Mein Neues Leben in Deutschland

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Life on the Tracks

When I got home last night, I started channel surfing. I ran across an Deutsch special program about...The Philippines! I wanted to call my local friends and tell them to watch it. But while watching it I wasn't sure I wanted anybody to see it.

It was a documentary on the life of people living in makeshift houses beside the train tracks. The people at "Home Along Da Riles" had it easy.

I felt sad as I was reminded of how bad things were back home. I was tempted to say (In case somebody here say the episode) that the Philippines was not all like that. That we also lived in modern cities, we had cars, large houses, malls, tall buildings, etc...But then I realized, all these luxuries and comforts were in fact that which was NOT normal. Only a small percentage of the people lives in these modern cities with flat screen tv's and elegant restaurant dinners and had wild American-style parties.

It depressed me that what I saw on TV might actually be the "real" Philippines. The poverty, malnutrition, cramped living spaces and overpopulation. A stark differnce from what I'm have experienced, even further from the life I'm living now.

Today I found out about a movie called Riles (Life on the Tracks), (screencaps shown above) directed by Ditsi Carolino. This movie seems to have had a wordwide audience since it was produced on 2002. It was shown in the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival in New York and has won best docu-film in Cinemanila International Film Festival both in 2003.

A summary of this movie and a comentary can be found here (, or here (Inquirer Editorial)

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Der Hauptbahnhof

When I first got here, I always passed through the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) to go to almost anywhere. Hochschule für Kunst, Universität Bremen, home (Goldbergplatz in Bremen Nord). So for a few days, it was the hub by which I traveled Bremen.

As I get more familiar with the tram, bus and train routs, I learned that I didn't need to pass the Hauptbahnhof all the time. There were in fact shorter and more direct routs to traverse Bremen. But I find myself going out of my way to pass the Hauptbahnhof whenever I have time. My day is not complete it seems if I don't see the Hauptbahnhoff.

The Bremen Hauptbahnhof seems to be my zen center at the moment. There is something about it that I find very reassurring. It could be becasue you can go to almost any place in Bremen from the Hauptbahnhof. Or its because of all the shops, stores, markets and eating places that are in it as well as around it. I also feel so comforable seeing so many different kinds of people rushing through this central station. Although there but the slightest interaction with these people, the variety of age, race, appearance, disposition, etc makes me feel less like a stranger in this foreign land.

I think it's also because I have made some sort of anchor at the Hauptbahnhof. It is the place which I know so well already compared to the rest of Bremen which is almost entirely unexplored for me. It is the cetnral bastion of familiarity in a metropolis of uncertainty.

I continue to explore, hopefully, finding roots und setting up anchor in many more places throughout this interesting city.

For a panoramic view of the Bremen Hauptbahnhof, click on the title or try this link below:

Monday, November 22, 2004

Letter to my Dad

I guess my dad is a bit stressed these weeks. I heard he was really worried about me in Germany. Although I do keep telling him I´m ok, I guess he hasn´t really been told whats been happeing to me for the last 3 weeks. I know he´s really worried because he just sent me to Germany with 3 months worth of allowance, and today he send me another 2 months worth or euros. I´m not really complaining, but he really need not worry. I´m posting a copy of the letter here since a lot of it is general kwento that I think I will tell you all aobut anyway...

Hello Dad,

I'll just tell you about Germany to update you.

The appartment I´m in is really nice. There's a
bakeshop and a grocery near it. My bank is also
walking distance from it. Its not very near the
school lang nga. Its kinda far. Getting to school is
not a problem at all kasi madami naman bus and tram
etc. But it takes about an hour to travel since its
far and I have to do a bit of waiting when I transfer
between busses and trams. And its also so expensive.
Im paying €300,00 for my appartment (Thats Three
Hundred. Here kasi they have a comma to separate the
cents from the euro.) There are a lot of places naman
daw where I can get a really nice room and near the
university for about €180. So I´m looking for a place

I´m in the Hochschule für Künste (University of the
Arts) Bremen. Thats the University of the Arts. Its
on the other side of the city from Universität Bremen
which you probably went to. The Masters Program is a
joint effort of these 2 universities plus 2 more
(Hochshule BremerHaven and another one I think). So
some classes are in the Hochshule für Künst, (HfK)
Some at the Universität (Uni) and some at Hochsule

My home base is HfK. I´m the only foreign student at
the Hfk. But I have classes with the students based at
Uni. There I have met people from Thailand,
Indonesia, Pakistan, Palistine, India, Italy, France,
Russia etc.

The classes are doing ok. Its very relaxed atmosphere
here at the University of the Arts (HfK) kasi artists
daw kami. The teachers are on first name basis etc.
The place is really nice. It´s located inside a
renovated dock building. So stylized ang loob.

They have nice equipment, computers etc...

The style is not so much lecture. I only have 5
subjects this sem. Might just do 4 though. They
recommend only 4 or 5 kasi there is a lot of work
outside of class hours so if I take more I wont be
able to do all of them well. I also want to make time
for my German Language courses.

Unfortunately the school could not provide me for free
language classes. I´ll have to pay for it pa. Im
looknig around for not so expensive classes. If hindi
ko talaga mapasok sa buget ko, I´ll take the free self
learning course sa Universität Library. (Dunno how
good that is though)

Each meal at the school costs €3 sa labas its about €5
to €8. But sometimes I just eat sandwiches for about
€2. Misnan nakakatipid ako, my breakfast is a chicken
hotdog, a fruit pastry. Its about €2,50.

The food is also good but I´m not eating much kasi I
don´t wanna spend to much and I don´t wanna get fat.
They have lots and lots of bread and baked products
and desserts. Masarap talaga. They have this sausage
with fries and mustard and curry ketchup. Its pretty
common here but it tastes so good. hehehhe.

I go around Bremen using their Tram Bus and Train
lines. It goes everywhere, its just a matter of
knowing how where to transfer lines. The bus tram and
train schedule is set by the minute. So the bus from
the Hauptbahnhoff (Main Train station) to my school
leaves at ....10:26, 10:36, 10:46.....etc. There are
also displays showing how many minutes the next 4
train bus or tram will arrive.

But at night, and on Sundays, some buses etc run only
every hour. Just last night I was working in school
till 1 am. But when I got to the Hauptbahnhoff, there
was no train till 4 am. I had to wait in the cold for
3 hours. It was REALLY cold. hehehe.

The other night naman, I had to walk home kasi the bus
stop of the late night bus was 2 stops away from my
house. I walked for 10 minutes on the ice (it snowed
the night before)

That´s another thing pala. It snowed na while I was
here. It was amusing for a few seconds, then it was
just cold. Hehehe. But it became amusing again.

I´m ok dad. Don´t worry. But if worrying causes you
to send more money then I guess a little worry should
be ok.

I sent andrew a list of things I need, I´ll be
updating it tonight.

Okie dad, take care of the smelly animals in the
house. Also Voodoo, kobe and hershey.

Auf Wiedersehn!


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I finally arrived!

I finally got my Visa on November 8 and flew to Germany on November 9. It was a mad rush for me t he moment I got the visa. It was also a big relief that I finally knew if I was leaving or not.

The past few months have been very ambiguous with respect to my plans. I couldn,t move forward because som any desicions rested upon whether I was staying or going. But at last I have my answer.

Its really difficult leaving behind people and things. But at the same time a new life can really be exiting. At the moment, things are moving too fast at my new school that I don,t have much time to be too homesick.

Mike and Andreas met me at the airport on my arrival in Lübeck. After having my first German breakfast of different kinds of bread and different kinds of spreads, Mike and I went shopping for pillows, bedsheets, etc etc. Then we had my first German dinner at night. It was a huge fish platter with eel, and 2 kinds of fish.

I spent the night at Mike´s place then we all drove to Bremen in the morning.

Hochschule für Künste Bremen

The University of the Arts in Bremen was in a renovated port warehouse. Its near the river so walking to school exposes you to the cold (I mean COLD) breeze from the ocean. The building itself looks like a museum form the inside. The whole school looks like an unfnished building with rough walls and posts. The walls are painted white and the bricks are even visible in some areas. Then they have these metal railings going all over the place, giving it an industrial look, while still retaining a lot of personality. Then add a few really nice pieces of furniture and a generous helping og G5´s then voila!

The computer lab will probably be one of my best friends here. Its a large room with around 30 G5´s. Students are given an access keycard, this means I can use the lab at any time of day. 4 am....12 problem :) Its great!

For the classes, students are advised totake only 4 to 5 classes each semester. This usually means only 12 hours of classroomtime a week, but most of the work takes place between classes. Papers, research etc.

I have classmates form Palestine, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Russia and Thailand to name a few. Its really interesting.

The Weather

Its really cold here. I was warned repeatedly about how cold it is so I wasn´t entirely unprepared. I did find it amusing