Sunday, August 14, 2011

Acclimations all around

So Monday is the beginning of the first day for us in Marburg. We were a little excited to see more of the city, especially since we were more awake than the previous day. We took the bus around town a little more, to try and recognize stops that we might need. And of course we did some grocery shopping!! We wanted to have some basic food in our dorm, mainly so we wouldn't have to eat out all the time, but also because its nice to be able to relax "at home" and eat.

The grocery store was rather similar to the ones in America, though smaller. The prices felt quite similar, though they are obviously in Euro. The main differences are:
   *A LOT less Frozen food
   *A LOT of variety of cheese and meats
   *More bread in the bakery, and better bread in the packaged section.
   *More ingredients, and less "prepackaged meals"
   *Deposit on all Glass and Plastic bottles
   *Bring your own bag- nearly no store has bags and those that do charge
     for them
A man on the Lahn
We bought some simple bread, cheese and salami (Which we later found out was chicken salami) for our breakfast by the Lahn (The major river through Marburg). It was very pleasant to sit there just snacking on a light breakfast, almost like it was a natural thing for us to do. Though in Marburg there are wasps everywhere! If you are eating outside they will find you and buzz around you until you are done or you leave. They haven't been very aggressive, and resemble bees more than wasps, but are very annoying!

After heading back to the dorms, Mariko and I took a small nap as JetLag was still hitting us a fair amount. It was a good nap! But sadly it came to an end sooner than we would have liked. We woke up and got ready to meet the rest of the Fulbrighters. It was a simple dinner for everyone, they ordered pizza and salad for us, but most people looked they were ready to fall asleep at anytime. Which made perfect sense all but 5 people (which includes Mariko and I) arrived on Monday to Marburg. We met a few of the others, basic info as to where they will be and what they will be doing. Dinner was rather short, and most people headed off for some much needed sleep.

Day two began early for everyone, as it was our first day of bureaucratic things. Fulbright met us at the dorms and showed everyone the way to the bus stops and to the Mense (Cafeteria).... and as you can guess there was a lot of bread and meat to choose from. Plus they paid for it! Always a plus when someone else pays.

The rest of the morning was not nearly as exciting.... it was filling out paperwork for our visas. It was a lot of paperwork in German, which also included a residency application. Luckily Fulbright had some people there to translate for us on the weird sections. And since I had to fill out a visa application of my own I will have a student's visa for the time I'm here. Had we not had things to actually write, I am sure that the paperwork would have put me to sleep. We also setup student accounts for the Fulbrighters to be able to use the Universities internet (as a spouse I just have to use Mariko's login info). They also took down our MAC addresses from our computers to add it to the list of allowed access in the dorms.... which obviously didn't go so easily, as it took the entire week plus Saturday to get wired internet in the dorm.

The rest of the afternoon was mostly food actually. After all the paperwork, we all trekked our way up to the OberStadt (Uppercity), which is the older section of the city. We ate a cute little modern looking cafe. Lunch was a simple buffet of casseroles, which all but one was safe for Mariko. We were able to rest our feet a bit, and chit-chat with some other Fulbrighters that we hadn't met yet. After lunch a group of us, about 10 or so, went to try and setup cell phones here in Germany. It didn't work out nearly as well as we had planned, but we also didn't have nearly as much time as we would have needed for that many of us.

Outside the building we ate Dinner
Dinner was shortly after, and this time it was in the Alte Botonisch Gartens (Old Botanical Gardens). This was more a Fulbright function than just dinner. We met with the head of Fulbright in Germany, Reiner Rohr, and he gave us some background info on Fulbright. Plus there were 4 returning Fulbrighters from last year to help us with any questions that we might have had, 3 Fulbrighters and a spouse (which was nice to get her input about the previous year). Every Fulbrighter introduced themselves at this point and gave us an idea of what they will be working on during their stay here. The list was quite varied, everything from painting to biology to historical literature to neuroscience, it was a hodgepodge of studies and research projects.

The food for dinner was once again very good, and the spread was huge! They provided us with cheese, bread, pretzels, salad, fruit, potato salad, macaroni salad, pork tenderloins, white rice, chow mein and a few varieties of fish to eat... and it was all buffet style once again. And yes I plan on mentioning food a lot in the blogs I write here... mainly because I love food and it tends to be very good here. One thing about Fulbright, they have kept us very well fed! And that makes me happy.

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