Posted in July 2012

First Hausfrau Mistake

I just did a load of laundry in which I combined jeans and a bright white dress shirt.

It did not go well.

Not Everyone Likes Opera

We took a walk last night, up into Schloss park. As soon as we entered the park, we ran into a large group of people sitting around the lake. The local opera house was putting on an opera, and a large screen had been set up outside for everyone to enjoy. It was nice. We roamed around the park and played chess on a giant chess board.

This morning, I started my German homework, where I had to fill in the blank. The sentence was “Hier hört man Musik. Nicht alle Leute mögen die Musik.” (“You can hear music here. Not everyone likes the music.”)

The answer appears to be “opera”.

Ha ha ha!

Oh, and by the way, our internet went out again. A tech is suppose to come by this afternoon to look at it.

It never ends.

 

A Bit of a Catchup Post

Don’t worry! I’ve been keeping track of all the things I’d have liked to post, but couldn’t. For example, I’ve tried every beer in the world (plus or minus a few). And we visited a bunch of festivals and did a bunch of random things. I plan to post these things slowly, or I’ll go insane. But some things don’t deserve their own post, so I can summarize here quickly.

Lidl Lottery

I’m surprised nobody called us to ask the results. This past month must have been tense for you guys.

Unfortunately, we lost. However, we came really really close! I scratched off two winning balls before I scratched off a losing ball. So close! Though as it turned out, the prize was a “Lidl branded photo album.” Nobody wants that anyway.

Cheese Frying

Frying the cheese didn’t work out. It was like frying feta, and ended up as a sort of watery, gooey mess. That was gross.

But! We found some things in the grocery store that are essentially just blocks of cheese shaped into a hamburger patty. They’re meant for frying or grilling, and they are scrumptious! You shouldn’t eat too many, however. We tried.

For those of you that can find it, go get yourself some of that tender, white, Mexican cheese. Slice into medium-thick slices. Fry it dry, without oil or butter. Medium heat. Lightly browned crust. You’re welcome.

Sauerkraut

The sauerkraut turned out amazingly well! It was different, but not so different that it was weird. It had a sweet nature about it. Delicious. I went ahead and made another batch using a normal cabbage, just in case all German kraut tastes slightly sweet. But it turned out totally normal. Deliciously normal. I’m making a third batch of kraut now, which deserves it’s own post because my hand became swollen around my knuckles as I made it.

We’re a bit scared of eating it. But we’re going to do it, for science.

Eurocup 2012

Germany lost. It was still very loud outside. Germany wasn’t even playing in the final, and it was loud until 3 am that night. Precisely how many Spain-ish people live in Germany, anyway??

Everything Else

Nah. Time to go shopping. I’m out of coffee. And the recycling needs sorting. Speaking of recycling, that deserves its own post.

The days are packed.

The Responsible Thing

I didn’t talk to Alissa last night.

We finally got connected to the internet yesterday, so when Alissa got home she naturally dropped her bag, took off her shoes, and booted up her laptop. I tried to kiss her, but my computer, the front door, and her laptop are not in a straight line. So the best I could do without leaving my computer was to bounce a kiss off my monitor. I think she caught the kiss. Can’t be sure, because I wasn’t looking. I was watching a video where these two kittens fight over a stuffed animal. Delightful!

Internet Trajectories

I think I timed it right.

A few hours later, I got an email from her. “Do we have anything to eat in the fridge?”

I didn’t know. I threw her some crackers.

She eventually fell asleep in the rocking chair. I couldn’t get the laptop out of her hands, so I just dragged the rocking chair into the bedroom and emailed her a sweet goodnight message.

This morning, we had a serious discussion. We were surprised at how we acted the night before, but more to the point, we recognized our life had changed pretty dramatically as a result of not having the internet for so long. For the past month, we cooked dinner, took walks around the city, and talked to each other about our day. I realize this doesn’t sound fun. But when you have no other options (a kitten playing in a box!), you have to fill your day with things that strengthen relationships.

In a non-connected world, you learn things about your significant other that you wouldn’t otherwise learn. For example, Alissa tells me she has a brother. I did not know this. He was apparently at our wedding. I hope to meet him one day, at a time when both of us have no access to internet-capable devices.

In a non-connected world, you are forced to explore the city on foot. What’s on the next corner, a bakery or a shoe store? Well, walk over there and see! And bring your wife along, because she’s bored too. Maybe you’ll find a playground with an awesome tire swing! The only children there will be those whose parents restrict internet access, and those children are easily bullied by adults. We can swing for hours!

In a non-connected world, you look for stimulation in places you normally ignore. Two weeks ago, we found a farmers market that sells super-hot peppers and fruit wines. And we’ve visited three or four festivals, from those with African themes, to summer fests, to fishmarket fairs. One booth was throwing fruit into the crowd, and I caught a pear. Another booth was throwing long sausage links. We stuffed them into our bag. They were delicious.

So we made a decision.

I’m posting this from Starbucks’ WiFi. I’m sipping tea and watching people pass by. On the way here, I saw a poster advertising a festival somewhere in Stuttgart. I wrote down the name, so we can check it out. We’ve disconnected our internet service. No more email from home. No more kittens playing with rabbits. No tracking earthquake data in real time. We’re going to live life together without the allure of instant information and entertainment.

Super Essen!

Ha ha! Just kidding. I moved Alissa’s laptop so she’ll have to pass by for a kiss when she comes home. And I stocked the fridge with cheese and left packages of crackers scattered throughout the apartment. We’ll mark off a few hours per week to walk around the city and visit festivals. Unless they have a webcam hooked up, in which case we’ll hold hands and press “Refresh” for a few hours.

Oh neat! CNN has a new article up. I’m going to go read it. Something about a bank rate regulation scandal.

These crackers will make for a pretty decent lunch.

Blow By Blow

15:23 – I left the apartment yesterday with two goals; to yell more at O2, and to buy stamps to mail the furious letter Alissa and I composed this weekend. It was an angry letter, using words like “incompetence” and phrases like “we hope these matters can be resolved, and the damage to your reputation, cleared.” We were angry, and we did not restrict our vocabulary. Those O2 bastards are going to have to look some words up in the dictionary.

But we were out of stamps.

15:40 – The O2 guys claimed the router would arrive soon, but we had been told that before. I left to find stamps.

15:48 – I found some stamps at a convenience store, and mailed the angry letter.

16:02 – I arrived at home. There was a slip from DHL in the mailbox! I had missed a package.

When Alissa got home, she pointed out that given their track record, the package was either not from O2, or empty.

This morning, I was at the post office before it opened. The modem was installed 30 minutes later.

We’re online!

Basic Human Rights

On Saturday, we walked into an O2 store to yell at people. It’s been almost 6 weeks without basic human rights. I’ve spent about every other day at Starbucks, buying a €1.90 tea to check my email and catch up on news. Something had to change.

The O2 people tell us that a technician still has to come to the house to do something, even though I insisted that a) a technician was already there and b) the line works just fine because c) I tested it with someone else’s modem. We were even told by the call center that their system made a mistake or the technician forgot to set a flag that notified his presence. “You should have your modem in 2 – 3 days!”

Lies.

We walked to all the O2 stores in the area (they’re scattered around like Apotheke), until we found a store with a group of employees who were actually useful. Long story short, they sold us a USB dongle that gives us a version of human rights that moves a little slower and doesn’t contain as many rights per month as a typical DSL package, but at least I don’t need to become friends with the Starbucks people. I fear we don’t have the bandwidth for me to post many photos, but at least I can write about our adventures.

Speaking of adventures, I bought a gigantic box of cheese from Lidl (the discount grocery store), after begging Alissa to let me. It cost about €6, and only fits in our fridge because I removed all the important things, like milk and eggs. Inside the container were 5 or 6 mini rounds of cheese, soaked in brine. How awesome is that?! Anyway, I’m on my 4th chunk of cheese now, and I have to say the cheese is lovely. I’m going to try to fry some now. In fact, I have to cut this blog post short, because I just remembered the cheese. If the populations in oppressed countries had this much cheese, they wouldn’t even need human rights.

Should I add butter to the pan when I fry the cheese? Ha ha ha! Trick question. Of course I should!