Too Good to Save Daylight

Posted on March 11th, 2012 by

Taking Flat Gus to see the Soviets (they rescue children; see statue)

Just be glad it isn't a picture of blackened lungs

This week has been filled with a lot more work (and a lot less play) than I’d like. We have to make a poster about a disease and speak for a half hour. My group chose COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Yes, that does sound fairly boring, but it also lets us speak about indoor air pollution which I do find quite interesting. This happens when cooking and heating is done indoors by burning solid fuels such as wood. Three billion people on this planet live like this, and when this isn’t done with proper ventilation, problems arise. These issues are predominantly felt by women and children, because in these countries, they are the ones who spend the most time in the kitchen (whether you can or cannot handle the heat, you probably should get out of the kitchen). In India, indoor air pollution causes a bigger burden of disease than smoking. Why look at that, you may have just learned something reading this blog. Shocker.

I discovered something interesting this week. Nursing here is completely different from the States/virtually every other country in the world. A nurse in Germany can’t even draw blood (wha???). How they couldn’t find the time to teach them how to do that in their training baffles me, but I guess it just reinforces the German hierarchical structure of things. In defense of the system, their training is much different here. To understand it, we first have to backtrack to the German high school system. There are three types of high school: Gymnasium, Realschule, Hauptschule. The Gymnasium is the best, and it’s the track for someone who wants to go to university. The Hauptschule is the “lowest” and it’s a vocational training which is finished around the time a person is 15 or 16. The Realschule is something in between the other two (I’m not even sure if Germans really know what exactly a Realschule is…). I think that’s why they’re starting to combine a lot of Realschulen and Hauptschulen. Either way, the whole system is a bit odd. There’s no way ADD Andy is going to seem like an honor student at ten. Looks like he’s destined for a menial income (hopefully football works out for you, Son). Anyway, back to nursing. From what I understand (which could very well be wrong…), nurses don’t get trained in a university but are either taught in one of the “lower” schools or in a short, separate course. But what I am certain of is that they aren’t given nearly the latitude of any nurse in America. Krankenschwestern (nurse = “sick sister”) get screwed.

I don't think you get to make up your own patches

German fashion time again. This week’s statement: the letterman jacket. Yup, those ridiculously overpriced leather jackets from high school where you got to sew on patches showing how cool you were (and how not cool you are if you still wear it today; see Kanye). Well, here in Berlin they’re starting to become a big deal with the high schoolers. You’d think that makes logical sense, but none of these schools give out letterman jackets. Instead, you go to a store and buy a letterman jacket that looks cool. So essentially, if any of you out there reading this have a letterman jacket buried away somewhere, send it to me and I can probably hock it for a pretty penny.

My German roommate has to hand in his doctoral thesis this Wednesday. His training, along with virtually all graduate work in Germany, is done in English, so I said that I’d be happy to proofread some of it for him. I forgot it was a theoretical astrophysics doctoral thesis… kill me now. I had originally intended to try and understand things to give more feedback than simple grammar issues (a little ambitious). The introduction started with the theory of relativity and only got more complicated from there. I then relegated myself to the world of grammar. Even this was a terrifying place with all of the massive physics words in crazy contexts. In order to get through the three page conclusion, I had to spend nearly an hour and a half. My brain still hurts.

Taking Flat Gus to see the Soviets (they rescue children; see statue)

I got a Flat Gus in the mail this week from the wonderful Christopher Shane Hall. For those who don’t know what this is, it’s a picture of Gus (the Gustie lion mascot), which I need to take a picture with somewhere in Berlin. From there, I’ll send it off to someone else, and then they do the same thing. The hope is that the 150 of these that are sent out will get to every Gustie Alum (all 26,000) in the next year. Dream big.

I went to a flea market to purchase a bike. This was a bit of a fiasco. An unsuccessful fiasco at that. The bike I came closest to purchasing was gray, looked like it was out of the 60s, and had no gears and just one brake, but I thought it was promising. I asked the guy if I could go take it for a spin to which he agreed (after holding one of my friends as a hostage). Everything seemed to be great (in honesty though, the bar was set fairly low after all of the crap ones I had been riding) until I needed to slow down. Even the lightest touch of the brakes, brought forth a sound that can be described in no other way than the scream of a velociraptor. It was terrifying. On the bright side, I wouldn’t need a bell to warn people I was coming. In the end, we tried some haggling, but couldn’t get the price under 50 euros. That wasn’t worth it (especially when I’d need to spend just as much on WD-40).

My morning today was filled with utter confusion. The clock on my computer is still set on Fargo time, and so I normally just add seven hours. But today when I looked at my phone, there was now a six hour difference. I then went to the bathroom and this one showed a five and a half hour difference (I now know that this one is just broken). But quite confused, I went to the internet for answers. Apparently, Germany and the US have different daylight savings times?!?! How does that make any sense? On the bright side, for two weeks I’m an hour closer to you all. Well isn’t that nice.

Hugs and hand pounds,



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