||December 19, 2007 @ 8:49 am|
The last post I wrote about reverse culture shock has gotten some people upset. I apologize to those involved. When I first got the comment about asking if I even liked Germany at all, I was really upset. It bothered me a lot. The problem with blogging is that you cannot necessarily pick up on the tone of a post. I just assume the only people who read my blog are people who know me personally or people who I have had more than just casual “internet contact” who kinda know me and my personality. Some people read it as offensive to Germany. I never meant to put down Germans, or living in Germany, although I do stand by my comment of their garbage bags really sucking. Most Americans saw it as funny, and I think that maybe you need to be an American or live in the US to understand these things? I dunno…
What I talked about is *my* opinion of what I miss in the US, and what I forgot about since living in Munich. That doesn’t mean that because Munich/Germany isn’t that way it is bad. It means it’s different and I’m fine with the difference. If I didn’t like living in Munich, I would move back. There are lots of things that I like about Munich that I don’t like about the states. But since I’m now here after a year long absence (and two years since we moved), I thought it is appropriate to tell y’all what is going through my head. There are some European readers that prefer the exact opposite, and that is totally fine with me, it’s all how we grew up and what we’re used to.
EDIT: I wanted to say as an example, while I do appreciate the low stress and “comfy” driving in the US, I like that I don’t really need a car at all when in Munich (or pretty much any European city). And while I do love the squishy sandwich bread of the states, I still miss the baked-fresh-around-every-corner “brezen” (pretzels) and non-sandwich bread varieties.
So I hope that clears things up. I normally don’t write stuff like this in my knitting blog, but thought it was something that would be fun. Next time I will stick with the knitting…sigh…
Speaking of which, I went on a mini yarn crawl in Houston and came home with more than I ever thought I would buy! I went to the lovely Twisted in Spring, TX and then went to a knit group at Yarns 2 Ewe in Houston. The gals there were super friendly and I was amazed at how many people there were! I just love the southern accent! They all were just nuts over the Hanami shawl I made, and I think that several of them will make it now. The group had a few sock knitters, but a lot of them were lace shawl knitters and were making some really gorgeous stuff.
I am hoping to meet some knitters here in Hawaii as well as in Seattle when I go next month! Wahoo! Red Mill Burgers, here I come!
||December 13, 2007 @ 6:35 pm|
OK, so I’ve been in Texas 2 days now and already I have a huge list of things that I missed or things that I forgot about. The boys did well on the plane up until the very end when they had a huge meltdown. One boy refused to walk so a guy gave us a ride in the little truck and when we got to the passport control area, he refused to get out. So we basically had to drag two screaming fussy kids through passport and baggage claim. Could’ve been worse I suppose. They did really well though, for staying up nearly 24 hours with only a couple of naps here and there and not very long ones at that.
On the way home, we stopped by Michael’s favorite fast food joint, Jack in the Box. No one does fast food like the good ol’ USA! I got a chocolate shake and man, was it the best tasting shake I have ever had!!! He loves Jack tacos, in fact, his whole family loves it and I hate it. It’s not a taco, it’s a sad excuse for a pocket of meat.
If you’re a listener of the podcast, you know all about my food weirdness and all the stuff I complain about the US and Germany. OK, it should be my comparison between Seattle and Munich – because as some of my friends have pointed out, Munich and Bavaria is different from other cities in Germany. But ooohhhh, driving home, wow, what an experience. Wide 10 lane highways, lots of huge trucks and SUV’s, big box stores everywhere, TARGET!!!, many, many varieties of fast food. OK, it’s not like this is a good thing, it’s just that I am not used to it. I’m used to driving in a cramped car in a cramped lane with BMW’s going 200 mph and parking spaces that require you to be paper thin in order to get out of your car without scratching the one next to you.
Yesterday I went to the grocery store. Mind you, I am in a little po-dunk town in Texas, 2 hours away from Houston. But the grocery store!!!! Oh, I LOVED it!!! They had squishy “texas sized” bread (almost as long as my arm) for only $1! Holy crap! Real Montery Jack cheese, real tortillas without preservatives in it, real texas picante sauce that leaves your mouth with a nice burning sensation long after you finished your meal (I LOOOOOOVE hot sauce!), cookie and cake mixes (they have these in Germany but they are NOT the same), campbells soups!!!, fat can cokes (cokes in Germany are either in .5L bottles or tall, skinny cans maybe to make you feel thinner?), eggs in a dozen (some places in Germany have them in 12, but most in 10), and ADVIL (how can I live without thee?).
Let me tell you some other things. Aluminum foil here is thicker and they have a little metal serrated edge for easy ripping. The Germans like to leave you with very thin “alufolie” and the box edge (granted, it is jagged) will have to do. It does indeed work, but it’s not as effortless. I am willing to put up with the German style, but I forgot how easy it was to rip with the metal thing!
And, I’m sorry Germany, but your garbage bags suck ass. I don’t know how many times we have ripped the bag (especially around the top where you pull it shut so it becomes a useless piece of crap) only to have to use another bigger one to put it in. I don’t think I have ever ripped a US garbage bag, even the flimsy ones. Or at least it’s not as memorable as the many times in Germany.
And also, I love the fact that I don’t have to worry about something running out in the store here. There ARE times when things are out but it is pretty rare. Compare that with our local Schlecker who almost NEVER has diapers in the size that we need. Maybe 1 in 5 times they will have it.
I also love that I can get almost everything in 1 store in the US. I also love that it is easy to get out of the store if you didn’t buy anything. A lot of German grocery stores make it so that you have to wait in line just to get out. If you have a stroller, you have to wait in one particular line, which always seems like it’s the longest.
OK, and now to important stuff like MEAT. I recently went to what I like to call “the meat hut”. That’s not it’s name, but it should be. In Texas, meat is in plentiful supply. All kinds of cuts of steak are to be found, some pork, some bird, some game meat. In Germany, there is mostly only pork. Of course you can find chicken, turkey, and others, but mostly you have to go to a butcher shop for steak and it is expensive. While that seems romantic and cool, it is not practical, at least for me and where I live. Try finding boneless skinless chicken thighs. Yeah, not easy. Try finding ground beef after 5pm on Saturday. Even harder. But in the meat hut, you can find whatever your heart desires for so little money. In the grocery stores, they hardly EVER run out of any meat. You want that with bones or without? Your choice! Texas and it’s meat hut is not normal for the rest of the US, but still, the typical grocery store has a huge dedicated area for meats, not just the 3 little tiny shelves.
And the eggs. I complained earlier that Germany’s eggs are so freaking orange that it weirded me out. And now I’m complaining that the US’s eggs are so freaking yellow that it’s weirding me out too. I guess I would prefer German eggs now. Why is there a difference and why are there more brown layers in Germany? Anyone know?
And lastly, sorry for the huge long post about nothing, the grocery baggers. I love you. You make my life so luxurious! I can just stand at the counter watching the checker pass my items over the light while I slowly take out my credit card to pay. Everything gets bagged up with bags that I didn’t have to bring with me. I even have the option of someone helping me to my car. I’m not in this huge panic to get everything bagged and paid for by the time the next person is being checked out.
OK, so I know that everything I love about the US is just *my* opinion and not the most environmentally sound or healthy. A lot of this I can give up and I like that I’m more “greener” in Europe, but just let me have these luxuries for a few weeks ok? :)
||December 11, 2007 @ 1:07 am|
So, I didn’t make the deadline for the striped Lily the pink. In fact, after I went to bed, I didn’t have the heart to pick it up again. I will take it with me on vacation and finish it there. I’m hoping to take all my WIPs and get those done! HA! I will probably come home with more WIPs than ever before.
I may also have a chance to go to Seattle, but everything isn’t finalized. It all depends on if there will be someone to watch the boys. If I get to go, yarn stores better watch out! Naw, it will be great to see old friends and the city that I call home.
So anyhoo, I will probably blog a post or two, but most likely will take a break until I come back. I am really excited to go to the states again! Although the stress of the Christmas rush has given me a sore throat and cough. Ah well…
||December 9, 2007 @ 5:47 am|
This is why I do not do garments. I really really really suck at seaming. I’m trying to finish my Striped Lily the Pink for tomorrow (that’s when I have to give it to the recipient and it’s close to 5am) and I’m about to cry. All I have to do is attach the arm to the body, I’m trying to do an “invisible” seam but it is more like an ugly seam. I can’t do other seam stitches because the seaming yarn can’t show through. Am I missing something here? Why doesn’t it look like the pictures????? Argh, I have until 3pm, and I really think I will not make it.
||December 4, 2007 @ 2:46 pm|
If you are interested in getting some free Knitters Uncensored stickers (looks just like the logo), please email me or leave a comment. If you are in Germany, just send me your address, if you are in the US, I will give you the info where you can send me a SASE (remember those?) and I’ll send them whenever I arrive later this month.
Unfortunately, I can’t send it to other countries since it will cost too much. Maybe if we can work out some kind of shipping arrangement…. :)
I am a hat knitting machine!
Rowan with the new chullo cap
So the last couple of weeks has been full of knitting hats. 6 are done and I’m working on a 7th! I made 1 Amanda Hat and after it was done, I thought it would be too colorful for the german teachers. So then I made 4 Coronet hats out of different colors of shaded solid malabrigo. Man, do I love malabrigo! It’s cheap (even in Germany!), soft and sooooo pretty! Then Elijah lost his hat (my favorite hat) – it was a simple black hat that was made out of a recycled cashmere sweater. It was a square shape and it had little bells in the corners. The most simple but adorable hat ever! I didn’t make it myself, I bought it from a now defunct store called “Woolywooly” and I bought it before they were born.
So of course I had to make him a new one! I chose to make the “chulla cap” from Mission Falls Just Kidding book. I love Mags Kandis, she has a really great design style. It took about 1.5 days to knit and 1.5 days to do the finishing touches. Thank god our SnB group met while I was making this and a new girl, Kim, taught me how to do the crochet parts for the little shisha mirrors. I loved doing that part, way more than I thought I would. I also learned how to do French knots!!! I am a super terrible seamer though, the seam is the most ugliest part of the hat. And then I found out that I knitted the whole thing in 1 needle size too small (oops!).
I was so excited to show him his new hat and have him proudly wear it, only to get shut down. He didn’t want anything to do with it! So luckily my other son is not as afraid of new things as Elijah is, so he wore the new hat and Elijah wore Rowan’s. :( This morning I bribed Elijah to wear his new hat with some gummi bears. That worked. So hopefully now he will wear it regularly. I just love the shape and colors of the hat, it is so unusual and cute. Even though I hate multi colors and weaving in the ends, the end product was so pleasing that I’m looking forward to doing another one.
So now I’m knitting a hat for Michael, who has begged me for one. He wants one with ear flaps so I chose Swell from Knitty.com. I am done with the pattern part, and I’m on the decreases, so I should be done today. I think I will also add some edging because it looks so unfinished without it.
So now is the final stretch, to get everything we need to get done for our trip to the states. I am so excited to go to Texas because I will have one day to go on a yarn shopping extravaganza!!! Watch out! I’m also hoping to meet up with some other knitters, especially in Hawaii!
I also still need to take pictures of my stuff from Heli, my SP11. The light has been really bad lately, and I’m too lazy to pull out the lights. And the chocolate is all gone! :) But that is one of my goals for this week to get done. Sorry, Heli!!! I promise I will do it!