Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My future home

Gellertstrasse 25. I walked past today, and it was love at first sight. I want to buy this house someday.

(image thanks to the staatarchiv online directories. Photo taken in 1946, but it still looks about like that.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Verdict: Pass

My thesis passed...honestly, I'm a little surprised. I'm not sure I would have passed it. I have yet to see my grade on it, but I suppose it's good I don't have to fix it. And, as my grandma points out when I'm unhappy with my grades, I don't have to wear them on my forehead for everyone to see.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

London Trip

Red dress? Check! New heels? Check! Interest in Africa? Double check! Raphael and I flew to London Thursday for a Touch Foundation charity fund-raising dinner for Tanzania.

Despite a few stressful points, it was a fun trip. We met some interesting people, though it was a slightly intimidating crowd...definitely mostly not our peers! The Vice President of Tanzania was there, for example, along with the Minister of Health and various other dignitaries. I didn't recognize them before dinner, and I'm not sure if I'm glad or disappointed in retrospect that I didn't unwittingly introduce myself to the VP as "Hi, I'm Stephanie! What's your name?" Raph said no matter how 'important' people are, they're still just people. (That's a good perspective, but the problem is not everyone else is so egalitarian) I enjoyed hearing the VPs address later in the evening, though, and seeing the Touch Foundation people at work as hosts and organizers. I have several very good classes this semester on humanitarian intervention, African Societies, African Cities, etc. It's great to be interacting with the topics in "real life" as well as in my classes.

Earlier on Thursday, Raph and I met up with Ben, who took us to the Camden Stables Market. Unfortunately, our lunch didn't agree with Raph and he felt quite sick by 2 pm and wasn't sure he'd make it to dinner. While he stayed at the hotel, Ben and I trucked via a crowded Tube over to Westminster Abbey for the sung Eucharist celebrating the Annunciation of Our Lord. It was good to have a little quiet time with God to focus on his incarnation as the context that directs our interactions with our neighbors at fancy dinners in London and our neighbors in Tanzania.

When we got back to the hotel, Raphael was feeling much better thanks to the concierge's recommendation that two shots of vodka with pepper would settle his stomach. :) And so we went to dinner.

He cleans up pretty well, doesn't he?

After dinner I was talking with a guy at our table who works for Vodaphone. He was telling me about projects they're doing using phone accounts as a vehicle for cash transfers to rural areas. For example, a doctor in a rural area in some parts of East Africa may be paid by someone crediting money to his phone. He can then "cash" as much of that as he'd like, or transfer it on to another person's phone if he wishes. Pretty interesting idea! It has some potential problems, of course, and governments are not necessarily excited about a phone company taking over activities that are normally handled by the banking industry. Anyway, I don't know very much about it, but it was interesting.

And that, friends, was my Thursday in a nutshell.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Zertifikat Deutsch

There's been enough dilly dallying on the language front, and it's high time I signed up for an expensive language exam as self-motivation to bring my German up to a respectable level. I checked the exam dates, and the next two options are the end of June or October! Since I don't know where I'll be in October, or what I'll have to do over the summer and early fall months, I think it's going to have to be June. They say that to be prepared for the test, a person needs between 350 and 650 hours of language instruction. I'm not sure how many I've had, but probably around 100, plus lots of exposure. What's a few hundred hours over almost 4 months, right?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Portland for the unacquainted

I've recently tried to explain Portland to a few people. It's hard to do. Richard Nixon says that in all his travels to various cities in the states, it was the city he found to be the most like Europe...which might help. Probably doesn't though. Anyway, a nice little examples of typical Portland:
blog with a post about Hair. I went to school with the sister of the girl who did these hair cuts/styles, and I know the guy in the grey suit. Nice guy.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Now, I think we can all agree...it would hardly have been authentic if I HADN'T stayed up all night to finish it!