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Saturday, September 25

Just To Let You Know

I've finally been able to connect my phone to my computer again, so expect a load of updates on the PhotoBlog in the next few days. They'll be stretching back a fair while, to mid-July and onwards. Yes, I'm that far behind.

On Carrying A Girl Home

Fuck it, I'm giving up my efforts to recant everything that's happened in the last 2 weeks. There's simply been too much of it, and I tend to go into such detail that every post ends up being epic. It will take me forever to catch up on everything, so I hereby grant myself the option to ignore it all.

What does need writing up, however, is the tale of last night, if only because it was so very, very out of the ordinary. Well, when I say out of the ordinary, I really mean that it was a pretty standard night out until a certain point, upon which it became so very different from a normal night.

And so I begin.

The evening started quite early for me, because my class at the German Language course I'm on had arranged to see a German film called 'Der Untergang'. It's about the last few days in Berlin at the end of WWII, and centres on Hitler's bunker in the city. I'd actually gone to see the film last Saturday, but it was one of those films that you're quite prepared to see more than once, even in a week. Plus I hadn't understood all of the dialogue, since my German is still pretty appalling.

The film started just after 5, and ended sometime around 8, after which we trooped to a pub just round the corner for a drink or two. Unfortunately, my main group of friends had already started drinking at the happy hour in an Irish pub we know, and were on the way to another Irish pub for cocktail night and a pub quiz. I didn't want to abandon my classmates too soon, because I don't know them brilliantly as it is, but I also didn't want to miss out on some drunken hilarity.

On top of that, I'd told my friends that I was the daddy at pub quizzes, which I needed to demonstrate as soon as possible, in order to spare my ego from a battering. I stayed with my classmates for just the one drink (German black beer is the best stuff ever: it tastes like charcoal somewhat) before heading off to The Dubliner.

The quiz had already started by the time I got there, but I joined in with my friends, corrected a few answers they'd already written down, and helped them out with the rest of the quiz. Oh, and I partook of a cocktail or two. Hell, if it's going to be Buy One Get One Free, of course I'm going to have a couple.

We ended up finishing 2nd in the quiz, which is a mighty fine achievement. I personally take responsibility for at least 13 of our total of 26 points. Ahem.

2nd prize was, quite fantastically, a 40 Euro cash prize. We thought about dividing it between the 6 of us that did the quiz, but then I came up with the novel concept of spending it on booze.

Specifically, on a 4 litre jug of Long Island Iced Tea at a bar called iPunkt we know and love. Yes, a 4 LITRE jug of the strongest cocktail around. It costs 40 Euro exactly, and it blows you away.

The previous Monday (Christ, it seems like so long ago!) 4 of the guys had drank 2 jugs between us, which amounts, for the less mathematically inclined amongst you, to 2 litres each. This was after a good few beers in another pub, and resulted in some quite hilarious drunken dancing and all-round lairiness.

And so the consensus once more led to us arriving in iPunkt, going straight to the bar and ordering but one jug of cocktail for the whole group. It then became a bit of a race to drink as much of it as possible before the jug emptied. Being a guy, I had a natural advantage over the girls in the group, which I was not shy about utilising. There are sometimes plus points to being a bloke.

I was not, however, all that drunk. For once, my drunkenness is not the central feature of the story. There was another, more drunk than I. I shall call her J, since that is the first letter of her name.

J has been in our group of friends since the first day here in Heidelberg, but recently has become a little tiresome, sometimes leaning into annoying. She's American, is only 19, and questions absolutely everything.

And I mean EVERYTHING. Even rhetorically, when something has been done, she'll question why you didn't do it in a different way, which "would have been better". One particular instance springs to mind: We all had a big barbeque one Sunday, and one of the group took it upon himself to go make a load of sauteed potatoes in the kitchen while we fired up the barbeque.

He came out a little while later with two big frying pans full of food, but we only had room on our makeshift table for one. Obviously, we just tipped one pan's contents into the other. He was halfway through doing this when J pointed out that we pouring out of the slightly larger pan and into the slightly smaller pan. The difference must have been around 2cm diameter-wise, and it made no difference whatsoever to the pan's ability to contain all of the potatoes. No difference whatsoever.

J wittered on for about 2 minutes about how it "would have been better" if we'd poured into the bigger pan, even though we repeatedly pointed out that they fitted perfectly in the slightly smaller one. "Yeah, but they would have fit better in the other one," came the reply.

Another friend was getting quite exasperated at this point, and told her that they fitted in the smaller one quite nicely, and that at any point it didn't matter, because they were now in the smaller one, and people were already taking some out onto their own plates. "Yeah, but it would have been better in the bigger one," she said for what seemed like the 50th time. I think Jamie came close to throttling her, I really do.

That is but one example from over 2 weeks of her company. Something of this ilk tends to happen about once an hour, sometimes more often, but I still think she doesn't realise quite how much she annoys us. Everyone else in the group recognises it, and we talk about it when she's not there (yes, shame on us for being gossips), even sometimes when she is around.

Oh, and she's also an unbelievable cheapskate, but has the audacity to keep rubbing it in our faces that she's getting a shitload of money from the US government every month that she is here, because her family is "poor". She thus has the means to live it up, and certainly to live much better than the rest of us, who still fall into the poor student stereotype. Fair enough, if you don't want to spend money, then don't, but also don't keep repeating the fact that you do have loads of money when the rest of us are scraping by on a small budget.

Saying all of that, though, she is a nice girl. She can just sometimes get more than a little irritating. She also cannot hold her drink, which is the subject of this post tonight.

Usually, it only takes 4 or 5 drinks for her to be pissed, due (I think) to the fact that she hadn't really drank at all back in America, and thus has no resistance to the glorious effects of alcohol. Her annoyance factor increases exponentially when she's pissed and we're all still relatively sober. Her volume also goes up by a vast amount.

Last night, something else was coming out of her mouth: vomit, and lots of it.

As I said, my friends had all started drinking at 6, and by the time I got to them, J was quite pissed and beginning to become unsteady on her feet. I was stone cold sober, what with having only just left the cinema, and the rest of our friends were merely merry or jubilant.

By the time we left The Dubliner and headed for iPunkt, with its promise of huge cocktails, she was very unsteady on her feet, and just wouldn't shut the fuck up. I think her entry to iPunkt was followed approximately 60 seconds later by being sick in the toilets, which continued for the vast majority of the evening.

She came back out, and seemed a bit better. I didn't even know at the time that she had been sick, she seemed that normal. Well, normal for her. We had our huge jug of cocktail (picture soon) on the table, and a random German guy came over to us. It was his stag night, and he asked if he could try some of the cocktail.

I'm never one to refuse such a request, so he grabbed a straw (3 foot long ones, mind you) and took a gulp or two. He then started chatting to J, and got her to dance with him. Incidentally, J has already gathered something of a reputation as being a bit loose with men. It probably sprang from taking home one of the other guys in our group of friends on our first night out. Nice.

She ticked a box on his custom t-shirt, which had a checklist of things to do on his last night of freedom. I think this one was something like "Pick the most drunk girl you can find and get her to dance for you." She was still upright though, and seemed to be having a good time.

I was once more absorbed by the cocktail and the company I was keeping, so didn't notice her disappear again, along with a few of the other girls. It was only about an hour later, whilst chatting with a couple of random German guys, that I noticed a lot of fussing by a few other girls in our group.

It turned out that J had been throwing up in the loos for ages, and that someone had in fact gone so far as to call an ambulance for her. You know you're really drunk when...

I grabbed Jamie (sorry, too many Js) and dashed outside, where we found J and everyone else milling around the recently arrived ambulance. Nobody wanted her to be taken in the ambulance, since it would inevitably involve the police and God knows what else, so me and Jamie grabbed her whilst the paramedics were distracted, and legged it down a side alley with her.

I'm still not 100% sure why that was such a good idea at the time, but I guess it worked out alright in the end. I was still relatively sober, and Jamie wasn't a whole lot worse. J, on the other hand, couldn't physically stand up.

We knew that we had to make it to the taxi rank at the other end of the Old Town, and get her back to her place come hell or high water. Unfortunately, that taxi rank is a good 15 minute walk from our location on a normal day. It took much, much longer than that last night, I can assure you.

J was between myself and Jamie, with an arm round each of our shoulders, and we alternated between a slow, shuffling walk and carrying her. Oh, and stopping for her to be sick from time to time. I was having to say the words "left, right, left, right" for the entire time we were walking, she was that incapable of controlling her limbs. She's a lot shorter than both Jamie and I, which meant we were stooping a fair amount for the whole time. Coupled with stints of carrying her, our backs didn't have the best of times.

We also couldn't walk down the Hauptstrasse (Main St.), because the ambulance was hunting for us, and possibly police too. Hence we ended up on a crappy little side street, the 4 of us (one of the other girls was there too, carrying my and Jamie's coats, since it was such hard work for us to carry J) moving at snail's pace towards the taxi rank. We had no idea where the others had got to, all we knew was that we had to get her home.

Luckily, they were at the taxi rank by the time we got there, but you could see the fear in the taxi driver's eyes as we turned up with an incapable girl hanging from our shoulders. He said he would take us, but that if she was sick in the car it would cost us 50 Euro (I haven't found the Euro sign key yet).

I only had about 20 on me, and Jamie had fuck all, so we had to ask around our group of friends to scrape together the 50 in case we needed it. As it happened, we didn't, but you couldn't have foreseen it either way.

The taxi driver pulled up outside her student halls, and we hauled her out of the car, told the driver to wait, and rooted around her bag for her key. Somehow she managed to tell us her room number, and the key worked in the door. She collapsed onto her bed as soon as we let go of her, face down in the pillow. We rolled her over onto her side, in a rough version of the classic recovery position, before pulling her quilt over her.

No, we didn't undress her. We are gentlemen, after all. I wrote a note telling her to go see one of our friends who lived in the same building as soon as she woke up, and put that on her quilt. I then wrote another note, the first line in German, explaing what had happened to her, and asking one of her corridor-mates to check on her in the morning. We left that one in the corridor by the bathroom, and hoped that someone would be as much of a good samaritan as we had been.

All of this was done in a great hurry, since the meter was still running on the taxi outside, so I can only imagine how bad my handwriting must have been. We legged it back out to the taxi, and headed for home.

Well, when I say "home", I actually mean the bar in the basement of Jamie's building, which is our favourite place in the whole of Heidelberg. It's a student-only bar, is dirt cheap, and would be referred to in an estate agent's advert as "intimate". It's very small and cramped, you see?

Its best feature is that it is open every night until the last person leaves. This can be midnight, or it can be 5am. Fucking brilliant, it is. A few of our friends were already there, so me and Jamie rewarded ourselves for our benevolent natures by getting fairly shitfaced. We didn't arrive there until sometime around 1, and I have no idea when I left.

I assume that I walked home (I live 10 minutes away by foot), because I woke up this morning afternoon in my own bed, but I have absolutely no idea. I don't even remember a couple of my friends being there, and had to be told by them today that they were. Good times. Good, drunken times.

All this led to me missing yet another day of classes, the second this week, and the fourth overall. Not bad out of fifteen potential days... I'm such a crap student.

So there we have it: a night of drunken debauchery, but for once not for me. I was instead the saviour, the good samaritan, the carthorse. Well done me.

Wednesday, September 22

The Triumphant Return

No, not of me generally, but of the drunken post. I have fallen off of the wagon (more on my acesssion to in a later post) in a fairly spectacular manner. What with it now being nearly 3am and me being sufficiently pissed to write a message here. I knew that having internet in my room was a bad idea.

On the plus side, I have an empty bottle of Becks in front of me, a big one at that (500ml before I get someone complaining that 330ml is normal in England. I know this, that's why 500ml is big!), and the disconcertingly sober feeling that I'm going to be hungover tomorrow, even though I'm relatively sober tonight.

I think I'm at the point of sobriety where you know that you're well on the way to getting / being pissed, but aren't quite there yet. You know, when you wake up the next morning and wish you were still at that point?

The world may be a little blurry, but it still makes sense. Come to think of it, I feel that way every morning, whether I'm hungover or not. Such is (my) life.

Tuesday, September 21

More Tales Of Drunkenness

Does it ever end? Hopefully not.

I forgot to mention when describing the Sunday night in my last post how I'd spent nearly 2 hours chatting to just one girl whilst we were in the Dubliner. She'd joined our group at some point in the afternoon, and as the evening went on we just ended up chatting for ages.

I'll just point out here how I was quite, quite drunk by the latter hours of the evening, what with the having drank for 7 hours or so. Hence my lack of memory for the best part of that time. And hence my surprise when I woke up the next morning to find a message on my phone from her.

I remembered giving my number to a different girl, not in a "hey darling, here's my number; call me" way, but simply as a means of staying in touch when we needed to. I could have sworn that her name was different from that of the girl I'd received one from. Don't you just hate that? You give your number to one girl, and another texts you... I get that all the time.


Fast forward to the next morning. We had to be at some random place by 8.30 (8.30?! Come on, let's get realistic) for the first day's classes on our language courses, and I was struggling. Hungover on the first day? Hell yeah. Start as you mean to go on is definitely the correct attitude.

We had indeed been streamed according to the results of the test on Saturday, and I was pleasantly surprised to find myself in one of the better classes, and even more so because there were a couple of people that I already knew in the class. I'm in the 5th best out of 15 classes, which is half-decent. I'm especially pleased by that because everybody above me (and some below me, come to think of it) study German specifically at their universities, whereas for me it was sort of on the side.

But that's enough building up my ego for one day. Let's get back on with the making myself look callous and thoroughly socially inept. I'm better at writing that.

After struggling through three hours of classes with my head pounding against the inside of my skull in all directions at once, I made my way back into the Old Town with a load of the people I'd been drinking with the night before. Stories were exchanged, and I made the somewhat stupid mistake of saying that I'd woken up to find that text message on my phone, but didn't remember who it was from.

The girl was standing right there, and I knew by that point that it was her, but my big mouth kept running away from me, digging my hole ever deeper. I sure know how to make someone feel really small. She headed home for a bit, whereas the rest of us went to the open-air swimming pool that we'd found earlier.

Incidentally, the weather here has been nothing short of amazing here. 3 weeks with barely a cloud in the sky; I was not expecting that. Which is why I don't have any shorts here, and didn't have any swimming shorts until I bought some at a shop. Big heavy jumpers? Sure, I have loads. Shorts and flip-flops? Not a chance.

Anyway, as soon as she'd left our group that was wandering down Hauptstrasse (Main Street, very long), the girl who I had actually given my number to (all in a fraternal way, remember) made it clear to me that what I'd said had actually been quite offensive to the first girl.

I spent all afternoon worrying about that, especially as she wasn't around for me to apologise to. A great way to make friends Rob, well done. You're really making a good impression here.

Thankfully, my fears weren't realised. I forget where we started drinking on the Monday evening, but I know that quite early on we ended up in a bar called iPunkt, where we discovered 4 litre cocktail jugs on the menu. 4 litres. Of cocktail. In a jug. Heaven on Earth.

The jugs were supposedly designed to be drunk between 4 or 5, but myself and Becca (the forgotten name girl) decided that we could do one between the 2 of us. We're English, we're big drinkers, we could pull this off. Kein Problem.

And we fucking did too. We finished it, 4 litres of cocktail between 2 of us. We rule. I've got a couple of photos of it on my phone, sparklers sticking out of it and all, but I don't have my connecting cable with me, so I can't put them up here. Soon, I promise. The cable, along with just about everything else I need, is in a box back currently somewhere in Europe in a FedEx van, making it's way here. That box can't arrive quickly enough, I swear.

I'm not sure if we went anywhere else after iPunkt, my memory has been dulled by the twin ravages of alcohol and the passage of time. I'm guessing that we did, because I half-remember leaving, but not really. You know how it is.

Anyway, that's another day described. Time to head out to that same bar for another night of drinking, although I'm trying to take a week off at the moment. Health and financial reasons have forced me onto the wagon for a few days.

OK, so it's just financial reasons. Medical science will eventually overtake my drinking and provide a cure / solution for the liver disease that I will no doubt develop in later life. A positive attitude, I feel.

Monday, September 20

And Once More Carrying On

I suppose that I should really be revising for a grammar test that I have tomorrow morning, but I really can't be arsed, to tell you the truth. I'm in the mood for a bit of writing, so write I shall do.

I left off last time on the evening of Saturday 4th September, feeling quite depressed and lonely, as well as having had my confidence in my German shattered by a brutal and harsh grammar test (deja vu tomorrow?). Sunday and every day since then has been a lot, lot better.

I (and every other person at the test, come to think of it) had been given a small leaflet advertising a Welcome Brunch for Erasmus students, as organised by the Erasmus society at Heidelberg. Erasmus is the Europe-wide organisation that provides the opportunity for European students to study at other universities across the length and breadth of Europe. Some universities or students then take it upon themselves to provide such organisations as the Heidelberg Erasmus Society for incoming foreign students.

It is through this society and their organisational skills that I found the group of friends which I now consider myself to be a part of. For that I thank them over and over again. Oh, and for breakfast on that Sunday too.

I had turned up not knowing a single person, a little nervous, and more than a little hungry. All 3 were remedied within minutes. I grabbed a plate of the standard German breakfast fare (bread rolls, cheese and ham), and looked for a place to sit. I figured that picking a table where the conversation was at least dripping, if not exactly flowing freely, was the right idea, so I sat at a random table.

The conversation was in German, and I sat there for a minute or two, absorbing what was being said, before joining in. It turned out that I was on a table of English, Irish and American people, as well as a few from elsewhere in and around Europe. We chatted for a while in German, but pretty quickly slipped into English.

And so it has remained, to tell you the truth. As much as we all want and need to speak German, it's a hell of a lot easier to talk in English, especially when time is of the essence. We always speak much better German when we're pissed, which goes some way to explaining my many hangovers in the past 2 weeks.

2 or 3 of the people I met at that table that morning have become very good friends with me, and 1 is probably my closest friend here so far. I'm not a believer in fate at all, but I do love the concept of chance. But for my decision to sit at Table X, rather than Tables A-Z, my whole life here in Heidelberg could have been very different. I could have fallen in with different people, done different things and had different experiences.

Saying that though, I wouldn't want to change anything that's happened so far, not at all. I've had great times, which I will come to in due course here.

After the brunch, a few of us headed to an Internet cafe to make a couple of phone calls and write a few emails. There were only a few of us, so we got to chat a little more whilst waiting outside the shop for the last to finish. Always learning a little more about each other, always exchanging stories and anecdotes, revealing that interior which we all withdrew into in our first few days.

After that there followed a tour around the Altstadt (Old Town), led by a German guide who spoke very quickly. I struggled, but I gathered that Heidelberg is, funnily enough, quite old. Strange how they then named this section of it Old Town. Weird...

The tour finished in a big sqaure at the East end of town, at about 4 in the afternoon, so there was only one thing to do: we needed alcohol, and plenty of it.

The problem was, as it still often is, finding a table that could accomodate 10 of us. We eventually threw together a couple of tables outside of a pub, and descended on them. A couple of beers went down, and more and more people arrived from the Erasmus Brunch earlier that day. We all introduced ourselves, had some more beers, and let the conversation flow.

After that, it was time for more drinking. Some people flagged and went off to do other things, but by that time I'd had 4 or 5 and was quite prepared to get on it properly. Thankfully, I wasn't the only one.

Details are a little hazy, but I remember being incredibly excited by the concept of a 1 Litre glass of beer at a pub called Loevenbrau, before heading on to an Irish pub (hey, so there were a couple of Irish girls in the group at that point) that was brilliantly open until 1am, even on a Sunday.

Well, I say brilliantly. What I actually mean is that it was catastrophic regarding the subsequent memory holes from Sunday night and the hangover for the first day's classes on the Monday. Start as you mean to go on, and all that.

There's a couple more stories to tell about that night, as well as a shitload more from the next 2 weeks, but they will have to wait, as I'm attempting to have an early (erm, 1am, dammit) night in preparation for my big grammar test tomorrow.

Do I even know Konjunktiv II? It's the "Unreal Tense", if that helps with anything. It sure as hell doesn't help me! Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 19

Hmm, So I Was Going To Write Something

But I've forgotten just how much fun the Internet is! It's been too long (3 weeks!) without it in my room, and I'm rediscovering the enjoyment that I get from surfing and browsing. Oh, and it's at breakneck speeds now, which is fucking brilliant for someone who has only ever used dial-up connections.

I think I may need to reinstall Kazaa, if only because Allofmp3 still isn't taking PayPal payments. Dammit!

Because I Want This

I was flicking through the new issue of Widescreen, a German film and DVD magazine that I've taken a liking to, when I stumbled across this in the news section. I think I may have been unable to breathe for a number of minutes.

I knew that there was going to be a mega box set of all of the Matrix films, but 10 (10!) discs?! Oh dear God, there is nothing I want more in this world right now than that. Well, except maybe a beer, I don't have one of those right now. 10 discs! I want this now. If anyone is feeling particularly generous (I've spanked my money up on 2 weeks of drinking), email me for my postal address. Please. I beg you.

Oh, and I'd like the box set of the Extended Versions of the Lord Of The Rings films too, due out in November as far as I know. It's my birthday then, don't forget.

So Here I Am

Here in Germany. For a year. A whole fucking year.


This is the first opportunity I've had sufficient time in to be able to write a worthwhile amount of material for here, so here goes nothing. I have a sneaking suspicion that it could turn into another one of those epic posts for which I am famed. Famed being quite a relevant word, having been mentioned again in a Sunday newspaper this week. Well done me.

Anyway, I suppose that I should start back at the beginning. It seems like the operative place to start, as it always does. I think that I wrote here about staying in the youth hostel on my first night here in Heidelberg, so I'll pick up from the morning after. You know how I like to keep myself chronologically ordered wherever possible.

After breakfast at the youth hostel (speaking of breakfasts, I'm quite enjoying the German way of doing them here. It's very much a buffet-esque thing, mostly based around bread rolls and various fillings. Warm bread rolls too, which is always nice!) (Damn it, an aside already. This is going to be a long post), I once again picked up my bulging suitcase and hefty backpack, and headed for the bus stop to go back into town. I could have got a taxi, but I didn't know if there was a taxi rank around, or whether the youth hostel could order one. I figured that I'd better check out the bus network anyway, since I'd probably be using it a lot.

I got to the bus stop, having avoided being run over by a few cyclists (Heidelberg has unmarked cycle lanes on many pavements), and stood around waiting for the bus to turn up. That'd be 10 minutes later, and the wrong bus. I was standing at the wrong bus stop, as per usual.

I eventually found the right one, managed to say some garbled German to the bus driver regarding my destination, and got my ticket. I arrived in Universitaetplatz (University Square, also known as Uniplatz), checked the oh-so-handy map that I'd been given, and headed for the Info Cafe International (ICI), which is the uni cafe / admin centre for foreign students.

I'd been informed that it opened at 9 every morning, and I arrived just after that. Of course (of course!), it didn't open until 10, which meant that the few foreign students there at that hour had to sit around on tables outside, waiting. And waiting, and waiting.

I started chatting to a random girl that was on the table next to me, who looked just as nervous as I felt, and turned out to be French. She claimed that her English was better than her German, so we spoke in English, occasionally dipping into German. I don't speak any French, you see? Languages have become a big factor in all of my conversations since, so they'll be popping up over and over again here.

There was a machine by the door, which dispersed numbered tickets to those who were waiting. Aha, I thought, that famed German efficiency has finally raised its head. I was so wrong. I had quite a low number, since I was one of the first to get there, and with the amount of people that arrived before 10, I felt quite lucky to be potentially one of the first to be sorted out once we got in there.

Alas, it was in fact chaos in there. We all had to hand over our Zulassungbescheiden (official university place offers), which were then handed back to us in a big folder with shitloads of information. This would be when 100 people are all trying to do the same thing at the same time. I miss the good old British queue! Everyone else just seems to push to the front at the same time. It's the little things...

Eventually, after handing over 550 (around ?380) in cash for my deposit and first month's rent, I was given the key to my room, and shown where it was on a map. I'd met and chatted to a few people whilst all of the administration was being, erm, administered, but nobody seemed to be in the same hall as me, let alone be in the same part of town! Never mind, I thought, I'll just meet even more people there. How fucking wrong that would be, I shall get to.

It was then back outside and onto a bus, hoping that I'd picked the route that went to the correct end of the street my halls were on. The building number was "2", so I was pretty dismayed when I got off the bus to find myself at the end of the street and opposite a house number 32. Balls.

It was a blazing hot sunny day, my suitcase was heavy (I can't emphasise this one enough. My suitcase was fucking heavy), and I was thirsty. I walked the length of the street, sweating approximately 47 pints of water in those 12-15 minutes, to find that there was in fact no number 2 to be found anywhere. Of course.

I asked a random lady who was passing by where number 2 was, once more in slightly inept and broken German, but she had no idea, even though she had lived in number 6 for a few years. Never mind, I said, I'll figure it out. Once she'd gone, I put my bags down and hunted for the paperwork that I'd been given that morning.

My halls are on 21 Humboldtstrasse, naturally. My own fucking ineptness led to that mistake, and now forced me to walk 3/4 of the way back up the fucking street! Oh, and it gets better.

I walked in the main entrance of the halls, saw loads of letterboxes and then a set of stairs off to my right. It was up 2 flights of stairs, once more with the suitcase, to discover that my room didn't exist. Balls. I came back down, carrying the suitcase, sweating, and getting really hot, to find someone in the entrance foyer. I asked if she (why has it all been "she"s so far? Meh) knew where my room number was.

Yes, she said, up the other stairs, which were hidden in completely the opposite direction. Unsignposted, I might add. Another two flights of stairs destroyed me, but at least my key worked! I flopped onto the bed, exhausted and with rapidly blistering hands I figured out the tap to get some fluids back into me. What a morning!

Yes, this entire tale has so far only been around 3 hours of my life. Shit, 1119 words on the first three hours; this is going to be an ultra-long post, even by my standards. Apologies.

I can't remember anything hugely exciting for the rest of that day. I did some things that needed to be done, like setting up a bank account and trying to get the internet sorted for my room. For the latter, I'll just put down here for the record, the guy in the university technology place talked German at me for a solid 20 minutes, at fairly breakneck speed. That's a good way to scare yourself concerning your knowledge of the language.

A similar experience happened on Saturday (Friday was a washout too, I just watched a film on my computer and went for a walk): I had to take a test. In German.

The language course that I was going to be attending started on the Monday, so we had to do a test on the Saturday to give them the opportunity to stream us somewhat. It was so fucking hard! I literally just walked into a room, sat down and was handed this fucking difficult grammar test. 45 minutes of hell, followed by 45 minutes of further torment in the shape of a writing test.

I came out of there feeling really, really distraught at the level of my German ability. I simply couldn't do half of the grammar exercises, and my writing was similarly terrible. I sat on the bus on the way home, feeling really sorry for myself, because my German was terrible, and because I hadn't made any friends at all in 3 days of being in the country.

I laid on my bed, possibly shed a tear or two, and fell asleep for an hour or so. I woke up feeling a little better, but still had nothing to do on the Saturday night. I toyed with the idea of going into town, but decided that sitting alone in or outside a pub would make me feel even more depressed regarding my being alone. It was once more time for Pringles and a film. Thirteen, if memory serves. Still brilliant.

Sunday was a whole lot better, but I'll get back to you on that one. For now it's time for bed. I have classes in the morning, don't you know?! And not hungover, for once. I shall recount the drunkenness of the subsequent week another time.

I'm Back!

I have finally got the Internet set up and working properly in my room here in Heidelberg, so expect some more meaningful (and probably a whole lot more meaningless) posts in the coming time.

And thanks for all of the messages, it's been a busy time here on the site by the looks of things, even without any input from me. That will now change, and my next post is something I wrote the other night, but hadn't got round to putting up here yet. Internet cafes are too expensive.

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