After a full week, I am finally able to process everything enough for an update. Multiple times this past week I sat down at my computer to write an update, only to be confronted with a scrambled brain, frazzled by English-German and German-English, and everything else unfamiliar.
Now, I don’t have the issue of being tongue-tied (through the keyboard, of course,) but where do I begin. Hamburg is a city of 1.8 million people, located 65 miles/ 100km south of the North Sea in the north of Germany. The weather has been mostly sunny, like a New England November, really.
I am living in a university dorm, fifth floor, single with a nice view over the tree tops (Hamburg has three trees for every resident) in a nice neighborhood of called Eimsbüttel. Each floor has a bathroom, kitchen, and common area with a porch; my room comes with desk, chair, “shrank” (Germans don’t have closets or bureaus, it’s a combination of both,) bed (exceptionally comfortable, thankfully,) and cabled internet (spoiled with excessive WiFi in the US.)
Our Smith College program has headquarters at the “Guest House” within the University of Hamburg where we have had our first week of orientation program. We have practical and academic “classes” and go on small and larger trips until it ends and classes really start in mid-October. This weekend we went on a double-decker, open-roof city tour and also had a pizza party with Smith Alumnae who currently live in Hamburg. There were six who joined us and it was wonderful. It quenched the want to be back at Smith, being able to talk about majors, advisors, traditions, The Valley, and more. Our other excursions have been tours around the library system, opening a German bank account, finding our way around the campus, getting to know the bus, S and U-Bahn systems, and more.
Maybe it is because I have been to this city, because I have traveled through Germany and Europe, but I do not feel embarrassed by my German, even though it is quite rusty. I have met people on my floor and in my building; they are very friendly and nice. If they know English, usually they want to speak in English. So I let them, and I speak German and they can speak what they want. It works out nicely.
I am still deciding what the best way to keep this blog updated; I am leaning towards weekly and as-needed updates because I just don’t have the time and energy. I just end up feeling guilty if I try to commit to daily and can’t manage. I will post many photos and you can see them on the sidebar here or directly here. Unfortunately, my nice digital SLR Canon is kaputt, and I must get it fixed ASAP. Until then, I thank Steve Jobs for at least providing me with an iPhone that has a good camera, even if it can’t function internationally.
In the next few weeks, I am going on a day trip to Lübeck (north, less than an hour train ride,) next Wednesday is some mysterious city holiday and no class, going to Munich (München) for Oktoberfest to meet other Smithies who are in Europe studying, going to Berlin for 6 days, and so much more!