Thursday, September 27, 2007

Going down South

Well, I don't have very much to say at the moment except that it will be a little bit before I write again. I am leaving tomorrow with the family to spend five days in a smallish town called Lauf. It is near N├╝renburg and about a six hour drive normally. Since we will have two kids in the car, it will likely take us around eight hours. Wish me luck because this could be an interesting weekend. I'll tell all about it when I get back. Until next time: goodnight, sleep tight, and pleasant dreams to you. There's a wish and a hope that every dream comes true. And so till we meet again... adios! au revoir! auf wiedersehen! goodnight!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

a meme...

Okay. I'm not entirely sure what a meme is, but Scarlettah tagged me for one so I assume that means that I just fill this out and curse another five people with the same task. I could be interesting, it could be embarrassing. So bear with me. I will post about real life things again when I get the chance. For now, enjoy!

My currently reading list:
"The Bean Trees" by Barbara Kingsolver
"Righteous Sinners" by Ron Julian
"Fear and Trembling and the Sickness Unto Death" (both in one volume) by Soren Kierkegaard
"Diary of an Old Soul"
Webster's German-English Dictionary

Total number of books in my library:
No clue, but if Scarlettah and Marianne both estimate 200 I guess I'm close to that as well because I rank close to them on the book collecting geek scale.

Last book finished:
I was dreading this question: The DaVinci Code (I hadn't read it yet). But the one before was Nicholas Nickleby.

Last book bought:
I think it was "Birthday Stories" by Haruki Murakami

5 Meaningful books: (Bible aside)
"The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck
"Practice in Christianity" by Soren Kierkegaard
"Plato's Dialogues" by Plato
"Righteous Sinners" by Ron Julian
The Dictionary

5 Favorite Books:
"David Copperfield" by Charles Dickens
"Concluding Unscientific Postscripts" by Soren Kierkegaard
"The Wise Woman" a collection of short stories by George MacDonald
"Till We Have Faces" by C.S. Lewis
"Seven Daughters and Seven Sons" by Barbara Cohen and Bahija Lovejoy

5 others to tag:
Camille
Matt
Jem
Josh
Jim and Amy
It says to just tag five people, but I would honestly be interested in hearing what you are reading so leave me a comment.

Monday, September 24, 2007

What are weekends for...

...but to recover your health? Usually it is my mental health that I recover on the weekends, but this past weekend (even through today), has included recovering my physical health. Funny thing is that the entire family got it except for Caroline. How ironic that all of the adults around are feverish, exhausted and sneezing while the four year old who wants to be entertained is perfectly healthy and as active as ever. I often envy her youthful energy, but this weekend the discrepancy between our life-levels was almost astonishing. No wonder people have always been obsessed with the fountain of youth. They don't want it so that they can live forever, they want it so that they can stop being so sore and tired all the time.
In other news, I am taking a trip to Lauf (Southernish Germany near Nurenburg) this next weekend for five days, so I'll try to remember to take pictures and tell all y'all all about it (I just couldn't resist) when I get back. Now I sleep. Goodnight.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Yep

The rain pants work.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Why do I always move to places where it rains most of the time?

It has turned cold. Not that the half of the summer I experienced here was anywhere near what I would consider hot, but there is that definite change in the attitude of the weather which signals Autumn. Officially, the season starts in three days, but Germany lives up to its reputation of punctuality a little over enthusiastically sometimes. This morning after class I went and bought myself a pair of rain pants. Kinda. They're really just waterproof hiking pants, and they won't fit over any of my other pants very well, but I am determined to make due. Three days a week I roll out of bed and bike the eight or so kilometers to language school. Often this is a precious piece of my day when it is just me, fresh air, good music, and very tired limbs trying to wake up enough to get me to class on time. But on those days when it rains... Last week I came into class fairly soaked and quite cold. After that day I acquired a rain jacket. Then I realized I could really use some gloves: so I got myself a pair. Today it rained again so I bit the bullet and purchased the rain pants. As I am sure it will rain again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, I am sure that I will have ample opportunity to test them. My hope is that they exceed all expectations particularly since I have a slightly vicious sore throat which attacked me this morning that I am hope to shake off as soon as possible, and have no wish to add to its company and brand of runny nose, or sneezing or any other of the seasonal illnesses.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I know I've already posted twice tonight...

... but I saw a real-live hedgehog on the path in front of me tonight! It was such a cute little ball of prickles that I almost picked it up and brought it home, but I don't know if hedgehogs have rabies or anything like that, and I'd rather not die a miserable death just because I couldn't resist temptation.

Berlin

Over a week ago I said that I would post pictures of Berlin. I also said I would talk about it, but we did so much that it is difficult for me to know what to say. I left Friday night and came back Sunday night, but in those 2 and 1/16th days, I went to a wedding, stayed in Haus Nazareth, played pool, ate white sausage, got the whirlwind tour of Berlin, went to an church service in a movie theater, went to Cafe Einstein, and had many very thoughtful conversations. I would put the pictures in a better order, but I don't have the energy to do that at the moment (this posting pics thing is still new to me).
This first one is of the Reichstag which is the seat of the German Parliament. In front of this building is a memorial to the members of Parliament who stood up to Hitler and were killed for their courage. This is one of Seanne's favorite memorials, but if I try to describe it I won't do it justice so you'll have to go see it yourself.


This second picture is the library of Humboldt University. This picture is only a fraction of this stunning ivy-covered courtyard. I can only imagine how distracting it would be to try to study there because I would be constantly looking at the beauty surrounding me.

Ahh yes, this is me and my three very gracious hosts, Frank (an excellent cook), Seanne (the person who first interested me in Germany when I was ten or so), and Daniel (who is hilarious both in German and English).

So there's Berlin in a nutshell. All in all it was an incredible weekend and just what I needed. Thanks Seanne, Daniel and Frank.

Reflections on trains and my future

Bicycles, footpaths, and trains. When I say that I love to travel, I don't necessarily mean visiting distant places. This evening, on my weekly train ride back from Bremen, I was sitting in my corner of the bench reading with the late afternoon sun pushing its way between two clouds to make its final inspection of the fields. Often either by the morning train or my return in the late afternoon I am struck with the romantic history of riding in trains. Countless hours of scenery punctuated by rustic roads and the occasional town; no wonder authors traveled so much, it seems to evoke creativity and reflection. As I rode my bike slowly homeward past the river, I found myself savoring the quietness of a cool evening on the waterfront. The sun was just about to set so I left my bike in the garage and took my usual (though of late not so oft traveled) path through the neighborhood and toward the nearby wooded footpaths. There is a particular place almost directly across a field from the back of my house where the trees on the footpath break and you can wander through this charming field. The adjoining field is usually a fenced emptiness, but tonight they had opened the gate and let the horses wander into it. I sat down to watch the clouds color that vivid pink which I despise in nearly everything but sunsets, and found myself crying. Not that today was sad or difficult in any particular way, or even generally overwhelming. The downpour of emotion had something to do with the kind curiosity of the mare as she ambled toward my seat and the incredible uncontainable beauty that I was observing on the horizon both of which made me feel a little lost and a little alone. In coming to Germany I, for the first time, took very deliberate and even motivated steps. I don't regret being here at all. But in those moments when I try to imagine my future beyond this year I get anxious and bewildered. It is not that I have an absence of dreams or hopes. They are there; but I am so quick to criticize my own dreams as unpractical, silly, or even overly ambitious. Then the sun set, the mare moved back to her mate and my tears dried. I don't know what I will do with my life, but I do know that I will continue to search, to create, and to love those people I love ever more deeply. I know that I will because these things I cannot help but do.

Friday, September 7, 2007

I'm back

As I begin this blog I realize immediately that I must apologize in advance for several things. First of all, I am writing on a German keyboard so that means that my Y's, Z's, upper case i's and apostrophies will be all mixed up unless I edit very carefullz, and since I think those mistakes are kinda funny, I will leave some of them in so that you know how difficult this is for me to write, the second thing is that I haven't updated people on my life since I left for Berlin last weekend (which was wonderful, and I will have to tell you about it next blog) because the internet connection has been acting like a spoiled 4 year old. I am also having trouble responding to e-mails at the moment, so parts of this will be directed to persons who aren't zou. I have gotten several requests for a picture of my daily life because I haven't given that yet, so here it is in a blink. Let me remind you, however, that I am working as an au pair, and as such, my life does not display the glamour of the expatriots like Hemingway or Gertrude Stein.

anywhere between 7-8: start grumbling at my ipod/alarm clock which is persistantly reminding me that time flies nearly as quickly as my to-do list grows.
8-8:30 realize that if I do not move very quickly, I will be late to sprachschule (language class), hop on my bike and start praying that it doesn't rain.
8:57/9:01-12:05 arrive at school, climb the four flights of stairs to my classroom, arrive slightly stinky from the ride, and settle into class for the next 2 1/2 hours with people from every continent but Antartica.
12:05-1:00 take my time getting home... dally along the way, sit and read for a spell, or stop at the store to replenish my supply of Ritter Sport.
1:00-1:30 eat lunch with Sabine, then take care of Felix while she fetches Carolin from kindergarten (wich is a German word for all who have forgotten / didn't know)
1:30-7:00 watch Carolin and Felix, which includes but is not limited to feeding, diaper changing, listening to a lot of quatsch (nonsense or gibberish) both in English and German, being chased around, trying to gently motivate Carolin to listen/obey/not get killed etc. (as a side note, Carolin can count to ten in English without help and loves to say 'oopsy-daisy' which comes out 'oopsy-lazy')
7:00-8:30/9:00 Holger and Sabine come home, we all eat dinner (pieces of bread with either meat or cheese on top... kinda strange but I'm getting used to it), Holger and Sabine put the kids to bed while I clean up dinner.
9:00-12:00 I check my email etc. read, watch Firefly, do German homework, or whatever and then bemoan how late I continue to stay up.
So that, ladies and gents, is a typical day. Weekends, I am up to my own devices, and that usually involves going to Bremen at some point which is a 40 min. train ride away.
Thank you Mom, Molly, Mari, Matt, Noah, Nik, Stefan, Teal, and anyone else I have forgotten for your postcards, letters, and packages, they have been such an encouragement. Yes, mom, my language skills are improving quite a lot, I can actually sign on to this blogger account without needing the homepage to be in English. I am also forgetting English words for basic things... I would give you and example, but I have forgotten the word... I am sure that forgetting English is a sure sign that my German is improving. I am on the cusp of making friends here, there are two girls in my language course who I am trying to meet up with for a movie this weekend; Iris is from Nicaragua, and YuChun is from China. So I think it is safe to say that I am just about as settled in as anyone could hope for. That said, it is always nice to hear from home, so feel free to drop me a line.
I hope that the internet will be working properly for me again next week when I hope to post pictures etc. from Berlin. Until then thanks for reading and good luck with whatever I should wish you good luck on.