Monday, February 26, 2007

Let's Review

Yes, it has been almost two weeks since my last post. No, my house is not that big. Things picked up at the office last week (we have new classes starting). There are definitely some events to catch up on.


The German and I got a new "house-mate." Ch-ard, Peace Corps volunteer extraordinaire, has come to stay.

Ch-ard is the only person who has taken me up on my job offer. He needs a job between his service and grad school in August. I told him that he could stay at my house and teach English for my company. He actually said yes. The German and I spent a hectic five days trying to finish the guest room before he got here on Feb. 15. The "guest room" had been the "I-don't-know-where-to-put-all-this-junk-so-I-will-just-dump-it-here-room." Fortunately everything worked out.

It really is great to have someone else in the house. He helps with the dishes and cleaning and forces the German and I to speak more English. All in all, a very good thing.

Dancing . . . in Wildeshausen?

After a very LONG week full of appointments, Ch-ard, the New Yorker and I went dancing last Saturday. Well, we went to something like a dance club. Unfortunately the music was . . . um . . . inconsistent. How does a DJ make the shift from Madonna to La-bamba to the Backstreet Boys? We also had to literally wait an hour to get our cocktails. However, the three of us are experienced enough that we had wine at home before leaving. It was a lot of fun, but I there were a few moments of culture shock (mostly due to the music).

The German did not go dancing. The club we went to is frequented by a "younger" set and he was afraid that he might run into some of his students.

The Mysterious Sofa

My mysterious sofa has finally made an appearance. Last Monday the furniture store called and said that our living room set would be delivered on Thursday. I was very excited. I wanted to be home for the arrival, but I had to work. Luckily, Ch-ard was home. What follows is a report by Ch-ard.

"So, they were a little early coming. They said between 1pm and 3pm, but they rang the doorbell at noon. I let them in and told them were everything was to go. The chair came in and I thought it was nice.

Then they brought in the love seat. Also not bad.

But then they brought in a few pillows and I got confused. And then they brought in the sofa.

Seriously, Claire, I started to question your taste."

I was in the middle of an English lesson when the German called and informed me that they furniture store had delivered the wrong sofa. I was . . . not happy. Later that afternoon I taught my classes how to write complaint letters.

The German called the furniture company to find out what is going on. Turns out that they ordered the correct one, but the manufacturer delivered the wrong one.

A very confused Claire: "And what - they didn't check it?? Did they not notice a beige chair and beige love seat and then a RUST colored sofa?? So they just passed on the wrong delivery to us and did not think that we would notice."

They did say that we can keep the rust colored one until my real one comes . . . in EIGHT WEEKS!! Seriously, I could have gotten pregnant and given birth in the time that it takes them to get this order correctly. I am not sure if I want the rust colored sofa in my house. It mocks me.

Germany Wins

Yes, I did stay up until 6:15am this morning watching the Academy Awards. I don't know why I bothered this year. They were kind of boring in my opinion. And I actually like these things, so for me to say that, well, that is saying something. Forest Whitaker's acceptance speech did make me cry. But then again, it was 6:00am by then.

Almost all of my predictions were correct, except Best Foreign Language Film. My money was on Mexico's Pan's Labyrinth, even if I was rooting for the German submission, The Lives of Others. The Lives of Others was pretty popular here and gotten great reviews. When it actually won, I was totally shocked. And from the shrieks of the director, I was not the only one.

At one point, I was completely offended for my adopted home. There was this silly collage / homage to the winners of the best foreign language film winners of the past. Germany's Niergendwo in Afrika, which won in 2003, was not shown!! Germany has been nominated four times in the last five years (2003: Niergendwo in Afrika, 2005: Downfall, 2006: Sopfie Scholl the Final Days, 2007: The Lives of Others), and won twice (2003, 2007). German cinema . . . not so bad.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Rounds

I have developed something of a morning routine in the house. I like to call it the "rounds." German windows have something called "Roll-laden." These rolling-shutters are lowered every night to block the view of the neighbors and keep in the heat. Unfortunately not every one abides by the social rule, which sometimes results in you seeing the neighbor doing his business in the bathroom. (Seriously, dude, close the shutters!).

In the morning you have to raise the shutters by 7:00am to 7:30am. Otherwise you have committed a German social sin and the neighbors will begin to think that you are lazy and sleep until noon. (My solution is to raise them before you go to bed at night, and then I can be lazy all I want and the neighbors do not have to know.)
Anyway, our big 'ol house has a lot of big 'ol shutters. Every morning I make the rounds. I start in the living room. As I go from window to window, I also turn down the heaters (or up depending on the weather). I move on to the hall / entrance way, my office, then the dining room and finally the kitchen. Along the way I pick things up or put them away. Sometimes I might even carry around my water can and freshen up the plants. The rounds can take up to 15 minutes, depending on the hurry I am in.

Like I mentioned before, the dining room is BEAU-TI-FUL. All it needs is for me to get frames for my art deco posters and then it is finished.

In answer to a few questions:
The sofa and chairs are almost 20 years old. They were handed down to us by the in-laws when we got married 2 1/2 years ago and could not afford furniture. I did not like the how worn they looked, so I threw some sofa and chair covers over them. We can now afford furniture, but the furniture store that I ordered it from in OCTOBER is holding it hostage.
I have no idea why they built a house that does not have stairs into the basement.
No, I still don't have Internet at the house, but the Telekom "says" that it will be installed today.
What do you all think about grey bathmats in the Green bathroom?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Foto Friday

This will be short and sweet as I still do not have internet at the house. I am in my office at work. It is a good thing that I am my own boss. Otherwise I would have to fire myself for blogging during working hours.

The German called the Telekom on Thursday to find out what there problem was / is with our internet. The response: "I'm sorry but we don't have any information about internet service at that address." The German was LIVID, mostly because he had spent 20 minutes at the Telekom in PERSON the week before. They told him that it would be another four to five days. In Telekom speak that is like, 5 years. The Telekom worker then told the German to hold the line to take a "quality service survey." Naturally they hung-up before he could take the survey.

We are getting settled in the house and more things are unpacked. We got our new dining room set on Wednesday. It is BEAU-TI-FUL. No sign however of the mysterious sofa that we ordered in October.

Before I get to the pictures, I have a decorating question. What color bath mats should I put in my bathroom? It is white and green / aqua.
A few pictures for the weekend.
Yes, Virginia, they do have walk-in closets in Germany.
Do you think the blue wall is too much?

Our gymnasium. I mean living room.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

All Moved In

I am still alive and all moved in! Unfortunately I still do not have Internet access at the new house, so I have to use the Internet in my office. I tried to post last week, but the line was slower than molasses in January.

The move turned out to be not as bad as I had imagined. However, I did through a little tantrum. When I got to the house first, the "workers" from the week before had left their used coffee cups and cake plates and forks all over the kitchen and dining room. The foyer was so full of stuff that we had to clean it before we could un-pack the truck. I got very angry and yelled, "How do you expect me to live like this?!" I then sat down on the steps and pouted.

Later that evening everything was okay and I was able to unpack. However, the furniture store still has not delivered my new sofa and we have not bought a new shelf / entertainment shelf for the living room, so there are still some boxes in the living room.

The only complaint about the house . . . it is big. REALLY big. 257.3 square Meters. I sort of wander from room to room trying to remember what I wanted to do. It took me all day to clean the windows in the living room.

Well, time for an English lesson. I need to earn some money for the cleaning lady that I see in my future. Pictures to come later.