Friday, June 17, 2011

Shiny things this week

Last night there were fireworks in Heidelberg to celebrate the 625th birthday of the University of Heidelberg.  625.  I remember us being really impressed that the Boston Common had been around since 1634.  1634 is only 377 years ago.  Europeans look at Americans a little bit derisively because we're so stupidly, easily impressed by old stuff, but it's really just as simple as this.  We don't have old stuff.  An American who's never left the US has never seen old stuff.  We used to get hyped up about anything older than 100 years even if it was nothing special, just by virtue of its oldness.  Now if we look twice at something that age, it's not because it's old but for some other reason.

Anyway, the fireworks were actually pretty good - better than the usually thrice-summerly ones.  There go your student fees, Uni-Heidelberg students. ;)  I kid, I have no idea how they funded them, but they were nice.  Sadly I have no photos, because I forgot to bring out my camera.  Instead, you'll have to make do with this rainbow I saw from the S-Bahn to Mannheim on Tuesday evening (I now feel compelled to post every rainbow photo I take just out of habit):

We haven't had a musical interlude in a while, so let's have one of those too. .... Okay, never mind.  What I wanted to post is not available in Germany.  This problem has actually gotten even worse lately, if you can believe it.  I know, I need to set up one of those browsing things where I pretend to be in the US.  It's the principle man. I shouldn't have to because these rules are mind-crushingly dumb.  #firstworldproblems

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Beliebte Vornamen 2010 (Popular First Names 2010)

Continuing in one of this blog's old traditions, I present to you a comparison of the most popular first names for babies born in the year 2010 in Germany and the United States.

A bit on the sources: The US Social Security Administration collects first name data and releases it on their website every year. However, multiple spellings of the same name are not combined, therefore the list isn't entirely what it seems. Per the SSA data, the most popular name given to baby girls in 2010 was Isabella. However,  it comes in at a lower position when multiple spellings of names are combined. I painstakingly combined spellings myself using the downloadable list of every name used at least five times, and present here my adjusted list of most popular names. Go to the SSA site for the original, with each spelling of a name listed separately. Combining spellings is a subjective practice so everyone's mileage may vary.

Germany does not collect official first name data. I usually use this hobbyist source, but there are other lists out there that are not exactly the same.  This source combines multiple spellings of the same name, but I show only one spelling here. If you've got another source, let me know about it!


Saturday, June 04, 2011

Schlossbeleuchtung 2011!

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Tonight was this year's first Schlossbeleuchtung - a thrice-yearly event in which the castle is lit up as though it's on fire, followed by fireworks for no apparent reason other than the fact that we live in a valley and that makes the sound of fireworks especially awesome.

The whole Saturday generally has a festive atmosphere, with wurst and candy stands in places like the Bismarckplatz, boats lining up all over the river for a good viewing spot starting in the afternoon, and pre-fireworks apartment parties and barbecues all along the Neckar. It's a generally good time to be in Heidelberg, especially if the weather cooperates as it did today. :)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Brain Not Recovered

Our minds have been slow to recover from the English-language vacation this time. When we returned to Germany, my husband slipped and spoke English to passport control - first time that happened.
It's been more than two weeks since we came back and I had been doing okay...until now, when a "thank you" slipped out to the UPS man. ARGH! This has seriously not been a problem before. Are our subconscious minds trying to drag us back to the English-speaking world??