Saturday, December 22, 2012

There and back again - 21.12.12

I got up, had some oatmeal, and took trains to the Frankfurt airport.  My bags were overweight.  It was annoying and I got some snickers when people saw me put them on, but wearing 7 layers and putting all your books in your pockets is an effective way to get more weight through security.  I had to leave the Almdudler, though, because they don't let you carry fluids through security.
I listened to Timaeus on the transatlantic flight.  You know a book is interesting if the introduction is longer than the book itself.  After that flight, though, I was too tired to listen anymore.  There's only so much Plato you can take in one day.
When I got to the Dallas airport, they were giving all soldiers priority boarding.  When I got to Albuquerque, I noticed that Americans are much more patriotic than Germans.  This would have never happened in Germany:
I took a shuttle to Santa Fe where Daniel picked me up and took me to Los Alamos, where I went straight to bed.  Yep, I'm writing this the next day.
That's my trip!  Thanks for reading.  I had fun and learned a lot.  I'd recommend it to anyone adventurous enough to do it.

Test - 20.12.12

This morning I got up early, took a bus to Pinneberg to get a book I had lent, and took a train to Hamburg.  I walked to the Goethe Institut Hamburg for the last time to take my C1 test.  It was pretty hard, but I feel like I passed it. The reading, listening, and writing tests took the whole morning, and the speaking test took a half an hour in the afternoon.
I got my suitcases I had stored in the staff break room during the tests and went back to the train station.  All of the trains from Hamburg to Frankfurt were canceled, so I jumped on a train to Hanover, where the trains were running without delay.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Last day of work - 19.12.12

I went to work, got a lot done, sold my bike, went out to lunch with the Grubers, and had a web meeting with the Swedes and Brits.  Talk about a productive last day.  Afterwards I went to institute in Hamburg, where they had a Christmas party complete with an improvisational play and a cookie competition.  It was fun.  I had my roommate tell me to turn the light off for the last time.  Now I need to pack all my belongings into my bags for tomorrow and get as much sleep as possible.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Class ends - 18.12.12

After sleeping in a little, I went to Hamburg, walked around a lot, and finished up my Christmas shopping.  I went to Miniature Wonderland and saw the world's largest model train system with trains, cars, boats, airplanes, hot air balloons, and lots of little people in a little world.  It was like being a kid reading a Where's Waldo book, except there was no Waldo.  Maybe I just didn't look hard enough.
I had my last German class in Hamburg.  We finished getting ready for the test on Thursday.
I thought of another benefit of not seeing the sun for weeks at a time: no tan lines!
I got home late, and now I need to pack.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fast fertig - 17.12.12

This morning I unregistered my residence with the German government and went to Ralf's house and "didn't work" because my work permit expired on the 15th.  Actually, there wasn't much for me to do, so I left after a few hours and came "home" to the apartment where I lived yesterday.  Officially I'm a homeless, jobless bum for the next week, but I'm doing fine.  I'm just bored.  I have nothing to accomplish for the next few days, and no friends within easy visiting distance.  I'll make it.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Neumünster - 16.12.12

Today we sang a Christmas program during sacrament meeting in Neumünster.  It was nice.  We had our own Sunday school, in which we were told that as a result of some changes in the European church organization, next year is the last year the church will officially support the Vocalis choir.  They're trying to make stronger stake activities instead of maintaining a regional choir, which is understandable.  But everybody is sad about the end of the 7-year tradition that some people call the German tabernacle choir, especially after yesterday, but the decision comes directly from the area presidency, and we support the area presidency.
Everybody in the choir lives south of Kiel, so it was easy to find a ride south to Quickborn.  The time is coming for me to start finishing things and packing up.  I'll probably watch a movie or something this afternoon, too.

Weihnachtskonzert - 15.12.12

I got up at 5:30 this morning and took trains to Neumünster and then to Kiel.  I had a lovely walk along the port.  I've never been to Hawaii, but I imagine the Baltic Sea during December is pretty much the same experience:

I arrived at the Petruskirche in Kiel.  It's a cool old Catholic church whose roof is an upside-down hull.  I guess there are more shipbuilders than architects in Kiel, but it looks really cool and the acoustics are quite good:

We practiced, did some recording, sang in an old-folks home, and prepared for our concert.  We sang the same songs as the other concert (Vivaldi, Haydn, etc.) but we did a much better job.  When I was told that we needed to have a second encore ready, I thought, "who do we think we are?"  Some important politician talked about our charity contribution (Schleswig-Holstein something Vorsitzender), we gave our concert, and we gave the two encores after standing ovations.  After the second encore, though, the person who introduced us took the microphone and asked for another encore.  We sang our Noel song again, and after a few minutes of applause we left the stage.  It was an amazing night.  I'm glad Ralf and Anke were there, since I don't have any family in Germany.
We went to various church members to spend the night.