Back To School

So as advertised, I started my intensive German course last week and already my brain is absolutely exhausted. The course itself is not overwhelming nor too challenging, but it’s just the fact that I’m in class for 4.5 hours every day. I’m just not used to doing full-time study nor full-time study of a subject that ties my brain into knots. One day I may come to grips with German grammar but it feels like that day is a long way off. Fortunately, the folks in my class are making class enjoyable and I love that once again I’m getting to know people from such a wide spectrum of nationalities – French, Swiss, Italian, Polish, Danish, Russian and Chinese.

Also as well as German classes, the Goethe Institut run what they call cultural activities and I have been to two of them this week. The great part about the cultural activities is not only that I’m seeing new places and new things, but they are all conducted in German which is a great way to get in some German study without it feeling like study.

On Friday I went to the Haus der Photographie to see an exhibition on the Leica camera. At this exhibition they had the original photo that launched a million Che Guevara t-shirts worldwide.

Plus the iconic VJ Day kiss photo

On Saturday we headed to the next state over, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, to the city Schwerin to see its palace.

Unfortunately, we picked the worst day possible to go sightseeing when Hurricane Felix was lashing North Germany. I don’t recommend walking around outside in hurricane strength winds and torrential rain. Still the palace was fascinating and now I know it’s there and it’s only a 90 min train ride away, I plan to go back when the weather is much nicer and take my camera gear so I can get some much better and more picturesque photos.

So, how am I going with the strict rules I set myself last week?  Well I accomplished all of them but going to Kung Fu. You can blame a bad headache and a mountain of homework on that failure.  Hopefully this week I’ll do much better.

 

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Weekly Wrap-Up

This is a new section looking at the interesting, hilarious and odd things I have discovered in the previous 7 days.

Art

I bet you have a fixed idea of what materials lamps & chandeliers should be made of.  Here are 21 Beautiful Lamps And Chandeliers Made From Everyday Junk.  I especially love number 15.

We have all imagined ourselves living different lives to the one we are currently living. We have fantasised over what this other self would wear, where they would live and the people they would love.  One photography has made her fantasies a reality, well at least on film.

Gender

As a woman working in a male-dominated industry, I am exposed to quite a lot of sexist behaviour on an almost daily basis.  However, it doesn’t take being in my position for sexism against women to have a huge impact on your daily life.  Now, transgender people are giving us a unique insight to how things change when you move from one side of the gender divide to the other.

Germany

Did you know that a large number of wild boar in Germany, particularly Eastern Germany are radioactive thanks to Chernobyl?  Apparently it is going to take 50 years for the levels of radiation in these animals to return to normal.

LGBT

Coming out is a difficult thing and every queer person has their own ‘coming out’ story. However, what the non-queer community sometimes fail to realise is that queer people don’t need to come out just the once, we have to come out hundreds of times and each coming out is still a nerve racking experience.

Beaches, Sunsets & Humpback Whales

After returning to Germany after visiting my family and friends in Australia almost a month ago, I have finally gotten around to uploading and sorting through the photos that I took whilst there.

My hometown of Newcastle, where my parents still live, is a beach town and home to some of the most gorgeous beaches in Australia.

– Bar Beach

 

Newcastle Harbour is also the world’s largest exporter of coal and my parents, who have an apartment right on Newcastle Harbour, spend quite a lot of time on their balcony watching the ships sail into and out of the harbour.

– A ship coming into the Harbour at sunset

 

They also have a great view of the Newcastle skyline

 

And of the Queen’s Wharf Tower that is affectionately (or not so affectionately) called the B.D.  You can probably guess what B.D stands for.

 

Whilst visiting my parents, we spent one day up the coast at Nelson Bay on a whale watching cruise.

We saw the locals just hanging out

And of course, we saw the main attraction, humpback whales.  I took hundreds of photos all perfectly lined up, just to get hundreds of photos of the sea as I could never get the timing rights when the whales breached.  This is a photo I just snapped randomly.

It did require some straightening up and cropping as it was snapped so randomly that nothing was set up. There is lots wrong with the photo technically, but even with all its faults, I just love it. Watching the whales out on the ocean was just such a wonderful experience.

And here is a photo of one of my favourite Australian birds, the Rainbow Lorikeet, just because.

 

If you are into photography or just want to see more of my photos, you can take a look at the Newcastle photos and the Nelson Bay ones on Flickr.

More photos of Sydney including the Taronga Zoo are still to come!