Friday, May 25, 2007

1 year wedding anniversary (almost!)

We leave in one hour for the airport! Almost everything is packed so I thought I'd post one of our wedding photos from nearly one year ago. Tracy (also got married last year) were just laughing about what a stressful time we had last year with all the planning and we're happy to have that part behind us. :) I did have a really great time though and am glad I did put all the effort into planning that I did. It was a fun party, with all of our dear family and friends - we love you guys!

If there is a halfway decent Internet connection somewhere, I will try to post from Africa, if not, I will be back June 3rd.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Weekend report

Another fully packed weekend for us. We started Saturday morning early with a trip into the heart of Frankfurt’s shopping district to pick up some Japanese tatami sandals for Chris. Then we headed to Wiesbaden to get Daniel’s haircut and meet Chris, Florian and Alice and Daniel’s father.
We got back to Frankfurt with just enough time to make a quick dinner before meeting Steve and Kelly to go to the Lemonheads concert at the Batschkapp. Before the concert started, we tried to come up with at least one Lemonheads song, but none of us could think of one besides their cover of Mrs Robinson (actually I did say “It’s a shame about Ray”, which is one, but I was just guessing). Anyway, walking in and being faced with the opening band reminded me that I should have brought earplugs (thankfully they were giving them away at the bar) and that concerts of this type are hot and uncomfortable (having to stand and being bumped into by drunks moshing). I did recognize 1 song “If I could talk, I’d tell you” and realized only later when I googled the Lemonheads that I actually owned the CD “Car, Button, Cloth” in college. It was fun to hang out with Steve and Kelly. Don’t leave us you two!!
Sunday we met Tracy and Nebyat to go to a Frankfurt Galaxy American football game. Tracy’s husband Marshall works for NFL Europe and got us in for free. Nebyat did not even know what a football looked like (she is from Eritrea), and Daniel thought that football had innings, which meant that we had to do a lot of explaining during the game. I never knew I was such a football expert! Frankfurt pounded Berlin 35-7 so we saw a lot of end zone action. Afterwards we rounded out the American experience by eating hamburgers with Tracy and Marshall at NYC. Great burgers, bad service.
I finished my latest read, “Mirror, Mirror” by Gregory Maguire. He takes fairytales and gives them a historical basis, thus, this book was about Bianca de Nevada (Snow White) and how she really lived in early 16th century Italy. I usually like such fairytale retellings, but I found this way too bizarre and vague.
I am really busy with work this week, so if I don’t post before Friday, I may not be able to post again until we get back from Africa on June 3rd. So remember everyone, our 1 year wedding anniversary is Sunday May 27th and my birthday is May 31st.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Congratulations Brandon!

My cousin Brandon is graduating from high school today. He'll go to K-State in the fall, upsetting the balance of purple (wildcats) vs blue (jayhawks) in the family :)

So that's why Aunt Linda gave Daniel a purple K-state fleece jacket for Christmas!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

You know you've been in Germany too long when...

I found this on the lonely planet thorn tree forum (where I go often to check on the situtation in Zimbabwe) and I thought it was pretty funny. I edited it down to only the ones that apply to me:

-You’ve sorted your garbage into at least 3 garbage cans and you know the difference between "Gelbe Sacke" and "Restmull".
-You get excited that CNN is in English.
-You've watched the Simpsons in German and hated it.
-You've laughed at a German trying to say "squirrel".
-You know what a "Klo" is and you've gone "auf" one.
- You know what DB stands for.
-You know the difference between Milka and Ritter Sport (including all their various varieties).
- You know what a WG is, and have lived in one.
- You've ever been totally confused on how to open any and all windows / doors / locks.
-You've ever had a child tell you "Wir dürfen jetzt", when waiting for the green man.
- You get irrationally annoyed when the bus / train / tram is over five minutes late.
- You've been caught "schwarzfahring" (riding without a ticket) at least once (and pretended not to speak German to get out of it).
- You've answered the phone with your last name (eg. "Jones!", "Williams!").
- You know the separate functions of the big button and the small button to flush the toilet.
- When "wir sind immer fϋr Sie da: Mo-Mi 0800-2000" ("We are always here for you - Mon. to Wed. 8 am - 8 pm) no longer makes you laugh....
- You know that not looking someone in the eye when toasting will give you seven years bad sex.
-You have gotten extremely frustrated by the fact that the Z and the Y are switched on German keyboards.
-You ask people how they are with grunts like 'Und?' or 'Na?'.
-Your salad dressing has come with some salad.
- You have paid to use a public restroom.
- You've completely forgotten a word in English, yet you know what it is in German.
-You know that German efficiency is, in fact, a myth.
- You've starved on a Sunday (or every Sunday) because you forgot to get bread / milk / juice / anything at all to eat on Saturday.
-You get to the end of a sentence, and forget which verb / how many verbs you have to put there.
- You don’t understand why you can’t drink beer in the cinema back home.
- Anything with englische Untertiteln excites you.
- You’ve carried your groceries home in a cloth sack.
- Your friends (your brother!) ask you to translate Rammstein songs.
- You wished you drank beer because it's cheaper than everything else on the menu - including water and coke!
- You call your cell phone a "handy".
- Bread, cheese and cold cuts constitute dinner.
- You can name more German politicians than German actors / actresses.
- You heat each room in your house separately.
- You don't drive anywhere that you can take a bus / tram / train to.
- Your ones look like sevens and your sevens are a molestation of a 7 and a T.
- You've watched "Pimp My Ride" on German MTV and consequently learned the term "aufmotzen" and other words you never learned in German class.

Back to gray

After nearly a month of glorious sunny "nude sunbathing in Grueneburg park (though not by me)" weather, we are back to the rainy overcast skies Frankfurt is famous for. It was so windy on Saturday that the gas wouldn't stay on long enough for us to take decent showers.
But that didn't stop us from going to a Eurovision Song Contest party that evening with Steve and Kelly. The Eurovision final consists of 24 (mostly cheesy) musical acts from around Europe all competing to win the right to stage the event the next year. But since so many eastern European nations have now joined the fun and tend to vote according to political alliances, it is very hard for any western countries to even get in the final (Germany, France, UK and Spain are assured spots since they pay for it) let alone win the thing. In fact, this year, only Greece made the top ten. A very boring Serbia won over the vastly more entertaining Ukraine (tin foil galore!) and poor France, whose entry was actually quite good hardly got any votes (Ireland got the least votes, but deservedly so). Steve and I both liked Belarus' Dmitry Koldun for his (most likely unintentionally) campy "Work your magic" - I still can't get it out of my head. But nothing was so impressive that I would actually purchase it.
Short work week this week since Christi Himmelfahrt (Ascension Day) is on Thursday.

Friday, May 11, 2007

So my latest copywriting project to go online is for the adidas originals freizeit collection. I can't link to it directly here because it is in Flash, but you can experience the whole product presentation and read my copy by going to (choose the international site if prompted), clicking on Originals, and when that loads, clicking on the guys with the croquet mallets. Design is by the main agency I freelance for, Neue Digitale, and they have won a ton of creative awards for their adidas projects. This one has already caught the attention of who crowned it favorite website of the day for May 2, 2007.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Weekend report

Saturday was packed with social activities. Daniel's cousin came over with her husband and 2 small children at noon for lunch and a walk in Gruneburg Park and they stayed until 7 PM!! When we extended our invitation, we never in our wildest dreams thought they would stay so long. Which is why we had invited Steve and Kelly for our weekly viewing of DSDS and for dinner at 7 pm. DSDS (German version of American Idol) had its final, which was a boring "showdown" between Mark and Martin, two contestants we never had much interest in. After the final, we met some fellow ex-pats at Joe Pena's to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
Sunday we took our bicycles out for the first time. Once we got past the end of our street, it was like a whole new world opened up to us. There is actually quite a lot of green around Frankfurt (you see it from airplanes very well) and we rode in an area called Nidda Park. It was a very warm day, and we went out in the heat of it (a mistake we call "the badlands mistake" after suffering from a bit of heat exhaustion thanks to 3 of Daniel's brothers not bringing any water on our hike last June in Badlands National Park). So we weren't out for more than 1 1/2 hours. But that was fine for my first long ride in nearly 6 years!
The rest of the day was spent relaxing and reading. Daniel is in the middle of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" which I read a few months ago and really liked. I just finished Lionel Shriver's "The Post Birthday World" which is very well written but leaves you feeling like the author was a bit too hard on her main character. The book explores two different paths her life might take, each under the influence of a different man. So the concept is a bit like the movie "Sliding Doors" except that in the movie, it is clear that Gywneth Paltrow's character is better off without her cheating husband, while the author refuses to stack the deck in this book. Anyway, I just started "The Bullet Trick" by Louise Welsh, based on a recommendation from Steve.

Friday, May 4, 2007

We now have bikes!

Yesterday, Daniel and I went to a bike shop around the corner and bought bicycles. It makes a lot of sense for him to have one since it will cut down on the time it takes him to get to work (5 min. to ride vs. a 15 min. walk), but I was less enthusiatic about owning one myself. We both got cross bikes so we can ride on trails and in the city.

I have only owned two bikes - my training bike with the banana seat (hey I was 6!) and a bike someone left in our apartment in Japan which I sometimes would use to ride to my friend Synne's place.

The last time I rode a bike was not too successful (just ask Andrea Gr.) and the time before that was nearly 6 years ago on our trip to Burma. Daniel will probably make us take a long bike ride on Sunday, so I let's see how I feel about it after that!

It's about time!

Yes, I waited a very long time before starting my own blog. But if it helps family and friends to keep tabs on me, then it is worth the effort. In case you are interested, I will probably mainly use this blog to:
  • Give quick summaries of my travels (since detailed descriptions and tips might eventually end up on my virtual tourist page)
  • Talk about both the bizzare and mundane in my daily life in Germany
  • Post links to my work projects, inspiring websites, etc.
  • Review and recommend books I have read

Coming up this month: My birthday trip to Victoria Falls