It has been exactly two weeks since we moved to Bonn and life is good. We study, we get to know the other Humboldt fellows (Mitstipendiaten/innen being the incredibly precise German term), and we continue the search for the perfect Biergarten. In many ways it is university 2.0, except without all the awkwardness of the late teenage years or the unnecessary stress of finals. It’s the way university should always have been, just enough intellectual stimulation and work through the week so that you really feel that you’ve earned that Kölsch beer.
Of course, no university would be complete without dorms, ours being the acora [sic] Hotel und Wohnen, a long term stay hotel which is a right of passage in itself. I jokingly sang “O Tannenbusch, O Tannenbusch” as we pulled into Bonn, as I saw a funny exit sign that reminded me of an X-Mas jingle. But that’s where we are, right in the middle of Tannenbusch, a grey bricked suburb that could be anywhere in Northern Europe. Fortunately a bicycle can put you in idyllic fields in 5 minutes, on a trail by the Rhine in 10 minutes, and in downtown Bonn in 30 minutes.
The acora lifestyle is characterized by many little quirks. An automatic door in front of the reception with a remarkably acute sensor that makes it impossible to pass within a hundred feet of it without setting it off. It’s impossible to avoid turning to see the ghosts exiting the hotel lobby. There is also an inconsistently priced laundry room in which 6 hours of usage have been free and yet a single load cost me 6 euros. And the infamous Baustelle (building site) that works from 7am to 7pm six days a week and has driven the poor residents of building 4 to distraction.
But the truly unique fixture of our acora life is the closet kitchen. Equipped with two hot plates, two pots and a pan, two egg cups, two fish forks, a spatula OR a serving spoon, what may or may not be a cutting board, and no preparation space, the aspiring chef will find more challenges than a ship’s galley (which at least has an oven). The acoravore, must truly be a flexible and resilient beast. So far I’ve been able to keep calorie intake with an abundant use of pre-chopped bacon and new potatoes (as they don’t need to be peeled).
So it appears that Eeva and I are set to survive, as many before us, a Summer at the acora. But please send no-chop, no-bake, versions of your favorite recipes, just to be safe. Otherwise we might be forced to increase our intake of incredibly delicious and competitively priced meat, wine, cheese, and bread. The equivalent of living off ramen noodles out here.