Sunday, July 27, 2008

The First Week

Wow! Was it really a week ago today I left Seattle? Time flies no matter what you are doing! I've had some problems with internet access but found an internet cafe in Bonn so here I am. And let me just say it is hot!!

Planes, Trains, & Automobiles
Okay, this was one long travel day. I didn’t sleep too well and finally fell asleep right before my alarm went off (typical). And it turned out I overpacked as my luggage was over the weight limit. It was actually under the SAS weight limit but as my first flight was on United it was subject to their limit. Oh well. The flight to Washington DC was fairly smooth until we were in the descent when it started getting a little bumpy. And then one minute we were about to land and the next we were on our way back. The landing was going to be tight so they decided to pull up and try again. It was fine the second time. The flight to Copenhagen was fine and then came security. I am not used to carrying my laptop with me and so went through security without taking it out. They were nice about it and had me go through again. Oops! I was completely out on the flight to Frankfurt. I had been waiting for my luggage awhile when I realized there were no other bags coming out from Copenhagen. My heart started to sink. After I had been so careful in packing everything into one bag, did they lose it? I made my way over to the luggage inquiry where they assured me my suitcase was in the airport, it had just been put on the wrong cart and therefore was coming out on a different carousel. When it still hadn’t shown up after waiting awhile I went back and asked for an ETA – about 10 more minutes. Finally my bag came out on the carousel. Whew!!

This was my first experience with SAS and my second or third with United and I must say, I really prefer Continental or British. Not that there is anything wrong with SAS or United, I think the quality is better with Continental or BA. And lately I haven’t been super happy with BA but in general I’d rather fly with them.

And now on to my next mode of transport – the train. I bought a ticket for the next train which was leaving in 10 minutes, not realizing how far I would have to walk. It was close, but probably not as close as I thought it was. I think I ended up with a couple of minutes to spare, but it felt like less.

Matthias met me at the train station and drove me to my apartment. The apartment is small but it will do just fine.

I unpacked a bit and then I broke my own cardinal rule and slept. I woke up a little later on and after futzing around a bit more I headed back to sleep.

Matthias picked me up and we drove to the office. He showed me where I would catch the metro. The office is actually within walking distance, if it isn’t raining. It’s a little far if it is raining! I got set up at work and made progress on my visa (I have a meeting with at the town hall on Thursday to finalize). I decided to walk home and it isn’t a bad walk, especially when on a call (the call only lasted a few minutes due to the fire drill back home but it distracted me while I was waiting for the train to pass).

On another note, I tried to get cash out today from a Deutsche Bank ATM machine and got a message that it could not accept my card. What? I have done this how many times and now it decides it doesn’t like my card? I ended up trying another bank and guess what – the not Deutche Bank worked just fine. I would prefer the Deutsche Bank work as they won’t charge me (as they belong to the same family as Bank of America) but I am just happy my ATM card works!

I’m not much of a cook, I’m trying to cook more (hence the cooking class) but I’m not there yet. And I’m not going to start trying with a hot plate in my hotel room. So for dinner I’ll probably revert back to cereal or yogurt. At least it is simple and easy!

I’m full of random thoughts tonight – do you think watching CSI dubbed in German will help me improve my German? :)

Don’t worry, the daily updates will probably stop soon, but for now they’ll continue. Granted, as of today the only person who has read these updates is me as I have had no access to the internet. If nothing else, this weekend I should be able to find an internet café.

I awoke to sun! It’s amazing what sun can do for you! I decided to walk to work and enjoy the sunshine. It’s not too bad of a walk. After lunch I ventured into downtown Bonn and picked up my biometric pictures (for my visa) and stopped by Deutsche Bank where my ATM card worked! Go figure.

After work I had grand plans to venture over near the river and go for a run but when I got to my apartment I realized my iPod was just about out of juice. So no river for me as it is a bit of a jaunt to get there. Instead I explored a little bit around where my apartment is located and found a path that goes along the train tracks.

My television does not have the Disney Channel but never fear, I have figured out when The Suite Life of Zach & Cody is on (dubbed in German of course). And I finally noticed here it is called Hotel Zach & Cody. Guess The Suite Life doesn't translate so well. I’m justifying this to myself as helping me to learn German! :) And I can understand a little but I haven’t really tried speaking.

I am now official. Matthias was nice enough to come with me and help me navigate my way through the paperwork and officials and I am now legal with a big sticker in my passport to prove it!

German word of the day: großartig which means great or really great

It was really warm today, 90+ degrees. Yeah, not really a big fan of anything over 90. I started walking home, noticing the first place where I can cross the train tracks was closed. I didn’t think too much about it and continued on. I’ve learned that whenever you have a chance to cross the train tracks – do it! You never know when you’ll get another chance! Next crossing, same thing, as well as the next crossing. And then I noticed the barrier and the fact that it was actually closed for construction. Not sure what do to I stood there for a couple of minutes. A woman on a bike came up expecting to cross and had the same dilemma I did. She asked another pedestrian if there was another way (I’m assuming, they were speaking in German) and they pointed her straight ahead. I decided to follow and finally there was a detour sign. I’m not sure when a detour is actually fun, but let me tell you it is not fun when you are on foot and in 90+ degrees and not sure where you are! Finally I came to a street I knew! I had been avoiding the ice cream shop near my apartment but being tired, hot and having cranky feet I decided ice cream was just thing. It wasn’t just ice cream, but gelato! Yum! Or I should say lecker! (see the word of the day) Meine eis ist lecker! I have a feeling that isn’t quite correct but oh well.

I should also mention I tried cooking - sausages, and they turned out fine so maybe I will try to be a little more adventurous in the "kitchen".

German word of the day: lecker which means delicious (or as Beate said yummy)

I woke up to what I thought was the sound of thunder followed closely by what sounded like rain so I turned back over and went back to sleep. I got up finally and started towards town. They were still working so I took the detour which was easier this time considering I had been on it before, but still not fun. I walked around Bonn, visited a few museums and then walked home on the path that went by the river. It was really hot by this time, but it seemed a little cooler by the river. It started raining the closer I got to my hotel. I was going to meet up with Mandi, her boyfriend and several people from her program for dinner. I was just going to leave the hotel when it started absolutely pouring. No problem I thought. Or keine problem I should say. It was similar to rain in Houston where it would be torrential for a bit and then stop. While it didn't stop, it did slow down and so I started out. Let's just say I was a bit wet by the time I got to the train. I got a little lost but finally found the restaurant. Dinner was fun!

The hotel
My room
The "kitchen"

Enjoying my gelato after navigating the detour!


Anonymous said...

what a first week, what an adventure, thanks for sharing the journey!

Stacy O said...

Wow Emily, you are doing great!! Keep the updates coming, I love reading about your adventures in Germany!