Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'll be home for Christmas

We fly out of Munich on Saturday at around 4pm (7am PST). And we'll be getting into SFO at around 7:30pm, d'oh! Hate those long flights.

But! We SO look forward to seeing everyone! There will definitely be trips to Taqueria Vallarta, Hoffmann's Café, Rumble Fish Sushi and The Bagelry.

We will be splitting our time between my parent's place, our house in Scotts Valley with Ryan and Emily, and Nathan's parent's house. In addition, we'll be taking 2 days or so in Carmel to "vacation" in our beautiful area. Hope to see everyone over the holidays! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Funny Pictures

I've been meaning to post these. Just random signs and cultural differences that are amusing. Enjoy.

This looks totally photoshopped, but it's just the camera fogging up when we were up on the Zugspitze and then went into the little hut for hot chocolate.

Scary buttons and dials on the washing machine in the hotel.

This was where I went to do laundry. Two floors below ground, super narrow, cold and dank.

This does not need a caption. Don't you just love the detail?

Those German men!

This was in Sweden. Apparently you can buy a air tight piglet carcass.

From the first snow in Munich. The sign says: Surfing and bathing forbidden/prohibited. Guess not everyone follows those German laws.

Almost forgot this one. What the???

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


More traveling for Nate's work! We just got back from London this evening. It was a pretty low-key trip. I didn't even take any pictures this time, sorry. I had these great plans to, but then time just flew, and before I knew it, we were back in the airport.

Since we had already been to the city previously, we took it easy. Mornings were filled with long breakfasts and afternoons we spent walking in either Hyde park or Regent's park. We did manage to visit both the Museum of Natural History (for me) and the Science Museum (for Nate), although without the same fervor we usually devote to museums.

But London is always fun, especially when you get to meet up with friends! We had a delightful dinner one night with my dear friend Leslie and her charming husband, Colin. We enjoyed drinks at this really cool pub decorated in purple and ornate golden picture frames. Thanks for the evening, Leslie and Colin!

Just so you know, we'll be back home December 20th-January 11th. I am so excited to come home for Christmas and see everyone!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market)

Merissa, my friend Emily and I took a little trip a few days ago to the world-famous Nuernberg Christmas Market. It was really magical and beautiful. And cold!!

There were so many little crafts and goodies, it draws people from all over the world. In fact I even met some Americans from Lake Tahoe. Of course all the American tourists were older, retired ladies and couples shopping for their grandkids and home decorations. But it was fun to chat.

Basically we oohed and ahhhed over the finely detailed ornaments, shopped a bit, snacked on roasted nuts (they actually have roasted chestnuts here! But in the picture we're eating sugared almonds), and drank Glühwein (mulled wine).

In the Christmas Market you can find gingerbread houses (do you see Hansel and Gretel and the witch?), plum people, these little figurines they make out of dried plums, Lebkuchen, and smoking candles, with their mouths open wide. The gingerbread heart literally translates to "My little sweet witch". What girlfriend or wife would want that?? Getting a little too close for comfort.....haha.
There are Christmas markets all over, so this will not be the last one, just the biggest and most famous. Who wants to join me when we're 60+ for shopping in Nuernburg around Christmas?

PS - did you notice that I finally figured out my page setup? I've been using mr. computer genius as a crutch for way too long.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Word about Fashion

A few weeks into living here, I had a realization. I could be anyone I wanted to be here. I get to project any image about myself that I choose. That's my choice and within my control. Exciting and scary, isn't it?

It's interesting to think about environments and culture and how it shapes who we are. In Santa Cruz, jeans are the wardrobe staple. And flip-flops. Well, in the summer at least...but sometimes even in the winter. It's a very casual culture. In fact, in most of California, laid-back styles and comfort dominate. Actually, our friends in Portland (Hi Pfeffys!), get to wear fleece jackets, Danskos and ergonomic canvas purses, so I suppose it's west coast.

Europe on the other hand is Old World and they still often dress that way. Their casual is our nicely dressed. Perhaps it's just more urban, I'm not sure. Nathan is in one of the few "bubbles" (namely the Google bubble), that lets him dress casually at work. But again, it's different. He wears a button down shirt and jeans every day instead of a t-shirt and jeans. Oooo! Fancy! All other business men wear suits and ties and the casual ones have the Euro preppy thing going on. Some of their shoes are even pointy like women's shoes (but without the heel).

Women's dress is more scrutinized. Of course. You CAN wear baggy jeans and Dansko shoes, but then you're pretty frumpy and stick out like a sore thumb. To fit in, this must be your costume: heels, preferably ones that make a clicking sound, or the new trendy flat boots (thank you God!), dark skinny jeans, a visually interesting top (whether that's by color, cut or detail), a scarf and jacket/coat. Black is huge here too. Black coats, black boots, black scarves, black gloves, black, black, black! Everything is black!

And makeup? Oh makeup. Every woman wears it. You must! And they are daring too. Black eyeliner, colorful tropical fish eyeshadow, and of course lipstick. I really don't like lipstick, but you're almost not a woman here if you don't wear it. But gloss works too I guess. Women in Europe are just more willing to take risks with makeup than west coast north Americans.

Muinch is a lot like L.A. in a sense. It's warmer in climate than the rest of Germany, their film industry is here and you can get away wearing just about anything. But there are always those unsaid rules about dress. And without much else to do, I find myself absorbed into this new cultural attire.

I've begun to wear skirts and dresses, tall boots with tights and even nylons! Perhaps the greatest risk I took was wearing bright turquoise opaque tights. But the strange thing was, no one cared or thought it was out of the ordinary. I would be stared at unforgivingly if I were to wear that in Santa Cruz! I am so not in California (Kansas) anymore.