What Goes into the Biomüll?

When you first arrive in Germany,  your new residence comes with quite a few new rules. Among them is the business of how to separate the trash.

Biomüll Tonnen

Some of you care to do so, so here is the list of waste items for the brown container (German: Biotonne):

  • kitchen waste – anything raw or cooked
  • vegetables and fruits (no citric fruits though)
  • cheese, fish, meat, bones, and cold cuts
  • egg shells and nut shells
  • milk, flour, and cereal products
  • dry goods having gone past the expiration date (without the packaging)
  • oils and fats (solidified)
  • coffee grounds, filter bags, tea bags, and tea leaves
  • paper towels, paper napkins, and tissues
  • newspaper used for wrapping
  • lawn cuttings
  • shrubs, fallen leaves, and bark
  • other organic waste, such as  hair, feathers, cat litter, wood shavings, and sawdust (only from untreated wood)
  •  hay, straw, and pots made of peat and cardboard

 

Christmas Tree pick-up in Germany

Today was the big day for the pick-up. We were told to have the tree out there by the roadside as of 6 a.m. and once the truck passed through, there would be no further chance to dispose of it.

The pick-up is always scheduled in the week after Epiphany, when Germans traditionally take down any Christmas decorations. Epiphany signals the end of the Christmas season.

Christmas tree pick-up in Germany

I don’t know why this woman assisted, unless she brought her little tree by at the very last minute and offered to dump it herself. I am surprised this isn’t against the regulations.

Off the trees go to their next destination, where they will be turned into wood chips.

Student Life at University of Nottingham – A Roar Or A Snore?

This guest-post has been written by Thomas Shipley, a former Frankfurt International School (FIS) student and a current English Literature student at the University of Nottingham. And yes, we are related.

After spending months at home in post-IB rehabilitation, I wondered what living in England and going to university there was going to be like. Were the rumors of sleeping in, little work, and much partying true? Was English food going to be as bad as us continental Europeans make it out to be? Would I have difficulty making friends?

After a term at the University of Nottingham, I have already gotten my fair deal of student life! Freshers’ week, or week one of university, was probably one of the most exciting times of my life – seven days of meeting new people, going to clubs and events, and drinking. Lots of drinking! Oh and some introductory lectures too, let’s not forget about those.

Settling into my course wasn’t easy, as was the navigation around campus, enrolling myself into modules, and figuring out my timetable. I was so used to having my academic life all laid-out for me that it almost felt like too much freedom. Lectures were a bit daunting at first; two hundred students in one hall, all quiet, all listening to one professor’s voice. Seminars (lessons in a small group) felt like being in school again, just everybody was speaking in various English dialects.

As an international person, part-American part-German, I’ll admit that I felt a bit of an outsider in an otherwise quite homogenous group. Sure, there were foreigners – mostly Chinese – but otherwise I was surrounded by English people. The one thing that helped me along was the fact that English is my native tongue, albeit with an American accent, so the “wrong” type of English. At least that’s what the perpetual teasing has taught me. One English friend would greet me with a grin on his face, yelling at me in his best American accent: “Oh my gawd!” Since this fellow is a Northerner, I would retort: “Ay up!” (a typical Yorkshire greeting to a Lancastrian is not always advisable… see The Wars of the Roses for more information).

I guess what I like most about university life are the societies and the social life. However, there won’t be any more hall socials next year, as I’ll be forced to live in a flat. And maybe I’ll have too much work next year to attend any of the numerous societies’ (e.g., Philosophy Society, Chinese Society, Sailing Society) meetings; I already have a considerable amount of assignments as it is. But all that might get old anyway once I’m in year three. Who knows?

I wonder where my degree in English may lead me. I have a few ideas that I will delve into, such as journalism or advertising. A friend scoffed and asked, “A degree in English? You know what they say about English majors…” Some German friends and family have asked: “English? That’s a useful language to learn nowadays! It should be easy for him, he has an American father!” To them all I say: Well, then you try explaining to me Dickens’s view on the effects of utilitarian education and rapid industrialization on our society!

Oberursel Brunnenstadt – the City of Fountains

With the upcoming Brunnenfest or Fountain Fest (1 June – 4 June, 2012), foreign residents around our area sometimes ask about the German meaning of Brunnen, which stands for: well, fountain, and spring.

The town of Oberursel is home to 68 Brunnen – with 40 owned by the city and 28 in private possession.

St. Ursula Brunnen in Oberursel

Fastnachtsbrunnen in Oberursel

Apfelweinbrunnen in Oberursel

For a complete list with photos of both privately owned and public fountains, visit Oberurseler Brunnen (website in German). Click on Private Brunnen (private) or Städtische Brunnen (public) to view each list.

ACTA and its Purpose

What I had earlier disregarded as a hype on the internet, has changed after watching this clip. It was informative and ACTAs purpose was well illustrated. A couple of times though, the word choice was a bit too attention-grabbing. Nevertheless, I recommend watching it.

Definitions cited from the clip provider:

ACTA – ‘The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement’ is a proposed plurilateral agreement for the purpose of establishing international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement.

ACTA would establish a new international legal framework that would create its “own governing body outside existing international institutions” such as – the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or the United Nations.

Watch this to learn more about ACTA and its possible trails: