Archive for the ‘Exchange’ Category

Work, work, work

March 4, 2009

Hello there, I know the relaunch did not work properly. I was just too busy or shall I say lazy? But that wouldn’t be true, because I actually have been working.

I finished all my applications for EVS projects and sending organisations even before chrismas (i always have to wonder how to write the word and I always end up looking it up in a dictionary – i should try to remember xmas, that’s easier: 3 letters less).

In January I volunteered to organise the midstay camp for our guest students from Aachen, Bonn, Cologne & Siegen. It was a helluva fun as always. Truly, some work in advance: calling parents, parents calling me, calling the youth hostel people and organising everything. I hope I will be able to lead their last camp somewhen in June, because that would be the last time I will be able to see most of them! After all, there from Turkey, USA, China and many other countries.

Later in January, I was invited to Bonn and Hannover by AFS and IJGD, two sending organisations for EVS. That way, I was able to hitchhike to and visit Hannover, or more precisely, to Hildeshim, because that was were I stayed at a friends place and had a great time.

I also applied for another project in Warsawa with the organisation FNPF an organisation for the Polish-German reconciliation. And they seemed to be very pleased with my application, so I would have had a secure EVS placement there. However, I hesitated due to the fact that I still had not heared from my most favourite organisation which would send me to South East Europe: Serbia, Bosnia i Herzogowina or Kosovo. To be honest at that time I hadn’t even sent my application.

Now I am waiting for their pending invitation to an interview the weekend after. I negotiated with FPNF and they will wait until I get my response.I also applied for an organisation which is to be AFS in Croatia, but their placement hasn’t yet been granted the funds of European Comission.

To summarize, I will hopefully know where I am going to go in about weeks. I will keep you up-to-date. See ya!

It’s time to go

June 28, 2007

Finally, my time in Latvia is over. Tomorrow at 2 o’ clock the airplane goes to Berlin over Frankfurt and I won’t ever be able to come back …. okay, just a joke … so be prepared, I will be back!

How to fuck up your hard disk – and how to recover it

April 8, 2007

A few days ago, I got a computer from my host dad to avoid conflicts with my host brother about using his computer. There was still Windows XP installed with files and data from the previous owner, but I wanted to install Ubuntu anyway. That day the internet in my room wasn’t working so I really had nothing to do and started right away to install Ubuntu.

This shouldn’t have been that difficult – I installed Ubuntu already a few times on different computers and have never experienced any problems. That’s why I didn’t made any precautions. Lesson learned, I won’t ever do that again. Always make a damn update!

I would have made one, but I was/am rather short of funds: It’s an old machine, Pentium III, floppy disk (thank god – nowadays many computers are shipped without, I myself sometimes consider it as lesser important), CD drive and a 10 gb hard disk drive. So how am I supposed to do an backup without the resources I can use in Germany?!

Live Disk as usual, I change the partition by hand. It seems to go well – until to the next installation step: I need to assign root and swap to the partitions. But the wizard tells me the partitions are somehow broken. WTF? I cancel the installation, but it was too late, Windows wouldn’t boot any more.

It’s about fine with me – I could have used Ubuntu only. The big nasty problem was that my host dad, or better the computer’s previous owner needed some files he forgot to copy/backup/whatever. Shit.

I knew there were recovery tools for these kind of problems. I just had never ever needed something like that and I had to teach myself from scratch how to do it. Where? Big, old pal Internet would help.

I got a few tools which made hope, it showed all the data. But it was only freeware and didn’t allow to write the found data. How convenient.

I had a hell of a stress the last days. My host dad wasn’t that happy when he found out what’d happened. But after all it only confirmed his opinion that I was responsible for breaking every computer. My host brother didn’t let me use his computer, because he always has been pissed of about the need to share it and afterall I had now my own computer. Fine.

Last option: Internet cafe. A very interesting experience. Surrounded by Russians (age 9-17) playing Counter Strike and similar games. But at least the feeling that you can use a computer as long as you want and need to (okay, I had to pay … but that were peanuts 1Ls/3 hours).

I figured out how to use a tool I already tried out, but with which I was overburdened: testdisk. Back home I tried it out (after arguing with my host brother to change keyboards – I had only one for usb port which is pretty useless in DOS) and was relieved that it worked about as described, although it was a slightly newer version.

Even better: Windows worked. Internet worked. Ha, life is fine.

I wondered how I could donate something (I don’t have Paypal), but the main brain behind the tool also collects Euro coins! Very good, I ordered my parents to collect some and sent them over to France. Maybe I can even think of some lines in French to write him!

Increase the blogging frequency

November 4, 2006

I think I will blog more in the future. It’s not just that I didn’t have time, it was just that I didn’t felt like blogging. Now I could say I kinda licked blood again. And of course I want to try writting something for the new blog. I don’ t know about my german blog, I think I will concentrate on my two wordpress blogs. One reason is, that I always enjoyed blogging here the most. Can’t even say why.

One more reason for blogging more is, that I need something to do. When I’m online, I have always a few things to do. Check the Latvian networking portal draugiem.lv, my gmail account and that’ s it. Of course I usually don’ t have the time to explore my blogroll and surf around, as I did this night. But there is still always the urge to contact my friends from Germany, now spread all around the world (Canada, California, Chile, Swiss, Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brasilia, just to name a few). They are thousands of miles away – but just one mouse click. And I want to avoid to contact them to much, because I need to concentrate on my life here in Latvia and forget the old life for a while. So maybe blogging could help me, distract me a bit, when I’m finished with my online routine.

I’ll see. But it doesn’t mean I’ll write something about Latvia, not at all. Don’t expect that.

Still alive in Latvia and some random side notes

November 4, 2006

First, I think I should say something about my residence in Latvia. Hey, I’m here, I’m glad (also I kinda injured my knee and can’t walk for a while – time to blog), I’m fine. I’m very happy that I happen to be in Latvia.

More maybe, later first I wanted to complain.

I wanted to create a blog like this. WTF? Another blog? Yeah, a blog like this. So what could I mean? A blog like this, where the main point is not what I write, or for whom I write, or about what I write, but the language I write in. I mainly started this blog to train my English and to improve my language skills. I think I achieved that goal. At least I had fun.

Now I’m going to start a blog in Latvian. Okay, most of you won’t be able to understand anything (or is any Latvian reader out there? That would be so fucking forš (Latvians will understand)), the problem I had and I wanted to complain about are the names. First, I wanted a short and easy to memorize domain name (yeah, some marketing ideas stuck in my mind, Michael). Second a name that rocks. Third it should fit to the topic (which topic?) – at least fit somehow. Conclusion: Something short in Latvian that makes sense. Didn’t found anything.

Okay, so something else. I thought how I figured out the name of this blog (while I’m writing this, I got a new idea … hey, not bad!). Nickname. I’ve got some kind of nick name in Latvia. It’s Jons, because Latvian male names always and with ‘s’ (when they checked the names of all the exchange students here in Latva, the first comment I got was: “Oh, it’s a guy!”).

This blog name was already in use. I tried other combinations. And more. And more. In the end there were like 3 to 5 brilliant, genious domain names, didn’t worth a centims (smallest Latvian coin). Why? Because the domain names were already in use. My problem, why I’m furious is not, that the domain names were in use. I have no problem with that. They claimed the blog names first. The problem I have, is that the blogs belonging to the domain names aren’t in use!!! Not at all. Not a single post.

Hey people, I encourage you to blog. All of you. But you should decide wether you continue blogging before you register your domain name!!

Okay, that’s actually all. Fuck, I forget the idea I had.

Oh, and two more comments to wordpress and the wordpress people: Fuck, I love you! All of you! Can you read my mind? First, you have now the possibility (only condition is you have a domain) to select your domain for your wordpress blog! In combination with the option to buy a customizable CSS layout, wordpress.com offers now a really cheap alternative to hosting your own blog! Second, this is actually the first post, that is auto saved by wordpress! Great. Saved at 0:52:38. Uh, it’s getting late!

A few more things to Latvia. For those of you, who didn’t knew, I live in Riga, the capital of Latvia. Riga is great city, I loved it from the first moment. Although I was a little shocked at the beginning: Riga displays a huge contrast to the viewers eyes. Old, fucked up houses and in between a few new, modern buildings, nearly like villas, endless high skyscrapers. Same for the people: Old people in worn clothes waiting for the bus together with the young businessman in a new stylish suit.

The Oldtown of Riga is fantastic. Of course it’s aimed at tourists, but all the clubs, pubs, cafes and restaurants are great.

School is different, but I like it. And little by little, I’m getting used to all these crying small children, the terrible noise and that you need to shout if you want to have a conversation.

My host family is great too, the only problems I have to encounter are my host dad’s dislikes of many things I so damn enjoy. Like going out to Vecriga … But still I’m having a helluva life here!!!

Edit: Until, now the new Latvian blog has a domain! Maybe I’ll change it and move the content to another domain, if I happen to find a better one. Of course I appreciate  suggestions!

I’m leaving

August 18, 2006

This night I’ll be leaving for Latvia. I fly from Düsseldorf to Frankfurt and then to Riga. My hostfamily will wait there. Huh! I’m kinda nervous now.

Btw: WordPress.com has some new awesome features. Example? My current post got just auto saved. Try the pages around the dashboard. A comment and tag tracker. Hilarious!

Peace, I’m out. See or read or write you soon (hopefully, at least).

Last summer

August 6, 2006

An excerpt of Last Summer – Lost Prophets

And we laugh till we cry
Always so hard to say goodbye (good bye)
And we all sit round here in our home town
It’s so good like this, these are times we’ll miss
The memories, I hope will never fade
Glowing embers fly across the sky your

Here by my side, in my summer, our last summer
The world passes by in my summer, our last summer
The light makes shadows fall, surrounded by each other
I let you watch it all, the view through our last summer
The view from our last summer…

Usually I prefer to create own blog content. But this time … it’s so fucking apt (only it’s not exactly our last summer – i mean we’ll hopefully see us all again in just about 11 to 12 month) … :-)

Time is relative

July 31, 2006

I just sat in the bus, thinking. And I figuered out the mystery of time (at least for myself).

It’s the thirtyfirst of July now. The nineteenth (I am just reading Stephen King’s last novel of the Dark Tower series – what a coincidence) of august I’ll fly to Latvia. And time is running fast. So fucking fast. It may have to do with the summer holidays, but I think that’s only an amplifier. It was just the same two month ago. Time was running fast.

Two month ago all my friends were still in Germany. To specify, all my friends who are or will soon be abroad. A few are already gone. I won’t the them for a year or so. (By the way, the tension you (should) get as a exchange students doesn’t came yet – only when I think about my friends spread all around the world. How is T. doing in Guatemala? Or A. in Costa Rica?)

But the day I got to know them feels like yesterday. Everything (time) is blurred. I was in downtown yesterday … wait, it was not yesterday. Was it saturday? Friday? A week ago?

Why is life happening in a flash? It’s because it’s fun. A goodbye party there, a goodbye party here. Meeting friends and knowing this will be the last time makes you want to have a good time this time. The last time for a while.

Time passes the quicker the more you would want it to freeze.

You may want to have more time, maybe a little time for being yourself. Relax. Do things you disregarded.

Nevertheless, you feel good.

The contrary: You’re bored, time seems to stand still. Not that much else to say.

In conclusion time (or your sense of time) is kind of a measurement how you’re life is going.

News from Latvia

June 21, 2006

I finally got my hostfamily!!!

They live in the middle of Riga. That's exactly what I hope for. It's unbelievable. My hostdad is independet, my hostmom works in the pharmacy sector. I've got three brothers at the age of sixteen, thirteen and six. 

I don't no any more yet, but I'll surely contact them the next days.  

The actual report of my week in Hamburg

June 8, 2006

This time, I'll complete what I'm about to beginn. A report of last week with YFU in Hamburg for exchange preparation purposes. I won't publish this post until I told every last bit about last week. Nevertheless it is very difficult due to the fact that I am not allowed to tell too much. I mean, it might read someone who'll have his own prep and it would took away the punchline for several activities for him.

Nevertheless – If you don't want to be spoiled at all, I would suggest not to read this article, although I think it's not spoiling anything that would take your fun away.

The Saturday before last I took the train (by the way, I could catch the fifth part of The Dark Tower at the train station's bookstore – what a chance) to Hamburg (it is so fucking expensive nowadays). I actually believed the week would take place in Hamburg itself. But unfortunately, among other participants I met in the bus we had to drive a whole hour out of Hamburg. Nevertheless what I saw of Hamburg seemed very nice.

I slept in the bus and didn't talk to the other students I'd just met. I was just too tired. We arrived in Geesthacht, I shared a room with five six other students and it took some time until everyone was assembled (fourty-six going to be exchange students and thirteen supervisors). The afternoon didn't happen that much: inctroduction and get-to-know-each-other-games.

The evening we already started the first serious event. I won't explain it hear, I think it belongs to the could-destroy-others-fun category.

The next days, we had a plenty of programm. Ah, it's a pity I can't tell about it in detail.

Sunday, we had a crash course in recent history. The last hundred years in Germany in only seventy-five minutes. But it wasn't intended for us to memorize every little detail, fact and date. It was more kind of a very interactive museum. Afterwards we seperated into little groups, around ten students and a few supervisors (supervisor doesn't taste right, nor does leader or any other word I found in the dictionnary – they doesn't have the connotation of fun – native speakers may help!!!). That would be practiced all week, altough the compensation of the groups changed.

We had great discussions. Really. It shouldn't be as school and it wasn't. The day school turns into such a working place with a chilled atmosphere, nearly everyone talking (more or less – and sometimes you needed a few motivated guys to push the conversation – I often did) and saying his opinion bringing in ideas and so on ….. that day I'm going to be teacher. Unfortunately I never won't (and that's good as I would never want to be teacher – however, I hope you got my point).

Where did I stop? Yes, history. We discussed the history in 65 minutes presentation and moved to responsibility, imprinting, and, as always, to the W – questions. Why did we do that? What relates it to your exchange year? Stuff like this.

I can shorten the next days, at least the details. It was always similiar (not that it was boring – nooo way). Sometimes we did a excercise before, a (role-)play, a game, whatever.

Monday I got up an hour earlier – just to go running (the group running became smaller and smaller over the week with the same degree as everyone slept lesser and lesser). Monday we talked about our identity. We developed (okay, with a little help) a pattern for identity in relation to our exchange (the W-questions).

I don't know the exact order of the next topics, so I'll just list them (and mayhap explain a little).

Europe – we talked about the EU, economy, culture all this stuff. I mean, we were all going to go abroad within Europe – most of us to East Europe.

Culture. That one was very interesting. We developed many patterns (or to be more specific – we got told the most) like a house which has three pillars – communication, institutions and values. And the basement is history (which links to our first topic).

Around wednesday, I think, our community of exchange students had been grown really tight together. I wasn't as quick as I got to know my AFS friends which disappointed me a little at first. Nevertheless, I don't want that to sound negative. Around wednesday, I started to drunk too much coffee. I really exagerated. But hey, I still participated in the morning run!!

Communication and values were topics in the last days. Also very interesting and informative. There was a really great presentation for communication, before we splitted in little groups and realized, that noone of us used the information we had got. Well, after a while, most of us did. I think I was one of the very last.

I forgot democracy. There was a long during, but well made presentation for it too. We had a special guest who only came to show us his presentation.

There was something we were strictly told not to tell at (AFS had it too) referring to selective perception and accommodation as the last topic.

And a few things in between. We had an evening for us students to organize something fun for our leaders (I still don't like the word, damn) and it was great. It was the last day and I went to sleep around 4:00 am.

Most evenings we had little groups (about three to four students) to discuss the day, chitchat a little and so on. My group (it was always the same) was fabulous (and our topics very philosophical). Thanks to you, should you ever happend to read this at all.

And, the best at the end: We all commited countless murders. Yes, to be honest, we were kind of barbaric. It was like a bloody slaughter. Piles of corpses. Everyone against each other. Don't count the dead, just continue to kill. Okay, I was joking. But we still had a murder game, although it was bloodless. One had a name and a condition to 'kill' someone. But noone could be around except 'dead' people.

The departure was sad. A few even had to whine. Everyone hugging each other. Just cool. I took the train home. I was home. I slept fourteen hours.

So that was last week. I think there still miss things, but I'm already writing and writing and can't end. I hope there's still anyone who's willing to read all this. If so, hope you'd fun, I tried to add a dash of humour.

Edit: A side note: This is my longest post ever. ;-)