An Uphill Battle

November 1

There is no class today because it’s All Saints’ Day (Allerheiligen). This public holiday occurs every first day of November in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria (Bayern), North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen), Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz), and Saarland (Saarland). As much as I want to relax, there is still work to do. A few days ago, positions for co-op at Drexel opened up. That means interviews for another internship! It will be my last co-op, and like study abroad, I want to make it worth it- and yes, studying abroad in Germany is one of the best decisions I made.

While staying here in Germany for a semester, my opinions on traveling has changed. I love it! It reminds me when I first got my glasses, thinking everyone saw the world blurry. Then the second I put on glasses? Woah! Is this what you see?? Without the opportunity from Drexel to study abroad and help from the Gilman Scholarship, I probably would never have thought of traveling. Being the “last bird out of the nest” makes it quite difficult for these experiences to come by, but I’m here in Germany today! I still get nervous visiting new places, but having moments with some locals makes it all the better and enjoyable. I always thought about helping out an organization in another country as part of my career, and I was afraid. But perhaps a job abroad might be a choice after all.

November 2

“Should I get carrots?” I thought to myself, grocery shopping at Netto. “I should. Let’s mix up some vegetables. I’ve had too many onions and peas.” When was the last time I prepared raw carrots (Karotte)? Never. They were always frozen and diced (it’s cheap though!). “But is this the only size?” I picked up the bag of carrots. They were big. How could I use them all before they spoil? I looked around the vegetables aisle. No baby carrots in sight.

I only needed carrots for fried rice, but I hate wasting food! Luckily, I know how to cook and how to incorporate carrots into my meals. Carrots cut into fun shapes and eaten as healthy snacks as I work, soft carrot disks in soups, carrot straws in noodles, wraps, and sushi! There’s also carrot cake and muffins, but what would be the occasion? I would make it if I stayed longer than a semester.

November 3

It was nighttime, and I was busily typing away on my laptop on school assignments. Then I heard a couple of knocks, not on my door, but next door. Then more knocks further down the hall. Does someone need help? I opened my door to investigate the noise and met two police. Well, that doesn’t look good.

“Hallo…?” I nervously asked. Why would the police be here at night?

“Hallo, sprechen Sie Englisch oder Deutsch?” the female police asked.

“Uhh, English, bitte.” I replied.

“English? Okay. Could you please take a look at these pictures? Let me know if you know them.”

They were pictures of a man who appear maybe in his late 20s or early 30s. I’m not sure who he is. I kept saying “nein” as the police flipped through the pages. I have a habit of mixing German into my sentences.

“Thank you for your time. Do you have an identification? We need to check who we asked.” After all that was sorted out, I bid the two police farewell as they left the area. It must be serious, and I really hope it’s nothing too dangerous but…if the police shows up at night and questions every resident around Ulmenweg (my friend who also lived in Ulmenweg had the same encounter) about a certain man, maybe I should be cautious when I return home, especially when it’s getting darker during the fall and winter.

November 4

For two days I’ve been practice making the Kichi Kichi Omurice from Kyoto, Japan. It may have been a good one year of practice. I think I’m getting better! I’m not there yet, but I have definitely improved. Food is a great way to bring people together, and sometimes you may consider it as another love language. Once I master it after many trials and errors, I know I will enjoy it. It’s already good even if not to perfection, and I hope I can learn more dishes from around the world to share with others. I know I will be learning while I’m here in Germany!

November 5

When I decide to go eat out, I’m surprised to find many vegan and vegetarian cafes and restaurants. It’s nice to have these options, and usually, I won’t taste a difference. Living near Mannheim gives me so many options to find food, even if I decide to cook that day!

What about fast food restaurants? I haven’t really visited any except for Five Guys, which I don’t see the hype for. I have a feeling I would be let down, and I don’t expect much from these kinds of food chains. No thanks to McDonalds and Burger King! There’s also KFC, but I don’t need to eat so many fried chicken in a year. My friend has been talking a lot about a place called Mr. Chicken. She introduces me to the restaurant and when I tried their food? It’s like KFC, but less greasier. I think I liked the corn and fries more than the chicken.

Com Chay, a Southeast Asian and vegan restaurant. The drinks here are refreshing!

Something from Mr. Chicken. The chicken is hidden under the mountain of vegetables and sauce!

Bonus! November 7

“Are you okay?” asked the girl in front of me. She was part of the VISUM team.

“Y-yeah, just a little tired. I wasn’t really expecting this many hills..!” I muttered under my shaky breath.

“Well, of course! Why did you sign up for a hike?”

“I thought it would be more flat! But there’s so many stairs and steep slopes!”

“Haha, there is a lot! Have you hiked before?”

“Once, in the U.S., it was mainly a flat path with occasional slopes.”

“I see!”

A three hour hike through Weinheim, the city of two castles. I can’t feel my legs. I don’t think I’ll be walking around the city tomorrow. My camera was safely tucked into my coat, and I held onto my reusable water bottle.

“How much further until we’re at the castle?”

“Hmm…let me check!” She takes out her phone as we took a few seconds of break waiting for the group behind us. “If we passed through here, then it’s about 3 kilometers left!” Want to guess how many kilometers the whole hike was? Almost 15 kilometers! Or that was according to my phone. It also recorded 21,507 steps.

“Okay, that’s not too bad!” I hope we arrive at the castle soon. All I had for breakfast was a banana, and I ate the rest of my cashews, carrots, and maki rolls during the hike! I still have plenty of energy, mentally and everywhere else on my body except for my legs and feet. All I thought about was walk, walk, and walk. I kept pushing my body. I could do it!

What about pictures? Most of the pictures taken were of plants and trees. I heard birds, but they were no where to be seen, at least not easily. Perhaps some of these photos can be uploaded to iNaturalist! Once we’re at the castle, I rest my legs as we waited for lunch and took out my phone. It’s a Sunday, and there is a few tasks I need to send out for work. Sadly, I had run out of data. The hike was certainly an uphill battle.

Is it just me? Or is the fog rolling in?

Beautiful fall colors just surround us in every corner, even the forest floor! Image by VISUM.

Isn’t this the best setting for a spooky movie or video game?

We’re so high up! The houses remind me of Heidelberg!

These ferns are pretty- time to upload it to iNaturalist

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.

%d bloggers like this: