Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Good Things

Hello! How are you doing today? Did you have a good Tuesday so far? Ours has been uneventful - and that is great!

I'm sure you guys are dying to hear how the whole needle thing went down this morning. Well, I can assure you, Nick could also have become a very successful surgeon. The shot I got at the orthopedist's office hurt significantly more than the one Nick gave me. So, if he ever decides to change his career path, I will give him a great recommendation.

Now, that I am struggling to walk without poking my eyes our, or hitting the people around me, Nick has taken over most of the duties around the house. He's not only taking care of me, but also of Lucy, the vacuuming, the coffee (the highest priorities around here) and everything else that needs to be done. I don't know what I would do without him. He's my absolute hero. Every day.


While whining about my stress fracture seems very tempting at any given time, there are so many things that have been nothing but wonderful lately. 

- A Haribo super sale! Last week, one bag of happiness was only €0.50! Of course, I had to stock up... and get Flutschfinger while I'm there... and band-aids (just in case).

Yes, that's my finger in the upper right corner.
I took this picture super secret spy style. 
- A completely empty wagon on the subway. 
This happened on the way to school after the MRI. It was heavenly. Almost too much for me to handle, but only almost. I switched seats about 10 times, just to make sure I checked out all possible choices and picked the best one. 

Best possible seat.

- Darts! Nick and I love to go and play darts. We have spent quite some time looking for a good place to play in Berlin. We finally found one that we both like on Friday nights. The lady that works at the bar on those days is just the sweetest! Not only does she give me a full liter bottle of water and doesn't mess up our order, but she also feeds us - with free snacks!

I have to admit that I get really bummed out when Nick is getting too good. (Yes, I know, it's a terrible character trait. I should be ashamed. I really should be.) There were plenty of times when we would play 6 to 10 games in a row and I would not win once. For weeks. This guy just has a talent for everything! Rude! Then, something happened and I have been winning a game here and there. So much more fun! I now love playing with him again! (Since I am definitely not getting better at this, I think Nick is letting me win.)

- A tool box! Yes, Nick found a tool box in one of the cabinets in our hallway!!! We are renting a furnished place and until now, we believed this place came with everything but tools. I have had nightmares of something breaking and not being able to fix it. 
Yes, I spent hours on the train to go to the hardware store to buy a screw driver and screws to put together Nick's desk during our first week here, but that's ok! I am just happy that we won't have to do that again. Hopefully. 

Yes, that's a medical pair of scissors to cut bandages.
I have no explanation. 
- A quiet night on the balcony.

Best screw cap wine ever!

- Hotel breakfast. There are no words for the excitement that this breakfast buffet is causing. It is my favorite breakfast in the entire world. 

Needless to say, I went for more than one round. 

Maybe more than two.
Even better: Hotel breakfast buffet by the river on a gorgeous summer morning.

The river was at this high all the time!
I wonder if they somehow control the water level?
Breakfast perfection. 

- My latest lunch invention! A mason jar filled with yoghurt and topped with Müsli. This way, the Müsli stays crunchy and I don't have to worry about anything leaking into my backpack. Win-Win!

I know. Genius!

I like the first picture much better. 

Lucy. She is the best company we could hope for here.

Always holding her head high.
Even if it's raining and we can't go to the park to play
with the dogs from the neighborhood.

Beautiful days like this one. 
And above all: that we get to share them.

Nothing compares to this.

What is making you happy lately?

Do you have a dog or a cat?

Are you scared of needles?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Didn't expect that, Cookie Knee, and Hoping for the Best.

It happened.

I got an MRI done last Friday and today, I had to go back in to get the results.
Every time I get an X-Ray, an ultrasound, or an MRI done, things look normal. I am a very lucky patient. I have never broken a bone, had any surgeries, nothing of big concern ever. So I thought the lady (the one who killed me with a cortisone injection) was joking when she said I had stress fractured (yes, this can be a verb) my knee.

Naturally, the first thing you do after someone tells you something you don't like is questioning them.
Next time your doctor has bad news, you should do the same thing and see how it is received. I'm sure it is just as appreciated as my "Really? Are you sure?! I would never do that! That can't be right."

But the lady had proof. She was better prepared than I thought.

Isn't this the prettiest MRI?!
It looks normal to me, but she assured me that the tibial (lower bone there) should be all dark. Unfortunately, there is a lot of white there... and it goes all the way across. Crap.

Then, she almost made me forget about the shock of the result, when she started talking about cookies. I am all ears when you switch from "stress fracture" to "cookie".
She compared my lower knee to a soft cookie. When you push your finger into a soft cookie, tons of little cracks appear. That's what my tibial looks like now. A crushed cookie.

I have a cookie knee?!

Then she did something that she obviously didn't think through.
She gave me 2 crutches and 20 needles. You all know, I can barely handle two legs as it is. Now I am walking on 4!! She gave them to me right away and had me try them out in the office... where she saw that I am not a natural walker. I suggested hopping on one leg for the next weeks, but she said "no".
I really tried.

So, people of Berlin, you may want to stay home until I give you the clear.

Ja, and the needles. Ha! Sharp objects aren't my friends either. Now there are 20 needles in our home and Nick will have to give injections to me for 20 days now. (I can't hurt myself on purpose?! Who would do that??!)
There will be a lot of fun around here, I can already feel it. We have been married for almost 4 years now and injections with a long (yes, 2.5cm are long!) needle have never happened before. All I can say is that I am happy I don't have to give them to Nick, because I really doubt I could do that. (Don't judge my wife-skills, thank you.) Knowing how much they hurt, I would have major issues doing that to him.
So tomorrow, we will see if he will hate or enjoy it. Lets hope for the best.

The Orthopedist then told me that I won't be running September - and that's that.

No need to mention that there have been better days.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer Paradise in Berlin, a Sad Surprise, and Good Taste

Everyone, pack your bags and come to Germany. The summer here has been nothing but perfect.
As you know from yesterday's post, Nick and I have had big plans to go swimming today - and swimming we went!

We got up in the middle of the night at 9am, packed our bags, and took the train to the beach.

The pretty walk from the train to the beach.
People playing Giant-Chess.
(See the lake in the back behind the trees?)

Yes, Berlin has a beach. It's a 1.5km long stretch of sand that has been piled up at the Wannsee lake.

Entrance to the beach and Nick's arm.
I think he is pointing to the right where the FKK (nudist) beach is, hahaha.
Different country, different culture. 

We went to the part of the beach where everyone wears clothes.

So pretty!
 The beach couldn't have been more perfect. The only sad surprise waited for us when we opened our bag. People, please take note: Haribo CAN melt! We brought a bag of Haribo frogs... and they melted together into a big lump of warm frogs... Even I couldn't eat them. (This is what made the situation more dramatic.)
But don't worry. I saved them by putting them into the safety of our fridge when I got home and they have been delicious ever since.
The view from our spot. That boy with the inflatable green dino-frog-dragon
saved me a few times when I wasn't able to find our towels.  

Happy, happy Sunday!
The day got even better! After getting home, we showered, and threw in a load of smelly lake laundry. Yes, on a Sunday. I know. Please don't tell anyone. 

But the laundry wasn't really what made the day even more exciting. It was dinner!
We went to our (so far) favorite Döner place and Nick made me proud by requesting a Lamachun as well. Normally, he gets the Döner and only I order a Lamachun, but he must have realized my terrific skills in picking the best food. Always trust the expert wife.

Happy Nick with Lamachun. 

Artsy picture of the Turkish delicacy. 

Other than this, we also had gelato, but there was no time for a picture. I swear, there wasn't.

Now go ahead and book your flight and join us for our next trip to the beach tomorrow morning!

Happy Sunday!

Do you prefer the beach or mountains? I can't say. I love them both!

Do you swim in lakes/ the ocean or just in pools?

What is your favorite season? fall!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

This is Just Wrong and A Baby!

What are you guys up to today? After waking up, the first thing I learned was that my sweet cousin had her second child last night!! It's a baby girl (again!) and they picked out another beautiful name: Lydia May Nolan. We can't wait to meet her!

Yay for a lot of glitter and pink! (Source)

We have to get up early these days, because after 11am, it is really, really warm out. Not that we don't like the heat, we absolutely don't mind, but people get up at crazy night time hours (like 7am) and buy all the things! Rude, people! Leave some stuff for the sloths!
This morning, there were no more rolls left at the bakery when I got there at 10.30am! Thankfully, this bakery is open tomorrow morning, so I will have another shot at getting my favorite rolls with carrots and grains and all the good things! 

While we enjoy this gorgeous summer weather and the wonderful non-humid heat, there is just something really wrong in the world right now. 

There are no words for the confusion
this is causing in my head. 
It is hotter in Berlin than in Baltimore?! How is this possible?! This shouldn't happen. Ever. 

But since it is, we are handling this summer-situation the best way anyone could. 


Lemon and Mango (Nick)

Lemon and Yoghurt (me)

And today!
Mango, Lemon, Strawberry (Nick)
Passion Fruit, Yoghurt, Cherry Banana (me)

We are having so much gelato! Every. single. day.
All is good if you have ice cream.

Then, we had the best idea that anyone has ever had - to go swimming. Unfortunately, we just didn't think things through... We didn't have swim clothes, beach towels, flip flops, or sun screen. (Basically anything a normal person would need to go swimming.)

Yes, I was devastated.

Luckily, we found a solution to the problem and went to buy all the things today.
If you want to go shopping in Berlin, the opportunities are endless. Seriously.
They have so many stores here that it will be a true challenge to go to every single one within the next year. (I accepted it anyways, though.)

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens). If you ever want to have the most amazing shopping experience, you should go here! It is the second largest department store in Europe. 650.000 square feet of excitement! And they have everything. From Gucci handbags, over Nivea handcreme, to hand caught lobster. Absolutely everything! Except - Nick's favorite shoes brand. (Cole Haan)

We found every single thing on our shopping list (and more) on our adventure Saturday. We even found dog bones for Lucy that had been sold out at any other store. 
Our little furry roommate had a scare at the dog park today. She got in a fight with a much bigger Shepherd-Labrador mix. Everyone survived. No injuries are to report. So there is no need to worry. It was just a scary and loud fight over a ball. (Yes, I know. Ridiculous. Dogs! It wasn't even a special ball.)

She is going to stay home tomorrow and not go to the lake with us. I, however, am ready to jump in! In hopes that I will not drown or get lost on the way there, I am going to go to bed now and set the alarm for really early. 
You know....  Germans.... we just have to be the first at the beach to put our towels on the best available chairs...!

Do you swim in lakes or the ocean? normally no. I am terrified of frogs and fish biting off my toes. But we are going to a "man made beach". So it's okay. 

Do you prefer department stores? Or little individual stores? Definitely little individual stores. Today, however, we needed something with A/C. 

Do you eat ice cream every day? 

Friday, July 26, 2013

I think Princess Kate is Reading my Blog and The Awful German Language

People, I am beyond excited!
A while ago, Nick helped me understand Google Analytics, because, clearly, anything beyond sending emails is way above my set of skills. And it is already paying off!
This very morning, at 12.09pm, I discovered that Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge is probably reading my blog! 

All the evidence I need.
I don't even know how to handle it. Aside from being honored, I would like to say, Kate, please just take care of that precious little baby of yours and get some rest, you can catch up on my posts later!

There is another thing that has been on my mind few days now - and I am blaming Mark Twain. He started it!
I have seen people posting about the German language on Facebook and twitter for as long as I have been signed up. Of course, I understand that it's really funny to share them with Germans - and some of them are admittedly hilarious! No question about that. 

I have been teaching German for a few years now and at the beginning of every German 101 seminar, there are students, who mention the harshness of the German language. As a native speaker, this would never come to my mind. In my head, we all sound lovely and incredibly friendly. (As I typed this and went to look for pictures for this post, I found this!)

Aside from how I feel about it - what's wrong with sounding harsh?! It may help you get your point across. It can be a wonderful thing, people!

However, one thing is the harshness, the other thing is the difficulty.

Now, In case you are interested in a few of my thoughts on German, keep reading. Otherwise, I will be back with a more exciting post tomorrow. Maybe.

4 Reasons why German is a wonderful language! Here it goes:

1.) In German, you can create sentences that are so rich in information that you wonder how anyone would be satisfied with simple and short main clauses. This way, you can connect and separate, transition and overlay the content of each sentence and include your sentence structure in the meaning of the sentence. Everyone reading literature will appreciate the depth of a performative sentence or text. All those who don't read - you should.

(Taken from Kafka's Verwandlung)

2.) You can not only create beautiful sentences, but also words. Most people already know that German is open to neologistic creations that are entirely up to you. Oooh the love!
This way, you are able to describe things down to the smallest detail - and this descriptiveness is one of my favorite things!


3.) Gender. Yes, we do know that a table doesn't have a biological gender. However, since we have sentences that are incredibly long, we need to "mark" elements with a gender. Otherwise, you would get lost and not be able to tell which information is relating to which word.
So basically, you are the reason we have those. Stop complaining.

Der Hase isst die Karotte.

4.) Harshness. It's not the language. It's the people. 


That's it. For now.
I know, I may be biased, but I want everyone to know how beautiful this language really is. Plenty of schools are shutting down their German language programs and I wouldn't be surprised if it had partially to do with the prejudice that people have about it.

However, once the millions of readers have seen this post, they will, of course, want to take German right away and have beautiful discussions with me about the wonderful literature they now have access to! You will understand that Princess Kate will be first in line, but we can talk right after. 

What is your native language?

Do you think it sounds lovely?

Do you speak a second (third, fourth...) language? Which one?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Beer gardens and Kindergardeners

We are back in Berlin! I am telling you, we had the best time in Munich and I am sure it wasn't the last time we went.

What really surprised me, though, was that people are actually wearing the full set of "Lederhosen", jacket and hat, or "Dirndl" on the street. In 100 degree weather!

I stole this here.

I was sweating in a short skirt and sandals and just couldn't imagine wearing layers of thick leather or several long skirts and stockings.
Seriously, those Bavarians are tough! It makes even more sense to me now that the amounts of cold beer they are serving are no joke either. These people need to cool down somehow!

I can't even lift those with one hand. Another reason to focus on workouts for my arms. So far, they have been nothing but useless.

Speaking of workout. You will never guess what I did in Munich! I had a beautiful morning run! It was so wonderful! Not only was it still cool around 8am, but they also have a few hills there! So I made sure to make use of the elevation. 

I am certain that none of the 100 people sitting in traffic on the bridge
noticed me taking an awkward selfie. 

and one without my big sweaty face. Isn't this pretty?!

Unfortunately, my knee didn't like the run as much as I did and I am scheduled for an MRI tomorrow. Eeek!
The worst part about it is that I now have no excuse and have to focus on core work while my knee does its own thing. 

You want to hear something crazy? When I take the train to school, I often see groups of kindergardeners on the subway. I never noticed these kinds of things when I used to live here, but now  differences to the U.S (like this one) seem so obvious. 
I wanted to take a picture as they were walking by, but I waited until they had passed me - much less creepy. I swear. 

Those two ladies were watching 13 kids!

Can you imagine this responsibility?! On the one hand, I think it's wonderful that kids learn this early how to use public transportation. On the other, they are such small kids and walking in a group of 10-15 kids (sometimes, we see even larger groups), getting off and on trains, and walking on platforms. I wouldn't want to switch places with the teachers. 
Then again, I can barely take care of myself not falling over my own feet and onto the tracks. 

Is it warm/ hot where you live? 

Do you get to run in cooler temperatures in the morning/ at night?

Do you have/ use public transportation?