Wednesday, May 16, 2012

sorry for the lack of updates...

but honestly, nothing too exciting has been going on lately! Festival season is starting to take off as carnival and festivals and outdoor markets start cropping up, trying to make the most of the nice weather. It's fun and always gives us options for the weekends. With all the nice weather I've been thinking about swimming or trying to find some body of water around here. I wouldn't mind enjoying the great outdoors while we can!

I've been dying to check out some of the flea markets around here. They have the coolest stuff! I used to love the ones in Berlin, you could spend hours there.

Fionn and I did some exploring around Bavaria last weekend and ended up visiting this small town with a castle on the hill. We hiked up to it and found it was closed but that once a month they put on tours reenacting medieval life. There's food, artisans, craftsmen, musicians, etc all costumed. It sounded pretty cool! We learned all of this from a guy who works there who asked if he could help us when he saw us looking around. We asked him why it was only open once a month and what they did with the castle in the meantime. "Oh," he replied, "here there are living people with, how you say, mental problems? This is why."

Fionn and I exchanged a look, and both looked at the castle with its huge, medieval walls. We thanked the guy and started walking back down the hill. "So, they keep mental patients locked up in a medieval fortress?" I wondered aloud. Fionn stopped and pointed to the small electric fence surrounding the fortress. "Makes sense, I guess. Gotta do something with it."

Talk about re-purposing historic buildings! Though I guess we do the same back home, we just don't have medieval castles at our disposal. We still thought it was all a bit strange, though we might come back and visit on one of the tour days.

It's funny, back when I studied in Besançon we had a big fortress atop one of the higher hills that was from the 1600s (one of the masterpieces of Vauban) called the Citadelle. It was one of the only landmarks in our city so we went there quite a bit. They had museums to the history of la Citadelle and also eras of French and Franche-Comtois history, but the weirdest part was they had made a large part of it into a zoo. So you'd be walking around and suddenly look down and see tigers or monkeys roaming around the old walls. Hey, whatever works ;)

Anywho, apart from that adventure we've been hanging out together at home. Last weekend we had a date night at a sushi restaurant and then met some friends at one of the beer festivals that was going on. We came in regular clothes and got scolded for forgetting our dirndl and lederhosen. NO worries, I'm sure there will be other opportunities!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It's May already?

I can hardly believe how fast the time has gone. It feels like I just got to Germany, like getting married was just yesterday, like slogging through the icy grip of winter was just minutes, not months ago. It's crazy how time flies.

Though it went by incredibly fast, so much has happened! We've traveled far and wide, I got all my residency stuff straightened out (legal alien yay!), I got my car (SO AWESOME), I've made some friends, gotten acquainted with my new home in Bavaria, and slowly started building a new life here.

It hasn't all been easy, of course. There were plenty of sad, homesick days and frustrating days where I pondered what my next step should be. And while I'm still trying to figure out what to do next in terms of grad school and/or finding a job, I've met quite a few encouraging and extremely helpful people who've given me some great leads and are pointing me in the right direction. So I'm excited about what's next!

It's been absolutely perfect weather here, and Fionn dragged me convinced me to go on a nature walk with him. I'm far from outdoorsy but I admit, I had a fun time. There's a little nature walk by our house and it has little signs along the way about the animals and trees, as well as mini obstacle courses. I got to translate the signs (and learn some new German words!). One of the stations had this sand pit and you jumped as far as you could and then you could see what your forest animal jumping equivalent was. I jumped 1 meter, but I didn't recognize the German word for the corresponding animal so I can't tell you what mine was. Fionn jumped 2 meters (show off!), which is how far a hare can jump. Fionn is lightyears ahead of me in the physical activity department so him jumping farther surprised no one haha. But hey, I can say I married a stud ;)

We had the trail all to ourselves, not a soul was out that afternoon. It was so peaceful and perfect, and when we got to the top of the hill we could see all around. We are truly blessed to live in such a beautiful, picturesque place.

Now it's back to the weekly schedule. Fionn leaves soon for a month long training course, so we're trying to make the most of our time together before he leaves. But right after the training is the start of his summer vacation time and all the fun things that go along with that. I'm actually heading back to the States shortly after he leaves rather than staying in Germany by myself. I'm sad to be away from him, but also excited about getting to see my family and friends. Only a few more weeks til I can get my hands on a Chick fil a! ;)

That's all for now, lots of love from Germany!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Volksfest!

Sorry it's been so long without an update! So what's new in Bayern?

Well first off the weather is GORGEOUS! It's an absolute dream. Everything is green and beautiful, blue skies, green grass, birds chirping, flowers blooming, festivals starting. I can't believe that it's already May and that I've been here so long already. It's so nice to see that winter is gone gone gone.

Fionn and I are doing great. We've had so many great opportunities to get out and enjoy the area as well as spend time together and be an annoying young couple in luuurve ;)

I've looked into some volunteering and have met some really nice people that way. I've also made a friend my age whose husband works with Fionn. We met up for a lunch date in the neighboring city and it was a really fun time. Nice to find someone with common interests!


This weekend was the Volksfest, which is like a carnival plus a beer festival. So you've got sketchy looking rides, all kinds of carnival food, booths where you can win stuffed animal prizes, and then a big Bavarian beer tent with women in dirndls selling huge mugs of beer bigger than your head.

We went the first night but didn't stay long. Saturday we went to Nürnberg and ran into an Italian festival going on. It was pretty cool and had tons of cool food and even had a small Venetian carnival roaming around. Such cool costumes! We felt bad for the chocolate seller since almost his entire selection was melting under the hot sun. Poor guy! :(


It was a pretty warm day, so we stopped for ice cream and cold drinks. I stopped for an iced tea at Starbucks and they wrote my name as "Schanen". Points for creativity!

so. many. dirndls.

Fionn's coworkers were meeting up at the Volksfest that night and wanted everyone to come in traditional Bavarian clothes. I've been bugging him for almost a year to buy some lederhosen, and he finally gave in and bought some while we were in Nürnberg! I thought he looked great, and besides, when will we get the chance to wear this again once we leave Bavaria?

So that night, after a long, stuffy train ride home from Nürnberg, we got dressed and headed to the Volksfest. I wore my dirndl, he had his lederhosen. We were ready.



We had a really good time on Saturday! A bunch of the other wives were there so we hung out together and chatted over maß beer. I only had one since I was driving. I met a bunch of Fionn's coworkers and later into the night we watched fireworks. Towards the end of the night his boss decided to get the party started and got up on stage with the band and sang "Sweet Home Alabama". Yep. That actually happened haha. He was actually pretty good, and the crowd (especially the Americans) loved it. Everybody was dancing and clapping and singing along. It was really cool.

We were about to leave when I met some more of Fionn's coworkers-they were all excited to meet me since they'd heard about me since our dating days and wanted to tell me (maybe the booze helped them on a little) how happy they were for us and how much they loved working with Fionn and what a great leader he was. I thought that was really touching. I invited them over for dinner sometime, but we'll see if they remember my invite ;)

Sunday was church, then lazy afternoon and then we drove back to Nürnberg to watch the Avengers in English (yeah!) and then have dinner and a fancy Thai place. It was a fun date night :)

This week has been quiet but fun nonetheless. I'm trying to do all my last minute wedding planning and plan my flights back to the US. I went to the Wives' Club tonight and mentioned planning our church wedding and I'm not kidding-EVERYONE at the table was like, oh, we did that too! So that was cool to talk with other people who had done it. I guess it just kinda goes with the lifestyle eh? Get the important things done first, save the rest for when you've got time. I kind of like that about this life. You're always living in the moment.

Anywho, gotta get to bed. Lots of love to all of you!