Hurray for internet at the monastery!
So, clearly, I'm here, and it's okay. There are too many people, and it's cold, but other than that, it's okay. There were some adventures this morning with finding a duffel bag (after purchasing things, I didn't have enough room...), but other than that, all was well. I wound up waiting on the steps of the Dom for four hours for the bus to take us to Haus Altenberg for the orientation. About an hour into it, I noticed a couple other people with bags sitting on the steps and speaking English, so I asked if they were from the Fulbright group, and they were, so I joined them. Gradually, we grew into a mighty throng (seriously - about two hundred people) of Americans (with a couple Canadians, Brits, Irish, Australians, and Kiwis) with way too much luggage and formed a procession to the buses when they arrived. Must've made a pretty sight.
Haus Altenberg is nice. It's gorgeous, really, but my enjoyment is marred by the presence of so many people. Argh. I was properly sociable all day, which took a major effort, but...bleh. I prefer people one or two at a time, not two hundred at a time. Plus, I have to share a room with two other girls, neither of whom are really my type at all, but I will survive, I suppose.
Anyway, the place is good. The guy in charge of the ceremonies and so forth is a very amusing German guy (who speaks in English). The heads of education or delegates or something from each of the Laender introduced themselves, in German, which I followed easily (even the jokes, yay). Supper was tasty. We (me and my roommates) sat with some funny guys who are stationed in Leipzig. The cooking staff are pretty good - we had really good mashed potatoes and some kind of meat dumpling things. We broke up eventually into groups by Bundesland (states, essentially) to discuss things. The woman in charge of Sachsen (Saxony) is very nice. Nice nice nice, everyone is nice. There are about a dozen people besides me stationed in Sachsen, Thueringen, and Sachsen-Anhalt - one in Dresden (one of my roommates), three or so in Leipzig, and the rest in smaller towns.
After all that, they started serving beer, and I escaped the ruckus to check my e-mail, etc. So, I've got internet access. Yay. Get online or e-mail me or something. Crowds stress me out.