Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Safe and Settled?

Today marks my third day as a resident of Dresden, Germany. The BU program students (at the Engineering ones) have been running all over the city for the past few days, setting up bank accounts, getting registered with both the city and the school, scavenging for food, and the like. That, coupled with the fact that we didn't get internet until last night, has prevented me from an update until now. Which is fine with me; three days seems like a good point at which to take a little break and tell you all about my adventures:

Germany is an interesting place, to say the least. At first glance, walking down streets or through the mall, you might not even be able to tell that you were in a different country (aside from the lack of signs in English). It's not like the people look too much different, although many of the Germans have a very unique sense of style, particularly in the hair and piercing departments. But everything is so methodical here, and it's the little details that really get you. For instance:
1. Germans don't cross the street when the little red man is lit up. Even if it might be safe to cross, if there are any cars at all in sight, we must wait for the green man. Shellykins would probably do well here ("Guys, there's a car coming!" "It's a mile away, Michelle.")
2. Germans separate their trash into paper, plastic, biodegradable, and who-knows-what-else.
3. They are very finicky about cleanliness. My first conversation with my suitemate next door went as follows:
"Hi, I'm Angie. I'm a new student here."
"Hi, I am Kurt. I just cleaned the bathroom. We take turns every two weeks."
4. Everything in Germany (or Dresden at least) seems more well-thought out and efficient than any American counterpart. Anything to do with the straBenbahn (that's one of those weird B-looking things that I can't use here apparently), which is their local tram system, is a classic example. Clean, quiet, and controlled; that's what it's all about.

The city of Dresden is beautiful, by the way. Just imagine what it would've looked like had it not been firebombed to smithereens in WWII. We have the Elbe separating the city into two, the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady), der Zwinger, and the Semperoper, all of which we were able to see on Monday, our first night there. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera, as it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to see all these places, but I will post pictures as soon as I can. Or if you're in that much suspense, GoogleImage it. It is amazing!
The dorm in which I now reside is pretty close to one of the more commercial parts of Dresden, where you can find the Centrum Galerie and the Altmarkt Galerie. The malls here combine regular shopping/department stores with random grocery stores splotched here and there. I like it.
For next time I promise to have pictures (whether or not I will be able to upload them is another story, given the 5GB internet traffic quota we have in the dorms). Walking tour of the city on Friday!
Miss you all back home in the States. Or in other European countries.

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