Willkommen to the Bauhaus!
This past week we finally started our semester at the Bauhaus-Universitat Weimar. The way course schedules are set up are a thing to master and I am still working on getting use to it. First of all the work load is so drastically different from MCAD and from what i’m use too. At MCAD it is not unusual to have to “pick” which one of your classes you are going to give up on in order to do well in another. It is also pretty standard to witness students crying over projects and ample amounts of stress. I kind of feel like the approach to success is “bang-out-as-much-as-you-can-in-the-shortest-amount-of-time-and-when-the-class-is-over-fix-things-if-you-want-to-fix-them” but here at the Bauhaus its a 180 degree difference. Instead of taking 4 or 5 classes you take around 3. You are allowed 1 Projekt, 1 Fachkurs, and 1 seminar. The week before classes start you attend a meeting where your professors present their projekts, show and tell-like and from there you make your “informed” decision. The next day you write on a course sheet what project and what fachkurs you would like to take (you pick your top 3). Here is the kicker… the professors pick you. Writing “Erasmus” up on the corner of mine kind of was easy way to get what I wanted 😉
So the projekt is the main… well project, that you work on the entire semester. I am taking Music, Technology, & Design. Basically we are looking for the “amen break” of design in music. This is so interesting because I’ve never designed for or with music in mind. So our first assignment this week was a really fun way to start out the semester. We had to quickly design a LP cover for a fake album. By hitting the “random article” button on wiki you get your band name (Linguistics Argument is my bands name), then you go to Quotations.com and by taking the last 4-5 words from the last quote you have your Album name (every turn, in every guise is mine), lastly by going to flickr and hitting “last 7 days” the 3rd picture is your album photo to work with…. here is it.
and after playing for some time I came up with a couple of LP-covers. Check those puppies out.
I kind of cheated on the last one and added a different picture a long with it… but hey, graphic design has never been about following to many rules.
Then there is our Fachkurs which is suppose to be a practical course. I’m taking “Natur to Abstrakt” and from what I understand (the explanation was in Deutsch) we are exploring abstract designs based off of nature. I’m really excited about this course because it is already what i’ve been exploring in my own work.
This is the odd part for me the Fachkurs (which I have not even started yet) is only 6 days long and thats it. I’m also not taking a seminar, none of them are in English so where it might be good to drown in German there would be no point for me to sit in class like a deer caught in headlights. So these 2 courses i’m taking are equivalent to 12 MCAD credits, how so…. your guess is as good as mine. Next week we also start the continuation of our language course which I am so excited for because I want to keep working at this Deutsch Sprache stuff. Language is so interesting!
Overall I’m looking forward to no tears this semester! Wahoo!
I realize I’ve gone missing in action but it has taken about a month to get properly settled and not absolutely crazy mentally. Wow I can’t believe I’ve already been here a month! Only a month ago I couldn’t find Kassandra until we both we traveled all the way across Berlin twice each before we found each other. A month from the time we missed our first bus to Weimar and had to take the later coach which in turn caused us to be late for our housing check in. That night we slept in a hostel contemplating what the quickest way out of our new “Deutsch-situation”.
I am now living in the little town of Weimar in Deutschland’s state of Thuringia, east of Thuringia’s capital city Erfurt. Its cultural history is well impressive for sure. I can go visit the houses of my writer buddies Goetha and Shiller just a ten minute walk from my apartment. As well as walk around Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Oskar Shemmer, and Lyonel Feininger’s legacies. However I live in the Wiemar of 2012. My initial thought was how sleepy this town was, small, beautiful, but quite and slightly boring. Now as the days until semester starts the student atmosphere is picking up, not to mention the boys get better and better looking as well (this sure never hurt anyone).
Weimer is a typical cute Germany city. Its color palette is pastels that are reminiscent of the rococo era. Its pinks and blue-greys contrast beautifully with the black and white beam work in the architecture of the other buildings next door. I love walking to the park or to Uni on cobblestone streets and sidewalks (even though this has really been taking a toll on my shoes) it makes me wonder how can I ever go back home after being surrounded by this all?
*note on one constant thing so far here for me is the Thuringen Bratwurt. I think I may have fell in love with this the moment we got here. It is about a foot long cuddled into a Brotchen (little bread) and topped with ketchup and mustard. I’m not ashamed to say I crave them almost everyday, I mean seriously meat lovers please look at this….
Now i’m hungry…. and going to get one of these bad-boys!
Today I turn 23 and a sunny, warm, and beautiful day it is to turn 23! I’ve spend the morning up in my Jakobsplan tower quietly drinking tea, editing pictures, and listening to French songs from the 50s. My window has been wide open all morning and i’m so thankful for the fresh air and the view I get every morning. Honestly though if I didn’t have facebook reminders I may have gone all afternoon until I really realized it was my birthday.
Being abroad makes it so easy to loose track of the time and of the day and it makes me think what is a birthday to me anymore? This is the 3rd birthday in a row I’ve spent abroad and I think this one so far as been the sweetest. A birthday is a good time to reflect, like you’re own personal New Years. I’ve had enough space in my world and in my mind to reflect on this one. Where I thought i’d be apprehensive about getting closer and closer to twenty five, I’m not, I’m appreciative of what i’ve already done in my life so far. I’ve done some things people won’t do in their entire lives. At a fairly reasonable pace I check things off of my bucket list, i’ve gone crazy, made some mistakes, met myself on the other-side of a plane ride, and now i can appreciate silence, good conversation, good design, good beer, and interesting people. I’ve made friends I never thought I’d meet or never thought i’d be so connected to and they are scattered all over the world. I’ve made dreams that scare me and excite me all at the same time. I grew a hunger for my life, future, the world, and the people in it. I can only imagine what 30 will hold or 50 or 60 but I can’t wait to keep adding things and experiences to my life.
In German Happy Birthday is
“Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag” or “Congratulations on Your Birthday”
Soon Kassandra and I are going into Jena to explore and then going out to do some dancing with friends! It is a such a good day! Thank you for all of the people in my life that make it worth everything!
Gute Reise / Bon Voyage / Safe Travels
I am much aware that in every trip or travel you go on there are some highs and there are some lows. Usually the lows don’t happen right as the travels begin, but in this case sometimes they do. I can’t possibly go into detail (nor do I want to mentally relive) about all the struggles of the first week and a half here in Weimar. The key issues included not being able to get into our student accommodation the first day we were here. We lugged our luggage from one end of the city to the other to finally set into a hostel near the Hauptbahnhof (main train station)
Not only were was this barely our second day in Germany neither Kassandra, the other student from MCAD who is on the same programe, nor I can speak any German. My signature is down on a couple of contracts in which I have no idea what is said in them. There was some serious culture shock we experience the first few days, mostly which derived from out inability to speak the language. However, we learned quickly “eine Bratwurst, Bitte” , “Danke shone” , and “tschuss”. So we are polite and never hungry.
Where I live there is not even a option for my floor in the elevator, so I walk from the 11th floor to the 12th floor everyday. When I brought my luggage to its final destination, my apartment, my first thought was “what the hell am I going to do with all this room”. Our little apartments consist of 4 individual rooms and a shared 3 sinks, 1 toilet, and 1 shower. The two bedrooms on the sides are the largest and this is where I am. I have a bed, wardrobe, desk, kitchen table, 3 chairs, and a full refrigerator (Kassandra and I pulled out our designer brains and rearranged the room for maximum living comfort on our first Sunday here) However this is not my pride and joy of my room. That is the view. I can see for at least 7 km away and the large windows let the morning sun in to wake me promptly at 7 am. I bought a small pot of Narcissus and they bloomed the second day I got them. I can tell already I will have a hard time leaving this little room and the window that is clearly made for sitting at, watching, and drinking tea.
After buying tickets I headed out with friends to l’Alhambra to see St. Vincent play. This was hands down the best performance I have ever seen. Reason one: Annie Clark is absolutely gorgeous out and in real life. Her voice has no flaws.
She has something that is intriguingly awkward about her which clearly gives her a curious aura that attracts people to her and her music. Throughout the show she would always say to the audience “Merci very much”, and I mean, come on add to your cutest even more please.
Towards the end of the night she literally threw herself into the crowd (no one was prepared for this and we though it was a man down situation for a bit). We were still mesmerized by St. Vincent throughout our broccoli fediccini that Emma made us at her apartment after the show.
Today Michelle and i took a stereotypical tour of Paris today which included buying Macaroons at Ladurée on L’avenue des Champs-Élysées and eating them at the Eiffel Tower.
I’ve never had one before and had no idea what I should expect but I didn’t expect them to be soft. Soft they were and also to-die-for…. except for the Rose Petal flavor, steer clear of those bad boys unless you like the taste of shampoo.
Michelle bought the macaroons in honor of my 23rd Birthday present. Winner of the best present goes to her!
Merci very much mon ami!
So there I was, first day in Paris.
I felt pretty weird and was starting to realize my mind was culturally shifting. I still had one foot in the midwest and a toe in France. I set out from Notre Dame and headed to the Eiffel tower knowing the walk would take me up to the time when I needed to meet Michelle after her class. I needed the walk to clear my head and settle with the change, to reassert myself after the journey. I was getting into my walking groove when along came Mr. Italiano, who mistakenly asked me for a light in French (which I replied with an awkward “I, uh I…. umm, uh” I wasn’t ready to practice my French). We walked the Seine talking about the differences between cultures and sort of helping each other which each of our respective languages.
What I thought hesitantly was a simple get-to-know-you discussion (I was very much aware of where my bag was at this point as I had already been victim of an attempted pickpocket at the airport)… but this was actually a very very blind date, so blind that I did not even realize I was in it.
the scene of the crime
We reached the Pont des Arts and he asked me if I knew the bridge and I replied that of course I have it is the bridge where people lock locks on the railing with the name of themselves and their significant others and proceed to throw the key over in the Seine vowing to love that person “until the key is found and the lock unlocked”. What I didn’t know is that this bridge was the “love” bridge and I didn’t realize that this is the bridge where Mr. Italiano would ask to see me again. I finally had to end this very blind date and proceed with my salutations which I guess had to include a hug. I politely entertained what I thought was a bise on the cheek, Mr. Italiano had other ideas. Other ideas that included the longest and most awkward kiss i’ve ever experienced. As I heard other people on the bridge giggling the thought running through my mind was “don’t laugh, thats rude, don’t laugh, oh god you’re laughing, don’t laugh”.
Finally enough was enough and I went to leave. He explained to me.. “do you know what you just did? There was fire. and then you took it away”.
I thought, hell I’m pouring water over that apparent fire too, and kicking the ashes around so that there is no chance of this happening again. To complete it all he tells me passionately “Ashley, I will never forget this moment”
“OKAY! CHEERS BUDDY”
I walked my ass back to Notre Dame quickly to tell Michelle. I may not have made it to the Eiffel Tower that day, but I had already seen so much of Paris.
Oh hai. Tomorrow i’m leaving for France, but this is how I look right now
Looking comfortable right? I’m going to remember this right about at the moment when I cannot get my neck to bend at the right angle around the window or when I realize my torso is STILL to long to make sleeping on the tray table work, and i’m definitely going to remember this when my legs fall asleep and I have to limp from the plane because of my swollen ankles.
To be honest about time I am leaving. After multiple hiccups in the road and what seemed like endless burning hoops to jump through, flight changes, school changes, and constant plan changes I am leaving!
I am so excited to start my new chapter of adventure / seeing / and creating. I’m so excited to see how much Graphic Design work changes, I know it is inevitable. I am so excited to come to the realization for why i’m not ending up in Holland and why, apparently I’m heading to the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany on March 8th! Wish me luck!
Bon Voyage / Gute Reise / Safe Travels