Sunday, September 30, 2012


Sometimes you get more reading done than you expect so you can go hang out at awesome breweries you work at and meet your teenage idols and turn back into a 12 year old in the process.

Sometimes my crazy grad school life is pretty ok.

And I'd like to dedicated this to all my German students who asked me if I'd ever met a star. Especially because all of them are so young that they'll have no idea who this guy is anyway. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

life, sort of.

Why yes, I do still exist... 

but only just barely

For the record, grad school is a lot of work. Reading 100+ (with an emphasis on the +) pages of German every week, writing papers in German, planning lessons, preparing materials. Eventually it all just makes your head spin! I mean, this is the syllabus for just one of my classes - each of those highlighted or underlined words are books/plays we have to read. And I find this syllabus to be the best visual representation of my life right now.  I can try to plan things out, but really it just ends in chaos!

Which is why I'm horrible at blogging right now! So now I'm going to hang my head in shame and try to power through some Kafka before Monday. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Pretty much everything in Florence is a famous piece of art and/or some kind of symbolic structure. But whenever I think back to the Tuscan city, the image that always comes to mind is the Duomo

I mean, guys, the thing is massive! And very photogenic. Of course, I always knew it as the home of Brunelleschi's dome, which was one of my favorite stories when learning about the Renaissance. Basically, to decide on who should be the architect of the of the dome, the powers that be said the man to get an egg to stand on it's end could do it. So Brunelleschi, being a 15th century Italian smart ass, flattened the end of his egg so that it stood up easily, thus securing himself the job. My kind of guy! 

One of my favorite parts of the Duomo was climbing up to the top of the dome. At one viewing level, you actually walk around the inside base of the dome, up close and personal to ornate painting that covers it. The view from the top wasn't that bad either! 

Even though we only spent one afternoon actually exploring the Duomo, it was pretty much a constant of our trip to Florence. We walked by it more times than I can count and snapped pictures of it from every other museum/church/building we visited! A definite Florence must-see/can't-miss! 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Walking and Waiting

If there is anything I can promise you about a trip to Florence, it is the following:

1. you will walk a lot
2. you will wait in a lot of lines
3. you will see some of the most amazing art in existence

On our first day in Florence, Matthew and I didn't have a real plan. Instead, we checked into our hostel and headed into the city, leaving the rest up to fate (and our map). When the first site we ran across was the famous Ponte Vecchio, we figured our plan would be successful enough.

In the end, we managed to cover quite a lot of ground and saw some really awesome sites/art

Of course, when you running around a city with no real plan of action, you end up doing a lot of unnecessary walking. And I can't lie, by the end of the day, we were pretty dead. 

The next day and a half were a little more structured. They involved much less walking and way more standing in line. To get into the Accademia di Belle Arti to see Michelangelo's David, we spent almost 3 hours in line. The line to the Uffizi Museum lasted around 2 hours. But, you know what, getting to see pieces like Botticelli's Birth of Venus made all the waiting pretty worth while.
So you're not technically supposed to take pictures in the Uffizi, but I figured that was more of a suggestion than a rule...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

3, 2, 1, blast off!

Ok, ok, I didn't fly around Europe in a rocket ship, but I feel as though the saying is still appropriate for the madness of my big July travel itinerary. 17 days, 4 planes, countless trains and busses, opposing extreme climates, and one carry-on suitcase. 
You may remember bits and pieces of news from my whole Project Urlaub endeavor, but there are a number of stories that were not able to be told via an iPhone and Instagram. 15 to be exact. From Rome to Edinburgh, with sunburns, good food and great art, deportation scares, flat tires, and unbelievable views... it all started with a plane ride with Matthew Boyle*

*where he stole the window seat then slept through almost the entire flight. Jerk. 

Beethoven lives upstairs

If you've ever studied music at any point, chances are you've had ceremonious viewings of this film with hoards of your nerdiest friends. I know I definitely did throughout my undergrad (no shame). 

Well imagine the nerdiest of all your music friends coming to visit when you live 2 hours from the birthplace of Ludwig, himself. So during Matthew's visit, to Bonn we went - basically on a pilgrimage for Matthew, who is more or less a collector of Beethoven houses (you'd be surprised at how many locales cash in on having his name on the mailbox at various points throughout the composer's life).

While in Bonn, I got to witness the kind of excitement usually reserved for small children meeting their favorite super heroes at amusement parks (or maybe that was just me meeting spandex-clad Batman at Six Flags...).

yeah, sorry it's blurry... you're not actually allowed to take photos inside the house.
Also, on a completely unrelated note, I'm in the process of google-proofing myself. Everything will be running the same (and what was public before will most likely remain public) but hopefully now when enquiring minds google my name (and I'm thinking mostly students), nothing of interest will pop up in the first few pages of results. Why do you all care? Well, a lot of account name changes are taking place. So for now, note that das Blog has a new URL and my twitter also has a new username! 
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