Saturday, November 14, 2009

More Biking With Mayzie

I know, I know...more bike videos? But this is a good one, taken at Stadt Park a couple of weeks ago. Mayzie is progressing like a champ...


Because of Germany's recent past (that whole war thing), showing any outward signs of patriotism is not something you see anywhere. I am sure it is frowned upon by the current government, for the obvious reasons. But patriotism is shown in different ways, not in the flag flying, pledge your allegiance chanting, QVC selling crap flag pillows, etc etc that we see in America. One way Germans show patriotism is in their cars. Seeing a non-German made vehicle is rare. Its their flag, saying "We are German, and proud". In America, you see US flag magnets on a Toyota. In Germany, the car is the flag. Another way is the whole following of rules thing, the orderly, law abiding way that things are done over here. This makes them very proud, and I know that this is a sign of patriotism, because they know that no other country in this world waits at the red crossing light when there are absolutely no other cars around.

Trailer Hitches

Back home, it seemed that mostly trucks and larger vehicles had trailer hitches installed. Not over here...they are dime a dozen, on the smallest cars. It is crazy seeing a (what we would consider) smallish vehicle, towing a big ass trailer...check it out...

Advent Calenders

Sure, we have some Advent calenders back in the states...each day in December the kiddies get a lil treat out of the flap on the box. But over here, they are crazy about these calenders...there are Lego toys for every day, Star Wars themed toys for every day, some with candy, of course, but many have toys and even health and beauty products?!? There is one with little alcohol samples in each day. Classic! Weird, but cool....we got Mayzie a Playmobil one, with little figures and trees and squirrels and stuff (shhh dont tell her, its not been unveiled yet!).

Hamburger Dom

Hamburg's winter festival is in full effect from November 6-December 6, filling in the cold rainy days until the xmas markets start at the end of November. It is normal German festival fare--pickle stands, corn on the cob, bumper cars, beer tents, crazy amounts of candy and fun foods, wursts of all kinds. The regional differences are more fish stands up here, and the seasonal differences are Gluhwein...basically hot red wine mixed with rum, served in a ceramic cup. It tastes really good on a cold night like we had when we went to the Dom. We hit the ferris wheel, all the small kid rides (no teacups for me), and had some beer and German quick food like the fish sandwiches and XXL Wurst in bread. Not a bad night! Wednesdays are family night, so some things are cheaper, so we will go again, I am sure, before the thing ends. Mayzie loved it! It is merely 8 quick stops on the U-bahn from our house, too, so its easy to get to.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Schön Wochenende

Well, it's 4:30pm and dark already...a cold, mellow weekend in Hamburg. We explored the area by bike for a few hours today and are now at home, staying warm and relaxing. Mayzie is awesome on her bike...we rode for quite a distance today and she hung in the whole way. We tired her out big time, because she is zoned out on Scooby Doo (thanks to the english cable tv package we now have! We have BBC, National Geographic, and even, the novelty of it all!)

Things have certainly calmed down and having a patch of smooth sailing has been a relief. Everything is stable, a feeling we have not had in quite some time. Job is good, Mayzie's kindergarten is good, our apartment is great, and Jenna has been quite the social butterfly...hanging out with at least 3 different people each week. All ladies she has met through the American Womens Club. (I must say that this is against her nature, to seek out Americans to hang out with, but becoming friends with locals has been difficult and we are just trying to enjoy our time here, to make it as easy as forget all that.)

Because of barely scraping by with money, we have no travel plans right now. We are looking forward to the christmas markets and endless holiday activities around here. Mayzie's kindergarten had a lantern festival on friday. We are not sure what the symbolism is, but all the kids made lanterns at school and walked around the neighborhood, singing and swinging the lanterns. Pretty cool experience. Especially seeing Mayzie sing all these German songs. She has learned alot of the language, more than we have!

So life is good over here...actually having some moments to read, relax, and focus more on things besides all the BS that has been distracting us from enjoying our time over here. Is that vague? :) Otherwise, I would write 4 times more than what is on here. For all the regular readers, I guess there is still something to talk about, whenever we see you again.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"American" items

Here is American pizza...

McEnnedy's! And guess what type of bread is American bread? Yup, pure white sliced wonder style bread. SAD.

This leads to a discussion of some interesting topics. Because of the media coverage of the US and all the movies and crap sitcoms that come from the US and are shown over here, many people that have never visited the US have a vision and knowledge of the states that is slightly skewed. Of course, their vision is stereotypical and really has no basis on the realities of how normal people are living. But isn't that what we do with countries we don't know about, but hear alot about in the news--mainly Middle East? Its a huge relief to travel and realize that the stuff you thought you knew was all misconceptions, that people are basically the same...we all want the same things and are good hearted. Travelling and exploring this world is a great pleasure, and if we let the news and media dictate where we should go, than we would all stay home in fear. And we would think Americans love white bread and McDonalds....well, maybe we do?!

Halloween German style

Here was Mayzie's costume...Scooby!

Halloween is a young holiday over here. The commercialization of the holiday is nothing...basically you would not be aware of the day unless you saw the few kids wandering around the streets, asking bakeries, grocery stores, fruit stores, and any store that is open for some candy. Kids didn't really have costumes...mostly face paint and some Scream masks every now and then. It was weird and awkward, walking down the street at 7pm, hardly a dressed up kid around, walking up to the counter of a bakery and not knowing the german phrase for Trick or Treat, but them not caring, handing over a lollipop. We are surrounded by apartment blocks, so it would be silly to ask the guy on the 5th floor to come down and give some candy...I guess thats why only the stores were handing out.

There will be bigger and better Halloweens in the future, Mayzie, dont worry!