Samstag, 20. September 2008

The Rules of Clubbing

After not doing much in the daylight except for sleeping in and emailing, I went to meet the girls at the University village (a small "city" for shopping near the University) and from there went to a BBQ at Kamil’s.

At 8:30 we hit the road and went downtown to go clubbing at a place called Trinity. It had 2.5 (they probably want to believe three) dancefloors and was pretty cool. It had some pop/R&B music, on the other dancefloor that mixed with some Bollywood and then a bar area with some rock music. It took me a while to warm up, but since so many FIUTS people were there and dancing like crazy, it was fun. Oleg from Israel so rocks the dancefloor, for example. Soon, I was sweating all over the place and it wasn’t even bad that the music wasn’t very good.

American clubs suck though. You get a stamp whenever you go into the club, but still you have to prove that you are over 21 whenever you want to get back in.
The other thing is that the DJs suck! It is not just that I did not exactly like the music they placed, but the way they do their job. They should not get any money for it at all, because what they do, any music program can do.
1. They are random: From Justin Timberlake to a classic rock hit, then go for some Electronic and a quick turn to “My hump”. All within a few minutes.
2. They don’t give their songs space: All these songs don’t start somewhere in the first minute, the DJs jump right into it... then the song gets about 30 to 60 seconds and they jump onto the next random track. Maybe they don't have to pay for copyright if the song is not played longer than 30 seconds?
3.: They do NOT know how to mix... whenever songs change every minute or half, they do so without prior warning. One song just ends and the other jumps right in. If a DJ attempts at finding a transition, he fails miserably, because he has no feeling for rhythm, melody, style and ususally can’t even count the beats per minute that his music program on his laptop(!) shows him.

The other thing about the clubs is that they shut down by 2 am. But they don’t stop the music by then, they want the place clean by then. Thus, they start going around with huge tubs and strong flash lights at about 1:30 and start taking away people’s drinks. The flash lights and the bear sized bouncers reeaallyy help the dancing atmosphere. You seriously want to leave the place after an episode with them. So then you get out of the club and run into a bunch of potheads that are smoking on the street and make trouble on the busride home.

Bottom Line: stupid bouncers, rude attitude, lame DJs, but good drinks (best Whisky Sour EVER!) for little money ($6) and if you take a lot of friends in a good mood, you can still have lots of fun! Just wach out for your butt – and this goes for women AND Men (although the grabbers themselves are all male it appears!)

"So how long did you live in Germany?"

I am starting to feel an identity crisis. This country is just so about labeling people and apparently, it is quite easy to fool them.

I went to a potluck party Thursday night. A Potluck is where everybody brings something to eat and/or drink and it is shared among all. It was at the house of the Director of English Graduate School, where I will take most courses. Some dishes were really fancy and the people also had a kind of fancy air to them. After days of international outgoingness that was kind of different. The people are working on their Master's or PhD and get a lot of money for that Thus, they are kind of pampered and since they are also hella smart (only 22 out of 500 applicants are accepted), they know what they are worth.

Anyway, I talked to them and it was nice to meet some Americans with common interests. What annoyed me though, was that never before had so many people asked me, if I was really German. I've heard many comments like "you don't have an accent at all" (yes, I have, only it is American) or "do you have American relatives", but never quite so much as that night. People seemed totally unable to believe that I could possibly German: "You don't even look German, at all. You look typically American" / "You don't like beer, are you sure you are German?"- and all that from grown up academics.

So what do I do? I miserably fail at faking a German accent, I just can't keep it up and it annoys the XXX out of me. Hence, the only way to get people to believe me is to talk about home. And at least that is a good thing, because as they are so puzzled, they actually listen to what I say. I get a chance to really represent a Germany far away from bratwurst, kraut, Oktoberfest, beer and soccer.

Take a crisis and make it an opportunity. Stay true to your own country!

Still, I was glad to meet up with my friends way later to hang out, because I finally had a chance to relax then without people caring where I come from!

Freitag, 19. September 2008


After our serious workout at the driving range on Tuesday (people were so glad when we left), we chose a less quiet activity for Wednesday and went canooing on Lake Union. Somehow, nobody got wet and our boat did not tip, so it was surprisingly unadventorous for us, but we don't need much to have fun together.

For Kamil and Ming, even a few pixy sticks (or magic wands) will do ;-)

Late that night we went to the College Inn near the University District and I had a local beer that I actually liked. It was a dark beer brewed at Pike Place Market. People still look at me weired though, when I tell them I am German and don't like beer (or soccer). Something must be wrong with my genes, they said.

Dienstag, 16. September 2008

Skipping Information for FUN

After a tiring morning of phone calls (that in the end turned out to be good), I met up with Anni, Hermina, Kamil and Ming for lunch (which I had missed due to the telephone call, but I went anyway). I had planed to go to some information sessions later on. They had not been too helpful in the past though and so we went downtown to get some cofee/tea.

After that we drove to a driving range and hit some balls, which was really fun. The girls and I had never played goldf before and so we were not too successful on that. It was cool anyway.

Anni's and Kamil's butts

Togo vs. Germany - it's not the size of the bat, it'S the motion ;-)

Hermina on the range

We hung out at Kamil’s place afterwards and had some drinks and played silly association games. We cracked up about almost everything and had a great time tagging each other again.
At the end of the day, only one question remains:
"How did lunch turn into THIS?" - answer (Hermina): cuz... we're HIKE 3 DAAAAH!

The D of E & Pub Quiz

Today I had an appointment with Kate Cummings, the director of the Deparment of English. I now have an academic adviser (Actually a grad student) and on Thrusday I will be going to a "potluck" at her house for all the incoming graduate students. More about that on Thursday.

Tonight was also the FIUTS (Foundation of International Understanding Through Students... I love that title...) Pub Quiz. We had trivia questions about aaall the different countries and some lotto too at a place called "the emigrant".
Slowly, this whole international thing is getting tiresome though. Too many names to remember. But apparently I have a really good Chinese and Turkish pronunciation ;-)

Hike Three - duh!

Camp Arnold in Eatonville near Mt. Rainier aka "rules? why have rules? WE RULE!"

So, the camp was awesome! So we all got into vans that had people going to the same level of hike. Of course I was on the level three hike (duh!) and rode with a whole bunch of cool people in the "Olympia" bus. We had much fun on the road already, playing "Ich packe meinen Koffer" with names and personal details. It turned out we were all pretty much into hiking, cycling, climbing and pretty much all the cool outdoor stuff, so of course we'd be having fun on the trip.

After we ditched our stuff in the cabins, we went to our hike three up Mount Rainier. It was just a five mile trip, but we had loads of fun. We went up to a place called Panorama Viewpoint (guess why) and it was just amazing. I am only putting up a few pictures up here.

More pictures of Camp Arnold can be found on facebook:

So after we got back from our "exhausting" hike three - we decided to have some fun breaking the Salvation Army camp rules. Some refreshment was needed and so we just jumped the camp lake (without lifeguard on duty - OMG! ;-)). Lucky that some of us actually brought an extra set of clothes.

Following that we had a bonfire with some international singing, which was pretty cool.
The night ended with dancing, board games and for some people with a couple of drinks in the near woods (determined not to break more camp rules).
With pretty much no sleep, we got up the next morning and the lake was awesome!

After breakfast we prepared for the upcoming cultural presentations. We Germans were going to do a reenactment of the bulding and tearing down of the Berlin wall in about three minutes. It was the funny version, too where David Hasselhof actually comes to Berlin singing "I've been looking for freedom" and thereby unites the country

(What? You never heard of that version?).

Some time during that morning we had started playing "tag" and on the van ride home, we annoyed people by playing that on the car, but it was so much fun!
Bottom Line:
There is so much more to say about camp, but I don't even know where to start. It was the most interesting thing I have done so far. Not only was the mountain gorgeous (and I will have to go all the way up there. Goal is to be in shape by June), but the people were fantastic. Who can say he has been in a van with a Chinese girl that wrote 4000 kilometers on her bike through China to the Tibet plateau... or with a French guy who changes countries every three years, because his Dad works for the government internationally, or with a guy from Israel, originally from Russia, whose favorite is scuba diving? Not to forget about the Iranian girl in astronautics, the Asianlooking buddy from Togo, who has joined an American fraternity and had that time in his life when he didn't sleep for three days. Then there was the Polish guy with American citizenship who felt he would betray Poland if he did a cultural presentation for America. Then there's the Swedish Girl with Bosnian roots, who has fled from the war and lived in five different countries, adding Germany as the sixth in 2009, the Indian driver, who dates his Russian navigator and basically lives in the woods (well, he likes hiking), the Dutch girl whose actual name makes her blush, because it has a funny connotation in America, and the other Swedish girl who is a total sports freak, most of all soccer.

Now, if that is not a treat for everyone who loves international relations, I don't know what is. And you know what else? Aside from being interesting, these people were incredibly nice, funny and cool as well!
Go Olympia and hike three - duh!