Two Days From Departure

Hi everyone,

It is really hard to believe that I leave in two days. I have been home since the twentieth, so for six days now. I thought staying at home would be a lot of lounging around and relaxing, but it has actually been kinda crazy. My online classes had exams this week so I’ve been studying for either one or the other all week. I’ve also, of course, been trying to get all my paperwork together, in order to make the first few weeks in Germany as simple as possible.

I made a Netflix bucket list of sorts because I have heard that German digital rights laws are more strict than in the US, so there probably won’t be as much stuff on German Netflix. Not to mention it will be in German. Unfortunately, it looks as though I won’t be able to even make a dent in it before I leave. Hopefully it’s not as bad as they say over there.

I’ve been trying to visit as many friends and family as possible before I leave. I was fortunate enough to hang out with one of my best friends a couple times this week, despite us now living 45 minutes away from each other. I also got to go out to dinner with my dad, and it was nice seeing him. My grandmother came into town from Canada to see me before I leave. On Friday night, we’re having a kind of going away dinner which I’m looking forward to. My flight on Saturday morning is at 7, so I’m not looking forward to having to be at the airport at around 5.

I’m back in Tampa and it’s been pretty warm. The past couple days, it hasn’t even felt like winter. It always seems to be warm in Tampa when I visit, and I don’t know if its because the climate is actually a little warmer, or if it is just the timing of my visit. I used to think the former, but the app on my phone says that it’s pretty warm back in Gainesville now, too. It’s been solidly in the seventies and really humid, too. I see posts on Facebook from some people who are in Germany and there’s snow on the ground; I don’t know how I’m going to adjust to actually having a winter. Hopefully I’ll just be catching the tail end of it. I’m crossing my fingers that I won’t have to deal with negative temperatures (not just because the cold but also because I don’t know how to convert negative degrees in my head).

I think I should add some personal flare to my blog, and since I like to listen to music, maybe I’ll start talking about the music I’m listening to at the time of each post. I had to trade in my iPhone for a Droid a couple days ago, since my iPhone didn’t have a SIM card in it (important because of my last post). As those who know me would guess, this was pretty traumatic for me. I had carried that little sucker around with me since 2010 and it had all the music I had been listening to on it, about 150 albums. I’ve been driving a lot this week back and forth between where I used to live and where I live now, and doing most of my music listening while I drive. While going through my car, I found about half a dozen CDs that I burned during my Freshman year. The one I have been listening to most is the Notwist’s Neon Golden. While I haven’t really gotten into any other of their stuff, I do really like this album. It’s an indie rock album with subtle electronic stuff mixed in here and there. It was released in 2003, and so I find its use of electronic sounds kind of forward-thinking. Its a really mellow album and the thing it stands out the most to me is all the weird noises it has going on in the background, and yet how it still seems melodic. The Notwist is a German band, so I find it kind of appropriate to be listening to them on the eve of my departure. While the lead singer doesn’t really sing well, I like his accent and the way he pronounces words. He kind of skates by the vowels and hits the consonants really hard; it’s hard to explain.

I guess I should put some tips in for anyone interested in possibly studying abroad themselves. First and foremost, I found the student handbook for international exchange students that I received from the University I’m going to very helpful. I would suggest that you read through the whole thing as soon as you get it. It was littered with advice about all the administrative and bureaucratic processes to do when you arrive. It also had people at the university to contact with questions. It has been the single most helpful thing when preparing my paperwork for Germany. If you are within about 6 weeks of leaving and you haven’t received something like this from the university you’ll be studying at, make sure you email someone and ask if they have one.

Also, Germany is six hours ahead of the US, and all European countries are at least 4. This means that if you wait until the evening to send your emails or call, it is the dead of the night for whomever you’re trying to reach. I find that if I send an email out before 11:00 in the morning, I typically get a response the same day, and if not there’s a response the next morning before I wake up. You’ve got to love German punctuality.

So that’s about it for today. If you’re reading this from Gainesville: I already miss you guys! I can’t believe that I haven’t even been gone a week, it feels like forever already. Can’t wait to see you all when I get back. If you’re reading this from Tampa: Hi mom, I’ll see you when you get home.