February goes by quickly for everyone by nature of it being the shortest month of the year, but this February has gone by especially quickly for me because of all the traveling that I’ve been doing. It’s during times like these, when I’m almost halfway done with the semester even when it simultaneously feels as if I’ve just arrived here, that I tend to write down memories and events that I don’t want to forget. It’s not really a journal as each memory occupies a sentence or two; it’s more like a pseudo-journal. This blog post is, essentially, my pseudo-journal about the places that I’ve travelled to this month.
Memories of Zürich, 9/2/19: Woke up absurdly early to catch the bus because it left Freiburg at 7:10. Watched the sunrise on the bus to Zürich and couldn’t really tell where Germany ended and Switzerland began because both countries speak German. Walked for around 10 minutes to visit an umbrella alley that was smaller than I imagined and kind of disappointing. Was amazed at the water fountains scattered around the city where you fill up your water bottle for free. Learned that the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant is in Zürich and went there for lunch. Ate an eggplant tartare at the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant that was good but pretty expensive. Walked 40 minutes to go to the botanical gardens and went from cold temperatures to absurdly humid temperatures inside of temperature-controlled plastic domes where they kept the plants. Broke a chocolate penguin at a chocolate shop and a dog figurine at a souvenir shop, but miraculously did not have to pay for either one. Had cheese and meat fondue for dinner that was cheap but fantastic.
Memories of Strasbourg, 13/2/19: Visited the European Parliament and had to wear formal dress for the first time during this program. Was in awe of the chamber the members of Parliament sat and voted in. Listened to a member of Parliament call one of their colleague’s policies bad. Listened to another member of Parliament say “breakfast” when they meant to say “Brexit.” Feels annoyed that we didn’t stay for the vote on the legislation. Took the bus to the city center and was amused as people freaked out over passing a KFC. Turned around a street corner and saw the jaw-dropping Strasbourg Cathedral. Learned that the romantic spots of the city were actually places where there had been a major syphilis outbreak. Drank really good hot chocolate in a cafe.
Memories of Basel, 16/2/19: Visited a Picasso exhibit and learned that Picasso was a great painter, but an awful romantic partner (Google it!). Appreciated the fact that Basel, like Zürich, also had public water fountains. Visited the comic book museum and learned about French comic book artist Jacques Tardi. Appreciated original comic book art purely as art due to not being able to read French. Ate the lunch that I had packed because I had learned that food in Switzerland was expensive from my trip to Zürich. Found a museum that had work by a Hong Kong artist only to be weirded out by his video exhibition. Made paper at the paper making museum and got a free poster. Ate at an Asian fusion restaurant where I had really good Korean fried chicken for dinner.
Memories of Frankfurt and Brussels, 18/2/19 - 21/2/19: Realized that the European Central Bank really, really cares about price stability. Was woefully underprepared for the seven-hour bus ride from Frankfurt to Brussels. Was surrounded by second-hand bookstores and comic book stores, which made me feel like I was in Boston. Visited the Council of the EU and the European Commission. Learned that Marx wrote "The Communist Manifesto" in Brussels and visited the spot where he wrote it. Ate a proper Belgian waffle. Visited the Manneken Pis, which our tour guide called “Brussels’ most famous resident.” Listened to a speaker talk about how Russia was one of the biggest threats to the EU. Listened to Russian diplomats talk about how Russia wasn't a threat to the EU in the same day. Ate kangaroo meat at Korean barbecue and reflected on how surreal it was that I was eating kangaroo meat at a Korean restaurant in Belgium. Visited the Atomium and the comic book museum. Once again being woefully unprepared for the long bus ride back to Freiburg. Left Brussels, hoping to return someday.
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<p>I was born and lived in Hong Kong my entire life before coming to the United States for college. My three favorite things in life are currently politics, comic books, and Kpop, although not necessarily in that order. I like to write, read, draw, and work out in my free time.</p>