Sunday, May 30, 2010

Auf Wiedersehen Deutschland!

Tonight is my last night in Germany. I'm really sad. Ko and I got to Frankfurt yesterday and have been having a nice time here. Occasionally I break down, because I remember that I'm leaving the life that I've made for the past two years.

The reality of things didn't really hit me until about Friday afternoon. Until then I had spent so much time worrying about things that I needed to do that I didn't think about everything I'd be leaving behind. It's probably for the best, there was no point mourning the loss of things that hadn't been lost yet. Here's a picture of my apartment on the last day it was mine, and one including Jenny (she came over to help me clean).

I've already said my goodbyes to all my friends (and colleagues) in the lab. Ko is coming with me to the airport tomorrow so I can say goodbye to him there. I'm excited about coming home and starting my new job, really, but I hate this leaving thing. Hopefully my German (and other) friends will take me seriously, and remember that they've always got a place to stay in the US.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

To Do List

Moving out of Germany is tricky. It's a lot like moving out in the US, except

  1. All interactions have to be conducted in German
  2. I have no car
  3. I have to get rid of everything except what will fit in two suitcases.

So in those ways it's a bit more tricky. Here's a brief look into the things that I need to do in the next week and a half.

  1. Go see the Frauenartz for a prescription for "anti-baby pills" (I swear, that's what they're called here)
  2. Make an appointment and go to the dentist
  3. Paint my apartment (scheduled for Saturday - I've recruited a team to help)
  4. Mail packages to US (okay, I sort of lied about the 2 suitcases thing. It's more like 2 suitcases and a couple of boxes)
  5. Close my bank account and transfer remaining money to American account
  6. Go visit the Foreigner's Office to get official permission to stay in Germany, since my flight is one day (!) after my visa expires.
  7. Unregister with the city (i.e., go to the city office and fill out a form)
  8. Cancel my bahncard (train discount card)
  9. Give away all my furniture (I've actually found someone to take it already)
  10. Clean
  11. Do the check out thing with the landlord
  12. Pack

I'm sure it'll all be fine - I've got a week and a half. Plus, everyone is being very helpful - Katha called the landlord and has agreed to come to the check out thing with me. She's also agreed to come with me to the bank. Georg offered to drive me to the dump on Friday. Plus, the painting team will be Jenny, Ko, and Bart (who is arriving from Belgium the day before). And Ko is going to Frankfurt with me, which will be nice (not just because he'll help me with the luggage).

I have realized that the name of this blog will no longer apply once I move to the US. I'm trying to decide whether this means I should

  1. Not worry about it
  2. Change the name
  3. Stop blogging

Okay, that three lists in one blog. Not too bad.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happy Männertag!

It's possible that you're unaware of this, but today is both the day that celebrates Christ's return to heaven (Christi Himmelfahrt in German) and Männertag (Man's Day). I'm not sure how these two events are related, but the Man's Day part of it means that German men take beer into the mountains and hike and drink. Sometimes the don't really do the hiking part, so the streets of Jena will be FULL of drunk German men today. Did I mention that this hiking/beer drinking thing is an official holiday? Or maybe it's the whole Jesus goes back to heaven thing. At any rate, the stores are closed because people are either drinking or hiding in their houses from the drunk people.

I started celebrating a little early yesterday by drinking a somewhat bizarre mixture of beer and diet vita cola. I should explain that mixing beer with soda is very common in Germany - mixing beer with sprite makes something called a Radler, and mixing beer with coke makes a drink called a Diesel. Both are very nice. I had an unfortunate experience wherein I tried to buy diet coke and my nearby supermarket, but they only had the local brand: Vita Cola. I tried to drink it, but was overwhelmed by the lemon flavor. However, I found that mixing it with beer made it bearable, and gave me the courage I needed to clean out my fridge. Just as an aside, cleaning out my fridge makes me grateful I don't have a particularly acute sense of smell. It didn't occur to me to take pictures of the things I found in my fridge until I was almost done, so here's a picture of a moldy tomato and some fuzzy hummus:

So anyway, the wordiness of this post (and lack of content) is explained by the fact that I've been at home by myself with no one to talk to writing a paper for the past two days. However, I finished the first, somewhat rough, draft an hour ago. Jenny and I are planning on heading down to the city to scope out the drunken revelry in a little while, but she didn't answer the phone when I called. Consequently, I have written this post. And now I will try to call Jenny again. Do you think she's avoiding me?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Picture Update

I'm sure that you've all been wondering how the cake turned out. Quite well, I think. I mean, I did have to add both butter and eggs to the mix, but I think I managed to pull it off. The difficult part was finding space for 32 candles. But I managed it, and even though he's an old man, Ko blew them all out in one breath. Fortunately, that moment has been documented for posterity.

Going backwards in time, we arrive at Charles last night (almost) in Jena. This is the team at Cheers (Jena's American themed restaurant). Charles is spending a short time in Switzerland before starting his postdoc at Harvard. I'm sad, but I'm planning to visit him this summer. I've never been to Boston.

And, earlier that day Jenny and I were fortunate enough to see history being made. In Jena's town square the worlds largest Kloss (a potato dumpling kind of thing) was made. It took 6 or 8 (I forgot) hours to cook. You can see it before it was eaten on Jenny's blog. But this is what was left:

And this is me eating some. That's right, one euro bought something like a pound of potato dumpling. It was pretty delicious. And I'm a part of history.

Enough procrastination. I'm off to clean my apartment.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Two Days as a Housewife

I'm not sure if I'm cut out for this housewife thing. This is my second day hanging out at Ko's house while he works. It's a little strange. Technically, I'm finished with work so I thought I'd come spend some time here in Goettingen. Plus, today is Ko's birthday, so I'm celebrating with him.

I still have some stuff to do at the lab in Jena (most importantly, to write a paper before I leave), so I spent yesterday working on that mostly. I also went shopping and made dinner. See! Totally housewifey. The problem is that by the time Ko came home at six I was desperate to talk to someone. I have a tendency to get sort of weird and broody when left to my own devices all day long.

Today I've managed to avoid doing work. About two years ago, Mom gave me 120 Deutsche Marks left over from her 1992 trip to Europe. Since my time in Germany is fast running out, I figured out that they could be exchanged at any national bank branch. Goettingen has one (Jena doesn't). Anyway, the good part of the story is that the 120 Marks were worth €61.36. The sad part of the story is that it took more than an hour to walk to the bank, partly because I walked the wrong way for about 15 minutes. Good exercise, anyway, especially since I walked back, afterwards. Mom also gave me 1000 lire, but I'm not quite sure what to do with those.

On the way back, I stopped to buy a cake mix to make Ko a birthday cake tonight. A good housewife would probably make one from scratch, but as I said, I'm not sure I'm cut out for a life of domesticity. We're also going out to dinner somewhere. I'm going to point out to him that Mom is the one who really bought it, way back in 1992.

Okay, I'm off to bake a cake!