A lot has happened over the past week, and all of the highlights will be covered!

First up, Petersberg.

Last Saturday I took a walk up to Zitadelle Petersberg, a landmark in Erfurt, with amazing views above the city. To view photos, click here. I chose a perfect day to go. Frühlingsfest was happening on Domplatz on this day, so there is a fair in some of the pictures! This would be an awesome place to have a picnic on a warm, sunny summer day. It was clear blue skies while at Petersberg, and as soon as I made it back to Donaustrasse, it started to thunder, and downpour rain. Perfect timing!

Petersberg has a lot of history related to it, but I’m not all that familiar with it, so I will not ramble on about any fun facts. Here are two different links that are about Petersberg if you would like to learn more about it.  Link 1  Link 2

Next up, Easter:

Being 4,000 miles away, and 6 hours ahead of my family, I didn’t want to spend Easter alone, especially since everywhere was closed. I wanted to invite some of the other exchange students over for dinner. I started to compile a list of people to send a Facebook message to, but after inventorying my food, I decided that I didn’t have enough to feed everyone I wanted to invite. So my list dwindled dramatically. :( It was a wonderful small gathering, with only five of us in my humble little abode. We had pasta, rice, and a few other sides. Erik brought a bottle of wine for us to share, but I did not have a bottle opener (it was a cork top). So, Valentin found a somewhat messy way to open the red wine… We won’t go into details, but let’s just say we had to wipe down part of the kitchen after it was opened. 😉

Classes started on Tuesday, since Easter Monday is a holiday here. When I signed up for classes, they were in two-hour blocks (i.e. 8-10, 10-12, 12-14,14-16, etc.). Wednesdays I have three classes in a row, so naturally, I thought I would not have time for lunch on those days. I was under the impression that I would be in class, with maybe 10 minute breaks in between, for 6 hours straight. Tuesday I arrived to my 8am class about 10 minutes early, not really knowing what to expect being in a foreign country and all. I was shocked when the instructor did not show up until 8:15. Apparently, the unspoken rule of classes is that they start at :15 and end at :45, unless your instructor says otherwise. So instead of 10 minutes between classes, like at UMW, I have 30 minutes between back-to-back classes. Classes also only meet once per week, instead of two or three times, like UMW. I could get used to this…

This past weekend was also my 20th birthday weekend. Other international students are shocked when I tell them that I’m only 20 – I have discovered that Anneka and I are some of the youngest exchange students. I had a blast celebrating with my new friends. I had a party Saturday night and everyone came over – there was about 15 or so people in one tiny room! Apparently in German culture, it’s bad luck to wish someone happy birthday before their actual day. So as soon as that clock struck midnight, everyone burst out singing to me!

On Sunday, my actual birthday, Hang, my tutor came over in the afternoon and brought a bouquet of white tulips and homemade muffins! We were planning to go into the city and go to a cafe, but it thunderstormed all morning and early afternoon. Hang thought that the cafes might be closed because of the weather, so we had cappuccino and just watched it storm instead. The thunder was so loud that it shook the windows.. It was really intense! Later, I went over to Anneka’s and had dinner with her and her flatmate, Katie. After dinner, the three of us, along with their other flatmate Lourdes, watched Die Eiskönigin. (For those that don’t know, that’s Frozen, but the German version.) Overall, I had an awesome and unforgettable 20th birthday, and I’m glad that I got to spend it with new friends from around the world.

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