat a lot of fresh sea food and do a lot of trade. Just walking up and down the streets, you will find a lot of foreign shops (in particular from Moccoco) and in grocery and convienence stores you will find a wide variety of products from all over the world. AND, the dutch tend to know several languages as well, especially english and german (and french if you include the amount of Moroccians (sp?) that are around and that Belgium is along the entire southern boarder). In fact, at the movie theathers, many english movies are not even translated, but played in English!
Herr Heinzel has made it his personal mission to show me EVERYTHING possible. We watched a movie on fire-baked brick cathedrals in Mecklenburg this week, 2 weeks ago saw a presentation on monestaries in the area (they were all destroyed after the reformation), and we have plans to do another tour of his museum exhibits (only this time focusing on the art work). Also, maybe do a tour of the Town Hall (there is some really neat architecture and art!), some work in the Mudflats off the coast, and acutally do some archeological work in Esens.... we are going to dig up the ''castle'' (the lord that ''ruled'' this area had a palace) that used to be in Esens!
Last weekend I went to a play that was all in Plattdeutch in a neighboring town. It is the first time that I really tried to understand Platt. And surprisingly, I understand it.... at least much better than Dutch, but still not as well as real German. And I actually counted how many windmills I can see from the house (I found a whole new field of them from a different window of the house)... which is 106, give or take a few.
This weekend in ''theater weekend'' so the theater group at school gets together all friday afternoon and saturday. Then Sunday my host family is taking me to Hamburg. I'm really looking forward to that. In the mean time, I am trying to fill up my time by studying german as hard as I can and to read books. Lately I have been trying to learn as much as I can about the Middle East and the several different conflicts there. Surprisingly (for me), what happens in the Middle East relatively directly affects Europe. There are also a lot of middle easterners here. So, it is an applicable subject. Till next time....