Still in Heidelberg

Posted on September 8th, 2010 by

I believe it’s been a while since my last blog post. I’m not really used to remembering that sort of thing. Also I don’t remember what I talked about last time I wrote so we’ll see how this goes. Since last time, I have had more contact with the roommate/suitemate. I tend to try to stay out of her way mostly, and she always seems to have her boyfriend over, so I wouldn’t say we’ve had frequent conversations. Plus I almost always eat out at the Mensa (German for cafeteria and really good cheap food pretty close to my house). But the other day we had to talk some because she and Peter (the boyfriend) were reworking the internet connection we share (the university doesn’t supply internet to most houses so a lot of people here set up private networks) and she just happened to correct some of my German that I was writing! It was great. I really think we’re bonding.

I’ve also been out and about with American friends. We went to Mannheim last Friday evening and I have since been ridiculed for breaking a glass at the restaurant we went to. To be honest though, I think just ignorance was at fault because first of all, I did not know the drink I ordered was to be lit on fire and secondly, I was quite unsure as to the proper protocol henceforward. Note: the answer is not just sit there and try to take pictures of it because the glass will overheat and a shard will fly off in the direction of the water glasses and then everyone will laugh and the waitress will give your whole table weirded out looks all evening.

But besides that incident, it was good to see Mannheim. Mannheim is one town over and about 35-40 minutes by train (I took a train!). I am so glad though, for my friends because I am still pretty clueless about how to read train and bus schedules so I am pretty dependent on the other people around me. In time though, I plan to be quite adept at that sort of thing. Until then I just follow and try not to straggle behind too much. Although, as a picture taking fiend, that is not always as easy as it sounds. We also went to Wiesloch–also nearby–on Saturday for a wine festival and had delicious “neuer Wein” (new wine) there. And a Flammkuchen, which I just thought was a pizza but was actually way better. Also we spent a good amount of time in a drugstore there (right in the spirit of things, eh?) and I lamented over their limited selection of certain products and drooled over DVD’s that I wish I owned but not in German and not for the wrong region.

I actually went to church on my own on Sunday morning. I was supposed to meet my friend Megan out front beforehand so we could go together but she missed a streetcar or her bus was late or something and so she didn’t make it. I was not really that nervous about going, since I figured Catholic churches will still follow the same pattern wherever they are. And I was pretty much right. I did have to leave my seat a few minutes in to grab a hymnal (these cute little red books that they apparently don’t leave in the pews but on a shelf at the front of the church where I neglected to see them at first). I sat next to a young woman who also seemed not to be quite familiar which this church’s practices (I decided this solely from the fact that when we all said things like the creed or the Lord’s Prayer she was silent too) so I just followed whatever she did. If she knelt, I knelt. If she sang, I sang. If she went up to get communion I just followed right behind her. In Germany they don’t really do lines, like I’m used to, they just go when they feel like going, so I decided not to be a forerunner this time around. So besides missing out on the readings and the homily, I think I did pretty well. I got maybe a quarter of what was said so I’m excited for that fraction to increase to a comprehensible level.

This week, the American students (there’s 24 of us in this program) split into three groups and went on different field trips. I went to visit this artist’s studio and it was actually really awesome, even though my German’s not that great still, and I’ve never been that into art. He is a very modern painter but I really liked his abstract work. It was also really interesting to hear how his world philosophy is shown in his paintings. But anyways, we have to present to the rest of the people tomorrow what we learned about this experience and the whole thing is supposed to be 10 minutes long. I hate all types of presentations or speeches with a vehement passion but I had better practice my part again. Until next time!



  1. Carol Sloan says:

    Anne, So now that you are a long time resident of Germany do you find it easier to follow the German Mass? I remember the one we went to with your Mom and Dad and John in Berlin. I was as lost as you were except that the parts of the Mass are still along the same lines that we are use to in English. Trying to sing a German hymn though is a whole other issue. Believe it or not I did follow the Latin parts which is pretty funny considering how long ago we did Latin as a norm right?
    It looks like you are having a blast on your European experience to which I say “Good for You”.
    We will keep in touch.

  2. Anne Thielman says:

    Yeah, I’d say it’s easier for me to follow along. I still can’t quite keep my attention through the sermons though. I find it’s easiest to follow along when I have an idea what’s going on already but it’s just too hard to concentrate on German preaching on a Sunday morning! But I like to think I’m getting better at actually understanding what’s being said, instead of just recognizing what must be happening. I actually like singing the hymns though. Even when I don’t know what I’m saying, that’s when I know I’m doing something right!