May 14th – Personal Quirks

Today’s prompt from Blog Everyday in May is to share some of your quirks – and boy, do I have a lot of them.

  • I am like the girl from Signs – I leave half-empty (or half-full if you’re an optimist) glasses everywhere. When I was a teenager, my room would be filled with cans of diet soda that had 25% to 50% of their soda still within. I’ve gotten a bit better, but it’s still a problem. Unlike the girl from Signs, this isn’t a cute personality quirk. I don’t think there is anything wrong my drinks. I just go off to do something or fall asleep before I finish them, and then when I come back they are flat. And then I’m too lazy to throw them away.
  • I don’t consider myself a picky eater, but I hate tomatoes and I think cilantro tastes like soap. I know the cilantro thing has a genetic basis, but I’m not sure about the tomatoes. And please don’t tell me to eat homegrown tomatoes instead of store-bought because they have more taste – more taste would just make it worse!
I want to like you because you're healthy and in everything. By Softeis (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
I want to like you because you’re healthy and in everything.
By Softeis (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
  • I can’t eat sugary things on an empty stomach because it makes me feel sick. I thought this was a normal thing, but every time I tell someone, “I can’t eat that candy bar/piece of cake/ice cream because I’m hungry,” they look at me when I’m insane. I’m not sure if this is a physical thing or a result of my mom always insisting that I eat “real food” before sweets.
  • I’m not scared of heights per se, but I hate being able to see through what I’m standing on. My brain assumes that if I can see through it, I can fall through it. Those glass bottomed outlooks on tall building are nightmare fuel for me.
    Nope nope nope nope nope Spinnaker Tower, Portsmoth, UK By Janderk1968 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
    Nope nope nope nope nope
    Spinnaker Tower, Portsmoth, UK
    By Janderk1968 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
  • I think Bavarian sounds like an Irish person speaking German. I also think Dutch sounds like a mix of Scottish and German. I have no idea if these are quirks or not.
  • I really enjoy writing with purple pens. If you every need a gift idea, pens with purple ink are always appreciated, or purple ink to put in my fancy fountain pen the Verlobter got me for Christmas.

If you know me personally and think I missed something, please comment below! I want to know! (But be nice :-P)

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Cigarette Vending Machines – Weird German Things #6

One of the things that you will notice in Germany is that there are cigarette vending machines everywhere. They’re on street corners and outside train stations, and they are always beat up and graffitied. I don’t know who owns them and gets the money from them, but I’m sure they make a lot of money. I’m not sure the stereotype is true that Europeans smoke more, but there are fewer gas stations and convenience stores here, so I imagine that even if there are the same number of smokers here, the vending machines do plenty of business to make up the difference.

wpid-wp-1430434100887.jpegThis is one outside a train station. I believe the graffiti is actually a style choice and is part of the panel. I’ve seen the same pattern elsewhere.  But I’ve also seen plane ones that say “Tabakwaren” or Tabacco.  There are some old stickers on it, but I didn’t examine them too closely, because I was already the crazy person taking pictures of a cigarette machine.

In order to buy cigarettes, you have to scan a ID carde to prove that you’re of age. I don’t know what you do if you’re foreign – I suppose you just have to go to a store.  This seems incredibly insecure to me, though. There is no way to check to make sure that the ID actually matches the person buying the cigarettes. I’d imagine it’d be easy to swipe or borrow an older person’s ID.

I see now that there is an advertisement for some sort of heavy metal barbecue on there.
I see now that there is an advertisement for some sort of heavy metal barbecue on there.

The machine accepts card and cash and advertises that it will give you your change back.  I suppose there are some that don’t?

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On the left side of the picture is the ID scanner and at the top are the various receptacles for payment.  I suppose while it’s not particularly secure, it is efficient.

May 11th – Inspiration

Today’s Blog Everyday in May prompt is, “Who inspires you?”

1. My parents – they both work very hard and put aside time to take care of all of their children.  I’ve talked about both of them in previous posts and I hope that when I’m eventually a parent, I’m like them.

2. Authors – Dear people who have written books, how do you do it?  I’m having trouble enough blogging daily, I’m amazed at the dedication that others are able to put into a novel. I want your secrets! I’ve got ideas, but no follow-through.  Maybe I will do NaNoWriMo when it rolls around this year…

Sending prayers to St. Jane for aid
Sending prayers to St. Jane for aid

3. Polyglots – I’m so envious of polyglots and also want to know their secrets – though in reality, I know the secrets.  Speak as much as possible even though you sound like an idiot. Immerse yourself in the new language. Don’t be lazy and speak English with your native German speaker fiance.

Me everyday Itchy Feet by Malachi Rempen
Me everyday, but with German
Itchy Feet by Malachi Rempen

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 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!