Thursday, May 21, 2015

Week 12 | BBQ by the lake, Green screen experience & housemate's birthday

18 May 2015
The discovery of disposable picnic grill

Just the other day, I was invited by Sarah for a picnic by the lake. This is again, my first time doing something new. I've never had a BBQ by the lake. Maybe it's because in Malaysia, we don't have nice lakes or maybe it's because the sun is always blazing there and nobody wants to be BBQ-ed by the weather or it's just a hassle to set up a BBQ. Ah Europe, where you can enjoy eating on the grass (without having to fear the possibilities of being bitten by a snake, like Australia lol). This invention is genius. I'm so amazed by this, seriously. Omg, I feel so jakun now. 

Alcohol, cheese, tomato salad, eggplants, bell pepper, and some grill-ready meat. That is all we need. 

Photo credit from Sarah (on IG)

There were five of us that evening. Me, Sarah, Luca, Kari and her husband, Jakob. We started our bbq at 7.30pm but we had a problem with the griller because it wasn't enough to cook all of our meat. So, Sarah had to cycle to the nearest mini-mart to buy another griller. Emergency situation much. Lol. But yeah, we finally finished grilling and eating around 10pm (and yes, it only gets dark by this hour). I would like to take this opportunity to thank the super chef, Jakob for superior grilling and fanning performance. 

A lovely silhouette picture of Sarah with the lake

An undiscovered view. Only possible because we did not leave early. I guess the griller malfunction is a blessing in disguise. 

Ah, the gift of innovation
Yes, no kidding. I am so amazed by it, I had to run to the mini-mart the next day to search for it and then take this picture. Now, you know, don't need to thank me for educating others that it is possible to BBQ without that much hassle! No more messy clean-ups. Just chuck them away once you're done with it. 

20 May 2015
Playing with Green Screen

You can't possible know, how much trouble we had to go through for booking this studio room for filming. First of all, being a foreign exchange student puts you in the "special condition" category. Before any students can use the studio, they have to go through a security instruction session which the normal students will take during their first or second semester. Our group have 4 international students and 1 local student. So, right, only 4 of us need the instructions... but no, we can't attend them because the technician said we need a local student to babysit us even for the security instruction session. Which is kind of stupid. It's not like we don't understand English. I don't know.

Okay, I'm blabbering. Long story short. Appointment. Can't make it without a German student. Kicked out once. Tried to book again. Sarina (the local student from our group) has a very hectic schedule. Studio was fully booked for a long period of time. The only option was tomorrow during the Hochschule Sport's Day (when we were discussing about it on 19th May), 1st of June (I'm not in Germany), 1st of July (Sarah is not in Germany). Yes, everything clashes. The technician saying that he cannot promise because of train strikes. May or may not use the studio on 20th. Finally, the day has come. We made it.

Even when I tried to shortened it, it seemed like a long story. All of that for only a 4-hours session in the studio. It was kind of our fault too for not making the appointment earlier and also some miscommunication happened. Shit happened.

Tidying up the set before filming
Helena as the subject for setting up the lighting. I have to say, she is a very photogenic girl. 

And we think being a subject for filming is easy. All you have to do it stand in front and pose. For me, it isn't easy. My body was in awkward positions, I didn't know how to move, sit or even stand. I was being unnatural all the time I think. Also, the lighting, it's just blinding. Imagine staring at the camera while three or more bright lights just blasted at yer face for 2 hours straight. I'm practically half-blind during the session. 

Setting up lights again. And this is me with my funny outfit, a dress, black tights, and white socks.
I'm a trendsetter okay. 

And here are some funny shots during our experiments with the green screen. I don't know anymore. LOL. But it's kind of fun and kind of a work out too. Damn, I'm getting so lembik these days. I need to get back in track with strength training. And yet, I always say I need to do something but I ended up not taking any actions about it. Typical.

Emo... Nein.

Celebrating Raimi's Birthday

Actually that day, many things were happening. One of it was this. Celebrating one of my housemate's birthday. This is so weird for me. LOL.

Honestly, I'm not really close to all of them. I'm only more talkative with Sevda and I only talk to her more in the house. Raimi was a new guy who moved in after me. It was his birthday soon so he demanded/invited/suggested us to make a birthday party for him. I used so many verbs in the last sentence because the way he asked us is very strange. I'm not sure how I can explain this. LOL. I think it is also an effort from him to make us socialize with each other. He and Ghee always says that "We're a family here". Frankly, this is not what I call a family. HAH. I don't know what to say everytime I hear that. If I deny it, I would sound rude. So, I just ignored it.

Some how, we ended up preparing the kitchen for the birthday celebration. Ghee bought the ingredients and decorations. Sevda and me did the decorations and made tiramisu cake. It worked out. Surprisingly, Raimi was so shocked by the effort we made, and he looked like he was about to bawl out. Interesting situation.

Sevda serenading us with her guitar and her voice, Raimi was so happy he couldn't sit still, Ghee was just mesmerized by Sevda's amazing singing skills. Hahahaha

Time to blow the cake

The tiramisu did not look very pleasant but luckily it tasted very nice. I also learnt something interesting. It is always a must to look a person in the eye when you say "cheers" and proceed to clink your wine glass with the others. Else, you would seem really rude. I didn't know this until yesterday. Every time I make a "cheers", I would just look at the glasses so that I don't accidently pour it over someone and I didn't want to clink too hard on things. They are made of very fragile material you know, don't want to ruin a perfectly good glassware.

I will be away for awhile because I'm flying to London tonight! 10 days of hearing British English. I'm gonna swoon everywhere there. Hahaha. I've also heard that there are many crazy people there. Let's see how much of that is true. Will be back with a lot of pictures and more blabber of travel tales from Joey coming soon! Ciao for now

Week 11.2 | Tübingen excursion & Hohenzollern Castle

17 May 2015
An excursion to another German town, Tübingen 

It was rather cold that day
I love schooltrips excursions from the Hochschule because they are so cheap (only 10 Euro per person) and all the activities are planned for the students. All we have to do is just be physically there for it. Additionally, I can see some hidden gems in Germany.
Instead of traveling with a train, this time, it is bus trip time. Again, the sceneries we saw during our journey, they were beautiful. They journey took around 2 hours and we were meeting our tour guide straight away.

Neckarinsel (Nectar Island)
First stop, Neckarinsel which is a really small island near the town. Although it's small, we were told that the island are used for concerts sometimes especially during summer time. Hmm, must be very crowded when there's event going on I guess.

Our English tour guide
Naturally, our Offenburg student group are split into two groups: one tour is in German, and the other in conducted in English. I forgot the guide's name but all I know is that he is from America and he's been studying in Tubingen for a few years. The first thing that caught our attention was his style of course. A fusion look of Sheldon + Leonard from TBBT.  Hahaha.

The view of the one part of the old university from the island. 
Okay, I'll blabber about the things I remembered from the trip but please don't trust what I say. I might have remember it wrongly too but I'll try.
Back in the days, a small number of professors and scholars lived in the university (this exact building). The professors will occupy the highest floor and the students will occupy the lowest one. The rooms in the middle floor are used as classrooms of course. Apparently, the students had the duty to clean the walkway of the professors' floor too and in return they are given free alcoholic drinks. This turns out to be a problem because the students were getting so drunk, they made a lot of noise that results in the residents in the vicinity to be very unhappy about them. And I forgot what they did after that.
The first three subjects that were taught here were Medicine, Law and Theology (if I remember correctly). All the instructions in the university were given in Latin language. Apparently, there are many famous people who graduated from this university. E.g. the astronomer Johannes Kepler; the economist Horst Köhler (President of Germany); Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), poet Friedrich Hölderlin, and the philosophers Friedrich Schelling and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.
-Wiki reference

They call this "punting" 
Colorful buildings

Colorful buildings at another angle  
The river looks heavenly

Walking around town with our guide

Evangelisches Stift 

Random window

Some... gate.. thing........... yeah 
A creepy head statue of some... famous guy.. Idk.

Decided to take a picture of this mini hut because it reminds me of John Carter, the movie


One interesting story about the church. Apparently they have to shorten the "tower" because they did not have enough money for construction. That is way the church looks very out of proportion (big base, short tower). I've had enough of seeing church interiors, so I didn't go in and have a look. Interesting enough, google map has a 360 degree view of it. Huh, go figure.

Lunch time

Had spatzle, pork shoulder, sausage and lentils. A bid lunch for a small girl. 
Lunch was great although a bit expensive. I think that was the most expensive lunch I've ever had in Germany. I'm a spendthrift on a special day like this.

Punting time!!!! 

My hair looks so awful. "Punting" is a perfect activity for those who wish to ride the gondola in Venice. But of course, it is a much cheaper version but worth every penny. I totally love this.  

our "punter"? I made that word up.

Everyone is just chilling. I love how we can just sit and lay on our backs too. Genius.

A magical experience

Funny story, I actually said something that I shouldn't out loud and I sexually harassed the guy who is responsible to drive our "punt"(well, I only suggest Berit to check out those arms). Hahaha. Not intentionally of course, but I feel kind of bad because he went quiet for awhile. *crying and laughing so hard right now*

I get to drive the punt too! It was quite an honour and it's not as easy as it looks! The long stick actually weight about 10kgs but of course when it is in the water, it is not that heavy. Still, it is hard to move it against the current. I also found out that when we want to rotate left or right, all we have to do is just leave the stick in the water to the left/right of the boat end. If you don't understand what I mean, it is okay. The main point is that I understand. LOL.

Berit and Bea also tried out punting! 

And this is Luca as a model. He is just giving me, the photographer, a variety of poses. Hahaha.

Next, the Hohenzollern Castle. 30 minutes drive from Tubingen.

And I have to tell you...

... it's a climb alright.... 
But we survived! 
But remember to bring enough water. I finished mine and I was thirsty as hell when I reach the top. From all the gasping and heavy breathing.  

You shall not pass! Just kidding.. Come on right in.

All I see is inverted love

Secret garden

Breathtaking view from the castle. And again, it's so much more beautiful to see it with your own eyes. 

Feels a bit like Disneyland... Even though I've never went there before.

Getting a tour of the castle

"House shoes" for the castle visit
The highlights of the day, two baby owls
Camera was prohibited inside so I have no pictures to show. I secretly took a picture of the giant shoes though. And also a picture of the baby owls I took when I was outside. At first, we saw it from the inside of the room and I thought it was a fake owl. It kept very still but someone said they saw it blinked so I was waiting for it to move. Apparently, it is real. Wow, my first wild owl sighting. This is so cool. The tour guide told us they weren't there the day before, so I guess we were pretty lucky. 

About the castle, they still keep the floor clean because the castle is still being used and some times the royal Prussian family (which I have forgotten the names :S) still goes and stay there. In the summer season, the castle is used to house children from all over the world and I heard they usually stay for two weeks. Actually the castle rooms are not very big. It is only used as a fortification.

I also heard some very strange and amusing stories about the people who used to live there too. Apparently, in the old days, the people are shorter. So, in the past, men has the same height as me (I'm 158cm tall) or less than that! They also don't bathe that often. It is normal for them to take a bath 3-4 times per year. Yes. we are talking about the royal family who used to live in that castle. They didn't like water very well. In the old days, being fair skin is a very good thing. And also they wear white wig (both men and women). Wearing a wig also helps to eradicate the oily scalp problem from not bathing that much. They usually wear the wig at day time and when they go to sleep, they will put the wig away in a bird cage so that the birds will eat the fleas and bugs in the wig. I know... sounds disgusting! Apparently, the ladies wear flea traps under their dress too! This is much more horrifying! Perfume are of course widely used to cover up their foul odour but if this would happen today, I think we would instantly faint with one whiff.

Soldier who has been guarding the castle for decades or even centuries

Hey yo!
End of excursion
It was only 5.30pm when we started our journey back. We reached Offenburg at 7.30pm. For me, I think the idea of driving two hours away (four hours as a round-trip) for just a one day trip is exhausting. Well, it is still exhausting even though I am not driving. But, after this trip, I feel like I shouldn't limit myself when it comes to travelling. In Malaysia, I think the chance of me doing this is really low. Even if the journey is one hour, I will still feel really lazy to travel. I might have to change the way I see things. Else, I'll be missing so much on life.

But yeah, enough blabbering for this post. Please ignore if I have any grammar mistake, I'm not perfect and I'm short on time these few days to proofread my blog post. So yeah. Ciao!