|Filling out the many papers for customs (left)|
The two big bags (right)
Then you get there, and the guy behind the counter gives you a number (what he thinks it's going to cost) and you gulp. It's 50% more than what you came up with in your mind game. But, you're somewhat committed. You move forward trepidatiously. And, phew. When the final price is revealed, it's a lot less than the guy's estimate, but more than you previously thought it would be. But by now, you're so relieved it isn't the huge number that scared you, so you just say, "Do it!"
And then you run home and email your family member you're sending it to that it'll be there faster than you thought, and oh by the way, is it ok that we sent it to you? THANKS, Paul and Tori!
With our wallets empty, Chris heads to work and I head back to the apartment. I have big things on our to-do list today. HAIR and SHOWERS. The kids must take showers. I will cut Xander's hair. I will dye my own roots. This takes all morning and a bit of the early afternoon. But, it's worth it (the kids may not agree, but it is so).
|Machine rim (left) and the lint I extracted (right)|
There is the main part of the rim, which is easy to access and then there is "inside". Look at the photo above and see the slight gap in the rubber seal? One must pry this apart and stick their fingers inside, swipe, and try to get all the lint that has accumulated in there. If it's slightly damp, it's easier to gather it up. If it's dryer, then you tend to slide over the lint and can't make it bunch up, making it near impossible to grab. It's a battle. I will be very grateful to have a lint screen again where it's super easy to grab all the lint and toss it in the trash. Ahhh, the little things in life.
Our plans for this evening are to head to dinner with an old friend, Barry (we knew him BK - before kids). He is in town on business, as he comes to Berlin about once a quarter. Chris is carving pumpkins at work this evening, so we'll have to meet him there as well. Side note: Of the 10 or so HotelTonight employees staying to carve pumpkins, Chris is the ONLY one who has ever done this before. So, by default, he is their instructor of tips and hints. I asked if anyone's lid fell in, but Chris replied that his first instruction was to carve at an angle to avoid a "falling lid". Good job, Chris!
Their pumpkins turned out great!
|Chris' pumpkin is the second row, one in from the left (it has an "H-bed" on the lid.|
Funny story: Whoever was in charge of getting the pumpkins and carving utensils, didn't get candles! So they could not light them up at first. However, the next day when we visited, someone had picked up a bunch of tea-lights, so, phew, they'll get to enjoy them fully before they mould over!
So, last minute, we decided to meet Chris in front of his work so we can walk a few blocks together. We head to the restaurant, where Barry is already enjoying a beer. Barry tries to settle his bill, but they say to just bring his beer to the table. This is very common. Your drinks and food follow you where ever you go and you settle your bill at the end of the night. In tonight's scenario, all is added onto one bill. But in other situations, if you have a large group, you might just walk up to the register and tell them what you had and pay your bill (so no need for them to split a large bill into "who-had-what"). Pretty handy! Another great example of how the culture is honest and people follow the rules of paying for what they got.
|Xander (and his newly cut hair)|
at the restaurant.
We're off to find a bus (to take instead of a tram, due to construction). Here's the thing.... bus drivers here are cray-cray. They are double-long with super-serious turning radius. So, the "front" bus will point angle towards the curb, close behind a parked vehicle, to pick people up at a stop. Chris says, "No way he gets out without hitting the parked car." But he does! And, he goes through chicanes of barriers and other cars like he's on a motorcycle instead of a double-long bus. I wish I had a video. At one point, I had to stop looking out the front window as I was gasping at every turn. Phew!
Phew! Another day ends safely.
P.S. This checks off one of my "Bingo" items (to see someone we know in a foreign country! Yay!