Monday, December 5, 2011

I actually rather enjoyed work last week because I got to paint on the walls in our office. Ralf had told me a month ago that he wanted me to trace the logo on the wall in the office and then paint it. Marie and I finally got to start on it 2 weeks ago and I finished the paining on Wednesday instead of going to the Gründschule. As you can see, both of the logos (apparently he wanted 2 logos, not just the one) turned out rather nicely. :)

I just helped trace this one. Marie painted all of it.
I traced all of this one and painted most of it. Marie painted the basketball players.

Felix and I also worked yesterday for the DJK. Ralf had mentioned once that he wanted me to work the ticket table at the H1 team's home games and the next one was yesterday. I had forgotten about it since Ralf told me we were probably going to have to cut back my hours, but Felix called to double check and sure enough, they were expecting me. As of Thursday evening's end of the year verein meeting, Felix was voted into the Beisitzer position at the DJK, so he came to volunteer with me. I am glad that we did, because the second head honcho (Ralf is the first) usually has to man the ticket table and the kitchen where they sell Subway sandwiches and drinks (the team is sponsored by Subway) by himself. He told Felix as we were getting ready to leave that the last two home games were completely packed, but they managed to only make €8 profit because people went in without paying because he was stuck in the kitchen or he was at the ticket table and couldn't sell anything in the kitchen. We assured him we would be there for all of the games, which won't be again until mid-January. Today I was lucky enough (not) to have to do some more collection calls. There are two military women/wives with children in the DJK basketball club that have balances on their accounts from 2010. I was only able to get a hold of one of them, so hopefully we resolve her situation soon. If you are interested in seeing my face on the company website, as well as Marie's, Ralf's, and Gerhard's, just click the link below. Felix's should be on there soon.

This past weekend was mostly fun and quite memorable. Friday we dyed my hair and by we, I mean Felix. He was a bit nervous since he had never done it before, but he was more gentle than Jeny (sorry Lurvy. lol), so I was okay with it. He missed a few spots in the front, but all in all, it looks MUCH better. I am very ready to go back to my natural color, but I am waiting until after my friends' wedding in March. I am a maid of honor, so I don't want to risk having awful hair in her pictures. ha, ha.  That evening, we went to see a photographer to have my resume photograph taken. I really struggled with this. As most people know, I studied I-O Psychology in grad school which included legal issues in hiring, firing, promoting, etc. It has been drilled into me that it is illegal to ask someone's age, marital status, birthdate, or nationality during an interview or to use that information or a person's appearance to determine whether he/she is offered the job. All of these things are vital information and required on a German resume. I also included hobbies (i.e. running, reading, crafting, etc.), which is just not done on an American resume. It felt so taboo, but thankfully, I do not feel like I have anything to hide and realistically, Felix's uncle (the one the resume is for), knows all of this information about me already. Putting it on paper (or a PDF file as the case may be) isn't going to make a difference. The wonderful man who took my photograph spoke English with me. As we were paying, he told me it was a beautiful photo. I said I sure hope it gets me a job, to which he replied, "it will be a guaranteed job offer, just wait and see." ha, ha. I sure hope he is right!

This is the actual resume picture. I wish I had something brighter to wear, but I didn't know I had to take a resume picture when I was packing!

Saturday.... I really can't remember what we did during the day. Oh yeah! We went around to a couple stores trying to find a Christmas tree and tree stand to no avail. I am also looking for candy canes. There are a couple of decorative crafts I would like to make with them, but they just aren't popular here it seems. Some vendors were selling them at the Christmas market for €1 (roughly $1.30) a piece, but I need 10. ha, ha. Saturday evening we ventured into town to visit the Mainz Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) with Manisha and our neighbor Gerhard. I had only waved to him in passing, but Manisha has told me that he has made it very clear that he has romantic feelings for her. He seemed like an incredibly friendly, nice guy, but I guess she just isn't into him. 
Felix, Manisha, and Gerhard
Felix and I at the Mainzer Weihnachtsmarkt 2011

We had fun walking through all of the sparkly lights and the misty rain. It had rained all day and thankfully by the time we got to the market, it was a light mist that we barely noticed. Glühwein is a hot, spiced wine that is wildly popular here during the Christmas markets. On my first trip here for Christmas 3 years ago, I tried a cup of the regular kind and hated it. It is incredibly strong. I took a bottle home with me to have my family and friends try. Mom, Dad, and Jeny all didn't like it. The only people who did were my friends, Matt and Ben. This year I was kind of excited to give it another shot and see if I liked it, but Felix's mom told me that the Kirschewein (cherry Glühwein) is much sweeter, so I ordered that instead. It wasn't too bad and it definitely made me forget about how cold I was. ha, ha! After two Glühweins, I was done. Everyone else managed a third while I ate some pommes frites (french fries). :) 

I really want to start building my own collection of sentimental ornaments now that I am not living at home with all of the sentimental ornaments that have become so familiar over the years. My goal for the Christmas market was to find at least one ornament that I loved and I succeeded. To the tune of €13.50. Ouch. It was roughly $15, but I fell in love with him first and he wasn't wearing a price tag. He is also a piece of Mainzer folkart and he is one of a kind. Felix and I had a conversation the other night about how we block out the negative parts of situations, for example, my delayed trip to Bali two years ago. Without going into the whole mess, I left 4 days later than I was supposed to and Felix had to book me a whole new ticket, but the only one available was first class, which as everyone knows, isn't cheap. We realized during this conversation that he doesn't miss the money he spent on that first class ticket and when I think back on my trip, I remember everything while I was actually there. Despite how frustrating the situation at the time was, neither of us really remember that part of it. The point of this flashback is, I had no hesitations about paying so much for something so small because he already meant so much to me. He will forever remind me of this wonderful night Felix and I had while celebrating our 3rd Christmas together (so far we have had 3 had 3 apart and 3 together, this will be the 4th together). He is also the first ornament with a memory/story of our first real apartment. You just can't put money on these things.
We also made a few other festive purchases. I have no idea if they are big in parts of the U.S., but I have just never seen them, but these star lanterns are all over the place here in shop displays and house windows. So of course we got one. :) I think it is gorgeous, we just need to figure out a place in our apartment for it now. I also convinced Felix to buy the most beautiful/adorable string of lights ever. I am still smitten with them. It is essentially a normal string of white lights with what seems to be a stiff felt dome cover with a piece of white wire that coils around it to hold it in place and add a little more interest to them. Felix actually asked me if I would use them any time after Christmas season! He clearly doesn't remember me having Christmas lights up in my room at home or in our dorm lobby. I LOVE lights. :)
There is only one more decoration that I really have my eye on (besides a tree), but I have no idea what to call it. It is sort of a carousel that spins by heat from candles underneath a fan blade on top. This one is a large one that they put in up every year in Mainz and I absolutely love it. Several stands at the market were selling smaller versions of these, but they are all hand made, which means they have a large price tag. The smallest I saw was about €30 and the largest was about €200. I know it is one piece of Christmas decor that I wouldn't mind transporting between countries when we move, but we just have to find the right one.

On the trek home, we stopped by a bar and had a drink while we waited for our train. I made the mistake of ordering a rum and coke. In the U.S., a rum and coke is more coke, less rum. In Germany, it seems to be the opposite. They fill the glass to the 0.2l line with some ice and lots of rum, then they top it off with some coke from one of the old fashioned individual glass bottles and leave the rest with you. I replaced every sip I took with more coke and by the time the whole bottle was in my glass, it still tasted like pure rum. Yikes! I learned my lesson. We took the bus over to the station and hopped on our train. We managed to get 4 seats facing each other with Felix and Gerhard on one side and Manisha and I on the other. I chit chatted with Felix's mom the whole way home. She told me how much she likes me and that my German is getting better. She said that when I do speak, I do it very well and without an accent, which is really the best I could hope for. At one point she said that the family wants Felix and I to have a baby and started laughing. ha, ha. I really hope she was joking. lol. We aren't even considering that anytime in the near future. Then she told me that she has always encouraged Felix to do what makes him happy and to not factor in his family when deciding where to live. She said that she considers me a friend and that is what she wants for me also. Whether that means Felix and I get married or we go our separate ways, she just wants us to be happy. Oh, and she said that I could come stay with her anytime if for some reason I upgrade to a newer model boyfriend. lol. I think you would have to meet her or know her a little to understand that this was a meaningful conversation and not a bizarre one that is supposed to sway me in any direction. I just hope that comes across.

Sunday we spent the day relaxing. Felix slept in till about noon while I read Rob Lowe's book and redid my nail polish. I made french toast for brunch and were planning on heading to the Winklers' to talk to Ralf about the DJK, Felix's new position, language school, etc. when we realized I had to work the game. We stopped by their house after the game for a few minutes, but Ralf was heading to the game we just came from (the gym is about 100 yards down the street from their house), so there was no time for talk of anything meaningful.

All in all, it was quite a lovely weekend. Next weekend should be interesting. Manisha has been wanting to go to the Ingelheim Weihnachtsmarkt on Saturday, but I just found out that one of my former coworkers, Stan, will be in Stuttgart until Sunday and the only day he could meet up might be Saturday. Stuttgart is about 2 hours from here, so I don't know how realistic it is that we will find time to meet up, but it would be nice to see a familiar friendly face. Sunday is Oma Lotte's Christmas/birthday lunch. Her son, Felix's Uncle Robert, will be in town with his wife and two kids and his birthday was a couple of weeks ago. Oma wants to take the opportunity to make this a celebration of Robert's birthday and an early Christmas celebration since her whole family will be in town. I have no idea how she is going to fit everyone at a table with 15 people present, but she is a great cook, so I am sure everything will be lovely.

We still haven't had snow yet and the weather has been relatively warm, about 10 degrees Celcius. I am trying to appreciate it while we have it. ha, ha. :)
I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the beginning of the holiday season.

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