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

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