This post is brought to you from the cheery kitchen of a good friend of mine in Köln. She goes to Uni here, and we have known each other for a three years after my Sister City exchange when I stayed with her. (Then of course our excursions to both sides of the Atlantic the following summer.) It is very interesting that this is my first weekend actually adventuring a ways out of Berlin. Last night was rather long in getting here since I did not get off work until 6 and had less than an hour to catch my train. Lucky for me, we ended up having technical problems on the way, and a 4 1/2 hour ride turned into a 5 1/2 hour or so one. Apparently this is to be expected since there was some sort of minor train accident in Köln last week. I definitely did not hear about that...
Regardless, Köln has been rather nice. My friend and I have a good system going on in which I speak auf Deutsch for the most part and she auf Englisch. We walked around the older part of town for a bit and saw the overly tourist-y dom. I had seen it two years ago when I was here for a day with my mum, but this time I took way better pictures. The weather has been playing games with us all day, though. At first it was sunny then rainy and has been switching between the two all day. Then we went to an art museum that was down-right strange. It had modern art next to older pieces from the baroque or middle ages. It made us laugh quite a lot.
Tonight we will go to a local band's concert, and I hope to speak a lot of German when I meet more of her friends. Other than that, we are just relaxing, which is nice. Catching up. Sharing pictures, music, and stories.
This week has also been my first week in the lab at my Praktikum. It has been rather interesting. The days are rather long since I do not start until 10:20 and stay until 6 or 7. I have learned a lot, made a few mistakes, the usual. The first few days my graduate student mostly talked auf Englisch when we discussed what I needed to do for reactions or in getting data. Later in the week, she started talking mostly auf Deutsch and only switching over when she wasn't sure if I understood directions. It makes things very interesting that is for sure. Plus, I am still trying to build my German chemistry vocabulary. Many words are similar, but many are also very, very different. I enjoy being back in a lab, but I did not have any chemistry practical last semester (only physic), so I am a little rusty in some techniques.
The time here is going so fast. I have been in Germany for 7 weeks and have only 4 left. Unbelievable. I am not sure if my German has been as improving as much as I would like, though my friend argues that fact. She claims I could hardly understand people and her friends last time that I was here, and she can tell things are better this time around. Plus, the fact that I am speaking mostly German with her and talking faster then last time.
This weekend is good since I have spoken so much English the past week or so since a friend at the school had friends from Britain visiting, and I got to know them reasonably well. I had a lot of fun, but it is time to get back into German mode.