Sunday, April 30, 2006
Country Living
This is where we're staying now..

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This morning I woke up to the sound of Sunday Church bells. They were different from the ones in the city. they sounded more hollow and similar to chimes. At first I was disoriented. It's a feeling that washes over me everytime I wake up in a location I'm unfamiliar with. I'm beginning to miss having a stable home to call my own. I feel like some kind of wandering nomad.

This is the view from the bedroom window

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Eric was still sleeping. We have the cutest little country style wooden beds that were pushed together. The blankets are huge and filled with fluffy feathers. The pillow just kind of engulfs your head. It's the same bed Eric slept in as a little boy.


I kissed him awake and just as things were getting a little heated up... I heard Gurtrud's voice from the other side of the door. "Aufstehen!! Frühstuck!"

Eric smiled and rolled his eyes. "Wir Kommen" He said to the door.

Side note: Translation for those that don't speak German. "Get up! Breakfast!" -- "We're coming"

Everything in Gurtrud's house is delicate and old-fashioned. It's like stepping in a time machine.

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We had an elaborate breakfast and I'm still trying to master the art of eating without getting crumbs or stains on the beautiful table cloth. A blob of butter fell off my knife before it could reach my plate and left a nice Quarter-sized oil mark. ugh. She saw it too. I have to work on that.

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As for my German hausfrau lessons. For a start I'm just learning the basics of a proper German household.

Rule 1# - When you enter or exit any room in the house you MUST close the door behind you. Every room has a door. If you don't do this, the draft will escape..or something.

Basically just don't leave any door open. Even if you just need to grab something from the other room and the act of opening and closing a whole bunch of doors over and over seems silly. Do it. Or else.

Oh and If you're husband has a belly. That is good. It shows you fed him well.

and last but not least. I am "way too thin". I really have to "fatten up".
 
posted by Clarity25 at 1:02 PM | 15 comments
Friday, April 28, 2006
Hausfrau
The weather was beautiful today, I snapped some pictures during a walk we took this afternoon.












Unfortunately my allergies are back full-force. Today was possibly the worst. I woke up with my face swollen and my throat closed up. My eyes were itching and I was entirely congested. I could barely see straight. I took some allergy medicine at noon just so I could function. After a half hour, I passed out cold. I slept until 4 p.m.

Right now I'm not much fun to be around. I wish there was way to curb allergy symptoms without taking some medication that completely knocks you out. I'm a mess.



On further news, We're moving to our next location in Germany.

We're going to visit Eric's guardian mother in a neighboring town. We'll be out in the boondocks with the cow pastures and the horse fields. It will be a 45 minute bus ride just to get to work every morning.

It should be an interesting week. Gutrud is a very old and traditional German woman. She's going to teach me how to be a proper Hausfrau (house wife). I'll probably be dragged out of bed at the crack of dawn every morning. No English speaking allowed. We also have a curfew.

I'll be sure to update you on my teachings over the course of this week.

MTV.. I want to be MADE. Make me into a German house wife..

Well, It will be a learning experience.

We're leaving Saturday afternoon. I'll try to post some pictures of our new location on Sunday. Have a great weekend.
 
posted by Clarity25 at 4:34 PM | 14 comments
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Road Trip
We dragged our bodies out of bed at the crack of dawn on Monday morning and we hit the road to the American Embassy at 6 A.M.

It was foggy, cold and damp. It was hard to even see the road in front of us and my eyelids kept closing in exhaustion. I had only slept 3 hours.





Four and a half hours later we reached our destination.

The American Consulate is like a fortress. There are American flags everywhere and it's surrounded by tall electric gates. There is military everywhere and the minute you approach there is a uniformed man in front of you pushing against your chest with the palm of his hand.

"I need to see identification"

Once he saw my American Passport, his features relaxed and he smiled "Welcome"

After going through questioning, a metal detector and having all our bags searched, we were given a number. There is a large room with about 200 chairs. The place was filled with people. there was a portrait of a smiling George W. Bush next to all the panoramic views of U.S. Locations. (Washington D.C., New York City and the Grand Canyon)

After a long wait our number was called. We approached an old man slumped over and shifting through papers behind a sheet of glass.

I explained our situation. "We came here 4 months ago, we were given some forms. We sent them in and we've been waiting. Can you tell us the status on our application and what the hold up is?"

He took our name and disappeared from view. He was gone for what felt like eternity. I glanced nervously at Eric and he took my hand.

Then the man returned. He slooooowly eased himself back into his chair. He cleared his throat and then leaned shakily towards the microphone. He glanced at Eric. "Your application was approved 2 months ago."

I just stared at him incrediously. My jaw dropped and for a moment I was speechless. "2 months ago??!", I repeated in shock. "But..we weren't notified!"

"You should have received a package with forms and information concerning stage two"

"Well, we didn't", I said "We called here at least once a week, we left messages on the machine.. why didn't anyone call us back to let us know?"

"That's not how we operate...", he said matter-of-factly with a tired expression. He shifted his weight on the chair and stared at us blankly.

"But we've been waiting!! The lease ended on our flat and we had to move into our boss's basement! We have hardly any money left and we're stranded here in Germany!"

"I'm going to just transfer you to someone downstairs so you can take care of all of this, okay?"

"ok..."

So we ended up in front of a new woman behind a new pane of glass. "Okay, here is a bunch of new forms.", she slid them under the glass "I need you to fill all of them out and fax them to this address. We also need an additional 359 dollars. Once we receive that. We'll schedule a date for the interview and health exam."

"How long with this take?" I explained the urgency of the situation. I told her about my father serving in Iraq and my Mother's health issues.

"Okay, I see that this is pressing. I'm going to have this expedited and put on the top of the pile. You will receive a call in for the interview before May 13th. Everything should run smoothly and you'll be back in America in no time."

That's a relief. If we hadn't made that trip on Monday, we'd be still in the dark. Now we just have to come up with the extra money...

But at least I know I'll be going home on May 13th. Things are finally moving... Okay, So it wasn't the "Ideal scenario" but it wasn't "the dreaded scenario" either.

It's funny when I think back to how naive and clueless I had been about this process 6 months ago. "Oh it should be a piece of cake. I'm an American, Eric is married to me. He'll just fill out a few papers and they'll just hand him a Green Card. Just like that" (yeah...right)





The ride home was relaxing and the sun finally emerged from behind the clouds.

In only a few weeks I'll be back in the States with my family!

****

One last thing, Special thanks to everyone that shared links to articles that shed a little light on the story behind the construction worker photograph I posted in my previous entry. Apparently I'm not the only person that is curious about this. I noticed there was a bizarre increase of visitors to my photoblog. When I looked into it I discovered that over the past few days, there have been tons of google search hits from people on the internet searching for the exact same information. Crazy!


 
posted by Clarity25 at 12:46 PM | 16 comments
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Fear of Heights
"He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life"
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom"
-Marilyn Ferguson

I've always had a fear of heights. It wasn't the kind of fear that left me paralyzed or prevented me from going to the top of the Empire State Building. It was just a fear that gripped me when I reached the top and peered over the edge. It was this realization that if I just shifted my weight forward a little, I could fall. That realization always made me dizzy and caused me to back away from the edge. I'm an accident waiting to happen and losing my balance is something that comes a little too easily for me.

In our bedroom, Our boss has this poster hanging next to the bed.

"Lunch atop a skyscraper"


I had seen this image before, but for some reason I always thought it was fake. I always believed it was some photoshop trick. I was peering at it this morning closely and I realized that it wasn't. It was a real photograph taken back in 1932. There is no safety net, no bungee belts around these construction workers. They are actually sitting up there eating lunch.

It made me feel uneasy just looking at it. Maybe because I feel like I'm up on a precarious beam waiting to fall myself.

All of them look so calm and collected. Smoking, talking, laughing and eating. Except for this guy and my eye always focuses on him.


He's looking directly at the camera and has what looks like a liquor flask in his hand. He appears lost, unstable and he seems to be wondering what he's doing up there in the first place. Maybe he's thinking of his family, his wife.. Maybe he wants to get down. Maybe he doesn't even want to be in the photograph. Maybe he's up there risking his life in this job because he has no other options due to the depression era. If that IS alcohol in his hand, it seems like a dangerous place to be drinking it.

So out of curiosity I searched online for the story behind this photographer and this particular photograph. All I found was this short blurb in Wikipedia.

"Charles C. Ebbets was an American photographer, whose most famous photos appear to be two photos snapped during the construction of the Rockefeller Center in New York in 1932: "Lunch Atop A Skyscraper," showing eleven men sitting on a girder eating lunch, their feet dangling from the beems hundreds of feet above the New York streets below. The other photo is of the same workers laying down on the beam taking a nap.

It seems virtually impossible to find out more about these two photos or the photographer anywhere on the web."


Question: Does anyone out there reading this know more about the story behind this photograph?

******

We were able to obtain a car, so tomorrow we are taking a four hour drive to the American Embassy to investigate this Green Card situation. Everytime we call we just get forwarded to an automatic voice message system. I can't just keep waiting and hoping. Maybe if I can talk to someone face to face and express the urgency of this situation..the ball will roll a little faster.

Ideal Scenario: "Mr and Mrs. Smith! What a pleasure to see you. We were just going to call you in for the interview. Please come in and sit down. I'm sure you're eager to return home and start your new life in the states with your husband. Lets get this over with."

Dreaded Scenario: "Do you have an appointment? No? Sorry, I can't help you. We'll call you when we're ready to see you. Bye bye"

"But..."

*Door slams in face*

Last time we went nearly 4 months ago, they were very friendly and helpful. I have my fingers crossed that this experience will be positive and I'll have good news to report.

Wish us luck.



 
posted by Clarity25 at 1:49 PM | 178 comments
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Anniversaries and Haircuts


Thank you everyone for your Happy Anniversary wishes, I read them all out loud to Eric. It really brightened our day!

Today is rainy, overcast and chilly. We're a little stressed out about a certain decision we have to reach. It's too complex to describe in a photoblog entry.

So I'll write up a quick recap of Thursday instead. The day of our 4 year Anniversary was warm and sunny. We had a romantic morning and went out for breakfast. We worked a few hours in the office and left early to celebrate.

We popped open and bottle of champagne in the winter garden



Afterwards we went out to eat at Eric's favorite place. "The Argentina Steakhouse". The last time we went there was over a year ago during my parents visit. He has dreamt about it ever since.


The meal was amazing, they were playing an album in the restaurant that we used to listen to in College together. "Manu Chao" -- It brought back all these memories.

"Imagine I had decided NOT to go to College in America or you had decided to go to a different University", Eric said thoughtfully "We would have never met..."

"What do you think you'd be doing right now if our paths in life hadn't crossed?"

"That's a really scary thought" He contemplated this

We began to describe alternate scenarios, life paths, jobs, living situations. It chilled me to the bone to even envision it. I realized how much he has changed my life, how much he means to me, how we hold eachother up and support each other.

"Actually I can't imagine what my life would be like without you. It's too difficult to even fanthom. I feel like you've always been a part of my life." I said quietly.

You know, come to think of it...If I never met Eric.. I wouldn't even be typing this entry right now. The reason I started an online blog in the first place was to document my experiences abroad and keep my sister updated.

After desert we went to see an English film showing in CineStar. "The Inside Job". (A surprisingly good film). We returned home and lay in bed talking until 5 A.M.

****

When Eric saw the photos of himself in the previous entry, He started laughing "Oh man!! I need a haircut.. BAD!"

"Well..you ARE starting to look a bit like David Cassidy..."



"No, My hairstyle is beginning to look more like Farah Fawcett!", Eric commented



"It's not THAT bad..yet", I laughed

So today Eric walked to the Hair Salon and had his hair cut! He did it on his own free will. (Unlike last time -- My D-land friends might remember the hair poll of 2005)

It's a drastic change, I didn't even recognize him when he returned. it just cut it all off incredibly short. I nearly fell over backwards. Here is a Before and After shot




He looks so much...younger. I ran my fingers though the short hair and he looked at himself in the mirror.

"Oh lord..now I look like Russel Crowe!", He moaned remorsefully.

"You look fine..trust me!"
He's not 100% happy with it, but hair grows back. I like it.

I'll leave off with a new video. It was taken a few weeks ago. It's a shot of the church close to our old flat, and Eric walks into the view at one point. This the first time I ever posted live footage of him. So enjoy. Sorry the quality is so crappy and there is no sound.




Now, I'm going to catch up on some blogs that I missed this week. I finally have some time online.

One last thing....

Happy Birthday Becks. (click on her link to see some cool pics she posted last week that completely made my day! - She's a great friend and I'm wishing her the best on her special day!)
 
posted by Clarity25 at 3:22 PM | 10 comments
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Love
Sometimes when you get so caught up in the stresses of everyday life, the most important occasions are in danger of simply slipping by without even notice. I've been feeling down lately and frustrated over our current circumstances. I kept looking at the time passing with angst and tapping my feet nervously.

Today, I glanced at the calendar and thought: "It's already..April 19th?! Tomorrow is the 20th..ugh. Is this Greencard EVER going to come..What are we going to do if it doesn't arrive by May 1st. "

Then I froze..... 4.20

Our wedding anniversary.

Tomorrow we'll be married for 4 years.

Last month we had been so upset because we thought we would be in two different countries on our anniversary. We're still together despite the odds against us. Yes, we're living in our boss's basement and struggling. No the Green Card hasn't arrived and everything is a mess.

But we're together.

After 4 years, My heart still hammers in my chest when he pulls off his shirt at night and climbs into bed. He still makes my knees tremble and my face flush. We still kiss before separating...even if it's just to walk into another room. We're still dancing around the kitchen in the morning and singing stupid songs. We're still finding new things to talk about even though we're together..LITERALLY 24 hours a day. Sure we fight, we've slammed doors and cried tears. We held eachother tightly, talking all night until it was resolved. We refused to go to bed angry.


He's still my bestfriend.



and I have such a crush on him...even after being married for 4 years. He's going to laugh when he sees these pictures. I snapped them today in the office. He jokes about how I take an ordinary photograph of him and make it look like a "model portfolio shot". He has no clue how beautiful he truly is.

He's sitting across from me while I type this in the office. He's croutched over the light table absorbed in a sketch. His pencil moving rapidly over the paper. I know that when I turn off this computer, We're going to walk home holding hands. I know that I'm going to fall asleep with my head on his chest. I know I'm going to wake up in the morning in his arms. He's going to pull me into the shower with him and another day will begin together.

That makes me happier than you can possibly imagine. I'm grateful for every minute we have together, more than I can express in words. There is so much I could write to describe my love for him... but I'm going to sign off now and put it in a card.

For this entry, I pulled out some older entries from my private folder and added them to this photoblog.

1. Someone like you - April 20, 2005. (Eric wrote this entry a year ago)
2. How I met Eric - April, 4th 2005 (the story of how we met)
3. A Wedding story - April 19th 2004 (our not so conventional wedding day)

I want to do something special for Eric tomorrow...
 
posted by Clarity25 at 4:16 PM | 42 comments
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
The clock is ticking
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This morning I woke up before the alarm clock went off. I lay there in bed just staring up at the ceiling. I could hear the sheep baaing in the distance and the birds chirping aimlessly. The trees swaying outside cast shadows across the bedroom walls. I felt lost in this temporary new home.

The first thing I thought was: "I can't believe I'm STILL in Germany"

I feel as though I'm trapped in a television series that was cancelled 2 months ago. I can't get out! I'm stuck in this state of limbo. How can I still be here in this country?? When am I going to get out? Will Eric's Green Card ever arrive?? Will I just be wandering from home to home in Europe for months?

I watched every hope get destroyed.. one by one.

"I hope I get home by Jan 26th..."

"I hope I get home by March 3rd.."

"I hope I'll be home by the first of April.."

"I hope I can be home in time for my brother's birthday.."

"I hope I can be home in time to see my father before he leaves for Iraq.."

It's too late. My Father is leaving today. I spoke to him on the phone. When I hung up, I just felt incredibly sad. I felt like I was on the outside, looking in on my family through a dusty window from the other side of the world...

"Maybe you're still in Germany for a reason", One of my friends here suggested this weekend. "Everything in life happens for a reason. Maybe this was the time you needed for closure. To say goodbye. To be ready to move on to the next stage of your life. At first you weren't ready at all, you had unfinished business to take care of here"

This is true. I guess I should just appreciate the time I have left and stop feeling fear over my circumstances. I just have to be in the moment and be patient. Everything will fall into place.

When it does, I'll be ready.

****

This weekend was relaxing.

Saturday we had a sushi night at our friend's apartment. We made more sushi than we could possibly digest in one sitting and watched old episodes of MAX (an animated MTV cartoon from the mid-nineties)



Easter Sunday, we had a nice breakfast in the winter garden with "Cha Cha" and then had an Easter Brunch with some friends at the Cafe Wunderbar.



Monday we also had off, because it's a holiday in Germany. We lazied around and watched episodes of our new boxset.

It turns out "Greys Anatomy" and "House" are not available in Germany yet. Desperate Housewives and CSI were sold out. All the other options were overpriced. So Eric returned from Karstadt with THIS:



A box set starring BILL COSBY called "Tennis Schlagger und Kanonen" (In America it was called "I SPY"). I just stared at his choice in confusion.

"What is that??"

"It's a great show from 1965, a classic!"

"Have you ever SEEN it before?"

"No, I just heard it was great...from my mother."

Well, it turned out to be entertaining. Seeing Bill Cosby in his twenties, all fresh faced and wearing nothing but a tight orange bathing suit bottom was strange. The music is funky though and we're learning all the hip lingo from the sixties. It's funny, to say the least.

The only problem is how females are portrayed in this series. They are either..

1. Manipulative evil wenches
2. Utterly brainless bimbos.

There is no middle of the road. At the end of each episodes, the females are tossed aside. The funky music starts and the two spies stroll off together all cool. Yeah..alright. whatever.

Has anyone else seen this show?..or even HEARD of it?

This is what happens when I let Eric pick the boxset.

****

On a final note.

There has been a major advancement in our relationship with "Cha Cha". Although it started off rocky. Now we love that kitty to death. I realize that I'm getting very attached to that little feline. I'm actually going to miss her when I go..

Photobucket is now offering free video hosting, so here is a video of Cha Cha in the winter garden this morning.



Not the most exciting footage to start off with. I'm sorry.

But hey, it's a start.

Update: Sorry, Link is temporarily broken, I'll fix it when I get a chance

 
posted by Clarity25 at 4:31 PM | 15 comments
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Easter Break
Well, It's official.

We now have a stalker.

She responds to the name "Cha Cha"


She waits for us, hidden in the bushes next to our private downstairs entrance. As soon as we approach, she emerges from the shadows. Her eyes glittering and she blocks the doorway. The meowing begins.

When we open the shades, I see her watching us. Just silently.

It's getting a little creepy now.

I threatened to press harassment charges, but she's not taking me seriously...apparently. We devote our mornings to her service. Every demand she makes, we submit to them. It's just not enough. She wants more and more. Everywhere I go....there she is.

Our boss isn't returning for another 7 days.

****

We're in the middle of a 4 day Easter Vacation from work. It's nice having time off to just unwind.

Yesterday we took a walk through nature. I let Eric lead the way because he seemed to know where he was going. He handed me a walking stick. The woods seemed to stretch on forever...




We ended up in an old German village from the 1600's. Everything was preserved and historical.

we climbed up the ladder and entered the old windmill. The floors were creaky and bent underneath our weight. I was certain it was going to cave in. It's amazing how it held up for so many centuries. This was the view of the little town from the small window.

All the houses were abandoned, but left open for the public.

The insides of the homes were musty, dusty and smelled of mildew. It contained the original furniture..



There was such a feeling of history. You could imagine the ghosts of the people that used to live in these homes wandering about. This is a picture of the last inhabitants of this particular little home.

Happy looking couple...

I wonder what their life was like..

****

We continued on and walked down a pathway in an open field. The weather was beautiful.

There were a lot of holes dug up, little piles of dirt everywhere.

"Mole hills", Eric said.

"There are HUNDREDS of them.. they must have been busy"

"This is the work of about 5 moles" Eric observed "Gutrud's father used to smoke them out of their holes and then smash them with a shovel over the head when they emerged. Tossed their bodies in the trash"

I just stared at him in horror.

"I know, It's brutal" He said "I was really disturbed when I saw him do that as a child"

"That's horrible! Couldn't he just put it in a little cage and release it somewhere else??", I asked "I mean it's one thing if you're killing the mole to feed your family but..."

"haha..We're having Mole tonight, honey!"

We reached the "tierpark"(animal park). It's a free nature preserve with a lot of wildlife. Bears, birds, farm animals..etc.




I couldn't believe how perfect the day turned out.

I took this picture at the end of the day during our walk home.

After that we went to "Asia Town" and "Dockside".

Today my legs ache though. We walked miles yesterday and I'm paying for it. In 2 hours we have to meet our friend, Bastian. We're having a Sushi Night in his apartment. Tomorrow we're taking an "Easter Walk" (whatever that is...) with some other friends. I wish there was a way to transport ourselves to America so I could spend Easter with my family. I'm feeling a bit homesick. Holidays like Easter and Christmas never feel the same in a foreign country.

Thank you for your T.V. Show suggestions. I printed out the comments section to the previous entry and handed it to Eric. He just left for Karstadt with it. I'm going to let him decide on the boxset. It seems like Grey's Anatomy had the biggest following and enthusiastic response. I'm curious about this "McDreamy" guy everyone keeps mentioning.

That's all for now.

Happy Easter greetings going out to my family and friends out there. I miss you Mom, Jay, Laura. Please give Dad and Amber a hug for me.

I hope everyone is having a great Easter Weekend.

signing off.
 
posted by Clarity25 at 11:33 AM | 19 comments
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