alien love story

November 16th, 2009

I made my first-ever visit to a US Embassy on Friday. What an experience! I had hoped being on American territory would bring with it good vibes. And maybe some Mountain Dew. Or a box of Nerds candy. No chance. The first thing they did was confiscate my metal pen for being too “weapon-like.” Then, I sat in a hallway with no idea of how much time was passing because my cell phone had also not been allowed through the door.

schweinegrippe

November 7th, 2009

There is officially one degree of separation between me and the swine flu. A colleague tested positive this week. But the general concensus is that if anyone in the office would have caught it, they should be showing symptoms by now. Part of me kind of wants to get it and just get it over with. The other part of me wants to work from home next week because getting the flu really sucks.

not just another candy bar

October 21st, 2009

One of my favorite treats as the winter weather heats up my chocolate craving is the zotter candy bar. Flavor of the day: avocado with mandarin yogurt.

Even as I eat them, I’m thinking this is too good to last. Delicious. Organic. Fun packaging. It’s just a matter ot time before this little Austrian company gets bought up by Unilever or Kraft. Or before it becomes passe, like Starbucks.

A recent example of this trend: Bionade, Germany’s trendy organic soda company, recently got bought out by a beer conglomerate.

(photo credit: zotter)

easily entertained

October 19th, 2009

I am the opposite of a movie snob. The moment that a movie gets too artsy and abstract, I lose interest. But one thing I have to admit is that I am much more tolerant of trashy non-English language movies than trashy English-language ones. I guess because a large part of the entertainment comes from watching movies in a foreign language. The most recent is this Maria movie, starring Christian Ulmen who seems to always play a German antihero.

faustian encounter

October 18th, 2009

As my time in Germany draws to a close, I am madly trying to cram in as much German culture as possible. That meant spending the weekend in Stuttgart to see Goethe’s Faust at Theater der Altstadt. My German is at that dangerous level where I think I understand everything. But in reality, I didn’t did pick up on the fact that one of the characters was supposed to be God. Nor did I realize that Faust’s love interest had given birth and then killed her child. Oh well.

Another highlight of visiting Stuttgart was eating schwäbisch delicacies such as spätzle.

(photo credit: A.Currell)

txirimiri

October 17th, 2009

I have added this Basque word to my everyday vocabulary. Txirimiri falls somewhere between mist and drizzle. It seems like it won’t make you wet, but in the end it does. It’s been a strange few months in that it hasn’t been raining much here, just a lot of txirimiri. But unfortunately there have been recent signs that the German rainy season might soon be upon us.

damn, you’re beautiful

October 5th, 2009

My in-house party partner spent the weekend advancing the cause of international friendship by drinking beer in Munich (yes, it’s that time of year again). That left me searching for my own way to make the world a better place. So I took my credit card and went shopping in Amsterdam. Doubt that my expenditures alone will kickstart the Dutch economy, but at least I got a nice sweater. Wandering the streets of Amsterdam is a magical experience. Add it to your to-do lists. You won’t be sorry.

(photo credit: dachalan)

extreme privacy

October 4th, 2009

At first, when I read about the scandal involving a picture of Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero’s goth daughters with the Obamas, I was like, huh. Then, I saw the photo. Wow. I think it is so great that there are still countries in Europe where the children of politicians are allowed to live private lives out of the public spotlight. Where they can be awkward and goth. And it’s not front page news. Because, really, that’s the way it should be. What’s sick and twisted is that American politicians feel the need to parade their families for public approval in order to get elected.

Love the quote from John McCain’s daughter Meghan:

I can’t believe there is a country that exists where the media protects children of public figures, let alone the prime minister’s daughters. It is literally hard for me to fathom that there is a place that respects the privacy of underage children of politicians and diplomats.

I’m not sure what the law is in Germany. But I think it’s similar for minors. But generally, no one cares about the families of politicians (exception: von der Leyen and her seven kids). I don’t know German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s husband’s name. I wouldn’t recognize him if he ran into me on the street.

(photo credit: Gretchen)

smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em

September 24th, 2009

I read today that clove cigarettes are being outlawed in the United States. They’re viewed as the gateway drug of the smoking world. What’s next? Wine coolers? Mike’s Hard Lemonade?

(photo credit: splifr intermission)

The Mann

September 21st, 2009

So I just went through a mini Thomas Mann phase (don’t worry, I’m over him now). Read several of his short stories. Watched Buddenbrooks. Well, that’s about as far as the phase got. I can see why people love him so much. He has a real talent for evoking time, place and the difficulties that come with life. But I feel like he needed a good editor. He rambles on a lot about “what it means to be an artist” which brings nothing to the narrative. The narrative action gets all mucked up in ramblings and tangents. Acutally, I feel that way about a lot of books I read.