Friday, September 29, 2006

A Mental Health Day

Thanks so much for the people who sent such good vibes via the comments. I have noticed that I am not the only one feeling a little blue these days. I hope that my fellow bloggers and I stick it out. After all, we must be in good form for our meet up in November!

I decided to take my crazy married friend's (aka Carrie) advice and take a mental health day today. Okay, so I have to make a few phone calls and run to the post office, but I swear after that. I was thinking of vacuuming and making lunch for the German. It is a little weird. I am sitting here obsessing about all the things I should be doing. Too bad there are no day spas around here. I would love to go get a pedicure.

But you know what they say, when it rains, it f_ _ _ing pours. . .

Last night, C-burg opened its version of Oktoberfest - City Fest. (No kidding, that's what they call it). People come from kilometers around to stand around a listen to bad music (if I have to listen to "Country Roads Take Me Home" one more time, my ears may start bleeding) and drink beer. Good times. I went last night after teaching. I just had one beer, as I had Smarty with me and so had to drive home. The German was there, the New Yorker, Lawyer Guy, a few of my students . . . it was good. But after an hour the German and I wanted to go home. So we walked to the parking lot to my car (he had biked in).

I got into Smarty and the German biked away. I turned the key. . . Nothing.

"GERMAN!!"

The German raced back. "What?!"

I looked at him solemnly. "I think Smarty has died."

He got in and tried his best, but he could not bring Smarty back. Thank God, he was there. If I had been alone, I swear that I would have sat in the parking lot and just started crying. Instead, I just looked at him, smirked and said dryly, "So, I guess I know what we are doing when you get home from work tomorrow." Then we walked the few kilometers home.

Perhaps that is the key to getting through a funk, bad phase, depression . . . a support team. Sometimes it is your partner, sometimes co-workers, family or even fellow bloggers. It is good to know that you are not alone. That when you fall or feel low there are people around you to help you get up.

So now I am off to buy a battery for Smarty and maybe even a trashy tabloid magazine. Hey, its my mental health day and I'll do what I want!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Drowning

WARNING: Pity Party follows!

I have to admit that it was Grandpa's comment that brought me out of my hole. I have had several posts on my mind, but have not had the energy to write. To be honest, I feel like I am drowning.

Some people call it a bad mood, others depression, or maybe it is just a bit of a funk. But I tell ya' for the last week I have been getting up on the wrong side of the bed every day. Over the weekend I thought it was just too much work. But this time I have been a little . . . irrational.

I thought that a little sports would lighten my mood and release all those happy hormones. Unfortunately with my wacky hours, I have not been able to go to the gym that I pay 70 Euros for every month. I decided to try the local swimming pool. It opens early, so I can go before work and swimming a few laps always makes me feel better.

Monday morning I got up at 7am and got to the pool at 7:30am. As I was about to pay, the man behind the counter warned me that the school kids were coming. "Well, what areas are they in? I will try to stay away from them." His eyes widened, "They are every where!"

He must of noticed my distress and he said, "Come when we open at 6:30am. That is when most of the business people show up." Great. My Monday went down hill from there with boring details that I will not share. Fast forward to Tuesday, 6am. I got my but out of bed and got to the pool at 6:30am sharp. You can imagine my disbelief as I stood in front of a very closed pool. I looked to the side: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 6:30am; Tuesday, Thursday 8:00am. I sulked back to my car. At that point I was a little over whelmed and I promptly burst into tears.

Today the German and I signed the last papers for the house and got the keys. This is supposed to be a happy day, but as I sat in the lawyer's office all I could think is, "Get me the hell out of here!" I almost started crying there, too. I did start crying 5 hours later at the McDonald's when I could not answer my phone fast enough and missed the German's call (I have a contract phone and could not call him back). I told you - irrational.

So here I sit. And I feel like I am drowning in a sea of paper work and responsibilities that I am not sure I ever really wanted. Yesterday I thought, "What would happen if I just did not get out of bed tomorrow." I got out of bed of course. I always do. But I am telling ya, these days it is hard. I am not sure if it is over work, the over whelming task that is our house, homesickness, or the lingering sadness of changing careers. Perhaps it is none of those things. Perhaps it is everything.

I have some very interesting posts stuck in my head, including one about the link between the number of slaughter houses in C-burg and its booming birthrate. I hope to get to them this weekend. I have 5 days off!! Whee!! Okay, so I will be ripping up carpets and grading papers, but at least I can sleep in. Well, unless I attempt the pool one more time.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Stammtisch

I just got back from the Irish pub and thought a post was in order.

The New Yorker and I started an English Stammtisch here in C-burg. Basically about 15 people get together once a month and speak a little English and drink a little beer at the local Irish pub. It is a lot of fun, and maybe one day it will lead to a little business.

The great part is Karl made the drive in from Addrup. There may not be a whole lot of English speakers in C-burg, but I am certain that there are more than in A-town.

He mentioned that readers of Euro-American Life are waiting for a pic of me in a horrid bridesmaid gown. Well, you will have to wait for that. I don't actually have a picture of myself. It is funny how that happens when you spend all of your time behind the camera.


However, I wanted to post a picture of beautiful Kill Devil Hills, NC. This is the view from my bedroom. Seriously, you open the door from my bedroom out onto the balcony, and this is what you saw. Every night I left my door open and listened to the waves as I went to sleep. I highly recommend the Outer Banks of North Carolina. There is only one sad thing: some day a hurricane will sweep it all away.

PS As soon as my favorite married couple (the crazy lady and the bail man) send me a picture of the bridesmaid dress, you all will be the first to know.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Back in the BRD . . . you don't know how lucky you are

After leaving Washington DC on Monday, Sept. 11, I arrived in Germany yesterday. Many people asked me what it is like to fly on Sept. 11. Honestly, it was like any other day to me. The airport security was tight, but that is normal these days. What was disturbing was the huge sign outside of the airport that said: "THREAT LEVEL ORANGE." I am not sure what that means, but it scares the heck out of me.

The thing that bothers me most about flying is the mechanical part. Think about it - a large, heavy plane hanging in the air at 30,000 feet. Something about that is not normal. The flight back was a little turbulent. Tropical Storm Florence created a great jet stream which made the flight fast (only 6 1/2 hours from DC to Amsterdam) but also made sure that I did not sleep.

Today I discovered that the best way to fight jet lag is to work - a lot. I have been going since 8:00am. It is almost time for me to fall into bed.

Before I do, I have to comment on air conditioning.

I was so pleased about the air conditioning the first day that I was in the States. However, after that, I was cold all the time! I kept asking people to turn the air down. I was pleased as punch to find the weather in Germany sunny and warm. Unfortunately, I have spent most of the day in stuffy classrooms and missing the AC.

Just goes to show you, the AC is always greener on the other side of the fence.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Wedding

The wedding is over. It was a very beautiful ceremony and I had a lovely time. It was a very long and a bit of a stressful week, but I am very happy that I came. I will post more about the trip later in the week, but tonight I am going to unwind before the long trip back to C-burg.

The best part of the week was the bachelorette party which can be summed up easily:

Singing I'm a little tea pot on the radio

Large, drunken sailors making passes at us girls

Loosing a part of the party due to "illness" at the bar

Asking a little person for his underware

Good times.

PS Yes, there was naked time, but I did not participate in that.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I'm just here for the water

I made it! Why is it every time that I come back to the states, the first thing I notice is how big the cars are? Wait, probably because they are!

I landed in Dulles at 3:30pm and had a very smooth, fast time at immigration and customs. Mr. S picked me up from the airport and we made the 6 hour drive to Kill Devil Hills, NC. DC traffic was, well, DC traffic. Thankfully, it was not that bad.

On the way down we stopped in Richmond, VA at a BW Three, which is like TGIFriday: bar / restaurant food. We walked in and I immediately experienced culture shock. It was big and loud. There were 6 big screens with sports. Everyone was in t-shirts, jeans and baseball caps. As we sat down, I definitely felt overwhelmed.

The waitress came and I ordered a cheeseburger and water. She brought me a big glass of water with no bubbles! tons of ice! and a straw! The cheeseburger was thick and had a piece of pepper jack cheese. When the bill came, the burger was $4.50 and the water was free. Man, it is good to be home!

PS I tried on my matron-of-honor (thanks Christina, it does make me feel old!) dress. It is too big in the best, but I think we can pin it. It is actually a lovely blue color. Because the wedding is on the beach, we will all be in flip-flops.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Up and away

In about 7 hours I have to get up and go to airport. I am VERY tired. I got up this morning at 6:30a.m. I am pretty sure that I got everything done, but I am not sure. I will probably remember tomorrow when I am somewhere over Ireland.

Where am I going? I am headin' home. Well to the U.S. anyway. My good friend is getting married Saturday, and I am to be the maid-of-honor. I was surprised when my crazy (in many ways) friend asked be to be in her wedding. Having someone living on another continent in your wedding creates all kinds of logistical problems. Let's just say we all have our fingers crossed that my dress fits.

The best part is that the wedding is in Kill Devil Hills, NC. I am dying to be on the east coast again. I will probably run into the Atlantic like a complete fool. The worst part is that the German cannot go. Imagine - his school director won't give him a week off after being back to work for only a week.

Anyway, although I will have internet access this week, I probably won't be posting. But you can bet your bottom dollar I will have a lot to say about being a bridesmaid when I get back!

Until then, visit some of my "friends."

Jen has resurfaced and posting again.

Christina is back on this side of the pond and making everyone jealous with her beautiful pictures of her Canadian vacation.

James was the American in Duesseldorf, but is now the American in Amsterdam.

Rich became a dad! Many congrats, R and A!

Hexe is stuggling with her transition back to work.

Carol is trying to sell her boat. I wish I could buy it, but I can't even buy shoes now!

See you soon!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Professional Advice

Two posts in one day?? Yes, you can tell it is a Friday night in the S and S household.

Remember those migraines I have been having? Well, under threat of divorce (or worse having to renovate the new kitchen all by myself) I went to the doctor yesterday. I explained that I started experiencing cluster migraines in June. I had a bad attack in June, two mild ones in July, and one last week when my mother was here.

Kind, father like doctor: "So do you have a lot going on in your life at the moment?"

Claire stares stupefied. "Dude, how much time you got?"

I explained the various things that I have done over the past few months and after about 10 minutes I ran out of breath and energy.

Kind, father like doctor: "I really think that you need a vacation."

Claire stares stupefied. "Yeah, dude, tell me something I don't know."

He has given me some samples of a few triptans. Some last longer than others and he told me take one at the beginning of an attack. Hmm. We will see.

Have a nice weekend!

PS: The kitchen that drove me to the doctor:

The Rules

My last visitor from the U.S., "The World's Best Uncle," left yesterday. The German and I loved having visitors. It was so great to share our little part of the world, and I definitely saw a Cloppenburg in a different light as I was taking people around. In fact, the place almost smelled normal.

However, having visitors was a little stressful, so we developed a few rules for our next set of visitors. Well, not so much rules as tips and travel advisory.

1. It is probably best to come when the German and I are on vacation. Other wise you will be forced to watch me teach English or the German teach Excel. I am not sure which is worse.

2. Learning a few words of German can help. I translated almost an entire episode of my soap, Gute Zeiten, Schlechte Zeiten for my parents. It was then that I realized how very stupid German soaps are. ("Oh, that is Sandra. She has been kidnapped by her boyfriend's evil twin.")

3. It always rains here. There is never a good time of the year to come over. Just come over.

4. The German and I usually run out of ideas of things to do by the second day. It is good to bring a guide book. We are not that creative.

Anyway, I discovered a whole different set of rules this afternoon. I went to Oldenburg to have my hair done. As I walked through town I made the mistake of going into the "good" shoe store. I starred at a beautiful pair of Tod's heels (imagine the picture in black suede with blue trim; so yummy!). I salivated. I almost tried them on, but knew better. I turned and walked out to the store dejected. This was very hard form me. I like me some shoes.

New rule: don't go looking at shoes the same week you sign your mortgage papers.