A Travellerspoint blog

Good news!

I wanted to begin by saying that I now have Internet in my room!!!

But no it was a false alarm, the physical side is done now it's just the online issues that my privatbau has to deal with.

Obviously there's other good news! Because it's Good Friday : ) went to Lübeck today, will post about it another time. But I'm having these few quiet hours to myself to pray and spend time with God. : )

Tomorrow is Bremen, the rest will be going to kiel on Sunday :/ I'll be meeting m and wh and going for the first part of the Hamburg tour, then resurrection Sunday service!!! And then continue the day with them.

Alright! Will leave with just a reminder (maybe more for myself) that God is the author as well as the perfecter or our/my faith! Praise to Him who made all things possible through Jesus.

Posted by seaskimmer 14:21 Tagged goodfriday! Comments (0)

Worth its Salt

semi-overcast 8 °C

Today was Lueneburg day! [edit: that was Monday, today is now Thursday]

The day dawned bright and fair. No, just kidding, it was raining when I woke up and I checked the weather forecast: rain. Oops haha. Was partially afraid the others would be too lazy to go but in the end everyone who said they'd come came.

Met at HBF, took the 1100 ME to Lueneburg Station. Only half an hour! Yay.

Geography
Lueneburg became a major city because of its salt mining industry. It sits atop a huge salt deposit deep underground. This particular deposit has a surface of about 1sqkm, centered around the Kalkberg (Limestone hill). The deposit begins 40m into the ground and continues for at least another 4km. In fact, salt deposits can be found all over the world, but with one of the highest concentrations in Germany. They form in sea basins, in which seawater can flow in but only some can flow out through a narrow channel. Over time, the water in the basin gets more saline due to evaporation (and constant saltwater inflow). A deposit of different layers forms, with different levels of solubility:
1. Limestone (not very soluble)
2. Gypsum/anhydrite
3. Rock salt
4. Potassium nitrate (very soluble)
Tectonic movement leads to the uprising of a small hill and the sea basin becomes completely separated from the sea. It dries out, sediment is deposited, and a subterranean salt dome has built up. In Lueneburg's case, it's the Kalkberg.

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Salt deposits in Europe

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Different kinds of anhydrite

History
Lueneburg had already been inhabited since before the 900s, and saltwork had also already commenced. However, it was only until 1189 that the city was given town privileges, and in 1158 became part of the Hanseatic League (a northern German trade group; a powerful economic and defensive alliance). Lueneburg monopolised the lucrative salt production industry for many years. At that time salt was primarily used to pickle herring from the Baltic sea for Germany and the Scandinavian countries. Lueneburg became one of the most important cities in the region.

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salt trade

The downfall of Lueneburg can be attributed to a few events. The Hanseatic League ended sometime in the 17th century, and there was an absence of herring around 1560. Finally, refined salt was invented, a much cheaper alternative, which worked by drying seawater. As a result, Lueneburg lost much of its wealth and business and slowly spiraled into mediocrity.

The city center has remained largely the same since then, because hardly any new houses were built there from then onwards. This is a vast difference from much of Germany, partly because it did not suffer any damage during the wars, or from other disasters like the Great Fire in Hamburg. Lueneburg has been slowly restored since the 1970s, while the salt mine officially closed in 1980. Today, Lueneburg has a population of over 70,000 (not bad) and has a university and an industrial estate, not to mention quite a good tourism industry.

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Seems like typical Lueneburg architecture has a lot of red brick, with black or green patterns

Lueneburg can be remembered as the place the Reichfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler committed suicide in before he could be interrogated in 1945. Furthermore, it was also where the esteemed J. S. Bach grew up.

[admission: much of this was taken off wikitravel, which I used to research for Lueneburg before I left. It was a really really interesting read.]

Summary of Events
I'd planned out a rough walking tour of the city, hitting places of major interest. I was like the tour guide, haha, leading everyone around and giving brief descriptions of each place.

1. St Johanniskirche
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2. Am Sande (the main square)
3. The Rathaus am Sande (with porcelain bells!)
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4. Marktplatz (the market place square)
5. Old fishmarket (am Stintmarkt, but was nowhere to be seen)
6. Alter Kran (old black crane at the historical harbour)
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7. Hospital zum Roten Hahn
8. German Salt Museum

Most of these places was just a quick explanation and photo then continue walking. Just my style.

Lunch was after the Rathaus, 6.90 for buffet haha. Ate 2 full plates plus dessert to attempt to make it worth it. Felt like splurging a little after so much home cooked food!

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No one else wanted to pay 4 eur for the Salt Museum (the guys just kept complaining that the Brewery Museum was closed on Mondays) so I went in myself, excited to learn more about the industry that put Lueneburg on the map. I was given a folder of English text to read; basically English translations of all the German text up on the walls. The museum was interesting enough. It went over some basic scientific and geological principles of salt, explained the significance of salt in human history and culture, and also the history and process of salt mining in Lueneburg. Lots of maps nd infographs everywhere, and later lots of scary mannequins haha.

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Shall not bore you with too much of the details, so here's just one cool thing: at some point in time, the owner of the salt mine decided to mechanise the process of bringing up brine from the well. He made a hydraulic water wheel at the Elbe, then converted the round-and-round motion at the river into a back-and-forth motion system that spanned like 2km or something. Basically very far, considering that everything was still made out of wood and was pretty crude. Many people at the well itself lost their jobs, but men were now required to work day and night making sure the wooden system was always working. It was highly prone to failure (sick 8 days, working 1 day) and made a huge racket that could be heard quite a distance away. This story has no point to it, I just thought it was interesting to see the beginning of the mechanical age.

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Literally, Lueneburg is the salt in the soup, but as a phrase it means that Lueneburg is that extra something, the oomph haha.

I was done, and realised that the rest had gone shopping! So I told them I’d meet them at the Kalkberg (hurrah to data), and proceeded to wander around the Sendungsbiet (literally sunken region), which is an area that has sunk pretty badly over the years primarily due to the salt mining. Lots of buildings are clearly bulging or not straight. I went over to St Michaelis, the church of young Johann Bach, and attempted to get in but I didn't really see any open doors into the church lol. No matter, I'm not like his hugest fan. And at that time it had begun to rain (again) so I put up the hood of my (lovely lovely) goretex jacket. The wind was crazy strong and freezing, I could hear it rushing overhead, and the grass was rippling rather violently. Kind of funny because the wind pushed me towards the gate and out of the church, like it didn't want me hanging around! But as soon as it started, it was over, as temperamental as it had been the whole day.

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St Michaelis

This time I went up to Kalkberg, which was a wonderful green area probably frequented by joggers on better days. Went up a few paths I knew wouldn't lead me to the top because it looked pretty with the sun shining on it, but eventually climbed up the full 20m (est) to the top. Not very high, but still afforded a pleasant view of the town. About 10 minutes later, the 4 of them arrived and we began the customary phototaking session.

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Green sign says 'vorsicht einsturzgefahr' (danger of collapse), I be like, is that climbable?
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Back down to the town, went to the chocolate museum (it wasn't a museum, it was just a shop) where Y and I bought chocolates! By that time it was about 6 plus and it had begun to be really cold. Made a 1min side track to the Wasserturm (water tower) en route to the bahnhof, but it was closed already so we couldn't go up.

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On the train back, I saw interesting cloud formations from the window. Vertically striped clouds?? Took a photo over the random guy sitting on the window seat lol and then when looking at the photo realised there was a rainbow! (For some reason it's not turning up very well in this photo)

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T and I got off at Harburg and bought some groceries at Lidl. It was 8pm and really freezing then, 6 degrees with unrelenting wind. I was glad to get back to my room. Marinated my chicken and stuffed it into the freezer, baked my salmon and potato. While baking, I ate cold leftover mashed potato (it was in a plastic cup and I couldn't be bothered to transfer it to something microwaveable) and cleaned the kitchen and my room.

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People are moving in tomorrow! The apartment will be full. So I wanted to arrange everything in a safe and orderly fashion. Tomorrow maybe I will see about getting people to share the cost of the kitchen equipment. Hurrah to people in the house!

I also met K, a Thai guy living opposite. I thought he was Korean lol. He was nice enough to get my rubbish bin from my landlord, keep it for me, and put a post it on my apartment door telling me about it. (I didn't know we got rubbish bins. K only found out because another guy asked the landlord about it) He was in ACSI, then ACJC, did 2 weeks of double degree Chem Eng/Biz in NUS then dropped out to study in Hamburg. So he's been here for quite a while. Same year as my bro in ACSI, but hadn't heard of him. Sounds like a long conversation but really it was only 5 min and the entire conversation has been transcripted haha.

Alright! I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow (Tuesday, this will probably be posted on Tuesday in school so that's today I guess haha) so I'm going to sleep!

Posted by seaskimmer 04:12 Archived in Germany Tagged germany daytrip lueneburg Comments (0)

IBC

Today I went to church for the first time in Hamburg! And only the second time since 23rd Feb : (

I'm so glad that I have a fellow Christian Y with me! She did all the online research, and found the International Baptist Church. Apparently they're made up of a very large range of nationalities from all over the world! Service is in English at 12.30pm on Sundays. Checked the website out, it all looks good.

So today we met at the metro, and spent a little extra time trying to find the place. We were a little late, but we got there in the end.

Worship style was very similar to BBTC, that was quite comforting. But it was so cool, they sang the last song Jamaican style, with the somewhat staccato guitar, even the words were a bit cut off. It was a normal song I've sung a million times but for the life of me can't remember right now. And people clapped their hands, swayed a little, that was fun! God's a happy God and loves His people joyful.

During announcements the guy explained that people on stage (ie. Usually pastors during sermon) would be filmed with the big cameras hanging around the side of the stage. But the congregation would never be filmed and it was very important that everyone cooperate on this, especially during the baptism later. This was due to the countries of origin or original religions of some congregation members, in which Christianity is not accepted. For safety, just in case it makes it to social media and then someone spots it. That was truly eye opening, compared to SG where freedom to worship is almost taken for granted.

Four people were baptised, from Namibia and Jamaica and a formerly , couple! (sensitive topic on the web) It was amazing to hear their testimonies and how they came to know the Lord in their different ways. And I began to feel truly the importance of unity in the church, not just the church but the Church of God. We may not know each other, we may come from different lands, speak different languages, have completely different backgrounds, but the uniting factor is love for God.

Sermon on Zechariah 9. Prophecy regarding palm Sunday (today!) cross referencing mainly to Matt and John, and how it was fulfilled. Reminder of how Jesus rode in, a triumphant King into His city Jerusalem, on a humble borrowed beast of burden. This is our God : )

On the way out we met P and ____ (I forgot… oh noooo) accidentally. ___ mistook us for another Chinese person and tried to introduce P, who was in this church for the first time too. Later on of course, all misunderstandings were swept aside. Ukranian and Chinese girls, nurses working with the handicapped and also living together in a room rented from a German family. Only 1 and 2 years older respectively :) Had really good served lunch there, talked a bit. I think I'll go for CG on Tuesday! Yay!

So far this seems like a really good church that maybe I could stay in? I don't think my attendance can be very regular though. I really regret that. I've got so many trips planned. I'll just try my best for Sundays, and then go for cell every Tuesday (we'll see how this first Tuesday is). Yay to corporate worship! Haha. A reminder to learn to depend on God and on others, the principle being that no one can ever save himself.

Posted by seaskimmer 05:53 Archived in Germany Tagged church germany hamburg Comments (0)

Die lange Nacht Der Museen

Translation: the long night of museums

rain 8 °C

I didn't know it was such a big deal at first, so I accidently missed the TUHH registration for this event. By the time I realised I really wanted to attend, the TUHH registration was full and I had to buy a ticket separately for 10 eur instead of the 3 eur subsidised ticket. Drat. Oh well haha.

This annual event is a pretty big deal. There are versions of this all over Europe, I'm not sure where it started. The Hamburg one is from 6pm to 2am, with free entry to 54 participating museums offering some special activities, tours, live music and food throughout the evening. 6 bus lines were also set up, shuttling people between museums.

I went off to buy my ticket at about 3pm, after another big satisfying home cooked meal : ) bought my ticket at the HBF (central station) then went off to Sternschanze for my first Hamburg expedition. According to some other exchange students, it's a really nice place and they wished they could live there, but there's no way they ever could.

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And yeah, it's a nice place. At first all I saw were the somewhat Parisian styles as seen also in Barcelona and many other parts of Europe. This is in contrast to the staid traditional brick buildings seen in Harburg. But it was nice because it was a very good mix of Parisian, Georgian, neo-gothic and modern buildings. I'm sure I got most of the names of those styles wrong, haha, but just illustrating how non-homogenous it was. So it was quite a relaxed atmosphere. The gorgeousness of the older styles but the open simplicity of the newer ones. Nonetheless, perhaps due to the close proximity to St Pauli's? (red light district), there was a lot of ugly graffiti (vs pretty graffiti) and paper ads all over. Marred the prettiness somewhat.

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Walked around through Schanzenpark, found a Flohmarkt! (flea market) Wanted to buy a 2nd hand leather bag but even those were too expensive for me (I had 25 eur on hand). Was aiming to get over to Planten und Blomen or St Pauli's, but ended up at Dom! It's a theme park that sets up only three times a year for only 1 or 2 months at a go. I'd heard about it but didn't know where it was so yay to serendipity. Went inside, it's a typical theme park with games, rides, food, sweets. The only thing I actually did was buy a currywurst (which is a big deal in Germany) cos I hadn't had one before. Tasted nothing like curry, he sprinkled the tiniest amount of curry powder on top. Sauce was supposed to be hot sauce I think but I only realised that halfway through when I saw the sign lol. Tasted more like Macs bbq sauce, but less bbq taste and more flour-y. Okay, I shan't compare and complain. On its own it was quite nice. Took the U-bahn back over to HBF to meet the rest.

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Despite poor reception over whatsapp at the beginning, 3 of the NUS guys came, and S came too. (where S is a Chinese bachelor student here doing her thesis. I met her at one of my lectures which she attended because she has nothing to do besides type out her thesis in her office) (yes she gets her own office!) After a long draggy false start (walk far far to find currywurst, discuss here and there, attempt to find the way) we finally set off for our first stop: Museum fuer Hamburgische Geschichtchen (museum for Hamburger stories) (and yes they do call themselves Hamburgers haha)

My initial choice of 4 museums was dashed. 2 of the museums (Spicy's and the Hamburg Dungeon) weren't offered in the 54. The third, a concentration camp (largest in North Germany) was an hour away. That left only the Ballinstadt. Upon that realisation I added the Geschichtchen and the Speicherstadt (to do with the coffee and spices trade). However, after discussion and compromise with the others, this was our final route map:

1. Museum fuer Hamburgische Geschichtchen
2. Internationales Maritimes Museum
3. Automuseum Prototyp
4. Ballinstadt

I protested against an additional technology museum because we were already going to the automuseum haha. Despite reasoning that Germany is a technological nation. I don't care, I want social history haha. Besides, Speicherstadt had been out-voted.

Turns out that the Geschichtchen was a tiny room with no displays. It's a place where people can come and tell their stories! Most of it gets videoed and put up on the web. Very interesting concept, but we had no time for that yet, especially because a lot of it was in German. So we went round to the Hamburg Museum just next door, didn't manage to see everything (eg. I didn’t get to see the Jewish section sigh). It was a general museum of Hamburg's history. Lots of maps and models of Hamburg at various points in its history, and some history that later gets repeated in the 3rd and 4th museums. One thing I learnt was that the Elbe is really polluted lol. This first one was very rushed because we weren't sure if we had enough time.

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eel with cauliflower growth : /
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Bussed over to the Maritime Museum. Not the most interesting museum, mainly because I guess it wasn't really my interest. I was talking to one of the guys working there though. He's one of the volunteers who makes and upkeeps the model ships! Was telling us about the history of two of the ships they were working on, it was great to see the history come alive from those little model ships. They really have to do their research. The guys were bored haha but I love this stuff. Did you know that Dutch shipbuilders (the most reputed builders during the 15-1700s) never had physical plans? They directed the entire ship building operation just like that. Wow. There was a Dutch shipbuilder who died halfway, then his brother and sister-in-law continued. But they had no plans to follow, and I suppose they weren't experienced. They built the ship too high and didn't weight it adequately in the hull, so it sank and killed its passengers on its first journey. Besides that, we made badges! And saw military uniforms and weapons. Didn't go to all the decks (they call it decks!)

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In the workshop. It says "Daily flogging will continue until the crew's morale improves"!
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James Cook, Columbus, and Erikson the Red (personal favourite). There was also Zheng He but I couldn't be bothered hahahaha.

Walked 5min over to the Automuseum in the cold. M for some reason thought it wouldn't be cold so he only wore two layers. I lent him my goretex (extra layer in case it was cold) but it was hilarious cos it was too small for him and he just put his arms in backwards. Throughout the night he switched jackets a few times with T, who could just about wear my jacket although it was tight. (T's jacket was the thick kind) Automuseum wasn't very interesting for me, a bunch of pretty cool cars, mostly Porsches. But I got to play a racing game! Haha yay.

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By that time everyone was famished. I'd already had a cereal bar at the Maritime Museum. Food was not forthcoming, so D and T shared my second bar. And we all had some of S's Rittersports.

Bus to Ballinstadt. I'd been looking forward to the promised Irish stew, but when I went to order I was disappointed. Kitchen was closed, it was 12am. Sigh. So everyone continued to be hungry. Also we missed the live Irish music noooo I think I'm doomed to never hear live Irish music sigh.

I think I enjoyed Ballinstadt the most, because it had the most English text! Even more than the Hamburg Museum. Seriously there was a lot to read, it was like reading an article on the net but better because I could walk around and see stuff too.

Ballinstadt is about the emigration of people, focusing particularly on the passage of people through Hamburg to the USA. I like how they displayed everything, reminding us that emigration is not just a word. It's people's hopes and dreams, it's running away from persecution and in fear, it's the looking forward to a better life and the leaving of home. What dreams do you bring with you? they ask. What do you leave behind?

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Hamburg, being a port city (I have some things to say on this topic. Maybe another time), saw a great number of people at its harbour. Major emigration began in the 16/1700s when the US began to be populated. At this time the principal forces of famine, persecution, poverty, and general desire for a better life caused a huge outflow of Europeans to the New World via Hamburg and several other port cities.

For a hundred years or so, living conditions on board transport to Hamburg, waiting accommodation in Hamburg, and on ships out of Hamburg were pretty terrible. Very cramped, cold and unsanitary. Emigrants weren't treated very well especially on ships out where many 3rd class passengers were treated as 'mixed goods', staying one or two weeks without break in cargo holds crudely retro-fitted with bunk beds. On top of that, the entire journey was also generally expensive, usually costing a year's wages, or two, for an entire family. Emigrants in Hamburg were subjected to health checks, unreasonable and lengthy detainment, random 'administrative costs', and often weren't given adequate food and water.

Things changed for the better with the introduction of steam ships. This was particularly so with the company Hapag, the owner wanting to treat emigrants more like people and less like mixed goods. His business idea was to bring in customers through word of mouth of the good or acceptable conditions. He sounds like a nice guy.

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Everyone else was very very tired by this time so I skipped a few info panels even though I was still interested haha and then we rested at the entrance for a while. Some of them even fell asleep haha. In the end we decided not to go to Lueneburg the next day (Sunday) because it was already 1.30am. So set it for Monday instead, when no one else had lessons except for M. Then we headed over to HBF for Macs supper, ending around 3? Then we went home our separate ways. (Hamburg trains run 24h every weekend, albeit less frequently. And there is usually a fair number of people aboard, although the proportion of drunk people increases through the night)

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Immigrants, aliens in a foreign land. Locals don't often like immigrants for various reasons. It tends to be lonely, I'm guessing, trying to etch out a living some place where you don't have family to rely on. Did you know that God has a heart for foreigners? A year or two ago, I was very touched when I saw the decree to be especially kind to foreigners, among a few other social groups. I appreciate it even more now. It appears a few times, but check out Leviticus 19 and 22.

Posted by seaskimmer 05:30 Archived in Germany Tagged history museum hamburg Comments (0)

This Week in Harburg

I haven't written anything in the past 2 weeks, mostly because I've been so frustrated at the lack of free internet in my dorm and in school. At this current moment (initial time of writing, I don't expect to finish this post before my next class at 1600, and this is wed fyi), I still don't have LAN in my dorm, and my phone's wifi system crashed meaning I don't get wifi on it period. Unless I do a full system restore which I will not be doing yet, since I've got 1GB of data on it anyway. But before my next trip out of Germany, yeah.

SO. That's my connectivity issues, some resolved, some worse off than before, but let me tell you that life sucks without the internet! Haha! Maybe I need to properly go off the grid one day and enjoy it, but even someone like me who isn't exactly connected via social networking is super dependent on the internet and some forms of online social interaction.

Let's get to this proper, this is a recap of the last almost-two weeks living here in Harburg, accumulated because I couldn't type on my laptop and was frustrated about it.

Settling in

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My building has 4 floors of apartments, with two apartments on each level. Each apartment has either 6 or 8 people, and I think it's priced accordingly. Most people share an adjoining toilet with one other person. Spanking new building, white walls and white of light brown furniture (what there is of it). No LAN yet (I must repeat this over and over), laundry is 2.20 per wash, and I don't use the dryer so I don't know how much that is. Each apartment only has one common room, that's the kitchen. Has shelf space, an oven, a stove, sink etc. Stove is the flat kind, not fire but also not induction. Don't know what it's called, the whole circle heats up when you turn it on.

I'm still living alone in my apartment, which was a bummer at first but I do recognise the benefits like not worrying about safety or leaving stuff around. But it will definitely be nice to have some people to come home to (something I really miss!!!) even if it's not my family haha. And I've refused to buy any cleaning equipment so I'm living in a dump, seriously. I might give in soon. But, but, another exchange student I know is moving in on Tuesday, and I think it's my apartment. If so, then I can finally share the cost of a broom or something. Yay.

I spent two days decorating my room after the inital unpacking. Proud of myself because I managed to spent quite little, apart from photo printing while in sg. Too afraid of permanently damaging walls if i paste anything on it so I used the large piece of cardboard the kitchen table was covered with!

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The Kindness of Strangers

Let me explain the security measures implemented here. To get to my room, I have to go through 4 doors. The main door, the door to my apartment, the door to my room and toilet, the door to my room. One key (with two additional copies) unlocks the first three doors while another key unlocks the last. All of the first three doors are autolocking, so once you close the door that's it.

What happened on like the 4th day of living there was that I left my keys in the keyhole of the last door. And I forgot. By the time I realised, it was 6pm and I was carrying newly purchased pots! Called the office but it was closed, so I stayed over at my friend's place. I hardly know her, she's from NUS but never would have met her if not for SEP. So grateful to her, she cooked me dinner and let me stay on her couch! Offered to share the bed too, but I figured I shouldn't take too much from her. She and her roomie (now, her I really don't know; makes it even sweeter) gave me tons of blankets and extra jackets to keep me warm in the living room!

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The next day I went for the international breakfast and the Hamburg tour organised by the tutors. Then at about 2pm I went down to try to get my room opened. The shop beneath my apartment is owned by a Mr. H.; he also owns the apartment and a few of the buildings around. I was told that he's usually found in the shop. Unfortunately when I got there, he'd already left. The two women in the shop, helped me to call him and stuff, and eventually he said he'd come back in a few hours. It turns out that he was sick so decided to leave early :/ and one of the women talked to me as I sat in the shop haha she was so nice. Didn't speak much English but I learnt some German that way.

So, yeah I met a lot of really nice people who were so kind to me despite my not really knowing them : )

School Life and People

School hasn't been a big deal so far haha. School officially started 1 April, but most of the exchange students didn't go for any classes til the second week (now). It's Thursday, so I've gone for a few of my classes. Most don't seem very difficult (despite being masters courses), like some profs will ask if anyone even needs it to be a graded course haha. It's only the second week of school, though, we'll see how it goes.

One cool thing is that profs use both power points and blackboards! At tuhh they have high class black (green) boards that can be pushed vertically up and down to suit the user's height and where they're writing on the board. It also has two hinges on the sides, so two extra boards can be folded outward for more surface area to write on. Most profs write with white chalk. Then this prof brought out a red one and I had to be content with an inward squeal of excitement. Lol cheap thrill. There's also a sink in almost every tutorial room. When the board is full, profs can use a sponge with water to wipe everything away, and then a wiper (like window wiper) to wipe the water away. As a result the bottom edge of the blackboard is encrusted with white chalk when the water runs down. Of course, some can't be bothered and then they use their hand to wipe stuff away.

So far everyone in class has been very vocal about their opinions! Something I'm very not used to, coming from SG. Like seriously, it's not just questions (that's natural but still uncommon in sg) but people almost arguing with the lecturer! Most noticeable in one of my lectures that touched upon the validity of CO2 in climate change. This controversial topic sparked quite the debate, lasted for maybe almost ten minutes? People here are really not afraid to air their opinions whereas little I am still forming my own. This makes for an interesting though draggy class.

I've met a lot of nice people, mostly exchange students. From all over the world! Even got a Ukranian guy and Russian girl, but they get along fine. Pretty well actually because she's in the south of Russia which apparently is much more similar to Ukraine in culture and language. People from Serbia, Sweden, China, India, Canada, you name it, you got it. (okay mostly Europe) and the Swedish girl has the same name as me! Haha except with an f. I have also checked and confirmed that Ikea is pronounced I-kay-uh where I is like in sick.

Of the NUS people I've seen a fair amount. Especially in the first week, we hung out a bit. Recently not so much though, as I'd expected, because they're a bunch of chem eng haha and we only have 2 common mods (out of 7 current ones).

Been climbing twice a week, in prepare font! I want to be at least of respectable skill when I get there, or the trip will be a frustrating waste. Rush to the gym to make the happy day period (leave at 4pm therefore be there by 2) and climb climb climb then work out a bit. I must say that I've regained much of my strength, when at first I could barely do 4 pull ups, now I can do 6 sets of 3 relatively easily. Gonna upgrade to 4 reps per set now. And add more stuff like the fingerboard.

I also went for a run once! Ran around the Harburg stadtpark, actually managed to find it Woohoo. Ran in tights, T shirt and windbreaker. It was weird because I hardly sweated. And at the end I didn't really feel like I'd exercised even though my heart rate was through the roof lol. I think I use sweat as a measure of how much I've exerted myself haha. Will run again next week!

Safety in Hamburg

I thought Hamburg would be pretty safe. Here are some stories to suggest otherwise. But don't worry it's totally fine in the day, there aren't really any pickpockets like in Italy and stuff. I'll just take care not be out alone at night.

Apparently my friend's friends got mugged. Like not pickpocketed, actually mugged. Separately, two PRC guys at night. One might even have been threatened with a knife, the other was a request for money and then a wallet snatch-and-run. That's pretty crazy.

Then when 7 or 8 of us NUS (and one NTU) people were having dinner in one of our dorms, some guy was snooping around. Her apartment (the one we were eating at) is on the ground floor so the windows to the kitchen and dining room look out onto the street. I was sitting facing the window, when I suddenly noticed a hooded figure looking in, about 2 or 3m away from the window. Due to it being a bit dark outside, and the lighting conditons, I could only see his silhouette. I froze, then began babbling that there's a guy outside. One or two others turned to look, then he disappeared.

A minute later there was a ring at the door. One of the guys went to see to it, and he returned talking about a guy with blood around his eye and cheek asking about a party. I thought he was joking at first, and then as I realised he wasn't, I saw the guy at the window again and I freaked out! By that I mean that I sat there and didn't dare to look at the window but kept telling everyone that someone was there! This time he was really just at the window. And I was smack in front of it so it kind of felt like he was looking directly at me, even though I couldn't see his face or anything. Squirming in my seat. He stayed there for pretty long before finally he left. Whew that was scary. After that we closed the blinds and shut all the windows lol.

I don't think the guy meant any harm, I think he was just kind of alcoholic and wanted a drink. (We had a few beers on the table). Kinda creepy though. The bunch who were walking back to the metro walked me home that night.

Cooking Adventures

The past week I've cooked mostly the same things over and over again haha. Since I'm just one person, I have to buy stuff and then use all of it before the expiry date. I learnt though that sometimes the same ingredients can taste radically different with a change of sauces or spices.

My ingredients: minced beef, pork pieces, mushrooms, cabbage, onions, garlic, eggs, tomato, cheese, ham, bread.

Meal 1: penne bolognese with thyme
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Meal 2: hot sandwich with the stringiest melted cheese ever :)
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Meal 3: rice with cabbage omelette and oyster/black/light sauce pork and mushroom
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Meal 4: spaetzle with pork, tomato, mushrooms, cabbage, onions, mustard, paprika. Gravy comes from the tomato cooked long, and the various juices :) IMAG3652.jpg

Meal 5: penne with pork, tomato, cabbage, onions, mustard, paprika, milk. Gravy from tomato cooked long, and reduced milk.
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Meal 6: Had a Wurst in Brot today at the ESN (erasmus student network) bbq earlier today, so only a quick fry of the whole pork piece this time, quick marinating in light/dark sauce and sesame oil. No photo. I forgot. Got back at 8 after my late Thursday lecture.

Meal 7: Made french toast! Because as you can see, I haven't been eating bread. Vollkorn toast is cheap but gross. So attempting, à la the French, to use up my stale bread. (Expired 9/4, used 10/4 and 11/4)
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Meal 8: rice! Actual proper rice! With fried pre-marinated pork, and stir fried cabbage and mushrooms with light/dark sauce and sesame oil
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And a apfeltorten from the supermarket because I felt like eating something sweet (not strictly to be here because it wasn't cooked but it was so very welcome to my taste buds) IMAG0020.jpg

Everything I've cooked tastes amazing. I'm not kidding! And not being overly proud of my culinary achievements either hehe. There's something about freshly cooked food straight out of the pan, cooked by yourself, that makes everything yummy. Sure, the meat might be a little over-cooked and the rice plain terrible, but it still tastes great on the tongue and feels great down the throat. But no, seriously, texture-wise maybe not but taste-wise, soooo good.

I've had a lot of fun cooking. Haven't done anything different from what I'd usually cook in sg when I have the time. Basically what's-in-the-kitchen-let's-cook-it. Next week I'll begin to try cooking recognised dishes. Maybe. Haha. We shall see. Hopefully I don't get sick of washing up before sep is over!

Generally breakfast is cereal (found some really great ones similar to my favourite post selects in sg) and milk. Lunch is cheap at Mensa (a cafeteria) in school. There are 5 dishes available everyday, and the dishes change everyday. Also a salad bar, pizza and pasta bar, fresh juices, soups! Etc. Pay for whatever you take so so far I've been getting a main and occasionally a soup. Dinner is usually at home, sometimes with strawberry yoghurt after for some vitamins (questionable?). Strawberry yoghurt, mmmm… My favourite kind, and almost the only type I'd buy voluntarily. Store-bought in a cup, no fancy Yami yogurt for me haha. Okay, after having so much yoghurt here I may get used to it enough to buy some in sg.

Been attempting to watch my nutritional intake. I get plenty of calcium and dairy and carbs. Protein totally enough. My attempt at vegetables (always a weak point) resulted in my eating cabbage almost everyday! And tomatoes, which historically I've used to fool myself into believing that I eat enough veg, but really, it's not green so not quite there. (and is it a fruit or a veg?) Thus the cabbage. Need to buy more fruits, for more vitamins. I manage my mushroom intake well, though. Actually have to be careful not to overdose. (what, never heard of daily required mushroom intake? Yeah, it's new, as of last week)

Grocery shopping (einkaufen) is pretty easy. After some exploration, and advice from friends, I now buy most of my goods from the Ja! brand in Rewe in Phoenix Center. After that, other things are bought at the Lidl near my place, or Aldi if I pass it. Anything I can't find and really want can be bought at the huge Marktkauf next to Phoenix Center (eg Dr Oetker Vitalis cereal). These are in ascending order of price range haha. Keeping things cheap. Dinner is less than 2 euros per meal! Yay! And this even with overestimation of portion size : )

Plans for the Future

I'm looking forward to not being a slob, and actually owning a dustbin (living out of plastic bags now). Looking forward to actually having people in my apartment!

And I've been planning all my travels, may and June are so so packed it's not even funny. Even then, there are so many places I want to go to but don't know if I'll have the time. Will have to plan this carefully.

One trip I am so excited about currently is my Wimbledon trip!!!! Will make it for the middle Sunday period. Hopefully will get the Saturday (men's 3rd round), and that there won't be any typical wimby rain delay. I won't be getting show court tickets unfortunately because normal wimby tickets require balloting a year before the event! And online tickets apart from that are like a thousand quid. The last real option is queueing up on the day itself. Whether you get center court, court 1, court 2, or ground pass tickets (in that order) depends completely on your queue number and how early you're willing to queue. For center court you're gonna have to be in the cold with your tent the morning before (no, really, there are whole articles and guides written about queuing for wimby). Ground passes, however generally only require your presence from 6 or 7am on the day itself. So unfortunately that's what I'm gonna have to do, and then I'll pray that for some reason Murray gets pushed to court 3 haha.

Apart from travels, I hope I actually learn something while I'm here! There's lots to learn but the inertia against studying is sooooooo high haha everyone I sit down to try to revise I end up doing something else. And there's so much to do. Oh well.

I end this long post finally on Friday night. Hopefully it wasn't too boring haha.

Bis bald! (see you soon)

Posted by seaskimmer 14:34 Archived in Germany Tagged people hamburg harburg tuhh Comments (0)

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