Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I am less enchanted now because I think I know the secret to their success- rain. Almost every day- sometimes all day, sometimes several brief showers. And cool temperatures. I may be biased but it seems that the average daily temp has been 65 degrees. Do keep in mind that I have been here through July and August- summer months! Hot, dry months, right?
At first people were saying that this weather was normal, but now even the natives are restless. The summer has been cooler and wetter than normal. It’s creating a problem for the farmers who can’t harvest their oats and wheat. It is no fun for all the tourists who come to north Germany’s coastlines for summer holidays on the beach. And it’s not easy for me, trying to dry my clothes on the line, looking at the sky twenty times a day trying to outmaneuver the rain clouds!
So, for better or worse, rain and cool summer weather seem to be the keys to lovely and colorful gardens. When it stops raining I’ll have to head out and take more pictures for you!
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I haven’t planted a single flower!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
When we lived in Kalamazoo we drove a Volkswagen Jetta - a German made automobile. In Germany, we drive a Ford Focus. I know, hee hee, laugh it up. I’ll have you know, our Ford Focus was made in Düsseldorf, Germany. Here are a few more interesting facts about our new automobile:
- "6.3 L/100” or 6.3 liters of diesel fuel per 100 kilometers or 38 miles per gallon.
- It will comfortably fit 2 expatriates, 3 visitors and lots of luggage.
- It can haul 1 dining table, 2 chairs, 2 shelving units, 1 shower rod, 4 bathroom light fixtures, 1 kitchen light fixture, 4 closet organizers, 2 sets of curtains and 4 passengers home from IKEA. (See photo).
- It has a “navi” (GPS navigation system) for all of Europe. The navi lady speaks both German and English fluently.
- It is equipped with fog lamps and heated seats, but not cruise control.
- It has manual transmission, as most cars in Germany have. This is still quite notable to Jackie…
- It has front wheel drive and special tires for the winter.
- The driver and passenger have power windows, but people in back have to crank the old fashioned way.
- It has a plug for your MP3 player.
- The stereo controls are on the steering wheel.
- It has a turbo engine, plenty fast on the autobahn where there is no speed limit.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
There must have been a dozen candy stands! That's one (bright pink) just behind us in the photo. They were filled with chocolates, licorice of many flavors, nuts, gummies, etc. There were also giant heart-shaped cookies elaborately decorated with icing, with strings so you could wear them around your neck. I didn't bother getting one, as I think they were gingerbread cookies (not my favorite). Instead, we tried apfeltasche, which is the same concept as a McDonald's apple pie but tastes ten times better.
We rode the ferris wheel and that gave us a neat view of the surrounding area. Rolling fields and pastures as far as the eye could see, dotted with eighteenth-century church steeples and ultra-modern wind turbines. We also rode something whose name translates to Dream of Love! It was just one of those mini-roller coasters that go in a circle- fast, slow, backwards and all the while blaring music by Bon Jovi and Backstreet Boys. We got laughing so hard at our friend Maren, who is easily excitable and screamed the whole time, that we had tears getting ripped out of the corners of our eyes! Such fun!
There were helium balloons and stuffed animals. Spongebob Squarepants is very popular. You probably didn't know that he and his friends speak fluent German! They do- I've seen them on TV! Bob the Builder is also popular, but people seem to know all the pop culture cartoon characters from America.
Some of the carnival rides seemed really outdated- one for kids had the Smurfs painted on it! Another ride had this picture of Uncle Sam with the sign that reads,"I want you!" Huh? Surely, we are not recruiting for our armed forces in Germany! Aaron and I have so many good laughs over stuff like that. I'm sure our friends think we have strange senses of humor, but then again, with our mangled German they get plenty of chances to laugh when we don't know what's funny!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Someone asked to see photos of the inside of the house. The best thing to do, really, is to just come visit and see it for yourself, but here are a few pics in the meantime! The shot in the hallway is taken from the kitchen doorway in the front of the house toward the living room at the back of the house. The others are fairly self-explanatory I think!