Monday, August 31, 2009

What am I doing?

That is a great question and I find myself asking it a lot lately.  I thought I might take a break from all the event/picture sharing and share a little about what I am doing here in Frankfurt. We moved over here because Justin got a job teaching Physics at an international school here. This has been our dream to move overseas and see how schools are run in other countries and maybe, possibly get involved with people building schools later on.

So that is the dream, but this is my real life reality; Justin is in his second week of teaching and I am in my third week of looking for a job. With any job search it is a roller coaster of emotions. Some days I am so motivated and feel like I get a lot of leads and the next day I can't find anything and feel so deflated.  I do have a lot of time on my side which is very different from my life in the States. I would try and fill every free moment with a phone call, an email, or just anything. I have had so much free time that I have actually read three books since I have been here...I know crazy. 

Some of my daily tasks include running to the grocery store and other stores that sell household items because you can't get them all at one place. Laundry every other day. Cleaning the apartment, language learning, job hunting and of course reading. I also love to get out and about in the city because the weather has been amazing. I have found a great coffee shop called Coffee Fellows with free wifi and a great corner street set up to watch everyone in their busy days. But all this said I still find myself having a lot of emotions about my direction and purpose here in Frankfurt. I have crazy ideas for jobs and who knows maybe one will actually not be so crazy. It is just strange, but also quite nice.  My whole life I have rushed around and never really stopped and smelled the roses and I can actually do that here. I really feel like this is God's way of teaching me a few things about myself and some new found skills. I feel like he is teaching me how to be observant, patient, open-minded, and flexible. I also think He is giving me the time I need to listen to what He might have in store for me. I have tons of thoughts and ideas I never even would have dreamed of because I never gave myself the time to think of them. So in a way I am really enjoying this "down time", but I also have an internal battle to find a job and to find one I really will enjoy and not just one to make money while I am here. 

I have enjoyed meeting people and who knows maybe they will be new friends. My life here is in one word- different. Of course I knew this coming in that it was going to be different, but almost a month in I kind of like the different, but also don't know how to handle the different. Figuring this all out and will keep you updated.

So the job search continues and the quest for direction is on.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Festivals and Friends

Since the moment we arrived in Frankfurt there seems to be a festival going on and this past weekend was no exception. I understand that it is summer and this is common for big cities, but all I am saying is it's a nice way to be introduced to a city. The festival this past weekend was none other than a beer festival. It had beers from all over the world to create the biggest beer garden in Frankfurt. They also had live music and it was funny watching all the Germans dance out in the open to some Motown hits. At a festival comes great food and here are a few pictures to illustrate.

All the meat you could dream of in one place. It was a sight to see and smell.

This is Justin's heaven on earth. A giant vendor of Hairbo gummies. Since we have been here he has eaten probably a bag of gummy bears every 2 or 3 days. He was like a kid in a candy store right here.

Another event going on right now is a free show of the Passion Play in the center of town. It is taking place on the Roman ruins. We just happen to walk by during dress rehearsal. They call it Lukas 14 and even though it was in German I got the idea.

Saturday afternoon we decided to take in some culture and we headed to the Goethe House and Museum. Many of you have probably heard of Goethe for his work Faust. He was born in Frankfurt and they have made his childhood home a local tourist attraction. It was pretty impressive for that period in time. He is very famous here in Frankfurt and they take a lot of pride in him. He also has a statue in town.

They had a special exhibit of artists that have created artwork based on the work Faust.  Justin really liked this part. I  don't totally know the story of Faust but I know there are some strange characters and they were definitely depicted in this artwork. 

Here was a really cool astronomical clock from the 1740's in Goethe's house. It still worked and had the correct day and time. 

Ok there is a story to this picture that I just had to share because it had me laughing out loud. While we were walking around Saturday we stopped to listen to a two man band sing and of course they are singing American songs. Out of nowhere this old man in the green jacket, the other man in the black tank top that we called "the Hoff "and the Asian man in the yellow shirt on the right just start busting out dancing. The dancing was not all the same but all different probably their best moves. The Asian man was jumping around, the Hoff was grabbing his crotch and the old man was moving faster than I thought he was possible of doing. It might be one of those things where you had to be there, but just maybe I thought I could paint the picture for you.

Lastly we got to see my former Georgia Tech teammate, Ulli. We hung out with her, her sister and her sister's boyfriend all Saturday night. It was so great hanging out with them and taking in all the festivals Frankfurt was offering that night. Her sister took us to a really cool little hideaway in a park and we just sat and caught up on life. It is always great talking with Germans and just getting to know more about their country and culture.

I did want to mention that we have noticed if you don't try a little you can end up eating a lot of meat and carbs here. Thank God for the fresh market every Wednesday and Saturday!

This weekend is going to be awesome. It is the Museum Fest and I can't wait. For four euros you get a button and can go to over 20 museums for 3 days. There is also over 500 vendors and over 3 million people coming to this event. So look out for pictures from that next week.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Along the Main River

Last weekend we took a stroll down the Main River and I wanted to share of few photos of the awesome skyline which I might add is the only one in Germany. It has been amazing weather and all you want to do it is get outside. There are trails along both sides of the river and people are walking, jogging and biking along them at all times of the day.
Trying to look all European with my scarf. 

 One of many bridges to cross the River.

Justin got a little camera happy with all the wild life so here are a few shots of the ducks and swans.

"Stop looking at me swan!"
Look at the skyline its it something! We have so much to explore in Frankfurt and this was just one Saturday afternoon. More to come soon! 

Friday, August 21, 2009

German Porcelain, we're not talking about fine china here - we're talking about industrial porcelain!  One would expect to come across ordinary things that seem a bit odd when moving to a different country.  I must say that I was completely surprised when I came across these urinals in the school that I teach at.  While American urinals are usually decorated with pink "urinal cakes" with a scent strong enough to burn your eyes or rubbery pads to keep large solid objects out, the Germans seem to have come up with a more entertaining option.
 I'm not exactly sure of the rules just yet, but if you can come up with some I'd love to hear your suggestions.  There is a small plastic ball that dangles by a thin wire so that your stream can push it in the goal numerous times.  
This also seems a bit tidier than the game that elementary kids at my step mom's old school made up called "High Score".  In that game American kids stood back from the urinal a few feet, got a stream going, and tried to see how many of their friends could run under the stream before the bladder expired.  "High Score" was the answer to why students were returning to class smelling like urine.
Another pinnacle of German engineering lies in the design of their common toilet.  At a quick glance it may seem like an ordinary toilet, but once you drop your first turd in that bad boy you quickly realize that this is no ordinary toilet.  You see, directly under the bunghole they have strategically placed a shelf that is nearly completely out of the water.  That means it instantly reaks as if you just dropped a turd on the ground next to you.  Thinking about a courtesy flush then?  Think again!  For when the toilet is flushed a rush of water comes straight onto the platform, pushing the turd down into the water and out into the plumbing.  The rush of water is close enough and powerful enough to give you an enema.  I have never been more aware of the smell of my crap then I have in the last two weeks - except for the last time I was in Germany that is.  Lastly, while the plumbing is strong enough to handle the toilet paper, the paper has the consistency of paper towels.  I'm gonna have a calloused rear that will be ready for any pansy camping trip in the States.  Til next time.... Justin.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Firsts of many...

We are total goobers and take pictures of us doing ordinary things, but in Germany it is all extraordinary. As you can imagine there is a lot of things that we just don't do in the States or when we do them in Germany it somehow becomes more cool. So enjoy some of our firsts and they won't be our lasts.

Beer- It is so good it is hard not to join in on the German tradition. Look how happy we look!

Flea Market- being like a local and buying a coffee table and bargaining the seller down from 30 euros to 20...YEAH!

Revival- Seeing our first Jesus revival in the center of town... Hallelujah!

Crate of beer- Justin buying his first crate of beer. Let me put this into perspective... he bought 20 half liters of beer for 20 euros which is like a euro a beer but the beauty is you get money back when you take the bottles back so less than a euro for a nice size beer. It was Paulaner.....think of you every time we take a sip Schloegel!

Brats- Making our first at home and they are good no matter how you serve them. 
Brat count (number of links) = 17
Apfelwein or Apple wine- is a local favorite in Frankfurt and we took part in some at the neighborhood festival. You can have it sour (topped off with tonic water) or sweet (topped off with sprite/orange soda). We went sweet and it is definitely something to try.

Doner Kebab- We both have a love for this Turkish food and the love came rushing back once we had one here. For 3 or 4 euros you can't go wrong with one of these - filling and satisfying. And nothing goes bad with a beer, look at that pour-PERFECT!
A first I couldn't imagine in the States-We have gone without cell phones or TV for almost 2 weeks, I know it is crazy. But honestly with internet (finally, that is a whole post on its own), books, going for walks, and each other we have been doing pretty well. I could never imagine it in America, but the slower life is treating us well at least for right now.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Away we go......our first few days in Germany

So we finally have internet (kind of) and we are ready to blog. Note that we hope to not go a week without blogging but you know how other countries can be with getting stuff set up...right me either. Where do we start so much has happened or least I feel like so much. How about I just recap and anything worth more details I will fill in and of course lots of photos of our adventures.
First thanks to our sister in law, Candace, and Justin's Dad, Step-mom and brother (Scott, Krissie, and Jake respectively) and our friends Melanie and Chris for sending us off at the airport. We really appreciate all the love!

Day One:
First off the plane ride to say the least was rough. There were tons of babies and one was crying at any given moment and for some reason I got a head cold as soon as the plane took off. So not a good start and as you can imagine once we reached Germany at 9am we were tired. We were picked up by a woman and her husband from the school Justin is teaching at and they were great. She is from England and her husband is from Scotland and they were so fun and just the kind of people you want to see when you land in a new country. They took us to our apartment and it was quite a pleasant surprise. Our apartment is very cute and will be a great place to live. It is right across the street from a park and everyone raves about the neighborhood, Bornheim. So after getting settled into our apartment we decided to venture out for lunch - well you can imagine at this point I am feeling all stuffy and we are both totally tired.

Can't you see the excitement on his face? We were so tired.

So we had out first brat, but then headed back for a 2 hour nap. After the nap and a new found energy we went exploring on the happenin' street by us called the Bergerstrasse. During our walk Justin and I got interviewed by a few guys and a camera about marriage, I guess some famous German couple Katie and Luke are getting married and need advice. We thought it was funny and Justin answered with a very sweet answer saying marriage is having someone to go through life with, I thought it was a great answer. Finally we went to an Italian place for dinner and had some pizza and our first German beer. We were a little disappointed that our first one had to be Warsteiner (that was all they had), nevertheless it was good, but we have had better ones since. The first day was rough with some ups and some downs.

Our first beer in Germany! It only gets better from here. Man we look rough.

Day Two:
This day was full of firsts. We did wake up feeling good and ready to take on the day. We started by buying our monthly subway pass and then headed out to check out Justin's school. His school is in a very cute neighborhood and I think he will really enjoy the scenery. After a quick trip to the school we headed to IKEA. This is where we had our first mishap with the language barrier. So we had loaded up with things we needed for our apartment one being a big rug for the living room. We go to pay and we did not have enough cash so we go to use our American debit card (which had worked in the past when we both traveled abroad) and it was declined. So Justin had a big conversation and just didn't understand why it didn't work so now we are holding up the line and they had to get someone to speak English with us. They told Justin he could get some cash out of the ATM, but unfortunately it was out of order. So here we are causing a little scene which you know Justin hates. So we ended up putting the big rug back and buying everything else with our cash. In the end I didnt love the rug so I think it worked out for the best. And FYI most places dont take anything but cash or a German bank card because credit cards and other banks charge them. The trek to IKEA was a long one and involved a subway ride then connecting to a bus and walking and mind you it is summer here so a little warm. So by know I am sweating and not feeling great but wanting to keep a good attitude. Next we head to get cell phones and internet and I am keeping in mind that this isnt the easiest thing to do in the States so I was preparing myself for some bumps. Well the bump was having a German bank account again which we wouldnt get until Monday. So moving on we took our first trip to the grocery store and I will say they can do some food here in Germany. Just the lay out and yes they arent too big but everything looks so fresh. So we had fun in REWE and Justin admired the beer crates you can buy for like 20 euros which turns out to be one euro per pint of beer. So we dropped off all our goodies and then headed out again and this time to enjoy the neighborhood festival going on called, Bernemer Kerb Fest. I will say our neighborhood is really cool and lots of people are out and about. The festival started on a Thursday and went to the next Wednesday. It was fun getting out and enjoying local food and listening to a band singing in english. They love American music. So we took in all the blues music and just enjoyed the city we will be calling home for awhile. We also got to take home two beer glasses for our place, so the collection begins.

The english singing blues band. The woman sounded like Janis Joplin.

Our second beer called Schofferhofer and it is good and a local beer from Frankfurt.

This is how German's do condiments and I have to say it really makes sense. Why didn't we think of that?

A few things to note is the weather is gorgeous and at night it is just perfect and we can sit out on our balcony. Also one thing that blew our minds when we got here was women who are breast-feeding just whip it out when the kid is ready to eat. Now that was crazy and I was wondering where their cover was, but they just expect you to look away. That's one that will take a little bit to get used to. And lastly we quickly learned that the frosted window in our shower was see through at night with the light on. So we were giving our neighbors a little show thank God only Justin got a whistle.

Day Three:
This was a big Saturday and we ventured into the city for the day. We started off by taking a tour by the women whose blog I have been reading since I found out we were moving to Frankfurt call Frankfurt on Foot. We also met another American couple who had just moved to Frankfurt but had been in Germany a year. They were great to talk to about living in Germany and all the changes. We also found out that our tour guide and her husband and the American couple we met both live in our neighborhood. The tour was great and a really good overview of the city and things we can go explore on our own later. We saw the Rhine-Main River, city hall, Holocaust Memorial Wall with Anne Franks name and much more. It truly is a great city and I am really excited to go exploring. Enjoy some photos from the tour!

This is the center of the city aka Romer where lots of things happen. From weddings to festivals and tours.

Here is the Holocaust Memorial Wall where we saw Anne Frank's name (one of about 12,000).

The Rhine- Main River. Not the best picture but it was really cool with stuff along both sides. We hope to go on a boat tour sometime soon!

Here is the German Stock Exchange. I recently learned about the bull vs. bear economy when things are up vs. down.

This goes out to our friend, Chris Tison, and his quest for the best wurst. This is a market in the city that was absolutely incredible.

The Opera House

The gardens and parks that surround Frankfurt. They follow a path that a wall used to be built along.

After the tour we all rode back to Bornheim, our neighborhood, and we headed to Moma, an IKEA knock off, and got a rug and a window cover. After that we headed back down to the festival and it was a blast. Tons of people beer and brats everywhere just what you imagine Germany to be like. Lots of live music and just people having a good time. We took part in some beer and brats and topped it of with an ice cream which I must say was fantastic. We decided to go off to one more place we had heard about and it was a park. It reminded us a lot of Piedmont park and even at 9 at night people where running and picnicking at the park. I see myself going for a few runs through there. After all the walking we were ready for bed and man have we slept hard from walking and adjusting to the time.

Day Four:
This day we had the pleasure of meeting up with my good friend and former teammate from Georgia Tech, Alex. I had not seen her for about 4 years and you can say it was a joyous reunion. It was great just sitting and chatting with Alex about all the things we were learning and is this normal or not. She is so great and it was nice to see a familiar face. She took us in her car down to the city and we enjoyed a very nice brunch and actually really good for a Germany breakfast. We sat and talked for hours and then walked around the city where we eventually went to the rooftop of the mall to get a good look at the city.

Alex and I on top of the roof looking out over the city of Frankfurt

Also let me note that while sitting at brunch around 12 on a Sunday we saw the Bier Bike stroll by and I cant wait to try it just to say we did it! After a fabulous visit with Alex we went back home for a nice quiet Sunday. Everything is closed on Sunday so we enjoyed just talking and reading. We also threw the little football we brought in the park across from our apartment and that was a nice touch of home. We tried our hand at cooking our first meal and it wasn't half bad. Just some tortellini with meat sauce and garlic bread. We also did a load of laundry and I know this might sound like a silly thing to mention well we had a hard time reading the washer and it ended up taking an hour to wash clothes and did I mention we dont have a dryer. We are line drying like all the Europeans do and actually our clothes smell great!

Well that was our first weekend in Germany. Fun at times frustrating at others but all in all a good time. I promise our future blogs will not be this long. I hope to tell you about a typical day in Germany if that is even possible yet and give you a cribs edition of our apartment.

The Jackson's

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Top Five and Goodbye America

As we set out on our new adventure TODAY we would like to reflect a little on the time we have spent in Atlanta. To do that we are bringing you our top five things we will miss about Atlanta and top five things we wont miss about Atlanta lists. Just to preface friends and family are for sure the top thing we will miss and that being said we will not be putting them on the lists.

Here we go..

Justin's Top Five Things he Will miss about Atlanta:
1.) Taco Mac- I'm pissed that the beers that I try won't count for my passport club
2.) Driving- while it'll be nice to not have to sweat so much in the Ranger,
 our 9-year history will not be forgotten
3.) Football season - Georgia Tech, Falcons, and EP Fall will be much different without them.
4.) BBQ - Jim n Nicks', Sonny's, Pig n Chick, Williamson Bros....the South just knows how to do it.
5.) Concerts - ATL is a magnet for awesome shows at great venues.  I hope that Germany is a stop on somebody's tour.

Justin's Top Five Things he Wont miss about Atlanta:
1.) Maintaining automobiles - gas, oil changes, brakes, etc. are for the birds
2.) WNBA - WTF, not that I watch it anyways
3.) Allergies - I feel like I need to carry an I.V. with Zyrtec
4.) Budweiser, Bud Light, Miller Light, Michelob, etc.
5.) the Economy - salary in Euros makes it easier to pay off student loans 

Marisa's Top Five things she Will miss about Atlanta:
1.) Georgia Tech- from football, volleyball and just some good school spirit. I love that place dang it!
2.) Screen on the Green at Piedmont Park- One of Atlanta's best events too bad they moved it to Centennial Olympic Park
3.) Chik-Fil-a, The Porter, Cravers, etc.- Atlanta has some great food! I will see how I hold up on beer and brats.
4.) Dr. Pepper- no soda can top the 23 flavors 
5.) Lake Weekends- some of my favorite memories and good times were at Loconee. 

Marisa's Top Five things she Wont miss about Atlanta:
1.) Humidity- this Cali girl cant handle all the sweating.
2.) Cockroaches- I had so many in our apartment sometimes I thought I heard them talk.
3.) NASCAR- I still don't get why people love watching cars going around in a circle.
4.) Traffic- Public transportation will be nice for a change..then ask me again in a year.
5.) People who don't recycle- Because in Germany everyone recycles, it is the law!

Here is all that is left of us in Atlanta. A 10x10 storage unit filled to the brim.

Goodbye Atlanta We will miss you!

The Jackson's

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