Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Letter C

Today's blog posting is brought to you by the letter C-- for Cologne. It's been another few days full of "holy moly, it's cool to be in Germany" moments. I flew to Cologne on Wednesday evening and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Torsten and paying one more visit to a city I have had lots of fun exploring this year. Unfortunately, Torsten is under the weather (gute besserung-- being sick in the summer sucks!) But we still managed to see some neat new sights.

A definite highlight was the modern art musuem-- the Museum Ludwig. Simply put, it was the most extensive and impressive modern art collection I have ever seen. Picasso, J. Johns, Warhol, Mattise, Lichtenstein, Max Ernst-- you name an artist and his work is in the musuem. There was also a thought-provoking exhibit on sexuality and the arts in the last 60 years. Though I was startled by some of the images, (certainly not art postcards to send home to mom) I was fascinated to get a glimpse into different types of sexuality that I know basically nothing about.

I also shopped (gummi bear store!!), met a fellow fellow for coffee, visited a local market, the city museum and of course the Cathedral. Yesterday for lunch I tried sushi with real raw fish-- a first for me, and was pleasantly surprised how good it was!

As a related side note, I have officially been in Germany one year today! Just the thought puts a giant smile on my face and crocadile tears in my eyes. I'm writing this entry while I steam towards Berlin on the last ICE train I will take this year. As I gaze out the window, I continue to be amazed by what the country has to offer-- lush fields, factories, red roofed houses and more. I'm equally intrigued by the people inside the train-- the 10 couples traveling on vacation together, the friendly but authoratative Deutsche Bahn officer and the couple eatting thin dark bread cheese sandwiches and drinking coffee from a slender silver thermos brought from home. In many ways, I am sure they are just like my family and me. In other ways, they are uniquely German. I would love to hear all their stories! Listening to Eva Cassidy's "Fields of Gold" and Aaron Copeland's "Doppio Movimento" ("Simple Gifts") adds to the moment but makes me too sentimental so I let my Ipod choose something different. (No more moving songs until I get home, but I highly recommend both those songs to anyone not going into a week of goodbyes and making a life transition:-))

I met with Carl this afternoon and bought a chunk of my favorite German cheese to import back to the States with me. Unfortunately, I am now sick and my body is telling me enough, time for bed! But I will certainly think about my fun year as I take it easy and get over my little virus.

What a year it has been!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The roaming pot head

We have all heard of the "Roaming Nome," but little did you know there is another ceramic creature roaming around... Guenter Pot Head!

He went back the States with my mom and filed this report along the way...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Wonderful Visit!

It was beyond wonderful to have my mom here. Each day we did a bit of packing, sightseeing/shopping and relaxing. Here are some highlights:

1. Espresso at KaDeWe—my mom said she wanted espresso with lunch! Neither one of us had ever had one. I don’t even like coffee. But if you are going to have an espresso, I agree that KaDeWe might be a great place to try one. It was really good! I need not make a habit of ordering them often!

2. High power flush and inspection plate toilets- I enlightened my mom one evening with an explanation of the difference in German toilets. Fascinating!

3. German pace of life and Café culture- my mom now loves both as much as I do. “It’s just healthier!”

4. Church bells chiming around my apartment each morning—mom: “either there’s a wedding or the war just ended.”

5. Bathing caps at KaDeWe—what can I say about this… I think they are hideous and I can't imagine they are hot sellers! (But we did have to wait to take this picture until a woman who was actually buying one finished shopping.)

6. Bank buddy- my mom has a tender spot in her heart for old people. So when a frazzled old lady came into the bank, cut in line and then started telling me all about the friend she just visited in the hospital, my mom patted her on the shoulder and said it would be okay. With that, it dawned on the lady that we were American. In perfect English she proceeds to tell us that she was born in the States, moved back to Germany in ’46, went to school at Swarthmore and was then the secretary to the South Korean ambassador in Berlin. As soon as I mentioned working in DC, she knew exactly whom I had worked for. Small world!

7. “Wunderbar!”-- mom’s new favorite word. She said it to just about every Berliner we met!

8. Helping me pack--I’m 26 and yet my mother had to come across the ocean and to make sure I am leaving myself enough time to pack, finish my paper and have fun! What’s wrong with this picture?!

9. Naked neighbor—the guy who lives across the street came onto his balcony STARK NAKED on Friday morning. That was not a view of German culture I expected showing my mom.

10. “Johnnie Jump Up” Merkel and Almonds—for the most part, we were always together. But when I stopped into an internet café, my mom set off to the Kudamm, discovered a summer festival and was gutsy enough to buy herself some nuts and me a “Johnnie Jump-up” Merkel. Ms. Merkel will have a place of honor in my new apt. The street festival itself was another fun adventure. Both of us just couldn’t get over the fact that we were together, strolling past wurst stands at a festival in Berlin, listening to Caribbean music!

We also visited the Kollowitz museum, Wintercafe am Literaturhaus (wonderfully west Berlin!), flea market and Kollowitzplatz market. I wish we had another 2 weeks together!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Ireland pictures

My telephone and internet connection broke on Friday and the German telephone company doesn't work on the weekend so I have been out of touch since Friday just about killed me! I think I should add "internet surfers anonymous" to the list of classes I want to take back in the States!

my mom thought it was fun to take pictures of me during my time of need

It is now getting a bit late for another Ireland posting, but here are a few more pictures. Ireland is truly a beautiful country! (And I love the accent... "We're meeting between thoo therty and tree.")