Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hold your tongue

The further south the worse it got. I looked over at Christoph who's hands were kept from shaking by the stability of the steering wheel. His quivering breath gave the dire situation away. One more hill to go and we would be clear of it. Driving the whole length of Germany a couple days before Christmas in a blizzard would have never crossed my mind as something I would be doing 3 years ago. But indeed here we were. It was a rare occasion that this particuclar part of the autobahn located in the dead center of Germany, the Kassel Berge(Mountains) would be slick with ice. Don't be deceived by the name. These were not exactly mountains, but very steep extended hills. Have you ever in your life when given a difficult situation felt like if you believe it hard enough, and hold your breath you would make it through? I felt this way on this specific night after almost pooping my pants. We were dodging cars, gliding in awkward directions, avoiding going anywhere near the struggling semi's beginning to shift sideways. Poor Chrsitoph was holding his tongue from profanities being conscious of my parents in the back seat. I was still holding my breath and now my bladder, praying. My parents probably doing the same.

It's interesting to think of what people do or how they react in a crisis. Some people pray, some people think, some people's bodies react in strange ways, like peeing their pants, or even worse. I can't say I have ever been so scared that I would pee my pants. Christoph the other day pretended he cut his finger off. I started crying and shaking uncontrollably and almost ran out of the room. My mind was not prepared to think of such a thing happeneing being this is my worst fear, and I almost had a nervous breakdown. Christoph regretted teasing me in this way after he calmed me down from crying and shaking. Horrible joke. Goes to say, everyone is different when it comes to when your adrenalin kicks in, giving sensation to a whole new mechanism in times of crisis. In this situation of almost getting stuck in one of the biggest backsliding traffic jams I have ever seen, all I could do was hold my breath, Christophs leg, and pray.

This was it. The last of three hills to struggle our escape would let us continue our journey to Gerstetten. Like a dream when you try and you try to get somewhere but you cannot, was exactly how I felt. The car in front of us began to stay in it's place. We had been behind this car since the beginning, and it had struggled just as hard as we had. The success of this car would be our success as well. They finally gave up and swerved to the right to let whoever could make it through pass by. We were one of the last to make it out. All of our prayers were answered. We made it! About fifteen minutes passed and I really had to pee now. We finally stopped at a Burger King, where they had a delicious greasy bite to eat while I had the worst salad ever created by any fast food restaraunt. Then it was on the road again. We had been driving for about 5 hours by this point. A distance that should have only taken about 2 hours. Bored from letting time pass, I decided to play a game on Christophs Iphone. Minding my own business, my parents minding theirs, Christoph still cruising along, everything seemed to be going ok. Instantly I felt a jerk creeping from the car to my stomach. We were sliding....bad. This time we were just struggling to get up a hill, we were speedily and rapidly getting out of control. Luckily Christoph like every other German driver that had to go to a driving class, knew what to do in these situations. All of us were silent as Christoph slid and corrected, slid and corrected. Finally we were going straight again. All of this happened within seconds and we were back to normal again, just a little bit more freaked out then before.

We made it to Gerstetten five and one-half more hours later, ready for bed. The next day we would venture to yet another Christmas market in Ulm before we made our way to the mountains to go see the family. The previous week was spent with my parents parading them around the city I know pretty well now. If we are not going to some random store in the outskirts of Hamburg, I know my way around. My parents were proud of me and had nothing but good things to say about my temporary home. Upon their arrival from the US they brought to me my cat and my keyboard. Just a couple more things to keep me occupied.

The time in the mountains is a whole other story I am going to have to tell next blog.

I hope all of your Christmas's weren't failed expectations or coal filled stockings, but a reminder of Christ's birth and all that He has done for us, as well as time well spent with family.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Priceless life

23.93 Euro-Edeka grocery store

Banana's, apple's, carrots, cottage cheese, yogurt, butter, cheese, milk, eggs, rice cakes, rice, Hella Wellness mango drink, chips, flour. To keep us from going hungry and to fill my day with one of my favorite things to do. Cook.

15,30 Euro-Apoteka (Pharmacy)

Mascara for my eyelashes. Cat food for my cat coming tomorrow. Toilet paper for you know what. Carpet cleaner to clean up the coffee I spilled everywhere. Tea light candles to light up the kitchen every evening for dinner. Marzipan balls for Christoph's little pre Christmas present. Cheap windex to smudge the mirrors.

31,00 Euro-monthly metro/bus pass

To go downtown, To listen to the two homeless santa clause guys serenade me on the train, I payed them one Euro for one minute of a horrible version of Felice Navidad. To go see my friend on the other side of Hamburg, eat junk food all night and cry a little bit together. Read at starbucks to feel at home for an hour. Benni and Lea's to play the train game and watch the guys make us dinner. The Christmas market to drink hard apple cider and meet some Canadians. To pass by the homeless man singing on the curb with his dog. To try and get a job at American Apparel. To look at the beautiful Christmas lights reflect off of the harbor. Benni and Lea's again to accidentally scare Lea by saying we were someone else at the door. To go to my favorite coffee shop ever, occupied only with ancient couches and dim lights. Down the Sternschanse Strasse to look at all of the independent clothing designer stores. To go see concerts, then take a taxi home because riding the metro late at night you might get mugged by Turkish punks. To have awkward conversations with 3 drunk guys trying to speak English to me. To smile at people downtown and have them give me a strange look. To be held by my husband alongside the Harbor listening to a homeless guy play the acchordian.

800,00 Euro- Plane ticket to Germany

Be married to my love. Live and learn from my mistakes. Being terrified. Crying. Laughing at Christoph. Laughing with Christoph. Taking care and cooking for a man who would otherwise buy himself only Nutella and bread. Learning German. Writing in my blog. Reading. Laughing with friends. Laughing at Christoph. Talking about how I don't have any friends. Crying. Yelling at Christoph. Slamming the door. Leaving to buy wine and accidentally bought Champagne instead. Saying I am sorry a million times. Learning how to respect and love unconditionally. Talking to Mom on skype. Crying with my Mom on Skype. Happily crying with Christoph thinking about how we can grow old together. Complaining about the long days. Making dinner. Watching the Office. Laughing together. Reading our Bible every morning together. Being excited for our new business. Being excited I get to work again. Shopping once again for another apartment. Crying. Thinking all is meaningless. Finding hope in Christ. Doing Billy Blanks in the small section of our living room that I have to work out in. Buying grocery's. Hanging out till 1:30 am drinking wine and talking with friends. Freaking out about money. Rejoicing about even having money. Talking about getting a dog. Deciding we didn't want a dog after all. Had no money. Never seeing the sun for two weeks. Today I saw the sun. Tomorrow I probably wont. Who cares. My parents are coming to see me....

Living life-Priceless

Ok, scratch that it's really cheesy. Only if I had come up with it instead of the Visa Card company.

:)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Independently broken

Have you ever felt you understood something with your head, but not your heart? It's as though many have shared it in different ways, and you have heard it so much it now has become the reality of other people's words in your head, instead of the actually acceptance in your heart.

Christoph asked me something the other day when he got home from work that devastated me. "How come you always seem so sad?"
First of all, I have a wonderful husband who in retrospect could have been angry or upset that I am always sad, but instead asked me lovingly how he can help and why is it that I am sad. Second, I did not realize the impact my sadness could make on someone else.

Funny thing is, I had no idea why I was sad other than the obvious. Different expectations I had were not met. I was feeling sorry for myself upon not having any friends here. I was missing my family. The list could go on and on really.But this goes deeper, as usually everything does. Perpetual bliss, I have realized is a thing of a past that never existed apart from God.

You see, in order for someone like me to learn, I have to first understand I cannot do it on my own. Being in a world that is practically fashioned from achieving things on your own, it is becoming less and less of a realization that dependence on anything other than yourself is false truth. Christoph just pointed out this morning, most people can't even share their last name upon getting married anymore. Not that this is wrong, only that it shows our independence as a person. I don't believe independence is wrong, at all, only by means of taking it to extremes does it have ground to be destructive to soul and spirit. My point here is that the underlying problem has to do with not only our need for physical independence, but also spiritual.

From the fall of man, we have gradually shifted into an even more independent generation than sometimes I would like to realize. I will go further to point out that this has personally effected my life in more ways than one, negatively promising that in my self sufficiency I can accomplish life on my own.

On the other hand, I don't think we all know how naive we are thinking we are independent in any situation. I can't even even get up in the morning without being dependent on the person who invented alarms, on the people who harvested and roasted my coffee beans, on whoever it was that made my peanut butter. Sorry to say it, but the Quakers show us all up on independence.

Believing we are all independently living, the most distressing is in thinking we are independent of the One who created us.

Take for example a child. Near our apartment building there is a little park accompanied daily by children who probably wake up in the morning just so they can go play on the swings. To them, this is the biggest part of their day. It's cold outside, and them being helpless on what to do when it comes to keeping warm, their parents layer them from top to bottom so they can barely move anymore. These stuffed waddling sausages are now prepared to run around and enjoy life at the playground, not realizing had their parents not bundled them up, they would probably freeze to death. Children are absolutely helpless upon being born and then slowly progress into individuals that can enjoy their own lives without the help of anyone else. It is in the nature of man to find his or her own way.

In my sadness I am realizing that it is derived from something much deeper. It is in myself I am fighting the spiritual battle. Today I realized that once again as much as I have heard from others what to do in this situation, my head is willing but my heart is not. I am doing it on my own.

So how do we get to a place of absolute surrender and reliance on God? By realizing that we do not have control. That we need to look at Christ as already have accomplished what it is we need to do. That no matter if we let ourselves down or whoever lets us down, we know that we have Christ. He is now the very essence of glory and honor at the throne of God, making it possible for us to be in a relationship with God. To be obedient in doing this goes against our fleshly nature as man, and causes friction in our hearts. Much like I have right now. I find it ironic that I can speak about this and believe it to be true, yet my feelings do not always follow. My will does not always comply. I am human. And I am once again brought to amazement that it is not what I can do to make myself happy, but only the Lord.

When we don't realize this, I believe bitterness and resentment then find their way into your independent mind, and set up camp until the next breakdown. My advice to myself and others who are going through the same thing...let go and let God, don't let resentful harboring thoughts set up dock. Pray, and give it all up to the One who has done it all. Much easier said than done.

Now let me go yell at my husband for always leaving the milk out. Just kidding. But really, he always does that.

To those who are reading this that do not believe in God, may read these words as nomadic rubbish. It is simply what I believe.

I am surprised on how philosophical I have been lately.

On a different note, I believe that when a woman feels more naked than without lipstick is when she is without mascara. Especially me because I don't wear much lipstick. When I don't wear mascara I feel like a 12 year old boy, and I just cannot go in public without it. Hence my problem today. Our sink in our bathroom has been leaking, and so I of coarse independently tried to fix it. This is bad when this happens because me fixing things turns into me breaking it even more because I believe it so true in my head that this is the problem. I broke it more of coarse so Christoph took out the drain plug, leaving any valuable things at a high risk for dropping down into the evil abyss of slimy drain sludge. My ring tried to jump in, but Christoph saved it just in time before suicide. There must be a couple bobby pins down there, eyeliner caps, and yes of coarse my mascara. Christoph laughed at me when I asked him to get it out. Seeing that his gag reflex is at a pitiful low it was probably not a good idea anyways. We would be cleaning up vomit as well as drain sludge. We were left with no choice, we had to leave it in there forever. I later on dared to walk to the store without any mascara and found myself staring at the ground the entire way. It seems silly that something so small could make you feel so much more beautiful.

I once tried to go a whole week without wearing any makeup at all. Turns out people don't even care. Imagine that.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Echoing Hearts

"It's a Wonderful Life"

Not only is this a movie that reminds you of the importance of your own life, but also bring you to realize just what an impact you may have on others without even knowing it. In this movie the main Character George Bailey, played by James Stewart, exellently executes what it means to put others first before yourself not leaving resentment nor bitterness any room for hostility. So many times in my life I am thinking I am doing something selfless and considerate when really I am expecting something in return, or expecting sympathy. I feel that this can be even more dangerous than outright selfishness. Infact, it is not only worse because it further corrodes your spirit from self pity, but it also puts a burden on others of unattainable hope that you wish them to then offer back to you. I am not simply speaking egotism, but rather of a tainted charity.
George Bailey is not only given the chance to see what life would have been like without him, he was also given the ability to see into how precious life really is upon what we do with it.
Sometimes i find myself thinking that all I am doingl is meaningless. That if I am not out there on the streets feeding the homeless with my own crafted spoon, and self grown food then I am no better than someone who takes from someone else just to show that I am more generous. Where does this madness end, and why have I been given a mind to think these things in the first place?
Many of you have been lead to believe that your heart is portrayed by your thoughts, and your thoughts and how you execute them then shows your character. As I do agree with this statement I am also brought to the consideration that thank goodness no one can know our thoughts! What would be your character then? Would it be rendered the same? Would people see you differently? Of coarse they would. As your thoughts are in fact a reflection of your heart, rarely are we inclined to jump in sharing with others exactly what is it we are thinking about. It's hard to in effect say that you are not thinking of how you can further help others, but that you would like to help others so that people may see how splendid you are. You would never say that, but perhaps in catching yourself thinking that, believing you have a good-willed heart you will then correct your thoughts and sincerely help others with no strings attached. In truth no one really knows who exactly you are, but only the echo of who you are. Now that I have confirmed that we are all echo's of our thoughts, and we are loving echo's for who they are, and working for echo's, receiving from and giving to echo's I would like to complete my echo of a thought with a sincere truth.
God knows exactly who we are, what are thoughts are, why we have them. He created us, so He would indeed know. We are made in His Image. Isn't it interesting that even though our corrupt and vile thoughts are basically spoken to God out loud, He still finds it is His heart to extend His grace and love toward us?
I am not saying that every person is a fiend, only that every person is human. Every person struggles with who they are, bringing insecurity from the flesh, and therefore self pity is emerged.

I would like to tell you something that happened to Christoph yesterday.
Our car does not have an automatic light shut off, so when I parked the dar last week the lights were left on to suck the life out of the battery. It's funny because even though there is a loud shrill when you have opened the door and the lights are still on, I seem to turn a deaf ear to it every time. Yesterday upon realizing our battery was dead we had no idea why this would happen just before we wanted to spend a day together driving to the beach in North Germany. Christoph was not upset, but only called the AAA friendly service to put the annual money he was spending on it to use.

After biding our time for an hour before the service guy to get there, I waited in from the cold while the two of them figured out the whole mess. About fifteen minutes went buy and I decided I would go check on the situation. They were indeed done, and Christoph was sitting in the guys car talking. "Hmmm." I wondered what they were talking about. Christoph eventually got out and we both then sat in our car. He smiled and looked at me and said, "Well, I know why you left the lights on now. That guy just poured his heart out on me."
"Oh really what did he say?" I replied
"Well, the guy asked why the battery was dead, I told him you left the lights on, he said 'maybe you should get rid of your wife then,' and I said that actually I had just found her, he said 'oh I'm sorry.'" "He then continued to tell me about how his wife just left him after 25 years of marriage because she thinks that she would like to enjoy life without him. I stayed in the car and just listened the whole time while he poured his heart out, explaining his pain. Upon leaving I said how sorry I was, and God bless you if I may say that."

My point here is that upon our mistakes in life, I believe that God has greater purposes for our failures. It is in our failures He uses us the most. In our failures He is glorified. This lonely man needed someone to share his heart with. Someone who would not be biased or judgmental, but just someone to listen. In this case, if Christoph was only meant to be a listening ear, then that was worth me leaving our stupid lights on.

And so continues the world each one of us being used by God to bless others. You never know what an impact one kind word, a smile, a listening ear may have on someone's heart. Even if it is only an echo of your heart.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Do you have niiiiiiiiiiiiineteeeeeeeeen cents?"

It happened again. Upon every excursion I make whether it be to the grocery store, or down town, or even walking down the street, I am approached. I am not just approached by just anyone. It is usually a homeless person, someone who looks like they are in dire need of something, or someone making a comment about something(I usually have no idea what) and my only response is that I smile and laugh and act like I knew what they said.

The other day I was buying my metro ticket, and this drunk, older guy came up to me. He said. "Haben Sie neunzehn cent?" Which means, "Do you have 19 cents?"
First off, I obviously did, as he could see, I had a 50 Euro bill hanging out of my wallet. Secondly, why did he ask for 19 cents when there does not exist a 19 cent coin but only a 20 cent coin. Third, the way he asked it was so creepy because when he pronounced the "neunzehn (nineteen)" part of it he drew it out almost to an extended whiney yell, that caused me to smell his intensely unbrushed, alcohol drenched breath. So it sounded more like this, in German though. "Do you have NIIIIIIIIIIIIINETEEEEEN cent?"
I replied, "Nein" (no).
Then, to make things even better he stood there the whole time I was using my money, taking out all my coins, and then getting all my change back. He just stood there. Staring at me. I then started to feel guilty, so of coarse I gave him ninety cents, even though he asked for nineteen, because at first i misunderstood if he was saying nineteen, or ninety. Ninety cents I gave this drunk mad man. I guess it wasn't enough even for him because he then continued to the next person asking for "NEEEEUUUUUNNNNZZZEEEHHHN cent!"
They of coarse denied him.

Leaving the house yesterday I said to myself, "Ok, as long as no one talks to you, you will be fine."
I had to go down town to get some supplies for my craft project and some Christmas decorations. My first interaction with a German was in the metro station. I was just about to get on the escalator when this guy...let me give you a visual. He was wearing an entire bike suit with his bike in hand, had on sporty looking sunglasses, and a helmet. In the metro station. That already is strange. He came up to me, even though there were many people around and said something. He had a speech impediment, making my understanding him a bit more difficult. He looked like he needed an answer to something and was very frustrated. I said to him once again, like I tell everyone. "My German is not so good, I'm sorry I can't help you." He looked at me after I had said this and seemed as though someone had just died. Everyone was looking at us. My face got really hot, and probably turned bright red. All I could do was walk away. So, here i was. I had no idea what he wanted, people were looking at me like I was a horrible person, and he watched me walk away like I had just murdered his mother. What have I done! All I want to do is go get some stupid Christmas decorations to make it seem at least a little bit like Christmas.

When I got to the store I was in the check out line, and of coarse one of my stockings had no price tag. The cashier lady I think asked me if I knew the price. I said "I have no idea." In German. Then after I said that I think maybe she asked something else because she gave me a strange look and then walked away.

Another time, I was at the grocery store waiting in line. It was a pretty long line and the two women in front of me and this other guy kept leaving to get stuff and then coming back. The guy in front of me and behind them made some sort of comment. I had no idea what it was, but he of coarse said it to me. It was probably something sarcastic like,"Are they shopping from the line or something?" All I could do was put on a smile and laugh nervously. He also gave me a strange look, and then turned around.

Am I wearing a sign that says, "I don't speak German very well" so people see that and say to themselves, "Let's go talk to her because she won't understand what I am saying and it will make her really uncomfortable." I think so! i think I am a walking target. Everyone here I tell this to, they say, "How do these things happen to you, it never happens to me?"

I don't know why these things happen but they do. Even in the states one time, I was checking out at Walgreen's, and the woman at the counter kept me there for about ten minutes telling me her life story. Also this guy at the grocery store, the same thing happened. He told me his life story, what he did, why he didn't like it, all within five minutes. He then asked me what I did, and I said I was a hairstylist. Of coarse after that he wanted a haircut. He then became my client for about a year, and was known as the Sasquatch sized weirdo who wanted to grow out one piece of his bangs so he could someday bead it like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Well, all this goes to say that I guess I don't mind it because it keeps me entertained and breaks me out of my shell a bit. But sometimes I really wish people could just let me be. Or at least after I tell them I don't speak that good of German, they would say, "Oh where are you from? Let's be friends so that you have someone to talk to."
Although I wouldn't want to be friends with homeless drunk guy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Apples galore!







Be where you are. Someone very wise once told me this.
To understand the depth of this way of life is a day to day struggle. Once you leave something you thought was not what you wanted, you look back to realize it was not so bad. To stop looking back you have to realize where you are now, and be there. God wants us to live in the present. To not worry about the future nor look back and wish we were there again.

Do I miss life in the states? Everyday.
I miss my family, my friends, my cat, my church. Almost everything. But where am I now? I am here. I love it here. If I were still in the states it would mean I would not have the wonderful husband I now have been so graciously blessed with. I would not know what bread should really smell like. I would not know how to say, "I love you" in a different language. I would not have learned that I cannot rely on anything but God when all seems hopeless and meaningless.
I am here, and I am so glad I am here. It has been nothing but a beautiful challenge that is meant to shape and mold me into who I am today. Today I am happy, and I can find joy because I know God has me exactly where He wants me. Helpless in myself, and hopeful in Him. Surrendered.

Friday we drove eight hours to southern Germany to help out in the annual Christmas exhibition for the Gruener company. One of those eight hours was spent in line at McDonalds, and unintentionally driving down the wrong autobahn. McDonalds was a prime time for people watching. Not to much different from the McDonalds in the states, it brought a sense of childhood back to my mind. I looked to my left and there was a little boy wearing True Religion jeans with flowers on the pockets, clinging to the leg of his father yelling, "I want my chicken!" To my right were construction men devouring their cheeseburgers, observing the backside of every woman that walked by. Straight ahead the girl behind the counter was flustered with the long line and kept walking back and forth not really accomplishing much. I on the other hand was content sitting on my stool watching people take a break from their lives to eat a greasy cheeseburger.

Arriving at almost twelve o clock exactly we hurried to bed to get some sleep before the craziness began. I really had no idea what to expect from this weekend as it was my first time doing such a thing. To everyone else, it was the same old thing done in appreciation for all of the business the clients have provided for us. I must say I am amazed at the preparation, and the creativity that was put into such an event. My brother in law Phillip spent his last couple weeks making about 72 drawers out of about 12 different kinds of wood. The dressers they created were a beautiful work of craftsmanship, given names such as "Rudolf" and "Jakob."

A Swebian man who was a professional apple taster sat all day tasting people's apples, brought from their backyard apple trees to find out just what kind of apple they had. Apples were everywhere. I probably ate more apple this past weekend than I ever have at one given time.

Real trees were cut off to look like they were growing out of the factory's floor. Table's were set up for people to sit down and enjoy some appetizers and cappuchino's. This was where I was stationed the duration of the time. I made many cappuchino's and liverwurst covered bread slices. Ewe. Not my choice food.

I spoke German most of the time. I probably spoke some pretty silly, offensive and horribly executed German. But that's ok. I have to start somewhere. I met a couple dentists, goldsmiths, doctors, family friends, all of which were clients of the Grueners.

It was truly a wonderful time that only brought a personal and caring touch to the business. You can really tell that the business is not only a professional and mastered one, it is all brought together by the creativity and freedom of everyone involved. I enjoyed myself very much.

We were then sent home with a basket full of apples that will last probably only a week for someone like me, and an arrangement of food that my mother in law always gives to us at every departure.

I have attached some pictures of the event to give you more of an idea. I am so proud of the family I married in to.

Yesterday I was in such a foul mood. Poor Christoph woke up to a monster ready to eat him. Strangely enough the only thing that really cheered me up after Christoph attempting the whole day to cheer me up, was him letting me flat iron his hair. We are also thinking about getting a dog to keep me company. The only dog that we both like, because we both aren't huge fans of dogs, are Irish red setters. They are beautiful, but expensive. We will see. I made Christoph watch Marley and Me to make him want to get one more. I think it made him want one less.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tai chi and pot smokers

Nordic walking. Fast walking. Walking and talking. Walking. Everyone here walks and I'm pretty sure it became a bit boring for the Europeans to just walk. Hence the invention of Nordic walking. Nordic walking is "fitness walking" during the off season of skiing. It is not just any other stroll. You use two large specifically designed poles with rubber tips to heist yourself to the next step. These poles were invented in 1997 by the Finnish ski pole manufacturer Excel. The first time I saw Nordic walking what came my mind was, "I wondering if they are all blind?" Deceived by it's appearance at first, I later found out what it actually was. More beneficial than regular walking, Nordic walking accomplishes much more than your average stroll such as using your entire body resulting in burning more calories. In my opinion the most beneficial thing about Nordic walking is that it looks pretty funny and it has entertained me quite frequently upon my living here. When I used to run around Christoph's parents home in the forest, i would see it almost everyday. They even have large groups of Nordic walkers with Nordic instructors and you had better keep up or you might get a Nordic slap. They know their Nordic stuff. Unfortunately in Hamburg I have not seen any Nordic walkers yet. But there is something even more extraordinary I saw this morning.

Little old lady Tai Chi gave us our own personal show this morning in the park by our apartment window. She must have thought no one would see her hidden by some trees. I think she forgot all of the leaves have fallen off. But little did she know we had quite the laugh by her quick and slow silly movements that Tai Chi provides. I've downloaded a video of some of it so that you could see just what I am talking about. Resembling a fish out of water, rather a very old fish out of water, it's hard for me to believe this form of sport does anything beneficial. Although I have heard that it is very strengthening, I believe you actually have to constrict your muscles the entire duration of your exorcise. Little lady Tai Chi did not look as though she really new what she was doing. She even stumbled a little bit. My question is, how does one stumble when you are moving at a rate slower than a turtle? A long wiggle here and a short wiggle there, she looked quite deranged. I am not judging, just admiring what God gave me to watch in Germany today. You see, I find joy in these things. They probably bring me more entertainment than watching a movie or climbing a mountain. They bring a satisfaction described as being a hidden treasure that only I saw. No one else saw what I saw and that is something to be proud of. But I would like to share what I saw, so there it is. It's a bit of a rocky shot, but I was scarred she would catch me, so I had to hide my camera behind the railing. I love mornings. Especially when I have a side of Tai Chi with my oatmeal.

I would also like to tell you about my first German church experience. Sunday came quickly this week and it was indeed time for us to try and search for a church for us to go to.

Located in one of the sketchiest parts of town, Christoph and I strode up to the entrance of the church after passing a pot smoker and some beggars. We entered through the dark door and stepped up a dark staircase I could have sworn was from a horror movie I saw somewhere. That part was entertaining to say the least, but what was not entertaining was trying to understand a sermon in German. Once you concentrate on a sentence and try to get a little bit of what he is talking about, he is on to the next topic. By the time I got the gist of what he was actually talking about, the sermon was over. So there is it. I don't think we'll go back to that one for fear of being mugged and murdered on the way there.

I was also able to speak a little German/English to the cashier at the grocery store yesterday. She was weighing my apples and asked. "Elstar?" which is a type of apple. "Nein, Gala" I said. Which means, no they are Gala apples. I think I am getting the hang of this.

Also, when I went to this tiny little shop and bought some sparkling apple juice which is now my substitute for Fresca, the cashier lady asked me if I knew how much it cost. I said, "Ein und Zwanzig" which means what I thought was 1.20 Euro. But what I really said was that is cost 21 Euro. She laughed, and charged me 1.20.

Ok so the video download is not working. I will try later. For now you will just have to take my word for it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Really clean sheets

Have you ever responded to someone and after the fact realize you should have said something else. You wish you could go back and change what you said and it consumes your mind. Well, this happened to me today upon a little excursion to the grocery store. Minding my own business most days hoping no one will speak to me because it usually catches me off guard and I am tongue tied, thinking in English and hoping it comes out German, I was approached today. A woman with her little baby were strolling in our neighborhood and she said something to me. Now looking back i believe I know what she said, but in my surprised state I simply said back to her in German. " I speak only a little German, I'm sorry."
Now looking back, I should have asked her to speak slower. I believe she was asking for directions to the Metro station, and just last week I learned how to give directions. How stupid I am. She looked shocked upon hearing what i said. She was either thinking two things The first, 'How on earth was the only person I asked in all of Hamburg unable to speak German.' Or the second, she didn't even ask me for directions but said something like, "Look out and don't get in my way." It's very likely it could have been the second, and I responded with "I don't speak very much German." Now thinking about it she looked pretty agitated but that could be because she was lost, or she wanted me out of her way. Truth is, I will never know. Truth is, I may have given a horrible name to Americans living in Hamburg. Truth is, I need to learn more German.

I believe our washing machine is kaputt (broken). I have been washing the same sheets over and over again, because our dryer and washer are in one. Trying to only dry the sheets, I end up washing them again and again. I know I am not stupid, but only that it's not working. Three day's later I am still on the same load.
Washing cycles here are ridiculously long as it stands, so this just makes it even worse. If you want to wash and dry your clothes the cycle runs for 4 hours. Not even kidding you. It's a good thing I have a lot of time on my hands.

I haven't seen the sun in about a week and it's getting to me. When I was younger I loved the rain and wanted to live somewhere it always rained, Now that I have that wish, what I would give for a day full of blue skies.

Now I must proceed to the floor, which is now my office and begin working on my Christmas presents.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Popping corn and Women's clubs

Lately I've been at a standstill for crazy things happening. This weekend Christoph and I enjoyed our Sunday pretty much relaxing in bed, watching Alton Brown create delicious food making us hungry for Mango's and Pineapples. Not too exciting.
I always like to make something special for Christoph to come home to. Last night I made french style cheeseburgers and apple cobbler. It keeps him coming home:)

The other day I researched online "Americans in Hamburg" finding nothing but an Americans Women club of Hamburg. The pictures on the website proved themselves to be enjoying life here, but they were all older women who seemed to entertain themselves with knitting and book clubs. Don't get me wrong, I love knitting and books, but well I think you know what I mean. None the less I was willing to give it a shot. I made myself a member, but before I was to be a true member they would have to send me an acceptance letter. Yesterday, I got that letter. They told me thanks for the application but unfortunately I would have to pay a monthly fee to be involved. I replied. "Wow, that's stupid." I literally wrote that regretting it after I sent it. But really! Nothing like being welcoming to a young girl who just moved here. That's ok, I don't want to be in their stupid club anyways. I can start my own knitting club. By myself.
On that same subject, I also joined something called Expatblog.com. This website makes it possible to find people who are in the same situation looking to meet friends. Maybe I'll have some luck here.

So with no American friends to show me how things are done here in Hamburg, I will just have to journey alone.

Christoph and I are very happy here. Besides our bed being the most uncomfortable piece of furniture we have ever set our bodies on, we are satisfied with whatever God brings our way. But that bed, seriously. If I move from one position to the next, Christoph is bounced around like a little popcorn kernel making sleep very light for us. Light sleep is also known to make you dream more. I think I have dreamed more in this past month than I have in my entire life. Last night in my dream I was very late for a flight after being told my gate was on the other side of the mountains. There was no way I could make that trip in 15 min. This left me very agitated upon waking up. Christoph and I have agreed not to talk too much in the morning, or take things too personally being as we are both super crabby from the lack of sleep.

Today I am going to start making Christmas presents. I have such a great idea this year. Hopefully unlike my other attempts at making something from what I see in my head, this one will follow through. I can't tell you what it is though because most, well all of my viewers are family. Sorry.

Now, I will visit my good friend Billy Blanks so he can show me a thing or two about Tie Bo. He is always telling me to "keep going don't give up." But this only makes me want to punch him in the face. Too bad he is on my computer and that would only lead to me destroying my display screen. I hope I'm not going crazy talking about Billy Blanks as my friend.

Well, as Billy Blanks say's, "Everyone needs help, someone to pat you on the back and help you keep going. I'm going to be that for you right now."
Thanks Billy. You're a true fighter.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

"I'll have that to go please"


Downtown Hamburg all by myself. I did it. It took me the way to the grocery store to decide if I was just going to get my food and go home, or to pass by the Edeka(German grocery store) and continue down to the metro and be on my way downtown. By the time I got to the door I said to myself. "Just do it" Little did I know the Nike logo would flash before my eyes in such an indecisive moment.
The metro was not so bad. I knew exactly where to go. Jungferstieg.
As I awaited my exit I happened to catch a glance at myself in the reflection of the train window. I looked like I was about to die. I then tried to relax my eyebrows and just breath. What is the worst that could happen? No, don't think that. "Next stop Jungferstieg."
Ok here we go. I popped out from underground after almost getting lost in the underground metro station at the Europa passage (the mall). It took me awhile to find the exit out. Ok, I knew this place so I could always find my way back here if I were to get lost. In my survival bag I had my German to English dictionary, a cell phone, money, a gun, and a map. I was prepared.
I walked and I walked, for about half an hour. I had no idea where I was going, but there was no way I was going to stop and look at a map. I needed to look like a true Hamburger.
Soon, I was lost and wondering why exactly I wore these stupid shoes. The nervous sweet of my feet created a scientific reaction with the soles of my boots and I probably could of started a fire with that friction. But I had to keep going. If I could find the river, then I could find my way to the starbucks Lea and I were last weekend.

I finally found it after walking through a pretty desolate area that scared me a little bit.

Let me take a moment to describe the Downtown area. Walls of tall architecturally detailed carved buildings line the streets making you feel like you are apart of some old movie. The harbor is full of beautiful white swans and old fishing boats welcoming you with riverside benches to sit and enjoy an afternoon sipping your coffee. In each of the buildings first floor you have the shop of your choice stacked 10 stories high by apartments and businesses. Absolutely divine.

Finding the river then led me to the starbucks I had attempted to get a job at and I thought it a great idea to get my favorite drink today. A tall soy Chi Tea Latte. "Do I order in English or German?" I thought to myself.

I will try German. "Ein Chi Tee Latte bitte mit soje Milch"
She replies, "What size would you like that?"
Dang it, they know I am American.
I finish my order saying "I would like that to go please." Spoken like a true American being about the only one ordering my drink to go. I got a couple strange looks. The Germans like to sit and have a coffee for a bit, while Americans are always on the go. Typical American I am.

I finished my latte, now it was time to get to the grocery store buy some ingredients to attempt in making power bars via Alton Brown.

I always get off at Oesterstrasse. This time I got up from my seat way too soon before the metro train was stopped and the jolt forced me to take a seat on the lap of a fellow metro rider. "Entschuldigen!" (Excuse me!)
He looked disturbed.

It took me about an hour to not find the soy protein powder I was looking for. Seems that Americans are protein obsessed people, and for good reason in my opinion. I would have to substitute I guess. I did surprisingly find the Tofu. But unlike the recipe that called for silken Tofu, I could only find firm Tofu. Oh well.

Had I known earlier that this different texture in Tofu would make all the difference I would have planned on making sponges instead of delicious protein bars.

Next time I'll get it.

As for today my adventure will be attempting to start writing my book.



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The grizzly bear and the sloth


This past year I have become a fan of Womens Health Magazine. Todays message to all of the women on earth who want to stay fit and healthy. Don't be a sloth. Sitting around may cause obesity, heart disease, and you are further prone to diabetes. Although this may be an exaggeration, I take it seriously. After all, most of my days include sitting down. So from now on, I will never sit. I am going to write emails standing up, sleep standing, eat standing, watch tv and movies standing. I am going to even do all of my yoga moves standing. I'll let you know how this goes. I am standing right now. I could go down in the book of world records as the girl who wouldn't sit.

On a more serious note. Last night my birthday present from my wonderful husband including two old records from Johnny Cash and Fleetwood Mac, was indeed executed. We went to see Grizzly Bear in concert. To most of you who don't know who or what that exactly is, it is not a giant grizzly bear on stage. Although that would be thoroughly entertaining in itself. No, Grizzly Bear is a very talented band and a what wonderful show they put on. It's really fascinating to see venues in Germany. I didn't really know what to expect, but besides everyone once again speaking a different language, it all looks almost identical to venues in the States. You have your band junkies. Everyone there is dressed in a way that just by looking at them you would know they are fans of Grizzly Bear and most every other indie band on earth. Slouchy beanies, tight pants, dark rimmed glasses. Nothing to tell others "This outfit fits me perfectly" but rather "I don't care how big these glasses look on my face or how uncomfortable my pants are, but I am trying to make a statement here."
Yes, even the bar tenders are the same as in the states. As there studded belts drag around there baggy ripped jeans purposefully missing the belt loops, there faces are fully loaded for battle with piercings, and chuck tailor is their shoe of choice. Not as many tattoos though. I filled that role I guess.

So that was yesterdays adventure, along with a lot of sitting watching Alton Brown make granola bars on Good Eats. Today, I am going to ride the metro down town and see what I find there. This may include getting lost, but it's a good thing I have my boy scout guide to get me back home safely. Oh, and a cell phone to call my personal travel guide, Christoph.

I'll make sure I listen to some Johnny Cash's live show in prison to get myself pumped up.

Hamburg here I come!

Oh and as for the picture. One of the things I miss most about my dad, is when he makes our dog Harley almost poop his...well I guess dogs don't wear pants, but rather poop my dads lap, when he holds harley up, growling at him like a bear. This then causes Harley to growl even louder and show his teeth like a seal with rabies. Oh how I miss these two:(

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tiny little sleeper



Excuse my absence. I was busy watching One Tree Hill attempting to stop after just one episode but that never works. It's the cheesiest show on earth, and at the end of each episode they put something horribly dramatic in leaving you wanting more. Like when Lucas finds out who really killed his uncle after thinking it was Jimmy, he asked some strange girl who somehow saw the whole thing happen, but for some reason didn't want to tell anyone because her mother feared for their lives. Shortly before that Lucas's pregnant best friend gets ran over by a car of a guy who her husband owed money to. Lucas was so distraught by seeing her he had a heart attack. Believe me when I say you aren't really missing out if you have not seen this show. Just don't start watching it because you may never be able to stop.

Hamburg oh Hamburg. What a lovely place. This past week I have been able to explore the big city some and it has proven itself a truly great place. After the initial shock of being here, we soon ventured out passed our little neighborhood and saw down town, the street where all of the rich important people live, we drove over this huge bridge, we have taken the metro everywhere. The metro is less intimidating than I thought and pretty straight forward. It's a great place to people watch although your watching becomes a bit awkward being the person sitting directly in front of you can easily catch you eyeing them. I have been caught a couple times. But the lady who was so obviously chowing down on a granola bar didn't catch me. She ate it as though it would be the first and last thing she would ever eat.

It's funny but I never thought Starbucks would be the place I felt most at home. Yes Starbucks. The smell, the look, the taste. Everything is identacle to any other Starbucks in the states. It's just you have to order your drink in a different language, and non-fat milk doesn't exist. It's just as expensive, just as trendy, and open to anyone who would like a delicious mixed drink of your choice. Upon my coffee shop experiences all over the world, I believe it to be true that there exists at least one homeless/crazy person per coffee place. I'm glad they can have a place to feel comfortable.

This past weekend my sister-in-law and I were downtown at a starbucks and I got this amazing idea. I could work at starbucks! I worked at one in the springs, and how hard would it be to learn all of the drinks in German. They were printed in English on the board, so I didn't even know if people ordered in German. I got up the courage and decided to give it a shot. The manager said he would give me a resume but he thinks I should know more German.
My second approach at a job was at a little place called American Apparel. Christoph heard from one of his co-workers that they hire English speaking people. We walked in shortly after the hopeless try at Starbucks and I don't think it could have gone any better. It's a good thing I was dressed up a little, because she took a picture of me and they/re sending it to LA to decide if my style fits the position. I may have a job people, and it's full time. No more One Tree Hill if so. This is an amazing opportunity. I will meet people, learn more German, and maybe get a discount on clothing! I am awaiting my phone call and if I don't get the job I have other ideas in mind.

No more sitting around for me. I am going to know this city like the back of my hand when I am through with it. Everyday I am going on a little adventure and everyday I will write about it. Even if that adventure causes me pain, or being really scared, or getting lost, or peeing my pants, or talking to strange poeple in German, or putting my food in another persons basket. Oh wait, that already happened. Who knows what will come my way. It can't be any scarier than what I experienced in Italy.

This is a picture of Christoph taking a little nap and his feet just wanted to stay put. I didn't know anyone could fall asleep this way. Marriage surprises you with something new everyday.

Oh and the other one is on my Geburtstag(birthday). Though your eyes may deceive you we are not drunk. Especially Christoph.





Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cavities. I hate them. But there is one thing I hate more than them. Going to the dentist. In my experience I always seem to eat pork chops, or asparagus before venturing to the tooth fairy doctor, making his job more like a treasure hunt than dentistry. In this experience the other day I wasn't really sure what to expect. I had never in my right mind imagined I would be visiting a dentist in Germany but that is what makes it a bit more exciting.

Since my last checkup in march I was diagnosed with a pat on my back for brushing, a scolding for a lack of flossing(which I think is what 99.9% of people hear from their dentist), a compliment for my white teeth, and a "you better get that cavity fixed before too long).

Yes I had a bit fat cavity. I believe there are two things I have experience in life that bring me straight back to childhood. Those things are getting a speeding ticket, nothing like the feeling of getting a spanking in front of the whole town from the policeman. The other is getting told you have a cavity. They always seem to make you hold a up a little hand mirror so you can see just what the damage is. I think it's included in their training. To make you feel like a child. "You see that there, that is a cavity...(poke, poke poke, ouch)" Then they poke your gums around it to make it bleed. "You see that, that is because you aren't flossing."
Oh I'm sorry, I thought that was because you just stuck your pointy hand tool into my gums to make it bleed.
Not all dentists do this. I have had one dental hygienist who was a friend check my teeth, and all of this excludes her. She is a wonderful tooth fairy.

So here I was, on my way to the dentist in Germany trying to figure out in my head what this was going to be like. My mother-in-law was taking me and she agreed with me on the horror of a dentist visit. That didn't make me feel better. I thought maybe the German dentists had some new technology that enabled them to look into your mouth without even having to open it.

We entered the very impressively designed lobby, exclusively created by my beloveds interior architecture company "Gruener."
The dentist seemed nice enough. They all seemed to know that the American was coming, and maybe brushed up on there English the night before just so they could practice it on me. It was delightful. It would seem that I knew more about dentist talk that I thought. She wanted to know the different words for the different parts of the teeth. Little did I know upon going to the dentist I would also be giving an English lesson, but I was happy to oblige. I wonder how many Germans feel that way with me.

After a poke here, an x-ray there, I was informed that not only did I have a beautiful set of VERY white teeth (must be an American thing), I had no cavity! What! But I did of coarse need to floss....everyday or else my teeth will "eventually fall out."
She then asked me if I have ever gotten my teeth sanded down. This was a new one. She held up a very thin silver file looking device telling me it would shave down the corners of your teeth keeping food from getting stuck. The results sounded great, but I think I would rather die than getting my teeth filed. I can barely stand filing my own toe nails.

With a good report and some new dentist friends I was ready to go now. But there was just one problem. American dentist, "You have a cavity that really needs looking after."
German dentist, "You are cavity free!"
Did it possibly disappear? Does that happen?
Well, until my mouth is screaming to me in pain that I have a cavity I think I would like to believe the Germans. They are very smart people. Not saying that Americans are not. I think I really just want to believe I am cavity free and I have the dentists order that I can believe that. SO I will.

I feel accomplished in the health department here. After all I have now been to the dentist and the emergency room in Germany.
Speaking of emergency room, that was not a pleasant experience. I was scolded there for even coming to the emergency room for such a thing as a "wax clogged ear canal." He told me next time I shouldn't keep the whole emergency room waiting just because of ear wax and should have just make a doctors appointment. He then made the extraction process extremely uncomfortable for me on purpose. In my defense I couldn't even hear out of it. It seemed as though I had a water bubble around my head at all times. So, I think it was worth Tiny Tim waiting in the lobby a bit longer.

My next visit. The psychologist.




Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Prison tattoo's and motor boats


Today

It took me a couple weeks to muster up the courage to go. My family was all there, sister, brother, his wife, my parents. We were finally all together and on our way to Germany. I will start this story in the pre airport airport.
I was sitting just adjacent to a very familiar looking woman in the hall of the pre airport airport. I had never seen her before, yet she seemed sad and perhaps her familiarity came because I was feeling a bit despondent myself. She was an older woman probably in her 40's. Blonde hair that she probably bleached herself. Her strong frame was well dressed in an affordable taste, accessorizing with marked down Norstrom shoes and a colorful scarf. She was not any different from your average divorced, middle income woman who's hobbies include lifting weights, getting drunk with her other divorcee friends on the weekends in a club full of people half their age, and getting ready to go to a career boot camp followed by a yoga boot camp. I was interested in her, and so having no idea why, I found my way over to talk to her. Even though I already knew everything about her I let her say all that she needed to say.
She was very polite. She told me all about herself. She was indeed divorced, and had two kids who lived with her ex, and their father. It took her 15 years to realize she was not happy with her life and so she divorced and is now even more depressed than ever. I felt so sorry for this woman. She was unintentionally broken from a life of self hatred and deprivation of a healthy marriage.
Our plane was soon leaving from the airport, so we needed to head from the pre airport airport to the actual airport. Not knowing what was to come next I decided I liked this woman so I told her she was wlecome to accompany my family and I as we made our way up the spiraling escalator.
After losing my parents, brother and his wife on the way up, my sister and I decided to travel alone with this woman, so we made our way to the real airport knowing we would meet the others later before the plane left. I was feeling very uneasy at this time, and rightfully so. First of all, why are we all here I wondered. Secondly, I had to go to the bathroom. Lastly, I looked over to the woman who was traveling with us and she instantly turned into a black woman. But for some reason I was ok with this and we continued on our way.
We came upon a giant lake that was awfully dirty and smelled of rotting flesh. It had trash on the first layer, covering the second layer of cloudy green slime and amputated limbs. What the?
My tiny little sister knew exactly what to do, so obviously trusting that we followed her into a rusty old motor boat that was intended to transport people from the pre airport airport to the real airport. I had a strong desire to cross the lake really fast so I could get some food. I was starving! I explained this to my sister as she rolled up her sleeves revealing two arms full of prison tattoos. Her pattin leather pants went very nicely with her skull ink I thought to myself, but since when is my sister a prison bad ass?
I looked over my shoulder after climbing in to see my sister using her giant arm muscles to start the boat engine. Brown gasoline scented clouds surged out from underneath the stern. This was getting pretty creepy now, and more importantly who was this sister of mine, and how does she know how the drive a boat?
The engine finally started and we headed straight forward to the other side of the lake.
Faster and faster we went. I was getting hungrier and hungrier. The black lady wouldn't shut up now, and her mouth was becoming a burden. I ignored her most of the boat ride, and it's a good thing I did because I was more paying attention to the way ahead of us. "Look out!" I yelled to my sister.
She quickly turned the boats steering device, avoiding a collision with a blurred out %%@&*(%, causing us all to take a frightening dive into the dark nasty water. What was that? I had no idea, and my mind couldn't even comprehend what it was. We were soaked to the bone. This was instantly funny to me. How silly, I thought to myself. What an adventure. I will be blogging about this for sure. I was laughing really hard now.

"Hillary! Hillary! What are you laughing about?" Christoph says.

5am or so. I reply "Hmmshd dihd ddjijij" Words would not come out. I couldn't explain what was so funny, all I knew is that I loved this dream and I wanted to finish it.

Fell asleep again.

Thankfully the shore was not too far off. We departed from the lake of horror that reminded me of the lake in the last Harry Potter movie I saw, and continued our way to the airport.
The food market was were we entered, and I could not wait to eat. My dad came up to us and asked us why we were all wet? I looked over at my sister and he said, "Oh I see."
I guess he knew that my sister was not the best boat driver.?????
I looked down at my dads food he had in his hand, and he reluctantly offered me one of his crackers. This made me so angry because he knew I was gluten intolerant and that I loved these little cheesy delights. How could he be so insensitive.
We left him, and accompanied with my new annoying black lady friend we went to go search for a salad.
We ate, but I was not satisfied at all. The leafy greens even in dreams don't do it for me.
We went over by where my dad was, and he was speaking fluent German to some German woman. That was strange. I didn't know my dad spoke such amazing German.

Woke up. "Whoa, I had such a weird dream"

"I guess so, you were laughing really hard early this morning."

I love dreams, and I have the craziest ones! It's funny because little details in my dreams play out what I am actually feeling at the time.
I woke up really having to pee. I also was very hungry, and I wish I really did have a black lady friend.
My dad often forgets I am gluten intolerant. I find escalators scary because I always imagine myself getting sucked in by my clothes. I have an amputated limb phobia. I was getting jealous of my dad when I found out he spoke better German than me, and I love cheesy crackers.
The only part I cannot explain is the divorced woman, and the fact that my sister looked like a prisoner.






Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tame that deer!


What do you do when you have an absolutely ridiculous question? You are too afraid to ask an actual person, so you what? You Google it.
I was doing just that when I had the question. "What are some good hobbies for women?" Interestingly enough it came up with endless possibilities, some of which include blogging, reading, learning a different language, exercising, cooking, playing or learning an instrument. It's funny because I already do all of these things although I still find myself with some spare time. It's not everyone who has to fill up their day with hobbies. I was not satisfied with what Google had given until I came upon this website. I needed something different. Something that no one else does. This is the list that I got.

1. body painting
2. underwater photography
3. rice sculpture
4. exploring extra sensorial capacities, through different methods like hypnosis
5. aerobics in the water
6. animal communication
7. making stunts
8. cooking zany food
9. making robots
10. stars watching
11. taming wild animals
12. exploring volcanoes and underwater caves
13. hobbies related to the religions of the world
14. traveling and exploring exotic countries.

As you see in this picture wild animals take to me well, so the hobby number 11 "taming wild animals" immediately caught my eye. In the forests here they have some deer. This would be it. Now I would begin my new adventure training one of the worlds most peaceful animal, the deer. I could really make something out of this. I will first sow myself (I do know how to sow now) a ranger outfit. Hat included. I think it should be bright purple, this way the deer know me as someone special and not just another forest ranger. I should probably get a boy scouts guide, they usually really know what they are talking about. I think it would also be suffice to get myself a gun. You never know when a wild animal could turn on you. I think I even know what I will teach them. To their benefit, I will train them in hi speed runs, so they will be more apt to escape predators. I will teach them that the roads are off limits, keeping the deer fatality rate at a low. I will also teach them to transport humans and construct a special deer saddle so that it makes for a more comfortable ride.
Deer are surely going to be the new horse.

I believe number 6 comes hand in hand with taming wild animals. You have to have a gift, so communicate with the animals first. I believe I attained this gift after almost being strangled by a dog when I was in the 5th grade. It grabbed my scarf on a wintery day, and almost choked me to death. I whispered to it because I couldn't speak in a normal voice, "Let go" It finally did leaving me with only a bloody nose and dark circles around my eyes.
Another time would have been when I was 12. A stray dog came up to me in a parking lot. I looked at it intensly in the eyes and thought to myself "Go away stray dog"
It turned around and left.

I am also an expert fisherman. I tell the fish. "Bite my line....right now"
They bite!

I already have number 14 under my belt. I live in Germany! hello! I can cross that one off now.

I don't think my husband would appreciate me trying out different religions of the world. He told me I could never wear a Burka so that one is out.

I think my second choice would be making a robot. Not very many people do this. I think I have the time and the money to create a little robot creature to do my chores for me. To be my surrogate and take my place in the world. I will never have to leave the closet again! Yes. I could give it special gifts. I could be beautiful and perfect all the time. I could eat whatever I wanted. I could be a special agent and fight the real humans from using a special gun to kill all of the robots. Maybe Bruce Willis could help me out even. I know he like robots.

I think I have a lot to get busy with so I'll keep you informed on how it's going.

I can't wait to meet Bambie.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The wrong basket

Duetsch. Oh how this haunts me everyday. I am catching myself thinking. 'Maybe if I just listen a little bit closer....I could understand." Nope. I think when they say "Doosh" It means something completely different from what I understand. In German it means "shower." Just when I think I am understanding. Although I am getting better at it.

I had never thought of how asking Christoph over and over again. "What did he say?" or "What was that?" would be annoying to him until I met our dear friends who are going through the same exact thing.

She is American, he is German. And I see a lot of her in me. "What did he say?" As we are all sitting around a poker table, and all that is being said is German, and you are sitting there thinking. 'What could I learn tomorrow in German that would just blow their minds that I would know something like that.' You think. 'I am going to secretly learn it real fast so that they wont know I can understand them when they are talking about me.'
Other thoughts glide through my mind like. 'I am living in an alien world. They all are saying something that means something, yet I have no idea what that is.' Also I think,
'I wonder what kind of person they are. All I can get from them talking to me is that they have an adorable accent.'
'I wonder what that guy is thinking in a language I don't understand. Or that woman who looks just like a human, and does things just like a human, but is thinking in a completely different tongue than what I know.'
It's fascinating really. All of these people. Millions who live in Hamburg, and I have no idea what they are saying.

The other day in the grocery store, we were hustling around trying to get our hand out to snatch some yogurt, wrestling all of the crazy mothers with their strollers trying to get in their last minute shopping before heading home to cook dinner. We were leaving our cart in different places, as we journeyed around the packed store trying to find the cheap, yet still tasteful version of our choice foods. I was a bit nervous. After all, things move a bit quicker than our gigantic mega supermarts in america, that has basically a checker for every person in the store. No this is a bit different. People are in and out, and if you get in their way, they yell something in German and you have no idea what they just said. But look out next time.
So back to the other day. I was just minding my own business, getting my rice cakes. I put them in our cart, and then moved on. I look at Christoph. He has our cart. A different one then the one I just occupied with my rice cakes. I look back at the cart I just put them in. It was not our cart but the cart of a dear older woman. Shewalks up just after I did this and laughs and smiles at me, and say's something. I could imagine what she said, but I still had no idea. She seemed okay, no sign of annoyance or anything. It is in these times, I really wished I knew what people were saying. I feel like a retard replying to people who speak to me out and about, and when they something to me all I can do is smile and say "Ja!"

They probably think I am some stupid American. I am.

Thankfully this will not last for long. Soon I will be starting my new German class. Until then, I need to avoid all human contact and speak to no one. I will make sure I am always putting my food in my own basket, and when the checker says something to me at the end of my purchase she is probably asking me if I would like to keep the receipt, and all I have to do is nod yes or no. I can do this.

Christoph's mom said to me the other week she can't wait until I start speaking more German, after I asked her husband in German. "Would you like some butcher?" Referring to the plate of meat I was passing him at the table."

They laughed.

Friday, October 23, 2009

It's play time


I have had it. I think Chirstoph finds it amusing that for a couple days out of the month he gets a different Hillary. After telling him I'll murder him if he doesn't give me some chocolate, he laughs even harder. But it's not a relaxed laugh like usual. It's a laugh out loud, ha ha ha, but I hope you're joking, but of coarse she's joking.....Is she joking?
Last night he said he is going to start a PMS diary of everything I say.
Two entries were filled yesterday.
"Did you know that the smell of farts actually can cure cancer?"
He loved that one.
I was explaining this to him to cover for....well, I just was.

Another,

"Quit acting like the victim, you're not the victim, you're the cause of it!"

Another entry was.
"Quit chewing your gum like a prick."
He was definitely chewing his gum like a prick, all loud with his mouth open. I think you can almost read who a person is by the way they chew their gum. In this case, Christoph is not a prick because I wouldn't marry a prick for one, and two he knew it bothered me.
So the antagonizing continues, and he finally gives in to make me a delicious nutella covered rice cake. You see, I ask him when I am sane, if he could please hide the nutella. Then come time when I need some chocolate, I can ask him ever so politely if he will give me some so I don't eat the whole jar. I should probably have him hide the whole kitchen, but we don't have enough room for that. So then he agrees, because he is a very good husband who wants the best for me.
Then the monster comes out. When I want chocolate I have to get it....Now. At this point feel like a junkie coming down off of heroine. So me being the persuasive and manipulative person of the relationship, I then convince him by very particular intelligent reasoning as to why he should give me some chocolate. This usually happens almost every night, and it ends in me tackling him, choking him, pulling his hair, calling him names. You name it.
He said last night, "I'm going to go into my first day of work with a black eye and I'll have to make up some story of running into a cabinet."
I reply "Whatever you %&^$#@, I'm not that horrible."
Christoph says, "Yeah, and I'll have to explain why the cabinet has a perfectly round fist shape"

So I maybe exaggerated my part a little bit. Maybe.
Don't think I'm a horrible person. It's sounds a lot worse than what it is. And if I thought it was harmful, I would not be blogging about it of coarse.

He always gives in to me getting my chocolate. Then when he offers it to me, I wonder why he is not holding me better accountable and then I change my mind and say "I don't want any chocolate." But this usually happens mid day, and then at night is when I finally HAVE to have it. Always after having my first one, I want more. This is where having only him know where it is has proven itself to be the best option.

It's funny because, and I think most women will agree with me here, you have so much anger, or I'm not sure what it is, built up inside of you with no one who will understand or let you extract it peacefully. It has to come out somewhere. I think this is why God gives women husbands. To be the outlet. The spout that pours out the pot's hot substance. The shelf to put all of the junk on. The drain sifter to keep all of the slimy food from clogging the sink. The rug that cleans our shoes. The pussy substance that comes out of a cut to heal it. The toilet to.....nevermind that's too far. Our husbands are all of these things. To keep the peace in the homes. And God gave men women to keep peace on a more "whole world" scale. I don't even know where to start on what women do for this world. It's almost indescribably too good to write down. So I wont.

I'm not making much sense.

So this all goes to say that once again I have a wonderful husband, and God chose him specifically for me so that I could have a great outlet once a month every month for the rest of our lives.

I love it when he asks me about ow to spell something, or what something is called. I can just make it up, and he believes me. He says, "What are those socks called that go down to your ankles?"
I say "Flockies, they're called flockies" (made that up)
He says, "Oh ok, I need to go get some flockies tomorrow"
End of story.

Today he asks
"How do you spell October? With a K or a C?"
I say, "With a K"

From now on, he spells it wrong.

I'll tell him tomorrow. I am not that cruel.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Christoph and I are enjoying this week of relaxing, spending our time reading, having amazing conversations about what God wants for our lives, watching Curb your Enthusiasm, and listening to music on our new record player. We are experiencing the blessings of marriage. Learning from each other, growing in love more and more each day. Christoph said to me today, "Being married you learn so much more about yourself, how you need to change or grow, how it's as if we are holding up mirrors for each other for the other person to look through, showing us a little bit more of who we really are, pointing each other to Christ to complete us. This I think is a perfect way to say that, we accept each other all flaws included. Yet we both grow and change by wanting to be all that we can be for God first and foremost, and then to each other. I am comforted in the fact that despite not knowing our future at this present time we have Christ, we have each other....so all in all wherever we are living, whatever we are doing as long as our hearts are in the right place there is no doubt in my mind that God will use us no matter what. We remind each other that whatever we do, we will not do it for ourselves but for God. The more we are living on this earth experiencing the all that this earth can offer, we are every day surprised how unsatisfying it really is. Our desire to live in a big city, to experience its liveliness, has proven itself darker and the polar opposite of what we thought we would get out of it. Of anything for that matter. Money, fashion, business, security, success. The only substance we feel in all of this is God. He goes with us wherever we are. To live for the fact that our joy does not come from material things, but from Christ is something to be happy about everyday.
On a different note, I witnessed my neighbor dancing in her kitchen like a maniac. Who needs TV when you have a such a great view of people watching.

This picture is the front entrance to our apartment. We live on the fourth floor.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Frozen Eels, dying plants, and tiny moths



6am-Reluctantly woke up.
7am-Left for Hamburg
8am-Christoph driving while I slept
9am-I'm still sleeping
10am-Sleeping
11am-I woke up, we stopped for a coffee and talked a bit about the world coming to an end.
12pm-Ate some delicious apples and bananas
1pm- Ah ok, this is where things get a bit more exciting. Christoph was informed that he should call our landlord just as we passed Hannover and were near to Hamburg. He did so. No answer. He did again. No answer. It vaguely crossed my mind that perhaps we would be on the news tomorrow about being scammed into renting a place we had never been to, from a man we had never met. Then that thought vanished. Christoph called again. No answer. Interestingly Christoph had the same thought and explained to me that this had crossed his mind being he did just wire transferred the money into Svens account last night. (Sven is pronounced Sven just like it looks) So here we are....call after call to our friend Sven, and still no answer. We start discussing now that we have surely been scammed, and what do we do now. We start laughing. All we can do is laugh at the fact that perhaps we have been dooped. I remembered something similar to this story on the news last year. A woman from out of town bought a house on Craigs list to only arrive to a place that was already very occupied. This was us. We were the idiots this time. Oh how could this happen. Christoph said he could already see us sleeping on the couch of my brother and sister-in-laws in town. Ha, but little did this guy Sven know, the transaction hadn't completed itself. The jokes on him now. We would safely get our money back with no problem for us. Just a waisted long drive, and a car full of all of our crap. Including our new sleek record player:) We were so smart. We had figured it out within 10 min of what was to happen now. We would be ok. Christoph called again. Straight to voicemail now. "Oh geeze!" I exclaimed. This was it. I've heard of this before but never did I think it would happen to us. He called Sven again. No answer. "Oh wait, he just tried to call" Christoph said happily. Christoph calls one more time. "Hallo.... Sven!" A very annoyed Sven answers. "Hallo Christoph" Christoph tells him we are almost there.
Our future had just changed about 10 times in my mind that conversation lasting a total of about 10 minutes.
Ok so we were wrong, and glad to be. A night on Benni and Lea's couch would have been less than satisfactory for our first night in Hamburg.
We arrive to Germany's version of NYC. Hamburg.
I ask Christoph what floor we are on. "The first floor!" Oh great, this should be easy unloading our things. We arrive, and ring the bell. Sven answers. 4th floor he is on. Ha. Ok, so we are not living on the first. That's ok. My butt will be nice and firm 3 months from now.
We meet Sven. Tell him we thought he scammed us, which is why we called 100 times. Apparently this was not humorous to our new German friend. Sven looked tired and drunk. Later we found a cabinet full of liquor. We were right.
Smooth sailing from here on out. We sat for a bit in our very lightly furnished home. We were feeling a bit sad. Like we were living in a strangers place. A place filled with cd's of the Disco Boys, Italo dance 2000, 30 great Italo dance songs, a couple dead ferns, and an entertainment cabinet made out of two cement bricks. It took us a few hours to make it seem more at home. The place was a bit dirty. Sven's hair nestled in a couple places. But I think the most interesting thing that we have found in our already furnished, ready to go apartment was a freezer full of Eels. Yes Eels. Eel hunting must be popular in Northern Germany. Let me explain this to you a bit more clearly. They was not just one Eel dead in our freezer. But probably around 6. They were really long, creepy, and resembled a sort of monster that may have once appeared in a nightmare of mine. Smelly, slimy Eels. What kind of person keeps eels in their freezer I wondered. I know what kind of person. Sven. As you see in the picture I think he even thought he could hide them behind that little box thing. Maybe he was just saving them for a rainy day. Fire those bad boys up on the grill. All's I knew was they had to go. I would NOT be living in this place for 6 months, sleeping peacefully at night, knowing there were eels about to attack me in my sleep at night. No sir. "Christoph, I can't touch them, please get them out."
"Ok"
I love having a husband.