Monday, January 4, 2010

The Beginnings of Bonn!

So, these past three days have been rather eventful! I figure I had better record some of the moments for myself, posterity, and anyone who will listen… Haha!

Saturday we geared up around 10:00am to head out on our bikes for the inner city of Bonn. (Sidenote: If I stayed on the bike trail we were on, going to opposite direction, I would end up in Switzerland. AWESOME!) We got about two feet from home when I slipped on my bike (didn’t fall though) and caught my pants on the metal part of the seat, and ripped my pants. Yep, you read that right… Of course, as the luck continues I didn’t notice that I had ripped them until I got off the bike fifteen minutes later, in downtown Bonn. Basically, anyone could see my inner, upper thigh upon me removing my coat.

It actually wasn’t that big of a deal. I just kept the coat I had on – thank goodness it was a long one - and bought a new pair of jeans for only 19euro at the Galeria – AKA: Mall. I didn’t even change while I was out – haha! Nope, I just kept my coat on until we went for lunch and then set it on my lap while we ate. I put it on quickly upon standing up, and it covered me while I rode home, where I could finally change into basketball shorts. It was funny cause I didn’t even tell the family, and they didn’t even notice. I just told them it would probably be good to get another pair of jeans while in town - done and done. Haha!

Now, let me back up. We rode our bikes into town along the river, and around the hills in Bonn… WOW. It certainly is beautiful here! I mean, I will miss those Utah Mountains, but I have missed the green hills and trees of the East Coast for way too long. Also, I will NOT miss the trapped smog in the Utah valley… I’m glad to be done with that, and can I just say, my voice is so much clearer here! I have not felt as gross in my throat these past few days… It’s kind of incredible the difference three days makes. Three days… I can’t believe I have been here about four days.

Anyway, when we got into town they took me around the area and showed me where different stores were if I needed certain things while I was here. It was great! I thought I would feel more overwhelmed, but it wasn’t bad… There was TONS of stuff written in English (an H&M – aka: Heaven- on multiple streets) and the places we bought things, I was able to say “Spechen sie Englich?” and have them all understand me and be understanding that I was just learning. I felt very comforted in that, but still slightly awkward having to ask if they spoke English. It’s good though, cause it’ll be the motivation I need to learn the language. I started reading a book about translation to and from German today, but that’s a different story….

Sidenote: We shopped at this little mini-mart place in Bonn where the kids were being a bit crazy while the parents were working the photo machine… So, I took them to the animal food section and had them make up stories about the pictures of the animals. Haha! I felt creative…

For lunch, the boys got some crepes from a vendor on the street corner nearby and I will do that eventually – haha! Crepes with bananas and nutella, anyone? Um, yes please! Haha… I think that a crepe vendor would DO very well in the states, perhaps in NYC or DC. Have I finally found my calling in life?! Yea… No. Haha! We then found this cute little Japanese noodle place that they eat at often and I was in love with it. The servings are huge for not that many Euros, and it was VERY tasty – and original… Well, different from the Japanese I’ve had before. We talked politics, beliefs and such a lot and it was great because we’re very much on the same page in most ways. I think I am finding that I am more liberal than I realized – and no I don’t mean cause I’m over here in Germany. This realization began a few months ago and it has become more apparent that it’s the truth in these past few weeks. Eh! Anyway, it’s nice to have intelligent conversation and I really enjoy that Koko and Patrick like to do that a lot. It’s great!

Afterward, we rode home… Now, it’s been a few years since I’ve ridden a bike. Thus, my inner thighs were a BIT burning – haha! However, I felt good after the ride was through and I know I’m gonna be an amazing biker after this year – haha!

When we got home, Koko and Patrick (parents) had to go to the hardware store nearby, but they left me and the kiddos there. We played some legos and such – I built those amazing pictures from my previous entry… Still jealous this is my job? I know. Also, I discovered that Koko has a soft spot for hip-hop and R&B when she put some on that night – awesome. I’ll be JUST fine here. Today she told me her favorite song was by Black Eyed Peas, and I knew we’d be good – haha…

We ate a light dinner together and hung out playing games, and then I headed upstairs to try Skype with my parents. Now, my mom is pretty computer and technology savvy, but it was pretty funny to listen to her on the phone as she tried to install it. She knew what she was doing more than she thought she did, so her reactions were pretty classic. I love mi madre – haha!

We did get it to work, and so we chatted for a bit which was great… I think that Skype is what is going to get me set for being away from home. I mean, I’m pretty good being far away – I’ve done it before. However, being in a different country was hard for me last time at first and it’s a bit the same. I’m doing fine, but it still feels a bit overwhelming right now at times. They are easing me in just fine, but I still have a hard time knowing where I’m at and such.

Anyway, Sunday was good too! Koko took me via train to the church because that’s what the previous nanny, Anya, was more accustom too. I will most likely be the same because as great as biking is, biking in the snow is one thing; Biking in a skirt in another thing. If you put these two things together… not pleasant in my opinion. I figure that I’ll give it a shot in the spring at some point, but for now, I’m going to be taking the train. Haha!

Well, we were a tad bit late because of delays with the fresh snow, but when we got there I was immediately approached about transferring my records and put into Relief Society. RS was interesting because it was all in German… since I don’t speak German at all yet, I decided that I would take personal study time using some of the scriptures written on the board and continuing on in my own place in the Book of Mormon. It worked well, and after the meeting they did introduce me in German and English. One of the younger girls, about my age, came up after and introduced herself and asked me to come to the young single adults (YSA) Sunday school and said, “It’s in English!” I took her up on that offer immediately! Haha… THAT was great! The scriptures were read in German mostly, but the discussion was all in English with a great, small group of YSAs. I really like my Sunday school teacher too – she’s from Michigan, so we connect a bit.

Sacrament meeting wasn’t bad either because they had the missionaries translate into English and Spanish for people. I had to wear a little translator thing, but I was fine with it. It was a bit awkward being called out to the ward, but it works. Haha… The missionaries came and found me after and we chatted for a bit. They asked if a spoke Spanish at all and I said, “a little bit of it,” and they got really excited and said I would have to go tracting with them so they could see the Spanish sisters. There are fifteen Spanish speakers in the ward! What the random?! Haha… I would love that, but I’m not good at Spanish, which I expressed to them… though it fell on deaf ears. I realized that people in Germany take a lot if you give a little – perhaps that’s not tha best way to say it because not in a bad way, but here’s an example.

I was getting ready to leave and one sister came up and spoke broken English to me, asking if I played the piano at all. I said, “Yea, I play a bit… mostly chords, but I started teaching myself last year.” She replied, “Great, we need a pianist for ward choir today!” Haha… I explained that I’m not really able to sight read whole hymns, just chords. She was fine with that, which got me nervous. Then, the pianist said she was ok and could stay, so they turned and said, “Well, we hear you sing, right?” You can guess where this led… The lady grabbed my arm, led me to a chair on the stand and told me I was officially called into ward choir. She was serious too… “You will sing alto. You can do that right? That is what you are doing, so I hope so.” Haha! Thus, I was drafted into ward choir and am now the other alto…

This suits me just fine, cause I can deal with that since I like singing, and it’s right after church. It’ll be a good way for me to learn the language through my favorite language –music! At very least, I’ll go home knowing some songs from the German hymn book. Haha!

After church, we came back for “activity day,” meaning coloring, drawing (avocados, slugs, and bacteria to be exact – haha!), play-dough, and of course, legos. It was just a relaxing afternoon. We had dinner all together and guess what I ate for the first time ever... Turnips! I liked them too! I was eating them, not knowing what they were and when I asked and found they were turnips, was shocked I actually liked them! Haha… I have seriously eaten SO healthy these past days it’s amazing – I do miss my chocolate though. Soon I’ll just have to venture out and find some German goodies to try too… or wait for the Swiss Chocolate. Haha….

After dinner, I skyped with the whole family again and then read my book for a bit before the weekly family counsel for the adults. We went over expectations and such for the year and the weekly schedule, and again I felt really good about it. I feel like I’m on the same page with the parents, so that’s good. I’m sure it won’t always be like that cause we’re different people, but I think it’ll be pretty good. They’re also all about me traveling on time I can make it work, and really encouraging of me going out to see things. Honestly, I probably won’t do much sight-seeing until it warms up a bit. It’s just too cold for me to want to go outside without need right now, but once it’s a bit warmer – in like, March – I’ll love riding around all over town and the surrounding areas to see EVERYTHING!

Sorry, this entry is more travel-log than fun or interesting… It won’t always be like that, as you know from my past entries. There’s just a lot to record in my first few days here… So, sorry posterity… and friend/family reading now – tell my posterity I’m more exciting… please. Haha! I only have one more day to write about today, and this day contains some funny moments … promise.

I went with Koko this morning to take the boys to the doctors and to kindergarten, but the doctor’s appointment was actually for this afternoon… and kindergarten was closed today. So, we ran a bunch of errands around the cities surrounding us including getting my visa going, getting the boys hair-cuts, checking on my candle stuff and camera, fixing Koko’s glasses, going to the shopping market, checking on a bank account for me here, and going back to the doctor’s office for some pretty hefty appointments. They took forever with those two boys… I mean, I know it was an annual check-up, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t take two hours in the states. I was fine with it, but just surprised at how long it took. Does it take that long in the states? Maybe… I was just more aware of the time when I kept dozing off and woke up to Finni coming in and yelling, “Done! Okay, let’s play now!” and hitting my lap while I jolted upright, staring into the eyes of many stern Germany families. Haha!

Oh, story time! I had to run back to the house when we got to the place for the visa, because I forgot my passport – DUH, Linze! It’s kind of a necessity in that situation. Anyway, Koko had me run to the metro and hop on to head home. It should have been an easy task, but there were a few minor problems. One, the door at the house is hard to open sometimes and I could not get the key to work… blast. I literally started praying that I could have some divine help to open the door… Then it opened. It seems like coincidence, but those little things teach me someone’s looking out for me.

Two, in case you were unaware, I can’t read German. So, though I got back to the house alright, I got lost a bit on the way back. I got off a stop too early and went outside, realized I was in the wrong spot, and went back underground to try going backwards. Then, I got off on the right stop, but exited the wrong way and came out differently. Luckily, I noticed that was the case cause I recalled old surroundings, and made my way back to the ratshaus to register myself for a visa. WOW –It was a frustrating and trying experience for me, and a bit overwhelming because of the language… but I did it. That’s what counts- I did it!

When errands were done I came home and played with the boys for two hours before cleaning up for dinner, and then Patrick arrived home to cook Austrian pancakes. SO gut! I helped get Finni ready for bed while Nico practiced violin – he complains about it, but he really does seem to be improving and ends up enjoying the accomplishment. His little violin is so cute too! I don’t know what it is about girls and little things, but we all just think tiny things are tender, I suppose.

I came up after that and spent some internet down-time, wrote this blog, and skyped with my mom. We figured out a time that we can speak most days. At the beginning, especially, I am going to need mama chat time. I’m sure it’ll fade out a bit, but not completely… Face it, we’re close and I love mi madre.

I just realized that I have written in three languages at different times in this entry. I’m tri-lingual! Haha! Okay… not yet. Someday.

Alright kiddos – things in Germany are finally on a role. In all honesty, I did get a tad bit homesick today. It was really, REALLY cold today so I was a bit grouchy with that (though I was proud that I didn't let that show) and a lot of me having accidents finding myself around and such. It was just frustrating for the day... and I was homesick. I think I might turn on a cry movie for a bit - haha! Then, I'll be good! Haha...

This evening was actually really great! I have been reading a lot with the boys and playing with them, and they really are bonding with me. Koko said she was really impressed to see us gel so quickly. I really love the boys... and really like Koko too! We always have GREAT discussions, and she's so interesting. Plus, she's a lto like you which has helped ease the transition... Not as much sass, but still! :) Patrick's great too! He’s funny, but it's very subtle and sarcastic - He's very Austrian. Haha! I really love all of them, I think the hardest part is wanting to be good at my job right away and know everything. It’s not even just the language, but not knowing streets and how to get places. I don't have friends here yet to talk to about it or ask where to go. In London when I got lost, I was with someone or alone by choice. It'll come - I know I am suppose to be here, for many reasons I'm sure, and that I will LOVE it here! It was just a day; a day that went a bit crazy, but got back on track and ended great. I think I’ll have many of those days, and today… I proved that I can tackle them…

Sidenote: I need to blog about my spiritual reeling from my personal study regarding the comparison on the first vision and Moses experience - SO cool!

Favorite Quotes of the Days:

"Can you keep my lego castle company while I build a car?" - Finn

"When it's a salad, air bubbles cna't expand..." - Me (and numerous times repeated by Nico! I meant a "soild...")

“We have no pets, so I pretend I’m my own animal.”- Nico

"The white blood cells are munching on your germs... don't worry. They heal you!" - Nico


Song of the Day: I heard this song in the barber’s where the boys got their hair cut today and fell in love. If you don’t like the beginning, fine, but the chorus is exquisite… I really love the whole thing! Here’s October & April, by The Rasmus. Not a cool video, but eh... Enjoy!

No comments: