Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Verstehen Sie Deutsch?

I started Language school on Monday. So far so good. I've learned a bunch of basic things, and have had the opportunity to practice with others on the same level as myself. In my class there are people from Italy, Spain, China, and the US (New York and L.A.). Aside from learning German I get to learn about these places and pick up phrases in other languages along with German. About a week ago, there was this three year old on the train who decided to teach me random words. This was right before I got caught without a ticket and kicked off the train. The ticket checkers (who are super sneaky, dressed in civilian clothing and boarding the trains all nonchalantly as if they were just passengers, until the doors close) just charged a fine and gave us a 2 hour pass. Today on the Metro, a lady started talking to me and I tried to keep up with the little German that I know. I remained in the dark for most of the conversation. I was doing my homework and she asked if she could see it. Upon giving her my note pad, she proceeded to complete my homework for me as well as going over the parts that I completed myself, making corrections where needed. I picked up a German/English dictionary from a bookshop on our street and have initiated the process of reseting the language portion of my brain.

It has been snowing off and on since last Friday. Light dustings really, nothing serious. The other night while watching the show from the window overlooking our courtyard, there was a flash and a crack of thunder. Wondering if it were really possible for snow and thunderstorms to happen simultaneously we turned to the internet for answers and discovered that Thundersnow, is actually an uncommon phenomenon. All the Italians and the guy from L.A. Find Berlin Freezing as they are rather used to warmer climates. I myself got rather used to the winters in Boone. I've been told there has been snow there also. Anyways, aside from uncommon phenomenon, the weather is a rather boring topic.

The sun here rises around 8am and sets at 4pm in Germany. On the winter solstice it will rise at exactly 8:15 and set at 3:54 for a grand total of 7hours and 39minuts of daylight. This is yet another aspect that I overlooked about changing Latitude. I can be a creature of the dark, at least until summer rolls around. Then the days will be extra long.

On the apartment hunt: We have looked at several places finding mostly combinations of small and expensive; however, a really awesome Italian guy we met wants us to take over the contract to his place which is affordable and rather large. Hopefully this will workout and we will be able to move in within a few weeks. Although the area is not in the middle of a trendy part of town, there is a subway stop on the street that will get us to wherever we need to go in Berlin. This man was really nice, he took us into his kitchen and made us Italian coffee and served bread with Italian olive oil. He taught us which noodles were the best ones to buy from the stores and invited us this weekend to where he works for a tasting of fine Italian wines. Viva Italia!

Accordions rock!

I'll try and get some pictures up sometime soon to interrupt these boring text fields.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

We did it!

We are now officially living in Berlin! Through a series of emails and phone calls, we managed to strike a deal with a girl to live in her apartment for one month while she is on vacation in Bangkok. In this time we will be actively searching for an apartment of our own in the city. Our new base of operations is in East Berlin. We arrived yesterday and walked about the area. There are lots of abandoned lots and buildings around. Most of them are for sale. I thought it would be fun to buy one and fix it up. The area is nice. There are restaurants and grocery store within walking distance. We looked at all the movies in a video rental shop with titles and covers that are different than the ones in America. I also made mental note of an instrument shop that was closed for the weekend. It is getting cold here, about 5C today. I am very excited to finally be in the city!

In other news, we recently spent about two weeks in the sates. Mandie was the maid of honer in her friend's wedding. Congratulations to Allie and Joe who are now happily married! We had fun hanging out with everyone. Many thanks to the Behnings for putting up with us and giving us a place to stay, and Dana for helping us get back to Germany. 1st class flights are very nice! I managed to pick up a Korg MS-2000B, a 44 key virtual analog modeling synthesizer/vocoder, while we were stateside. Click the link to see a photo. It makes fantastic noises! It was quite a task getting it here, but worth the trouble. I cracked open the Moog while in the states, but had no luck getting it to work properly. It will be a project to continue in the future.

The next month will consist of several important task and events. Mandie still has some job interviews lined up in the upcoming weeks. School will start soon for myself. Within a month we should have our own apartment setup. We have all sorts of ideas for future things, so it will be fun to see what happens. I hope that everyone is doing well. We miss you all!