Monday, February 25, 2008

Springtime means grill party

Yesterday felt like the first day of spring out in Erfurt. Warm weather, sunny and we had our first grill party in our backyard. About 10 people showed up and we grilled local bratwursts as well as some burgers that I made. Good company, good weather, good food, good times.

Later after playing foosball inside with everyone, I attempted to watch all of the Oscars. The red carpet preshow started at 12:30am, live in Germany with a German reporter. Quite entertaining as he interviewed in English and then attempted to translate everything into German before the next star came along. I made it until 3:30am, getting past the Best Supporting Actor award to Javier Bardem. It was fun to watch, live and in English, tossed in with German commercials.
Here are some more pictures from my new apartment, the first of the large hallway, then the completed, cleaned kitchen and then a few from my room with the huge bed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Building a German kitchen

So yesterday, my roomate Stefan and I built our kitchen. We took out the old one, storing it in the basement and put in 3 overhanging cabinets, two large countertops, a large cabinet and rebuilt a corner bench. It took the whole day, but is well worth it. The furniture all is from the GDR which didnt use Phillips screws, and simply hangs the cabinets on upsidedown L hooks drilled into the walls, rather than brackets. The plumbing of the sinks sucked and took a long time as we had to go get new parts and had to make it with lots of unnecesary curves, but it works. Here are the pics in order of completion.

What our kitchen looked like beforehand, with two kitchens in there and no hanging cabinets on the right

Stefan after we put in the first hanging cabinet and new sink underneath

Second hanging cabinet up and rocking

Me working on removing the countertop so we could push it against the wall

Dark outside and about finished

Stefan and Julia, my roomates, with the finished kitchen, a little dirty, but functional

Monday, February 18, 2008

The new apartment

The move into the new apartment has taken a few days, but I’m in there. Quite an adventure going to get all the furniture, driving to 3 different towns, one an hour away and to 4 different apartments picking up things from everything for my room, to a whole new kitchen. And to explain the German kitchen, that means the countertops, sink, fridge, everything. We already had most of that, but picked up a better set that is bigger and from the GDR, a little bit of East Germany. Kinda funny.

Driving to one place the GPS told us to leave the Autobahn and to go 30 kilometers via side roads through small towns the whole way. Took us forever due to tractors, horses and hikers on the road, as well as the road barely being wide enough for two cars. Basically we were in the middle of nowhere the whole time, driving past fields, the only auto, and definitely not a shortcut.

I’ve got a good setup in my room with furniture, including a bed that is probably too large. It’s about as wide as I am tall, 6 feet and 2 meters long, about the size of a Queen. Got lots of dressers and book cases, and a wardrobe as they don’t really have closets in Germany. If you want storage, you put in some piece of furniture, of which I have a lot, covering most walls. I’ll get pics up soon of the new place.

We also picked up 3 foosball tables, after going to pick up one. Can’t pass up a foosball table. We already sold one and have another to sell, and set up the best for us at the apartment. Moving the refridgerator was a pain in the ass, going down 3 flights of stairs, but it actually has a freezer attached, something that is not so common.

Now we have 2 kitchens, and have to decide which one to use. 2 sinks, 2 fridges, lots of countertops and cabinets, plus some new dishes. And I got a free TV in the whole deal. The woman said the colors were off, but they’re perfectly fine and it’s about a 25 inch.
Alright, that’s my new apartment for now, pretty sweet stuff.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Gotta get your morning anger

Tomorrow I’m moving into a new apartment. Going to be living with 2 students in a different part of town, still close to everything and with a kebab shop nearby. After 4 months in my last apartment, it was time to move on, with new roommates every month that I never saw. And the new apartment has a washing machine, something that has been broken at my old place for 2 months.
On Wednesday I start to teach English finally for Berlitz. Been a bunch of stupid paperwork that has been in my way, as well as me having the flu for a couple weeks. So now I’m ready to rock, speaking English and help people learn to speak better/well/efficiently/with a lot of words. I’ll be teaching several hours a week as well as cooking five days a week. I’m looking forward to getting back in the restaurant after chilling at home with the flu, being ordered to do so by the doctor.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A German flu

So Ive been stuck at home the last five days on doctors orders with the flu. Been feeling like crap, several fevers and constantly sleeping, trying to get over it.
Perks of the flu in Germany include finding a doctors office that will take my insurance. After 3 doctors, I finally found one that would take my insurance. Id been all over town, sweating through several layers in 40 degree weather. The negative on the doctor I found, was that he was closed for the next 3 hours.

So I came back at 3pm, filled out my paperwork, and waited in the waiting room where all the people coming in wished each other Good Day. After the doctor checked out my tounge and my breathing, said I had the flu infection, I went to a pharmacy. At the pharmacy you simply hand them your prescription paper, they go to a ton of drawers and go through them finding the medicine on your sheet, come back and ring it in and then you are set. And then you get your prescription paper back leaving no trace that you were there.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


This past weekend was Karneval, a huge six day long festival/party in Cologne. It’s kinda like Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras, but spread out from the Thursday before (where the women cut off the ties of all the men) to Ash Wednesday with Rose Monday being the biggest day.

It was great to be back in the city of Cologne, where I had spent my first two months in Germany. I stayed with my host mom and got to catch up with her, speaking only German of course, as well as meat with other participants in my program, speaking mostly English. Everyone is dressed up in costumes the entire time. If you don’t wear a costume, you definitely fell out of place. I’d bought some clown pants and a large 80s vest covered in stars beforehand to be ready to rock. Some of the costumes were quite impressive.

Monday was Rose Monday with a huge parade, going on for 6.5 kilometers, 6 hours long and giving out 1.5 tons of candy. It’s kinda like Halloween as everyone is dressed up and you get lots of candy. But rather than going to every neighbors house, you just have to stand close to the parade and shout out Camele! The word that they use for candy during Karneval. And the cheer that everyone says in Alaaf! Lots of traditions throughout the weekend.

I had a great time, but as like most people, I didn’t get much sleep the entire time I was there. Just keeping part of the city’s history. And I got to watch the Super Bowl with a group of friends at an American sports bar. Disappointed at the outcome, but still fun to watch, until 4am. Had some British commentators and no good commercials sadly.