Multi Optionality in the US and a little bit of home

Sometimes things happen spontaneous and you have to accept that and if you don’t want to miss the experience, take the chance. Tuesday night is normally calm and relaxed, yesterday I ended up on a free gig of Sean Paul, although I had a total different intention…

We had a Kasspätzle dinner, Julia who is from Baden-Württemberg, Uta is from Bavaria and me, considering myself somehow Tyrolean out of choice – we are the only ones around from the beautiful south. It was nice and we figured out how to do Spätzle if you press the dough through a sieve, and while we were cooking the girls told me, Sean Paul – a reggaton artist of the older days – would hit Gainesville at night and perform in a free-of-admission concert.

I was like “WTF?” but they assured me that happens quite on a regular basis, more or less well reknown artists (in our European understanding) performing por que nada over here… Uta didn’t want to go, she offered me her ticket. The only problem, how to get there, since bus service during the week is quite limited. Johannes, another PhD student from Germany, who lives here since one year, took me there and Julia joined us, although she originally had no intentions to go out. The line in front of the club was crazy, when we met our host Bryce, a laid back dude who offers promotion services to the interns here, to get them into clubs cheaper or free and sometimes even free drinks.

We froze basically one hour until we finally got in. Although NOTHING was going on inside by that time, the staff let the people wait. That’s crazy, all just for public perception, that the club is “dope”. I don’t like that idea… But the music inside was quite nice. Lots of unreknown Hip-Hop artists gave their best and it was finally an awesome black music event – for me since ages. Over here black music still exists and is alive, not comparable to Europe at all.

At around 1:20 AM (40 min. before closure) Sean Paul finally hit the stage. And Julia had already warned me, he lacks any skill to sing – a demonstration how powerful playback can be and how important management and great beats are, if you want to be succesful. Now I understand, why all the people who produce Schlager are very succesful and I respect them for beeing smart and making gold out of crap. The concert was still good tho as was the mood of the people partying – the whole experience was outstanding – it was a Tuesday night after all! It has some flaws that every party ends at 2:00 AM, on the other hand it’s good because you won’t experience hangovers as bad as in Europe.

Tonight I won’t do anything but learning, has to be done and some gaps are still to be closed. Pharmacokinetics is rich of mathematics, quite complicated math in some cases. It’s like learning everything from the scratch, but I’m optimistic that I’ll prevail. For that purpose good food is needed and this is, how I will survive the US this time…

The English bet – Or: How to become a Vietnamese chef

Everytime Trang or me speaks German to one another the punishment for that failure is cooking. And since I lead against her, I will learn to cook Vietnamese cuisine, everytime we have “payday”. I love Vietnamese food and so I really enjoy the idea of this little tournament to improve our English skills.

Trang and me have a deal. It’s kinda “You know, we live in a foreign country now so we better just speak the foreign language anymore” deal. Everytime one of the both of us speaks German to the other one, the one who failed to speak English has to cook. And by surprise it’s a 4:1 (3:0) for me at the moment – first payday was yesterday evening. Was sooo looking forward to that one… because Trang promised to just cook Vietnamese and teach me how to do it – this is how I might become a Vietnamese chef in the time over here and I really like this idea since the food is arguably the best Asian cuisine has to offer, hand in hand with Japanese maybe… 🙂

First of all we went shopping and since the girls luckily have a car, I could get some groceries for the upcoming time. Most likely bins with beans, corn, ground tomatoes and kind of this stuff which is basically too heavy to carry it around while shopping by bike. Have a look, the American way of groceries shopping!

The meal Trang suggested for the first payday is Xiu mai (Vietnamese meatballs). It’s not spelled right but my American keyboard lacks the proper keys to express the name with the right “pronounciation”. The meat (beef, free of fat) is mixed with microslices (!) of onion, carrot, and sugar, salt, pepper and the most important ingredient probably, oyster sauce. Chopping of the veggies truly sucks because they have to be sliced into cubic millimeter small pieces… All has to be a homogenous paste and little meatballs are formed out of this. They are put into a bowl and the bowl is placed in a pot. Tomato slices are put on top of the meatballs and the pot is filled with some water, then closed with a lit. Reflux conditions are applied for about 20 minutes… Man that reads like an instruction for synthesis – some habits won’t change anymore! :-p

As side dishes you serve green salad, either bread (which sucks in the US) or – in our case – rice. And you put some soy sauce and chilies on top to spice it up. It was AWESOME!

The recipe at a glance

What you need: 500 g of ground beef free of fat, 5 big spoons of oyster sauce, 3 medium sized onions, about 3  carrots, 2 medium sized tomatoes, salt, pepper and sugar, sidedishes: green salad, rice or bread (you can eat it as sandwich as well)

How you do it: Onions and carrots are sliced in about cubic millimeter small pieces and mixed with the ground beef, salt (a big spoon), pepper (a teaspoon) and sugar (2 big spoons), as well as the oyster sauce (5 big spoons) are added and everything is properly mixed to obtain a homogenous mass. Out of that mass little balls are formed and they are all put into a bowl, on top of those balls the slices of tomato are draped and the bowl is put in a bigger pot, which is filled with some water (the water is not supposed to rinse into the bowl!), the lid is applied to the pot and the water has to be kept at 100 degrees Celsius (reflux) for about 20 minutes. The meatballs are well done after that time and a tasty sauce is obtained from tomato juice, oyster sauce and water steam. The dish is served with sliced green salad, chili, soy sauce and rice. Enjoy!

Finally here, somehow and the celebration of Chinese New Year

A short report on daily life in Gainesville. Sports, Events and Party.

Last night I was out with two guys. We made it to a club called SPANK where a DJane played nice tunes of Deep House, like the kind of music you have in Europe (Watergate / Kater Holzig Berlin, Emma IBK, …). Really rare and enjoyable. Haven’t been much people around tho, since this kind of music seems not to be top choice for the party people over here. A group of five Americans invited me to join them to Tampa right after the club closes but I didn’t – that was even to spontaneous for me. Next time I might be in tho, Tampa is fun and the idea to just go there in the middle of the night and continue the party is sweet.

Temperatures finally rose a little bit. We had a nice round of Beach volleyball and it’s great to get back into practice – that and some jogging and workout will hopefully help to not gain too much weight in my time over here. At night we attended a festival in honour of Chinese new year at the university. It was flashy and food was offered. It’s really sad not to be able to speak Chinese, lots of Asians don’t speak their mothertongue anymore, but there is still a big amount of people who actually is able to and it would be great if this tradition would not have been lost in my family! Trang told me you need to wear something red, which I do, to frighten the demons away – actually new year starts on the 31st of January.

Trang and me in my apartmentThe students prepared a funny show and as you could expect from Asian entertainment all was a bit over the top. But the kids did a good job to entertain and you could even win stuff with your ticket you got, t-shirts and softdrinks in a bar called Lollicups.

Chinese New YearAfter this memorable event, where basically 80% of the visitors had at least some Asian routes, if they were not Asian at all (yeah Olli, you would have enjoyed it!), I went out with two of our intern girls… The humor of America was always great, and it’s the same case over here. Look what you can find on the busses.

Ours do... Please maintain personal hygiene xDAnd there we’re again – direct in GNV nightlife in a club called 101. Music sucks but the views are nice. It’s the same electro pseudo house shit like in Boston and Montreal. Americans at party modus sometimes is like if you free some animals from a zoo, somehow cool how they can let things go when they are out to party compared to how they act when they do business with you – My dear Americans who read this blog, don’t take it personal, it’s just my two cents on this topic since you are really different when you are on “the pist”. It’s a difference like day ‘N nite. I’d say it’s from one extreme into another, not constant like in Europe… That’s us by the way. Mareike to my left is one of the pharmacy interns and Julia to my right is an associated German psychologist friend of us.

Party ends at 2.00 AM again, like always and guess what, we ride home and the bus chief starts to yell at some people that they shall put their shoes on! And a huge black lady gets up and shows her thong and ass – mooning style – nothing you want to see and way of too much insight…

Journey for the future to the past – Florida here I go again

The start of yet another big venture. One for the honor, one for the future and one to find to the roots of myself!

Berlin, 01/19/2014 at 6:50 a.m. (CET) Time to get started. It’s cold here in Berlin and I’m ready for some sun! It’s still quite early in the morning, the wind blows ice-cold and gives me shivers when I enjoy my last cigarette for hours to come. Check-in is easy, you get some routine you know… Time for some last good pastry for the next four month, it’s Franzbrötchen, some cinnamon filled bun, sweet and tasty.

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In the USA I will probably not eat bread for the whole time – or I’ll bake it for myself. So many thoughts, positive emotion, plans and ideas that come up to my mind… Hope I haven’t forgotten anything important. Hope everything goes fine and there won’t be any big delays so that I arrive at 7:20 p.m. eastern time (ET) in Gainesville, which is 1:20 a.m. of January 20th in central Europe (CET). Looking forward to meet Trang, who will pick me up at the Airport. Time to lay back, listen to Toro y Moi and get relaxed after the last days full of impressions and adrenaline.

Munich, 01/19/2014 at 11:20 a.m. (CET) Flying with Lufthansa was a pleasure as always. Great service, a nice flight and a great last view on the alps. Everything was covered in fog, just the mountains sticked out and the sun was rising, leaking through some higher clouds – Farewell Nordkette! A view like in heaven, yeah that’s what you actually are in a plane. Really beautiful. I feel like in trance. The last days pass by in a snap and it feels like I live everything again. Awesomess. The plan takes off to Charlotte and I feel that I won’t be able to sleep since my agitation is too big. Have I really not forgotten anything?

Charlotte (USA), 01/19/2014 at around 6 p.m. (ET) Man, that was a crazy trip… One of the waiters faded away after we have been in air for about three hours. Already feared we would have to turn… That was not the case, two physicians brought him back to legs and the dude seemed alright thereafter but didn’t show up anymore for service – sure thing. This time it was a big A330-300 and the comfort was quite OK. A somehow disgusting couple, both Romanians in their early 50s sat beside me, groping, touching and kissing the whole time, and his aftershave made things worse, the dude sweat like a pig and rinsed off the sweat with a towel the whole time. Actually thought about getting another place in the plane to chill out but decided to ignore them. Probably “young” luck who deserves their third spring. Watched Ip Man (finally) and Rorounin Kenshin, both martial arts movies, quite enjoyable. Then I filled my ears with two hours of operas by her majesty Maria Callas and last but not least watched a movie about the Huber Buam, two Tyroleans who tend to discover mountains with extraordinary difficulty their own way. Like their style – that’s the way to go, to do their own thing. A documentary about the alps helped to get at least half of an hour of sleep…

Checking in at the boarder was horrific like always and lasted forever. Of course the plane from Germany wasn’t the only one and of course, American citizens got a preferred treatment. Time was running out and I had to catch a connection flight… Finally made it, after another intimidation in form of a security check. Put everything out of your bags, laptops? Put of your shoes! Bla bla… Yeah there I was short to 6 p.m. and our machine was delayed for 10 min. because not everyone was that fast to pass the line. Gainesville here I come! BUT… the best is still to happen, that wasn’t it by far.

Gainesville, 01/19/2014 at 7:45 p.m. (ET) The suitcase should already be there. Trang is laughing “Maybe your suitcase was not on the plane?” She giggles… I can’t share this enjoyment about this joke at this moment. She is right, the bag was not on the plane so I have no clothes and no body scrub and nothing, not even my cable for my laptop to hook it up and do something. Awesome… Yeah but you know, I wonder about myself I remained really calm and polite, maybe because my strength was missing after the last days and I wasn’t interested in wasting the rest into anger. So we claimed the luggage lost and left for some shopping. Back at the place I got to know some other pharmacy students who reside here at the moment. So far all I met are really nice and I have to say THANK YOU to those guys for the big support from overseas while I fought my own fight in Austria and Germany to get things done.

In the meanwhile it’s already Monday afternoon over here and a nice lady from the airport delivered my suitcase. And when I am done writing, I will finally have a shower and prepare for “Bootcamp” kind of a fitness program for all the guys over here and they already told me it will be tough… Let us see that, the mountains train us – the people from the mountains (yeah I am looking forward to say that to people who ask where I am from in an ugly German dialect) – quite well I’d rather say 😉