'Tis the season

December 23, 2009

With all the running around for necessities we've been doing this week (can't express how much it means to have things like a shower curtain and hand soap), we'd nearly forgotten that it's only a few days from Christmas. To celebrate - and to give ourselves a break from IKEA runs and yet another fruitless attempt the get financing for appliances - we've decided to take the night off and head over to the Christmas market for some lacking holiday spirit and infamous gluhwein (hot mulled wine). I'm not sure what we'll do with ourselves for the following four days when NOTHING will be open and our to-do list stagnates. My goal is to at least make a holiday meal that consists of all major food groups (which would be a first, as of yet) and a Christmas breakfast of apple pancakes. Did you know they made apple-flavored cinnamon sugar? I didn't either, but I'm psyched to try it.

As previously mentioned, IKEA has become a sort of second home with all the shopping we've been doing there. We joke that if their kitchens actually worked, we might just try to stay. It's been fun to plan out our new apartment with catalog in hand. We've still got a ways to go while we wait for the now-monthly paycheck and exhorbitant expense reimbursement to come through. Thank goodness Russ finally got his EC card, which is basically like our ATM cards in the US, but here they are quite often the only accepted form of payment. Euros or EC card (you can see why it's so pivotal to get financing for all our appliances!). We just got a bar for the kitchen, so we can stop eating on the floor, and I anticipate our next big purchase being our wardrobes so we can stop living out of suitcases once the rest of our clothes arrive - yay for no European closets! But I find it hard to complain about our place when it has nineteenth century details like 12ft celings, ornate moulding and hardwood floors. Plus, the location can't be beat - just a few blocks from the park and Stadtmitte (the city center), and two groceries on our block. Huge thanks to my husband for landing us such prime real estate.

As tough as it has been to acclimate thus far, I'm trying to celebrate the little victories - basically anything that doesn't involve a response on our end of a gaping open mouth and blank stare. When I head out to brave the public, I mentally brace myself for the possibility that someone will try to interact with me. Mostly, my mind immediately starts formulating a response to tell them I don't understand before they've even gotten out their question or comment, and I rarely even hear what they're saying. Today, I was able to actually bump myself up from blank stare status with an interaction on our front steps. I was changing our buzzer from the previous tenants' names to ours with Bailey when I heard someone say something behind me. I was actually able to say "excuse me?" and listen to her repeat herself. Unsurprisingly, I didn't understand a word and told her my German was not that good while shaking my head in an effort to convey I had tried to understand her. She smiled and gave a 'nevermind' kind of gesture, then hesitently reached down to Bailey, who immediately began licking her. I then understood she had asked something about my dog, and was thankful that Bailey's overly friendly nature was able to break the stress of the communication barrier.

I'm still anxiously awaiting an internet connection other than my iPhone so that I can post with more regularity and with pictures we've taken. In the meantime, I will continue to post my mobile photos via my TwitPic feed. There are so many beautiful things here that I look forward to sharing with all if you. Till next time ... Aufwiedersehen!