Saturday, January 31, 2015

Why does corn have to be creepy in Germany?

I'm a bit obsessed with corn's role or lack thereof in German (and to be fair, European) cuisine. It seems to end up in unusual places (at least to a non-European) yet is difficult to find fresh and on the cob.

Beyond that, corn representations take on strange forms, such as the maniacal giant corn from the Wurstmarkt. When some friends and I went to the Miramar spa complex, we came across this representation of corn:

First of all, my mind was blown by the concept of a vending machine that provides freshly popped popcorn. I actually wish that I had tried some as this concept is intriguing

Secondly, my friend made a good point: she wondered why it is the corn is portrayed in such a creepy way. She knows of the Wurstmarkt corn booth too. Why do the corn cobs on this machine look so crazy? Why do they have teeth?!

Friday, January 30, 2015

The most annoying party ever

I saw an ad (months ago) for what has to be one of the most annoying parties ever: a selfie party. One of the local clubs was hosting it.

I could only imagine what that would be like:
  • Duck faces galore
  • No one dancing because everyone's taking selfies instead
  • More duck faces
  • Did I mention duck faces?
I also take issue with this ad because the women pictured had someone else take their picture, thus invalidating the selfie theme. They even thought that taking a selfie was just too lame! I do like that it appears that one woman has two heads and four arms, though. It's the most interesting thing about the photo.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dear weird statues:

Dear weird church statues:

I know from Art History class that for a very long period of time, the only acceptable subject of art of was religious themes. I also know that almost every object in the piece was meant to be symbolic. For example, the Virgin Mary's innocence and purity was often depicted by a white lily. During a visit to the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, I was assaulted by the full force of religious symbolism in art.

So, weird church statues on the church's facade, with this in mind, I would like to ask you: what on earth (or the sky, for that matter) is going on with you? Why is there a nude dude on a horse stuck between some buildings and a guy sitting on top of more buildings? That's not beginning to take into account the pile o' demons to the left of him. Even the sculpted men below are really confused about what's happening.

If you could just explain yourself, that'd be great. I'm sure that you have quite the backstory.

Sincerely, Around the Wherever

Detail of statues, Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

"Yeah, even we're not so sure what's happening!"

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Causin' the Kopfschmerzen

There was a review on Trip Advisor for, wait for it...a German restaurant, in Germany, that had the audacity to print its menu in German. There was no English menu so the reviewer gave it a lower score. Reviewer, you caused me Kopfschmerzen. I'm just saying.

Here's a translation: das Bier = the beer. There you go.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Roadside Candy Machines: this one gets artistic

Today's entry for my Roadside Candy Machines obsession revisits a Kaiserslautern candy machine that I've photographed before.

The presentation in the machine has changed slightly. This time around, it added a metal mesh grid to corral the keychain animals that one squeezes, and, um, "stuff" comes out their backsides. I start thinking about that time I was studying Animal Science at university, which makes me worry for the health of the keychain animals.

With this particular RCM, I'm getting a vibe that plays out as Modern Art Exhibit. I'd call it Prolapsed Animals with Juxtaposition of Cheap Tiny Bottle of Liquor That Turns Out to be Way More Expensive Than Just Buying a Big Bottle and Calling it Good.

I feel as if the metal mesh thing from which they hang is a metaphor for commercial farming and the horrors that await animals as they are hung from machinery to be processed from animal/sentient being into food products. If I took this crunchiness even further, I could mention something about how the tiny bottle of liquor is a metaphor for the meat industry. Maybe meat isn't as expensive as we think it might be in the short term, but the environmental consequences of it will cost us all dearly in the end.

Or maybe it's just a bunch of squeezy animal keychains.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Freinsheim Rotweinwanderung

On Saturday, a group of us boarded the train and headed out to the Freinsheim Rotweinwanderung, or red wine hike. It began on Friday night with a torchlit hike through the vineyards just outside of town and continued until Sunday.

From the train station, it was about a 15 minute walk through town to the vineyards. Various restaurants and wine makers set up along the path and offered regional wines and food. At the beginning, there were covered, long wagons where people could enjoy wine with friends. One wagon was rocking as the jolly inhabitants were singing and (presumably) dancing as much as is possible in such tight confines.

The wagons on the right offer a respite from the snow and a place to eat.
The event began at 11:30 a.m. and lasted until 6:00 p.m. By the time we arrived just before 3, people were in high spirits and quite merry, despite the chill in the air and the sleety snow falling. Our group perused the various food offerings, sampling the Flammkuchen (delicious) and hearty soups such as potato and pumpkin. We also saw Reibekuchen/Kartoffelpuffer/latkes, plenty of wurst, and of course, the regional specialty and Helmut Kohl's favorite thing to foist upon unsuspecting foreign visitors, Saumagen.

The hike took us up the vineyard hill where we found more stands. We availed ourselves of the Glühwein, a hot, mulled wine that was perfect to take away the chill. 6:00 came too soon for us as we reluctantly headed back to the train station.

The Rotweinwanderung is a wonderful way to experience the specialties of the Pfalz and to live like the Germans do. In other words, it means enjoying the outdoors, even though it might be snowy and cold. Dress warmly*, bring some friends, ride the train, and drink some wine. It's all part of the good life!

*If you really want to fit in with the Germans, wear Jack Wolfskin clothing ;)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My week: January 25 ed.

-I returned from Munich on Monday. Since it was a work holiday, I moseyed back from the train station and stopped at Dyan and Ethnico. I was pleased to find a super comfy, hippie-influenced shirt that still looks fine for work and bought it for a reasonable 15 euros (on sale) at Ethnico.

-I then bought a new back pack for traveling. I already have an old Eddie Bauer small daypack that folds into itself, as well as a back pack with a logo from one of my schools. However, both backpacks are a bit small for my three-day weekend trips. The Eddie Bauer one is getting a bit "long in the tooth" (old, in other words). Although a wonderful friend has repaired it for me (and made it look even cooler than it did in the beginning; she's a wizard of awesomeness!), it was never meant to really be used for anything of substance as it's made of thin material. I took my chances and stuffed it with three days' worth of clothes (and my textbook) this past weekend but I was really pushing it.

On a whim, I stopped by the sporting goods store and was delighted to see that most items were 30% off. Since I can avoid paying VAT (tax) with a special form, I could save almost 50% off the backpacks. Well, I've been searching for a backpack for a while now and the best price for a used one that I thought was rather decent was about 40 euros. I'm frugal but not (usually) to the point of being stupid; if I could buy a brand new backpack for a bit more, I certainly would. I picked out a 30 liter backpack and took it to the counter to ask if the employee would hold it for me so I could run home and grab the VAT form.

She was flipping through some paperwork and didn't acknowledge me. I waited. I waited some more. She pointedly ignored me, not even saying something like "one moment, please." I was getting pretty disgusted by then and was about ready to put the bag down on the counter and walk out. However, I had been working on buying one for a while and was determined to get a new bag that day. I rearranged myself mentally to project a good attitude, smiled, and said politely: "I would like to buy this bag, please." The store clerk harrumphed and scowled at me. I decided to kill her with kindness. I asked if she could be so kind as to hold the bag for me while I quickly ran home to get the form. She was still grumpy about it but acquiesced. When I came back with the form, I told her that it was very nice of her to hold the backpack for me. She softened a little and rang it up. I told her thanks again and left.

I told my German colleague about the experience and she said she would've walked out of the store. I had gone into my super stubborn mode and was not to be dissuaded. This is not the only time that I've experienced or heard of such an interaction here. More often than should be, I've found myself waiting and waiting for the store clerk to acknowledge either myself or a customer in front of me. They'll get to helping the customers when they're dang good and ready, it seems. I understand that it can be difficult to stop in the middle of some tasks, but one could at least have the courtesy to acknowledge the customer and ask for a moment to finish the previous task. Plus, if one is working at a register or as a store clerk, the primary responsibility is to sell the store's goods; other tasks are secondary. I'm approaching this as someone who's worked in one form of customer service or another since the time I was 14, whether it was working in the front lines of a pizza shop or providing in-house support to other employees who provide service to the public. So, this write-up was more about the customer service than the dang backpack. Sheesh.

-German lessons were followed by two nights of much-needed time at home.

-On Saturday, a group of us went to the red wine hike in Freinsheim. It was lovely! Fat flakes of snow tumbled out of the sky as we enjoyed some wine and tasty regional dishes, such as Flammkuchen, potato and pumpkin soups, etc.

-I took a trip to Miramar, a water park and sauna complex near Mannheim, with some friends. It was very relaxing (and waterlogging!).

Saturday, January 24, 2015

That awful Mark Twain

Since I live in Germany and since I enjoy literature, it seems to be a no-brainer that I'd read about some of Mark Twain's experiences here and during his travels, right? After all, he wrote about The Awful German Language and captured, in quite a funny way, the mental knots one must tie oneself to properly speak German.

I thought I'd continue with his travel classic, The Innocents Abroad, and read about his adventures throughout Europe. I checked it out as an eAudiobook, dutifully transferred it to my USB, and plugged it into my car. I got through about an hour of it before abandoning that project in disgust.

Mark Twain is, as many put it, a product of his time. As the middle class developed and means of transportation improved, the idea of tourism and leisure travel grew. Twain capitalized on this idea and wrote about his trips so that armchair travelers could follow along and maybe even make the same journey themselves. This aspect of the time is not bad at all.

The part that bothers me about Mark Twain being a product of his time is that he is racist and bigoted, at least with a modern reading. Sure, at the time, the Americans and Europeans were kings of their domain and, in their minds at least, so much more "developed" and "sophisticated" than the indigenous people or racial minorities that they encountered, whether in their own communities or during travel.

Friends have told me that I shouldn't read Twain with a modern mindset; after all, he wrote more than a hundred years ago. At the time, he wasn't writing in a way that was unacceptable. I get that part. However, just as he was a product of his time, I am a product of my time, and I can't get past what I find is quite distasteful. Do I think that Twain should be banned? No, absolutely not. Will I choose not to finish reading his book? Absolutely. That is the glory and the power of freedom of press and freedom of will. I am thankful for both.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Rhein-Neckar-Pfalz Reisemarkt

ReiseMarkt Rhein-Neckar-Pfalz website

Two weekends ago, I had a case of cabin fever but not a lot of desire to plan a big trip. Instead, I decided to do something fun, local(ish), and informative: I visited the Reisemarkt Rhein-Neckar-Pfalz. The event is a travel fair where local and not-so-local tourist associations, travel vendors, and associations set up booths at the Maimarkt location in Mannheim (next to the SAP Arena).

It was an enjoyable and easy day trip. A friend and I took the train from Kaiserslautern to Mannheim, getting out at the Maimarkt stop just past the city's main station stop. We then walked 10 minutes (straight ahead) to the fair location. There is also a tram that will shuttle people back and forth but we didn't feel like waiting for it. Another option would be to drive and park in the lot across the street from the market; parking is one euro per hour after the first (free) hour.

We paid 6,50 euros a piece for the tickets and headed over to the exhibition hall. Inside, we wandered through the booths, picking up literature and dreaming of vacations to take. The majority of the booths were from tourist and travel associations, including those run by local governments. There were plenty of free informational fliers and maps. I would guess that about half of the travel destinations were within a couple of hours from Kaiserslautern. The other part included farther parts of Germany, Europe, and even some travel agencies selling trips all over the world.

How about being transported to another country in the movie-showing geodesic dome?

In addition, some booths were run by hotels and other businesses. Other businesses were selling goods, including a bicycle store, a winter clothing store, and some others. A motor home dealer parked one of his vehicles inside but it looked miniature in comparison to the luxury travel coach on the other side of the building!

There was an area for kids, with comfy seating, a slack line to try, and a table to make wooden houses for bugs (for a fee). Those who worked up a hunger could eat at a Schwarzwald (Black Forest) themed cafe or stop by some food carts for a light snack. There were various stage presentations; during our visit, we saw karate students performing and and then a travel agency highlighting some deals on tours.

Presentation of travel deals
Ginormous Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake) - this one was just for display
It was a very enjoyable trip and was a great way to pick up travel ideas, maps, and tourist information to help plan that next trip. It is especially useful for those around Kaiserslautern as destinations within a few hours from there were plentiful.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dog parking at Elisabethmarkt in Munich

I saw this cute dog "parking" spot in the Elisabethmarkt in Munich. There are small buildings for the various food vendors and dogs aren't allowed inside. Instead, one can "park" one's dog outside, as indicated on this sign. I've seen similar things in Kaiserslautern, Heidelberg, Vienna, and more, just to name a few.

Monday, January 19, 2015

This driver made me do a double take

As I was walking around one day, I passed this car and did a double-take. I felt as if someone had been looking at me. I slowed down, peering into the car and not trying to be downright obvious about doing some (cough cough, German) staring.

I started giggling when I realized that the "driver" was some sort of animal (no idea which one) balloon. I'd love to know the back story on that one!

Oh hai, I recognize you

When I was in Traben-Trarbach, I saw this poster in a window. Oh, Harald, how nice it was to see you again in all your weirdly wonderful splendor!

I first "met" Harald soon after I moved to Germany. We "ran into" each other as I was walking down the aisle in Rewe, a grocery store, and wondered who was this fabulous man wearing over the top clothing on a chocolates box. I found out that he is a fashion designer.

So, it was like seeing an old (and very ostentatious and fab) friend again when I saw this poster. Apparently he's making dog couture. Hmm, Moo is very dog-like, so I'm tempted to get him some sparkly outfits!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My week: January 18 ed.

This week picked up a lot of steam after the holidays. I found myself running from one event from another and getting a lot of little obnoxious chores done, while still feeling as if I had tons of things left to do.

-In German class, we worked on the passive voice. I've learned the present passive voice before but we floated into what was previously for me uncharted depths and my mind was geblown (as I like to say in Germish).

Take this example: The letter will have been written by me. Der Brief wird von mir geschrieben worden sein.

There are four verbs/helping verbs in that sentence! Okay, fair enough, there are four in English too. I think things would get even more crazy if there were some subordinate clauses thrown in the German version; they usually change the word order. I can't even wrap my mind around where to put what. I don't have to worry too much; my friends say that the passive voice is not used* that often, except for the news, so I can chill out a bit.

-I met with my German tandem partner and she had me reading children's books out loud to her. It was a great idea but I certainly felt a bit silly narrating a story about a talking basil plant that somehow had a monkey, which may or might have been made out of another plant, in it. Folks, that's what happens to me when I can't read something silently to myself several times to figure out what is happening. I really do need to learn what the heck the monkey thing was. I know that he scared the plants.

-I met a group of friends for a quick drink then had a dinner with some other friends. It was such a nice night with two German friends and one American friend. We laughed like crazy and watched videos of cute baby owls (we're all animal lovers). Yes, we're a bunch of nerds.

-I went to Munich for the weekend. More to follow!

*Did you catch that?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Acting differently, depending on the language

In an earlier posting, I examined the idea of one having a different way of presenting oneself in a language other than one's first language. This made me think of another situation in which there was a very visible change in a multilingual person's demeanor.

A friend and I took an English tour of a museum. The tour guide was Russian. Her German colleague joined her for part of the tour. As she gave the tour, the woman seemed tentative and a bit nervous. After her colleague left, the guide said that she had been losing her lovely English because she's been working extensively in German. However, she used words such as "exquisite," which is hardly a beginner's word. She was visibly shaken during the tour even though she spoke very good English.

After the tour ended I stayed to look more at some of the art. As I did that, the guide's next tour group came in and she addressed them in Russian. Everything about her changed; she stood up straight, spoke confidently, and walked briskly. The transformation was fascinating; it almost as if she was a new person!

Some of the change might be related to the guide switching to her own language after working in a second (or third...or more!) language. Also, with her colleague coming along, she might have been even more nervous. It was certainly interesting how much she changed though. It really does seem that language can shape one's expression.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Who are we in another language?

Learning a foreign language changes one's brain so much that it's not surprising to see many articles espousing its benefits for keeping one's brain sharp as one ages. However, one doesn't necessarily think about what learning another language does to one's personality, nor is that written about often. Despite that, this has been on my mind in the last year and a recent meeting with a friend really highlighted it. I do believe that the way we express ourselves, and maybe even our personality itself, changes when we speak a different language.

My friend, whom we'll call N, has been practicing English with me for almost half a year now. Thanks to a lot of dedicated study on her own, she has really come along far to improve her already-quite-decent English. Now she's to the point that we are discussing picky grammar constructions that many native speakers get wrong.

I hadn't been speaking that much German with her during earlier meetings, but she has been good about pushing me lately to communicate more in German. N shared her realization that when I speak German, I am like a different person. She knows me in the context of my English speaking so she has an impression of who I am, but in German, the impression would be different if we weren't already acquainted. (I would be amused if it were something to the effect of "woo, is she dumb! She speaks like a baby," but N is too nice to say something like that.)

From there, N realized that she doesn't present herself the same way in English as she does in German. She thought that I wasn't initially meeting the "real" her but as her language is progressing, she's expressing herself better in English and is closer to her true self.

That raises a good question: do people feel different about themselves when they speak different languages? Is it a result of not having a firm footing in the new language? Do they act differently? Does language define us?

Monday, January 12, 2015

M learns Italian

I hang out with an unusual, fun, and varied mix of expats, students, expat students, locals, etc. One interesting person is M, who is a PhD student. She was on her way to Italy to do some work related to her studies. Some friends who knew Italian gave her some phrases to help her out in Italian and I took pictures of her notes.

The choice of important phrases was amusing, such as "happy hour" and "I did not do anything."

Sunday, January 11, 2015

My week: January 11 ed.

-German classes through the uni club resumed this week. While I needed a break from being so busy, I was glad to get back to class as I didn't speak German much in the two weeks off and I felt it slipping. I also brought a box of cookies for the class. I had to leave early and deliberately left the box behind. Our instructor emailed me to say that she had eaten two and took the box home to return to me. I wrote her back and said that she could keep them because I didn't need any more cookies.

Of course she ended up correcting the grammar in my email. She is always correcting us, which is fine; the only way to learn a language properly is if fluent speakers make corrections. However, sometimes I roll my eyes when reading emails because I just wanted to tell her about the dang cookies and I was in a hurry.

-I met with my German partner. It was nice to catch up after two weeks off. We ended up speaking German for two hours.

-Some colleagues from work got together for drinks at Phuket and 21 in downtown Kaiserslautern. Oh. My. Goodness. However, it was a very fun night out. Also, it was my first time at 21, which is a restaurant and bar at the top of the Rathaus with amazing views.

-I started planning a trip to Munich since I'm getting a bit restless and need some travel in my life. I hope to write a post about the resources I used to try to find cheap transportation and accommodation.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Get your Ball in Box

At Cora*, a French supermarket, C and I saw these "Ball in Box" in the frozen food section. They are little ham and potato balls, and, as the box notes, there are +/- 28 balls. It's strangely descriptive, isn't it?

*To read more about the shopping trip to Cora, click here.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Rage parking in Barcelona

When I visited Barcelona earlier this fall with my friend R, we saw this parking garage. From our vantage point, it totally looked as if its sign read as "rage parking." Of course, if one had been stuck in traffic before entering the garage, that could certainly be an apt description!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A not so covert mannequin

When we were in Traben-Trarbach, we saw the mannequin below, in the doorway. She's doing some German staring and is a bit scary!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A covert Aussie mannequin in Rüdesheim am Rhein

While we were at the Christmas Market of the Nations in Rüdesheim am Rhein, I spotted this guy at the "Australian" themed booth (which is Australian, I assume, because there were Aussie hats). I thought it was a mighty fine mannequin head but had the awkward situation of the booth owner being right there so I couldn't just take a picture. Instead, I pretended that I was taking a picture of C...with my camera being held in a position that there was no way that I was actually taking a picture of her. The lengths that I undertake for my "art"...

I'm impressed, though, by the care in which whomever used the Sharpie to draw in his beard. Does it look natural? No, but someone certainly took his time and wasn't the typical scribbled in Sharpie deal.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Love of office lady (cookies)

C. and I stopped by Tam Asia. She found me as I was perusing my new obsession, sambol oelek. She was giggling wildly and pointed out this delicacy, cookie rolls "love of office lady."

I'm trying to decide if it means that the cookies are loved by office ladies or if eating will prompt one to think about the love one has for office ladies. I would guess that it's the first situation. It reminds me of advertisements where there are celebrity endorsements but in this case, an anonymous office lady is the one endorsing the product.

Or it's just a mistranslation of English. I prefer my imaginings.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My week: January 4 ed.

Well, happy new year! I have heard the saying that what one does on New Year's Day sets the tone for the whole year. Last year, I brushed aside some malaise from the champagne and met a friend to go hiking on the Philosophenweg for a relaxing day. It was a decent forecast; I did enjoy some hiking and 2014 wasn't too stressful, even as I was finishing my degree.

This year, I was mostly lazy on New Year's Day, reading and chilling out most of the day. I then had a burst of activity, cleaning the sidewalks in front of the house and cleaning inside, followed by a nice walk. I'm not sure exactly what that means for the rest of the year, but I was happy with the day.

-Otherwise, I haven't done much this week, outside of work. My VHS German class ended and the university club German class is still on holiday break. I did visit the gym a few times after work and got some health insurance paperwork in order for the end of the year. I'm very grateful to have health insurance, but it's the expat kind where I have to submit half of it myself and if I don't submit everything as soon as I get it, I create a TON of work for myself later. D'oh. Maybe I should write about my system for organizing it some time and give the advice to not be like me and ever procrastinate.

-On Saturday, C and I went to try brunch at Cafe Krummel and it was closed, with no note in sight. Grr! So many German businesses do this: take time off, and I've run across quite a few that don't even bother to put up a note that they'll be closed.

(Restaurant Review update: Urban) Instead, we ate at Urban (my earlier reviews are here and here). I haven't been there recently so I was surprised to see that they retooled their menu. They've added a section for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free foods. Cool, huh? The only non-cool thing is that they raised their prices a bit, but they're still reasonably priced and delicious. I ate the Hirsepfanne Marokko dish and enjoyed the millet-based dish that includes eggplants, peppers, onions, sprouts, and garnished with soy yogurt.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

There's a lot going on with this mannequin head

I saw this guy (or more aptly, his head) at Military & More in Kaiserslautern. There's so much going on with this mannequin that I can't even begin, except to say that I believe that it was painted on before the glaze was fired.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Thoughtfulness of friends, warm fuzzies, and Moo

I love love love my expat life here in Germany. However, that doesn't mean that I don't miss my US-based friends and family, either. Thanks to things like Facebook and Skype, I can still connect with them, which bridges the gap a little bit, at least.

In addition to keeping up online, sometimes there is a wonderful physical reminder of home: a package! Friends and family have brightened the day by sending thoughtful packages. Often they are related to a fun event, memory, or joke we've shared.

Here are some things that people have sent, and seeing the photos makes me smile all over again. Moo is always helpful (well, as helpful as a cat ever will be) as a model so that I can send photos to the generous gifters to show us enjoying what they sent.

My friend H. sent me what I thought was a heart-shaped tooth fairy pillow and some vegan recipes as support during the vegan challenge. I took strength through this kind gesture and was all smiles when I saw the picture of her dog, whom I consider my special little dog friend. I spend as much time as I can cuddling him when I visit. H also included a lovely card, reminiscing about some crazy and hilarious adventures we shared, including accidentally being present during a riot (we had nothing to do with it, promise).

This photo shows Moo at a low point in his little cat life. Unfortunately, he has a little problem with catnip and is known to abuse the substance. My cousins enabled him in his addiction and gifted him with his "drug" of choice. He was a pleased kitty and I enjoyed the ornament from a German-style Michigan tourist town that I enjoyed visiting, some gingerbread in various forms, and even Peeps on a stick (I hate to say it, but...Peepcentipede). I was putting everything together to take a picture when I had to leave the room. Moo just couldn't help himself and set up the scene for himself.

I feel lucky to say that I have multiple families: my biological family; my second family (good friends of my parents, and parents of my best friend); my original German teacher's family who "adopted" me, and my family of friends, too. Imagine the delight in receiving some homemade pillow cases that my second family made from super cute bacon print fabric. Moo thought it was great too and has been sneaking onto the pillow every chance he gets.

These are just a few of the thoughtful packages I've received. It is so awesome of my friends and family to share such kindness. So, what reminds you of home? Do your friends and family send it?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Nothing says Happy New Year! like a half-hearted cactus

Happy New Year!

To help you feel festive, I'm taking you way back to Christmas (you know, like as in, last week).

This was a Christmas decoration from one of the Mexican restaurants in the Kaiserslautern area. Some colleagues and I enjoyed lunch there and giggled about the "cacti" decorating the windows. The one on the left was a rather cute Christmas decoration, and the other one...well, whomever made that one was certainly phoning it in! Perhaps it wasn't meant to be a cactus. It kind of reminds me of a sideways shadow puppet dog. Maybe.

Regardless, may 2015 be a happy and fun new year!