Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Straight Up Old People

This weekend we started "taking the local paper."

We're straight-up old now.  For real.

P.S.  Who says Germans aren't fun?  Look at that!  A wheelbarrow race on the front page!

Friday, March 16, 2012

And I Didn't Leave the Apartment for Five Days

This is what happens when I get bored after five days of being sick in bed.

I read three 600-page books and then googled "1930's Pin-Curls."

Taa Daa.  I'm shocked they actually worked.  Slept with a green polka-dotted scarf wrapped around my pinned-hair-head even.  The works.

This is also what happens when I'm procrastinating doing my final paper for my coursework.

P.S. Our apartment is like a used-tissue wonderland.  Everywhere you look!  Used tissues!  Who knew there was even that much excess mucus in the world?  Magical.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"When In (or Going To) Rome"


You may not believe me (especially because of this one post I wrote), but I really don't buy clothes.

I hate shopping, actually.  I have one pair of jeans which I wear with a varied assortment of 6-year-old undershirts and a few 5-year-old sweaters/tops.  How do I know this?  I know this because all of the shirts I wear have H&M tags and the last time I went to H&M was when I lived in Boston.*  So there.

I have three coats.  This may sound excessive.  But, I got two of them for free from roommates that didn't want them (six and eight years ago) and another black winter coat that my mom bought for me seven years ago. They are used for cold weather and really cold weather.  Spring weather is what hoodies are for.

Two pairs of boots (bored yet?):  one waterproof pair for rainy days, one lined pair for snowy or freezing cold days.  Three pairs of flats that I abuse horribly in the summer by never wearing socks and wearing them every single day everywhere.  They are, as some would say, "shot."

I'm usually cool with this arrangement.  When my cardigans get holes in the seams, I sew them.  When my undershirts get holes in them, I keep them unless the holes fall in places that are actually seen.  When my socks get holes in them, I darn them.  ("Darn those socks!" I mutter, while I darn.) When my jeans get holes in them...I just buy a new pair of jeans.  I'm not that crazy!


We are going to Italy.  For ten days.  And dash it all if I was going to have immortalized pictures of me taken at the Trevi fountain in that light blue coat (that, can I just say, has always smelled weird) and those previously-white-now-brown-grey-shoes.  I would always look at those pictures and think, "Hey!  Remember that time...yeahhhhh that coat just smelled odd."

So, I just thought I'd let you know about a monumental event that happened in my life on Monday, when I went to Zara and spent two hours actually trying on clothes (WHAT?!) and deciding to buy some new things.  Granted, nothing I got was too incredibly cutting-edge. (Nope, I didn't get "those shoes.")  But I did get a few new, non-holy undershirts, a shirt with this spring's "color" in it (highlighter-yellow, if you must know), a pair of back-up jeans, and a light trenchcoat that doesn't smell weird that I can wear in spring weather (no hoodie for me in Rome!).

Can I just tell you, having not really ever budgeted for something like clothes before...ever..., that clothes seem really, absurdly expensive to me?  And I may have kept them in a pile in the living room for three days so I could stare at them and say things like, "I'm going to return these tomorrow" to Paul, every ten seconds? 

But, then I tried them on again, realized that I did, in fact, spend two hours of my life in a dressing room determining if they would be useful and worth it, and decided that I actually could keep them.

Baby steps.

Also, green jeans are always worth it.  

*I realized this was a lie after I wrote it.  I went to H&M here to buy a sweater one time.  I also bought Paul some thermal underwear there for Christmas.  I confess.

I Will Survive This Plague So I Can Be Here in Six Days


Venice, Italy 

Great !!!! 

Rowers rowing by the Ponte Vecchio - Florence, Italy 

The Colosseum - Rome, Italy 

The Spanish Steps - Rome, Italy 

Trevi Fountain - Rome Italy

Expect many, many posts about Italy come this April.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Resistance is Futile

We are one week out from a flight to Rome and I've come down with something similar to but not quite as awesome as ebola.

Have you ever read "The Great Brain"?   You know that part where, where one of the brothers gets sick, their mom makes them sleep in the same bed so that they all just get it over with at once?

We're doing that thing.  I may or may not have walked around the house licking all the doorknobs and the toothbrushes just to make sure Paul gets this over with as fast as he can.  I'll even lick his eyeballs if I thought it would help him get this plague faster.

You can be all like, "Oh no!  So mean!"  But really now?  We know that this is going to happen to him sooner or later.  We're what some people would call an "affectionate couple" if you get my drift.  Resistance is futile and all that.

And we'll be darned if we're getting sinus infections in Florence.  Sinus infections belong in Germany!

So bring it on, ebola-like curse!  This week is the week of sickness.  I have declared it so.  I have offered up the lickings.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

This Weekend

We went exploring this weekend.

Anyone else do something fun?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Engageversary the Fourth

Four years ago, on a deserted beach on the Oregon coast, this happened:

And then, approximately six months later, this happened:

So now, every March 8, we try to do a traditional Engageversary celebration by going on a beach walk.  

And this year, this happened:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy International Women's Day!

(And our 4th Engageversary)

Because this video is so amazing I can hardly stand it, I'm sharing it here.  Let's take five minutes to be grateful for the Women's Suffrage Movement, Alice Paul, Henry Burn, the creative workings of Lady Gaga, and the folks who made this awesome parody of the "Bad Romance" music video.

I can't stop watching this!  I just can't!  It gets better and better each time!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Blessings on Your Head

Blessings on the head of my mother-in-law who sent us a package that arrived yesterday.

It contained two sleeves of oreo cookies (American oreos! Which taste way different than the German ones, trust me.)  It was also, as fate would have it, the 100th anniversary of the Oreo Cookie.  Coincidence?!  Never.

Also, a bag of Paul's favorite candy-- Riesens.  This is great for Paul.  This is even better for me, because now I know what his favorite candy is!  I've asked him a million times for three and a half years and he's always like, "Oh, I don't know..."  It's really annoying, actually, because I want to buy him cheap gifts of love and he never has anything "favorite" that I can identify.  But now!  Now!!  I know it's all about Riesens!  He finally remembered--like some man coming out of a long, dark period of amnesia (get out of my head, Downton Abbey)!  Praise the Gift-Giving Gods!

ALSO two boxes of macaroni and cheese!  They happened to arrive just three days after we ate the single box we've been saving since Christmas.   Coincidence again?!  Not on your life.

Oh, but it gets better.  Within said package was also a tax form that I had completely forgotten we needed.  And guess what?!  Its tiny little bureaucratic text meant that we are now paying $400 less to the IRS!  ::heavenly choirs singing::  (Which taxes we can now pay because the package also included our much-needed checks).

And then, to top off all the awesome, we got a hand-written letter from S-Dude, inquiring about bug-eating and  "how the beldings stil stand over 500 years?!"

It was a pretty great package.  It got a pretty great celebratory dance.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Experience Budget

Rostock Markt by F. Geyer
If you want to get technical, the open-air market two blocks away from our apartment is more expensive than the grocery store.

So is the old butcher shop down the street.

And the 19th century bakery near the harbor.

Sometimes the prices are closer--especially when a certain vegetable is in season--but usually there's a 20 or 50 cent difference.  Or even more.

But, you know what?  I shop at the markets, and the old butcher shop, and the tiny bakery anyway.  It's part of spending my "Experiences Budget."

I get to walk in under a swinging sign of a carved bull's head and see a very friendly butcher who knows who I am ("Ah!  Die Americanerin!").

And I get to say things like, "Could I have 100 grams of mittwurst for dinner tonight?"  And I say it in German.

And she says, "Only 100 grams?!  You are not German yet!" And she says it in German.

Or, I get to walk around the Neumarkt in the shadow of that historic, brick Marienkirche, and look at those rows on rows of smoked fish and eels, or see the new kinds of flowers they sell in buckets (not the usual roses, carnations, gerbera daisies...).   Some I've seen in designer bouquets in American magazines, some I've never seen anywhere else.

I get to go up to the man with the deli truck, framed by rows on rows of tiny chickens spinning on rotisseries, and watch him cut me a "halb hänchen" (half-chicken).  I wish him a nice continuation of his day--because that's how you say it.  You have to be explicit about how you hope it continues to be good.  I think it's a nice detail.

And you get to walk home past the bakery, which is always just a little bit more stressful.  The storefront is a tiny walkway in between the wall and the display cases and you're confronted with four rows of different varieties of bread loaves.  Round, rectangular, diamond, square, seed encrusted, cracked, smooth--as a not-as-friendly-as-the-butcher-but-still-nice baker mentally taps her fingers on the counter waiting for you to choose and formulate a sentence in your head.

"My streusel is burning," she thinks.  "How do I say 'dinner roll'?!" I think.

The bread here is heavy, by the way.  They don't mess around.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Day 4

The run I did.  For fun.  Something is very weird with me right now...

Day four of not talking to anyone other than Paul face-to-face.

It's starting to get to me I think.  I'm starting to think crazy things, like,  "I'll go for a run.  Yeah!  That sounds like a super, super entertaining thing to do right now!"


Very atypical.  Worrying.  Onset of cabin fever.  I knew this was going to happen sometime during the break.  Must. Not. Have. Freakout.

Also, it makes me excessively boring.

Paul:  "How was your day?"

Me:  "Good."

Paul:  "What did you do?"

Me:  "Homework.  ... Fed the fish?...Watched a video about hair braids?.... Ummm...potato...eating?"

The highlights of this week: 

1) German-English practice with my old students.  I love them.  They are awesome.

2) Going out to lunch with German-class folks to say goodbye to my Japanese, French, and Pakistani buddies.  If nothing else, knowing them gave me one of the best pieces of trivia I'll ever learn:
"snow" in Urdu is "barf" 

3) Juha-Matti being nice enough to let me go to his house and play his piano when he's back home in FinNland.  Thank you, Juha-Matti!

4) Going out with Paul tonight to listen to a "band" play, as described on their poster, "Disco Pop Rock Pub Music."   I'm pretty sure we're just going to be able to sit somewhere with bemused looks on our faces and eat fish.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

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