Posts Tagged ‘berlin’

‘Til the Fat Lady Sings: Reflections on an Impending Senior Year

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

"The time has come," the walrus said.

We live in a dynamic time.  Neil Armstrong is gone, but the Mars Curiosity roves on.  Yahoo’s Marissa Meyer (Stanford ’97, ’99)  is the youngest CEO in the Fortune 500 and its record 20th female.  In November, most of us will vote in our first presidential election.

So, too, it is a dynamic time for those seniors returning to Stanford this year.

I just returned from six months abroad in Germany, and I’m currently in an awkward phase of readjustment.  Why are dollar bills all the same size?  Why are strangers being friendly to me?  Where is the recycling?  A transition so major after such a long time away can be difficult to digest… not least because the German diet consists primarily of meat and potatoes.  But I digress.

With a couple of weeks before my senior year at Stanford, I’m also readjusting to the bizarre reality that Stanford Round 4 is right around the corner.  As the inevitable bucket lists will undoubtedly show, I’m far from done here, with several more turns of the Circle of Death before I’ll kick off my flip flops and leave the Bubble.  What will it mean to say goodbye?

Let’s start at the very beginning….

BREAKING NEWS: Stanford Hospital develops new technique for additive appendage growth.

Perhaps a good place to start is with my expectations coming in to Stanford.  I love talking to new frosh about their majors, because all of them are going to double major in CS and IR with a minor in modern languages while keeping the door open for med school.  You go, kids.  I giggle now, but frankly I wasn’t so different.  If the Kristi of 2009 had gotten her way, I’d be majoring in MatSci, sailing varsity, playing for Calypso, singing for Testimony, and dancing with Swingtime.  I would also, apparently, never sleep.

As it turns out, I am doing none of those things.  Yet I am blissfully happy with exactly where my Stanford experience has taken me.  The beauty of Stanford is how it opens you up to new goals and dreams you never imagined possible.  Even as an upperclassman you can suddenly find interests where you least expect them.  As a Stanford friend of mine wrote, “Two of my absolute favorite things to do now?  …I only really picked them up sophomore / junior year!”  It’s never too late to find and follow your passions.

I’m keeping my mind open, my schedule free, and my rally gear on hand.  And until I walk wackily into the “real world,” I intend to approach Stanford like every day is the day I got in.    (more…)

#abroadproblems

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Major struggs.

Probably the most important aspect of the study abroad experience is the way in which you grow to learn and love a new culture and country.  Probably the most hilarious aspect is the constant slew of missteps and misadventures necessitated on this journey of cultural immersion.

Reflecting on my experiences and those of my friends studying abroad through BOSP, I’ve selected my favorite quotes from the amusing and humbling goof-ups we know all too well.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do – add your own in the comments!

  • Telling a pregnant women she couldn’t sit down next to me on the S-Bahn because I didn’t understand what she said and I thought she was trying to sell me a book.  (Mark, Berlin)
  • New definition of success – crossing the street without dying  (Hannah, Beijing)
  • Walking onto the FKK side of the beach before realizing what FKK means….  (Maren, Berlin)
  • Wearing pyjamas or work-out clothes into an Oxford dining hall for breakfast  (Christina, Oxford)
  • 1. Acquire globe. 2. Apply to forehead. 3. Let the culture diffuse along the concentration gradient!

    2 weeks after coming to China, I started hella craving Panda Express  (Brian, Beijing)

  • Japanese people don’t like spicy food, and I am Mexican  (Christian, Kyoto)
  • Asking for the trash can instead of the check at a restaurant in Paris because your French is really rusty….  (Kristi, Berlin)
  • Waiting for the street vendor talking about you in Turkish to realize you also speak Turkish  (Deanna, Berlin)
  • “Excuse me, I have a question” and “please kiss me” sound way too similar, especially if your tones suck  (Brian, Beijing)
  • Ordering Soup as your “Hauptscheiße” instead of “Hauptspeise” at a restaurant in Munich  (Bailey, Berlin)
  • “So those sea cucumbers I ate mistaking them for fungi were plants right?… (wishful thinking)”  (Hannah, Beijing)
  • Getting carded in Germany… for buying BEER [you can legally buy beer in Germany at age 16 (Maren, Berlin)
  • Thinking YouTube is universal…   (Christina, Berlin)
  • When they run out of tomato sauce for pasta, they substitute with ketchup  (Brian, Beijing)
  • [editor’s favorite]  Toilet shelves.  Despair.  (Ashley, Berlin)