Friday, April 8, 2011

Wunder des Winters/Wonders of Winter.... long overdue

As you probably have noticed by now, the less I write, the busier I am. The months of February and March whizzed by making the short winter days filled trotzdem (nevertheless) with joy. Finally I am sitting down, in my newly reorganized room (spring cleaning rocks), with sunlight streaming in the direction of my desk- my computer whispering... 'Kyra, you need to sit your tush down, reflect, and write.' If my computer could talk I also think he would be agitated how much I use him without much thought. His energy-life source is slowly petering on me as he is a constant connection to my work and communication with loved ones. 

His memory is currently full with saved projects and new ideas, as I am furiously writing, especially for two reasons. First, is a fantastic new project, in which I am translating a website for antique tiled-stoves. Sounds a little off the beaten path, but that's exactly why I'm entralled combining my art history affection with language! It is truly wonderful to be a nerd; especially when it comes to identifying styles amongst this the largest stove collection in all of Germany. I became involved with this project because my friend/colleague's brother-in-law is the antique collector and owner of this business. He is also a very worldly and cultured man, so I feel especially grateful to be part of this, as well to meet his fascinating connections. I am sure this news will be a part of my future blog writing... so there will be more to come.

Secondly, I am writing applications. Applications for jobs, internships and conferences. Basically I'm putting my feelers out into the world because I see the finish line of this Fulbright year approaching with tremendous speed. My plan as of now: enjoy the rest of this year- going to Istanbul over Easter with Gabe, then to Greece for a week-long Summer School Program about Creating Cultural Leadership. This is the website link if you are interested: I am taking every opportunity at the moment to see where it leads, and I believe that this program in Greece will lead to at least amazing ideas. Basically I am keeping eyes and ears open in both Germany and the States. At this point I know my talents of working with people, communications, teaching, and art education; and I also recognize my passion for international awareness, cultural studies, and education advocacy. My definite plans however have a date: I have a return plane ticket to New York for June 30th. When I return to Germany is just a question of time. 

So, you're probably wondering how I can compact two months of unbelievable experiences into one blog. Well, I can't. The summaries will be mostly based on my travel timeline- first Heidelberg, Köln (Cologne), then Berlin. Berlin deserves it's own though... and you'll read why.
My first impressions of Heidelberg: quaint, isolated, tourist haven, stunning.  I was there at the beginning of February for the Fulbright Formal Winter Ball. Yes, quite the treat! This preserved city gem has a beautiful University and German baroque-style old town center. Of course I visited a massively impressive castle and celtic ruins atop of the surrouding mountains- it's Germany right. This weekend was completely refreshing, from the old-German attractive atmosphere to the protected valley climate, it warmed any residual winter woes that I incured from the Kahlheit (bleakness) of Gießen. Plus, I had the warming welcome of a tremendous Couchsurfing host, James- an American working for the military in Heidelberg. His apartment (conveniently located in the center of the historic district), was only a few blocks from the imaginable tourist sights and also the elegant state building where the ball took place. This weekend was such a great example of how Couchsurfing is an invaluable experience. James actually came to stay surf with me in Gießen last week, and so the circle of good karma continues. The Ball? Can't forget the reason for coming! A memorable evening of dinner, dancing, and enjoyable conversations with German Fulbright recipients and other ETAs. Just what I expected- a good time. 

Now Köln. Whew, if you have knowledge about German traditions and where/how they're celebrated, then when I say Karnival in Köln I bet images come to mind. Cologne is known for the spectacular craziness that are the days before Lent. We didn't make the opening on 11/11/11 at 11:11, but we arrived in Köln on Sunday, and left late the next day on Rosenmontag. My friends- Rick, Ginger, Zoe and Björn- and I were definitely mild on the scale of celebraters; but we definitely had a fun time especially because it was Zoe's birthday on Monday. Costumes were in order as you can tell from the picture below. Rick was a mime, Zoe- well that wig says it all, I was an Indianer *Germans have a strange fascination with Native American stereotypical culture (but I was happy to loan the costume from my flatmate), Ginger a pirate,  and Björn a clown. And were we successful at this parade! Not only Ginger got a lot of booty- arg matey... we all had bags full of candy and flowers. Incredible! This is not even comparable to American parades; here I saw a man bleeding from a giant chocolate bar that hit his face. 

Karnival Umzug (Parade) Booty!
 Naturally these two weekends were quite spectacular, but also in these two months I enjoyed the ease of routine and work at my school. Another wonderful realization is that it is quasi-routinue now to visit my family in Fulda. I was there for my niece's birthday weekend, and thoroughly enjoyed the 12-year-old group of girls that were over to celebrate. What else- exercise along with spring is bouncing back into season. I've started mountain-biking and a fitness-club membership, so my days of that lovely sore muscle feeling is back! Woot! Now that the sun is shining, and it's the weekend I will bid you adue to enjoy these summer-sunlight hours.

Hope your days are filled with brightness! Es geschehen noch Zeichen und Wunder- Wonders will never cease!

Liebe Grüße

1 comment:

  1. any chance you'll be posting some of the other Karneval pictures? i remember you had some good ones...