Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Frankfurt and Back with Marc

Ok, so about that super long, super fun weekend in Frankfurt. Here goes...

Friday at work was great. I worked on the same project I've been working on for about a week now all morning, lots of reading, but that's not a bad thing! At lunch time, no one left, no one invited me out, nothing. Hmm... Luckily I had a yogurt in the refrigerator and had that. Suddenly around 12:00 noon or 1 PM, everyone went home. I sat there for another half hour but when no one returned, I went home too. It was nice because it gave me a chance to relax and I made sure I had all the necessary items for the trip. Finally at 3:45 PM or so, Marc knocked on my door and offered to carry my bag down to the car. I thanked him for the offer but took it myself. That's when he told me we were driving someone else too. We got to his black VW Golf and threw my bag in the trunk and off we went to the Paderborn Hbf (the train station.) There we picked up a girl who was maybe 18 ... or 16 even. She was quiet and slept most of the ride, it gave me some time to talk with Marc. We have similar taste in music (or maybe it's just that I like any kind of music that has a beat?) Unfortunately, we got stuck in traffic for maybe one and a half hours, there was a car accident blocking both lanes on the autobahn. Good thing he had air conditioning, cause it was hot out. We dropped the girl off (oddly next to a circus) and Marc took me to Aschaffenburg where we met Patrick and his wife Jacqueline. It was the first time in ten or eleven years that I have seen Patrick and the first time I had ever met Jacqueline. I thanked Marc for the ride and got into the car with Patrick and Jacqueline. We then drove to Sebastian's house.

Sebastian is another one of my cousins and again I haven't seen him in ten or so years. He now has a six year old daughter and is married to his second wife Melanie (I think it's his second wife at least.) We all visited, Patrick, Jacqueline, Sebastian, Melanie, Harold, Evi, and myself. Here's a picture of Harold and Evi, thought Mom would like to see it.

After a few beers and a good meal (they grilled) Patrick and Jacqueline took me to another town, Patrick needed to meet with a colleague to give him a package. In the town we stopped in, there was a "big" festival going on. That's what I was told at least. It was a small town and their "big" festival was actually just a bunch of tables with people sitting around drinking and socializing. We had a beer, talked to some people, and finally went home. It had been a long day and it felt good to get into bed.

I woke up on Saturday morning at my usual 6:30 AM (darn not being able to sleep in!) and went downstairs. The apartment that Patrick and Jacqueline live in is pretty big and has a kitchen, dining / living room, a bed room, a bathroom, and a spare room. Also, upstairs, not connected to the main apartment, they have an office for Patrick and a bedroom with a full sized bed. I went down to the main apartment and we had breakfast. Brötchen and a variety of jams, meats, and cheeses. It was a typical German breakfast. After just one brötchen, I was full and we decided to pack up our things and go into town. I was shown the main shopping district in Frankfurt. There were all kinds of shops too! Much more so than in Paderborn. We went into a few and looked around but the main attraction was the new, very expensive (to build), shopping mall. I kid you not, I have never seen an escalator so big! Once we made it to the top floor, I jumped to flat ground because I was so scared while on it! We looked around a little and went back down. Apparently Hollister isn't as big in Germany, well, it's huge but there are very few stores. In this mall, there is ALWAYS a line just to get in and people wait for two or more hours just to go in an look! It's like Black Friday, every day in there (minus the good discounts) I'm sure it's MUCH more expensive here.

We left the expensive mall and went to a book store where I bought "Fifty Shades of Grey", a novel recommended to me by Cosmo magazine. Of course, it was in English, and I don't regret buying it. I finished the 510 page book in a day, I had to search online to get a PDF version of the second book so I wasn't left wanting more! We then went to a Galaria Kaufhof, another huge, eight floor store and on the top there is a restaurant / bar where we had beer and enjoyed the sunshine with a beautiful view of the city. and finally, before heading back home, we stopped at a shop called "nom nom" to get bubble tea. It was the first time I had ever had it and I had heard bad things about it, but this one was pretty darn good! I had passion fruit tea with pear bubbles. While you drink the tea, these rather large flavor bubbles come up the straw and when you chew, they burst releasing flavor. It's something I would do again, but it was very expensive €2,99 for 0,3L of tea.

We drove back toward the apartment but the day was still young! We stopped for some lunch at a sausage shop. They're known for their spicy food, thinking nothing of it, I ordered a B+ (on a heat scale of A to F) and man did I regret it. I couldn't even finish it. Not only was it way too much food with the Spezi (a mixture of juice and cola, usually lemon or orange) and fries, it was REALLY hot. Notice the redness in my face in this photo. And yes, the wall does say "sex, sausages, and rock 'n roll" behind me.

We decided to go to a swimming pool and enjoy the beautiful weather that we were having. We went in (bought a family pass for €10) and found a sunny place to lay. It was warm and the sun felt amazing on my back but I only put sunscreen on my back. Oops, I was enjoying my book so much that I forgot to roll over enough and the back of my legs were crispy-fried when I left four hours later. Man, let me tell you this, I've been in this situation before, scuba diving in  Florida, but I think it hurts more on the back of your knees than on your tushy. Ouch, sitting down wasn't really an option. We went back to the apartment and I continued to read my book in the car, on the couch and after our dinner of Spaghetti, in bed. I liked it so much I was up until 3 in the morning reading. That's when I had to force myself to stop reading and go to bed.

Sunday was a good day too. Sadly, I had finished my book and no stores are open on Sunday except in the airport so Patrick and I went in search of the second book. We went to the Squaire, a new office building / shopping center / attachment to the Frankfurt airport. Sadly, the stores in the mall / airport didn't have the book I was looking for, or many books in English. Defeated, we went to a McDonald's and had a quick breakfast. Let me tell you, McDonald's is NOT the same in Germany. The beef isn't nearly as good and the burgers are half the size. Man, I was hoping for "comfort food." We then drove back to Aschaffenburg to visit with Sebastian and his daughter Amy. We played some games and then drove to Evi's house. We were going out for lunch and it was Thai food, yum! Actually, it was really good! I had some dish with Chicken and fried rice and vegetables. Probably one of the best meals I've had at a restaurant here so far.

Patrick and I were both tired after dinner so we thought it would be best if we went back to Frankfurt. We got inside and I started reading book number two, Patrick found a PDF of it and I can read it on my iPod now! He went to take a nap and before we knew it, Jacqueline was home from work. (She works at a chemical company as an executive assistant or receptionist I think. She works 6 AM - 6 PM one day and 6 PM - 6 AM the next then has two days off.) Sebastian called and asked if we wanted to come over for dinner and so, back to Aschaffenburg we went. We had dinner (another barbeque) and the boys ordered pizza, drank beers, and then played some games on Xbox connect. It was super fun! Even if I was super bad. Hmm, this drinking this is happening a lot, but the beer here is just SO good! Before I know it, I have had 6 or seven and we're going out to a club. Melanie works as a bartender and it's karaoke night ... great.

When we arrive, I am handed a shot, I drink it, I'm handed another shot, and I drink it ... It just continues. I guess it's nice having a bartender who's family. Haha. Sadly, I didn't sing on stage, but Patrick did and it was hilarious, great even. Though, he wasn't drunk and he says he's much better when he's drunk.

Finally, around 1:30 AM, we drove back to the apartment and I stayed up until 3 AM again reading book two. Before I know it, I'll be done with book two and will need to find book 3! I woke up at 8 AM, with a very slight hangover. Uhg, I haven't done this in a while.

Monday already? This weekend was just flying by! Jacqueline was peeling potatoes to make soup for work for everyone (8 people or so) for that night and we had breakfast in the dining room again. The best picture ever was overlooking the table. A fat Mona Lisa.

After making the soup and eating breakfast with us, Jacqueline went back to bed because she had to work all night. Patrick looked online for things to do and we decided to go to Burg Ronnenburg, a castle in the area. Once we got there, we walked up the hill and there was a festival going on. We paid our entrance fee and walked around the castle a bit on the outside. There was jousting going on and lots of booths with jewelry and food and such. We found a place to stand and watch the jousting that was just beginning. It was really hot, and I could already feel myself getting burnt more. Ouch! Patrick suggested we get a drink and we went up to the booths again. We bought two beers and a "met" or mead. €21. Can you believe it?! Actually, there was a deposit for each cup of €3, so when you're done you return the glass and get the money back (very common at festivals like this.)

Patrick and I explored the castle some from the inside, the cool shade was welcome. I was built in 1573. It was cool because we didn't need to pay extra for looking inside and there wasn't a structure so you could go where you wanted to and really explore. Finally we had seen everything and it was time to go home. We walked back to the car and had to stop for gas. To fill your car is with gas is "tanken" in German. We even found a Burger King and had lunch. Then we were off.

Once we were back in the apartment, I went to reading my book again Jacqueline had to leave for work. We said our goodbyes and she was off. Patrick found "The Green Mile" for us to watch. I've never seen it, though it is an American movie, and Patrick couldn't believe it. It's a very good movie but sadly, I couldn't see the end because Marc called and we were to meet him for me to go back.

We left and went to meet Marc at the destination we specified but he couldn't find it. We met in a small town and I dropped my bag in his car, said goodbye and thank you to Patrick and we were homeward bound. I planned to read my book or sleep in the car but it was just Marc and me so I felt bad. I talked to him most of the ride. Other than the time that he put in a Backstreet Boys CD and we both sang along at the top of our lungs, laughing at ourselves the whole time. (By the way, I looked for a picture of them and I can't believe I used to be in love with these boys! What was I thinking?!) Finally we were back at the apartments and he bid me good night and I went to bed, nearly passing out before three pages of my book were even read.

I don't really have anything exciting to share from today. Except, that I finally have a working visa! I went into the office again in the city and got everything settled. I will be getting the card in 3 - 4 weeks. I have to wait for a PIN number to come in the mail then make an appointment and I can pick up the card finally. And work's paying me back for the €100 I had to spend to get the card! Score!

One of my colleagues read my blog and told me I shouldn't be sharing details on my work, or at least, I need to be very careful of what I say so I guess ... I'll be as vague as possible. I did more research on my project and the day dragged on. At lunch I went to a bakery for something quick and on the way back, stopped in a book store. Nothing for me, but it's always good to look. The afternoons usually fly by since I come in so early and before I knew it, I was on my way out the door. I had no food at the apartment so I had to go shopping, nearly killing myself on the bike on the way. I thought I'd fit between a block and the curb but I didn't and I flew off the bike. Completely unscathed though! I bought some food and came back to my small, empty, lonely room to write. Maybe I should start a novel...?


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