Sunday, November 30, 2008
Well, these are totally out of order, but it doesn't really matter. Isn't the Guiness beautiful?
We had a wonderful time in Dublin. And it never rained on us! Well, I guess Nathan got a little on his walk to work (which was the reason we were there) a few days, but that's nothing for the British Isles! I thoroughly enjoyed speaking English and found a new appreciation for being independent. It was great.
There's not a TON to see in terms of actual places, so we basically just took in the local culture via food, drink and walking. We enjoyed lamb stew, Guiness beer, Trinity college and of course some pubs. We did schedule a tour in Dublin castle and a visit to Christchurch cathedral, which were really cool.
One morning we even had a traditional Irish breakfast. Which came with the so-called "black pudding". Upon it's arrival (see the picture above), it just looked like a dry biscuit of some kind. It had what seemed to be barley in it and it's texture was dry and somewhat crumbly. So I ate it. Well, at least part of it. Until Nathan said that it was probably congealed blood. I didn't believe him since it didn't have the texture of what I'd expect. And it's taste? It was bland! Tasted of nothing! Hearty. Solid. Boring. Nate of course ate the whole thing. We then went back to the hotel and checked on Wikipedia. Sure enough black pudding consists of: blood (cooked until congealed) and barley used as filler. AND I ATE IT!!! At least I didn't finish it.
PS - The one picture of Nate eating a pretzel and a weiß bier which seems out of place, is because it is. We're still in the Munich airport.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
We had our first snowfall today and it's so beautiful! Even our garbage cans outside are pretty! Nate and Merissa were so excited that they were singing Christmas songs and running outside to let it fall on them. They're so cute.
We then took a walk to the English garden and got some Glühwein (mulled wine) to warm us up. It's so cute and Christmasy over here now. The Germans don't have Thanksgiving (obviously), so their Christmas begins sometime in late October. The stores begin stocking all the Lebküchen and Advent calendars. Then they begin setting up for all the little Christmas Markets all over the city, which are these wooden shop stalls where they sell Chrismas ornaments and trinkets, at least I think. This is my first time and they haven't quite opened yet. It's so traditional and wintry here, it really feels like Christmas!
PS - Don't you just love the surfers in the Isar totally disobeying German law? The sign says swimming and surfing forbidden. But they're there, in freezing temperatures, gettin' their groove on.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
So begins the travel craze.
Why Stockholm? Well, other than it being beautiful and sort of unique to visit in the beginning winter months, one of the ladies I met through the League of Accidental Hausfrauen, Charlene (pictured center), had moved up to Umea, (northern Sweden) and she, another friend, Emily from LoAHf and I decided to meet in the capital. It was a fun girl trip filled with second-hand shopping, swedish food and bundling up.
We saw the Vasa musuem (thanks Sarah), this really cool sunken ship from the 17th century, ate reindeer (mmmm Rudolph!), and shopped cool Swedish designs. I loved the wall of candy at the grocery store, and how can you not love heart shaped meat?
Thankfully, it wasn't too cold there. It stayed right around 1-3 degrees C, so just above freezing, and no snow yet. Still, it was freezing rain. What was really trippy was that we only had about 6-7 hours of daylight and the sun set about 3pm every day. Cool. But not something that I could deal with for more than 3 days.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
We celebrated Thanksgiving early this year. Our super friendly landlords/neighbors one floor above us, along with another neighbor from Romania and her 4 week old son (her husband, unfortunately, was out of town). We tried as best as we could to duplicate recipes that were familiar to us and honestly it turned out pretty good! Not bad, considering I had never headed the cooking before. Here I am the little housewife in training.
Considering that we didn't have a full bird, just one large turkey's breast, it turned out pretty well! First I went shopping for all the necessary ingredients at the Viktualienmarkt, which was fun, especially since my neighbor accompanied me and helped to translate! Then, confronted with the harsh truth that they just DO NOT HAVE certain things here (ready-made pie crust, gravy packets), set to work making these things from scratch. Which I have never done before. But hey....I've got the time.
So, the night before I made 2 butter crusts for the pumpkin pies and purchased my first turkey heart, liver, gizzard and neck, which by the way, were under 1 euro. Score!
Then Merissa and I went to work in our little kitchen, which apparently by German standards is quite large, and made turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, the works. Thankfully (pun intended), we were able to use our neighbors' oven, so it was really easy to bake everything at once.
Overall, it turned out to be a success! Our neighbors liked the food (phew!), the setting was beautiful (they have a big and gorgeous dining room), and it felt so good to eat comfort food in a casual, family-style atmosphere.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
This past weekend, Nathan and I celebrated our anniversary in Paris. Because you can do things that romantic when you live in Europe! I still can't believe this is my life.
Anyway, we began by taking a night train to the City of Lights, which was an experience in and of itself. It was cool, but cramped, even in first class (which is the only way to have a private room). Sleeping was a bit difficult, but somehow we managed to get some rest. I think my favorite part was showering. I kept thinking I was going to fall out of the shower with the instability of the train, but it was easier than I thought. And I got to be clean upon arrival!
When we arrived in Paris, it was cold and rainy, but that just makes it more romantic, right? So we checked into our hotel in the 7th arrondissement and with a view of the Eiffel Tower. I'm not sure why, but the tower is now lit with blue lights and a searchlight at night. Maybe because the European Union color is blue, not sure. Then, at every hour on the hour, the tower sparkles like a firecracker for about 5 minutes. It was cool to us tourists, but I'm sure the Parisians are really annoyed by it.
While there we visited Sainte Chapelle, the Louvre (again, because there is so much to see there) and Montmartre. Here's a tip: if you have never seen the Mona Lisa, you may want to go soon. They keep pushing visitors further and further away from the painting, pretty soon we're gonna be looking through binoculars to see her. Sheesh.
And of course, when in Paris, you have to have steaming hot bowls of French onion soup in the Latin quarter, cry-it's-so-good baguettes, and even a plate of stinky cheeses and escargot. Which we did; and it was great.
A friend of mine in Munich, who lived in Paris for a summer before moving here, likes to say that, (I'm paraphrasing here): Paris is like the hot girl, very seductive, everyone wants her, but she's high drama and it's a rocky relationship. Munich, however, is the girl who you take home to the parents and cooks for you. Basically, Paris is great to visit, but Munich is a more livable city. Besides, even mousy Munich gets to let her hair down and go wild once a year...at Oktoberfest!
I hope she's right. Because a rendezvous in Paris always seems like a dream.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
As scared as I was to go and get my hair done by a new stylist, my bangs were getting even scarier. Uneven and l-o-n-g! So, here's my "new" 'do. It's basically the same as before, but cleaned up and with a few chunky pieces in front.
And the German word for bangs: der Pony. How cute is that?
Next post: Paris
And the German word for bangs: der Pony. How cute is that?
Next post: Paris
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
It's really weird. All of a sudden, US citizens are popular! The Germans are SO happy that Obama is president. I was congratulated twice today by strangers, whom, when they heard me speaking English, asked excitedly if I was from the states and then broke into a big smile and offered their kudos. Wow!
My friend, who is from Michigan, said she was up late last night so she could hear the results and told me that people all over were cheering and clapping. Nathan had colleagues offering their congratulations and Merissa had a student this morning who ran into class and shouted "We won!" She's German of course, so I'm not exactly sure....but whatever. It's so funny.
At least we're off to a good start with the Democrats, foreigners don't seem to hate us as much anymore. Hopefully it will ring true, but the Dems are in the hot seat now. Let's see if they can clean up this mess.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
To fully blossom into a Hausfrau, one needs to do some baking. And so Merissa and I decided to bake some brownies. German brownies. From a mix. A German mix!
First, we bought the mix.
Next, we read the directions. (Surprisingly, I'm actually better at "reading" German than speaking it)
"Oh dammit, we need a pan!"
"Wait, it comes with a pan!"
"It comes with a pan??"
Yes, it came with it's own cardboard pan in the mix box. Quite impressively German engineered too. Which....means it took us twice as long to assemble. Hehehe.
We were so excited, the apartment smelled of chocolate brownies, and we waited impatiently for them to cook, nevermind cooling. Then we tried them. As we exchanged confused and disappointed glances, we finally admitted the truth.
"These don't taste like brownies."
"They taste like unsweet cake."
We were so disappointed. I vowed never to buy them again and then devoured an entire bag of gummi bears.