Friday, July 27, 2012

Dear Colleen,

I hope your birthday is GREAT!


"If you think an apostrophe was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me. If you think a semicolon is a regular colon with an identity crisis, I will not hire you. If you scatter commas into a sentence with all the discrimination of a shotgun, you might make it to the foyer before we politely escort you from the building." Harvard Business Review

I use a crazy amount of commas. Sorry if my poor grammar in these posts offends anyone!

Miniatur Everything

I am currently eating some streuselschnecken.... can't decide if I like it. Maybe I will need to keep trying different ones. I have been working my way through all of the falafel places near my apartment. Last night the guy snuck some terrible beet like things into the wrap and RUINED everything. Will not be going back to that one. Plus he laughed at me when I tried to pronounce things in German. the number twelve/zwölf is impossible to say.

Well I accomplished nothing on my previous to do list... so there's that.

Morgen visited over the weekend, and I picked her up from the Hauptbahnhof and we headed back to my Sex Drugs and Rock n Roll themed work party.
...Fast Forward to Saturday...

We woke up and went to Mamalicious, an American style breakfast place around the corner from my apartment. Mama was really nice and we went back again on Sunday. Must learn her life story.
After that we went to the HafenCity and walked around there for a little bit. The area is all new construction and will essentially be a new little city inside Hamburg. The Elbphilharmonie, Symphony Hall, is supposed to be spectacular. Here is a photo of pretty much what it looks like now, and the future building. Apparently each window is custom made and unique. ***I didn't take these, I will upload my own photos once I have home internet.

After looking at the cool new buildings and playing tour guide, we went to the Miniatur Wunderland. That place is insane. There are soooooo many tiny details built in to each location. I'll make a separate post full of the Miniatur photos, but you can check out Morgen's post if you can't wait for me to get internet. After the overwhelming experience at the Wunderland, we went back to my place to nap. Afterwards we got up, made some guacamole, and watched Harry Potter. It was glorious.
Sunday we walked around Hamburg some more, went to the Rathaus and the Alster and stumbled across a gigantic triathlon. They had a large bleacher section to watch each person run past. Morgen and I were given free noisemaker things, those are LOUD. Not a good idea to give us those on a Sunday, what with the German quiet policy for Sunday. Oh well. Sorry fancy people in Jungfernstieg.

Morgen left around 5 and I went back to my apartment and tried to clean my room. I still need a bed, roomies both sleep with their mattresses on the floor, so they don't really understand why I want a bed frame. I think the floor mattress thing is starting to hurt my neck... Nicht gut. I also need curtains, I will try to get to Ikea tomorrow, but probably won't make it. It is pretty far away, I need to work on convincing Vani to drive.

Monday night Vani and I went to a Sneak Preview showing of a movie. I thought that meant an early look at whatever film, but apparently in Germany a sneak preview is a surprise movie. It was cool, the movie theater plays Sneak Previews every Monday in English, and the tickets sell out fast. Vani's friend had extra tickets, so that's how we got to go. Everyone was hoping for Batman, but we got to see Brave! It was so great, I may have been the only person who was excited though. The place auctions off used DVDs and throws free snacks into the audience after the very long previews. I think it is sold out for this Monday, but I will try to get a ticket for the next week. I love movies!

The rest of this week has been really busy at work. I have been working on a tequila box. More details to come next week after the design is printed. I was at work until 10:30 Tuesday night so I missed my German class. I made it there last night though, so all is well. Made a pact with another person in the class to email eachother class information if we miss one.

No plans yet for this weekend, I think I will wander around and look at stuff, and try to get to Ikea.

Also last night, Bente and I were coordinating morning bathroom schedules and she was asking me when I get up to shower. I told her I usually just shower at night. She looked at me so strangely and then told her boyfriend that I shower at night, only it came out sounding more like 'She strangles puppies in her spare time.' Apparently showering at night is not common here. Neither are bed frames. Or curtains.

I just realized that I haven't had home internet or curtains for over a month now... I spend a lot of time reading books and flashing people. It must be the German way.

This week has been the first week where it actually feels like summer. The Germans are going wild, the streets are constantly full of people... It is really spectacular. We have to take advantage of the sun and warmth, I think today is the last day of it... Tragic that I spent the whole week at work.

I'm thinking of starting a few new sections here with language things and other differences:

Language Barriers:

Bente and her BF struggle with the words for waking up in the morning.
'What time do you open tomorrow?'
'What time do you stand up in the morning?'

also it is apparently strange that I don't have a 'friend' at home. I was really confused when people first asked me if I had friends or a friend at home, I was insulted for a second, thinking they were asking if I was a sad loser freak at home, but then realized they meant more of a 'special friend'

'What, you don't have a friend? Is that normal? Do a lot of people not have a friend??' Um, yes. Single people exist. I'm fine.

My teeth are apparently blindingly white and this is noteworthy. I think they are getting not so white anymore, but I brought a few whitestrips so that should be fine. Roomies and their friends want me to have some whitestrips sent over from the US so they can have white teeth too.



Toilet paper is crazy here. I can't seem to find a middle ground between terrible, cheap 1-Ply and 5-Ply super thick cardboard paper. Malia found a good 3ish-Ply a few weeks ago, but she is on vacation now so I can't ask what brand it is.

Putting your name on the mailbox is crucial here. Addresses are grouped by building and not split into Apt 1, 2, 3, 4 so the only identifier for where the mail goes once it gets to the building is your name on the mailbox. So My tax ID was going to be mailed to Malia's and I had to figure out how to break in to her apt to write my name on the mailbox so the mailman wouldn't send my envelope back to the government. I asked the lady to send it to my work address, but she was very confused about that and just kept pointing at Malia'a address... I managed to get inside her building last night. I waited around outside for someone to come or go, and then finally pressed one of the buzzer things. Got it right on the first try! Someone was expecting a guest and instead got me. Sorry sir. Things to consider for my next stakeout: pee first, bring snacks.

I need some ziplock bags. I have only been able to find the twist tie sandwich bags...

Beer is mixed with sprite and other things here. I like it. But then, I used to mix red wine with Dr. Pepper, so I'm weird.

People wait for the green man to cross the street. Even if there are no cars. It pains me.

People do not move out of your way on the sidewalk. If someone is walking towards you it is like a game of sidewalk chicken. I have started to win. Score.

All of these are true.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

forgot to go to lunch

Last post's to do list:
-bank account
-health insurance
-tax man
-wash clothes
-clean room
-bed frame
-wall hooks
-wall shelves/something for makeup/toiletries in room
-hair cut
-learn german
-get some internet at home
-plan things to do this weekend with Morgen, sorry in advance if I suck at hosting guests!

the last three are in process....


not too shabby.

Yesterday was a HUGE day. I woke up early to get to the registration place, then went and got my train ticket, then opened a bank account, then signed up for and attended my first German lesson, all while completing a full work day.  go me.

Today I went to the Tax place(Finanzamt) and tried to get my tax ID and tax bracket paperwork, I got one of the things and the other is getting mailed to Malia's... where I will hopefully be able to get it...

Tonight I should be able to do laundry with the token things, and the internet man is coming tomorrow! score.

Still working on the weekend plans, but roomie has a blow up bed thing for Morgen to sleep on, so thats pretty good planning so far.

The German lesson was interesting, the whole class is taught in German and it is cool to struggle through the words with people from all over. Russia, Bulgaria, France, America, Spain, Portugal, England and probably more... The class has 13 people. the teacher guy knows everything about every country. everything. sooooo I looked pretty dumb. I was able to answer his question about the Hauptstadt der USA, so that was good for me.

I have another lesson on Thursday, Donnerstag, so hopefully I will learn more.
Yesterday we covered, introducing yourself, saying where you are from, age, marital status, numbers and asking people how they are. Wie geht es deinem vater?  I think that is... 'How is  your father?' Es geht ihm gut. He is fine.

Sehr Deutsch.

alright... really wish someone in the office had told me everyone was leaving for lunch... going to be a hungry afternoon....


Tuesday, July 17, 2012


2 posts in one day, wow you are all so lucky.

I have a bank account now.

go me.

I am now a Hamburger

Soooo... My to-do list from the last post:

-register as a Hamburger
-get bank account
-buy a bedframe
-buy curtains
-health insurance
-tax man
-get hair cut
-learn german

congrats to me, I managed to accomplish 1 thing.

well 2 really, I forgot to list, 'buy a long term train pass' on there... bought one today. I'm not sure it was the best option, the year long pass is nice because you can go to any zone and bring a friend on the weekend... but I had to get a monthly pass since I'm only here for 6 months... It was about €60 and I can go to 2 zones, the man said I picked 2 good zones for it because they are the zones where the 'young people' go. score. Landor reimburses for 13ish euro of it which is nice.

Morgen is coming this weekend and I need to clear out some space in my room for an air mattress or blanket pile for her bed. Vani is meeting with the landlord tomorrow to get the tokens for the laundry... I struggled with the machine a few times trying every possible combination of euro coins before we realized we need tokens. So I bought some new pants.  seemed like the right idea.

This is going to be a spastic post. I am tired/hyper caffeinated.... I got up early today to become a Hamburger. I now have my Meldebestätigung and can open a bank account today. I emailed my bank contact and of course she is on Holiday until Monday, and HR seems a bit desperate for me to set up an account so I asked the new bank lady who was checking my contact's email if I could meet with her instead. I wasn't paying attention to the emails though and responded to the holiday email address instead of the new lady's address, then sent her another email apologizing for that and asking to meet with her. She agreed and set the meeting for 2pm today, so I emailed to double check that it was at the Spitalerstraße address, which was apparently in her sign off... oops, I look totally stupid. she responded that yes, it was on that street and also told me her name. which I clearly already knew... Sass. Sorry for rambling. I'll blame it on the demon ninja wasp stings(more later).

This past week we had a Walter's day celebration to honor Landor's founder Walter. We had an awards ceremony at the office and then took a bus to some beach in a remote Hamburg location... It was nice to be on a beach for a while, even if the weather was crazy... sun for ten minutes, then rain, then wind, then freezing, then crazy crazy crazy.  I will definitely have to buy more jackets. I brought a few light/transitional jackets, thinking that it would be warm in the Summer time. wrong. It feels like fall already, so none of my clothes are correct.

over the weekend: 

Friday night, fell asleep early, tired from the Walter party Thursday night. 
Saturday, went shopping with Malia for about 7 hours. Hamburg has a lot of great shopping, some are pretty expensive though. I bought some cool spandex with large cats on them and a few pairs of regular pants because all of mine are filthy. Tried to find jacket things in H&M but couldn't seem to find any. There was also a festival type thing in front of the Rathaus, so we went there and had some food. I got Käsespätzel, essentially german macaroni and cheese. Delish. after that we continued shopping and I bought some 'Funky Jungle' scented body lotion. really amazing.

Saturday night, I went out with Xenia, from work, and we had a few drinks near my apt. in Sternschanze and then went to the Reeperbahn. It was really fun, wherever we ended up played a great mix of music. I'll have to find out where it was so I can take Morgen this weekend...

Sunday, did a free walking tour for 3 hours. Saw some of the Hamburg sights, should have written things down, but I took some pictures, which I will hopefully upload soon. After the tour I was walking home from the S-Bahn station and a German Demon Ninja Wasp/Hornet/Mystery attacked flew down my shirt and started to sting/bite/attack in some way. I started to freak out, clawing at my shirt and essentially punching myself trying to kill the thing... I looked completely insane. People were stopping on the street to ask if I was okay, in English because I was swearing in English. I couldn't see what the demon was, but it did some DAMAGE. The welt by my belly button keeps growing. I have been to the Apotheke a few times buying new creams/gels/pills... we'll see if there is any improvement tomorrow. Or, I'll have to get on the Health Insurance thing so I can go to a doctor...

Yesterday I went to a burger place for lunch and their veggie burger consisted of diced tomatoes(as the main part) and toppings. and people eat the burger with a fork an knife. struggles. the french fries were great though.

alright, so hopefully all goes well at the bank today and I can start earning money. Bought a plane ticket for Ireland yesterday, soooo huzzah! 

To do list:
-bank account
-health insurance
-tax man
-wash clothes
-clean room
-bed frame
-wall hooks
-wall shelves/something for makeup/toiletries in room
-hair cut
-learn german
-get some internet at home
-plan things to do this weekend with Morgen, sorry in advance if I suck at hosting guests!

sorry for my rambling post, I'll try to be more coherent next time.

Monday, July 9, 2012

I can't speak any language and am not a legal Hamburger

Hi blog world,

Soooo bank accounts and government things...

Last week I tried to open a bank account and was told I would need proof of residency... or a Meldebestätigung. So I got up early the next day and went to the Hamburg residency office place and took a number and waited to speak with someone about registering as a Hamburger. The form was in German(obviously) but they had a sheet translated into English for reference. The German sheet was an updated version and the English translation was for the older paper... so the nice guy at the counter helped me fill it out. Waited the 30ish minutes to speak to someone, I think it would typically be a longer wait, but I got there right when it opened. I then found out that I couldn't register yet because my new roommates hadn't registered and they need someone from the lease to be registered as a Hamburger before I can become a Hamburger, or something. So no bank account yet... going to figure out the registering thing this week, hopefully, and then set up the bank account. I have a contact at the bank now so I can set up a meeting through email and head over to struggle through the bank process...

Saturday, I met Xenia at the Deichtorhallen for an Art Exhibition of news photos and advertising campaign things, she said last year there were more ads, but it was still cool. 

There were a few funny Ikea ads that I haven't seen before:

after we wandered through all the rooms, we had a coffee and then I went back to Malia's to finish packing and prepare for the big move. I called 5 or 6 taxi companies trying to speak to someone who spoke a few words in english, or spoke German slow enough for me to understand... most people said no or nein, and one lady hung up after 4 minutes talking to me.... finally got a nice lady who answered my tragic sounding 'Sprechen Sie Englisch?' with a laugh and 'a little' and she sent a cab over to fetch me... the nice cab man carried my suitcases to the door outside my new apartment building for me.... I must have looked really tired/dejected at this point haha. Vani and Bente helped me carry my things up to my room and then we went out and walked around the area for a little bit. They are both really nice and have sent me some links to Erasmus, foreign exchange group, meetings and have been setting up meetups or essentially play dates for me and some people they know. 

Saturday night we set up some things in the kitchen, built an Ikea shelf, always a struggle in any language. After that we had some wine and then some of their friends came over. Later on we were all talking(well they were talking and I was trying to follow...) and one of the guys turns to me and is talking in English about something, I was pretty sure he was talking about cocaine, and I politely refused 'oh no, I don't really want any cocaine thank you' 'oh you don't like cocaine' 'oh no, you know, I don't like putting things in my nose' ... this went on for a bit before some other guy across the room starts cracking up and tells me that he was trying to say 'cooking'... they really sound the same with a thick accent. So apparently I can't speak german or english and I looked stupid say I don't like cooking because of my nose.  whatever. also don't worry mom/ grandma, honest mistake, no one offered me cocaine haha

things I need to do:

-register as a Hamburger
-get bank account
-buy a bedframe, Vani and Bente both have cars and said I could go with them next time they go.... They both have their mattresses on the floor, but I feel a bit like a squatter, and could use the room under the bed to store things. Ikea sells a few frames for under €50, so I think I'll get one of those and see if I can manage to build it.
-buy curtains---I have a huge window, and should probably stop putting on a show for the pedestrians, this isn't the Reeperbahn
-health insurance
-tax man
-get hair cut
-learn german.

I started to watch a few movies in German with english subtitles, or in English with German subtitles... and I have learned some swear words. so my language skills are really coming along.

I am going to try to do laundry tonight, there is a machine in the basement/Keller of the building/Gebäude. I think it is €1 to wash and €1 to dry. must buy some detergent... and hopefully I can select the right settings and not ruin all of my things.

In other news, Morgen and I planned a trip to Copenhagen! We will be going there August 3-5! Huzzah!

Tschüß or Tschüss... can't tell which is right...


Monday, July 2, 2012

crossing things off the list

hello world,

I am slowly working my way through the list of things I have to accomplish. Though each time I cross one thing off it seems like I add a bunch more...
I found an apartment! I am supposed to move in this Saturday. The roommates seem really nice, so I'm hoping they will be my friends and I can cross 'make friends' off my list. I went to look at the apartment last week and it is recently renovated and seems very clean and functional. My room is pretty small, but I don't really have very many possessions right now. I think I probably came across as sad and desperate when meeting with the roommates... they were asking if I would like to have friends over and that it wouldn't be a problem or something and I replied 'Oh, don't worry about it, I don't know anyone here/I don't have any friends.' TRAGIC. They said I could hang out with their friends... huzzah.
I'm hoping my German will improve/start to exist once I move in and live with German people.

Now that I have an address I can get a bank account.... I just need to figure out how to do that. All of the things I need to do seem to be linked in a vicious cycle. Last week, I was at the grocery store trying to buy cheese and bread so I wouldn't starve and I didn't have any cash on me(couldn't find ATM), I went to use my credit card and the lady informed me that they didn't take visa or mastercard and seem flabbergasted that I didn't have any cash on me...she directed me to the bank, which I couldn't enter because the bank was locked unless you had a bank card... so I couldn't buy food because I didnt have money, and I couldnt get money because I didnt have a bank account, which I couldnt open because I didnt have an address, which I couldnt get because I kept getting lost trying to find the apartments because I was too hungry to focus. STRUGGLES.

Hopefully everything will be resolved now that I have an apartment to live in.

In other news, I'm pretty sure my laptop is going to explode, so that is not great.... The battery is not lasting very long and lappy is heating up to a billion degrees really rapidly... danger zone. Send some happy thoughts to my laptop... really need him to last through April, or at least through Germany. I do NOT want to buy a new MacBook in €.

Saturday night Malia and I went and had dinner at an Italian place, pretty sure 95% of restaurants here are italian places.... The waitress judged us hardcore after she asked if we were vacationing and we told her that we worked here. really need to learn some more German. After dinner we walked around the harbor area. There were some bumpin' party boats playing some excellent jams. I wanted to join them, but didn't really know a good way to hop on their boat... accidentally bought a delicious crepe, no complaints, and while eating the crepe some weirdo started peeing on a tree... two minutes later, he started peeing on a different tree. I've decided he was actually a dog marking his territory...

Things to do:

-get bank account
-get friends
-get more data
-figure out tax things
-get health insurance
-get paid

Sorry for the lack of photos on here...

Here is a picture I found online of a rat riding a cat riding a dog: