Sunday, March 30, 2008

The official news

I have been going back an forth for quite some time now on the issue of what the destination should be on my return ticket to the United States. Tonight I finally bought my nonrefundable-in-the-case-of-cancellation-ticket which sealed the decision I had already made to move to Maryland on July 8th for an indefinite period of time (read there: at least a year, and then I would have to earn enough money to move back to the West Coast). What will I do there? Well, that part of things is still uncertain. I am pursuing an opportunity to teach part-time, and am hoping to pursue music and writing more intensively. Odds are much better that I will be able to keep up with my German the closer I am to D.C. Don't worry, all you Eugene-ites (and Portlanders, and all the near-that-area-ers) I will be back to visit Eugene for my dear cousin's wedding in late July/early August, so if you are in the area at that time then please throw me a party so that I can see all of you. There, in brief, is my news. As the rest of my plans are at a liquid stage, and running all over the place, I will wait until they are a little bit more firm to fill you in on them. Don't worry, there's nothing too dramatic in the works. ...And now you know the rest of the story!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

For Amy

I just recieved an email from my dear friend Amy, in which she recalled a visit to Bavaria just before Easter. After reading it I realized that the festivities here as I described them can only be understood if you have indeed visited Germany for the holiday. So I decided I would include the only two pictures I remembered to take to commemorate the holiday. The first is the Easter egg tree which I described in my last blog (utilizing the proper, prettier branches), and my favorite of the eggs hanging from it.
My apologies for the poor quality, but it was midnight after a long cold day when I took them. I was the last one in the kitchen Saturday before Easter boiling two dozen eggs to devil the next morning my my church's brunch. I figured that deviled eggs would be something of a novelty here; which indeed they would have been if I had not forgotten them on the kitchen counter.
In other news, I have finally begun to make plans for my re-entry to the United States, and will disclose them in a blog devoted solely to news.
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Friday, March 28, 2008

Busy, but alive.

I find that I must once again assert that I am alive. I have been rather busy the last couple of weeks celebrating Easter and welcoming Josh to Germany. Easter is not a small holiday here. That is evident in that they decorate the house in honor of the day. Not just with flowers and a pair of bunnies... they go to rather more trouble. First someone is sent out to collect green branches from which to hang the painted eggs that are often the result of years of collecting. Then there are the other easter ornaments that get hung all over the house. It was rather baffling for me to take in, and when Carolin and I were originally sent out to collect the branches, our mutual inexperience led us to branches that were more like small walking sticks than graceful decorations and a second collecting expidition was required.
Just before Easter, Josh arrived rather tired in Germany. After several somewhat chaotic days- in which we managed to all get sick, travel to the furthest edge of Niedersachsen to visit Goslar and see the Kaiserhaus (pictured below) where it was snowing, celebrate Easter, hear German spoken with a very thick Irish accent (a concert at the local Irish Pub)- we sent Josh on his way to Berlin and we have spent the rest of the week trying to get through all of our illnesses. It is currently nearly 1:15 am here, and my thoughts have been fuzzy for several hours now, so I am going to cut this very short, but I hope to be able to write more soon and more consistantly again. Liebe Grüße!
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Monday, March 10, 2008

Contrary to popular opinion, I have not dropped off the face of the earth.

This is, as a matter of fact, where I was last week. Well, only for a couple of days which doesn't completely account for my blogging absence, but I am assuming that I will be forgiven so long as I return to the straight and narrow path of semi-regular correspondence.
"You sitting on a street corner for a couple of days? That sounds miserable," you might observe.
Well, I wasn't always on that street corner. The picture is merely intended to prove the fact that I was in Vienna last week. That large and rather ornate building is the Vienna State Opera House. The reason that there are not more pictures is that my computer is too old to handle the task of uploading more than one photo at a time, so I will have to verbally describe the sights and experiences of last week.
On Sunday (the 3rd, was it?), Sabine, Felix, and I all packed into the 5 seater Opel-that is a brand of car that we don't usually see much of stateside- and headed several hours south to Heidelberg. Sabine had a conference during the day so Felix and I were free to explore Wiesloch and Heidelberg for the three days. So every morning we would bundle up, I would fight Felix into the baby runner, and we would set off for the big city. Everyone that I have talked to in Germany has told me that the castle in Heidelberg is a must-see. It's 1/2 ruined, 1/2 renovated in the last century, and is amazing. Quite large, and situated on the hill overlooking the city, der Schloss has become rather legendary. In the days of Goethe it was already famous, and even Mark Twain visited and wrote about its beauty. The old downtown of the city was also charming with the typical cathedrals and architecture that have not yet ceased to stun me with their beauty. After three very cold and partly rainy days, Sabine and Felix dropped me off at the airport on their way north, and I caught a flight to Bratislava.
Arriving in Bratislava safe and sound, I took the shuttle bus 1 1/2 hours to Vienna and despite the fact that my cell phone slipped into a coma, managed to find my way to the apartment of my host family's cousin, with whom I was staying. The next morning I commenced my foot tour of downtown Vienna. Based on the recommendations of my host, I spent most of the day just wandering around the ring circle (downtown old city Vienna). It was amazing. Every time I turned the corner I was facing some new and beautiful building, or some statue of a famous person (I'm telling you, Vienna has a ridiculous number of statues), or a cafe. The first day I went to HausderMusik (a music and Vienna Philharmonic museum), a cafe, found the most incredible antique bookstores that made me drool as I got to hold a copy of Tacitus which was printed in 1799, sat in a cafe, and in the evening I got a ground floor standing place for the Opera. This was such an enchanting experience that I decided to return the next evening to see La Boheme.
After my 2 1/2 days I left Vienna with the feeling that I had barely scratched the surface of what that marvelous city has to show me, and headed back to Bratislava to catch my flight back to Bremen. By the way, Slovakia is rather a wasteland, in my opinion. Compared to the opulence of Wien, it seemed dirty and dumpy for the entire five minutes that the shuttle was in the downtown area. I have hear reports that Bratislava has vastly improved in recent years, but beyond getting to see the Danube, I was unimpressed. I will, for the time being, stick with Austria.
So there you have it. I am still alive and kicking. There are plenty of other things that I have to say, but this post has already run far too long, so I will simply have to blog in a more timely manner this week. Servus!