July 31, 2010

Munich and Salzburg with Greg's Parents and Aunt

Sorry for the late blog posts - we had them scheduled to go up while we were in Croatia, but for some reason, that never happened. Hope you enjoy our belated posts anyway!

Prosting to the last night in Munich!

We must apologize for the lack of blog posts because we had guests in town - Greg's parents and aunt were visiting us the last ten days or so. And what a whirlwind it was! I showed Priscilla, Rick and Kathy around Munich when they first arrived because Greg was at a workshop in London (here are Part I and II in case you missed Greg's posts).

I fear I might have walked them too much in the hopes that the jet lag would skip over them, but they took it all in stride - we took in the old city, Marienplatz, Residenz, Dachau concentration camp, Nymphenburg palace, Pinakothek der Moderne (modern museum) and had our fill of gelato!

Once Greg returned, they were off to Prague and Vienna for a few days each. Greg will have to go into more details about that part (and maybe we'll even get a belated guest post or two from the family ;-). I met up with them again in Salzburg for the weekend. There they toured the castle overlooking the city while I ducked away to the modern art museum (also on top of the cliffs) on the first day. The next day was the long-anticipated Sound of Music tour for the ladies and a tour of the salt mines for the guys.
Sadly, there was no costume-wearing, lively singing as we had hoped, but we did get to see all the sights of the movie. The tour bus also rolled through the lovely Salzburg lakes region. We ended our time in Salzburg with Rick popping back and forth in our empty train car, snapping photos with the sunset cooperating beautifully.

July 22, 2010

One Year in Munich

Last night we celebrated Greg's dad and aunt's birthdays (more on their trip to the region later) as well as our one year mark of moving to Munich!

Birthday girl and boy celebrating early with some mackerel and beer
We decided a couple days before that there was no reason not to go to a biergarten with whichever friends were still in town. So the Chinese Tower biergarten in the heart of the Englischer gartens it was - with just a little "spitting" of rain as my Loahfer friend Emily labeled it. Side tangent: the Brits, Irish and Kiwis really know how to categorize rain and the different forms of it - the rain has done everything from spit on me to lash out at me according to my buddies!

Chinese Tower with the lights on and the oompah band gone *thankfully*

It was great to see the wide variety of people we've gotten to know this last year all in one place and some new faces, too. At one point, I looked down the table - Greg's family were talking with the New Zealand husband of my friend; my German co-workers were laughing with Greg about some disgusting story from his good ol' days in central Wisconsin; and I was thinking about the chocolatey cupcake/muffin that my co-worker (who I've only known a few months in fact) gave me that morning to celebrate the anniversary of our  move. It was easy to see that taking the risk of moving abroad was well worth it for us!

Walking back to the metro at night, we passed by the water fountains all lit up -
excellent way to end the evening!

July 13, 2010


Everyone takes their recycling very seriously here. Greg and I have adjusted quite well to it. I separate the wrappers for plastics recycling, organic waste for compost, glass based on colors and aluminum. Then, about every other week Greg or I take it to the recycling bins where we throw everything into the specified area for recycling. Except the compost stuff, regular trash and paper, which has its own recycling spots in our courtyard.

Even the grocery stores are required to have an area set aside for recycling packaging - e.g., I'll take out the cereal from the cardboard boxes and leave them there because the cereal is encased in a plastic bag anyway. Also, there are spots for plastic and old batteries, which is not easily found in the US. And the best part I'm going to save for another post - what they do with their plastic bottles in the supermarkets!

I had a hard time in Israel because recycling was so not common there. They had bins on the street for plastic bottles, but what was I to do with wrappers or glass containers or aluminum?? Throw it away was the only answer. I felt even worse in NYC because they didn't even have the plastic bottles recycling on the street - although Oren did tell me that they do recycle in the subways.

That seems like such a waste to me now because I know how much packaging can be recycled or even better, done away with all together. Being here I see how much we waste with our packaging. Greg's even more of a recycling, eco-hardliner than I'll ever be - I like shoes and clothes a little bit too much. I mentioned to him he should spout off on here about little things people can do to use less. He has some really good ideas that can easily be added into daily routines.

July 12, 2010

Return to London - Part II

London still amazes me. I was most excited about the noticeable drive the city is making to be an environmental leader of the future. It will take time for London to feel as clean and bike friendly as Munich, but people are trying. I was amazed and scared about the bikers taking on the double decker buses. I just had to ride the bus while thinking of what my big brother Matt would have wanted to do.

London has taught me a lot and really drives the person I am today. I remember 10 years ago the horrible shower in my rented apartment – today a military shower suits me just fine. Small spaces by American standards are considered enough for the normal family in London. And upon reading a biking pamphlet – “it only rains 6% of the time in London and a quick towel wipe and deo under the arms will leave you fresher than if you would have sweated to work riding the Tube.” The weather was hot all week, the Tube (subway) was muggy, yet not as pungent as the Munich public transport on a hot day.

So London, I leave you once again feeling inspired and satisfied with all that you have offered. I feel rested and fully trained for a week of exploring more of Europe with my parents and aunt Til. Next stop - back to Prague!

July 10, 2010

Vague Feeling of Impending Doom

(or: my thought process documented while experiencing British driving)

I didn't even need to leave London's Heathrow airport on my way back from New York to experience the famous British driving. The shuttle from Terminal 4 to Terminal 1 was enough.

At first, I didn't quite know what felt wrong. I thought I must be feeling funny because of the lack of sleep last night due to my turbulent cross-Atlantic flight. Then, I realized that no, that can't be it. I began to slowly formulate the thought that the shuttle drivers had a funny way of driving, still not quite piecing it together in my mind that they were on the wrong side of the road.

Now before you say "duh! we all know that," I'd like to point out that unless you're actively and comprehensibly thinking about seeing drivers on the other side, it comes as a consciously expected, yet subconsiously jarring sight. I kept my calm and carried on, as the poster goes.

Return to London - Part I

I said I would do lots of things before returning to London. Now 10 years later I am back. At first I thought the city would look different, changed. Yet quickly I realized I was the one that had changed and London felt comfortably familiar.

Imperial War Museum

London Eye

I made a point to use each hour to its fullest. From the moment I arrived to the moment I leave my workshop, I have been “goin' walkabout.” As I wander with intent my brain continues to amaze me with flashbacks of streets and buildings that were buried deep a decade ago.

Mind the Gap

And I have built new memories. There is one memory I realized very quickly that does not exist and will have to wait until London part 3. That is the future memory of enjoying London with my wife. Ayelet loved being back in New York and London would equally impress her. One day.

I have changed – London is the same – South Thames Riverwalk

July 8, 2010

Spain in the Semi-Final Round

I watched last night's game in which Spain kicked Germany's butt to go on to beat face the Netherlands in the finals of the World Cup. I'm sad it's almost over, but not really sad that Germany lost. They had their chance and played quite a few good games. But last night's performance showed they weren't ready to move on. They just didn't step it up last night and Spain is an amazing team.

As I sat in the smoky (because as the game dragged on, the crowd began to smoke more and more) room in the barn/painter's studio of a co-worker's boyfriend's father, it was obvious there would be no cheering for Spain. I kept it quiet, but I'm pretty sure everyone in our immediate vicinity knew who I was for. No one made a sound when Spain made their only goal, but I was cheering inside. When the game ended, dead silence again.

Although I didn't make a sound then, I was ringing my bike bell all the way home last night!

July 5, 2010

Cute pictures of Scoots

Sorry everyone, we've been totally holding out on cute photos of Scoots... so here's some for your enjoyment!
Greg's been testing out the macro features on the camera

Scoots assisting with pinning a shirt - for some reason, he thinks pins are his mortal enemy so we have to keep a close eye on him when I'm sewing.

Every morning I either find him like this or lounging on our bed. Ahhh, the life of a cat while we toil away for his kibble!

July 2, 2010

One Year Finished

As my first year at B.I.S. comes to a close, I would like to reminisce on some of the highlights that I probably should have shared with our friends and family more frequently. It has been a memorable year in my little country school tucked in between farms, rivers, and of course a local brewery. Some of the photos are from the school website.

So I finally had a classroom that was a real science lab in the new wing of the school. Unfortunately with our final grade 7 classes in chemistry I realized the fire alarms are too sensitive - I set off the prealarms twice and got a firm talking to from our building manager.
We often were treated to beer at work, yes, in the school. I'm guessing that is a local thing.

For one whole week, I got to once again work as a "camp counselor" with my students. We were bussed off to the Austrian Alps and go to snowshoe over a mountain pass in October.

I like getting my students outside to perform science and we often would be out around the schloss (the castle part of the school) doing some lab activity. For example I had students dig bugs out of this planter to measure differences in bugs speeds compared to design.

So, one busy year down. Yes, at the age of 30 I still have a year that runs from August to June just like it has since I was 5.