Monday, January 30, 2006

Shifting a house in Germany

Yesterday we shifted the house of a friend here. He was to move from a bachelor's apartment to a family apartment (yu hu!!). Thanks God that the new apartment was in the same building. In Germany, if you leave an apartment, you not only have to clean it, you also have to paint its walls. So during the day we packed and moved his stuff. There were many of us (5-6) so it wasn't a big problem. In the evening we painted the walls. I also got to paint one of the walls, to prepare for the time when i have to leave my apartment ;)

In the evening (after Isha prayer) there was an Aqeeqa party in the mosque. It is a tradition to do this party for every born Muslim child. They had prepared their famous dish "kuskus", which we could hardly eat as always. We also got to construct a double-bed for another friend, which turned out to be more of a challenge than painting the walls. The bed came in in the smallest of parts and instuctions on how to put them together. There were lots and lots of screws and we couldn't find an electric screw-driver. So we had to screw every screw manually. It was easy, but took us hours to complete even with three persons.

It is snow on the ground everywhere. It last snowed on Thursday but the snow has not melted yet. Its quite sunny today. I hope it melts away today.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Indonesian names

There are many students from Indonesia here. Its fun to meet them and talk to them. But their names are difficult to remember. They don't have Arabic names like us Pakistanis, rather some strange ones. For example, one of them is named Yo Yo. The other is Yudi. And third one has the name Apri. When asked where does that come from, he replied that he was named this way since he was born in the month of April!!! He said that its not common practice but is done sometimes there.

Like us, they are much more comfortable with English language rather than German. Arabs, on the other hand, seldom know English and thus can speak better German. This seems to be the phenomena here. People who know English don't learn much German as they always end up speaking English in the university. People who don't know English, have to learn German to survive here.

There is an event coming up in a couple of weeks called 'Global Village' in the univeristy. In this event, people set stalls to represent culture of their countries. We also plan to do so. Let's see what happens.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Eid with Arabs

Eid-ul-Azha was on last Tuesday. This eid wasn't so loud may be because of the very cold weather and the fact that Arabs were arranging an Eid party on Sunday. Nevertheless, we did sit together and an Indian Muslim friend cooked a delicious and tedious rice dish (Biryani). On Sunday we went to the Arab Eid party. It was a big party with probably more people than the hall's seating capacity. The hall was located in front of a church. I guess they rented the hall from a Christain orgnaization since there were some bibles placed in one of the rooms.

Children sung songs and performed small skits on stage. There was also a prize distribution ceremony for an arabic course for children. Many families were present there including some European wives of Arabs. They started the program after Zohar prayer and served the food after Asar prayer. The food was a lot and with much variety. In contrary to that served in Ramzan, some of the dishes were very tasty. They always prepare a particular dish called "khus khus". It consists of small grains like gained rice. It always tastes aweful but they keep preparing it. Desserts were served after Maghrib prayer and this too with great taste and variety. During the whole function, there was chaos, so it was a real party.

Last week saw an extreme weather. Temperature dropped Sunday evening to an unbelievable -11 degree Celsius. This continued till Monday noon. But it changed back to above zero today. I bought a camcorder last week. It is a Panasonic GS20 (German version). Similar English models have received excellent ratings. The result of the camcorder is very good in ample light conditions.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Trip around North Germany on Christmas and New Year

End of December brought us the news of holidays coming. So me and a friend (Javaid) decided to take a tour around North Germany meeting our friends on the way. We set out on Saturday to our first destination, the city of Cologne in North-West Germany. We spent one night there with a friend (Ramzan) and played with his cute little children while enjoying parathas (oil-bread?) of his wife's hands. You can see the pics at:

We missed our second stop-over due to mis-communication and had to go to our third destination, the second biggest city of Germany: Hamburg. It lies in North of Germany and so suffers extreme winter. It started snowing the day we arrived there and continued till we came back. It is a port city where a river meets the ocean. Containing lots of bridges, the city runs ferries (boats) alongside its tram and bus network. It was nice to walk through a tunnel under the river and see a museum of transport models of European and American cities. These models were fully operational with trains, buses, cars, emergency vehicles and ships running around. It simulated the whole day with darkness and daylight. Pics are present at:

From there we returned to our last stop-over missing again another intermediate station to Giessen, a small city in almost middle of Germany and near Frankfurt. We travelled with a person who was going there by car by paying him some amount. When we left Hamburg, a snow storm hit North Europe and traffic slowed even on highways. It took us double the time to reach our destination. We saw the New Year fireworks in the city-center of Giessen. Pics at:

Finally we took a trip (rather two) to Frankfurt. First trip was to help the next batch of HEC scholarship holders who were arriving on 30th Dec. The flight was delayed for two hours due to snowfall and so we had to spend the night at the airport. After boarding them on respective trains we came back to Giessen after spending some time with a friend in Frankfurt. We returned back home on Sunday 2nd Jan. Pictures at Frankfurt can be found at: