Monday, November 1, 2010

Half-Way Point

So... sorry for not blogging for a while but had finals last week and i thought that i would have more time because only had one exam and a final paper and no classes but not what i thought it would be haha. The paper I had to write was 4000-5000 words which normally wouldn't be too bad I mean in the typical format in the states you just write down a bunch of opinionated crap that flows and sounds like you know what you're talking about but this one was different. It was actually considered more of a test because we had to compare these 14 scholarly articles based on 4 broad topics given to us and tie them together and show how they relate also while proving some point from them, and the whole time we weren't allowed to have an opinion so quite difficult. The other exam didn't seem like it would be too bad with the average grade ranging from the equivalent of a C+ to a B+ so wasn't too concerned when all i had to do was pass and it was open book open notes with mostly formulas and three hours to do 5 long problems. I swear in Europe they try to fail you (and this is actually true because our tutor told us they change the format of this other classes test not so people wouldn't score as high but so that more people would fail) but it was kinda tough and not well put together like some parts were very vague and one sentence wasn't even proper english haha. But I talked to my german buddies from Cologne and they agreed it was very difficult so they said that he would end up having to curve the tests. The other cool thing about finals was the place where we took it. It was in the "Mecc" which is like this warehouse thing with lots of conference rooms and one huge warehouse thing where probably 1000 people in there taking a couple different exams so that was slightly intimidating but cool. After those were over we got back to the dorm and rounded up the 10 people going in our group and headed out on our way to Berlin in the two cars we rented. I actually like this way of traveling compared to train and flying for trips about this length because it ended up costing us about the same amount of a train even a little less and we had the freedom of traveling where and when we want. On the way there what was supposed to be a six hour drive turned into an eleven hour one due to traffic and other things, we hit some mild traffic right when we left Maastricht which delayed like 30-45 min and then finally got going and got to the Autobahn which was nice cause there are some portions with no speed limits but the roads were a little crowded so couldn't get going too fast traveling about 120km/hour which is a normal speed limit when on the road (74mph). Then around 10pm we were going great until we ran in to traffic and it was soo bad stuck in bumper to bumper stop and go traffic for like 2 1/2 3 hours so normally that would be horrible but we had a blast we were pumping the music and dancing haha, got a couple people to dance with us in cars including an old couple in a nice sports car haha couple people gave thumbs up and such. Then ok to set it up, in my car was a girl from India, a girl from Portugal, a boy from Indiana, and another girl from indiana so the girl from India and girl from Portugal had never heard of a chinese fire drill so once we explained it to them we decided to do one on the Autobahn haha. Then once again with the two girls not from the U.S. had never heard of the stanky leg and if you haven't heard of it, that's ok haha (it's a dance move). It was a good time but lasted a little too long. Once we got out of the traffic we were driving for a while and saw our exit to berlin to veer off and follow for an hour or so more to Berlin we saw that the sign for our road had a giant red X through it. So long sotry short they closed down the road to Berlin and thank goodness for GPS which led us around the closed highway and took a bit longer also. We finally got to the Hostel at 4 in the morning and thankfully the hostel had 24 hour reception so we got checked in and got to sleep. The next day we got up and got breakfast and walked to downtown to go on this free tour which was amazing! I learned so much about the history of Berlin and like WWII and stood above the Bunker where Hitler committed suicide and just all kinds of random stuff. It was such a huge city and so much history could have spent a long time there. Then that night we went to a cool bar to chill and the reason it was so cool was because they had a separate tap in each table. So like they gave you half-liter steins (or cups if you asked) and then you got to pour your own beer from the tap and the tap kept track of how much you poured and you got charged at the end. It was so sweet because then they kept a tally of the half-liters from each table and had huge projectors where they showed your table vs, other tables in the bar. They then showed the top table in your bar compared to all the other branches of that bar (which were all in the czech republic and it was only the second day this bar had even been open) to other bars so it was like you were competing, very cool concept. Then on sunday we drove up north of berlin about 30 minutes to see a concentration camp called Sachsenhausen which was crazy. I don't even know how to explain it because it just was almost too much seeing all the stuff there and they had a lot of information on stuff and just very overwhelming but worth the 4 hours we spent there. Then after that we took off and made our way home which took about 6 hours flat including stops,which was great! Now I get to start all over again and do another period of it. I think this block may be a little more calm with traveling as far as going every weekend, i may do a couple day trips on a couple weekends to see some stuff and may bike to berlin one saturday just cause I kinda think that'd be cool. Right now i have London and Rome booked for the end of this month and apparently one thing I'm really looking forward to is Aachen. Aachen is this little town in Germany which is about an hour east of here by bus, but every December they apparently have an AMAZING christmas festival and like shops and decorations and it goes on for the entire month of December also. I've been told by quite a few people that people come from all over Europe to see it so may have to go there a couple times because I think that'd be a blast!
Ok well this is quite a lot to read in one sitting so i hope i havent lost you and i hope you enjoyed it.
Much Love,

Devon Latimer

Oh, and! today marks the first day of no shave novembeard which a lot of guys here are participating in so that'll be fun haha

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