Friday, May 26, 2006

Hello Saskatoon

I did not bother to add a visitor counter to my blog back in August. I emailed the blog address to 30 friends/family members and hoped they might occasionally visit the site to read about my escapades around Europe. I know those 30 people, so why bother to track when they visit the blog? But when a friend noticed that his blog was being read in cities where he had no friends, I began to wonder how far beyond the original 30 my readership had expanded. My curiosity got the better of me and I installed a tracker a while back.

People from Australia, Argentina, Canada, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and the US, to name just a few, have visited the site. (If only someone from the South Pole would stop by, I would have all the continents covered!) It’s also been fun to see which Google searches people have used to find my site, whether they meant to or not. Some of my favourites include: “guido hairstyles," "berlin style" and “KaDeWe and the effects on the citizens of Berlin.” I have also learned that I am the 8th listing that pops up if you google “cheese spaetzle:-)” Sometimes you can even tell where people work because of the servers that register. Surfing at work (horror of horror) seems to be evenly spread across universities, the government, and companies. Most strangely, someone from the “Defense Information Systems Agency Global Control Center” googled “Berlin road trip” and got my blog. What the heck is that?

After intially being a bit concerned, I’ve decided this isn’t the same thing as “Google stalking” because it is my website and because now I have written about it:-) Plus, there’s nothing practical that I can do with this information. It’s just crazy to know that somehow people from around the world have stumbled upon the ramblings of an American in Berlin. So hello to Saskatoon and Rhineland-Pfalz and Arkansas and friends, relatives and people I will never know. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Big 2-6

There is but one event that has been celebrated in 2 states and the District of Columbia, one year had a "Simpsons" theme, one year gave out live goldfish as the party favor, but has never before been celebrated in Germany. What could such a rockin' event be, you ask? It is none other than the birthday of yours truly:-)

Yesterday was my 26th birthday--I am now solidly in my mid-20's, closer to 30 than to 20. I think I might have found a wrinkle near my eye, but I don't have any grey hair (I did a thorough check!) On the upside, I am now closer to being "Thirty, Flirty and Thriving," as one of my favorite chick flicks says;-)

the girl group

and the boy group

To celebrate the occasion, I had a party-- a fun German-American evening, with a Russian thrown in for good measure. German cheese spaetzle and American birthday cake were on the menu. Plus, I was sung to in English, German, Russian and Chinese... very multi-kulti! It truly meant a lot to me that most of my Germany peeps were here to help me celebtrate!

Make a wish! Action shot!

Matthias and Andre sing a German birthday song

I would just like to say though, that planning a party for 10+ in Germany can be a bit challenging. Multiple trips to grocery and "beverage" stores were required because I can only buy what I can walk home with (and the guys ended up making another beer run anyway.) Of course when you get home, a German size refigerator does not hold all the food that multiple shopping trips produce. Then there is the matter of DISPOSABLE plates and silverwear. It is hard to find here and is expensive! Forget about disposable metal cake pans! I know it is bad for the environment to throw all that stuff away (bla, bla, bla,) but I will just chalk it up to one of the "American" parts of the evening. Besides, what else was I going to do? What 26-year-old has more than a few place settings? I know this sounds like complaining, but really I am not! It was just a bit more of a challenge than party planning in DC. Heh, I'm always up for a challenge. Plus, it offered some fun German-American cultural comparisons!

Andre, Dave, Lexy and Emil
Jude, Nancy, Lena and Matthias

Even better, today is a German holiday so I have the day off. I'm laying in bed under my duvet as I type this! Happy Birthday to me:-)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

"Ooh Dreamweaver..."

Most of my weekend was spent at a Dreamweaver website programming class at the VHS continuing education school in Friedrichshein. The course was informative and German-- two important qualities for a class in Germany:-) Saturday began by establishing whether the teacher would use the informal or formal form of "you" when speaking to us and how we could address her (so German.) Once the decision to "dutz" was made, we were able to start with the lessons. My friend Lexy took the class as well; it was fun to have a buddy to sit next to and someone to help decipher the foreign language-- be it HTML or German! Who would have thunk it... 14 hours of class and I can actually now put together a simple website. In fact, everyone received a certificate at the end of the class saying that we know certain skills that would allow us to create and update a website. (The certificate thing is also soooo German. I didn't realize that we would get a certificate. I plan to hang mine on my refrigerator! Is that an American thing?) This was my first time in a classroom in four years. I forgot how much I liked going to class. Maybe I really am ready to go get my Masters:-)

The other exciting event of the weekend was Lexy and Emil's engagement party. Fun times!! See below:

Emil, Lexy and Seth-- "Just whistle while you work..."

"What kind of quatsch is Erin telling me this time?

Lexy's German friend and Lena waiting for drinks made by bartender Dave

"Seth, are you downloading legal material?"