Friday, September 26, 2014


It has been brought to my attention that I haven’t blogged since my birthday, which was fourteen days ago now.

Entschuldigung. I beg your pardon. But I honestly haven’t had much to write home about. I’m pretty sure no one wants to read an ongoing catalog of “I got up, went to sprachschule, came home/went shopping/to the library, played with the kids, and went to bed.” Not that there aren’t interesting things happening too, of course, but mainly they’re little things that, when they happen, I think “Oh, I should put that on my blog…” and then promptly forget all about it. Things like the creepy guy who kept staring at me while I was waiting for my train on Sunday, or how we went to the Zoo on Saturday, or like the little bookstore I pass every day on my way home from school and finally stopped into, or the wild-berry tea I bought that tastes like old ladies. :)

There are some bigger things too that have happened in the last week or so, but I keep procrastinating this whole blogging thing. Zum beispiel:

I’ve gone to a new church the past two Sundays – the International Christian Fellowship in Oberusel (a suburb of Frankfurt.) It’s a bit further than Bethel, but I think it may be a better fit – it’s definitely more “American” in style, and a little bit bigger. They’re finishing up a sermon series going through the Sermon on the Mount, and the last two Sundays have been very instructive. There’s a small group that meets near my house on Friday nights (though the hosts are on vacation right now, so it doesn’t start back up for another two weeks) so we’ll see how that goes.

My other big news isn’t so much news as it is hopeful speculation and some tentative planning, but I may possibly, maybe, perhaps, conceivably be going to the San Diego Comic Con this next year.
(*screams wildly, runs around room, remembers she has a blog to write, sheepishly returns*)
Yeah, so… It’s not a 100% sure thing yet, and may still fall through. But a bunch of girls from college are seriously considering making the trip, and we’d split the costs of gas and lodging… We’d have to make it, like, a 27 hour trip straight after I got into the St. Louis airport when I fly back, because the Con starts the next day. But it would totally be worth it. :D We’ll see. I’m sure I’ll keep you updated.

That’s about all I have to write for now. I’m thinking this blog may shift to a more weekly posting schedule (which was my original intention, actually – I just got carried away the first few weeks. :D) and special posts when something interesting or important happens.

More later!

PS: These are the Bobscats, the men's a capella group from College of the Ozarks. They are freaking awesome. Seriously. <3 WATCH THEM

Friday, September 12, 2014

Some Thoughts Upon the Occasion of My Birthday

I'm sitting at Starbucks right now, nibbling a croissant and watching people pass by the window in a chilly, gray Frankfurt day. I have now been in Frankfurt for a little over two months, though it feels a whole lot longer. So much has happened and changed since I got here! I can carry on a reasonable conversation in broken German now, I know Frankfurt better than I've ever known any city or town, I've eaten strange foods, met strange people, braved strange locations alone... It's weird to think about how much has happened in such a short time.

And today's my birthday. The first birthday I've celebrated in a foreign country -- the first birthday more or less on my own. I guess that makes me grown-up? Maybe.

It's been a pretty good birthday. I bought my present for myself yesterday:

:D So I now have an official return date (barring any complications or delays). July 7th. Meaning that I'll be in Germany exactly 365 days.

Anna bought me a very wonderful present -- a rolling pin! LOL -- no more using the baby bottle to roll out dough. And now I have my very own rolling pin. Like, forever. :D

I've been thinking more and more lately about what I want to do when I leave here. I mean, I know generally, but I keep fantasizing about specifics. Most days, this involves mainly having my own kitchen and grocery budget. Cooking is so relaxing to me, and I love feeding people something I've made. I dream of having a dining room where I can entertain, and a living room to fill with people and books.

The longer I'm here the more convinced I become that, as much as I love Elsa and Daniel, and as much as I adore little kids in general, I don't want to have my own. And before you get up on that platform I've heard so many times -- "That may change, you're young, you can change your mind, I was the same when I was your age" -- that's great. Thank you. But it doesn't change the fact that this is what I'm convinced of right now. It's like my saying, "I don't want burgers for lunch" and people hastening to assure me that it's ok, I can change my mind and have burgers another day, they have days when they don't want burgers too. I'm like, "That's cool -- but totally irrelevant. I don't want burgers right now. I want a taco. My wanting a taco now doesn't affect whether or not I'll want burgers another day." :D (I just had this conversation with Anna the other day.)

It's a little bit lonely, being away from all of my friends and family for my birthday. But everyone in my German class wished me "Alles Gute zum Geburtstag," which was very nice, and I've gotten quite a few Facebook "happy birthdays, I miss yous" from people back home. I love this whole world-traveling thing, but I think in the future I want to take a travel-buddy with me. Everything is more fun when you do it with another person -- except maybe eatting the last piece of chocolate!

Anna's taking me out to dinner tonight at an Italian restaurant (my birthday tradition is always Italian food) called Vapiano. I'll be sure to tell you how it was!

Anyway, from Frankfurt on my birthday, I remain yours,


PS: This song is my theme song. :D

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ahoy, There!

So. Blogging. Right then.

Anyone who knows me knows that I find it hard to stay consistent with writing stuff – ask my roommate Emily or penpal Julie. >.< Letters, stories…and now apparently blogs. In my defense, my Internet has been messed up the last week or so: I ran out of data, tried to buy more and bought the wrong “pack” (went through it in ten minutes, what the heck?) and I’ve decided pretty much to rely on Starbucks for my Internet connection. Besides, they’ve got amazing hot chocolate. :D

But really, I ought to have been writing up entries as I went and posting them when I could. So – sorry. You get one big cumulative summary rather than a bunch of entries.

Mainly, we’ve been getting back into the swing of things around here. When last I wrote, Anna and the bitties were still gone, but they came back last Wednesday and Anna’s mum (Frau Voigt) came too. The crèche was still closed until Monday, though, so we spent a few days chasing the bitties around and trying to wear them out all day long. :D There was one night last week where the kids were running around the house, chasing each other and giggling, and Anna, Frau Voigt and I were all sitting in a line on the couch. We’d been out and about all day long, and it was nearly eight. In unison, we all heaved a massive, tired sigh – then looked at each other and burst out laughing. How two small kids can manage to drain the energy from three adults is beyond me – I’m half convinced that kids are some sort of vampiric breed that suck away an adult’s energy and use it themselves. It seems a logical explanation. :D

I’m now officially a resident of Frankfurt and of Germany and have the paperwork to prove it. On Thursday, Anna and I went to this corpse-gray government building (dark and hot because Germans believe in conserving energy to the point that most office buildings don’t even have air conditioning, and no one turns on the lights until it’s dark out) for the interview that was to determine whether or not I got to stay in the country after my 90 days expired.

I was rather stressed – this interview also was to determine whether or not I had to retake the German language test. I took it in March (had to go all the way to Chicago over spring break. Went with my mom and grandpa – it was an absolute blast) but failed at the time, and while my German is definitely improving, I’m still nowhere near “proficient.” On a scale of one to ten, I think I’m probably a four. Maybe a five. So I was rehearsing all of these phrases and things to say in my interview so they’d know I was trying and wouldn’t make me take the test.

 And then the lady hardly even looked at me. I was surprised, rather relieved, and maybe a tiny bit disappointed. But I’m not complaining – we were in and out of there with my papers in less than thirty minutes. I said on Facebook that I don’t know if it counts as an interview if they don’t actually ask you anything, but on the whole I was relieved. So I’ll keep taking my language courses and I don’t have to worry about getting kicked out of the country because I can’t speak the language well enough.

I have to wait another six weeks for the work visa papers to go through, but I’m a registered resident, I have my monthly go-anywhere-in-the-city train pass, and I got my library card. I feel like I’m actually here – not just visiting for a while.

Of course, I’m pretty homesick some days. Not just for familiar faces and places, but for weird little things – like hearing English in normal conversation in the street. And free wifi nearly everywhere you go. Midwestern architecture (whatever that actually is…). And tacos. I’m absolutely craving Taco Bell, which doesn’t even exist here. There is Pizza Hut, though, and I broke down the other day and bought a slice of cheese pizza.
It was amazing. Like manna from Heaven. It was the first thing I’ve tasted (or smelled) since I’ve been here that felt absolutely 100% right. Not that other things haven’t been good, but sometimes having everything All New, All the Time can be exhausting. Next time I get that desperate, I’m going to get a McDonald’s cheeseburger and see if I can’t cure the homesickness instead of making it worse. LOL

Another thing I miss is chapel service from school. Weird, I know – almost everyone else I know literally counts the Sundays until they don’t have to go to chapel anymore, but I really loved chapel and I miss it. The church I’ve been going to is nice, but it’s not the same. It feels very…temporary. Like when you go on a mission trip and have church services in the park instead of at the church. This is done deliberately, and is a conscious choice on the part of the church, they’ve explained. Their heritage is that of a church for soldiers and temporary residents, and they embrace the idea of being “strangers in a strange land” and that this world is not our home. Which is great, and I can appreciate it.

But part of what I loved about chapel service was the permanency of it. We recited creeds that the Church has shared for generations. We sang songs that have been sung by thousands of Christians through hundreds of years. Even the chapel building had a solidity to it that was reassuring and comforting. When semesters changed and people graduated and work stations shifted and dorms moved – chapel was reliable. I cherished that more than I realized, and the almost make-shift feel of this church is…What’s a good word? Uncomforting? Disheartening? I enjoy the worship and I learn from the service, but there’s no sense of eternity – it all feels very here-and-now. Which has its purpose too, but… yeah. It’s not what I’d prefer.

Of course, I haven’t even been in the last month. For two Sundays I was gone (or packing to go) to Bavaria/Austria, then I was sick, and this Sunday I got from my train station to the one where I change trains to go to church only to discover that there was no train. The line was shut down for the day. Since I didn’t have money for a taxi and it was far too far to walk, I ended up just going home. Next week, I want to try the other English church in the area, but I need to find out about a ticket – it’s beyond what my in-the-city pass will cover, so I’ll have to buy something additional.

Let’s see – what else has been going on? I went to the fleamarket on Saturday, and got two new sweaters and two scarves, so I should be set for the winter. Or – as soon as I buy a coat I will be. But it hasn’t been cold enough to need one yet.

Actually, I should probably finish this up. I have a dozen other things I need to write today – letters, chapters of The Bell Tower, etc – and only a couple more hours free until the kiddies are out of the crèche. So this will be all for today (and I’ll probably post this tomorrow, from Starbucks) and I’ll try to write more consistently.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Finally Caught Up

Well, nearly caught up anyway. :)

I am typing this from the Frankfurt city library, where I have just registered for my very own German library card. Hallelu! I only get an hour on their computers but I can have another two on my own device -- which means my own keyboard. German keyboards are strange -- here is an example:

I canät use apostrophies where I would usuallz find them and the z (as in I take zou to the backzard to do zoga) is where the y should be (I mean the y like in yebra and yoo.) And some of the punctuation is weird too ßß like thereäs a esset where I want to find the dash and the @ szmbol is on the Q kez. What is this world_ GOSH DANG IT WHERE IS MZ QUESTION MARK

So zeah -- er, yeah. Typing takes some concentration.

I seem to be mostly over my little bug -- I really do think it was just a bit of food poisoning, but I have no idea from what. To be safe, I threw out everything from the last few days (not that it was much, I'm living mostly on pasta and fruit this week). And I still don't have much of an appetite. But on the whole, much better.

Today was the first day of my second German course, which I think went fairly well. I am at this point right now where I just kind of hate German and don't want to speak another word of it, but I can understand just about everything the teacher says, so long as she doesn't ask me to make an intelligent response. And I managed to get my library card without much of a hitch.

There are some interesting new people in my class (I think they took two Deutsch 1 courses and put the 'survivers' into one Deutsch 2 class?) including a girl from England. Yay, anothing English-speaker! :D Haven't actually spoken to her yet -- perhaps tomorrow.

And as I write this I am attemtping to upload the video blogs that I've done and never uploaded. Hopefully at least a few of them can be up this week -- I underestimated how difficult it would be to upload them. I keep saying 'they'll be up soon, they'll be up soon...' but I promise -- THEY WILL BE UP SOON. lol

Anyway, that's about all for now. Going to go check all my email accounts and things while I'm online, then I have to go buy the book for my class, and then home for the evening. Anna and the bitties will be back on Wednesday, so I'm only on my own another day or two.

More soon!