Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Week in Review

Well it's another Saturday afternoon and I'm sitting at the dining room table with a cup of coffee next to me and the apartment to myself. This was a long week. Noemi had field trips to the forest three days in a row and I think she went somewhere Friday as well but I'm not sure where. Field trips make for one tired girl. She also had to wake up earlier each day which meant so did her sisters which made for said long week. Because she was so tired, we didn't do much of our one hour of English. She also had friends over two days this week. It's very interesting when she has friends over for me because they don't speak English. They don't understand me at all. Noemi acts as translator which is cute but it's frustrating to me to not be able to get instructions for a craft or such across.
Speaking of crafts, I've decided each week we'll do one "big" craft or project and then other little ones randomly. This week we did Oobleck on Monday for Nuria's first birthday. It's a mixture of cornstarch and water that defies the laws of physics. :) If you've never done it, I don't care how old you are. Go to the store, get some cornstarch, mix with water (the ratio should be between 1:1 and 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part water), and play. Food coloring is also fun to add.

So the week in rundown using my handy dandy calendar as reference: (Yes I did just make a freaking Blue's Clues reference. I have younger siblings. Shoot me.)

I babysat the girls during the afternoon and we made a chocolate cake with chocolate glaze for Nuria (who slept through the baking making my job easier). Baking with them went much better this time. Since they both understand me when I tell them something, it made life easier. They did, however, keep dipping into the dough with their fingers and pre-used spoons. I did let them lick the spoons and beaters clean when we were done though. I'm not completely evil. (And yes, I did eat some of it myself. It was delicious. And from a box!) Since it was Father's Day back in the states, I made sure to send Dad a text and sent wishes to Poppy via Gramma. Once Kathrin got back from Aida, I slipped out to get ready and head out to dinner with Frau Bobach. She told me we were going out for Chinese. We walked over there (it was about 30 minutes or so there) and chatted, mostly in German. The restaurant wasn't at all what I think of when I think of Chinese. It was a sort of weird Hibachi version. I felt rather out of place and unsure of what to mix together or how much to get. :/ If we go back again, I'll know better. They have a buffet line where you pick your meat, vegetables, etc. Then you stick a color-coded toothpick into it with what type of sauce you want (mind you my German food list is rather limited so I stuck to things I was certain of-especially given the whole Kosher eating thing!). They cook it on a grill then bring it over to your table when it's done. It was good but not what I was expecting. I was thinking sesame chicken and lo mein. Oh well. Next time, I'll know. Oh and can I just say that it's annoying that whenever you order a water they bring you mineral water? Dear Germans, Tap water is okay. Love, Vickey. The night wound up going for longer than I thought. I didn't get back until around 11 and by then I just went to bed.

Yael had a doctor's appointment so I took Nuria out to do some shopping for craft supplies. She slept most of the time which meant I didn't have to look like a crazy person walking down the street singing African-American spirituals to keep her from crying and I didn't have to rush. I got two rolls of wrapping paper, cornstarch, colored pencils, coffee filters, paper plates, baggies, and something I'm forgetting to use for crafts. We've used some of it already. The coffee filters were made into butterflies with some markers and some water the other day. The girls loved it. :) So that afternoon we had the cake, made oobleck, and ran around the backyard. The oobleck was a definite hit and if you've never made it, like I said, you really ought to.

Nothing astronomical happened Tuesday. I worked all day due to various appointments and such. Yael didn't want to leave the house so we played with legos and such. After dinner, I took my first excursion out at "night" to get a McFlurry from McDonald's. I tried the brownie Magnum one. So rich! There were some pieces in it though that were kind of gritty that I'm not a huge fan of. I also walked around and just checked things out. And I realized that whenever I see an attractive male, my first thought is "Hello, Sweetie." Thank you River Song for that one.

Because of my long day Tuesday, Kathrin let me sleep in an extra hour. I took the girls out to the park and bought croissants on the way there. That afternoon, she made tiramisu with the girls. One portion was "adult" (it had Ameretto in it) and the other was caffeine free and alcohol free for the kids. It was delicious. I told Eric he should get on a plane to come have some but he thought it was "too pricey". Too bad. It was some good tiramisu. I also sent Kathrin a list of ingredients for recipes that I have made before. I agreed before I came here to help with the cooking and I'm still more than willing. I just use recipes when I cook whereas she's got the ability to look at what there is and go "Okay, these things go together and if I just pick up some cream I can whip up XYZ for lunch tomorrow." There are two kinds of people in this world: bakers and cooks. Bakers need recipes, plans, etc. Cooks are more spontaneous, able to instinctively throw things together, and know what goes well. I'm a baker. Which actually is something I was thinking about this morning.

I always need a plan for things. I can't just decide to start something. Like yesterday I spent the afternoon creating a workout plan. I couldn't just whip one up or just go with the flow. I had to research and decide and combine other people's plans and even then I had to figure out whether or not I had combined in the right way. I was going to start a Couch to 5K program but then I realized: I hate running. Why do something I hate? So I'm doing things like crunches, pushups, jumping jacks, etc. I'll be glad when I get back to the states and get my license so I can use the Y whenever I want to. I might give running a try when we get back from Paris. I don't exactly fancy getting lost in foreign cities. Anyhow, even in my devotions, I want a plan. Just picking up the Bible and reading doesn't seem like enough to me. What if I'm not getting the right things out of it? I don't feel like I learn much from reading the Bible as awful as that sounds. I feel like it's kind of required as a Christian but I don't think that it's as helpful to me as it ought to be. Which makes me think I'm doing it wrong and that I need a better plan. I guess that's something I need to pray about. Ask G-d to help me learn what He wants me to through whatever He uses. I'm also realizing that right now, life is pretty good. I'm not scared about the fact that I'm 4000 miles away from my family. I feel at home in Europe. I've always wanted to come here and I don't really like being a tourist. I like living there. And this is fantastic. I forget that I'm so far from home, that it took 24 hours of travel to get here, that there's an ocean between me and my family and friends. Europe is somewhere I feel safe, I feel welcome. The language barrier is still there a little bit but I know enough German to understand so long as people slow down a bit. I can't do the mile a minute and no my grammar is not perfect. But I can make myself understood and I can do what I need to. Now that I'm here, I can completely see myself living here. If not forever, for a while. I can see spending a year or two here and there in countries where I can speak the language with my husband and even our kids. Though I still think I see myself in the US when kids come. I do still want to see the other 40-something states that I've never been to but right now I could settle in Europe for a while. And because I feel so safe here, because I'm not struggling with much at the moment, it's so easy to let my faith slip. It's so easy to let myself not read the Bible or go to church or take the time to pray. And in a culture where being a true Christian is about as common as an atheistic lesbian in Houghton (aka it could happen but it's not likely), it makes it even harder. It's difficult to remember that being a good person is not enough in this world. I need to be a light for Christ. I need to be more than what the world says. But how the hell do I do that? No matter what culture I'm in or where I am, I've always found it hard to rely on Christ in the good times. It's easy when life sucks to remember that He is the One who will get me through and that I need Him but when life is good? When I should be thankful for all the blessings I've been given? It's easy to forget. I can praise Him in the storm but when the weather clears, how long does it take for my attitude to change? I never desert Him or defame Him. I always know that there is One G-d and that He is the One who lets me live such a blessed life. I can even manage on the amazing days (graduation for example) to praise Him for getting me through. But on a typical day? It's too easy to forget.

I spent the afternoon shopping. I went out for shoes and chocolate and a few other things were on the "if I can find them" list. I spent 45 euros in 2 hours. My feet were so tired but it was fun. I got to explore some side streets that I hadn't been on before. I got some chocolate that has pieces of oranges and almonds in it (oh my gosh amazing melt in your mouth fantastic) as well as some normal black tea. Most black tea here is Darjeeling and it has a slightly flowery taste. I got a typical black tea. It's "Ceylon Assam Schwarztee-Mischung". Which Ceylon totally sounds like a Doctor Who monster. I also found a shoe store (near Starbucks) that has cheaper shoes. I got a pair of Victory sport shoes for 20 euros. They're cute, comfortable, and cheap. (Thank you to Jens for the idea to look up the chain!) I also got a box for my souveniors from NanuNana and magazines in German for a few friends. At the OTHER NanuNana in town, I found a thermos that I can put a picture inside. (Now to decide what to put in there.) And of course at this cute little shop called Le Artiste, I found the PERFECT postcard for Mom.  (MOM DO NOT CLICK THIS LINK: It's like this except it says "From Osnabruck With Love".)

I took the girls to the park again (like almost every day) and nothing much happened honestly. I spoke to a German mom who is just another one in the long line of people that believe Yael and Nuria are mine. When Yael started speaking German she was surprised because I spoke only English with the girls. It took saying, "They are German. I am the au pair." again. Which that lead to the usual "Oh where are you from? How long have you been here? How long are you staying? Do you like Germany?" questions. As predictable as college conversations. "Where are you from? What's your major? How'd you pick Houghton?" And then in the afternoon Noemi had Julia over (the same friend we made the cookies with). They went out to play at the playground but not before Julia called Yael stupid. I picked Yael up and told her, in English, "You know what? Julia is wrong. You are not stupid. You are smart and wonderful and you are not stupid." I added in German when necessary for emphasis to make sure she understood. Kathrin and the girls had dinner with Julia and her mom so Daniel and I were on our own. I made some oatmeal and worked on my workout plan/cross stitch for Eric. I also got my VPN to work so I can watch Netflix from here. Which is just freaking awesome.

Typical Saturday. I slept in a bit, got up, did a short workout, made coffee, started blogging. Today I got interrupted by Kathrin and the girls coming back so it's taken several hours to do. Herr Switala and Alexander just got finished cutting some vines off the ceiling over the veranda. I'm guessing I'll go to the evening service at Marienkirche tonight. I haven't been yet and tomorrow morning I'm going out to an American style restaurant/buffet with some English speakers (including the girls I met last week for coffee). Oh I also have to remember to hang my wash up. It's in the washer right now. I've got about an hour til I have to leave for the service and I have to get a shower, hang my wash, and change my outfit. So til next time- tschus!


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