Friday, June 24, 2016

My week: June 12 ed.

This week, we redid our huge database project at work, and unlike our efforts in May, it was successful. Phew! There were many little issues that crept up but nothing catastrophic.

I met with my tandem partner A as normal.

My friends D and S invited A and me to their farm that's in a village in what feels like the middle of nowhere but is actually not that far from Kaiserslautern. The weather was completely nuts; a huge thunderstorm rolled in and A got stuck in it. She finally showed up, being politely escorted by a random guy with an umbrella as the storm raged. It turned out that she got out of the train with some others who were worried about her and wanted to escort her to D's house. It morphed into a huge rigamarole as they literally got a household of people to try to find the address where she was going. She could have ended up at a Russian D's house since her helpers were convinced that was the person named "D" that she was seeking. You definitely can't say that the people weren't helpful!

We ate a delicious dinner of vegan pasta (some wheat-free, which makes me happy) and even some with stinging nettles used like spinach. We stayed until midnight and by then the crazy storm had died down. However, emergency services were still dealing with the aftermath.

As we were driving down the road, I saw a sign that the road had dirt on it and ran into a grumpy crew.

Emergency services people :"why did you come down this road!? Didn't you see the sign?" Me: [merp.eep.] "I saw the sign but I don't speak good German. The sign said the road was dirty and I saw das, nein, der dirt in road so I think I can drive straight." Guy, rolling eyes, "No, turn around. Do you need to go to Kaiserslautern? Go left." We did finally make it safely home and I found a good back way to go. Thank goodness I'm a ninja with navigating!

To be fair: I looked up the sign and it DID mean that the road was dirty (i.e. mud had come down the mountain). The other sign about the road being closed either wasn't there or someone had taken it down.

I traded services and was able to have a local lady come by and mow the tiny strip of my backyard lawn. She has an electric lawn mower with a tiny trap that needed emptying three times. We had a great chat in German and she complimented my language skills, earnestly telling me that it's really a sincere compliment and that it's awesome that I speak such great German. How sweet of her! (I sound great compared to a lot of Americans here though I still need a lot of work.) 

On Saturday, I ran tons of errands, including dropping off a donation of clothing and food at Fairness in Kaiserslautern. They participate in the Foodsharing Project, where one can donate food that isn't wanted but it unspoiled. Volunteers also pick up leftover food, especially baked goods, from local stores, which helps reduce food waste, and put it in the cooler there. Anyone in the community can pick up food there.

My coworker was celebrating his birthday so some of us loaded into the van and drove out to his house near Heidelberg. He made homemade Mexican food, which was delicious! He made awesome salsa that did NOT have curry powder or sugar in it (which is my major pet peeve about the restaurants in our area).

Here's his recipe: fresh tomatoes, cut into pieces; onions; plenty of cilantro; finely diced jalapenos; a pinch of salt, and freshly squeezed lime juice. It was divine!

It was fun to listen to his kids. My coworker is Mexican American and his wife is German. He speaks English with his kids; his wife speaks German with them. The four year old was excited and mashed up German and English: "papa, come and guck mal!" Super cute.

The next day some guys from one of the social groups hosted an Indian Cooking Demo and lunch. We crammed 17 eager learners into their tiny two-room apartment and watched as they dry roasted spices, blended them, and cooked up a delicious lunch for us. I helped make chipati, which are quite easy to create. It's too bad that I'm a bit allergic to the wheat in them because they're very tasty!

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