Thursday, September 11, 2008

Itsa me!

Today I helped Fred get rid of a large pile of scrap from around the house. I got to wear red coveralls and looked very much like Mario! First all the glass and yard scraps went to a sorting facility that had all sorts of bins that were for specific materials. Recycling and composting in a very organized fashion was the main focus of this facility. We should have them in America, but alas! they are few and far between. Then we went to the incinerator to drop off the rest of the scraps, mostly wood. This facility made my excitement about the last one subside a bit as I remembered all that I learned in school about incinerators and how incredibly awful they are for the environment and people. However, it was here that I found some electrical cords that I can use on some of the electronics that I brought (keep in mind the different voltage and plug ends in Europe).

For those of you who want to see the town of Solingen, I found a webcam of the city.

Also, Mandie has a blog up that you can check out! Right now there are pictures up there of some of the people that we visited on our trip around the Southeast. It can be found at http://robotvsvelociraptor.blogspot.com/. Check it out and book mark it along with Space Bats!








There is a particular vegetable that I think deserves mentioning; Kohlrabi. I have never heard of it untill the other night. Maybe it is more common than I thought and I just somehow missed it. The round part there is delicious, similar tasting to broccoli, and as I found out is delicious when sliced up and baked with cheese!


One more mentionable is the yellow raspberry. I have never seen these either. As a dessert we had these along with strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries (all from the back yard) over vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Down to business: I have begun looking into language schools. There are so many options. Most of the Private schools are way too expensive, and the universities seem more interested in a full schedule that includes language but is more comprehensive in terms of Germany (think of learning English in an American econ/law/culture class). I have found a few leads and have sent out some emails. This is my current project since I need to find someway of kicking it here legally. Since I do not know the language I the odds are sort of against me in the reals of school and work. After several months learning German I should be ready for anything that comes my way.

I've been drinking a lot of mineral water lately.

Oh snap! Today I heard the doorbell ring and ran downstairs to answer. Opened the door, said Hallo!, and the guy (in work garb) said something and I just stood there all awkward. I had no clue what he wanted. Of course I called Mandie down and she handled it and explained to the man that I do not speak German. Oh man, it was so awkward. The same thing happened the other day at the post office. I opened the door into this lady and went to apologize, but only froze. I had no idea how to laugh it off or tell her I didn't mean to slam the door into her. She probably thinks I am a jerk. It is a funny thing, my brain recognizes things around me; buildings, signs, books, people, and all the normal everyday things, but then I go to read said sign, label, building, book title, or understand and talk to people and that is the moment when my brain realizes, "Oh yeah, not as familiar as everything seems." I know with time I will get used to this and even begin to understand and communicate, but as for now it makes me very dependent on others which is frustrating because I am typically very independent.

Two things I've learned, one in the kitchen and the other at the dining table:

1. Cooking with metric units is awesome, because instead of volume based measurements, you use mass based measurements, this means that you can mix everything in one bowl situated on a scale and never have to use spoons and cups. Much less clutter and mess!

2. In Germany, and apparently in France, if you leave your knife and fork crossed on your plate it means that you plan on having more food. If you position your knife and fork parallel to each other in a diagonal fashion on the plate, it means that you are finished. This may explain why the server is not taking your plate, or running off with it instead. I came about this bit of knowledge after a bit of post-eating conversation. I was asked well after I was finished if I was going to have anymore. It was then explained to me that the way I had my knife and fork positioned that I was suggesting to everyone that I was going to eat more and not to put away the food yet.

On a side note: I've noticed that piercings aren't really as big of a deal here. Perhaps it is in the way that people here regard each other culturally. I'm not sure exactly. Downtown I noticed a girl with a bridge piercing. Yesterday the new neighbors stopped in to introduce themselves. The lady had a smiley! If you don't know what either of these are you should look them up. I guess my point here is that I usually am not one to think so much of piercings, especially since I have had mine for so long. Usually it is other people who mention them or make dumb jokes about them which I can usually understand, but I think what strikes me here so far is that no one has called attention to my piercings or made a big deal about them at all. Not even curious inquiries regarding how much they hurt or funny looks. I think what I am noticing is the impressive level of acceptance and the harmonious perspective that the Germans have towards each other. This is of course my reaction to what I have encountered so far.

I really like it here. I have a feeling that I am going to love Berlin! It is late and Mandie has already fallen asleep. Everyone Stateside is hopefully enjoying their Thursday evenings. I am going to go drift asleep to the sound of the rain coming through the open window.

Gute Nacht und traum schön!


2 comments:

konstantine said...

oho. I think it's fun to read all this, you know. THE CHRONICLES OF...Phil. I like that you're Mario, and, sadly, I like even more that you are striving so hard to learn the language when it's no big deal for everyone around you - it remind me of German class (which I'm in right now). I like taht they're more accepting there. I'm really excited to visit!

Incase it intrigues you, I found out that my mom's letting Tina and I go to Nekocon for my birthday! :D

I'm so excited. I'm cosplaying The Major from GitS SAC second gig! It's gonna be so fun. I already have bleach and purple dye. I'm probably going to quite my job soon because I don't have much time lately.

I really hope you guys are having a fantastic time! Email me lots. I wrote you a letter. :D

Anonymous said...

I had that same sort of problem when I went to Beijing. I had no idea how to tell people anything.

sarah