Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ich Ben Ein Sad Berliner

I was all excited to write a sweeping, epic entry on the Haack's trip to Berlin. Now, I don't mean "epic" in the incorrect and/or 15-year-old gamer sense of the term, e.g., "epic fail." No way, Jose, this post was going to make Snorri Sturluson turn green with envy in his little Icelandic grave*. Speaking of green and Iceland, were you aware that Iceland is in fact more green than Greenland, and that Greenland is actually the icy one? Silly. But seriously, The Odyssey was going to look like a John Grisham novel by the time I was done with this post. It already has the proper title structure: definite article + vague noun. "Penelope, grab your bags, dear, we have to five minutes make it to the airport and jet off to the Cayman Islands before angry mobsters find us and kill us by smacking us over the head with a pelican for refusing to bribe a jury so that their don may walk free for a drug-related double-homicide. Did you remember to wire the funds? Something about embezzlement! Penelope, PENELOPE, what are you doing??? We don't have time for weaving!" Penelope and Odysseus must have had the worst fights after he returned from his voyage. She could shut down any argument with, "Hey, remember that time you left for 20 years and I didn't sleep with any of the strapping young bucks hanging out in my house all day every day, while you were out screwing every mythical creature in sight? OH YEAH, BECAUSE I DO." and then he could always play the "Oh, I'm sorry, remember that time I WENT TO HELL AND BACK FOR YOU? LITERALLY?" card and then I'd be like "Both of you be quiet, your adventures caused me more grief in tenth grade than all of your misfortunes combined."

That proved to be way more tangential than intended. Anyways, as I was saying, I really wanted to write about our Berlin adventures, but I just, sigh, can't muster the strength for it. You see, I'm depressed. Celebuzz reports that, while promoting his new film, Water for Elephants, Robert Pattinson has been spotted in Berlin this past week, wining beering and dining and continuing to be amazingly good looking.  I can't believe we missed each other (ok, FINE, I missed him) by less than a week! I'm surprised I was even able to get out of bed this morning. How could I have let this happen? I keep up with celebrity news like CASJ keeps up with the Huffington Post. I mean, look how close we were if you ignore the fourth dimension:

A is where we ("we" being my family and I, not RPatz and I, SIGH, don't rub it in) spent a fair amount of our time, visiting monuments and museums and whatnot; B is Bocca di Bacco, where Robert Pattinson was spotted having dinner; C is the hotel where we (again, SIGH) stayed. As you can see, not that far away. All I want to do is go on a Diet Coke bender and viciously hiss Fiona Apple songs into my hairbrush, which is approximately how I dealt with all high school-era boy-related issues (WHY DOESN'T HE LOVE ME???????), but I owe it to you, my faithful readers, to give a report on Berlin, albeit a sad, pathetic one. So, here you go:

We went to Berlin last week. It was nice. The hotel at which we stayed gave us complimentary bottles of
champagne served in top hats. Would've been nice to share a bottle with RPatz. I bet he looks good in a top hat.

We arrived into Berlin pretty late, for fortunately still had time to fit in a visit to the DDR Museum. It was good, albeit swarming with sticky-fingered little monsters. I learned that the SED diluted the coffee in East Germany to half its strength with barley, rye, and chicory.

This was a pretty smart move, since most people are worthless without coffee. Today I tried to replace my morning coffee with a morning gym run, and I ended up taking a three-hour nap this afternoon. So many attempted revolutions and protests must have been curtailed by dissidents' inability to move and/or put together coherent thoughts. "Uhhh, guys, do you think we could meet a little later? Like, could we push this meeting back to 12 or 1 PM? I only got like, ten hours of sleep last night, Yeah, yeah, I'll be there soon, I'm almost done with this episode of Sex  and the City. Could we just like...have it at my place, though? My bed's really warm and I'm super...uh...oh, sorry, I lost my train of thought...sleepy. I'm really sleepy. And could you bring some Aleve when you come over? Danke danke, ba-donk-a-donk-a."

Maybe it's a good thing Robert Pattinson wasn't there, because German cuisine is very...hearty, and I would have hated for him to see me consume such unladylike foods. Breakfast: scrambled eggs and cheese with baps. Lunch: sour cream-smothered baked potato (I could only finish half of it. What has become of me? I bring great dishonor to my family name), a few bites of pretzel, and a Weiss Bier. Dinner: mushroom caps gratinée stuffed with creamed spinach, topped with cheese, and covered in more cream, or something. And, of course, a Weiss Bier. Man, that stuff is good.

We also went on a Segway tour. It was fun. Touristy, but fun. That's what family vacations are for, though, right? Our tour guide, who was fantastic and totally inspired me to apply to be a Segway tour guide in DC this summer, led us around to all of the most famous and beautiful spots in Berlin:

Woah, how'd that one get in there?

*Actually, I'm not sure how tall Snorz was. His grave could in fact be quite large.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I Would Love to Hear an Anglophone Canadian Pronounce "Poutine"

Fact: Canadians have discovered the cure for the common hangover:

Poutine. Yes, what you are looking at is a pile of fries topped with melted cheese and some unidentifiable Québecois gravy. It is delicious, and yet, revolting. It is salty, greasy, fatty, and incredibly absorbent. You have to use a fork to eat it because the fries are so smothered in sauce. It holds a place of its own in the Drunk Foods world in that it has no redeeming nutritional qualities; at least you can justify to yourself the next morning that falafel is full of fiber and protein and that pizza kind of contains tomatoes, which are full of healthy lycopenes. As a champion enabler, I can find the silver lining of any food decision, except for poutine. It is starch topped with cholesterol covered in sodium. And you know what? It is a lifesaver. It's like poutine contains anti-hangover particles which seek out the hangover particles in your body and collide to annihilate one another. I know that this is how science works because I watched The Universe all last summer and read half of Brian Greene's Elegant Universe before my brain started short-circuiting and I decided to watch an America's Next Top Model marathon instead. Self-preservation, you know? Don't judge me. Anyways, now we know why Canadians are always so damned nice: lack of hangover, and the pride of knowing that Ryan Gosling calls your country home.


So. Here's what you missed/I was too lazy to update about:

I went to Belgium and visited old friends and drank a lot of beer and enjoyed the springtime sun and tried to sneak into the royal palace and was generally disappointed by Manneken and Jeanneke Pis. I mean, that's your national symbol? Really, Belgium? If I wanted to see someone peeing behind a beer-soaked building, I'd go to a frat party, AMIRIGHT? UP TOP.

Grote Markt. Fun fact: Grote means "grand" as in "big," not "great." Dutch is hard, wahhh.

Quadding in Leuven


Um, what?

I repeat: ?????

They should make this one the national symbol instead because it is holding a giant gauffre, which totally detracts from how creepy this Pis statues are. IT IS A PEEING BABY. Filed under: weird comma things I am making a conscious decision to avoid in my life comma you couldn't think of anything better? You're welcome, Belgian Department of Tourism.

Also, Jackie came to Gothenburg! I don't have any pictures of her trip because pictures of us enabling each other's reemerging coffee addictions and conquering kanellbullar the size of small hubcaps would be unflattering and slightly voyeuristic. Anyways, it was fantastic see Jackay after an unbearably long separation. When we are reunited again in June, she's going to be tanner than me, which may very well be more depressing than this (no offense, Jackie!):

This is the view from my room circa mid-to-late March. My mood is so devastatingly dependent upon the weather here. This past Thursday, I woke up early to the sun peeking through my window, and I made myself a giant cup of coffee and put on a cute little outfit and walked, nay, STRUTTED to class in nary but a light fall jacket and some sunglasses (well, and mandatory clothing of course, but you get the idea), and I laughed and smiled and sat in the sun and simply radiated good vibes and felt a lot like Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 500 Days of Summer:

The next day, however, it was rainy and cold and gray and miserable and damp and dreary, and I literally sat in my bed and cried and couldn't even motivate myself to put on hot water for a cup of tea. I might be photosynthetic.

Fortunately, I escaped the cock tease that is Gothenburg's weather by heading to Antibes to a) visit Steph and b) turn 21! That's right, I can now drink anywhere my little heart desires. No more kids' table for me! I cannot emphasize enough how gorgeous Antibes was, though. Steph, you are one lucky abroad wonk:

We spent a fair amount of time on that beach, just sipping on Diet Cokes and enjoying the perfect weather. Sure, I was a verified lobster by the end of the weekend and couldn't wear jeans for a week, but it was absolutely worth it. I honestly could not have asked for a better birthday. Partying in Cannes? I feel like Paris Hilton. "That's hot." Also notable in Antibes: Billionaires' Dock,

and condom vending machines on the streets. Excuse me?

Actually, it's pretty brilliant. Brilliant, and so French, perhaps even more French than the hangover crêpes we made on Sunday morning. Although, um, "jeans" condoms? Could you be more specific? Are they blue? Denim? Hard to get on when you've just taken them out of the dryer? This aside is venturing dangerously close into double-entendre/sexual pun territory, so I'm going to stop while I'm ahead. Heh. A head*. OKAY OKAY I'm stopping now.

Things in Gothenburg have been fairly quiet. With less than two months left, I've been focusing on this summer and next semester, beginning my duties as APO Membership VP, registering for classes, coordinating my summer plans, and desperately trying to snag an internship or job of some kind. It's been hard to keep my head in the AU Abroad game, you know? Damnit, now all I can think of is High School Musical. GETCHA GETCHA GETCHA GETCHA HEAD IN THE GAME.

* KA-SIKE I'm not 21, I'm actually 14.