September 14, 2008

The German's love their Gardens

Last week, we had some of the best weather here in Kassel. The sun was shining, it was about 75 degrees and I could not get enough of it. We decided that we couldn't pass up the beautiful skies and went for a walk in our local community gardens. These little paradise gardens (called "Kleingartens" in German) allow people to escape from their asphalt front drive or their third story apartment (wish we had a plot in a garden!) and give them a piece of land to grow beautiful flowers and vegetables. Just about every patch also has a small building for gardening supplies and some even come stocked with lawn chairs and kiddie pools.

They make for the perfect escape from city-living.Everything was perfectly in its place in each plot. Green thumbs are apparently abundant here in Germany, so it was nice to enjoy all the lush landscaping. We had a great time just wondering through the maze of gardens.

There were pumpkins as big as three heads everywhere! I think there must be some kind of chemical in the ground water because everything was at least twice as big as you would normally see. Maybe its just the combination of the right temperature, good soil, and lots of German TLC....nah, there has got to be something in the ground :)

I made him stand next to the sunflowers to get an idea of how big they really were...they were huge! He really wasn't as unenthusiastic as he looks. Oh, and every single man we saw there had his shirt off, so of course Alex couldn't stand out....Although all the other men were about 65 years old and working hard on their plots in the hot sun.

The best part about the Kleingartens is that each one of them have a Bierstübe, which are little beer gardens. Unfortunately our little Bierstübe (literally means a beer lounge or room) was closed. But, they have live music every Saturday, I believe, so we might have to come back for a cold one then.

Who could resist a giant zip-line swing?! Not us. We climbed up and zipped down and thankfully didn't get kicked out of the garden for being way to old to be doing such childish things. It was too much fun :)

A Month Already??!

I know, I know, I haven't posted anything in 2 weeks. But what can I say, I have actually been keeping myself plenty busy this past month. And I still cannot believe that I have been here for a month already. Even though it seems that we have done a lot here in Germany already, time seems to be blowing by. I keep telling myself to make the most of every moment, and I hope to continue that! As you can see, we are all smiles for Germany!

The past two weeks I have been trying to learn the language. That's right, I signed up for an intensive German course that's 4.5 hours a day, Mon-Fri of non-stop German or should I now say Deutsch. My teacher doesn't even speak English, so it is basically a sink or swim kind of situation. And I will have to say, I am treading water quite nicely. Actually, I am loving this course. I have already learned so much! Even though I feel like I spit when I talk and I can't help from laughing at how to say "Good journey!" (its "gut Fährt", hehe), I am excited every morning when I head to school to learn more. Call me a dork if you will, but I don't care. School is fun again (and I'm not skipping classes because of the night before partying like I might have done in college, whoops!). There are two more weeks of this first course - there are 6 total, but I am not sure if I am going to take all of them. I will for sure be in the next level class and I will figure out where to go from there!

As for trips out of Kassel, I already have some plans in the works. I'll hopefully be making a few trips to see away games, a good excuse to see other German cities that are in our vicinity. A girls trip to Oktoberfest will take place on September 22nd and I am getting so excited! Bought a dirndl (traditional dress, apron and blouse that German girls wear to the festival) online and I am anxiously awaiting its arrival. Love the fact that Oktoberfest will be like one huge themed party! A week after us girls are going, Alex gets to go too with his team. He is pretty pumped up about going too. I mean, just look what he came home in the other jealous!

I might have to make a trip or two to see friends traveling throughout Western Europe in October. And, the guys get off 2 weeks of games, which will probably only be about 4 or 5 days of practice, in early November. We have been talking about seeing Rome or London/Ireland or Switzerland/Austria in that time. We are pretty much down for anything, just have to decide where to go first. I am not too worried about it; where ever we don't go this time, we will go another. So much time for so many places :)

Everything else has been great here. The team has begun the regular season and they are currently 3-1 and couldn't be looking better, whoohoo! They do have the creepiest looking wolf/dog mascots ever. Seriously, the adult and little kid in these costumes give me the willies!

If I haven't been busy at school, I have been hanging out with the other girls, shopping (window shopping I guess I should say) downtown, we went bowling the other day, and we are heading to a dual birthday party for two of the player's kids tomorrow, so that should be a great time. Yep, I am happy to report that everything is great!