Saturday, July 27, 2013

7 quick takes, volume 12

Yes, I'm a day late. I was too busy doing nothing yesterday to write a blog post. Today I have to work on my paper, go to a party/get together, and spend a long time on the metro. So of course I have time to write a blog post. IES sent my parents an email warning them that after returning to the USA, I would go through a honeymoon period and then a judgmental period as part of my re-entry adjustment and reverse culture shock. To me, this sounds plausible but also sort of bonkers, since Germany and the US are not really that different, so I am going to defy expectations. This week's 7 quick takes will be things I like better about Freiburg. Next week's will be things I like better about the US, or Bowie specifically.

1. Reliability and cost of public transportation. Public transportation in Freiburg is heavily subsidized, and even more so for students. (A six-month student pass is 79E.) During rush hour, street cars come every five to six minutes. They rarely break and they almost always run on time.

2. Low alcohol taxes. You can get a good bottle of wine for 4E in Freiburg. For a student budget, this is a blessing for Sunday dinners.

3. Availability of foods for special diets. The regular grocery store had a large shelf full of lactose-free dairy products, and there is a house brand of gluten-free food and ingredients. I don't know if it was just our neighborhood, but alternative diets seem to be more of a thing in Europe than here.

4. Architecture. I mean, really, a city that dates from the early twelfth century beats a suburb that was planned and then built in the 1960s. That's not even a contest.

5. Closeness to other countries. I could (and did) take a day trip to France or Switzerland.

6. Lack of work. I had more or less nothing to do, so I got to spend a lot of time sightseeing and relaxing. It was a nice break semester, and I'm sure I will miss it as I head into my difficult senior year!

7. Closeness to extended family. I have two sets of family members, one in Berlin and one in Dusseldorf, which I rarely get to see. It was nice to get to see both sets twice, once near the beginning and once near the end.

To see the other posts, head over to Conversion Diary!

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