Sunday, November 20, 2005

Gemeinde Photos :)

Another wonderful Sunday is almost over... just thought I'd share some photos of my church with you all.

Here's a view of the church from the street...

Here's the back view... the white door behind the car is the main entrance...

This photo was taken from the pulpit... you can see the back where everyone talks and has coffee and cookies after the church service.

And another picture of post-church-service-Quatschen. :)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Christmas Travel Itinerary!

I purchased my tickets this morning! Here's the itinerary... :)
And yes, I'll be flying Beatles Airways again!

Traveling to Austin
Fri 16-Dec-05

Dusseldorf (DUS)
Depart 10:50 am to London (LHR)
Arrive 11:20 am
Terminal 1 298 mi (480 km)
Duration: 1hr 30mn
BA Flight: 937


London (LHR)
Depart 3:15 pm
Terminal 4 to Chicago (ORD)
Arrive 5:55 pm
Terminal 5 3950 mi (6357 km)
Duration: 8hr 40mn
BA Flight: 299


Chicago (ORD)
Depart 9:05 pm
Terminal 3 to Austin (AUS)
Arrive 11:46 pm 973 mi
(1566 km)
Duration: 2hr 41mn
BA Flight: 5045
Operated by: AMERICAN -- AA751


Total distance: 5221 mi (8402 km)
Total duration: 12hr 51mn (19hr 56mn with connections)

Traveling to Dusseldorf
Mon 2-Jan-06

Austin (AUS)
Depart 1:41 pm to Chicago (ORD)
Arrive 4:16 pm
Terminal 3 973 mi (1566 km)
Duration: 2hr 35mn
BA Flight: 5226
Operated by: AMERICAN -- AA1728


Chicago (ORD)
Depart 6:10 pm
Terminal 3 to Manchester (MAN)
Arrive 7:45 am +1 day
Terminal 3 3814 mi (6138 km)
Duration: 7hr 35mn
BA Flight: 5108
Operated by: AMERICAN -- AA54


Tue 3-Jan-06
Manchester (MAN)
Depart 12:50 pm
Terminal 3 to Dusseldorf (DUS)
Arrive 3:20 pm 408 mi (657 km)
Duration: 1hr 30mn
BA Flight: 1686


Total distance: 5195 mi (8361 km)
Total duration: 11hr 40mn (18hr 39mn with connections)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Extremes and Discrepancies...

If the US is a Land of Extremes, then Germany is a Land of Discrepancies, in the most positive sense, of course. When thinking of the US, I think of extremes: extreme sports, extreme makeovers, addictions, the Prohibition vs. "Alcoholism", obesity vs. anorexia, independence/individuality vs. sheep-like conformity, etc. Though relativism is quickly taking over, the US still tends to have a rather either-or and black-and-white mentality.

The more time I spend in Germany, the more interesting little discrepancies I see. Despite the rich religious history, 90% of the country is spiritually dead. People complain about the US, while simultaneously speaking English and adopting pieces of US culture. Some have bashed the US for it's "terribly violent history"... I'm no history buff, but last time I checked, we weren't the ones who started a World War. Protecting the environment is a huge issue, yet half the population chain-smokes. Then, of course, there's History meets Modernity, with Berlin being the classic example.

Seriously, I love both countries, and feel "at home" in both cultures. They just both have their interesting little quirks.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Stalking Putin in Amsterdam...

If there's one thing I love about Germany, it's the frequent national holidays. Unlike in the US, people (often by law) actually take the day off. Yes, we had another one last Tuesday, so a group from church decided to take a day-trip to Amsterdam!

Guess who happened to be there... no, not Constantine. Vladimir Putin!! Though I didn't see him clearly, I saw a little silhouetto of a man in a limo, and I think it was him. By the time we made it to the central square, where he was placing roses on a memorial statue, he was gone! We'd missed him by three minutes. Three minutes. A little later, when we saw his procession of cars and delegates outside of a fancy schmancy restaurant, we waited, but again to no avail. Ah well. I'm not that disaapointed... Tony Blair (sorry Vladimir!) is still my international political crush.

The main thing we did was take a little boatride through the city canals. It was absolutely beautiful, and fascinating as well. There are about two thousand houseboats in Amsterdam... people simply dock their boats right in the canals. Quite a few of the houseboats even had gates on the docks, numbers and mailboxes.

As we were floating through a smaller canal, I noticed that a window in one of the houseboats was open, and you could see in. There was a lady, sitting in her little houseboat, typing away on a laptop computer! I don't know why I got such a kick out of that... maybe because it was a classic Europe sight... quaint simplicity meets technology/modernity.

Though we had a good time, I don't think I'd go to Amsterdam again. Yes, the canals were lovely, but I really didn't like the city that much. It's the type of place you should visit if you have the chance, as it's so famous... but it's really not that impressive. The ambiance was a little uncomfortable for me as well... though we left in the late afternoon, the city night life was already starting to awaken. Let's just leave it at this: I could easily launch into a feminist rant, but I won't.

Ah, Berlin... still my favourite city in the world!