Mein Neues Leben in Deutschland

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Polar Express Bremen

I might be getting carried away here, but anyway...

(left above) Der Weihnachtsmarkt (right) Scene from The Polar Express

(above) Tram passing trough the Weihnachtsmarkt
(below) Another scene form The Polar Express

Friday, December 17, 2004

Der Weihnachtsmarkt

The Weihnachtsmarkt

School is almost over and Christmas is almost upon us. Last night, I went out with my friends to the famous Bremen Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market). It really was a heart warming sight. They have converted the entire Marktplatz into a Christmas Village. Every direction I looked, I'd could see dancing lights, colorful booths, Christmas-themed puppet shows on department store windows, food kiosks selling the most savory crépes, mouth watering Schaschlik, and other seriously tempting food! (I'm getting hungry writing about it) The Marktplatz was full of people, shopping, drinking, eating, wearing Santa Claus hats with dancing lights, and generally just enjoying themselves.

We all had the Glühwein, a popular German Christmas drink which is basically boiled red wine with cinnamon and other spices. It was really good! Then I had to try the Feuerzangebowle, another popular Christmas drink.

There we were in the Weihnachtsmarkt, in the cold, warming up with our beverages, talking, laughing and just being silly. I really wish I had a digital camera with me (I can afford one soon I hope!) to capture the occasion. So you have to settle for net rip-offs. Hehehe.

Feuerzangebowle (Fire Tong Punch) - Rum is poured over a suger cone and ignited. The melted suger-rum drips into a ceramic cup with red wine. This was a stronger drink but also very good.

Schaschlik - Basically something like barbequed lamb. My Russian collegue told met the German Schaschlik is a pale version of the original Russian Shashlik which is much, MUCH larger.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Add me to your friendster naman oh

I know I've been sitting in front of a computer for too long if I create 2 posts in one day. Tsk tsk.

But I was looking through blogs (I think I have too much free time) and I browsed through friendster (definitely too much free time today) Then I had several different philosophical insights tonight (WAAAAAYYYY to much free time).

I realized that a lot of people collect...people. We put them in our friendster page, we link them in our blogs, we "My Friends" them in our MyJournal. But how many of these links really mean anything? Some of these people we only hear from when we add them to our "network". From then on they are merely icons. Clickable faces that are never clicked. But then there are people who are so proud that they have 500 friends, or have several accounts since they have achieved the surname "FULL". Or on a lesser scale, when we see the number of links we have, we feel a sense of satisfaction. What does that mean?

As part of my thesis project, we discuss several texts, philosophers and sociologists who deal with the concept of the Modern and Post Modern City. Thats how I came across this:

"Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation."
-Guy Debord, Society of the Spectable (1967)

Our friends, people we once shared real life moments with, have now become "representations" in our cybernetwork. We don't see them anymore, we don't hear from them, but we know we are still friends. Their face and name apprears in our page after all.

I Made My First Caldereta!

Today I realized I have been in Germany for 1 whole month! Yup. Its been a month since I arrived. I survived! Now only 23 more months to go!

Hmmm. Now that I think about it, it seems like such a short time to be here. I think the 2 years will be over sooner than I think. Although, I haven't been here long enough to feel terribly homesick or to say that I'll be really sad when I leave. I really don't know what will happen, but right now, things are really good.

School is ok. Projects are going along fine. Finances are good. People are nice. I'm healthy. etc etc. I realize of course it will not always be this good. No matter how hard one tries, there are things we can't contol. I just do my best and hope for the best.

Well today I cooked my first Caldereta. I hardly cooked meat dishes when I was in Manila, so this is actually my first Caldereta. I always talk about food when I'm with my friends, so it was inevitable that Oliver (from HfK) said I should prepare a Philippine dish. My first idea was to prepare my favorite dish: sinigang na tiyan ng bangus. Unfortunately, it was met with much resistance. First, they don't eat fish belly. They throw it out immediatly when preparing the fish. So they're a bit squemish about eating this "dirty" thing. Next, Oliver, who has lived in Bankok for a few months, said he hated Tom Yang Soup, which is the Thai relative of our sinigang. It "smells like pee" accoridng to him.

So I decided to prepare a safer dish: adobo or something. I went into an Asian shop and rejoiced when I found several Mama Sita's instant mixes! There was Mama Sita's Sinigang Mix, Caldereta, Chopseuy, etc. I bought a couple of packs, and today I made my first Caldereta ( Or is it Kaldereta? I really don't know). It was really good too.

Thank you Mama Sita!

I really enjoyed being able to cook again. There's something "zen" about peeling potatoes, and boiling meat. It's actually very calming. And if the food turns out good, its very rewaring too.

If anybody reading knows any good and easy to prepare Philippine or German dishes, send them over please! Hahaha. Thanks.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Profile Intermedia


During the weekend I attended the 7th Profile Intermedia Coonference. Its an international design conference where designers from many industries gather to share ideas, to teach, to learn, to exhibit their works etc.

It was really inspiring to hear the talks given by the numerous guest speakers including Alan Fletcher, co-founder of Pentagram, one of the world's most renowned design firms, and Barnsley, one of the directors of The Mill, a company that produces high end visual effects for movies, commercials, and music videos. It was really inspiring to see and hear these people who have accomplished so much. It was a testimony on what a person in my field can accomplish.


After the friday conference, I had a few drinks with my friends. Christopher, the guy on the top left of the top right photo was taking shots with a low shutter speed and moving the camera around. That's me above with a cigarette taken with a rotating slow shutter camera.

I then taught them how to take pictures of your friends "Filipino Style". That is, all of you clump together on one area and try to take a picture of yourselves holding out the camera facing in. They kinda enjoyed the idea and kept on taking "Filipino Style" pictures. The last picture is simply and indication of what I have accomplished in Bremen tonight ... empty bottles of Spanish beer.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Last Hope

There's this bus route called N7. For me, I call it by a more descriptive name..."Last Hope".

You see, the regular busses don't run after 12 pm. There's a series of busses that run only 12 midnight to 4 a.m. The Nachtlinen. The N7 bus of the Nachtlinen goes from the Hauptbahnhof, past my school, and near my current home. The last trip leaves the Hauptbahnhof at 1:30 a.m.

Thats why I call it the last hope. If I'm out drinking, and I missed the 1:30 a.m. bus, I have to wait till 4 a.m. before I can go home. Its my Last Hope of getting home to a warm and safe place.

But last night, the Last Hope almost stranded me miles away from home. I fell asleep on the bus and missed my stop (see image). I ended up in Neuenkirchen, which is REALLY far away. I almost had a panic attack. There were no taxi's in sight, no other busses, no other passengers. It was just cold, dark and COLD!

Nachtlinenplan - the map of the night bus routs.

A few attemts at German with sign language later, I was able to find out from the driver that the same bus was heading back to its origin after the last stop.

I did get home eventually. The trip took me an hour's drive away from home, and it was another hour's drive back. I got home at 4 a.m.

Note to self: Try NOT to fall asleep on the BUS!


Bis später!