Saturday, March 23, 2013

Moving House

Hey Y'all! Just wanted to let you know I'm switching blogsites. I've made a few posts since January on the new site, but all my posts from this site can also be found there as well! Please click on the link below and save the blog that comes up; that is the one I will be using from now on. (<-- click there!)


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The BEKVÄM Conundrum

I am beginning to understand why my boyfriend hates Ikea.  Just a couple weeks ago, after moving to our new apartment, we decided we had to make the epic trek to stock up on cheap home goods.  I was all for this, as I had never seen anything wrong with Ikea before, apart from its sometimes awkwardly too Scandinavian looking lamps and the fact that every college student in Europe owns the same hideous wall "art".

Yes, this is a lamp and yes, it is hideous.

In my mind however, the basics for an apartment, such as shelves, window blinds and candle holders, were where it was perfectly acceptable to save a couple bucks and buy from the Empire of Cheap Shit (aka Ikea).  That is, until today.  One of the things we purchased on our most recent excursion was a step-stool for me to use in the kitchen.  The ceilings of our altbau apartment are very high, and the previous owner took advantage of that and put in very tall cupboards.  I am short, and thus can only reach about half of our kitchen storage space.  A little step-stool was a perfect solution!  We found one at Ikea (for only 12€) but I didn't get around to putting it together until today.  And now I understand why my boyfriend hates Ikea.

It started out like any other project, with me ripping open the box and sort of glancing at the directions before jumping into it.  I even thought, "Hey! How nice of them, they included a little screwdriver thing, so I don't have to get off my butt to grab one of ours!"  I sort of wish they hadn't bothered.

About 15 minutes into using the teeny tiny screwdriver that kept slipping out of my hand, I realized I had attached the wrong piece.  Shit.  So I had to spend more time unscrewing it, reading the directions, and screwing the correct piece in place.  After another 25 minutes I had one side all screwed in, even though it sort of looked about ready to fall apart.

Things went along smoothly from there until I hit one very resistant screw.  It didn't want to go in, no matter how many times I unscrewed it and tried again, so I just moved on, deciding to come back to it later.  The project progressed, with sweating, swearing and struggling on my part, but it was starting to look like a functional item of furniture.

Well over an hour after starting, the stool seemed to be coming together and all that was left to do was give the screws their finals turns in order to secure them.  Then I remembered the finicky one.  It still didn't want to go in, and after taking it out, thinking I'd screw it back in anew, I realize I'd made a huge mistake.  I couldn't find the hole that the screw was supposed to be going in to, and subsequently ended up spending another 10 minutes just attempting to get it back into the wood at all.  I finally jammed it in place and stepped back to view my finished work.

Ta-Da! (Notice said screw on the bottom right)

In conclusion to my story of harrowing adversity and exuberant (pretty much) triumph, my boyfriend was right.  Even though I hate to admit it, he usually he.  I'd rather spend 10€ more to buy something not from Ikea.  At least that way I won't have to put the thing together myself and just end up with the same shit quality thing that everyone else has.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Walk in the Woods & Heiliger Abend

As you might recall from my last post, my boyfriend Matthias and I spent Christmas this year at his parent's house in western Germany.  When I left off we had arrived in their village outside Aachen and later had visited the Aachen Christmas market.

The next day (the 24th) was what Germans call Heiliger Abend (literally, the Holy Evening), and though not technically called "Christmas", is the evening for going to church, having dinner with family and opening presents from Baby Jesus.  Yes, there is no Santa Claus.  Der Christkind (literally, the Christ Child) brings presents for all the good little girls and boys on the evening of the 24th.  Take my advice, and don't think too hard about it.

In the morning however, the weather had broken exceptionally nicely and Matthias and I decided to take a walk around his neighborhood and into the woods outside of town.

Only a few hours later, the rain clouds returned and we were happy to once again be cozy and dry inside.  With fireplace and candles lighted, the atmosphere turned festive and the presents were unwrapped.  A delicious dinner was served and the wine was poured.

Though of course I missed my family back home in New York, I can't think of a better way to have spent the holiday abroad.  Matthias's family were (as always) very welcoming and the epitome of great hosts.  On the 25th they even braved the winds and rain to show me the area, including Belgium, the boarder of which literally cuts their village in half! But that will have to wait...

Until Next Time,

Saturday, December 29, 2012

'Tis the Season Part II

As I write this, I have been back in Germany for sixteen days, but I probably would have believed you if you said it had been six months.  The time has gone by so fast, and with so much we have yet to do around the new apartment and me applying for as many jobs as possible, I don't see things slowing down anytime soon.

My last entry I posted some pictures from getting ready for Christmas at home before I left, but in actuality I spent Christmas in Germany.  I have celebrated three previous holiday seasons abroad before, but only one of those was with a German family.  This time, knowing much better what I would be in for, I was able to really enjoy the five days spent in west Germany with my boyfriend and his very welcoming and wonderful family.  

We got up at 3:45am on the 22nd in order to make it to the airport in Berlin for our 7am flight.  That was a drag.  But we eventually made it to Düsseldorf, and took the train to Aachen, where our hosts were waiting to pick us up.  The rest of the day was spent socializing, eating and celebrating missed birthday from the previous couple months.  

The next day we had planned to attend the Aachen Christmas Market.  The weather the previous day and that morning had been verging on extremely stormy however, so we kept our fingers crossed that the rain and winds would hold off for a few hours.  We were lucky with the beginning of our visit, and it only misted while we enjoyed some Aachener Printer (a regional gingerbread speciality) and were able to order our Feuerzangenbowle (mulled wine with rum-soaked sugar cubes set on fire and melted into them) before the down pour really started. 

Keep a look out for my next post about German Heilige Abend (Christmas Eve) and a walk in the woods.  Hope everyone at home is warm, safe and enjoying the snow!

Until Next Time,

Sunday, December 23, 2012

'Tis the Season

As the holiday season is well underway, Christmas is a mere 2 days in the future and the excitement surrounding the Apocalypse ended up being a huge let-down in terms of new zombie-filled posts to blog, I'm dedicating this entry to a few lovely, cozy, holiday pictures from home.

Since I have now been in Germany for almost two weeks, expect more pictures of German Weihnachtsmärkte after the 25th, and remember to have a Happy Holidays!