Monday, July 30, 2012

A piece of heart left behind

Deustchland, a country that I can claim heritage to... a nation that I called home for the past 359 days. It is a bittersweet emotion that wells up within me as I say goodbye. As I sit on a train bound for Frankfurt, I stare out the window at the countryside rushing past... just as the past year seemed to rush past in my mind. The brown and green squared fields, trimmed with impossibly perfect forests. Perfect blue skies dotted, their white fluffy clouds casting small shadows onto the red-tiled roofs of German villages that barely have names. A scene that I have grown accustomed to, or perhaps I should say a scene I have become so very fond of.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sand in your pants

Coming to Europe I had one major country that I wanted to visited more than any other, one country that I had wanted to visit since I was a child, that was Italy. It was originally the country that I planned for us to visit first... but timing and seasons were not on board with my plans. But never fear for we have experienced the majesty that is the beaches of Italy.

Diablo 3: Error 37

Another video game post coming your way. The next game I'll be talking about is Diablo 3. This game was another one that I was looking forward to quite a bit, mostly due to the fact that when I lived with Josh and Renee we would play the game for hours on the weekends. This game has been expected for some time as Diablo 2 came out quite a few years ago. You shouldn't rush good games, but they shouldn't drag their feet too much... such a fine line.

Isn't there supposed to be a Sea here?

One thing I've enjoyed about Germany is that long weekends that occassionaly pop up for Mariko... though she doesn't usually know about them until a week or so before hand. On once such occassion we decided that it would be fun to go visit the North Sea as we haven't had a chance to go yet.

We booked ourselves in the town of Wilhelmhaven, one of the larger ports on the North Sea.... and what we later found out probably the ugliest of them all (one of Mariko's lab mates is from that area). However we still enjoyed ourselves during the visit.

When epic games fail

Alright this blog post is going to be about video games, one in specific: Mass Effect 3. And warning there will be some slight spoilers! For those of you who aren't familiar with the series, here is a rundown:
Mass Effect is a RPG (Role-playing game) Shooter. You control the main character in 3rd person mode and are able to give basic commands to your squad. As you progress through the story your character levels up and gives you the ability to customize his/her skills and damage.

Monday, June 25, 2012

3 asians and a white guy

The Brandenburger Tor
Late in the month of April, Mariko's dad and sister were able to fly out and spend some time with us.  Of course as it was also their first time in Europe we wanted to show them as much as we could during that time. They were only going to be here for 10 days and travel restrictions were slightly limited, so we spent all of our time in Germany.

Lost in Distraction

Well its been a few months since I last posted, and we've been busy! Sorry for not posting sooner, but I've been distracted but many things.... most of the video games.  It's also interesting to see how certain topics were so amazing and easy to write about early on in our time in Germany, but as time progressed they just got more and more everyday.... in which case it is harder to talk about topics that feel so mundane.

I will definitely have a lot of posts in the next day or two about the gap that I was silent, but here is a basic run down of our time:

  • Traveled around Germany with Mariko's dad and sister
  • Played Mass Effect 3.... then became dissapointed in ME3 ending
  • Went to Wilhelmshaven for the weekend and met some friends in Bremen
  • Played Diablo 3.... then became frustrated at server downtime
  • Went to Italy for 5 days
  • Played Guild Wars Beta
  • Had a BBQ with Mariko's lab
  • Went to a "public viewing" of the German vs Denmark football (real football, not american) match
  • Went to Rüdesheim and took a Rhein River boat tour

So many posts for me to cover, and hopefully we can get through them in reasonable amount of time. Though Mariko and I are starting to run out of time for our wonderful experience here in Germany (just over a month left), we still have some fun things lined up and should be very fun!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Seasons come, and season go

The weather here in Germany is starting to take a change for the better (finally!), and seeing as I walk everywhere it is easier for me to see these changes. Though sadly I am come to learn that Northern Germany doesn't have the best weather in general, especially when compared with Colorado. Now a lot of people may be confused with that comment as Colorado has some pretty nasty weather days... but I disagree. I have found recently that I really do like Colorado's four seasons, seasons that give me a chance to enjoy all different types of weather.... and I really do enjoy all of them.

Czech it off!

Prague by night
Our next destination was Prague, capital of the Czech Republic and home to some extraordinary sites. From Berlin we took a short 4 1/2 hr train ride to Prague, and was incidentally the only time while traveling in Europe that I've needed to show our passports crossing the border. You can tell that the train staff that headed this direction didn't use English as often as some of the other routes through Germany. One noticeable (which happens to still make us laugh) is when the conductor announce a long string of German over the intercom and then when switching to English was much shorter and only gave basic information.... the best part being "And the dining car is no."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ich bin ein Berliner... wait wha?

The trip to California was finished and I was back in Germany... good ol' Deutschland! But of course there is no rest for the weary. Only 4 short days after getting back home and we were headed off to Berlin once more. This time it was for an official Fulbright event. They were celebrating the 60th birthday of the Fulbright organization and we were all invited! And they were paying for everything too!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Return to the land of free refills

Whew! That last post was much more serious than i usually do, but it needed to be done. Luckily the rest of my trip to California was more uplifting than the first few days. I was able to get some much needed time with my younger sisters and my dad.  During the days the girls had school so my older sister, my dad and I had some time to hang out and relax (he was off for nearly my entire visit).

My dad's neighbor has a fire truck... just because he can

Monday, March 26, 2012

Memories of a name gone by

Its been quite a while since my last blog, and though I had every attempt to keep posts coming regularly life always seems to get away from us. So lets see where did we last leave off? That's right it was about the Karnival. Well a lot of life has happened in between then and now, so let me do my best to catch everyone up. But don't worry I'll do this in a few posts as not to overload you or myself with one truly massive post.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Karnival > Halloween

The Germans have recently (the last 10 years or so) the American holiday of Halloween. From what I've seen it is more of a amusement )or reason to have a party) to them than an actual holiday. At first I was surprised that they didn't enjoy it more, it feels like it would be something they would like. But I have recently learned why. Because they have something better... they have Karnival!

Lost in adaption

I have recently noticed that my blog posts are coming few and far between, especially when compared to a few months ago. And I realize now that Mariko and I are being adapted to our way of living here in Germany. What was once so strange to us (and would lead to blog posts) now feels normal... which means I don't think about writing posts nearly as often.

It is amazing at how fast we have adapted to life here. I know that I generally adapted to new situations easily, but living in Europe is not a "normal" thing for most Americans to have to adapt to. I'm sure part of the reason is that Mariko speaks the language so well and I can get by with out problems. Because at least then we understand what we are trying to adapt to.

Things are starting to pick up for us however, as we have planned things approaching. Most of February was just a slow month for us, not including the last week of it.... which is when everything seemed to happen. But more on that with upcoming posts.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Cooking, baking and stuff

I'm not sure if it's out of a desire to make good food for Mariko, learning to enjoy making new foods, or just sheer boredom, but recently I have been experimenting and cooking/baking a much larger selection of foods than previously. Honestly I'm sure it comes from a combination of all 3 reasons and then some... why do something for one simple reason when you can do it for a many convoluted reasons!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Extreme Cold!

It is cold, I mean really COLD, currently in Germany. And I don't want to hear anything about "oh you just aren't used to it"... I lived in Colorado for over 15 yrs and rarely wore things like gloves and snow boots and all those other things that keep you warm. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not an Eskimo or one of those crazies wearing shorts during a blizzard, but I can handle some reasonable amount of cold.

However right now both Mariko and I are freezing our              off.... feel free to insert what ever word you feel fits the best and I'm sure it's been frozen. We've had the pleasure of standing in the cold waiting for buses and trains, we walk to groceries stores and work in this unholiest of weather.

And to prove that it isn't just us being pansies: CNN: Situation 'tragic' as winter weather blankets Europe . That's right even CNN has reported about this winter. I can summarize most of the article for everyone though. Europe is experiencing its coldest winter in 25 years! Snow and ice abound across the continent (luckily no major snow here), causing cities to shut down with the severity of it.

There are even reports of some German towns recording record lows!! I mean how cold does it have to be in GERMANY for the weather men to look at the temperature and say "Oh Shit!! Never heard of it being that cold!"

So for those of you in warm places, you know who you are, just be happy and lucky that your feet aren't small little blocks of ice in your shoes.

Berlin... take two

As most of you know Mariko and I visited Berlin with my dad when he while he was here in Germany, but what you may not know is that it was the windiest and coldest day out of our traveling. We trekked all around Berlin in cold with fog, wind and rain to keep us company.... it was not pleasant by the end of the day. Being as the weather was so miserable, and we had walked so much more than planned (thank you Google Maps for incorrect walking distances), Mariko and I knew that we would want to go back and visit more of the city, and what better way to do that than to visit with friends as well.

Friday, January 20, 2012

What's in a year?

As people tend to do when a new year dawns, I can't help but look back at the previous year and reflect on things. I have to admit that 2011 was definitely a big year for me, and rather fun at times. We've accomplished a lot over the course of 2011. We spent time with old friends and met new ones, celebrated time with our families, played some truly awesome video games, visited some amazing location... but here are some of the highlights of the year:

Friday, January 13, 2012

A story of Hair and water

So just in case all the guys out there are not familiar with a certain unpleasantness that comes from living with a woman I'm going to fill you in, ladies should be mostly aware of this already. Woman apparently have this uncontrollable, and at times gross, ability to shed. Now I'm not talking "oh look a few hairs are stuck in my brush", no I'm talking "dear god! Where did this miniature Cousin It come from and why is it trying to attack me?!"

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Our little outdoor rink
The holiday season has ended here in Germany (and still no snow in BS), which means no more Weihnachtsmarkts. Though before the end of Mariko's vacation from work we wanted to go ice-skating, as the outdoor rink here was almost ready to close down. So we check the times and price and headed into Downtown BS!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Bielefeld Conspiracy

Bielefeld, Germany has a population of 323,000 and it located in the most populated German state, Nordrhein-Westfallen.....and a large number of Germans believe the town does not actually exist. The leading questions to this cause are:
  1. Do you know anybody from Bielefeld?
  2. Have you ever been to Bielefeld?
  3. Do you know anybody who has ever been to Bielefeld?

3 Cities- 1 Day

Dec 31st is more commonly referred to as New Years Eve, the last day of the old year where friends and family celebrate and bring in the new. For Mariko and I its usually more of a night of relaxing and one of the few times that we go to bed before midnight.... not sure why, we just usually do. This year was different for us. We had just finished our Christmas trip to Sweden plus the extension to Baden-Baden and we we now on our way to bring in the new year with some of our Fulbright friends.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New poll!!

There is a new poll over on the right hand side!  I am curious to see how many readers I have in each country that I have page hits from. It'll take about five secs and you can pat yourself on the back for being nice!


Baden-Baden, a small German town located in the western foothills of the Black forest just 13 mins from the French border. It is renowned for its spas and thermal springs.... and it was the next stop on Mariko and my Christmas (now more of a Holiday) Vacation.

Headed home..... maybe?

After a wonderful Christmas weekend, Mariko and I were headed back to Germany. We were dropped off in Kittilä, Finland (where we flew into) by the lodge from Sweden. We were staying overnight and flying out the next day, mainly due to price.... flights didn't go out often from Kittilä and were cheaper near the middle of the week.

Sadly there was not much to do in Kittilä, it actually reminded me of those towns out in the Midwest that mainly exist for gas stations and food for people traveling through.... one blink and its gone. We had a leisurely meal in one of the only restaurants we saw. Luckily it was pizza, which is generally easy to understand what is what. Though the Finnish must love pineapple, because out of there 25 flavors of pizza at least 5 of them had pineapple on it.