Character List, Setting, and Important Words

Also, I’m publishing this before it’s done, but I will try and complete in the next couple of days.  It’s probably full of mistakes, but you’ll get over it eventually.


Core Group

Nels – Nels is a really tall, skinny guy from Pennsylvania with fiery red hair.  He’s an Informatikwissenschaft major at Penn State, and is the Kochmeister and primary navigator of the group.  He’s quite possibly the fastest walker I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting (so fast in fact, we created a new measurement of speed to quantify it:  Nel’s speed[1]).  We have Sprachkurs together every day, so we naturally end up spending a lot of time together, and I couldn’t think of anyone else on the trip that would be so easy to be around.  Nels received a 9 out of 10 in a recent review by Savino Ranallo:  “…he’s great:  you can take him home to Mom, but he still knows how to party!” Update: Nels plays Empire Total War and Risk.  A recording of our ridiculous conversation exists somewhere.  Nels also is an incredible bagpipe player and has already agreed to play at my wedding/funeral (whichever might come first).

Kalli – Kalli is a really nice girl from Louisiana with dark brown hair and huge Rayban glasses.  She’s an English major at LSU, and is the group’s resident hipster[2].  She’s a huge Shakespeare nerd and one of the several Whendonites on the trip (Dr. Horrible & Firefly).  Her music taste is superb.  It is not uncommon for She & Him/Dr. Horrible duets to crop up often throughout the day.  It’s nice to have someone to nerd out with about Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, music, and Mel Brooks.  “It’s springtime for…”

Jenny – Jenny is a really (super) nice girl from Pennsylvania with blond hair (I’ve already committed to this format, so back off).  She’s an Immunology and Infectious Disease major[3] at Penn State and is probably the nicest person on the trip.  We’ve had several conversations about the existence of God, social pressures, and the nature of knowledge; I won’t go any farther into it here, but all you need to know is that she’s wrong.  Can often be heard saying:  “Oh yeah sure don’t yah know” (heavy Wisconsin accent).

Shannon – Shannon is an awesome (and super tall) girl from the good o’le state of Georgia with black hair.  She’s a fellow Geschichte major/AirForce brat and is the French translator for the group.  She’s been so many places in the world and is fluent in French.  Last year she spent a semester in Besançon, France, but became close friends with a couple of Germans, so now she’s studying in Germany to pick up a third language[4].  We both live in Wehrda (the cold, lonely wasteland of a town north of Marburg), so we’ve gotten close during our hour long trips back from cooking dinner at CWH.  It’s really nice to have a travel buddy, especially someone as interestant as Shannon. Right now, I’m forcing her to help me with my French conjugations.  Update:  Shannon is a traditional Irish musician and singer.  We are definitely (as she describes in her own blog) kindred spirits – she updates her blog more often than I do and almost certainly remembers things better than I do, so I’m going to link it here.

Savino – My section on Savino will be short, but not because there is a not enough to write about.  On the contrary, Savino is an extremely interesting person, and now that I think about it, he’s definitely got Jenny beat for the nicest person on the trip.  He literally makes friends everywhere – and I mean everyone – we go.  I lost count of the conversations he struck up with random people around Marburg after 48 hours – and that’s only counting the ones for which I was present.  He’s a blast to be around and lifts everyone’s spirits.  I have yet to see him without a smile on his face.

Bryant – Bryant?  I don’t want to talk about Bryant.  So I’m not going to.


Raphael – (A.K.A. Papa!)  Raphael is one of the Germans helping out the IUSP program, and he’s absolutely wonderful and goes out of his way all the time for us helpless Americans.  Raphael has an extensive knowledge of opening beer bottles – something of a beer opening black belt.

  • Called bus & got camera
  • Printed insurance card
  • Threw us a party
  • Deals with our bad German
  • Took a couple of us to an art gallery in Berlin

Fritz – Another one of the Germans involved with IUSP.  He’s 21 and originally from Frankfurt.  Fritz is a blast to hang around, and he’s always got some crazy perspective on the world.  He’s also a phenomenal cook and like Raphael, can open a beer with anything.

Anna – Anna is in charge of Kulturkurs and trips.  She’s awesome – a few of us hung out with her while in Berlin for an entire day and got to know her a lot better.

Christina – Anna’s sister.

Anna – This is another Anna who is charge of logistics.  We don’t see her much, but she’s cool.

Thomas – Thomas is dating Anna #2 and helps out every now and again.

Cornelia – Leader of the IUSP Germans!

Liina – Liina is the German teacher that Nels and I have Mi.-Fr.

Joachim – We have Joachim Mo.-Di. and he’s definitely not as cool as Liina.

Vera – Vera teaches my conversation course, and she’s cool as shit.  We’re going out on Thursday to sing German karaoke with her.  SPOILER: It’s going to be absurd.


Danny – Danny is awesome.  He’s a radio DJ, and he’s constantly putting his foot into his mouth and apologizing for accidently insulting everyone in a 10 foot radius.

Adam – Adam is a great guy.  I look forward to getting to know him better.

Taylor – Taylor has the thickest Midwestern accent of any living human being, but I forgave him for that already, so he’s a pretty cool cat.






Michael (Wehrda)



Molly Ellen











Katie – Whendonite!

Biz – Whendonite!







John Love

Canadians & andere Ausländer


Becca – Becca’s from Canada, eh.  Super cool and also a Whendonite.





Wehrda – Wehrda is small town to the north of Marburg.  It is home to the most miserable of all the student dorms.  It can take 40 minutes sometimes to get into town and most of mine and Shannon’s friends

Lahn – The river that runs through Marburg.  There’s a lovely place to sit by the Lahn near the Mensa.

Christian-Wolf-Haus (CWH) – Student dorm where Kalli, Danny, Nels, Jenny, and a lot of IUSP kids live.  We usually end up cooking in one of the many CWH kitchens.

Hauptbahnhof (Hbf) – The main train station in Marburg.

Mensa – Student cafeteria where we stop for a quick lunch before running to Kulturekurs.

Rudolfsplatz – This is right at Marburg’s center.

Elisabeth Kirche (E. Kirche) – The oldest gothic church (in the world?).  We meet here a lot.  Kulturkurs is right next door and Raphael lives nearby.

Ahrens – You can buy everything here, even your grandmother.

Aldi – Grocery Store

REWE – Grocery Store

tegut – Grocery Store


Bordelle – Bordelle translates to “whore house.”  It means something is a mess.  “My room is such a Bordelle right now”

[1] Nel’s Speed measured on a 100%-scale where one can be described as moving at “.34 Nels.” 1 full Nels is the fastest Nels can physically walk – which is really fucking fast.  The average human being is estimated to move at an average of .438 Nels while maintaining a brisk pace.

[2] Kalli is not actually a hipster.

[3] We are seriously worried she might be clinically insane…I mean why would anyone else subject themselves to such an awful fate.

[4] WTF, right?


About nlovin

I'm just a guy - I brew beer, host a radio show every Wednesday, and am completely obsessed with the German language.
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