Back from an intense trip - and an even more exhaustive overnight bus ride, I got back to Leipzig around 6am. I got some genuine sleep before class that afternoon. It was a rather typical Monday - class and too much time on Facebook.
Someone with big hair blocked the last few words on the Powerpoint slide.
The day was uneventful until the evening as I was meeting friends for a beer. The lights on my bike went out a few days prior, so I asked myself if it was worth the risk of a fine. Many friends of mine have rode their bikes at night without any issues - of course, I would be that one-in-a-million winner...I made it about 500 yards before I was stopped by a shaded figure who introduced himself as a Traffic Security Officer. I saw the police vehicle about 20-30 feet away and realized I rode ride into a bike checkpoint. I knew I was screwed, and the officer did as well. Aggravated with the situation, the officer was skeptical of my ID, and when I mentioned I was American, he really didn't want to believe me. He grew frustrated when I asked him to explain in other words what I did not understand - he couldn't seem to find any other words, even in German.
He dumbed it down with a strict tone stating, "You're going to have to pay a fine. Do you have 20 euros on you?" Well straight from Argentina, I thought he was looking for a bribe. I had a few follow-up questions to make sure this incident would not cause a larger headache. He explained that I had the option to pay on the spot or go to an office and pay later. When I was assured that I would get a receipt, I wanted this to be behind me. I paid my dues and had to walk with my bike to the bar. I did not bother pushing my luck as I walked home, again with my bike by my side. And 3 weeks after I've shared the experience with friends, everyone has functioning bicycle lights for safe nighttime riding.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
In hopes of a brighter and restful Tuesday, I started off with brunch with Sara (former AFS from Italy) and Tsampika (from Greece). It has become our Tuesday tradition - everyone brings a little something and we enjoy the company, food, and conversation. Sara provided me with some advice for fixing my bike lights - finally some order for this already hectic week!
Brunch at Sara's place
I made my way to the Radgeber, or bike repair shop recommended by Sara. It was then after waiting for well over a half hour that I discovered that I would have to repair the lights myself. That is like asking a blind mouse to paint the Mona Lisa: it would require a miracle. I headed out the door when they explained that I would do the repairs but under the guidance of the bike professions. HALLEUJAH! It was quite the learning experience, and I'm grateful for learning something new from the entire debacle.
Proud of myself, I then faced my next challenge - "healthy" food shopping for two. I would describe myself like a lost child as I wandered the aisles with too many options to fathom. My typical diet of pasta and grilled cheese would not suffice my visitor, Wiebke from the TCNJ/Frankfurt exchange. Although I built up the anticipation in myself, it wasn't really a big deal...just another encouraging moment that it's okay to try new food combinations.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The day was spectacularly beautiful as I sat in lecture from 9am to 5pm. The pot of gold at the end of this rainbow was a free beer at Moritz Bastei - the student club next to the main campus. From there I had dinner with Benni, as I anxiously awaited the arrival of Wiebke (my friend from the TCNJ International House). Despite some delays with the bus, she arrived safe and sound. Although it was three months since our last reunion, we picked up like it was yesterday. Those late night conversations are something that I have so dearly missed.
Free Beer at Moritz Bastei
I will continue with more about Wiebke's visit in the next blog post. I apologize for the delay - May has been very busy with visits, school, and life in general. In fact, I will be heading off to Berlin to pick up my dear friend, Ashleigh from NJ, at the airport in just a few hours. I promise to do my best with the updates, but until then, I hope you all live the dream!