Saturday, November 21, 2015

Random Signs and Such - Part 8

More funny signs and such....

Mind the step. Mind the doors.
I wanted to see a sign that said, "Mind your parents."

Um, not sure I want to try this soup.

Interesting name for a cracker.

This could happen anywhere, but it made me laugh.

Ahhh, yes, Pots of Joy.

Etched in stone, this place offers infants and cookery.

Sandwich board at FUCKOFFEE

Menu items at FUCKOFFEE include;
Fat Wife, Shit Storm and Dirty Chai

Sounds dangerous.

Big Belly Solar
Do you want to eat at The Slug or
The Big Bang, In Good Food We Trust?

Happy Cheesemas!

Wherever you choose to eat, be sure there is a good "Food Hygiene Rating" posted on the door. We only ate at establishments that had a 5 rating. But we did walk by a place, or two, that had a rating of 3 (Why would you eat there? How are they still in business? What does it mean to only rate a 3? How sick will you get?)

Food Hygiene Rating: 5

This last section of signs is dedicated to all the "fahrts" out there. Fahrt means "ride, trip, way" in relation to a vehicle. So an "einfahrt" is an entrance for a car and "ausfahrt" is an exit (however, for pedestrians, it's "eingang" and "ausgang"). In either case, we giggled at all the "fahrts". 

zufahrt = driveway

This one has a "freie Fahrt!"... a free fart?

Mit = with... so with fart?

This zufahrt is stinky.

This chip from the fair gives you one fahrt.

And finally, "Fahrt ends here."

Thursday, November 19, 2015

In Closing (Xander)

What are some things you liked about Berlin?
I liked that we were very close to everything so we could walk everywhere. I liked the public transportation. 

At Mauerpark
What did you think of London?
I liked London. The London Eye was cool. It was really high but not that scary. The Tube, when it was really full, was not very fun. But, when it was empty, it was fun. 

Where would you like to go again?
I would go to Berlin again because I liked it a lot. 

Where would you go that's new to you?
Canada. I've just always wanted to go there.

What kind of food did you like?
A restaurant I liked going to was Tommi's Burger. They had good burgers. 

What is nice about being at home?
We can be with all our friends. We're in the same time zone as everyone we know. 

What did you think of the Tower Bridge in London?
Venice's idea for a photo.
It was cool. The blue that was on the bridge was a lot lighter than I thought it was going to be. 

Tell me a little bit about your plane ride home.
It was really long and boring. I tried to sleep but I couldn't really sleep that much. But I did a little. I watched Ocean's Eleven which made the time pass by a little quicker. I got two kinds of pasta for dinner. At first, I thought they had two choices of pasta, but we didn't realize that there was only one pasta choice that came with two kinds. I noticed that when we got close to San Francisco, we went past the airport, made a circle back before landing. That was strange. 

What were some of the landmarks like?
The Jewish Memorial was pretty. The Brandenburg Gate was really cool with the horse carriage. I thought the pillars holding it up were going to be full columns. They were more like rounded rectangles. 

In Closing (Venice)

What will you miss the most?
Public transportation and living in the middle of everything in Berlin. I also enjoyed how big all the streets felt. Other cities, like Venice and Salzburg, felt kind of claustrophobic. And Berlin was a nice difference from that.

Photo by Venice (Berlin)
What is something you enjoy about being home that surprised you?
It doesn't surprise me, but it's really nice, I missed being around my family and friends. I'm looking forward to the holidays and spending more time with them than I usually do.

What won't you miss about traveling?
The feeling of not having a home base a lot of times. 

What was your favorite place to go?
I think I really enjoyed Prague a lot. I liked what we did and tredlniks taste really good. I enjoyed walking around Prague the most out of all the cities.

What was it like being sick in London?
The worst because I could have been sick in Berlin where I've already seen stuff, but we were in London. We had a whole week and I spent it in bed instead of out.  I felt like I was tying everybody else down too.

What did you think about Stonehenge?
I kind of felt like it was smaller than I expected. It also kind of ruined it when there was concrete inside it (some of the pillars to help reconstruct). I think, at the end of the day, it's just a bunch of rocks that everybody likes to look at for some reason, so I don't feel bad for not being impressed by it. But I'm glad I got to see it because it's iconic. That's the only reason why I'm glad I saw it, otherwise I would have skipped it. I would be a lot more impressed if we were really certain as to what was behind it. 

What did you think of other culture's foods?
Photo by Venice (Prague)
I enjoyed all the funny quirks of other cultures and their food. Like mayonnaise on their fries. My chicken schnitzel was always served with jam, kind of like turkey being served with cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, which I liked. I did NOT enjoy always having to ask for water and specifying fizzy or not. 

If you were to travel tomorrow, where would you like to go?
We didn't get to Paris, but right now it's a little scary to go there right now. I'd like to go to Greece and Rome, Italy. Or I'd go to Venice again when it's not so busy. I felt the claustrophobic crowdedness dampened the excitement of the city I had anticipated going to for so long. I couldn't slowly stroll through the streets like I had imagined we would. You had to run by and just focus on where you were going in stead of focusing on your trip. I would also go when it wasn't so rainy.

Did you overall have a good time?
Yeah! I don't know if I'd go back to the other places, but I'd definitely go back to Berlin. It was like a home away from home. It was a great city to be placed in. It felt like a giant urban city instead of like London, which was more metropolitan. Berlin felt like a giant Eugene with better public transportation and food. It was so big, but never concentrated in one spot so that it felt busy. You could always find a calm back street if you wanted to, or you could find a street with a hundred other people if you enjoyed that more. It was hard to feel crowded there and I think I liked that.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Being Home

Being home has been wonderful:

  • We get to see friends and family again.
  • We have a large washing machine and a dryer that actually dries our clothes (and I get to wash AND dry at the same time!)
  • We get to be in our own beds again.
  • The monitors on our computers (versus our laptops) seem humongous.
  • I get to bump into friendly faces when out and about (bumped into one friend at the airport when we returned home and one friend the next day at the market). 
  • We get to navigate a health system we are familiar with (no matter how much we like to complain about it). 
  • Shopping is faster as we know where items are and what they are called (and we're familiar with the brand names).
  • We have much more and don't have to "go without" (ketchup, extra blankets, stockpiles of toilet paper, canned soups, etc.)
  • Access to all YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, etc. (no longer getting, "I'm sorry that is not authorised to play in your country" type of errors).
  • Ability to understand instructions, websites, answers. Not just in understanding the language, but in the culture of how things are done. 
  • Feeling comfortable I'm not going to make a huge embarrassing mistake at all times.

I loved coming home to
see fall in full swing,
we didn't miss all of it!

But, it is amazing to me how much I miss our lifestyle in Berlin:

  • Not living in excess (only buying what we really need versus what we want), learning to live a more simple lifestyle.
  • Reading more instead of watching so much TV or other media.
  • Going out and exploring something new almost every day. Living in an area where we have not gotten "bored" or jaded, but a place that seems to sparkle because it's still fresh and new to us.
  • Never having a need for our own car.
  • Being able to walk to the market and to dinner whenever we wanted to.
  • Having access to new foods all the time.
  • Hearing the church bells ring all day.
  • Enjoying history (never been a fan of history, but I found living in an area steeped with history brought to life an interest in the past). 
  • Feeling freedom. Free to do what we want to do and see and not what *should*. Free from outside pressures and opinions. Just really able to focus on what our family needs at each moment.

I'm sure these are not complete lists. More will come to mind as we get over our jet lag and are able to spend more time reflecting on our experiences. But this is what comes to mind at the moment.

So, as we settle back into our routines here, we will strive to find a way to keep some of these lifestyle changes, when possible. I want to find the compromise between a life of excess and a life of simplicity. I think, for me, the biggest surprise is that I ended up enjoying living in another country way more than I though possible. I definitely enjoyed it more than traveling. I do enjoy traveling, but it's exhausting. Living somewhere new was a bit slower paced and yet filled with so many new experiences. It was truly a fantastic three months. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Random Signs and Such - Part 7

More funny signs and such....

A poster for a local performance.

We aren't sure what this sign is telling us.
It IS ok to put your bottle out the window?

Oregon beer in Germany! (ok, on the U.S. base)

Will you be my BTFF?

Yes, the sap who gets to clean up at night.

The restaurant we ate in is called the Badtub
(bathtub). Strange.

"New Your is King, Berlin is King Kong"

I like their mailboxes.

Bitchen (fancy)

Bitchen (plain)

A cute little house for your donation
in the bathroom.

Cute little signs reminding you (free) bathrooms are for patrons only.

And my last "sign" from Germany... we never did figure out completely what they are saying on the trains. It has to do with transferring trains, but it sure sounds like, "Do not f$ck here", which we decided was, also, good advice.

Unisex Hairdressers

This shop is dangerous.

Why not be honest about what we sell?

Chris says the bag is not big enough.

This must be where Lionel Ritchie takes tea.

Well, this makes sense.

More honesty in the store names.

Again, these English with their honesty.

All I can think is that there must have been some
trouble with Wonder Woman's helicopter so now
there's a warning to beware of all concealed vehicles.

Never did get to try Hula Hoops.

Supertrash (another store name)

I guess Endor is a moon (Star Wars), so it makes
sense that the sign is pointing to space. 

You can go "Any veh"

I wish we had time to try this Kiss-Ass Mexican Grill.


Oh, Xander loved this one.