Dienstag, 28. Oktober 2008

Rivarly in Germany & East vs. West Europeans

Many people say that München isn’t in Germ, but this might be only the rivalry speaking. What kind of rivalry? The one between the biggest/most important cities in Germany. In my opinion: the ‘battle for the trophy’ is given between München, Hamburg und Berlin. The Hamburgers say about the Berliners (and other way around) that they are hochnäsig (siehe http://dict.leo.org ;-) ) . The Norddeutscher say about the Süddeutscher (actually only about the Bavarians) that they have their own country. The Bavarians about the North Germans, that they aren’t that important, or was it something else?!

When I think of saying ‘I hope it will be like this also in Romania’ a shy smile appears on a corner of my mouth. The idea, I have to admit, is pretty nice: to have for example not only 1 economical centre of the country as it is now. Cluj (Klausenburg), Sibiu (Hermannstadt), Brashov (Kronstadt) could qualify in some years as good candidates for the job. Who knows?!

Of course there are many other things over which the Germans (')fight('), but they aren’t worth to be mentioned as they don’t differ too much from the ones found in other countries.

One more thing could be said. It's something I've noticed in the past weeks: The most East Europeans go abroad to the West Europe. The West Europeans go also West. In the ocean? neee. To America or to other places far away like Japan, Tanzania, South Africa. (A line in my ToDo list.) The East Europeans go west to study in countries like Germany, France. The germans go west to study in Nederlands or England. The English? In New York, like Sting used to say?
Am I generalizing in some way?

Samstag, 25. Oktober 2008

Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften, 2009

Taking a look through the fotogallery of the past event i got the impression it could be more interesting than the one of last year in Hamburg.
Here more about the event next year in June.

Dienstag, 21. Oktober 2008

New city - same cloths

The title of this post could have been also: "The advantage of moving to another city" or better "The 'most important' stereotype of a woman is applied only for the ones who live their whole life in the same city".
Another good reason for moving from time to time is that in this way you don't need to buy new cloths (only if they have some holes, although before throwing something take a look around, maybe you will find out that this is the new fashion in town). Nobody knows your garderobe. Therefore if it's not bothering you wearing the same combinations then do it. It saves you some money.

Sonntag, 12. Oktober 2008

Stories from Aachen

The following story was written in the train while I was coming back from Aachen (to Hamburg)on the 27th August.


Today I had a phone interview. My 1st one. Very stressful. Not necessary bcs if was on the phone, but bcs it was an interview.
Ahh. For what? For my internship. My eternal problem. Everybody got tired, I think, of this ‘problem’ of mine.

The time couldn’t have been more interesting. Why interesting? Because of the many obstacles I met. I will name shortly some of them.

I was in Aachen with Lore and Radu. Lore is my childhood best friend. Radu, her bf. Why in Aachen? They came here to study. A master program very similar with mine, i.e. Media Informatics. No longer than 1 year ago they were on their way to Hamburg to visit me. After 2 weeks they came to the conclusion that Germany isn’t such a bad place. So they started the hard work (I know what I am saying), with little help from me, and they applied and applied and here they are after 1 year.
To make the story short, I went for few days to Aachen to help them get acquainted with the German system. It can be very hard if u don’t know the language. Well, here is where I come in. And besides knowing the language I’ve also been through the same things so I wanted to make their life a little bit easier, not to suffer a culture shock.

We found a nice place in Aachen, where they are going to live for the 1st month cause afterwards they will move to Bonn, where they start their classes. Aachen will be only for registration and for the german course. Who knows maybe in 1 month I will update this story with ‘Stories from Bonn’ instead of ‘Stories from Aachen’. hehe

So among the tasks for this week the following can be mentioned: register the new address, open a bank account, take a bescheinigung from the insurance company, learn some hints about how the german ppl think, learn some German basic words ( how to count; how to make the diff btw hähnchen, schwein und puten; how to say ‘Ich heisse …. ‘). They caught them pretty fast. That makes me believe that in one month they will be able to speak some German.

The problems I encountered were:
- no internet in the apartment ( :O:O:O can one imagine a life without the internet ?!?!?!??! haha), so we had to share the stinky air from the icafes with some low level ppl (sorry for them, but this was the fact).
- I couldn’t sleep :P
- I couldn’t finish my new letter of intention. Couldn’t get the only sentence I was missing.
- spent some more money.  - eating in the city (hv to admit Aachen is cheaper than in HH, it is after all a student city), buying a dress for the wedding I am attending this we (hopefully I will have more time to write about it), printing the pages for the interview. (10 cents/page).
- pretty much every person we met in the administration environment couldn’t (or didn’t want to) speak German. This made things a little bit harder. For all the parts involved. Not even the guy in the bank. ( :O:O ). Not even the direct banking option had an English version. Radu said he will file a complain. He should of course. I should do that, too. This made me feel a little uncomfortable. How can I explain to my friends that the Germans aren’t that nationalists (at least not more than the French people), when so many things like these happen? When you work / live in a city, where at least 30-40% of the people are international, and u don’t speak another language, you should maybe ask yourself: ‘shouldn’t I feel incompetent?‘

The good things:
- I helped my friends. Hope they realised that. 
- I got to know myself a little more in the sense that I am glad I chosed this way of life and this way of thinking.
- I got to know another city in Germany. A very nice one I might add. The pictures will be uploaded (when?). I am proud to say that I also got the run a little every morning. A little cause a hill needs more effort. :D
- Bcs of the internet the possibility of preparing for the interview were limited. But I have a good feeling ab the interview. It isn’t over. I have the 2nd part on the 4th in Berlin.

Freitag, 10. Oktober 2008

Discovering Berlin

One of the reasons I like this city is that in so many ways it is similar to my home town. I set a sort of a goal to find out in these 6 months as many 'insights' as I can.
On Wednesday I went out with some colleagues from work. To describe a little bit the 'team' I would say it contained: 2 guys from Java (1 of them studied the same thing with me but in Hannover; is there an university there? :p), 1 gal from Graphics (Austrian) and 1 guy who did his Diplomarbeit in the company and now I don't know where he's working. The last one came with the idea to have a Cocktail evening in a bar not too far away from where we work.
It took us some time to get there cause I needed to go by the bank before. Surprisingly there aren't so many banks around this area.
The bar: A cocktail bar with happy 'hour' btw 5-8pm and after 8 the offer continues with the cocktail of the day. We stayed there till almost 10 (from 7.30).
From the whole crew only 1 lives in the same area with me, the rest.. 1h by S-Bahn. :-s
After saying goodbye from the others, V told me about an 'interesting' place he got to know by mistake. A true Berliner insight. Don’t remember the name [29.10.2008 The name: Dr. Pong] (you couldn't see actually any name outside or anything inside. We had also problems finding the door while going out hahaha. Anyway. It wasn't that bad as it might seem. :)
A little about this place: Not too big. Some people inside. Only 1 room, divided in 2: on one side the bar (with beer 1.50-2€), on the other side a big table tennis and people moving around it. Huh? Moving around it? Yeah, well.. How does it work? You pay 5€ deposit for a blade at the bar and set urself in the circle around the table. Everybody has to hit the ball once (correctly!!) otherwise he/she is out. It goes like this until only 2 persons remain in the game. To set a winner they play 2 out of 3. Then you start all over again. :D
Pretty silly but this is one of the insights I was talking about. I heard that, during the weekend, they are like 50 ppl around the table. :)))))
(I have some pics from there, didn’t get them yet though)

Dienstag, 7. Oktober 2008

Preparing for a new beginning

It is pretty hard to put in few lines everything that happened in the last months (?).
It is kind of silly to say I hope I will be able to write more often now 'cause I should base myself on previous similar moments.
[pfff.. my English got worse since the last time (?) or maybe it was like this before and nobody noticed. hahaha]

Here I am... sitting in "my" new kitchen, in "my" new place, in "my" new town, summed up: in "my" new environment: Berlin. 2-3 years ago I was thinking that my favourite city in Germany is Munich. Was I wrong?! (more about it here) But in the last year I had more ‘free time’ to enjoy the gorgeous Hamburg and to discover (in 6 times only) this wonderful city which is Berlin.

In one week I will have the honour to celebrate my 1 month anniversary (don’t freak. I am talking about 1 month since I am here :) ). Cake?! Will try, but the things needed to prepare one are still in Hamburg. :-s

I managed to go only once to Hamburg in these 3 and a half weeks. 2 weekends ago. It was my last weekend in my former room. A big event. Actually when I moved out, on the 14th of September, I ‘celebrated’ exactly 1 year living in that room. Pretty nice, isn’t it? I don’t remember telling many things about my 2nd year flatmates. But again, it has been a long time since I posted the last time.
But coming back to that weekend of 26-28 September. Actually the whole period, from middle August till now, was a little bit crazy.. if not a lot. :)

Dividing the events on periods:
End July – beginning of August: entering a terrible ( :) ) panic that I am not going to find an internship. I was constantly hearing the q: "did u find an internship?" o "wie sieht’s es aus mit deinem praktikum?" (in diff versions..)
Beginning of August – my personal bank consultant ( :) ) was starting to ask me if I have a deposit in some other bank (and in which amount.. cause he can make me a better offer- hahahahhaha), A very good person in the university (from the same International Office, where I worked from the beginning, who is taking care of the Overseas students) had an idea to offer me the opportunity to earn some additional money by helping her a little. This was the moment when I decided to reconsider the idea of going home for some days. The reasons: a wedding of one of my friends from the university + my parents' beautiful 29th anniversary. I don’t regret at all taking this decision. The only thing is that now I find myself in the same situation I was when I moved to Germany (will skip this part..)
These 4 days home were the best ones in such a long time… (more about it here)
Middle of August: 22nd of August – left for Aachen to meet L & R. They were supposed to start their Master in something pretty much similar to what I did/am still doing in Hamburg. (more about it here)
Just before leaving (Thu) I phoned the 2 companies where I had applied (more than 1 month prior) for an internship cause I wanted to know something before going away for ‘holidays’. The standard answer was more or less: Thank u very much for calling, for showing the interest in our company. We know ab u & ur application. It is still in processing. We will let u know within a week. Left for Aachen (Fri). Got 2 mails (Monday): 1 rejection and 1 'fyi'. [Talking, of course, only ab the positive step,] They had sent my application to one of their tochtergesellschaften. These ones were supposed to get in touch with me. Which they did. I got a phone call (Tue) from this company telling me that they got my application and that they received also my thank u email (an answer to my forwarded application).
A pretty complex process but this is the way they do it here. Hahha
It was a nice phone conversation. Was terrified, of course. Hehe. But we got to an understanding: 1 phone interview the next day (without internet and any notes :-s) and 2nd interview (if 1st one ok) on the following wed at their headquarters in Berlin. :) (more about it here)
End of August: Wed, 27th Aug – had the phone interview. Went ok. Left for HH the same day. Got there at midnight. Thu, the 28th Aug – woke up at 6.45 to meet my houseadmin to hand over the GHS key I had for 2 weeks. Went to uni to work for some hours (still needed to do the 3h scheduled in the job), run home to pack (i.e. to take out some thick cloths and put some summer ones for home + 3 dresses.. hhaaha), run to catch the mitfahrgelegenheit to Berlin.
(more about it here)
In Berlin I stayed with Bo, an old friend from Hamburg [but she is originally from Manchester, ähh Poland :)]. It was her last night in the dorm. (It took me 6 months to visit her and I chose her last one... hehe). Had a great time. [We didn’t go out. Stayed in, packing. Actually she packed. Her flatmates helped her. I was extremely tired. :) I stayed in the 3rd room, an empty room which the houseadmin forgot to close. :) Soooo.. a huge bed only for myself. ]
Fri, the 29th – Bo and I went together to the airport. She had to pick up her BF from the same airport, at the same time. She decided to wait with me in the line, but it turned out to be not such a good idea, as there was only 1 woman in charge of the check in. At the line: romaniaaaaaaaaaans. hahahaha. I will skip the part between preparing to take off and landing in Bucharest [, although it was funny to see the woman from the security getting a little bit angry while checking one Romanian who had her jeans full of metal parts ( :)))))) ) or to hear the passengers (again Romanians) arguing with (i.e. screaming at) the stewardesses during the flight. :)].
End of August – Beginning of September: @Home. Great time. At the wedding?! Hmm.. it was pretty nice to take part in it. At home with my parents and my aunt?! Best 3 days. I’m glad I had also the chance to see my best friend, even if it was only for 3h and these almost falling asleep. (Sorry, A) (more about it here)
Wed, the 3rd – flying back to Berlin. I stayed at another friend of mine who was there for a language course. Was a little bit scared about the interview, felt not really prepared for it (more about it here), but I did it. It is time for a new beginning. Am I ready for it?

FAZIT: Ich hab was verloren, ich hab was gewonnen.