From the outside looking in…a new take on the United States

I guess it is about time that I give you another overly detailed account of what has been happening the past few days.

I started Sunday morning off with a bang, actually a trip to the nearby church for mass, where yet again I couldn’t understand a single word that was being said. But hey I ALMOST know how to say the sign of the cross in the German…now that is progress! Following church I headed back to the dorms to begin working on some procrastinated homework.  Actually the work wasn’t exactly assigned, but I figured since the only grade that will be given is the final exam that I might as well stay abreast of the subject matter and do some in-depth research and review my notes…man am I dedicated or what?! Just kidding, more like am I scared or what!

I’m not really sure how, but somehow the entire day passed without my knowledge and suddenly it was dinner time!  Apparently hours of studying interest and exchange rates makes time fly! I’ll save you all the details and just say blah blah blah, I ate…yada yada yada skip a few hours… and it was dorm movie night!

The dormitory kitchen/dining room makes the perfect spot to project a movie for all friends and fellow residents to view.  While the movie, “A Little Bit of Heaven” wasn’t that great, the camaraderie and “bonding time” was well worth it!

Yesterday I started my second week of classes with International Marketing.  The class (like all of them) was 3.5 hours long and the time flew by!  The teaching and learning style here is so interesting it deserves just a small digression from my play by-play of events.

At the Uni, the responsibility to learn and understand the concepts is entirely up to the students.  If you want to listen you listen, if you don’t you don’t. If you want to come to class you do, if you don’t you don’t, but you better hope you can pass the exam.  Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the classes here I discovered this morning in my second lecture of Private and Corporate Banking.  The lecture was again given by an economist at VP Bank, and focused on the world’s currency market and exchange rates.  The interesting thing was that the entire lecture (as would only make sense) was from either the Swiss of Eurozone perspective.  Each example, each scenario, and each explanation had the franc or the Euro as the domestic currency and the US dollar as the foreign one.  The natural explanation of theories and parities was from a completely different view than I have ever been taught.  No longer am I learning how other countries operate according to the US perspective, but how the US operates according to a European prospective.  For the first time, I am an outsider looking in on my own country.  This was extremely evident when discussing exchange rates, and the default description was how many Euros will get one US Dollar not how many dollars will get blank foreign currency. As an economics major, this new insight is extremely interesting and I can’t wait to learn more!

Oh it was also interesting when we kept being shown a formula with the symbol WK in it, and of course I raised my hand and politely asked “What does the WK stand for exactly?” and the response was…”Oh sorry its German for exchange rate.”  Well…HOW was I supposed to know that?!

Now that I have probably rambled on more than you would like about my classes I will return to the play by-play.  After class today I returned to the dorm for an All-American lunch courtesy of the care package sent from mother!  Grilled cheese, Easy Cheese and crackers, and a Cosmic Brownie!! Yum!!! Oh that reminds me…I HAVE to explain the package that my mother/family sent me!

What started off as a request to send my forgotten mirror and retainer turned into the care package of a lifetime!  It was delivered to the International Office and they of course got their year’s laughs that the American was already getting a package, but hey whatever wait until you hear what was in it!  It included:  Jiffy Pop popcorn, Cosmic brownies, Gardettos, Slim Jims, Rice Krispie treats, grits, Reese’s peanut butter eggs, Sour Patch Kids, sour gummy worms, Zatarain’s fish fry, and beignet mix!! All the necessities from a southern home!  Thanks family.

I of course was given instructions to share…we’ll see if THAT will happen…

After my American lunch I headed out to explore a few of the museums in downtown Vaduz.  The Kunstmuseum (Art museum), the Postage Stamp Museum, and the Liechtenstein Center were all on the list and all were well worth the trip.  There is only so much one can describe about a museum so I will save you the agony and just say “it was brilliant”.  (Another hint…Jennifer and I have decided we are single-handedly bringing the word brilliant to popularity in the states…get on the bandwagon.)

Oh I forgot to mention this earlier, but on Saturday night I treated the dorm to an All-American feast consisting of Sloppy Joes, french fries, and Key Lime Pie (or what was supposed to be)  It turns out I accidentally bought lemon juice so it was rather a Key “Lemon” Pie and…it never really set so we scooped it out and ate it more like Key “Lemon” crumble than pie, but it tasted brilliant so oh well!

Jennifer’s cooking potato soup for tonight so we shall see how that goes…you would think nothing could go wrong, but never underestimate her powers!  I’ll be sure to give you an overview of how it goes, which I am sure will be great!

Now for the best part of the blog 5 interesting facts I have learned this week:

1.  One of my Latvian friends, Zane, has a boyfriend who reads these blogs to find out more about what she is doing than she actually tells him.  Shout out to the boyfriend, Janis Ozolins.

2. Taco Bell is not real Mexican food (which I knew), but…Mexicans do in fact like it!

3.  It is possible to make a cake that is shaped like a lamb.  And our “Mama away from home” Mrs. Kay made us one and it was great!

4. Never underestimate the power of food from home!  Cosmic brownies and Reese’s are items to be treasured by those of you still in the states, because you’re not getting them in Europe!

5. Cowboy boots are not very compatible for climbing hills.  Your socks ride up and it’s just NOT very comfortable.




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