May 6th – 5 Books That You Love

Today in Blog Everyday in May, we’re discussing books we love.  I’ve gotten pretty lazy about reading books lately – I still read, but I’ve been sticking to shorter pieces online out of laziness and a short attention span.  I’ve been trying to get back into reading it with Game of Thrones and the rest of the series, but I don’t quite think it makes the cut as of now.  I’ve been enjoying it nevertheless, but I have some other books that I would say I love for a variety of reasons.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

I need to track down the sequel to this because it was just so good.  If you enjoy fantasy books, I highly recommend this one.  It’s well-paced, even though it is a bit long, it didn’t feel like it.  The story never dragged and I was completely sucked in.  I think I finished it in a day or two. It’s the first part of a planned trilogy, telling the life of a powerful magician.  This particularly volume takes him through childhood into young adulthood and all the struggles he encountered alone the way.  It is the best book that I have read recently.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

This one is not only a great story, but it was also one of my favorite books growing up.  I have read the unabridged version four or five times and have noticed how my opinions on the characters and their lives have changed as I grew up.  I still dream a bit of being Jo, but I also think that I can still draw guidance from the book.  I feel that some of the lessons about family and relationships inside are timeless.  While now, I want to be Jo, I hope that when I eventually have kids, I can learn to be a bit like Marmee.

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

This may be cheating because it’s an entire series, but if you want me to narrow it down, I would choose The Prisoner of Azkaban as my favorite.  While I believe that the books appeal to all ages, I believe I was in a special age group that got to grow up with Harry as the books came out.  There was just something special about the character getting older at the same time as me, even if their world was completely different.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

If I can’t be Jo March, then I think I could handle being Elizabeth Bennett instead.  I think there are definitely some parallels between the families in both Little Women and Pride and Prejudice, but the Bennett family is much more dysfunctional – which makes for quite a bit of entertainment.  I love Austen’s sense of humor and enjoy rereading Pride and Prejudice to pick of on more little quips that I had missed before.

The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer

If you enjoy Jane Austen’s sense of humor, but want more descriptions of dresses, lavish buildings, and slightly more outlandish characters – please pick up one of Georgette Heyer’s historical romances.  If it has a Harlequin cover, please don’t be put off, like with Austen, the chemistry between the characters is expressed primarily with witty dialogue and hints.  It was hard to choose just one, but I settled on The Masqueraders (Devil’s Cub would be at second place).  Most of Heyer’s romances take place a bit before or during the Regency period, but because she wrote in the 20th century, she added a lot of detail – and I mean a lot.  She was a meticulous researcher and drew from a wide variety of primary sources to make her works as accurate as possible.  When you are a nerd like me, that’s wonderful.  The books are also funny, with romance, and sword-fights, maybe some deception, and a lot of drama.  I love The Masqueraders particularly because the main character spends most of her time dressed like a man, while her brother is dressed like a woman (for disguise purposes), which leads to a lot of hilarity.

As you can see, the books I like fall into two main categories – historical with varying degrees of romance and fantasy.  If you have any suggestions, I would love to read them (the suggestions that is, though I will try to read the book as well!).

May 5th – Never Have I Ever

Today’s prompt for Blog Everday in May is “Never Have I Ever…”

My list is going to consist of things that I have never done, but I want to!

I have never

  • had a professional manicure (though my ten-year-old sister has…)
  • been on a cruise
  • been west of Oklahoma (unless you count Germany because the world is spherical – but then I’m always west of Oklahoma if I’m not in Oklahoma)
  • been to the southern hemisphere
  • driven on the Autobahn (the Verlobter just waved his keys at me – Nooooope! Not ready yet!)
  • gotten a professional massage
  • written a book
  • gone a day speaking entirely in German
As usual Itchy Feet by Malachi Rempen explains things quite well. http://www.itchyfeetcomic.com/

May 4th – Thank You Letter

May 4th’s Blog Everyday in May is a day late because I was busy partying for my birthday, and by partying, I mean playing Skyrim.  Yesterday’s prompt was to write a thank you letter to anyone.  In honor of my birthday, I want to write a thank you letter to the people who are responsible for my existence, my parents.

Dear Mom and Dad,

First and foremost, thank you for birthing me (though that was more work for Mom).  Without that, I wouldn’t be where I am today – alive on planet earth.

I also wouldn’t be where I am today more specifically without the way you raised me.  You have always been supportive of what I wanted to do, even when it meant sending me away for awhile, which I know was hard.  It was hard for you the first time, when I was in middle school and flew off to Washington, D.C., for a week – and even harder still when I left to move overseas indefinitely.  You joked that you were worried that I’d meet some German and decide to move over here forever, and you were right.

You were right about a lot of things and taught me a lot as I was growing up – to honor my commitments, to be kind to everyone even if I didn’t like them, and to work hard for what I wanted.  These are important qualities to have and I’m glad you taught be the importance of them, even though it was hard to learn at the time – even if it meant I had to finish the softball season when I was ten.

Thank you for trusting me and giving me a chance to be independent – though I think I didn’t give you too much to worry about growing up.

Thank you for sitting through a dozen plays and concerts.  Thank you for making me feel like I was the best one on stage.

I know me leaving has been hard for you both, but I don’t think I could have done it without your support.

Thank you for loving me and being the best parents a girl could ask for.

May 3rd – Travel Bucket List

Today in Blog Everyday in May, we are discussing our Travel Bucket Lists – I put together my top travel destinations as of now, but of course there are so many more places I want to go!  Thankfully, the Verlobter loves traveling as well and we have a lot of fun planning our adventures.

  • Go back to London
    I went to London once for only a few days and desperately want to go back. There’s so much to see that it’s hard to get to everything you want in such a short time. I also love history, so the museums and other historical sites are a huge draw.
Debot at Dutch Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
Debot at Dutch Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Japan
    The Verlobter had spent some time in Japan while studying and loved it. He’s talked it up quite a bit. Ideally we’ll go there for a sort of delayed honeymoon – we want to time it to see the cherry blossoms in Kyoto. I’m also a seafood and sushi nut, so the Verlobter has really played up how much I’ll be able to eat.
"Shoboji Nishikyo-ku Kyoto Japan13s3s4410" by 663highland - 663highland. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shoboji_Nishikyo-ku_Kyoto_Japan13s3s4410.jpg#/media/File:Shoboji_Nishikyo-ku_Kyoto_Japan13s3s4410.jpg
“Shoboji Nishikyo-ku Kyoto Japan13s3s4410” by 663highland – 663highland. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shoboji_Nishikyo-ku_Kyoto_Japan13s3s4410.jpg#/media/File:Shoboji_Nishikyo-ku_Kyoto_Japan13s3s4410.jpg
  • Venice
    Venice just looks so gorgeous that I want to see it in real life.
By Ghouston 18:18, 6 May 2006 (UTC) (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Ghouston 18:18, 6 May 2006 (UTC) (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
  • Palace of Versailles
    See Venice’s reason. I also love looking at palaces and castles for some reason – particularly ones with opulently decorated interiors. I saw several while living in Bavaria, but Versailles is at the top of my list – as it inspired so many gorgeous palaces that were built later.
By Joseolgon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Joseolgon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
  • New York
    Just because I’m American, doesn’t mean I’ve fully explored America. It’s much too big. One of the places I’ve always wanted to visit is New York. I want to see a Broadway show, walk around Central Park, and window shop as though I’m a fancy person (that’s what New Yorkers do, right?).
By Diliff (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Diliff (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
  • The Grand Canyon
    Like with New York, I have yet to see the Grand Canyon. It commonly comes up when talking to Germans who have traveled or want to travel while in the US. I sometimes feel like I fail the American checklist when I haven’t seen it (or been to New York or LA). I’ve heard that pictures just do not do it justice, so it’s on the list of things I would love to see in person.

By chensiyuan (chensiyuan) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By chensiyuan (chensiyuan) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Any other places that you think I must see?  Let me know in the comments!

May 2nd – 5 Photos that Tell Your Story

It’s day two of Blog Everyday in May, and I’m much more timely today.  The prompt: “5 Photos that Tell Your Story”

I figured this prompt would be quite easy, but it was trickier than I thought.  I ended up pulling more than five pictures and had to figure out which story I wanted to tell (the leftover pictures will probably be useful later though!)

So let’s start at the beginning.

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Stole this off my mom’s Facebook page. Thanks, Mom, for sharing my baby pictures with social media! 😛

Look at what a cute baby I was.  This was probably the only time laundry baskets gave me joy.

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Photo credit to my dad. He’s pretty good with the camera.

Here we have skipped ahead about 21 years to me getting my Bachelor of Arts.  The majority of those years (and pretty much all of the ones I remember) involved school of some sort, so I think a graduation picture was fitting.  I wasn’t done with school when this was taken – I still had a year and a half of grad school left, but I wasn’t able to attend the graduation ceremony for the other degree, though.  No regrets, because I was in Bavaria finishing my student teaching!

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When I had arrived in Germany last June, the Verlobter’s family had formed a welcome party and greeted me with this banner.  I was so happy knowing that I was arriving to a different country with an entire family waiting for me.  I’m so lucky because his family is so helpful and loving.  They have definitely been a major part of helping me settle in to my new home.

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No makeup selfie in the airport!  Now that my family spands two continents, I’ve got to become a pro at air travel.  Airports are the easier part – if you have a long enough layover!

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And a full of makeup selfie! I was quite excited for Fastnacht, because I got to dress up and do crazy makeup.  If I were not blogging about my life here in Germany, I would probably try to start a makeup blog.  I feel like my collection is severely lacking (the Verlobter would tell you the opposite), but everyone has to start somewhere!  I also really enjoy writing about being here and learning more about myself and my  new home.

I’m not really seeing much of a cohesive story, but I think that’s the way life works.  Right now I’m in the middle of it, so it’s a bit difficult to draw a clear narrative through the points.

May 1st – Introduction

So, it’s only the first day of Blog Everyday in May, and I’m already a bit late with posting – probably because I’m terrible with introductions.  BUT IT’S NOT MIDNIGHT YET!

I was trying to decide whether to add a picture where I looked normal or goofy - and then I remembered that I hadn't shown off my new sunglasses yet!
I was trying to decide whether to add a picture where I looked normal or goofy – and then I remembered that I hadn’t shown off my new sunglasses yet!

I suppose I can start with the basics.  I’m almost 25 (my birthday is on Monday!) and I’ve been living in Germany since this past June.  Before I moved here permanently, I had spent a semester student teaching on a military base in Bavaria.  While I was doing that, I met the Verlobter, who convinced me to relocate here permanently.

I did spend a year teaching in the United States between my student teaching and moving here – partially to convince my parents that I wasn’t crazy and partially to save up a bit of money before I moved. That was actually the craziest part of my plan – saving up money on a public school teacher’s salary while paying off student loans.  Thankfully the school I worked at was in the middle of nowhere (the nearest Walmart was a 45 minute drive away), so there wasn’t much to spend money on.  Also, the 12 month payment plan meant that I was still getting paid after I had moved.

Since we are going in a sort of reverse chronological order, I guess I’ll talk about where I went to school – or “university” as I say now, and feel really pretentious every time I do.  I went to Truman State University, which is located in northern Missouri – the town it is in contained the previously mentioned Walmart.  I got a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Education for Secondary English Education – which makes me sound really fancy when I apply for teaching jobs here, but didn’t give me that much of a background in teaching English to non-native speakers.

I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, which is a completely different place from where I went to “university” and where I ended up teaching for a year.  Missouri has a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to rural/suburban/urban areas.  I met people in northern Missouri who were terrified of living in “the city” and my parents were terrified of me living alone in “the country”.

And now I live in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, which is different from rural Missouri, urban/suburban Missouri, AND Bavaria.  The weather is fairly similar to St. Louis, though, which can be comforting – and annoying when it goes from cold, to warm, to cool, to hot, and then back to cold again.  The main purpose of my blog, I feel, is to document my adjustment living here – pointing out the things that are completely strange to me still (Weird German Things), and the things that are familiar, but not really (Awkward English and Flags Everywhere) – along with anything else that comes up along the way.

I’m really excited for Blog Everything in May, as it will give me a chance to be a little bit personal as well as finding new ways to share my journey here.  Don’t worry, though, I’m still taking pictures of the things I find while I’m out and about, so my other sections will keep going throughout the month!

Leben in Deutschland Questions

In order to apply for permanent residency and/or citizenship here in Germany, you have to take the “Life in Germany” test.  For residency, I believe you need to answer 15 out of 33 questions correctly, and for citizenship you need to answers 17 questions correctly.  Assuming you have a fair knowledge of German and you’ve reviewed the information, it’s pretty easy.

30 questions are pulled from a 300 question catalog over German politics, history, and culture.  The last 3 questions are pulled from a 10 question list that relate specifically to the state the tester lives in.  All of the questions are available here for practice purposes – though going through the whole list numbs your brain.

I found the political questions the most difficult, as I had a tendency to jumble up the different offices a bit.  The German government follows a three branch system as the United States does, so I at least had something I already knew about to compare to.  I found the history section fairly easy, as it focused on 1933 to now, and American history classes loooove World War II and the Cold War.  I had learned most of what was covered already.  The culture section focused mostly on day to day life and laws, which seemed pretty intuitive to me, but might have been more tricky if I came from a culture that was completely different.

Some of the questions were pretty easy – and some were comical.  I went back through my giant printout of question and pulled them out and translated them for your enjoyment. Others who come from a different background might not find these as funny as I do, but I feel that a lot of people who read this will find some amusement from it.

8. What is not stated in the constitution of Germany?
a. Human dignity is inviolable.
b. Everyone should have the same amount of money.
c. Everyone can speak their minds.
d. All are equal before the law.

Unfortunately the answer is B.  The government does not ensure that everyone has the same amount of money.  This could be considered a good thing or a bad thing depending on how much money you already have.

137. Which court in Germany is responsible for conflicts in the work-world?
a. The family court
b. The criminal court
c. The work court
d. The district court

It almost feels like a trick.  It would be too simple if the work court was responsible for work conflicts. Thankfully the Germans are very straightforward and c is correct.

226. Which is the flag of the European Union?

Flag_of_the_United_States.svg

Flag_of_Europe.svg

Flag_of_the_United_Nations.svg

652px-Flag_of_CEFTA.svg

The US wishes the first was the answer! (or not… probably not)  I actually had to take a picture of the last flag from my test paper and reverse google image search it to figure out what it is even for.  It is the flag of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) – thanks Google!

245. Who can not live together as a couple in Germany?

a. Hans (20 years old) and Marie (19 years old)
b. Tom (20 years old) and Klaus (45 years old)
c. Sofie (35 years old) and Lisa (40 years old)
d. Anne (13 years old) and Tim (25 years old)

Oh my lord, Tim is so creepy.

251. If someone beats a child in Germany…
a. that’s no one’s business.
b. that is only the family’s business.
c. they can not be punished for it.
d. they can be punished for it.

This is one of the ones that I’m sure will have different opinions based on cultural differences.  For me, I find all of the answers besides d completely absurd, but I suppose it isn’t like that everywhere.

267. A young woman in Germany, 22 years old, lives together with her boyfriend. The woman’s parents disapprove, because they do not like her boyfriend. What can the parents do?
a. They must respect the decision of their adult daughter.
b. They have the right to take their daughter back to their house.
c. They can go to the police and show them the daughter.
d. They look for another man for the daughter.

Another cultural one.  The parents could do a few of those things, but they would run into some problems with b and d – and get laughed at by the Polizei for c.

276. What should you do if you are mistreated by your contact person in a German office?
a. I can do nothing.
b. I have to put up with the treatment.
c. I threaten the person.
d. I can complain to the office supervisor.

I think this one is here just so that immigrants know that they don’t have to put up with being mistreated when they jump through all their bureaucratic hoops.  This one is funny to me because I didn’t actually know the German word for threaten at the time (drohen), so I had a bit of a shock when I looked it up.

If you are preparing for this test, don’t be too scared!  While I haven’t actually received my results yet, I found it way easier than the language test, and I passed that one!