Stories, Milk, and Bells

September 6

Wake up, wake up, wake up! It’s the first day of class! I begin the day walking to Netto which is stationed conveniently outside my building. After purchasing a few ingredients for a breakfast sandwich and some butter cookies/shortbread (Butterkekse) to enjoy while I work and study!

Today’s class is all about myths, folktales and urban legends. It made me wonder what other stories I have yet to read from around the world, and I am especially excited to hear what stories other classmates will share each week! Will it be a classic? Maybe a tragic, horrifying, or unexpecting story? I am reminded of stories of the past that my mom and aunt sometimes tell, but I never heard of Cambodian folktales. My curiosity about Southeast Asian folktales and legends motivated me to find a story to share next week!

A cartoon coyote introducing the myths, folktales and urban legends class. Coyotes can be depicted as tricksters, but what do you think coyotes symbolize?

September 7

Uh-oh, it looks like there is nothing to highlight for this day!

September 8

My alarm goes off to wake me up– another day of class! I checked my phone…where did all these emails come from? They’re from my internship back in the U.S.. I can’t leave these tasks unattended! It took me some time to get used to the time zone difference, but I didn’t experience any jet-lag. My usual morning tasks (8:00 EST/EDT) became my afternoon or evening tasks (14:00 CEST). I was also part of the so-called “EU Time Zone Gang,” or along those variations stated by my online friend. Good morning from Germany!

Am I forgetting something? Oh, no! The milk! I rush to check the refrigerator…it doesn’t expire until December? This milk lasts for a long time, but why is that? I bought whole milk (Vollmilch), and I must have been tired to not notice the “H” in front of Vollmilch. H-milch in general, is long-life (haltbare) milk, and they don’t have to be refrigerated! According to captious, “…The milk is held for two to eight seconds at at least 135°C…” There is also country milk (Landmilch), lowfat milk (Fettarme milch), and skimmed milk (Magermilch). (Source: I never saw long-life milk in the U.S. before, and I think it’s great!

Some people don’t like the taste of long-life milk, but I don’t taste much of a difference. Image by Digit-Eyes.

September 9

It’s time that I visit the university again. I can finally validate and load money into the ecUM, get my semester ticket, Classroom Pass (Hörsaalpass), and redeem my voucher! But as soon as I stepped outside the building in the morning…it’s hot! I walked to the Ulmenweg stop and waited for the next tram to arrive. I’m practically a lizard sunbathing in the sun! I finally make it to Paradeplatz and walked to the the Mensa to use the self-service terminal for my ecUM. The process of loading money into the card was tedious. Thankfully, after some registering and assistance, it was a success! During the process, I met an exchange student from Thailand who was struggling just as much as me. We quickly bonded and became friends over our struggles with the self-service terminal!

I completed my tasks on after another, finally returning to Paradeplatz. I rested there for a while before returning back to my room to cool off.

September 10

I wait by the Ulmenweg stop for the next tram to Marktplatz. I was thinking about my plans for the next day, but my thoughts were interrupted by the sounds of bells. I check the time. It was 5:50 PM. I hear the bells all the time, but never noticed when they rang. Do the bells toll at each hour? Half an hour? 10 minutes before 6 PM?

The tram finally comes by and I arrive at Marktplatz. On a corner, there is a small, cozy café called Coffee Fellows. I ordered an Avocado Bagel while my friend Carly ordered a Turkey Bagel. I also decided to try out the Dragon Mix [Smoothie] Bowl. Not only was it new, but I had forgotten to bring my water bottle that day! The bagels smelled pleasantly earthy, and it was a hearty meal. Coffee Fellows was near other cafés and small shops, so from time to time I could smell a sweet scent. It was familiar, but I couldn’t quite figure it out. It smelled like fresh waffles, or perhaps something with cinnamon like churros or apple cinnamon pie. Roasted marshmallows? Cookies that just came out of the oven? What could it be?

Top: Turkey Bagel; Bottom: Avocado Bagel…there’s pumpkin seeds on the bagel, yum!

A Dragon Mix Bowl. Sweet and sour, light, chewy, and refreshing!

Bonus! September 11

For lunch, I went to Lenok’s Burger. The place seems very popular for its burgers and crazy drinks. I enjoyed my meal, but not without some cheering group of people nearby. It sounded like a song or anthem, especially for a sports team. Who were they cheering for? I wish I was able to process German words quickly enough to understand them, but I knew they were feeling very happy. They sang, almost for an hour, and maybe even longer before I arrived and after I had left.

At Marktplatz, someone was making a speech. I was curious, so I stayed and listened for a while. There was a lot of noise, so I couldn’t hear clearly, but I barely heard something about people and world. Is it politics? Then I saw a few people with balloons and signs that either read SPD (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands or Social Democratic Party of Germany) or Die Linke (The Left or a left, democratic-socialist party). Those are political parties! It was however, getting late and I should return home!

Marktplatz at night. The bells tolled as the clock struck 8.

A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:

The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.