February Update

So, here’s a little post to catch up on February.  I know, I know, it’s almost the end of March and here I am posting about what happened like 50 days ago, but February was a little busier than most months… and then I came down with an antibiotic resistant Facegrabber strain of some bacteria that’s taken up residency in my throat since about 5 weeks ago.  I think this prescription is working, but it was nonstop excitement followed by the Plague over here.  Anyhow, here we go:

 photo IMG_9994_zpsinilkes1.jpgSome day when I become a famous comedienne, I will tell nothing but short stories about what happens in my village.  It was a terribly big story here when our village Post Office/Thrift Store/Mailbox Rental/Nonaffiliated Banking Center and Savings Institution closed.  No – I am not making this story up, or exaggerating what this store does.  The lady that ran it wanted to retire, they couldn’t find a replacement, and so it came to be that January 31st was the last day that our village Post Office Thrift Store Mailbox Rental and Nonaffiliated Banking Center and Savings Institution would be open.  This is actually a big deal for some of the older citizens of the village who can’t or don’t drive, and couldn’t reasonably make the 10 kilometer trek to the next closest post office. During its last week of operation, it became somewhat of a local joke that *I* should take it over and run it as a sort of Post Office Thrift Store Calligraphy Design and Cafe.  And like, it was super tempting, and I’m not going to give up on the dream of running such a business one day, but I just spent like 15 years in university studying to be an accountant, so maybe I should look for some work in my field instead.

Not all was lost: in mid-February, the Post Office Thrift Store Mailbox Rental and Nonaffiliated Banking Center and Savings Institution reopened thanks to a replacement candidate being found.  There is still no cafe or calligraphy being offered, so I think my dream is still safely unimpinged.

 photo IMG_0061_zpsucckgn9b.jpgI’ve slowly been working my way through eating and cooking the compendium of German cakes, and Manuel’s Oma’s birthday was the perfect excuse to try a new recipe.  I made a fluffy almond sponge cake, rolled and filled it with wine cream, iced it with whipped cream and raspberry sauce, then decorated it with sugared grapes.  When I make this again, I’ll replace the raspberry coulis with something else – the raspberries were the right amount of tartness, but the taste was too strong and overpowered the delicate almond and wine cream more than I had intended.  I think a balsamic reduction or red wine glaze would work much better.

 photo IMG_0108_zpskoz1xqov.jpgPick your own adventure!  Manuel and I drove to Bonn one weekend for an aluminum pot.  Yes, a pot.  Something about home brewing some more beer.  I did not complain because 1) road trip! and 2) I’m sure Manuel will put up with much worse once we have an apartment and I start scouring classified ads for furnishings.

 photo IMG_0101_zpsji4sutpe.jpgSo the first thing we did was head to the Haribo store.  I have applied for two jobs at Haribo and been rejected, but I still love you Haribo, and want us to be together.  I’m never going to give up on us.

 photo IMG_0111_zpswaco0cqa.jpgBonn is also Beethoven town, complete with both this statue and Beethoven’s birthplace (now a museum).

 photo IMG_0120_zps4ybcgscx.jpgWelcome to the world’s narrowest hotel!  Hope you enjoy sleeping standing up!

 photo IMG_0207_zpsqgqgidtl.jpgI’m such a fan of old fashioned store fronts and signs.  A lot of the old shops are being modernized and converted, so I think this art form may go the way of the Dodo Bird and Elevator Operator, but I’m determined to enjoy it for as long as I can.

 photo IMG_0357_zpsizgoc6v9.jpgDream apartment.  I’m still learning the various architectural styles of Europe, and specifically Germany.  This building is a terrific example of Bauhaus.  Bonn was such a great city to tour, I saw lots of different styles of buildings, and I can’t wait to go back.

 photo IMG_0141_zpshste92bk.jpgOh, and here’s the pot we drove to Bonn to get.  Zhushka is shown for scale.

 photo IMG_0186_zpsnisn7jbp.jpgOne of my Christmas presents was tickets to Falco: the Musical.  Manuel and I absolutely loved it.  The music was fantastic and the actor who played Falco (Alexander Kerbst) did a phenomenal job of channeling Falco’s musical stylings.

The first encore was another performance of Amadeus.

The second (maybe third?) encore was a performance of Der Kommissar.  Everyone was standing and singing along, it was so much fun.

 photo IMG_0211_zpscnoui1bk.jpgPiggybacking off my newfound love of Currywurst (thanks to January’s Currywurst Festival), Manuel and I had a Currywurst date in Neuendettelslau.  He had to drive there to drop off some things for work, so I joined in, and then we kept driving to spend the weekend in Nuremburg.

 photo IMG_0330_zpsgh1poinn.jpgI think the rest of our Nuremburg photos are still in the backlog of photos that Manuel wants to edit.  In the meantime, here are the photos from my phone.

 photo IMG_0288_zpsdnvjiakh.jpgWho drives to Nuremburg and forgets to buy Lebkuchen (the delicious German version of gingerbread)?  WE DID.  We were literally 10 kilometers from home when I cried out in frustration at having realized our mistake.  Manuel helpfully suggested that it’s just a great reason to plan another trip, but THAT DOESN’T HELP ME HAVE COOKIES TO EAT RIGHT NOW, DOES IT?

 photo IMG_0322_zpsifzvycrl.jpgThere is a really cool Tiki Bar in Atlanta that I wanted to take Manuel to, but we ran out of time before we left the US.  I was pretty excited to find a Tiki Bar in Nuremburg, where we enjoyed some tropical cocktails and a really delicious vegetarian dinner.

 photo OSAB2634_zpsedznvrrj.jpgNo such thing as too much coconut.

 photo IMG_0286_zpsmubbhn0o.jpgNuremburg was absolutely gorgeous.  We had a great time exploring the Old City, and the weather wasn’t too cold.  Maybe later this year we can go for the Christmas Market as well, but it’s too hard to think about winter again since we’ve barely just finished it.

Nuremburg has some fantastic old cathedrals.  I was particularly impressed by St. Lorenz Church, a unique Lutheran cathedral in the heart of the Altstadt.

 photo IMG_0252_zpstd5cto3z.jpgEvidently Scooby-Doo is the patron saint of Ruh Roh’s?

 photo IMG_0258_zps1zjlbqdk.jpgTHE PROLETERIAT IS LITERALLY HOLDING THIS ALTAR UP.

While touring the cathedral, we were treated to an impromptu organ performance.  The organist was warming up for a concert later in the day.  Note to self:  next time I tour a city, check the local cathedrals for performances.

Does anyone know the name of this song? I need it to play whenever the doorbell is rung at my future home in a Gothic Mansion.

 photo IMG_0539_zpsgzay3qfs.png

We had a day or two at home to do laundry before Manuel went to China for 3 weeks.  THREE WEEKS.  During that time, I took a short trip to Scotland.  Here I am, in the UK, looking tired, FaceTiming with Manuel in China.

 photo IMG_0507_zpsduwgwxau.jpgBack to stories about my village:  Karnival (aka German Mardi Gras) is a HUGE deal here.  Manuel’s grandfather was on the Karnival committee for years.  Manuel’s brother is on the Karnival committee now.  I think if Manuel didn’t work so often in other countries for weeks at a time, he would also be on the Karnival committee.  Anyhow, because his family is basically experts on the event, I was in good hands to experience my first ever Karnival.  The first photo is from Ladies Court, a multi-hour event in early February where various groups perform comedy sketches and dance performances.

 photo IMG_0969_zpss74fagzv.jpgThere are also MULTIPLE parades on multiple days.  (I couldn’t find my contacts, so I just decided to wear multiple pairs of glasses)  Our village has a Obermohn Parade on Friday, a Kids Parade on Sunday, and then the main parade on Tuesday.  Participation is almost mandatory:  the day of the main parade, the Clock Men go through the village ringing a large bell attached to a tractor in order to wake everyone up for the day’s festivities.  From morning until night, loudspeakers throughout the village play Karnival music in the street.

THIS WAS LITERALLY HAPPENING AT 6 AM.  German people must be excited to wake up because of some genetic quirk.  This kind of thing would not be tolerated in America.

 photo IMG_1098_zpsiys2ptby.jpgThe main parade consists of several groups in costume, the Committees of our village and the neighboring village, and several floats.

 photo IMG_1038_zpsvqbye9dl.jpgI was David Bowie and Manu was ZZ Top.

 photo IMG_1067_zpsqfbsytor.jpgMost of the floats were politically motivated, as Karnival has traditionally been a time to provide satirical commentary on local and international politics.  Trump was obviously a popular theme.

 photo IMG_1075_zpswayp7xr1.jpgVery popular.

 photo IMG_1080_zpsc5hm4kj1.jpgMy in-laws love hosting parties, so after the parade, we enjoyed dinner together with friends in their beer cellar.  The dogs also love these parties, and Lotte the Pug managed to finagle her own seat at one point in the evening.

Well, that should just about wrap up February.  I had a video interview with a recruiter, which quickly turned into a comedy of errors.  I was interviewing for an English-language position but my interviewer spoke no English, we had a slow internet connection, our microphones took turns not working, and my answers were painfully slow due to me not being able to access my online translator quickly.  It was, in short, a disaster, but a disaster from which I learned what I need to work on in my German lessons.  I’ve spent March learning accounting standards in German.  Yes, it’s as boring as it sounds.  Between being ill and my utterly boring accounting lessons this month, I don’t know if March will also get a blog update.  (Probably not)

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