High Standards

This is what I have set with my previous post. I mean, there is a principle that you should not expect others to do things you are not willing to do yourself. Right, that means: updating, updating!

Friday Tanja and me went to Wageningen (Netherlands; approx 20 km from Arnhem) where Tanja had worked at the University in the end of 2005 and beginning of 2006. There she met this African girl who worked on her PhD thesis. This thesis is finished now and the defense of it took place on Friday – with Tanja being a paranymph (some supporting person being present on stage – without a real task in the ceremony).

Afterwards there was a reception and after that a dinner. And after that we went to several pubs with Tanja’s former flatmates. Quite a day, I can tell you! I had to get up at 5:30 am and finally went to bed around 2 am.

The next day we went to the local fruit/vegetables/cheese market and bought some cheese. There is no hard cheese in this world that can compare to the Dutch hard cheese!! And it is reasonably priced. 🙂
On the way back on Saturday the “Deutsche Bahn” (Federal German Railway) treated us badly. First, our train was over one hour late (due to construction works); then it was delayed further because another train had derailed on our tracks and finally it was delayed some more because of more construction works. In Köln we checked for a connection train – which was also delayed. I guess by that time the complete schedule of the Bahn had been completely screwed. But anyway, travelling 6 hours instead of 3 doesn’t feel much better just because you know other people are experiencing it as well.

After that trip both of us were so exhausted that the rest of the weekend was spectacularly unspectacular.

And now University is on again and I don’t have time to update my blog – unless I skip a lecture for example (as I do now… he he). But I don’t feel bad about it. It’s in Electrical Engineering; concerned with electric fields and the movement of charges in those (yawn) and the professor has a style of talking that can effectively cure insomnia.

And before you fall asleep because of boring reports from Max’ life, I’ll stop.

Have a nice day!

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R.I.P.

R.I.P. as defined by the great Ambrose Bierce:

a careless abbreviation of requiescat in pace, attesting an indolent goodwill to the dead. According to the learned Dr Drigge, however, the letters originally meant nothing more than reductus in pulvis. (Ambrose Bierce, 1911: The Devil’s Dictionary).
You now wonder who it is, that has died recently. You shall be given an answer:

it is the blogs of the following persons, sorted in alphabetical order:

Johansson, Niklas (Sweden)

Kvam, Katie (USA)

Lindfeldt, Erik (Sweden)

Oh Lord, have mercy upon me! Now I am the only one left of a once so proud and brave fellowship of bloggers! Oh Lord, give me strength, that I may continue to write messages into the infinite void of the internet without knowing if anybody will read my words! Oh Lord, forgive me my bitterness! Oh Lord, let me know: is this just some sort of challenge you inflict upon me to test my faith in blogging? Oh Lord! So many questions and yet so few answers…

Have I, by the way, mentioned that I now finally, have officially achieved the status of a student in the second half of his studies? Not?

I AM NOW OFFICIALLY A STUDENT IN THE HAUPTSTUDIUM!! And I have celebrated that three times already.

No offence meant. Have a good time guys!

Erstis = Freshers

They arrived today. Full of eagerness to learn and yet empty of knowledge, waiting to be filled with facts, wisdom and not knowing that universities in Germany are not places where you can get that.

At German universities you are not taught much about your subject. But you learn some things anyway:

1. How can I pass the next exam without learning neither too much nor not enough?

2. Where do I get important information – quickly? (Because at German Universities you are usually left completely alone when it comes to organisational queries, registration for exams, timetable questions etc)

3. How do I organise myself?

Sorry for that pessimistic way of looking at my native countrie’s universities, but that’s the way it is. I think that is kind of okay as long as you don’t have to pay for your education. (no cost = no service). But from next semester onwards they ask for 500€ each semester and it is very likely that conditions will not change very much in favour of  the students. That sucks.
Anyway, today we (the “Fachschaft 7/2”, a student community of students studying to become teachers for vocational education) welcomed (or welcame?) our new students (i.e. those students who have enrolled for any combination of subjects that leads to a degree for teachers in vocational education).   We call them “Erstis” because they are in their first (German : “erstes”) semester. Tomorrow I will show those around who have English as one of their subjects. Fun!

Besides I am still preparing for my intermediate exam in English linguistics which will be on Thursday afternoon. Therefore I haven’t read anything not connected to English linguistics in the last weeks, and therefore, the situation is that the yet unread books pile up in my room.

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Usually they do not pile in the middle of the room, you know. I just put them there to enhance the effect of the picture.  As soon as I am done with the exam I will focus on this pile and its reduction … but now off to learning!

Cheerio!

ROME

Rome is not a city. Rome is the center of the world. At least that’s what some Romans say. I don’t agree, but it is very close. A fabulous city. A city with a history soo long…

Tanja and I got up on Monday morning at the butt-crack of dawn (2:30 am) drove to the airport, got our plane, arrived in Ciampino, took the bus, took the Metro, changed the Metro, took the bus, disembarked at the wrong stop, walked about a mile and arrived in the hotel at 11:30 am – completely exhausted. The hotel was far from the city centre but very, very nice. (Air-conditioned room, Internet, fabulous breakfast buffet…)

The afternoon of the first day we just walked round Rome a bit to get a first impression. Not too bad. (The walking and the impression)

The second day was dedicated to the ruins of the ancient Roman Empire. Impressive. The Collosseum is huge. It is estimated that it could hold 50,000 to 70,000 spectators. It was possible to evacuate all of them within ten minutes. The Palatin and the Forum Romanum are equally impressive. That all those walls are still intact after almost 2000 years…those guys really built for eternity!

The second day was dedicated to the Pope and the Vatican. We were blessed by the Pope around noon (in a huge audience together with approximately 10,000 other people) and later visited the Vatican Museums. Impressive. The Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo. Raffael. Immeasurable treasures. Way too much to see within one day. After that we wanted to see St. Peter’s Cathedral but the queue was incredibly long (almost around St. Peter’s square – hang on, St. Peter’s square is circular in shape…does the term square really apply then?) and therefore we decided to visit St. Paul Beyond-the-Walls (where an image of every Pope up to now is displayed).

Therefore we went to St. Peter’s Cathedral on Thursday. Although I repeat myself: Impressive. Breathtaking. The thing is huge. The biggest church in the world. We also climbed up the cupola. The view from there: again impressive. Breathtaking. Sorry – but that’s the way it is.

Guess what: you can find pictures of Rome on www.flickr.com/photos/kellermax 

We returned on  Thursday and spent the successive weekend in the Saarland.

Now I am in Aachen again. I have just returned from a meeting of our Fachschaft (which is in general a student organisation including all the students who study either the same subject or the same degree – in the case of our Fachschaft they all want to become teachers for vocational education) where we discussed the preparations that have to be done to welcome next semester’s freshers at our university (of course, just the ones who want to become teachers for vocational education). After the meeting we definitely deserved some beers…

And now I am le tired and will go to bed soon.

Cheerio!

Rome is beautiful. It is a very special city. Absolutely not comparable to London or Paris.