The land of meat, cheese, and potatoes

I have been in Oestrich-Winkel for nearly a month now, and during this time I have learned much about the land of the Germans. It is here that pork is more bountiful then water, everything can be made into a potato product (including noodles), and the cheese sauce flows abundantly over all of these delicacies. It was only a few days into my residency here when I discovered the little german gem known as “Brotchen”! Since then my cabinet has been bountiful with these little round breads that resemble miniature french baguettes.
I have embraced every aspect of my cultural immersion here in Germany, even down to the food. I have gone out of my way to only eat things that would be part of a typical german diet. At the grocery store (where food prices are incredibly cheap!) I always try to buy something completely different. My food exploration has lead me to try some really interesting things! So far I have had a traditional raw pork/garlic spread on a “Brotchen” for breakfast!
While it may appear that I have only been enamored with german food, I have been equally captivated by the breathtaking countryside. Oestrich-Winkel is situated in the middle of wine country, and on a sunny day the illuminated hills rival the Tuscan terrain.
My life here in Oestrich feels like a stripped down version of my life in the US. It’s back to the basics here, in this little quaint town, where I don’t own a phone or car, and I haven’t had to work for the first time time since high school. It feels good to be just a student. I look forward to each day here because it feels like I’m acquiring a lifetime of memories and experiences.

Getting Settled In At The Hague

First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Matthew Schulz and I am currently studying abroad at The Hague University in the Netherlands with Eric Tandrian and DeSean Jackson. It has been a stressful first week here with many ups and downs. But, I think we are finally starting to get the hang of things around here (and catch up on our sleep)! Transportation was our biggest hurdle starting off. We walk almost everywhere but when we do take a train or tram, it is difficult figuring out how to get from point a to point b. We picked up on it pretty fast though. Walking here is MUCH more dangerous than in the states. What’s so weird is that when crossing the street the cars will stop when you walk out in front of them but the bikes won’t…and bikes are everywhere! We have almost been hit by a biker several times already. The class schedules are pretty confusing to figure out as well. They don’t have a self-explanatory registration like we are fortunate enough to have at UofL so don’t take it for granted! But, thankfully, after many exchanged emails with Ms. Goatley (sorry for pestering you!) our schedules should be complete.

One of my biggest concerns coming here was the food situation. I am a very picky eater so I was afraid that if I didn’t like the food I would starve! It has actually turned out to be quite the opposite. The food is AMAZING. We have already tried dutch pancakes, boterballs (meatballs), and the most amazing apple pie I have ever had den-haag-1-089.JPG! Our favorite food so far though is turkish food. They make a kip doner, which is kind of like pita bread stuffed with chicken and whatever else you want with it. They serve it with french fries and a special dipping sauce that they call mayonnaise (not the same mayonnaise as the in the US) and it is sooooo good. Plus, it is very cheap! We also had a fun time trying to figure out what we were buying at the grocery store because everything was in dutch. When we cooked tonight, we almost poured a sauce that we thought was Alfredo on our spaghetti. Thankfully, our neighbor stopped by and told us that it was actually Buttermilk..That would have been interesting!

We have already bought plane tickets to London, Milan, and Sweden and plan on travelling a lot by train. We traveled to Amsterdam this past weekend and were fortunate enough to meet a local that showed us around the city. It was nice not having to look at a map every five minutes! We visited the Anne Frank House, which was amazing as you could probably imagine. It was neat seeing the actual diaries as well as many of the other artifacts she wrote about. This weekend we are going to visit somewhere but have absolutely no plans as to where that might be. I guess we will decide where to go at the train station!

That is it for now! It is time to hit the sack!


To be continued….