January 10, 2010

B ack at Russ' office for our regular weekend trip to let Bailey run free in the surrounding area and to get Internet to post here. Still working on Internet at home, but this week, appliances took priority. After the last serveral weeks, I will never take this for granted, for it is a beautiful, beautiful thing (especially when filled with yogurt, Fanta and beer!):

I was certain we'd long run out of chones before we ever got appliances, but thankfully Russ' visa came through just in time! In an effort to further understand our appliances, Russ dutifully read the obviously-translated-via-google-translate instruction manual, which had it's fair share of redundencies (and an apparent fixation on fire):

Bailey was also instrumental in helping supervise the new appliances. She inspected everything for us and was transfixed watching the front-loading washer spin.

yes, that's her head in the washer ...

Not feeling my best this week, I stayed in and neglected my German lessons more than I should have. Next week I will push myself to get out more, interact more and get through more lessons. I can't tell you how disheartening it is to try to get something across to a salesperson when you have such limited knowledge of their language. Speaking of which ...

I almost forgot to recount the story about the other Americans at the restaurant we ate at in Köln and my general thoughts on being, well, American. They lumbered into the back of the restaurant (I'll let you fill in their physical descriptions here) and practically demand to know where an ATM was. The waiter repeats "ATM?" Thinking repeating himself and saying it louder will help, the man tries again, with the same question. Apparently, a light comes on and he tries a different tactic: "a cash machine?" Aha. The waiter takes him out front and points out the way. First of all, what did he not understand about ATM standing for "automated teller machine," which is, by golly, English? I know I'm a bit anal when it comes to travel and I generally don't like to go anywhere I can't speak at least a few phrases in that language to get by, but it just irks me when Americans have the attitude this man had and expect to be catered to when in someone else's country. These are the same kinds of people who return from said travels and recount how Europeans "hate Americans" (hmm, I wonder why). After they left, I smiled with the knowledge that we had interacted with our waiters entirely in German, even if I did ask for my beer incorrectly.

We must head home and start dinner soon, so I'll leave this week with a collection of snowmen from the park this week (wish I'd had a camera when we spied one on a street corner with appendages made from used fireworks!). I love how the kids embrace the winter weather here!

*Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische (lovely, aren't they?!)