Day Eins in Germany
(ALL PHOTOS CLICKABLE) Highlights from day one:
I saw huge windmills on the way over from the airport. And I mean ginormous!!! The windmills I'm familiar with are the ones like in East Texas with comparable blades. These were monstrosities!
After our good fortune meeting up, Niels drove around to find parking. We picked a spot near downtown and walked around the lake called AuÃŸenalster (Alster Lake).
"Alster." Niels sighs.
Okay, I'm officially not German.
We went to eat at this amazing homemade Thai restaurant. They took forever to prepare by US standards, but it was well worth the wait!! It was some of the best Thai food I've ever had!!! Even the packaging was amazing. She somehow sealed the package of warm food she had JUST made with an airtight seal, like you would get in a TV dinner.
Speaking of the employee who made that Thai food, I realized I was caught by surprise. You know when you go to a Chinese restaurant, you sometimes meet a person who is from China who at some point decided to move to America at some point for a better life? These people often speak broken English, right? Well, the lady who made my food had moved to a much smaller country called Germany where she spoke broken German and no English. It totally threw me off! Fascinating! I had previously associated immigrants with mostly America!
We took the food to the music school and met some of Niels's friends, where I was able to use my nifty list of common phrases I printed to communicate one way--my mouth to their ears. I asked such things like "do you have Facebook?" and "I need to use the toilet?" And I got to watch Niels in his element, speaking German to a guy with a mohawk who is creating a Jesus Christ Superstar mixed with an opera. Super neat!
After lunch, we walked to another part of the Alster lake, where I learned the "North German pose." This is where you extend your arms into your pockets, not bending your elbows, cuz you're cold, causing your shoulders to rise. You should squint your eyes from the cold wind and look into the distance. You're officially north German now!
There are a lot of swans in the Alster lake. Like the pigeons at UT, they are not afraid to approach humans because they know: humans = food. Niels warned me about them. While we were walking by later, we saw a swan with his head underwater, which made us laugh. Suicidal swans?!
There is a word in German that means transportation or wheels or some other non-bodily function. That word is spelled fahrt. Hahahaahahahahah. Hahahahahahahahh. Hahahhahahaa. Oh man.
Glory hallelujah! Welcome Niels to 2006, everyone! He got an iPhone!!!! Only he needed to crack it because his service provider didn't have the phone. We went to a place Niels called 'Ali Shop' because everyone there looks like an Ali and has the name Ali. I thought he was inappropriate and hilarious for saying that. We finally got to the shop. The sign? 'Ali Shop'
I fiiiinally got to meet Niels's girlfriend, Dani!! I was a little worried that she would be like the other Germans I met, nice, but distant because she didn't speak English. Not 2 sentences after meeting her did I hear her speak in English! Thank God! I'll have someone to speak to besides just Niels once o get tires of his yapping. "blah blah blah, I'm Niels. I'm German. I like music. Hamburg roxxers. That's on you. I'm German.
The biggest news about Dani is that she is made it onto X-Factor in Germany!! Read about this here (only after the blog gets posted).
I can't tell you how many times we went to the grocery store!! But I'm so glad I went. Their food is mislabeled (it is in German!) and their cashiers SIT. Crazy.
The windows in Germany are actual a product of German innovation (allegedly). Get this. Imagine the handle that's on a screen door here in America. Well, they don't have a button on it to release the door. Instead, there is a key hole to lock it. The handle itself rotates 180 degrees. When it is facing down, the window is locked. When it is turned 90 degrees, the window opens like a door. The best part though is when you turn it 180 degrees (facing up). The window is somehow latched only at the bottom!!! It comes out about a foot from the top! It's incredible. I know this whole idea is lost on most Texans, but up north, the air feels good! (P.S. Look at the amazing photo!!! HAHAHHAA)
The day ended, we went home, and we stayed up late looking at something...couldn't tell you what. I just remember the feeling that we could have stayed up for days looking at something. We were just having such a fun time!