Sunday, February 27, 2011

Willkommen in Deutschland

I love Germany. In some ways it is much better than I predicted it would be, and in others it’s much worse. I prefer to just think about the better ones.

Way number one? We found a house yesterday. After 25 days in US and German hotels, a house sounds rather appealing right now...even if we have to part with our precious, hot breakfast every morning. Although, I’m sure both my husband and I will suffer from a predictable period of acute agoraphobia when we finally move into our house, which will be in about two weeks!
Getting a rental house here is a pretty cut throat business which entails aggressive spur of the moment decision making, a reliable navigator, proper and excessive schmoozing of the owners, and a lot of spare change. In fact, enough spare change to buy 10,000- 14,000 soda pops (just to get you a set of keys). But the house is wonderful! Best things about this house? Well, first of all, it comes with a (apprx)4.5 foot tall German Grandma next door (she is the cutest, sweetest, and most likely the only 4.5 foot tall German Grandma I’ve ever met). She covers the yard with perfectly cared for flower gardens and from what we hear, she makes you jam and homemade pies! Not that I can actually eat pies (more for my husband!)…but still… just the thought of receiving and smelling one from an adorable Grandma is wonderful enough by itself. The rest of the best things about the house include the view outside the windows of the fog ridden woods behind the house, very awesome landlords, the nearby church that rings it’s bells every day, the semi-iconic “no tank” road sign in the village, and the fact that the landlord’s name is Manuel, which I found rather ironic because it sounds very much like manual, and we’re going to be “consulting” him whenever we need information or instructions concerning the house. Also, it’s big enough for us to entertain a good number of guest. Hint, hint. To all you people that promised you’d come visit us, we will have a ridiculous amount of spare bedrooms and would appreciate some company any time over the next three years. I’m afraid you will have to put up with, well.. me, but there are some benefits. The good news is that my husband makes up for all that I lack in coolness and the German countryside is so intoxicatingly beautiful that sometimes it actually makes me want to cry(well, that and the fact that I can’t speak German yet, I have only one friend, I’m on my period, I miss my family, I don’t have a driving license, a cell phone or a clue as to what I am doing here, and I’m a gluten-free, non-drinking, vegetarian who lives in the land of sweet smelling bakeries, beer and weinerschnitzels).

Enough of that, here’s a list of my favorite things in Germany so far.

#1- My husband. Technically he didn’t come with the country, but he’s still the most fabulous noun I can think of. I’m so glad I get to look at his green eyes whenever I want… which is quite often.

#2-German. We are really focusing on learning to speak it fluently, and I just so happen to LOVE TO STUDY languages! So, I’m happy. Also, I love the grammatical rules of the language. I just love a language that has, and generally follows rules that actually make sense. Not to mention the fact that the list of perfect and close cognates is spectacularly refreshing. So far, my man’s favorite word is Funf (foo-nff). It means five and I’m pretty sure I misspelled it. Either way, the spelling is irrelevant. The best part of this word is just how it sounds when you say it. My favorite word is Ausfahrt. No reason really, other than the fact that it’s freaking hilarious. Ausfahrt means “exit” and is obviously posted very frequently. I’ve decided it’s a pretty simple (and seemingly accurate) test of one’s level of maturity… a test that I failed with flying colors. It’s especially comical to me because the sign is shaped like an arrow, as if notifying you of the direction one should go in order to find an ahss fahhrt. Not that I would be interested in doing that, but perhaps I would stoop to sending someone in that direction if, of course, it didn’t actually mean “exit”, and I just so happened to be in a particularly awful mood.

#3)  25mpg=114 miles an hour on the Autobahn.

Goodbye America, I'll see you again sometime.

February 21, 2011

It’s official. Provided TSA agents don’t find a reason to keep me here, today is my last day in America. It’s only too bad I’ll be spending approximately 20 hours of it in and in between airports (the first 4 were spent thinking about the next 20). And Airports, in my mind, are not the most accurate portrayal of our lovely homeland. Now that I’m thinking about it, perhaps an airport is a more accurate representation of America than I would like to admit. I mean, I’m looking around at about a hundred laptops, cell phones and iPods, with a few miserable looking people poking their heads out from behind them occasionally to check the time and then let out a defeated sigh. Maybe I’m starting to wonder. Anyway, in only a few short hours, I’m going to meet my Love in Baltimore, and we’re going to fly over the ocean together to make a new life in Germany.
I’m not going to lie… I’m pretty excited. Granted, that feeling of excitement is mixed with a combination of a couple other less glorious emotions (ie, stressed, sleep deprived, and impatient).

But, before I continue this post, I’m going to send a message to the man in the red shirt. The one who has been standing literally two feet behind me (for the last 15 minutes) and reading what I’m typing over my shoulder… all the while unsuccessfully attempting to look unsuspicious, casual and nonchalant.

Dear  Strange dude in the red shirt,
            Can you possibly stand anywhere else in this enormous airport? I’m neither enjoying, nor entertained by your abnormally constant, blatantly obvious, and creepy stares.  I’d appreciate it if you either left, or sat down in one of the 10 empty seats right in front of you. I’ve looked at you three or four times in an obviously questioning manner in an unsuccessful attempt to display my annoyance and discomfort concerning your unnecessary and uninvited breach of my personal space. So now, I’ve resorted to just writing you a very plain and simple message that you cannot misinterpret. Back off dude. Also, while we’re on the topic, I might as well let you know that you might be esteemed extra creepy because of your mustache. The truth is, some men look wonderful with mustaches and others can often wrongly be mistaken for pedophiles or other sexual predators. I don’t know you, but I would probably categorize you into the latter group… but that’s mostly because of your abnormal social behavior and the weird way you are looking at me. We both know this place isn’t that crowded.
 He left like 40 seconds after I signed it (insert semi-guilty little grin here). But seriously, I’m fairly confident that I know a real creep when I see one…

Anyway, back to America. It’s truly a swell place. I’m going to miss all those “only in America” things and people. However, I will not be missing our powder blue rental car, which we appropriately call the Blue P.O.S (pronounced bloo-pahs, usually accompanied by an annoyed growl or some other type of word of frustration). I will also not be missing the Auto Zone Monster Jam event at the Verizon Arena in Little Rock. It was overpriced and under awesome, and a complete slaughterer of all the childhood ideals one has of how amazing and incredible monster trucks are. The only thing entertaining about the entire show was the strange people in the crowd who seemed entertained by the pathetic trucks driving 5 miles an hour over previously crushed cars in a small, cement arena (I’m certain that you would have to be very drunk or less than 4 years old to even stay awake for the show).  But even if I think for a long time about all the frivolous things I’m not going to miss, the list of what I am going to miss is a hundred times longer.

Got to go- my plane is boarding!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fine Lines and Another Move.

I’m not sure about what the “blog etiquette” rules are on how often you should post. I hear that if you are a fabulous person you can post up to one time per day and people still love you. If this is true, then I imagine I should blog every 7-10 days or so, maybe that's pushing it. The thing is, I’m pretty sure there is a fine line between Blog and Blaaaahhhh-ugh (it’s all in the pronunciation). But don’t get your hopes up… I cross fine lines all the time. It’s like the difference between a healthy sense of fear, and a healthy sense of fun. A healthy sense of Fear is the voice in your head that says “I shouldn’t do what I’m about to do because I might die” and it is Fear’s emulous foe (Fun) that says “If I don’t do what I’m about to do, I’ll die... of boredom.” Either way, you’re taking a risk. It’s a balancing act really, which can also be dangerous... but fun.

Speaking of balancing (this really has nothing to with balancing, I just felt like saying that), today is moving day at our house. Officially, as of 3.5 minutes ago, all of our belongings are on their way to Germany (except for the suitcases which we are probably going to be living out of for the next 1-2, or maybe 10 weeks. We’re in the Military… need I say more?). I really don’t mind living out of a suitcase, but the entire experience depends on what mood you just happened to be in when you packed for it. I hate it when I get somewhere for a two week stay and I open up my bag to find that I have 8 different black t-shirts, 3 pairs jeans and a nasty set of worn out chucks to choose from. Seriously, you can only get so creative with 8 black shirts. Even if you turn them inside out, they look pretty much the same (except for the tag sticking out- which can be a lot of fun in itself. It’s amazing how many people will ask you if noticed your shirt was inside out. It’s quite funny really, but at the end of the day, the joke is on you…). Or, the opposite predicament can happen when the only casual item you can find in your entire suitcase is your toothbrush. That’s when you end up wearing 5 inch, sexy, high heels to an out-door picnic. And let me tell you this, there is NOTHING quite like wearing 5” heels in grass and trying to look at least half mentally stable (let alone sexy). While everyone else is walking around comfortably and having a grand time in the carefree sunshine, you’re prancing in slow motion like a rigid dinosaur (you know the pose; knees bent forward, butt-sticking out, hands floating in front of you in search of stability and shifty eyes as you look around to see if anyone else noticed the violent looking trail of disaster, deep gouges and craters your worthless heels left in the grass behind you. All the while, you’re morphing from a sleek six-feet tall to a fumbling five-foot-seven with every… single.. awkward… step… you..take.). This is an example of a rare occasion when the time old quote “Fashion Over Function” has a purpose-defeating, negative effect on the social benefits of wearing terrible shoes just to look hot. There is a difference between looking hot and just getting a lot of people to look at you… another fine line.

Back to moving. I’ve decided that packing is much more fun when you just don’t do it. Kind of like surgery. It’s cool and interesting… provided you’re not the one getting it. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried to will the house (apartment actually) to organize and sort itself with my Jedi mind tricks (they don’t work at all by the way. Star Wars is a load of crap.), the only thing I accomplished was true procrastination. Which isn’t as impressive as it may sound, seeing how that is a skill that comes quite naturally to me and does not need to be further perfected. So yesterday morning, it became apparent that I could no longer procrastinate and I got to work on the project. I packed, moved, and organized everything into neat piles in different rooms and then decided that I should probably take a nap (at 3:30 this morning). 4.5 hours later the movers came and took it all away. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t the most awesome thing I’ve ever done. But on the bright side, (umm, I can’t think of anything to put there, so… yeah, I’m just going to leave it blank you and can insert whatever you want to)…

But really? The rest of the day is looking nice. I’m going to finish cleaning, SLEEP?, eat too many rice cakes, run some errands, find a hotel, and then maybe my husband and I will go say goodbye to our neighbors that we’ve never met/or seen before. Maybe we’ll bring them some flowers and a thank you card and tell them we are really going to miss them because they have been such wonderful neighbors and friends all these months. Maybe I’ll even cry a little when I tell them that I’ll never forget them. It would be hilarious.