Friday, September 30, 2011

Thank You, Oregon

I moved here in September 2008, a week and a half after we were married. 

I'm moving away in September 2011 (well, six hours after September ends). 

These three years have been the happiest and most beautiful years of my life.
Thanks, Oregon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Postcard from Germany

This postcard came for me this morning.

All it said was:


You're welcome.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Epic Goodbye

View Larger Map

As I'd mentioned before, we went on an epic goodbye trip through the northwest back in August. It involved lava, close encounters with wildlife, and eating the best meal I've ever had in my life.

If I ever find myself the proprietor of a travel agency, I would recommend this exact itinerary for everyone because it was so crazy-perfect. PERFECT. I tell you.

And look at that map! Doesn't that little blue route line just scream, "Jealous, aren't ya?!"

'Fraid it does. I'm afraid it does.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bad News and Good News

Bad News:

The owner of Peptohaus decided to let the apartment to a friend.  mumble mumble nepotism mumble...

Good News:

We won't have to live in a pink, boxy building?

Second Good News:  

We will be able to stay in a temporary (albeit expensive) furnished dorm apartment till another option opens up...somewhere... sometime.

I'm starting to think that Rostock is a city without any housing anywhere, ever, at all.  I'm going to shuffle over to my window now, stare longingly over the landscape and start singing some West Side Story tuneage~~

 ::trembing voice::

"There's....a....plaaaaaaaace for uuuusssss.  Somewhere...a...plaaaaaaace for usssssss."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pros and Cons

Things not in Germany:

Measuring cups
Teaspoons and Tablespoons
Normal-sized pillows
Vanilla extract, Almond extract, Lemon extract, ad infinitum
Brown sugar
Jarred pasta sauce
Free water in restaurants
Mexican food
Ice cubes
Small light switches

Things in Germany:

Paul doing "Blue Steel"

Totally worth it!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Third Lap. High Fives All Around!

(September 17, 2008)

Today is our third anniversary.  Let me tell you about what we're going to do together to celebrate!

Aaaaaabsolutely nothing.  Stupid continental separation...

It's not a total wash, though.  I had some nice young man in Germany bake and hand-deliver a gigantic chocolate cake to Paul's lab.  Booya!  Awesome Wife Points!  (+250!)

Also, there was that whole 'Two Week Farewell to the Northwest Extravaganza Anniversary Graduation Present" trip we took in August.  I know that I should just do what we did back then and say, 'Yay, that's our anniversary!'  But the thing is our anniversary, and there's no way to get around that fact.

And I miss my husband who is nine time zones away from me.  NINE!  Count 'em.

I wish I could turn to him right now, give him a big hug, and start power-chanting, "Three more years!  Three more years!" in between kisses.

So, Paul, when you read this, know that I'm jumping up and down on the couch with my fists in the air, hollerin' and whoopin' and generally acting like Tom Cruise because I want you, the world,...and Oprah... to know that I love you!

And I always will.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pulling Up Roots

Today I went to water my garden--the garden I've been working in for three years now, and I noticed the signs of September.  The onion tops were flopped over, parts of the tomatoes were turning yellow, the parsley had bolted and tall umbels were full of seeds.  It's time to pull up the roots.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Allure of PeptoHaus

Das PeptoHaus

Today I met up with Paul on video chat at the usual hour, knowing that I would be getting my daily Apartment Hunt Briefing.  Right off the bat, Paul sent me an e-mail with this picture of the apartment he visited today with the caption, "Isn't it pretty?"

I just laughed right out loud and said, "Not on your life or my life or our nonexistent dog's life are we going to live in a Pepto-colored building for two years."  Because, you know, I thought he was being sarcastic with the photo caption.  Actually, he probably was being sarcastic because, you have to admit, this is probably the most frightening building facade you or I have ever seen on the planet.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ohhh Tuna, Tuna, Tuna Starts with T!

This ain't your grandma's tuna.

Or...maybe it actually is more like your grandma's tuna and it ain't your childhood tuna.  But at any rate, this is a fresh caught tuna loin and ohhhh, do I have plans for it tonight.  You might even say I have designs on it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

It's Time for Some Campaignin'

Oh! I remember this time of year in Germany from when I was on my mission! The air is a little cooler. The sunset comes a little earlier. There is a freshness, a briskness in everything. And there are campaign posters EVERYWHERE. Plastered on buildings, roadsigns, lampposts, you name it. You see, America isn't the only country in the world with some crazy politics. Even the "dry" and "stiff" Germans get riled up when it comes to jobs, the economy, and taxes. The state where I now live just had its parlimentary elections, and there was plenty to make me feel right at home. There were posters about caring about the elderly, giving our children better opportunities, and job creation. Sound familiar? But there were also a few surprises. Come with me as we explore the world of German politics through their colorful propaganda!
Let's start with the ruling party, Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDP). Looks like they're great coaches. And they can help your girl scouts succeed! It says they'll keep Rostock safe and orderly. Hmm...that sounds good. Maybe I'll vote CDP...
But what's this? This cool-lookin' dude is from the Social Democrats (SDP), the major rivals to the CDP. He's as good as the land, it says. Wow. That's pretty dang good. AND he respects the elderly??!! How can I not vote for that?
Uh-oh. This looks cool. So bright, so green. Of course! It the Green Party! And they know how to make machines that make jobs. Sounds magical. Maybe it IS time to give the Greens a chance...
What.the.heck. A Pirate Party? Who's ever heard of a Pirate Party? What's their platform? Rum and booty for every child? Well, not according to this poster. This one just says "Nazis out, Pirates in"... Nazis? really?
Yeup. They're still around. And what's more, their official platform (the National Democratic Party or NDP) actually won some seats in parliment from this state during the last election. A bit of a protest vote, I'm told, but still quite embarrassing for most folks around here. That's why there were quite a few "Choose ANYONE but the Nazis!" signs out there this time around, too. Sounds like a pretty good plan to me. I did actually see some NDP signs around town, but they were mostly very high up on street lamps where the young people couldn't get to them and tear them down. They had scary-looking images of minarett towers overshadowing church steeples and said "No mosques in Rostock!" Still playing the fear and hate card, I'm afraid...
Well, there's the quick and dirty tour of some German political propaganda for you. And, just so you know, the nice guys do come out on top. The guy who respects the elderly totally won.
See you next year, Campaign Signs!
P.S. I learned yesterday that the Pirate Party is a real global phenomenon. They want all information to be free to everyone (no patents, no copyrights, etc.) Not quite as cool as the rum idea...
P.P.S. If you haven't seen the jibjab video this post's title is referencing for a while, you really should review:
It'll get you ready for 2012. Hooray for politics and unicorns jumping over rainbows!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oh, did I forget to mention...

 Paul totally passed his dissertation defense a month ago, today.

It was pretty epic.  There were parasites and crustaceans and pointed questions about the preferences of mosquitoes--then, of course, came the snake fight

But through it all, he prevailed and earned the right to now say, "That's DR. Paul to you."  The power...the terrible and awful power of it all.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Wilkommen in Rostock!

Two days ago the Hunn advance party (me) arrived in Rostock to begin scouting for the second wave of our invasion (Heidi). With an apartment to find, bank account to set up, residency permits to apply for, and demography classes to attend, I'll have my hands full over the next couple of weeks. Before all that started in earnest, though, I spent this weekend getting established in my guest apartment and checking out the city. Here are a few highlights from my reconnaissance mission:
1) Home base- my guest apartment on Patriotischer Weg (Patriot's Way) is small, but sufficient as a starting point for subsequent advances. My second-floor apartment is well hidden from view by an accommodating tree.
2) The Institute- my office is on the third floor, providing me with an excellent surveillance position. The location of the Institute (only a 5 minute walk from my apartment) is excellent: on the Warnow River right next to a typically-blocky communist statue. Nice.
3) The Market Place- beautiful European buildings: check. Awe-inspiring cathedral: check. Weird seagull statue: check.
4) Bakery- possibly the most important building in Rostock and secretly the number one reason why I took this job in the first place. Mmm...pastries!
All in all, a pretty sweet place to be invading, I think. More information coming in future dispatches.
Paul out.

Across the Pond: Apartment Hunting

Petrikirche.  Tallest. Tower. Ever.
Paul arrived in Rostock last Friday and, like a real estate warrior, has pitched himself into the battle of finding us an apartment.

There's one apartment he's checking out on Monday and he went on a walk to scout the area.  It's in the oldest part of the city--which, meh, I guess I could get used to.

Hah!  Just kidding.  It's totally awesome!

Old city (altstaadt) street and potential neighborhood

There are a few less expensive apartments closer to the Institute in the "new city" (aka things built between 1750 and 1900) and so we'll probably end up over there.  Don't get me wrong--the New City is preeeetty awesome in it's own right and I would not complain if we ended up there at all.

 But if this apartment is as awesome as it's sounding (top floor, lots of windows, about €550 per month) then who knows?  It's a 30 minute walk, but I don't think I'd mind a 30 minute walk through the altstaadt (old city) any day.   Even if we don't take this apartment (we could totally save a hundred or so Euro each month in the other area after all), I think this area will be one of our favorite places to go and just "experience."  Viva cobblestones!

Things I Will Miss: Camping

SO, Paul and I are moving to Germany for a number of years with only what we can fit into two suitcases each.  That means we're giving away most of our clothing, selling or donating all of our furniture, and generally Walden-ing our lives so we can go live by some metaphorical pond otherwise known as Europe.  

After this summer, however, I suddenly found it very difficult even imagine how we could possibly live anywhere without our camping gear.  Camping has become de rigeur for us here in Oregon--and is there anyone who could possibly ask why?

Elk Creek Falls--And what did YOU do for your Friday night?
I mean, we buzzed out of town at 4pm one Friday and within two hours were high up into the Siskiyou National Forest where we found a campsite with only one other tenant (waaaay on the other side), and an empty spot right next to some summer river rapids and covered with Douglas Fir.

What did YOU see when you opened your eyes on Saturday morning?
We built a fire, we roasted marshmallows, we screamed like little girls when the tortilla chip bag skittered across the picnic table (courtesy of our new friend "Chippy the Chipmunk").  We sat there looking at all the stars and we just talked for hours in the quiet.  And we said out loud, more than once, "We're really going to miss it here."

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