Sunday, August 28, 2011

Drinking, Dancing and Frankfurt

Marburg as a city, is a cute little city compared to some of the other cities here in Germany. Full of hills, trees and people you recognize. One thing that Marburg does still have, and we have just recently experienced some of it, is a nightlife. Thursday night a group of us met up at a BierGarten with Raphael, it was a small walk from the Cineplex (but then everything is a walk here).  The BierGarten was nothing new, as we have been drinking beer quite a bit here. Though it was nice to go with a large group (we got to people to watch quite a bit). Mariko and I only had one beer each, I got a Radler once again... but Mariko tried the WeißenBoch. It was pleasant, and tasted like a fruity dark beer (her words).

The dance club was rather interesting to say the least. It didn't really look much like a club from the outside, more like a closed industrial building. There were a lot of Germans hanging around the outside though, so that gave me the impression that something was going on here. We each paid our 3 Euro and headed in. The dance floor was much smaller than I was used to, but there was also a stage with a few couches and chairs setup. Mariko and I dubbed them the make-out couches! A bar was naturally there as well, off to the side, and the prices looked fairly cheap too. Mariko and I refrained from getting another drink, purely on the basis that we knew we would have to walk home after this.

Monday, August 22, 2011

GamesCom 2011

Being in Germany is a cool enough experience in its own right, but being in Germany during GamesCom (the biggest gaming convention in Europe) makes it so much more epic. I was super excited to hear that we would be able to make it there, and doubly so that Mariko was going to put up with me for that long! There really aren't many gamers in the Fulbright group here with us, but we had one other person join us for our excursion!

We opted to use the Schönswochende (Happy weekend) ticket, which is an awesome deal if you have plenty of time to get where you are going. Our train from Marburg left at 7:26 and we were right on time! The next stop, Gießen, we had about an hour to wait for our next connection. So we decided to grab some breakfast. We grabbed some food from the only place open at that time, a small bakery, but before I could start eating my pretzel we saw McDonalds open up. Now I'm not one to usually crave McD's, but the I suddenly really wanted some. Fun little fact about train station McD's in Germany.... no breakfast menu. So at 9 in the morning I had a Double Cheeseburger for breakfast!! And it tasted amazing!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Kanu fahren

So today we went on a canoe trip with the Fulbrighters down the Lahn. We met up around 9:30 and took a bus to Roth, a small town where we launching from. We were going to be in 2-3 man canoes, wearing lifevests of course, and going around 10km. We put our things in water resistant bags, and lugged our canoe down to the water (it was really heavy for Mariko).

 Mariko was in front and I was in back doing the steering, and luckily the guides gave us some info on how to steer and paddle. It took some time to get the hang of things, and it was amusing to see our group zig-zagging across the river trying to get things controlled. A few bumps ensued of course but the beginning was fairly good. The current was moving slowly, but carried us about 2-3 km shortly.... and that's when things got complicated.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Beer and Bacon

Life has normalized for Mariko and I now that our language classes have started. Classes started for us on Thursday August 11th, Mariko began in Class 2 and I began in Class 1. I knew that I had forgotten a lot of German over the last 12 years, so I opted for the lowest class. I was hoping that it would help me build my basics back up and restate what I had learned back in high school. Well it didn't work like that, I was bored for the two days that I was in class... pretty much already knew everything that was being taught. Since I did want to make sure that I knew how to speak/read/write German fairly competently I decided to go up to Class 2. It has been tough for me, but I think I need that challenge to learn much more than I needed some of the basics. Mariko also jumped up one level, to class 3, but she was just put into the wrong class and is learning more in Class 3.

Other than that we have been doing a lot of grocery shopping, as we only shop for a single day or two every time we go. It's been mostly pasta style dished for us, as it is simple to cook and there are a variety of ways to cook it. We only have one pan at this point in time, we don't want to buy too much and then have to move it with us when we go to Braunschweig..... so we have had to be creative with our cooking, but it hasn't been to difficult.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Culinary extravaganza

Our week felt as if were going by fairly quickly by the time Wednesday dawned, though I'm fairly certain the Earth's orbit around the sun hadn't changed in the slightest. But our trip down to town was rather rushed, as was breakfast... but that's ok compared to the morning following it. We sat in the lecture hall and had an official information session about Fulbright and German education. It lasted over 3 hours! It was some decent information, but just way too much to take in at once.

Lunch was once again provided by Fulbright, and it was tasty once more! We had salad, pretzel bread (different, but very good), Cornmeal chowder and open faced sandwiches. It was a light meal, but was relaxing. Of course after food came more information for us....I feel as if they like to rotate food and info. Stuff us with both and then let us digest mentally and physically. The later information was regarding our health insurance during our stay here.... which is SUPER important, but was fairly standard things for most insurance companies.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Acclimations all around

So Monday is the beginning of the first day for us in Marburg. We were a little excited to see more of the city, especially since we were more awake than the previous day. We took the bus around town a little more, to try and recognize stops that we might need. And of course we did some grocery shopping!! We wanted to have some basic food in our dorm, mainly so we wouldn't have to eat out all the time, but also because its nice to be able to relax "at home" and eat.

The grocery store was rather similar to the ones in America, though smaller. The prices felt quite similar, though they are obviously in Euro. The main differences are:
   *A LOT less Frozen food
   *A LOT of variety of cheese and meats
   *More bread in the bakery, and better bread in the packaged section.
   *More ingredients, and less "prepackaged meals"
   *Deposit on all Glass and Plastic bottles
   *Bring your own bag- nearly no store has bags and those that do charge
     for them
A man on the Lahn
We bought some simple bread, cheese and salami (Which we later found out was chicken salami) for our breakfast by the Lahn (The major river through Marburg). It was very pleasant to sit there just snacking on a light breakfast, almost like it was a natural thing for us to do. Though in Marburg there are wasps everywhere! If you are eating outside they will find you and buzz around you until you are done or you leave. They haven't been very aggressive, and resemble bees more than wasps, but are very annoying!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.

So it has begun.... this dangerous business of going out your door! It has been a number of days since we arrived in Deutschland, however we have been without internet for most of it. But now that we have some internet occasionally, I figured that I can try to make some posts. I hope that I can remember everything, or at least as much as possible, that happened to us. And don't worry, the past week won't all be in one post!

Morning over Great Britain
So Mariko and I flew out of Denver International Airport at 10:30 on Saturday Aug 6th. It was rather fun checking all our luggage in at that time. We had 3 large rolling suitcases, a medium rolling suitcase, two backpacks, a small duffel and one purse! Yeah WAAAAYYYY too much. And it gets better! When we attempted to check in, we discovered that our large rolling suitcases were all overweight by 10 lbs. We were able to purchase another small duffel and shift around some luggage so that only one suitcase was overweight.  Getting onto the plane was rather easy after that, security went smooth and plenty of time to get to the gate. Our seats on both flights were on the side, and luckily there were only two seats near the window and we got both of them... I was nice enough to let her have the window. Our second leg of the journey left from Dallas/Ft Worth, and was much simpler than our first part.  The nine hour flight across the Atlantic was fairly standard.... some sleep, some eating, some reading and then some more sleeping.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Ding Dong Wedding Bells - Part 3.3 (Bonus Features??)

Mariko here! I'm finally posting, as promised. :) Dave covered the wedding synopsis pretty well, so I'm just going to make a few additions.

When we were planning this wedding I was totally lost on what needed to get done and how to go about doing it. I read some blogs, magazines, etc., but I hadn't been to a wedding in quite a while and wasn't really sure how they were supposed to work. We were trying to keep the cost down but still have a nice, semi-formal event that we could invite our (many) close family members and friends to. So in honor of our friends that are planning weddings, here are a few things I learned while planning our wedding: