Friday, July 22, 2016

Five on Friday #85

EINS

I've been a reading maniac this week.  That whole "you're 4 books behind" on Goodreads was seriously taunting me.  Well, WHAT GOODREADS?  WHAT?  BRING IT.  You'll get to see all that I've read on book review day next month, but let's just say, I'll be making up for those last few months of nothingness.  You're welcome.



In book news, have you heard of LibriVox?  I hadn't either until this week.  Anyways, they take books that are public domain (older than 100 years) and record them.  This is pretty awesome for me since one of the book challenge subjects is a book older than 100 years.  Soooo essentially, I'm listening to old books for free-izzle.  You know what I love?  Free-izzle.  Super cheap is after free-izzle, but we all know the best things in life are.. Free.

I've been listening to Alice in Wonderland (1 and 2) and each character is given a different voice.  This is different from audiobooks which are narrated by a single person, so it's kinda cool.  I accidentally stumbled on this ingenuity on Spotify.  I had found some Jane Austen books on Spotify a while ago, but I figured I'd look for books from my challenge list since ya know, challenge and finishing and stuff.  I would never expect to find audiobooks or recordings of new books on Spotify, but that's ok with me.  I'll take what I can get.


ZWEI

I'm back on the running train (which means less sleeps) and now I want to do ALL THE RUNS again.  Seriously though.  Why does no one want to do a Ragnar with me?  I want to do a Ragnar so bad.  The crossfit gym we were going to before we moved had posted something about doing the Ragnar trail run in NC and I expressed interested, but after some checking, the thread died and it was never mentioned again.  Since we aren't going there anymore, I was hesitant to revive the thread, so I didn't.  Also, I don't know if I really want to do a trail run.

You see, I'm clumsy.  I barely have the life skills to walk on flat surfaces.  So imagine me trying to run through the woods in the dark.  Yeah, you're welcome for that belly laugh.  All I can think of is twisted ankles and scratches on my legs and wild animals and how I already trip up the stairs.  Is it really a wise idea to do a trail run?  Doubtful.

Ideally, I'd love to do one of the late summer/fall runs in the northeast, NOT on a trail.  Run though the mountains with the leaves changing?  My mountain-leaf-fall-loving heart is figuratively drooling over the idea.  What I just said there was that I'd rather sleep in a van than in a tent.  But then reality: dollas and travel and finding a team and running and strangers.

Teh German has said he will run with me on Saturday morning since it's long run day.  I considered going a new way and getting in a full circle (estimated to be 8-10 miles), but I don't think he would appreciate that very much on his first run.  We'll prob go 5ish miles, which is way less than what I would do on my own, but plans could change depending on the weather and how much Teh German is or isn't suffering.  He is pretty fit in general, so running at my pace may not be over-excruciating for him.

The only suitable time to run during Charleston "hell": When the moon is up.


DREI

Random things from this week:

I had some of Teh German's beer that we picked up at Holy City Brewery this weekend.
It wasn't so bad.  I don't like it warm so I chugged the bottom and that was a poor life choice.

Teh German decided to test out the light strips I bought.
We so fannnnccyyy.  Hue lights bring us all the joy.

Merriweather is here!

Flora and Fauna...well, lets just say the dogs weren't pleased about this situation.

Baby Carolina reapers! 
Hopefully, at least a few will grow fruit.

Flowers!
The one on the left we actually paid full price for and it was totally worth it.

Teh German labeling the weed eater gas can... just like Teh Dad told me to tell Teh German to do.
This is just me documenting that I actually listened to one of my parents at least once.

Drawer pulls for our entrance bench.
Teh German: Those aren't the same color.
Me: I know.
I think I heard Teh German's brain wrinkle after that.

Sunrise on the way to work this week.

Teh German and I finally attended one of the Aquarium's After Hours events and it was pretty awesome.  Teh German had a reason to walk around with (overpriced) beer and I got some delicious ice cream.


Finally, something with a longer nose than me!

Teh German: Freedom says he's tired of your shit, America.
Me: LOOOOOOL

My favorite bridge: Ravanel Bridge



VIER

God creating animals.

This article from the most privileged group talks about why he is that way and why most of us are too.







I've always been a huge fan of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and this brought me so much joy:




FÜNF

10 things that made me happy this week:
  1. Interactive 404/error pages.
  2. The Kindle app on my phone syncing with Teh Flamin' Kindle when I'm away (sadly this only works on purchased books, not books that have been sideloaded).
  3. Teh German's flexibility regarding dinner.
  4. Teh German's willingness to go to Willie Jewell's.  Although he did try to say I have an addiction to which I did some research and we hadn't been in almost a month.  
  5. Voting for the 40th annual Bridge Run logo design.
  6. Korn on Spotify's New Music Friday playlist (even if Tuesday was a way better day for new releases)
  7. Running again.
  8. ALL THE READING.
  9. Riding Mike into work today.
  10. Getting to see Zootopia tonight!





Happy Friday, Gentle Readers.
Linking up with these ladies since it's FFFFRRRRRRIIIIIIDDDDAAAAYYYY!!!!!!!!!


Monday, July 18, 2016

Weekend Review {7/18}

FRIDAY

Knowing I would only have to work a limited number of hours, I decided to go to work later than normal and get a early morning run in.  I bit myself in the ass.  The trick to running in Charleston?  Doing it before the sun comes up.  No question.  Which is the worst because getting up early sucks balls.  Butttttt, getting up before the sun comes up means views like below, soooo I guess it balances out.


4.5 miles later, I made it home, showered, and headed to work.  I almost had a breakdown on the way to work because #fuckingtrains in Charleston.  Traffic was super backed up at a red-light I turn at and I discovered why when it was finally my turn and a train was blocking the way.  Fortuantely it was right at the end, so I wasn't stopped for long.  Then, I start making progress again and realize I am unable to merge into the lane I need to be into to turn.  When I got to the intersection, I Nemesis Train 2 stopped in the middle of the tracks.  Great.  So I decided to just do a u-turn and go a different way.  That is the one good thing about Charleston, there are always alternative routes. 

I forgot about traffic in the detour I took to skip the backed up red-light.  As I was about to catch a break in traffic, I heard it, the sound of the ding ding ding when the track arms go down to block traffic.  I would have had to stop at the track, so I went back the way I came.  This time, it was cleared.  I immediately got into the lane I needed and remembered why I never travel in that lane.  In true SC fashion, there was a project to take up the surface of the road.. except that it was never repaved.  So both sets of RR tracks on that road are super rough.  Not the actual tracks themselves (at least no worse than they were before) but the road where the pavement was taken up where it meets the road where the tracks are.  Poor Yurtle's alignment.

Mourning my tires and alignment, I continued on my way to work.  As I was crossing the tracks where the 2nd back up had been, a train engine starts blaring the horn.  As I'm crossing the 3-4th (of 6 sets) tracks (they are close together), I see a man step out into the street and stop traffic for the engine to cross.  Grateful, I didn't have to stop, I trekked on. 

I have to pass an area where the interstate comes out onto the road where semi-trucks are constantly at since the paper mill/wood processing is right by the exit.  On this day, my invisa-shield must have been on high because a semi with a trailer pulled out in front of me.  I was so close that I had to completely stop (rather suddenly) for this asshole to cross the road.. except that I had the right of way... not a stop sign.  Livid at all the stupid shit that was happening to me within such a short period of time, and only 5 minutes from work, I figure it will be fine.  WRONG.  There are also 2 sets of RR tracks on that road and as I was approaching, the arm came down for the 1st set of tracks.  But only on my side of the street, not the other.  Then I realized there was a man working on the arms.  I was soooo enraged, I checked to see if a train was coming, then went around the arm.  I did see Nemesis Train 1 sitting at the tracks, getting ready to cross the street, but fortunately, it stayed stopped.  I made it to work in one piece, with a racing heart (that truck really scared me), and annoyance levels at max, my morning run zen completely shattered.

NO.  Unacceptable on this day.
This photo was taken because the sheer ludicracy of the entire morning.

I tried planning a shopping date with Teh SC Greyhound Neighbor, but it ended up falling through.  Since I'm mostly untasked at work, I battled with the printer to print out coupons for my shopping excursion.  I wanted to go Office Space on it, but didn't because #reasonableindividual.  When it was time to leave, I didn't even look back.  I was so over everything.  I headed to Target, on a solo mission to spend and save monies.  I started by stopping at Starbucks for a much needed peppermint mocha frap, then I carried on with my mission.  I ended up spending $193 and getting $25 back in gift cards.  The only questionable purchase I made that I didn't really need was the Sharpie markers, but I've been wanting some for a while now and now I have them.  I also returned some crates that I wasn't planning on using in the immediate future, which was $15 back to me as well. 

I considered going by Walmart to return a few items, but I was mostly over everything by that point.  I went home and unloaded Yurtle and piddled around on the computer until Teh German came home.  The pink morning sky had tipped me off, so I wasn't surprised to see this when I got home:

Pink sky in the morning, Sailor's warning.
Pink sky at night, Sailor's delight.
 
I texted Teh German and told him that our evening entertainment of watching Inside Out at the park might be questionable.  We discussed it once he got home after consulting our weather apps.  The storm sounded pretty bad, but was supposed to dissipate by 7 and the movie wasn't set to start until 8:30.  I inquired if he wanted leftovers for dinner or to go out.  We ended up deciding on going out to a place near where the movie was going to be.  This way, we'd be close if the movie was still playing.  We tried a Japanese place called Myles and Jun Yakitori.  It was spectacular.  We'll definitely be going back.  I had the Ramen and Teh German had the filet and chicken hibachi combo.  Next time, I'll try the yakitori.  We were given samples of their sangria sake and it was deeeelicious.  Because I checked in on Yelp, we got a free sake as well.  #yelpperks  It was so good, I didn't even think to take photos.  We even splurged on dessert, honey toast with red bean ice cream.  Everything was so delicious. 

I did question the check because the menu I'd looked at online said the dessert was $4 but we were charged $7.  I brought this to the attention of the waitress and she showed me the menu in the restaurant said $7.  I said it was ok, but also explained that online there is a menu that says $4 and maybe that should be fixed.  We paid and were leaving and I realized that I should probably use the bathroom since I didn't know what the situation would be at the park.  As I was headed out the door, the owner (who had been to our table several times and had greeted the regulars by name) stopped me and thanked me for pointing out the discrepancy.  She was going to give me the difference and I told her just to add it to the tip (mostly because I didn't want to be late for the movie and I knew it would most likely be a complicated process).

I had checked FB several times and confirmed that the movie was still on.  The storm had passed and other than wet grass and the humidity, it was a perfect evening for a movie outside.  I cried more watching Inside Out the 2nd time than I did the first time.  But seriously, Figment.  Nooooo! 


After the movie, we headed home and it was bedtime after some internet time.


SATURDAY

Teh German had to work on Saturday, so he was getting up at regular time.  I figured it was a good opportunity to get in some miles.  #WHOAMI #wheredidthismotivationcomefrom  I think Teh German was also surprised to see me out of bed so early on a sleep in day, but I explained that the sun was the difference between bearable and not, so runs in the dusk it was. 


8.29 miles later and feeling pretty pleased with my life choices, I took selfies with the dogs, showered, and headed to town.  I went back to Target because I had left a $1 coupon at home and I didn't get a $3 coupon credit.  I walked out of Target $4 richer, then headed to the Commissary to stock the freezer.  After some snaggles with the card machine, I had to write a check like it was 1992 to pay for my groceries and I was headed back home.  Teh German called and we made a lunch plan.  I would meet Teh German and some coworkers at Panera after going home and putting the groceries away.  Then we could hit up Holy City Brewery's birthday celebration thing, Cycle Gear since stands were on sale, and Total Wine for Teh German's beer needs.  I also chatted with Teh Dad on the way home.



I decided to ride Mike to Panera, which was fine while I was in motion, but once I stopped, it was hot.  Leather boots don't really get a breeze on your toes, so my feet felt like they were in vats of lava.  Or so I could guess.  I didn't eat at Panera since I was late and everyone else had already eaten.  Also, I wasn't overly hungry.  I proclaimed it skinny week.  I agreed to get something at Holy City.  We dropped off Mike at Teh German's office and took his car for our adventures. 

When we got to Holy City, it was super crowded, it was also super hot.  We didn't even make it to the bar when I said, please don't make me.  Teh German acquiesced and we left almost as quickly as we had arrived.  There were too many people and it was too hot for me to remain in that situation.  Also, lava feet.  This is why people that live in the South wear flip flops year round.  We're used to the breeze on our toes.

We stopped at Cycle Gear since we were close and picked up the stands and Teh German got another set of new headlights for Suzi (with the plan to return the 1st set of lights).  Then, we headed towards Total Wine.  Since I still hadn't eaten, I gave into the temptation to go to Mex 1.  I didn't regret it.  I scarfed down my food and for once, I didn't need a box for leftovers.  We hit up Total Wine where Teh German was dismayed to find zero Westbrook White Thai for sale.  This left him in a predicament where he had to decide on a different beer to buy.  After several sales associates asked me if there was anything they could help me find (since I was hanging out beside a shelf at the end of the beer section and looking particularly lost), I suggested that they get chairs, like they have outside of women's dressing rooms.  I have no idea what he ended up picking, but we have beer!  We stopped by Teh German's Company to pick up Mike.  We made a pit-stop at a furniture store that has been advertising that they are going out of business to look for a nightstand for Teh German's side of the bed.  With no success, we headed home.

We hung out for the rest of the evening, me reading, Teh German social media-ing and installing the new lights in Suzi.  We ended up having a vegetable buffet for dinner around 9 after neither of us were particularly hungry at dinner time after I finished my book.  I also pulled out the cold cuts, so I deemed it a well-rounded meal... with the exception of the chives and onion cream cheese I spread on my cold cuts.  #notsorry

My running skirt arrived for one of my costumes for our Disneyland run!!!

After a little more internet time, it was finally bedtime.


SUNDAY

Sleep in day was Sunday.  Meri did get up on the bed to snuggle with us, but I kicked her off after my back started hurting.  She tried Teh German's side of the bed and he also told her, "off."  She huffed and puffed and went back to her bed for another few hours.  We fell back asleep until 1015.  Soon after, we got up and started being productive.  Teh German started mowing the grass, I started the laundry, picked up poop, and vacuumed the entire house.




This was completely empty before I started.
1.  Gross.  2.  I should vacuum more often.




 When I was finished vacuuming and showering, we headed out to Holy City Brewery.  We had agreed to HCB for brunch since I had opted out the day before.  It was perfect.  Because it was storming, the bay doors were closed and it was dry inside and super cool (thank you fans) and there were barely any people there.  We sat at the bar and everyone near us ended up being friendly.  Teh German got the fried bologna sammich and I had the pancakes and waffles.  As always, HCB noms were deeeeelicious.  In fact, the lady seated beside me also ordered chicken and pancakes and I purposely watched her take her first bite and got a big smile from her groan of satisfaction.  I said, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't the only one with that reaction and she confirmed, nope.  We also ended up bringing a growler home of a kolisch I was tolerant of. 

With our bellies full, we headed by Cycle Gear to try and return the older set of lights with no success since the guy we talked to on Saturday wasn't working.  Then we headed to Lowe's (ugh) to get our fourth weed-eater.  Why my father suggested that Teh German get a battery powered weed-eater in the first place was beyond me, but our 4th weed-eater is gas powered and you can buy spiffy attachments for it, so it better be our last one.  I can feel that you are still confused about FOUR weed-eaters.. Let me explain.

1- Broke.  Returned.
2- I picked up the corded version instead of the battery powered.  Returned.
3- Fully charged battery couldn't even complete our tiny yard.  Teh German wasn't having that.  Returned.
4. Gas powered.  Not used yet.  Not returning it.

After Lowe's, we headed to Big Lots to scope out if they had a nightstand.  We did get distracted by pergolas and canopies for the patio and window flower boxes.  We ended up walking out empty handed.  We headed home and tended to the beasts and proceeded to be lazy for the rest of the evening.  While we watched Silver Linings Playbook, I was troubleshooting why books I sideloaded onto my Kindle aren't showing up.  I did at least figure out that the books are ON my Kindle, but I have to view them through my docs rather than in the books section.  Weird, but whatever.  Reading unhindered.  I gave up and decided to make breakfast for the next few days.  Veggie frittatas and "energy" balls.  I kind of winged both recipes, but both turned out pretty awesome.

Energy balls

The balls are just nuts and dried fruit pulsed in the food processor until diced enough.  I added 2 scoops of protein powder for an extra boost, a bit of milk so it was sticky enough to hold everything together and rolled out the balls.

For the frittatas, I chopped up a head of broccoli, some carrots, and some mushrooms in the food processor (aka, my 2nd favorite kitchen appliance after the crockpot).  The recipe called for 4 eggs and 3 egg whites, so I used 6 whole eggs.  Only using part of the egg enrages me and #IdowhatIwant.  I added some thyme and salt and pepper and mixed the veggies with the beaten eggs.  I orchestrated with the crappy oven and when it was 375˚ I put the frittatas that I'd poured into a muffin tin in the oven to cook.  Due to oven circumstances, I may have over cooked these a bit, but it didn't really make that much of a difference.  The taste was still delightful.

I'd say these frittatas will definitely be added to the breakfast rotation.  Teh German has given his approval for both this morning.

After I cleaned up my mess, Teh German did the dishes and I headed upstairs to wrangle with the laundry that I'd forgotten about.  Soon, we were in bed.  Unable to go to sleep, I admitted to Teh German that I was feeling like the work balance at home wasn't evenly distributed.  I felt like I had worked a lot more than he had.  I've thought this before, but also knew that he'd be taking up outside duties when we moved and this was really the first day I'd been able to judge.  And the worst part is the battle going on in my head.  I'm sharing my ugly/crazy with you here, because maybe someone else can tell me that I'm not alone over here.

I was irritated that I felt like I had done all the work.  I've been telling myself for several years now, it's not about keeping score, work will never be evenly divided.  Teh German works hard and he is at work for longer than I am every day (he gets overtime, I don't).  Yet, this didn't make a difference to me.  My brain was being obstinate and refusing to accept this.  I'm telling him about these things going on in my head and then I enraged myself by saying, "I know I'm just being silly..."  My feelings aren't silly.  I KNOW these things, but when it gets dark and my brain won't shut the fuck up, the crazy amps up and up and up and just spirals out of control. 

I progressed to telling him that maybe it wasn't just that I was feeling overworked, but maybe it was just that I wasn't feeling appreciated for all the things I do.  Then he says the dreaded, "I don't know what to say.  I'm not asking you to do all these things.  You could NOT do them."  Not being facetious in anyway, but when I'm full of ideas for him to do to make me feel better, definitely the wrong thing to say.  I only hesitated a beat (since my crazy was already on high anyways) to tell him maybe he should tell me he loves me, or appreciates the fact that there are always meals cooked and clean laundry to wear.  And if I didn't do these things, who would.  I did resist the urge to say, "Cool, then you can fend for yourself for breakfast this week."  He had been annoyingly petting my arm in a way that I can only describe as "friend-zone." 

And then my brain switched gears and just wanted to put the entire conflicting conversation out of mind.  I suggested that distraction was always a good way to make my brain quiet... and always a way to show appreciation.  He gave a solid reply when he said, "I don't want to have sex with you when you're sad."  I actually laughed out loud.  Fair enough.  I'll just clear up any ambiguity, we had sex.  As always, good.  But when it was time for sleep, my brain glitched again and I couldn't help myself from thinking, "Did I just emotionally manipulate my boyfriend to have sex with me?" 

As if the entire thing wasn't fucked up enough, add that to the mix and I slept like shit last night.  I still can't get it out of my head.  What kind of person does that?  What is wrong with me?  Am I actually crazy?  Is the feeling that the work is unevenly distributed valid?  Will receiving more appreciation actually make me feel better about my "sacrifice"?  By appreciation, I don't mean sex... well, I don't mean only sex. 

I had planned on going on a run this morning, but after shitty sleeps, it wasn't happening.  After almost 13 miles this weekend, I cut myself some slack.  I did pack my gym bag, just in case, but I doubt it will happen.  The good intentions (as always) are there though.



_________________________________
Overall, a very productive and good weekend.  We did get in some lazy time, which is always appreciated.  Teh German said he didn't overly love Silver Linings Playbook (his loss), but at least we watched a movie together that wasn't animated AND it was over before dinner time, which meant going to bed on time.. ya know, except for that part where my crazy escaped my control.

I have two more things to show you before you go.  First off, lookie...  It's a baby Carolina Reaper.  It's name is Reapy.  A former coworker and wife gave us a Carolina Reaper pepper and Reaperika as part of our Haus warming gift.  There was no way in any realm of hell I'd be eating the pepper, so I brought it to work and told them to save the seeds for me.  They did and now I have a widdle Reapy baby.


Thing 2:  I saw something on Pinterest about hanging bras on key hook type thing mounted on the wall.  Well, I don't really have wall space available in the closet, so I went with cheap plastic shower hooks instead.  I love it.  Technically, this means I could just hang my bras up to dry in the closet instead of on the clothes rack in the laundry room, but I'm still mold paranoid, so for now, they will stay in the laundry room.  This way I don't have to dig in the drawer for a specific color if I need it AND this frees up drawer space.  I think I'll try to empty a drawer for Teh German to separate his socks and underwear next.




Friday, July 15, 2016

German Adventures Part 2

*ANNOUNCEMENT*

You are currently reading the 1000th post on Teh Blog.

Can we talk about how absolutely crazy it is that I've written 1000 posts?  Sheer madness.  I will never know if the people who have been reading since day 1 are still here.  I know some of them have definitely moved on, for acceptable reasons.  But if you're a lurker and you've been reading me babble since April 2011?  I commend you.  I also appreciate you.  I love you.  Please stay.  We can have some cake or chocolate or something.

For those of you who have joined me along the way?  I commend you, too.   

No matter how long you've been a Gentle Reader, I'm glad for each person that stops by to enjoy my shitshow life and babbling.  I like to pretend that readers and comments don't matter, but they do and they are what keeps me going.. well that and the selfish desire to document my life so I don't forget all the moments that I will inevitably forget.  I will proudly admit that the women (it is what it is, guys) I've met online while blogging are fabulous individuals.  They continue to show me the good side of the internet and humanity, and for that, I am ever-so-appreciative.   

Anyways, onto the real reason we are here: Germany photos.

**Photo heavy post**

On Tuesday (May 31st), we woke up, ate breakfast, and headed out early to make the 4.5 hour drive to Essen.  Our agenda originally was to make a stop for dinner, then continue on to Essen to Teh German's Stepmom's apartment for the night.  After being stopped for over an hour and a half on the autobahn, that plan was altered.  Instead, when we stopped for dinner (with a childhood friend of Teh German's), we stayed at their house for the night instead of continuing the drive to Essen.


What being stuck on the autobahn looks like.
At some points, people were getting out of their cars and walking around.

Pronounced ass-fart... jk, it's not.  But close.
This is the exit sign off the highway, and it made me giggle almost every single time.
Teh German didn't appreciate me telling him to take the "ass-fart" every time we had to leave the highway.

We made it to dinner and these 3 pups were just chillin' in this car.

Hello sunset over the Rhine.

There were fuzzy white balls flying all over the place.
In large quantities, they look like snow.

Pre-bedtime selfies!

Truthfully, I rarely had any idea of the specific location we were at, but I had a general idea.  Teh German's friend lives in a house that is on the banks of the Rhine River and we were still south of Essen. 

They had this huge thing of mayo in the fridge.
I thought American's loved their mayo.  German's LURVE mayo.

Cargo ships on the Rhine on a foggy morning.


Remember when I bitched and bitched about not doing touristy things while we were in Germany?  Well, Teh German "winged it" the entire time and we got to do plenty of touristy things.  Before we set off for Essen (Wednesday, June 1), Teh German stopped in the town where his friend lived and we toured the former Roman ruins (rebuilt) and the town area.  After some Google assistance, these ruins are in Xanten.  What used to be a former Roman town is now just a reconstructed arena and some other reconstructed areas.  It was still pretty cool.



Even the German children were "dabbin'"
Teh German was moderately appalled.


"dat ass"

An original statue.

Empress Teh Megan

Teh German and I agreed that these ruins photos looked edited.

This is a section of "pipe" that was used to channel water to the town from the Rhine.

There were hundreds of school children running around the ruins, which helped push us along.  They were screaming and running and my tolerance level was at extremely low levels after crappy sleeps and jet lag.  Teh German did say we had time to walk around the town so I could take some photos.  It was much nicer and less people-y in the town.  Also, there were some awesome shots to be had!  We walked around a school (which was part of the church), a big cathedral, past some gardens, a windmill, and back to the car.


Stations of the cross

Saints at the entrance to the chuch

Saints at the entrance to the church

Windmill



Street art.
Ich liebe = I love.  It said dich (you) before the blue.

We had a date with Teh German's Opa at 3 for coffee and cake, so we headed out of Xantan to make it to Essen in time.  Fortunately, there were no autobahn issues and we made it right on time.  Having only "met" Opa once before on Skype at Christmas (when he refused to talk to me because he wanted to meet me in person first), I was excited to finally get to meet "The Chief", as Teh German calls him.

My favorite thing about Opa was that he got straight to business.  We said our hellos, discussed how the trip was, and Opa started asking questions about the house and money.  Most of this conversation was in German, but I'd heard it enough by this point that I was starting to recognize what Teh German was discussing.  I was able to answer in very elementary German when I'd get asked questions, but it was difficult for Opa and his partner to understand my accent and shitty German.  After Teh German explained that 1- we'd saved up lots of monies since deciding to buy a house, 2- houses don't cost as much in America as they do in Germany, 3- we weren't completely broke, 4- it was $200 more per month to buy a house than rent a place, Opa was satisfied with our decision and he agreed that we had made the best choice, considering.  I think Teh German was most worried about this discussion with Opa, his Dad, and his Mom since it is the thing that most shows them that he's probably not coming back to Germany in the near future.

After the house conversation, we moved onto lighter topics.  After we finished our coffee and cake, Opa gave me a tour of the house where I got to see old photos of Teh German's parents and various other relatives.  I got to see where Teh German used to play when he would visit and also the bar in the basement where parties were held.  There were also plenty of photos of Opa in various places with various people.  Opa is huge on traveling.  The next day, he and his partner were leaving for a cruise.  I told him his next trip should be to Charleston, where he always had a room available.

Since we were on a schedule, we headed to Teh German's Stepmom's for dinner around 5:30 to be there in time for dinner with the family.  There was a huge selection of very German foods; schnitzel, potato salad, meatballs with a special German name, salad, cheese, and bread, and probably other things I've forgotten.  Everything was delicious.  I met even more family, some of whom spoke English with me, which was excellent.

It was at this dinner that I learned that Teh German is VERY much like his Dad and Opa.  From the way he speaks to his mannerisms when he speaks and how he gestures.  Also, "NEIN, NEIN, NEIN!" was said, and forever that will make me giggle to say to other people.  I learned that the loudest person is the person who is right in an argument.  The loudest person was always Opa.

But seriously, when I saw Teh German's Dad make the exact same gesture that Teh German makes when he is making a point in a serious conversation, my mouth almost hit the floor.  It was all I could do not to create a scene and squeal to Teh German that he does the same things as his dad and Opa.  EXACTLY THE SAME.  It was creepy and educational at the same time.

After dinner was over, several relatives stayed for a bit socializing, but once everyone was gone, Teh German's Dad and Stepmom and Teh German and I sat downstairs essentially having a nightcap... if one would call it that.  Just like Opa had done, Teh German's Dad got straight to business.  We discussed the house and money and just like Opa, Teh German's Dad had agreed that we made the best decision, despite how quickly everything happened.

Side note: Quickly is a relative term.  Yes, we decided to buy a house together after being together for less than 6 months.  In American time, that's pretty fast, but people get married after knowing each other for a few weeks to a few months.  In German time, it was essentially like meeting each other on the street and buying a house together the next day.  Maybe that's an extreme example, but German's won't even go on a 4 hour drive without planning it for at least 3 months.  Americans will jump in the car and drive 4 hours the same day they make the decision to drive the 4 hours.  #culturedifferences

After we were all talked out (mostly in English, thankfully), it was bedtime.

Thursday (June 2), we were scheduled to have brunch with Teh German's Aunt (who we often Skype with) and do some sight-seeing.  She actually had made breakfast for us and another relative who hadn't been able to attend dinner the night before came over.  After everyone was done eating, we set out for Zollverein, a coal factory.

If you've read my book reviews, I was reading All the Light We Cannot See before going/while I was in Germany.  It's a book set during WW2 from a French girl and German boy's perspective.  The boy frequently references Zollverein, a coal factory where his father died and how his worst nightmare was having to work there as part of the war effort.  I'm kind of nerdy, in that actually going to places that are mentioned in books gives me a thrill.  So to go to a place that I was currently reading about?  Nerdgasm.

Zollverein is no longer a coal factory.  There is a museum for the coal factory, but most of the buildings have been repurposed for other uses.  There are restaurants and cafes and spaces for workshops and vendors.  It was awesome to know that I was standing at one of the larger coal factories that fueled the German war machine.  That's history.

There were lots of photos taken in the free part of the museum and I have no idea what any of these machines/things actually are.  #notanengineer  I was just there for the pretty picture potential.  Teh German has expressive a positive reaction to this batch of photos, which I was glad for.  We'll probably be printing some of these babies out for House decoration.








Erin, I hate how much I love this photo.
It was an accidental shot when I was setting up for another.
#SayNoToTheDutchAngle


Serious discussion.

I was super pumped when Aunt offered to take a photo of us.
See, I DID go to Germany!




Me: This is so awesome.  So many awesome photos.
Teh German: Yeah.  Too bad Suzi isn't here.
Me: WHAT?
tG: Yeah, Suzi would look sweet between those wheels and I could post it to insta.
I walked away.
I created this for him, special:

He did not appreciate my photoshop skills.





After the factory, we decided to head to the Tetrahedron.  It was a short hike to get up the hill to get to the structure, but it was totally worth it for the views of the city we got.  Also, shout out to Oovos flippy floppies.  88% of any extensive walking we did, I completed in my Oovos.  The only day I didn't wear flippy floppies for touring was when it was raining.  My feet felt better after the day when I wore my flip flops over wearing my shoes.  I think I also may have talked Aunt into getting a pair when I told her to try them on and she felt how cushiony and supportive they were.  #notsorry

Not for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights.

It was explained to me that on a clear day (unlike what we were experiencing), you could see Frankfurt in the distance.  That would be over 250km away.

/swoon

Factories in the distance.



There were plenty of shots taken for panoramas, but I'll save you from those.

Solar powered Queen constantly waves.
She brought me a giggle.

Our Tetrahedron adventure had taken longer than we anticipated and Teh German's Dad had planned on taking us to the lake in Essen to walk around and we were cutting into his time.  When we finally made it back to Teh German's Stepmom's apartment, the rain that had held off all day was threatening seriously.  Teh German's Dad was still insisting on walking and everyone else suggested that maybe we just take the car.  We ended up taking the car to everyone's benefit.

Our first stop was the Krupp house (officially called Villa Hügel).  The (eventually) extremely rich Krupp who owned the house also owned the property around the house in the 19th century.  He had quarters built for all the employees close to the house and was a huge proponent in the steel industry.  The house is open for touring, which we happily did, and is still used to this day for concerts.

Fortunately, we had mostly finished touring the outside when it started to sprinkle rain.  By the time we were finished touring the inside of the house, it was pouring buckets outside.

I liked that the family symbol is the original version of my wrist tattoo.
(Triquetra if you want to know the name)





Boobs.
Used and unused.


All the rain...

We sent Teh German to fetch the car with the umbrella and he was able to pick us up right in front of the porch.  We were only moderately soaked.  After the house, we drove to the lake where they showed me "the beach" and one of the places where the family used to play tennis.  It is always fun to get to see where your significant other spent their time growing up, so I was excited to be getting the window tour, despite the rain.

Finally, it was too dark to really see anything, so we headed back to the apartment for a short bit.  It was scheduled that we would be eating dinner at the Greek restaurant where the family frequents with Teh German's Stepbrother joining us.  I didn't really want a shot of ouzo since I despise licorice, so the owner said he'd bring something back special.  Yeah, he added blue curacao to the ouzo.  It was at least a pretty ouzo drink and we all got a giggle from it.


After eating wayyyyy too much (as was the trend every time we ate anything while in Germany), we finally headed back to the apartment.  We stayed up with Teh German's Dad and Stepmom chatting again for a little bit.  They gave me a tour of the apartment and showed me where Teh German used to play and some old photos of Teh German growing up.  What trip to meet the family is complete without seeing old photos?  NONE.  With that check in the box, it was bedtime.

Friday (June 3), we woke up and had a small breakfast with Teh German's Dad and headed back to Teh German's Mom's house for a short respite.  Fortunately, there were no autobahn situations.  I had my first gas station food experience (tolerable) and ordered an over-priced chocolate milk thinking it might have some coffee in it to keep me awake.  It didn't, #languagebarrier.

The ever present rain clouds were always with us.

When we made it back to Teh German's Mom's, it was planned that we would take out the groom for a bachelor night since Teh German hadn't been in Germany for the official bachelor party.  It would have just been me and the male member of the gang, but there was some push back from the bride.  Eventually, she relented, but she also tagged along with us for our bar hopping.



Quick note: The main reason we went to Germany in June was to avoid part of Charleston summer to attend a wedding of one of Teh German's friends.

At midnight, the bridge and groom chickened out and headed home while Friend 1, Friend 2, Teh German, and I headed off to a club called Top 10.  We walked there and I seriously had to pee.  Also, I had been heavily drinking and may or may not have flipped off a car who I thought was going to plow us over at a stop sign, which is apparently bad news bears in Germany.  The need to pee was probably the only thing that kept the guys from getting into an altercation with the probably also drunk driver.  We finally made it to the club and I realized I didn't have my ID on me (I'm the worst).  The lady at the desk listened to my explanation, and Teh German explained in German, then she asked me my birth date and then let me in for free-izzle since it was ladies night or I am old or something.

After finally peeing and getting some drinks, we settled on the Fiesta room.  Apparently, I was pretty intoxicated by this point because I took this awesome video:

video

Yep, I was completely entranced by watching those colors flip back and forth.  I wish I was kidding.  I remembering thinking just how cool the lights were.  We also took some group selfies, danced, sang stupid loud, and drank strawberry daiquiris.  I actually ended up spilling my last one when my booty bumped up against the stool cushion I had been using to lean against/as a beverage holder.  At which point, I knew it was time to stop.

The group agreed that it was time to go home and after we closed out our tabs, we fetched a taxi to bring us all to our respective homes.  Teh German had warned his Mom that we'd be coming in late, but we were still as quiet as 2 drunk fools could be... aka probably not at all.

We had zero problems falling asleep...  We hadn't set an alarm, despite the fact that we knew that we were driving to Munich in the morning.  It didn't matter anyways...

I'll tell you why in part 3.  #sorrynotsorry

German Adventures:

German Adventures Part 1: SC to DC to Moscow to Stuttgart, arrival
German Adventures Part 2: Essen, Germany
German Adventures Part 3: Munich, Germany
German Adventures Part 4: Tübingen, Germany
German Adventures Part 5: Departure, Stuttgart to Moscow to DC to SC