Ready to get going: Ora et Labora, Beach and Super Bowl

My first encounter in a buddhists ceremony took place in a Vietnamese temple in Gainesville. We went there for Trang’s birthday and it was a good experience. Learning proceeds as well and with the first warm days since my arrival my mood becomes better and better, of course supported by our first trip to the beach. Life can be good!

The short winter break over here is finally gone… It was like 1° C at night and you could really smell snow – in the northern territories of Florida there was even snowfall, which did not happen since about 30 years. You guys from the mountains know what I am referring to, this certain smell before snowfall starts. Imagine that in houses out of thin wood and plastic… Brrr, caught a cold and it was not enjoyable at all. But those days are gone and Florida gets sun, as (normally) always. Pretty enjoyable!

At the weekend we went to the vietnamese temple with Trang. It was her birthday on January 31st and she invited us to join her. A very interesting experience and the people from the temple were  cute and nice, an old monch and one older and a younger lady. Both of the ladder were not really able to speak English, Trang spoke vietnamese with them, their appearance was peaceful and lovely tho.

Ora et labora

Time for prayers and some work! We were instructed how to do the buddhist prayer at the temple and how to find out about our destiny for the chinese year of the horse. Therefore you first get a little red envelope. Kind of an advice is inside, together with a dollar bill. The advice is a hint on how to behave or what to obey in the new year. The dollar bill has to be put into the wallet and be kept for a whole year. It grants you success and that your wallet will never be empty.

After that ceremony you can knee in front of the buddha and shake a little cup with plenty of wooden sticks. You shake it while thinking of something to come true, kind of a wish prayer. After some shaking a certain stick falls out, it carries a number. With this number you can get your individual horoscope for the upcoming year. And mine was quite interesting…

The first one from the little red envelope said (upper right): “If you have success in your life you will lose your love or beloved ones. You have to find out for yourself what is more important to you.” – “Tough measures, why not having both… It’s because you can’t have it all, but that sucks!” I thought, while Trang translated the message for me. But the individual horoscope was even more interesting. All the points stand for a certain part of your life like interaction with society, friendship, love…

Interaction with society: Great

Personal benefits: Pray for blessing and you will get what you desire

Relationship to others: You will receive support to succeed

Marriage or Partnership: Everything is gonna be alright

Birth: You will get a baby son (WTF…!)

Distance: Don’t leave to a far distance, you will find difficulties

Quest: You will find the person you are looking for

Court: You will win if you have to face court

Loss: If you have lost something you have to search for it, go east to find it

Health: Not too good, live healthy, peaceful and pray a lot for your health

Quite an interesting outcome… Honestly! I am looking into an interesting new year 2014 here, which will actually last longer starting with the last weekend since it’s the Chinese calender. The upper part of the horoscope was a poet with a certain meaning, free to interpretation and Trang couldn’t translate it for me.

That’s it about the ora part. The labora part includes loads of math for the upcoming term paper and the examination of my course I attend. I finally got started and it’s tough but somehow great to get back into this material. And learning by the poolside or at the beach never hurts!

Honeymoon Island State Park, an awesome beach day after winter break

So finally the sun is back to Florida, that’s like I still know it from the past. We decided to go to the beach and since here in northern Florida the weather is still not really stable and it’s cold and foggy sometimes, we decided to go southwards close to Tampa, to the Honeymoon Island State Park. I have already been there in the past and my memories are great. It was enjoyable by that time and this time again. Right at arrival a big turle crossed our way.

Big turtle at Honey Moon Island Statepark - what a welcome!Honey Moon State ParkHoney Moon State Park 02It was about 27° C but the Gulf of Mexico was not really warm yet, maybe 19-20° C but that was no obstacle to not get a dip of course! 🙂 I jogged a little bit, went swimming several times, we had a picnic altogether and by lunchtime I felt somehow sunburned and hid out in the shadow of a restaurant by the beach, enjoying (more or less) a drafted Budweisers, learning for about 90 min. Too late, as I found out later… I was already colored like a lobster after the cooking process…

Our group at the beachWe came back to Gainesville late when already half of the super bowl was played. But as many of the spectators told us, the game was not good at all because Seattle’s team was too dominant that an enjoyable game could have resulted. We watched it all together, all the pharmacy interns and related friends, broiled some chicken, since we couldn’t find the Banquet Hot Wings (they are awesome!) anymore and some coconut shrimps and enjoyed the rest of the game while having a beer and dinner. American football is alright, but for my liking I will stick with our way of football (soccer) and beach-volleyball as the sports of choice to watch and play.

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…

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…