Thursday, September 29, 2005


Just thought you all might like to see some pictures of some of my dear colleagues and me. The first two are team pictures... and in the last one, one of my colleagues is attempting to explain something about his motorcycle... I'm sure I would have been just as lost had he been speaking English. :)

If you can't see the picture, try clicking on it...

Constantines latest post on the BB

Several people have sent me his latest post on the BB, and I just have to comment.

Ok. You all know whats coming. Yes, the CAPS issue. He titled the thread 'I Like Caps.' Allow me to respond in the form of a letter to our dear Mr. Maroulis.

I know our break-up was difficult, but you've really got to let go, Hon. Several months ago, I called everything off because of your unpredictable writing style. Sometimes you'd write in all caps. Sometimes in all lower-case. Sometimes a strange mixture of the two. Sometimes you'd write 'you', but other times simply 'u'. Sometimes youd sign your name 'C' or 'CM', sometimes 'Constantine~~', and once you even wrote 'Constantine James Maroulis'.

Honestly, I need more stability than that. Your unpredictability resulted in some major trust and respect issues, and I really felt it was time to move on. I know you're still upset that I basically ended our relationship because of your all-caps writing, but you've got to let it go. You now have your new girl Kristin, as well as thousands of Betties. You've got to stop making references to me, our relationship, our dramatic break-up and your regrets.

My second concern is the name-dropping. Not cool. Especially when it's names like 'Paris Hilton'. Gah. She's the epitome of pop-culture idiocy, and it's girls like her that make it impossible for women to break free from certain stereotypes we face. If you're going to drop names, at least drop decent, respectable ones.

I'm glad (relieved?) that Athan was with you in LA. A smart man he is.

Leno is this Friday, hmm? For the first time in my life, I wish I had satellite television.

Concerning the car... let me suggest you get a black '65 Mustang. That seems like a good match for you. Not convertible, though.

Very sincerely,

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Thoughts and finding purpose...

These past several days have been quite challenging in a mental/intellectual sense.

There is so much that I have to do, so many changes that are occurring, and so many people who have been helpful to me... it's all been very overwhelming. I appreciate the help, of course, but it also makes me question whether it's all worth it. People have been bending over backwards to help me, and I can't help but question... Why did I decide to move here? Why couldn't I have just stayed in the States and kept things simple? Was this a selfish move on my part? Is it ok that I put other people through these hassles? Is this really where I'm supposed to be?

I've also been reading a book that my dear mother gave me called "Captivating"... it's the womens version of "Wild at Heart." This has also brought some issues to the surface and made me re-evaluate certain perspectives I've adapted over the past several years.

So many questions... so little time.

Purpose... that's always the primary question, though, hmm?

Only starting yesterday have things begun to make sense... I've begun to understand, in a more concrete and tangible way, why I'm here. Sure, I'm here because I love the German culture and way of life, moving back here and nailing down the language is on my to-do list, I was ready for a change and a challenge, I want to prove to myself that I can do this... but ultimately, these personal reasons and ideas simply arent enough... there's got to be something more significant.

I feel I've finally hit a fork in the road of life, in spiritual sense and purpose-sense, and I need to make a decision. A decision I've been procrastinating making for the past couple of years: should I move forward or give up? No more of this pathetic mediocrity. I'm sick of it.

It's not often that you get such an opportunity... an opportunity to start completely from scratch, and be whoever you want to be. No one here knows my history, what I've been through, who I am. Other than the stereotypes people have of Americans, I pretty much have a tabula rosa at this point. I can do whatever I want and be whoever I want. Which is both refreshing and (thunder bolts and lightning, very very) frightening.

Honestly, my major fear about moving over here was that I would slip into permanent spiritual apathy, that I would simply give up. Several things have happened in the past several months that have made me question my faith... this, coupled with a spiritually dead country has a lethal potential.

Since yesterday, though, things have started to make sense in my mind. I think I might even be here for a reason. Why am I here, in this tiny town, as opposed to Berlin, where I wanted to be? Maybe because there are people here I can help and encourage. Why was I unable to find an appartment in Moers, the city most people recommended I live in? Maybe because I need to live in Neukirchen-Vluyn instead, closer to the little church I found and closer to work.

I was speaking with Bizarro-Mom, who helped me find a little appartment in Neukirchen-Vluyn (hopefully I'll be moving in on the fifteenth of October), yesterday, and that conversation was a turning point in my mind. Right now, there are several younger people and single people in the church and they don't really have a place to meet and do Bible Studies and such. Some of them meet at the church, but Bizarro was saying how she thinks it'd be great to have a place off-campus where we could meet... namely, my new place. :) When I first saw the appartment, the first thing I noticed was how guest-friendly it is, and how I'd love to have a group of people from church, co-workers, family or friends (yes, any of you are welcome anytime... I'm moving in on the 15th, so anytime after then!) come visit.

I was also thinking that it might be fun to go through the Doulos material with a group of people... I don't think they've done anything like that here. For those of you who don't know, Doulos is a Bible study I did in college that really changed my view of life and how I approach studying the Bible (as well as other books)... it's very practical and applicable. I actually met another girl who's my age (well, a year older) at the church, and I'm thinking that we might be able to team up and lead something. We shall see.

All this to say... things are starting to come together and make sense. Slowly, but surely.

Why, you might ask, have I posted this drawn-out personal post? There are several reasons:

1. If one of my friends posted something like this, I'd be interested and want to read it and know what was going on.

2. I know that many of you are sending prayers and positive thoughts my way (I'm doing likewise!).

3. I want people to know that it's normal (and even ok) to struggle.

Lyric of the day: "You and me... we're in this together... can't you see... one on one forever..." (thanks to Apoptygma Berzerk)

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Adieu, Hotel Dampfmuehle...

Yes, today is the day I say adieu.

Good-bye to my little hotel room...

Farewell to free internet access (this is what I'll miss the most)...

Aufwiedersehen to daily breakfasts...

Adieu to the late-night craziness...

Ciao to nice long showers...

Hello to having my own little temporary place and paying my own rent...

Quote of the day: "You want bread?? Four dallah!" and "Adios muchacho!" - The Soup Nazi

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Appartment Decision!!!

Why are decisions so difficult to make? Especially when I really don't know the ins and outs of cultural idiosyncracies and language, and there are no clear blacks, whites, rights or wrongs.

All that to say... a decision regarding the appartment has been made. I'm moving into a little one-room place this coming Saturday. It's like a dorm room in someone's home. A 350 Euro dorm room that I have to pay for myself... but hey... not only am I buying a dorm room, but I'm buying time and sanity as well. MUAH!

1-hour parking pass in Moers-Mitte: ,50€ . Glass of Kirschenschorle: 3,50€. New jacket at H&M: 59,00€. Monthly rent: 350,00€. Sanity: Priceless. There you have it.

I spoke with Bizarro Mom (the lady at church who reminds me of my own dear mother) today about the contract and the situation, and she thinks it's a good move as well. She and another family in the congregation said I could stay with them... which I appreciate... but I really want to have my own place at this point. Let's practice a little independence here, shall we?

She also said that the area where I'll be in is a really good one... some of the town officials live there. Yes! Official people! She also said that she'd go bike-shopping with me, which would be awesome. Maybe I could even go on MTV-Deutschland... ya know... Pimp My Fahrrad. :)

The only problem with deciding on a temporary appartment is that another appartment decisions looms in the near future. But I won't think about that now... baby steps, people, baby steps...

Quote of the day: "Serenity now! Serenity now!!!" (this was for you, Shelby!!)

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Roller-Coaster Weekend Update

Aww. Weekend Update. Jimmy Fallon really ought to go back to doing live work. None of this pansy movie stuff.


The past few days have been insane... in good and bad ways... and have been roller-coaster-esque in nature. Heres a list of the high-lights and updates.

1. The Appartment Search: I've decided to go for a little one-room appartment for a temporary period of time. Assuming it's still available. I called the renter today and am waiting go hear back from her.

2. The Work Permit: The earliest I can get it is four weeks minus three days... right now, it's all about *stomps her foot* patiently waiting.

3. The Hotel: It's getting very old very fast. On the one hand, it's nice that I know pretty much everyone who works here and vice versa... but on the other hand, I'm starting to get a little creeped out. There are a few older men (including the hotel owner) who hang out here pretty often, and they can be nice... but they also make me slightly uncomfortable. I don't like them knowing exactly when I leave and return, and where I stay... and I don't like that they jokingly call me cutesy names and stuff. Darn it. Why can't anyone my own age hit on me? Just kidding. :) But seriously. It's time to move on.

4. MTV and the Emotional Breakdown: Unbelievable as it is, I almost had a meltdown while watching MTV the other night... the Austin Real World was on, and I *sniff* teared up a tad. But just a tad. And I didn't actually shed any tears.

5. The Rollercoaster: For the first time since I've been here, I've felt rather upset. Frustrated. Annoyed. Empty. There's so much to take in, so many decisions to be made, so many new people, so many complications (permits, appartments, work stuff, etc.), so much that I simply can't understand language-wise... and it's starting to wear on me. It's an on-and-off type of wearing, though. One minute I'll be completely overwhelemed but the next minute it'll all be fine. We'll see. Once several factors straighten themselves out, I'll be back on the right track.

6. The Church: I visited a little free church this past Sunday, and it went really well. I met a really great family there, and the mom actually reminds me of my own dear mother. She's very warm, welcoming, outgoing, helpful, and you can just tell that wherever she goes, people love her. :) She's been an encouragement and help.

There was a guest speaker there, and he was talking on his work in the mission field. He's a German, with a Brazilian wife, and they work in Italy. It was interesting to hear his story.

The only "problem", if you will, is that there was barely anyone my own age at the church. Many people were quite a bit older; there were a few families; and then there were the high-school-aged youth. So... we'll see.

7. The Smoke: No wonder I craved cigarettes last time I returned to the States... I really think that it's possible to be addicted to the things without smoking a single one. Sure, I haven't smoked yet since I've been here, but my clothes reak; I've inhaled it all night (went out with my dear coworkers tonight); and I can still taste it even as I type. *cough* *cough*

Friday, September 16, 2005

My own personal Greek Boy!

Actually, he's not a boy. And he's not tall. And he has a Greek accent rather than a NY one. And he doesn't sing, stick out his tongue at the camera or fall on his butt on national television (that I know of). But he's my new Greek friend nonetheless.

We met a while ago in the hotel lobby... he needed help with his cell phone. And since the hotel owners know I work for Siemens now... who do they ask for help? Yup. Since I've worked for Siemens for two entire days now, I'm a technical engineering genius when it comes to mobile phones. Including Nokia phones. Heh.

Seeing how different people live and think has always fascinated me... and this guy definitely presents an outlook different than any I've seen before. He owns a little pizza place in the next town over, and I went to see it last night. What a way of life. Buying, selling, no stability, no insurance, mooching off the government when need-be, working crazy hours...

When we were talking, I couldn't stop thinking of Kramer on Seinfeld. He was a slightly mellow Greek Kramer.

"You need an appartment? I know someone who rents them really cheap..."

"You need a washing machine? A friend of mine..."

"You don't have your work permit yet? A good buddy of mine works for the government and he can help..."

"Have you eaten? An Italian friend of mine owns a bistro... let's go get pizza..."

"You need furniture? A friend has a shop..."

It's insanity!

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Visa Update - 16 Sept. 2005

Bureaucracy Schmureaucracy. Without going into complicated details, let's just say that I should get my Arbeitserlaubnis (work permit) in four to six weeks.

To give you a feel for how difficult everything has been, I'd say that the Germany red tape I've had to deal with over the past week is comparable to the mountains of red duct-tape in the International Studies Department at Texas A&M University. And that's pretty darn messy and complicated. But this time, instead of dealing with one German, I'm dealing with all Germans. In German. Away from Mommy and Daddy. But it's all good. And give it five-ish weeks, and it'll work out.

I would like to give a shout-out to several of my new German co-workers who have been incredibly helpful through this entire situation... I couldn't have done this without you... thank you...

Ok, before I turn all emotional and sound like I'm giving a thank-you speech for an Emmy, I'm going to end this.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

New Fav Appartment, incl. kind lady with British hubby

Here are some pictures of my new favourite appartment:

An der Linde Appartment

I visited this place today, and it's officially my new favourite. It's in a quieter area of town, is very comfortable-feeling and has all the necessities. The lady who is renting it was great, as well... we ended up talking for almost an hour, which isn't normal, as my other appartment appointments have taken about 10 minutes.

One thing that really stood out in my mind was her description of the current renter. She described his personality and the way he carried himself, which means that they spent time together and had a decent relationship. She spoke highly of him, as well as of several previous renters, which is also a good sign. Her husband is actually from England, so her English is fabulous as well... which is good and bad... heh, she wanted to speak English the whole time! And I wanted to practice German, of course. Ah well.

The one problem is that it isn't free until November 1 at the earliest, as she's not sure when he will move out. Which means I might have to live in the hotel (or a different appartment temporarily?) for another month. Bleh. I like it here and all... but I'm ready to have my own little place.

Lyric of the Day: I want it all... I want it all... I want it all... and I want it now. :)

(Thank you, Queen.)

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Pimp my Fahrrad

Seriously, folks, German media has been completely infiltrated with American media. It's hilarious. Everytime I turn the television on, I end up laughing hysterically. The highlight of it all was yesterday evening when I was watching German MTV, which is basically American MTV with subtitles and a few German artists (80% of them sing in English) tossed into the mix.

For those of you who don't know, theres a show on American television called Pimp My Ride. Its basically a car make-over show. Instead of taking a home in need of renovation or a woman in need of a facelift, they give a car a new engine, look, sound system, etc. We all know how fond Germans are of their bikes, so on German television there's a new show called Pimp My Farrahd (Farrahd = bike). Honestly, I have no idea how to pimp a bicycle, and I haven't had time to actually sit down and watch the show to find out. But the idea is ingenius.

Cell phones are also huge over here... and there's a myriad of commercials for various cell phone additions such as ringtones and wallpapers. The catchphrase is Pimp My Handy (Handy = cell phone). Just thought I'd share, as I'm rather amused by it all.


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Visa Update - 14 Sept. 2005

I spoke with my coworker this morning, and she said I could use her address for registration. Unfortunately, the Registration Bureau is closed today, so I'm going to have to register first thing tomorrow morning (and be a little late on my first day of work... but there's really no other option).

Everything is definitely coming together...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

How I love technology... but not as much as you, you see...

... always and forever. :)

I've finally gotten a mobile phone: a Siemens C65, which is quite an amazing little piece of plastic. And it even has a camera in it, which is absolutely necessary for me, of course, being the international business woman that I am. It's crucial that I have a mobile phone that's on the very forefront, technologically speaking. You see, if I didn't have a camera in my phone, I wouldn't be able to do important business-type things such as, um, take pictures of Constantine off of the computer and use them as wallpaper on my phone.

That aside... I visited my favourite little appartment today, and I think it might work. Here are some pictures if youd like to check it out:

Mittelstrasse Pictures

I still need some questions answered, and I have a couple more places to visit... but after that, it's decision time. And I'm really liking this particular one. We shall see.

Visa Update - 13 Sept. 2005

This morning, I met with two people from HR, and things went well. They have some steps for me to take to move forward, and I think we can make this happen.

The problem is that you can't receive your work visa without an actual appartment or address (the hotel address doesn't work)... but it takes a while to find an appartment, especially given that some don't even open up until Novemeber. And I don't want to rent an appartment if I'm not going to have an income. So. Round and around we go.

The plan right now is that I register in Moers (where I'd eventually like to be) with a coworker... just use her address so that things can move forward. She's out of the office today, but I've been trying to reach her on her mobile, so that I can go and register tomorrow.

Until receiving my work visa, I won't be actually working, of course, as that's illegal. But I'll be visiting everyday from 8ish to 5ish and, um, drinking coffee and getting better acquainted with my dear coworkers. :)

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Sail away, sail away, sail away...

Well, Day 1 was gliding... and Day 2 was sailing. Not too bad of a start, no? Our department managed to get up early, despite staying up late talking, playing games, drinking cocktails, and getting into spats with the hotel manager (the same one who thought I was Austrian).

We went to the Nordsee and spent several hours sailing, learning how to operate the sail boat, and just soaking in the sights. It really was beautiful...

I drove by myself today on the Autobahn for the first time, and hit about 170 km per hour... which is a litte over 100 miles, hehe. Crazy Germans. Here's a picture of the car I'm renting for the next month or so... its a little silver VW polo:

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The first full day...

... really couldn't have been any better!

I met most of my coworkers, and they seem like great people. Our department is surprpsingly young and surprisingly female. I'd say about 80% are female, and about 70% are in their twenties. There's even a group of ladies at Siemens that loves to do beadwork, so I think I'm going to fit in decently well, which is very encouraging. And they're all very willing to help me out and answer any questions, which is nice, because I'm still trying to figure everything out.

We had a fabulous day together... this is crazy, but on my first day in Germany, I went gliding! Glideschirm or Drachenflug is what they call it here, but I'm not exactly sure what the English translation is. It was so peaceful and quiet flying through the air... you could look down and see the countryside, the mountains and the little villages beneath. One of my colleagues compared it to floating through the air in a Garden Chair, which is exactly right.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Flight (read with a British accent for the full effect)

British Airways!! They were hilarious! Sure, I realized that the Brits speak with accents... but its one of those things you hear about and see on tv, but really just have to experience for yourself. At World Market, the occasional Brit would come in and I'd smile when I heard them speak... but that was nothing compared to this. I even found myself asking for tea and biscuits (yes, they actually handed these out!) in a British accent. Is that comparable to lying? Is that wrong?

And, of course, on the way to the London-Heathrow airport, I listened to Beatles music. Jai guru deva om...

Here's another interesting tidbit: when I was talking with a guy who works at the hotel I'm staying at and he asked me if I was Austrian. Austrian? Embarrassing!! Is my accent that bad? :) At least I don't have that much of an American accent, though, right?

The hotel I'm in is ok... no refridgerator, which is hard to do without for a month... but at least I might be able to shed a few pounds and fit into some old jeans. Or maybe not. German chocolate doesn't need refridgeration...

Lyric of the day: Mein Vater war ein Wandersmann und mir stehts auch im Blut... (my father was a wandering man and it also runs in my blood...)

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Flying the Coop via British Airways

Well, tomorrow's The Day. A day of both ends and beginnings. A day of sadness in saying "good-byes" but excitement at beginning a new scene of life. A day when British Airways helps me fly the coop. A point of no return, though purely in the metaphorical sense.

Here are the updates as of today:

This is the Siemens site in Kamp-Lintfort, which is where I'll be working, starting September 15th (assuming I can get my work visa).

Here's the hotel I'll be staying in for the first month or so, as I appartment-hunt... Atlanta Hotel International Dampfmuehle. In case you can't read the description, this is what it says: "Experience is enjoyment... the Atlanta Hotel International offers you the highest comfort and quality for our trend-setting 'all-in' price." Sounds exciting, no? Or does "trend-setting price" simply mean it's cheap?

The appartment search begins... this Saturday (that's right, a day after I get there!). My first appointment is to look at the following apartment... I like the coziness of it and the fact that it has a book shelf and a rather large kitchen. What more do you need? (Other than a lower price... it's a little outside of my desired price range, but we shall see).
Let me know what you think!

Lyric of the day: "I'm leaving on a jetplane... don't know when I'll be back again..."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Why blog?

As I leave the States, there are so many people whom I absolutely love, and would love to keep in touch with. The problem, though, is that I get tired of writing the same information over and over and I can be a slacker in keeping up with people sometimes. Instead of sending out bulk-e-mails, which can be rather annoying, I've decided to use this blog.

Let's list the benefits:

1. This will be a good place for my family and friends to come and get updates.

2. Many people get updates from my mom and dad, but now you can get them directly from me!

3. This is better than receiving bulk-e-mails.

4. You can leave me comments right here, on this site!

Of course, I'd still love to get personal e-mails... I just know that everyone is busy and sometimes that doesn't happen.

I love you all, and I'm going to miss you!!

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

List of Characters

Sure, the characters in my life and on this page aren't as complicated and difficult to keep track of as those in a Tolstoy novel... but they can be confusing for my Dear Readers nonetheless. Thus a list.

Over the course of this page, many characters have emerged... these characters come from various countries, various times in my life, and have a mixture of real and fictitious names.

This list has been alphabetized for (1.) your convenience and (2.) my desire to avoid creating or suggesting any type of character hierarchy.

Aunt Jane: my crazy retired rock star aunt who's now a massage therapist.

Beatrice: a lady at church who's helped me overcome my Biomuell-phobia. She's always very positive and encouraging.

Beck: my Canon co-worker. We work as a team, and together we're invincible. Take THAT, evil corporate world.

Biff: a friend from choir who sings a strange mixture of tenor and bass... and always remains within the right key.

Bizarro Mom: one of the first people I met here in Germany. In many ways, she reminds me of my own mother... just slightly more hyper and outrageous. She's helped and encouraged me tremendously, and for some reason, I've become rather attached to her.

Charlotta Louisa: Bizarro Mom's youngest daughter, who is absolutely adorable and hilarious. She seems to live in a peaceful and happy dream world of sorts.

Christiana: a dear friend (and one of the only people my age in these parts) from church and choir. She comes across as pretty shy and reserved, but she definitely has a wild side.

Constantine: my rockstar/ musician/ theater boi obsession... I heard him in concert and, um, touched his hand last summer. I swear I'm not a groupie (maybe cause we're on different continents now?).

Cruiser: Eleanor's hubby, a guitar-and-bass-guitar-playing-fiend, and one of the church Elders.

Eleanor: another lady at church who's been an incredible help and encouragement. Here are some Eleanor facts: spent some time studying in the States, is a very good painter, always wears green or orange, is an ebay-freak, is good about correcting my German (as well as English), and is quite creative. And she sees everything.

Emita/Emilie: my sister who's currently studying Communication at Texas A&M University (my alma mater!). She's the most sentimental/emotional of the four of us. I can always count on her for a good talk and a postcard. :)

Eve: my smoking buddy and former BenQ colleague. She's a very positive thinker, which is always encouraging.

Fernando: our piano teacher (be it classic, pop or jazz!).

Fränzchen: my co-worker I work closest with... we even have our own song, which we established during the last budget-planing period: "Help" by the Beatles. He also brings me chocolate when he goes on vacation to Switzerland.

Gladys: my friend from Great Britain... we enjoy analyzing and mocking one another's English.

Helmut: an actual person, as opposed to the fictional Helmut everyone in Austin jokes about. We met in choir, and he likes to talk, sing, talk, hang out on the balcony, talk, write music, and talk. Oh, and he talks a lot. In Schwaebisch.

Huckleberry: Mariposa's brother who's good at repairing cars and other things, painting, drawing (especially Jungle Book Characters), making weird/random cakes, and playing the ukelele. He's always so laid-back and relaxed; it's great. Here's his photo blog: dertobidertobi.

Jen: a Texas HCBC colleague who taught me to crochet, and who now shares an office with Shelby!

Karen: the greatest middle school youth group leader of all time!

Katinka: my sister who's working as a Nurse in Washington, DC. I'm super proud of her! She's very calm and has catch phrases such as "it'll all work out." And it does. Here's her myspace: katherine0319.

Kenny: my birth father. He's crazy... a Marine turned business man turned pastor. We're very much alike in everything from our thinking to our struggles to our hand-writing.

Laura: my positive-thinking-upbeat-angelic Alter Ego.

Leo: contrary to popular belief, Leo is not an actual person. He's an online dictionary who's somehow turned into an imaginary love interest. Kind of like Erik Westbrooke.

Little Rascal: Eleanor's pesky son who prances around wreaking havoc and playing the banjo. He's also an incredible drummer.

Liz: my old roomie's younger sister, who's also one of my dearest friends.

Lizzy: Eleanor's CRAZY, chatty, dancing, adorable, hyper, quadri-lingual daughter... who's going to be spending a year in the States. *sniff*

Mamita: my birth mother. If I end up 10% of the woman she is, then I'll be satisfied. If anyone's the Proverbs 31 woman, it's my Mamita.

Mariposa: a friend who recently returned to Germany after spending a year in Mexico (and visiting Texas multiple times!). She's kind of like the "Mom" of the youth group, and she likes Dr. Pepper. But now she's gone again... studying in Southern Germany. *tear*

Marketing Guy: a crazy Canon co-worker who can pretty much turn the drabbest of situations into funny ones. He's one of the easiest and most entertaining people to be around.

Maya: a friend from youth group who's known for talking so extremely fast that it's often difficult to follow, for making funny faces, for taking long walks, and for trying to condition people.

Michael Mustermann: a co-worker I'm not sure whether I should address formally ("Sie") or informally ("du").

Mr. E: a teacher and car-fanatic/genius. He's the one who helped me find Scaramouche, and who's helped me with the driver's license drama.

Mr. P: Bizarro Mom's husband, one of the main church leaders/elders, and one of the calmest and most peaceful of people. Unless he's wrestling with the guys... then it can get violent.

Neal: our local flute-playing progressive rocker.

Sarah: my childhood best friend. I have so many fond and hilarious memories with her...

Scaramouche: my car, whose name was inspired by Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody (because her license plate happens to have the letters 'QN' in it).

Shelby: another Texas colleague from HCBC, to whom I dedicate each and every Seinfeld quote.

Sidekick: Sound Girl's Trusty Accomplice (yup, that'd be me)

Sound Girl: The Keeper of the High School Sound System

Stalker Boy: my ex-stalker

Stephanie: my crazy A&M friend... a group of us used to stalk our German professor and wreak havoc in class. We've also conducted various investigations and such together. Muah. Her myspace page: steponme008.

Sydney: Bizarro Mom's son. This kid never ceases to fascinate me - he's an improv-piano-playing, physics-learning, ever-observing, computer-operating, website-creating, baptismal-building, hobby-eating, English-speaking, question-asking, in-Aachen-living, Engineering-studying genius.

Teddy: another BenQ colleague... he's very warm, laid-back and optimistic. Until it comes to Schalke (the local soccer team) games.

The Commander: a co-worker I'm particularly frightened of, and to whom I give my monthly reports and forecasts.

Tiny: my baby sister who's thinking about studying Spanish and spending time in Spain. She's crazy and does weird things. Her myspace is: barb

Tony Blair: my international political crush.

Volli: a colleague who's been particularly helpful and encouraging. I can always depend on him for a smile and a Roland Kaiser-esque Schnulze song.

This list will be updated as needed. Please let me know if you think I've forgotten someone.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why write? What's the point?

    This page was originally created to keep everyone at "home" (Austin, Texas - keep it weird!) updated when I moved to Germany. Over time, as the audience has morphed, so has the goal. Through writing, I'd like to bridge the gap, in a way, between two different groups of people, two different cultures, two different ways of thinking. I'd encourage anyone who reads this to take advantage of the situation and contribute any thoughts or ideas!

  • I tried posting a comment, but it didn't work.

    You're not the only one. If you'd like to post a comment, thought or idea and are unable to, please e-mail it to me (or let me know through some other, old-fashioned means of communication) and I'll happily post it for you.

  • Who is ___________? (insert name)

    Please check out the List of Characters page. If they're not listed there, then I'm not doing my job correctly, and you ought to let me know.

  • Can I get automatic e-mail updates when you post something new?

    No... unfortunately, doesn't allow that. This page is updated several times a week, so if you check every few days you're bound to find something new.

  • I sent your blog link to a friend/ cousin/ roommate/ co-worker/ Great-great-uncle-Albert-half-removed in Belize... is that ok?

    Of course; that's why I write. Just please don't copy anything, quote anything, use anything, or turn anything into a Saturday Night Live skit without my explicit permission.

  • Are you in therapy?


  • Click here to e-mail me.