Friday, August 13, 2010

Life! Germany, Part IV

August 8th, 2010

Sonntag! Sunday is the day in which everything (except restaurants) is closed in Germany. You know, in principle, it's nice that there's a day for everyone to have a rest. But for a girl on a rainy Sunday who didn't have time to go shopping on Saturday because she was in Berlin and still doesn't have a bike and lives at least a 45 minute walk from restaurants? Leetle inconvenient. I am planning better for this weekend. I did have the foresight to buy two extra bagels in Berlin when I got one for dinner! [So I ate: coffee, bagel and nutella, fruit, bagel and cheese, ice cream. Almost balanced.]

Sunday consisted of: sleeping until 11am, playing online and watching German cartoons on TV, doing laundry, reading Anna Karenina, and taking a walk around my rainy neighborhood whilst taking pictures. Yes, I'll post them. Sooooon.

The gang changed beach plans to Kaffee trinken ins Café plans, but as I said: rainy+bikeless. I enjoyed my lazy day thoroughly. :)

August 9th, 2010

I woke up early and ran for the first time in over a week! It was my first official day of marathon training--for the Seattle Marathon on November 28th (also my dear parents' 29th wedding anniversary). The schedule called for an easy six miles. This was the perfect distance to run to the city center and around its circumference to see the harbor (on the river Ryck), past the University of Greifswald, by the cathedrals, and back down the long straight road to my building. Cobblestones do not make for the best running surface, and the long stoplights make for frequent breaks. That's ok! It was easy day!

That evening after work, IPP finally had a bike for me to rent! Yaaaaaay! I biked the half a mile home, left it, and walked half a mile to the shopping center (bike has no baskets, I had long list). I bought REAL FOOD. Like, spaghetti ingredients, sandwich fixings, bacon and eggs, chocolate, and Schwarzriesling (who knew there was black Riesling?). I walked half a mile home, laden with a backpack and three bags full of food. I cooked myself an amazing dinner and relaxed.

August 10th, 2010

Upon biking to IPP, I discovered that part of the bike--in fact, the part that somehow shifts gears (it's an internal-gear system and has an important piece on the rear hub)--FALLS OFF WHEN I SHIFT GEARS. Or bump over a curb. Or look at it funny. Thankfully, the bike still WORKS without it, but it feels as if there's only a minuscule bit of resistance and thus my efficiency plummets until I fix it. At least I know how to put it back on. Maybe if I duct tape it...

That night, K and I biked to A's house for movie night with the gang! A (a delightful Syrian man) made chicken curry sandwiches with peppers and onions (like fajitas, but on fresh rolls), Y made apple pie, J brought popcorn, and we had chocolates and ice cream and peanut butter cheetos.


Peanut butter cheetos.

Or "Erdnuss Flips".

When you expect fake cheese, peanut butter gives one's mouth QUITE the shock.

We watched The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, which was visually STUNNING (and not just because it starred Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law) and all-around perplexing.

August 11th, 2010

I was supposed to run, but woke up tired, grumpy, and a bit ill from the party's junk food. I decided to risk running in the forecast rain that evening.

The day was a bit tough. Work wasn't going well, P was out for the day, and I wasn't understanding German. It comes in waves. Wednesday was not a German-understanding-day.

Hence, I was SUPER excited when the rain stopped and I was able to RUN! I had a 5.5 mile route in mind: out to a bike-and-pedestrian only trail, through cute neighborhoods, across a bridge over the Ryck, into Wieck (another fishing village), and along the river to the sea! This would be 2.75ish miles straight out and directly back.

I started running steadily. It was perfectly cool (around 65 F?) and clear. I found the bike trail (Pappelallee) and ran through dark green woods. It connected to a cobblestone road lined with adorable houses--one even had a THATCH ROOF. I was smiling. I found the next road, which would lead me to a left turn, which led off to the bridge. I ran. I ran. I noticed fields of short green leafy plants. I smiled at bicyclists and one or two runners. I saw wheat fields, which reminded me of Morocco. Yaaay! I saw water to my left. "Sweet! Wait...I shouldn't see the water...until it is in FRONT of me. I *have* been running for quite a while..." I checked my watch. It had been 30 minutes. At my pace, this means I waaay overshot that left turn. I laughed. "Oh well!" At the next crossroad, I turned around. On the way back, I stopped every so often to take pictures. YES. I WILL POST THEM. SOON. I found the correct turn about a mile on the way back. Next run, I'll make it to Wieck. :) I mapped it at home (this is why I ran to the crossroad!) and ran 6.34 miles instead of 5.5.

I ate spaghetti for dinner and read. I completely felt better.

August 12th, 2010

Again no P at work. Another kind of so-so day. But! I decided to see if Steph and Jerry, postdocs from lab here at that summer school, wanted to join me for dinner at one of the restaurants downtown. They invited me to join their conference friends at der Wallensteinkeller: a medieval-style restaurant in a basement in the main square. That gave me something to look forward to!

Plus, we had a fantastic thunderstorm. Buckets of rain, loud thunder, bright lightening! We were a bit worried for the baby storks: there are two black-and-white adolescents in a big nest on a metal pole high above all trees. Heh. [Thankfully, they were STILL here this morning when I arrived.]

I got quite wet biking home from IPP. But, when I started to bike to the city center later that evening, it seemed like rain was breaking! Hallelujah!! Only a few minutes into my 2.5 mile ride, however, the monsoon started. Buckets and buckets poured down, soaking me to the bone. Nothing was ruined--I put everything in my purse into a plastic bag. I was just wet. Naturally, when the gear-shift-thingy gets wet, it falls off. After fixing it three times in this torrential downpour, I gave up and left it clanking. Naturally, everyone I met for dinner was also soaked, as they had to walk from their hostel. :)

Dinner was AWESOME. I took pictures [YES WHICH I WILL POST SOON]. Our group had four Americans, two Germans, a Spaniard, a Norwegian man, and a Polish gal. The menus were in old German, the decor medieval castle (a knight in shining armor watched over our group), and the utensils quite non-existent. I had Langohr (rabbit), Knödel (balls o' potato), and rotes Kraut (red cabbage). We all drank much Hönig Wein (Mead!), and had Ringe von Apfel (fried apple rings in cream) for dessert. SO GOOD. Our delightful waitress washed our hands for us in a big bowl of soapy water afterward. :)

The bike home was much more pleasant. It only barely drizzled, and biking through puddles about half a foot deep was fun. :)

August 13th, 2010

Today was a GOOD day. I'll post about it later. With all those pictures. Promise.

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