Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An Update: Exploring Our New Town and Little Differences

I've been feeling like such a slacker the past few weeks in regard to posting on here.  I almost feel at a loss of words for everything that we encounter and everything we have coming up ahead.

Last Thursday was Turkey Day and as I read everyone's posts and statuses and saw glorious pictures of perfectly cooked birds, I couldn't help but feel a little nostalgia.  Because my husband and I are stuck in a hotel and have been for over a week now, we spent Thanksgiving here with a microwaveable meal.  It wasn't all that bad, it just didn't feel very Thanksgiving-y to me.  We were actually able to scrounge up some pie from the commissary, just didn't get pumpkin pie or anything like that because of the lack of an oven to cook it in.

Although we didn't get the pleasure of a traditional Thanksgiving meal, we did enjoy ourselves by walking downtown (about 1.3 miles) to visit the Christmas Market.  It's so exciting to get out of the hotel room and explore a bit of our new home and even interact with the locals a bit... even if we can't understand them most of the time.  Please forgive the horrible pictures I'm about to post, they were taken in haste as my husband didn't want to appear to look too much like tourists ;-)

One of the many great things that I have noticed in Germany is the beautiful architecture with all the old buildings.  It is a shame that buildings aren't constructed in the same way anymore.  I didn't get pictures of all the wonderful buildings that we saw on our way to and from the market but we're venturing out again this weekend so I hope to snap up a few more.

I am continuously struck by how different things are here. It's funny how when in the US, you don't notice the little things but moving abroad makes everything stick out like a sore thumb.  For instance, there are no fast food restaurants.  I honestly don't mind, besides when we're traveling or have no real option, my husband and I aren't that big on fast food (Subway doesn't count ;-) ).  By the time we arrived in Frankfurt airport, got checked in with the USO, and were released until the bus came... we were starved.  So we set out with our dog to find something that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg but would fill our tummies.  We literally walked for 30 minutes before we saw a sign that was for McDonalds and then ended up walking another 15 minutes just to find it.  It was the first time in years that I had eaten at a McDonalds because I've never been a fan, but it was our only real option at the time.  The same goes for when we walked downtown to the market.  We walked for over a mile yet did not see a SINGLE fast food restaurant.  Yes, you read that correctly... Not ONE.

The only thing even resembling a fast food restaurant was a Starbucks which in itself presented an interesting difference than those stateside.  The way of life of Germans was even represented within the little Starbucks that we stopped into to grab some warm joy in a cup.  When placing our order, we were asked if it was for here or to go, like any normal fast food restaurant, although I had never heard such a thing at a Starbucks.  Because we responded with "here" we were given mugs to drink our coffee from.  Yes, mugs... Other than cafe's where you have a waiter, I have never heard of a restaurant doing this. Germans have learned to relax a little and enjoy the company of those around them.  In America, people rush through everyday life and although they might sit for a while with their coffee, most of the time they end up taking off before their cup is empty.  Rush, rush, rush, with no end.  I will admit it was so nice to just sit back with my husband at my side, my dog at my feet, and relax with a warm cup of Joe.  If only America could catch on to this lifestyle.

Little things... it's amazing how much the little things stand out when you're faced with unfamiliarity.

As a side note, we're still stuck in the hotel room due to not receiving our housing assignment yet.  I'm crossing my fingers that we get our place and settle in with plenty of time to spare before Christmas.  All of my Christmas items are packed away with our HHG, which are currently here, but they don't do me any good stuck in storage.  My hope is to get a chance to decorate and enjoy the festive season (which also happens to be my favorite holiday) before it goes away.  I get a bit of sadness when I see everyone post pictures of their beautifully decorated trees and homes, I hope I get a chance to post my own bit of holiday cheer in the next few weeks.

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