Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ringing in the New Year

First off, let me just say, there are Christmas posts in my brain which are forthcoming when I can upload the associated photos sometime after Sunday when I'm reunited with my lap top. Due to Ryanair's strick handbaggage allowance and rediculous checked baggage fees, we traveled with one piece of hand luggage for 11 days and I just could not get my lap top into my 10 kilo limit. On to New Years, I'm currently preparing to head to a friend's apartment for what I anticipate to be a calm NYE in comparrison to my ringing in of 2008 in NYC. We will be eating fondu and setting off fireworks. I'm a bit skeptical about tha latter activity as all of Germany has fireworks for tonight as NYE or Sylvester (yes, like the cat) as it is known in these parts is the only day fireworks are legal and absolutely everyone takes advantage of this. As a fireworks novice, Patrick bought me the XL kids pack, consisting of poppers and sparklers, but he has 15 rockets and 80 of those red explosive sticks for himself. Fireworks are for sale at all the grocery stores, home depot type shops and most likely gas stations for the last three days of the year. Here's to hoping I make it to the New Year ;) Good Slide!! See you on the other side.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Please Excuse my Technical Inability

Somehow my last post turned into a link to one photo but the links on Merkel and Bad Wimpfen, etc. still work. I don't know how to fix this. I also don't know how to add more than 5 pictures to a post (I think I solved this problem) and as you may have noticed my blog layout is pretty boring. I guess this all means I should learn htma. An suggestions? For now, I'm just going to post 5 more photos her and 5 in a following post. On the topic of Christmas Markets, Patrick and I met up with Paulo, an old college friend of mine (think frehman year in Bressler) who hapens to be living about 30 minutes away and was in town for business and looked me up on Facebook (now that's a good reason for social networking mom). We went to the Mannheim Christmas Market by the Water Tower which also happens to be the one "scenic" thing in Mannheim besides the Castle. I hear there is a museum in the castle but I digress. Are you geting into the Christmas spirit yet?
The oh so Famous (or not) Water Tower, it is actually pretty and surronded by fountains in the summer. RI Representin'
On the way out, we saw Barbara...
standing under this "secure" disco ball in a tree.
(M, that one is for you) This is the Heidelberg Christmas Market from after work last Wednesday. One of the many incognito trash cans.
I love how the candy booths look, so much color and sugar!
My colleagues and I in a wine cellar at a Christmas party.

Angela Merkel is in Town

Frau Merkel came to Mannheim (sorry the English press didn't yet cover it) for the first time as Chancelor today. She was actually giving a speech in the building across the street from my office as a guest of a University of Mannheim Professor at the ZEW (translates to Center for European Business). Tried as we might via the 4th floor window, 3rd floor window and a solo attempt by ours truelz for a viewing and photo, I could only get as close as her cars (3 Mercedes and an Audi, all black, 2 registered in Berlin and the third from Bonn) and didn't want to look suspicious to the police by taking a photo. Suprisingly for an American such as myself, the security was minimal, a few uniformed police and a couple of plain clothes guys on foot patrol and no closed off street. In fact, you can find way more security on a Satrday in and around Mannheim soccer games - and they aren't even in the 1st league! According to the article I referenced above, she was in town for only 2 hours to hold the presentation and then she left via helicoptor. She as one black away from the Castle and didn't even visit it. Since my whole Merkel experience (or lack there of) was a bit of a disapointment, I've included the following photos from the Christmas Market we visited last weekend in Bad Wimpfen. Of course, I felt obliged to include the standard Christmas 1/2 meter sausage (in case you forgot I was still in Germany). It is an old walled city that has remained mostly old and I look foward to visiting in the daylight/spring but it was the perfect back drop to a traditional Christmas Market. You can even bring your own mug! This weekend we are hoping to go to Nuremburg - the mother of all Christmas Markets, I only hope it can live up to its reputation.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A peek into my Office

It've wanted to put these up for some time now but I kept forgetting to take them and then I got new furniture so I figured now would be the best time. Here's a look at the place I go everyday, the Lehrstuhl for Marketing III, otherwise known as the Department of Marketing 3. Basically there are three marketing departments at the university, soon to be four. This is different than what I was used to from URI where there was only one marketing department and several marketing professors. We have 3 departments each headed up by a professor and each working towards their own research in a style of their choosing. Each individual department is responsible for teaching classes in the B.S., Masters and various MBA programs at the University and the Mannheim Business School (which is seperate from but intertwined with the University in a way I'm not yet 100% clear on). So, without further explanation, here is my office, starting with the name plate.
the view from my window
the before shot with my small desk and couch
after the new furniture came, note the second desk for my future roomate

This is the man who looks like he is going to jump. He's standing on the ledge in the middle of the second floor of the Mannheim Business School building and I'm not sure if he is intended to look like a jumper or just be a symbol of a business man, regardless of intentions, his positioning is ironic.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Snow in November

Last weekend it snowed in Mannheim. On Friday I heard a rumor of snow expected nearby but was asured that Mannheim was not getting any yet. Saturday morning proved my source wrong. We woke up to find the back yard covered in snow. By Sunday morning the snow was completely gone and it snowed again in the evening. This time Patrick and I were out on the town. We tried to go to a Christmas market that did not exist and ended up at the Starbucks by the market place. I hapily drank my lebkuchen latte and watched the flakes sprinkle down on the palm trees out the window - so weird! Of course, I had to take some photos of snow covered palm trees and the bike that was locked up to one of the plams.