I’m really quite thankful for the Sprachkurs I’m taking here, which is essentially a language crashcourse/orientation to the University and town of Tuebingen. Five days a week, for 4 or 5 hours, we meet and go over things–grammar, vocabulary, or just the various differences between the world we are used to and Germany. They are very patient with our rather bad German, and are quite nice in showing us around the town. It’s a very well though out program, and one that has been infinitely helpful, and this is only after two meetings. Furthermore, it has given us all the chance to meet other people going through the same things we are, something that wonderfully decreases the sudden gaping feeling of emptiness one gets when he realizes he is all alone in a foreign country, doesn’t know anyone, and barely speaks the language. And despite essentially being in German class for 5 hours a day, one doesn’t get quite so burned out on it as you wold back in class in the States–here it is for real, and doesn’t feel like you are dragging yourself along the coals for nothing.
Anyways, things are definitely much more different than I had expected. It’s all the little things that get you–Germany is after all a Western nation, so many of the big things are similar. Take for instance the keyboard that I am (ever so slowly) typing this on–it’s some sort of halfbreed between the standard American QWERTY keyboard, but some of the keys are in totally random places. Also, it’s interesting to see the laid back approach to cars and parking they take here. Earlier, we walked by the Schiebenparkplatz, the “pushing parking lot”, so named because if there was no room to park, people would bring a jack and literally push your car over to the side to make room–and no one really gets agitated over it. In the States, if someone did that, it would likely be grounds for arrest.
Anyways, it’s time to be off. I’ve got a few stops to make before the Sprachkurs class meets back tonight to go on a punt trip down the Neckar–I’m looking forward to it.