29 April 2008

Alatsee Revisited

Joe and I went to the Alatsee today. It looked quite different than it did the last time I was there. This time it wasn't frozen! It was a nice time, but a long walk so we're both a bit wiped out. Not much else to say at the moment, but here are a few photos.

25 April 2008

Settling in

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the lack of updates. I didn't mean to worry anyone. Everything is cool. I just had to wait forever to get my internet and phone going. I will be sending an email with that information soon. I finally got my kitchen installed and my desk arrived, so it's starting to feel like home here.
Last Friday I went to this bar that Toni's son, Timm, recommended. I had so much fun! It was the first time I actually hung out with people my age here and drank. We played darts, also. I'd been to a couple of bars before, but I never talked to anyone except for that one time on New Year's Eve. Those folks were much older than me.
It's a smokers club, too, which is awesome. I can deal with not smoking in restaurants, but when I'm having a beer, I like to have a cigarette, too. I think I'm going to go there again tonight.

I'm sure everyone will be happy to know that I will be posting more pictures soon! My friend Joe is coming in from Chicago and he's staying here for 2 weeks. I can't wait to show him the sights! Also, we're planning on taking a road trip to Prague. I think I mentioned that before.

Also, Satana is joining us here in Germany! (my cat) I brought Hector, and my brother brought Paco, but Satana had to wait because I didn't want to bring her here via cargo. I miss her. It'll be good to see her again.

Anyway, off to the Cafe Surreal! Talk to you all soon, I hope!

The Tegelberg, as seen from my bedroom window:

My living room (not done yet):

A blurry, but cool picture of the moon over the mountains. Again, from my bedroom window:

07 April 2008


The view from my living room couch (above)

It's after dark and I just got back from town. As I was walking, I remembered the frog I almost stepped on before. Toni (the woman who has been so kind to me here) also mentioned the frogs in Bad Faulenbach, so I started paying attention to where I was walking. No frogs, no frogs, no frogs so I stopped paying attention and then suddenly, like in a bad horror movie, they were everywhere!
It's funny but I thought I wouldn't have to worry about walking around after dark here. Apparently I was wrong, but not for the same reasons as Chicago, of course. I guess that's another positive aspect to moving to my new place. It's just over the hill, but worlds away from Bad Faulenbach as far as nature goes. In other words: there are no wild creatures about.
Another thing Toni told me about is the emergence of the salamanders. Apparently, there is a type of salamander here that exists nowhere else in the world. They're from prehistoric times and they're friendly and non-poisonous. I can't wait to see one! I don't have a problem with frogs or lizards, but I get really creeped out at the thought of stepping on one. I mean REALLY creeped out!! I forgot to mention that there are also ferrets, coyote and foxes here as well. One night I was looking out the window and I saw a coyote walking along the path and I yelled "HEY! You get out of here! GET!" and he dutifully turned around. It was funny. And another night I was crossing the bridge and I saw a ferret run past me. There was another one chasing it, but he stopped on the other side of the bridge when he saw me. So I stopped and said, "Go on. I'm not moving." and he ran by as if he understood what I was saying. Again, funny.

I finally got the key to my new place last weekend! Hooray! Needless to say, I'm very excited after waiting for so long. I need to vent about a couple of things, though. I haven't been complaining much because I know I'm in a new country and I need to adapt to how things are here. For those of you who don't know, when you rent an apartment in Germany, there are several things it doesn't (usually) come with. For example:

A kitchen. There is NOTHING in my kitchen except for a pipe sticking out of the wall. I have to buy countertops, a stove, a refrigerator and, yes, a kitchen sink!

People in the states may find the fact that there's no kitchen hard to believe, but here's the thing that bugs me even more than that. In fact, this is extremely irritating to me. Mind you, I knew about this, but it's still annoying:

There are NO LIGHTS! Yes, folks, it's true. Most times when you rent an apartment, you have to install lighting fixtures too! That is just crazy to me.

This next one is a bittersweet complaint. Don't get me wrong, it feels really good to recycle now (that I have no choice.) BUT I can't get over the foolish feeling I get when I'm...washing trash! Yes, my friends: I've washed trash! I even made up a little song about it. Ha ha. You know, ya gotta get those cans, bottles and jars clean if you're going to be collecting them in your apartment for a few days...

I think that's it for the complaints.

I got a library card a few days ago, so I've been renting movies to pass the time. I watched "Grease" today. I haven't seen it for years. It always reminds me of my cousin Tanja because we used to watch it all the time when we were kids. And you know what? I cried at the end. I felt so pathetic crying at the end of "Grease", but I've been especially sensitive lately because I miss everyone so much.


I'm moved into my new place now. I spent my first night here yesterday. I slept like a baby, which is a good sign. Another great thing about this place is the bathroom. The water pressure is like a fire hose, and the bathtub is long enough for me to stretch all the way out in. It's nice and deep, too. On the downside, the toilet is in a separate room. It's pretty annoying to adapt to that when you're used to having everything in one room, but no biggie.

I got a care package from my friend Jon today! Lots of Mexican stuff like pickled jalapenos, tortillas, refried beans and other things I love. I dove into the jalapenos right away. It's a good kind of pain. He packed the jars in pages of the Chicago Reader, and I must admit that I flattened them out and read them.

I met a few of the other tenants yesterday and today. This building has 16 units; 4 per floor and it seems to be occupied by mostly elderly people, which is a switch. Come to think of it, I was likely the oldest person in the building I lived in last. Everyone is very nice, though. Yesterday I talked to this woman who said she lived in Chicago for 5 years! What a small world. It was in the sixties, but nevertheless. And today I ran into the lady who lives downstairs and she brought me into her flat and gave me curtains and a schuhshrank (shoe closet). How sweet was that? Man, I love this country.

I'm still living like a hobo. I won't have a kitchen until Wednesday. The guys at the flea market found one for me, and it's cheap! So until Wednesday I'm cooking on a hotplate and storing my groceries on the balcony in a cooler, ghetto-steez. But no big deal. I'm saving a lot of money by waiting.

That's it for me for now. Sorry for the lack of pictures, but I'm just so busy settling in and stuff. Also, I won't have internet until the 18th so until then, I will still be pretty scarce unfortunately...*weeps*