Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

dallas
May 30, 2012

Hi friends, how are ya?!  Tell me what you did this weekend, I must know.

I did lots of important things, like tanning….

and eating lots of Tex-Mex….

and making a general fool of myself with Les…..

And somewhere in between all of those things, Madison got married!!!!

She looked absolutely STUNNING, and I lost it for real when she walked down the aisle.  Mad, I am SO SO HAPPY for you and Bryce and am so thankful I could be there to celebrate with you two. 

Les and I had some extra time after the wedding to roam around Dallas, and after firmly deciding that we did not, in fact, like Texas at all, I unilaterally chose we wound up at the Sixth Floor Museum at the location of President Kennedy’s assassination.  I was actually really excited to be there, because I had just finished reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63 for my book club.  (Did I tell you I’m in a book club?  Once a month, ten of us get drunk on red wine and talk about sex.)  The book, while convoluted and complicated, is essentially about a time traveling man who tries to prevent the Kennedy assassination from happening.  As you can imagine, the book references tons and tons of details about Dealey Plaza and Lee Harvey Oswald,  and as I was reading, I realized that I knew very little about the assassination.  Essentially, I knew that a president had died, but I didn’t know much about the president himself, or the motivations of the shooter, or the chain of events, or the worldwide repercussions.  So even though I had read the book and enjoyed it, I was really excited about getting some context in which to place the books’ events.

The museum is on the sixth floor of the book depository from which Oswald shot the president.  It’s an all-audio tour, which I really appreciated because it moved you along briskly and you didn’t feel obligated to linger over any specific exhibit.  It was devoted mostly to Kennedy himself, and spent lots of time discussing his presidency and his various policy achievements and failures.  It then moved into a play-by-play of the 30 minutes surrounding the shooting, followed by in depth looks at the worldwide responses and the various conspiracies.  I wish it had delved a little bit more into Oswald and his background, because the book really made him out to be a tortured young man who, while utterly despicable, had a tough life and various conflicting beliefs.  Aside for minimal information on him, I thought the museum was extremely well done, and really a neat place to visit.  Especially for someone who did not live through the event, it did a great job of making you feel the urgency of the afternoon and the following immense sadness that not only enveloped the country, but the world. 

Photography wasn’t allowed in the museum, but here is the original building sign that has been preserved:

(Aside for the sixth floor, the building now houses city offices.  Wouldn’t you find it a little creepy to work there every day?)

Les and I then wandered over to the JFK Memorial, which is, well, unusual.  Have you ever been? 

I suppose the symbolism behind the monument is meaningful (a strong, quiet refuge within which one finds the strength to stand firm and steadfast against the world), but to me it screams 1970s architecture and is less impressive than what I expected for a president with a story as compelling as Kennedy’s. 

Were you alive when President Kennedy was shot?  I think I’ve mentioned it here before, but the 1960s fascinate me and I am embarassed at how slight my knowledge of this event was.  I’ve heard that it was the 9/11 of my generation–people remember where they were when it happened, a moment that signified a shift in the world as they knew it.  Perhaps what I’m even more curious about–were you watching TV when Jack Ruby shot Oswald?  I didn’t realize that the prisoner transfer was broadcast over live television; imagine the trauma young children must have felt at literally witnessing death. 

Anyways, if you’re ever in the Dallas area, I suggest the Sixth Floor Museum as a must see.  That being said, however, it costs $13.50 to get in, whereas all the museums in DC are f-r-e-e, so come visit me first. 

In other news, check out this HUGE-ASS engagement ring that my friend Lis got this past weekend!  Her boyfriend proposed while they were in Paris (awwwww!!) and I swear to you, I don’t know how she can even lift up her hand.  Mazel Tov to you, Lis & Adam, I couldn’t be happier.

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obx beach trip
May 18, 2012

I’m a little late on this, but a friend (hi, Ali!) dropped a not-so-subtle hint last night that my blog didn’t have quite enough “action.”  It’s funny because I feel like my life is really busy and I never have that much free time at home (during which I would, presumably, blog), but looking back at this past weekend I spent approximately 14 hours hung over on my couch in a sea of Chipotle burrito wrappers….sooo, yeah.  More blogging action, coming right up.

How has your spring been going so far?  Mine got a whole lot better when BFF Leslie and her mom rented a beach house in the Outer Banks of North Carolina at the beginning of May.  So anxious was I for a break from the city and the crazy-ambitious ladder-climbing Washingtonians that I took time off of work (a rarity!!) to drive down a relax for the second half of the week. 

Since it was before prime beach season, it was gloriously uncrowded and luckily the weather was perfect.  I now feel 9 billion times more attractive than I did before I left, one of those weird female things where being tan somehow eliminates all cellulite and turns pimples into cute little freckles. 

Here are a few photos from the trip, if you care to see…

cue jealousy right…now

…and again

me, beales, les

a cloudy sunset

being mysterious in front of the sunset

a little friend i made!

snuggling

It’s been pretty busy ever since we got back, and I already feel like my summer plans are stacking up left and right!  I’m headed to a wedding next weekend in Dallas, and then a few weeks after that Lisa graduates (um, what?).  This weekend Colleen and I are participating in the annual Yoga on the Mall event, trying to get our ohms on while chilling in the shadow of the Washington Monument, followed by a barbecue with none other than the aforementioned Ali, who I will be sure to snap a picture with so she can get her official blog shoutout.

go bucks! (and other revelations)
November 11, 2011

Hello, friends!  How’s your week been?  I have today off in celebration of Veteran’s Day, and am writing this as two succulent loaves of Cranberry-Pumpkin Bread bake in the oven.  Thank you, Veterans, for the wonderful service you do for this country–and for giving me a morning to devote entirely to baking.

This past weekend, I road tripped out to Columbus, Ohio, to see my fab sister Lisa.  The drive is about 6 hours, but it’s through beautiful rollings hills and lots of quaint West Virginian towns.  This was my third time making my trip out to Ohio State, and I think the drive gets easier every time.

We had a great few days together, and could not have asked for better weather.  I was really nervous about bitterly cold temperatures and gusty winds, but we lucked out with stunning blue skies and mild sunshine.

I was in Columbus for maybe 45 hours, but it was a learning experience for me.  I had a number of “revelations” on the trip, which were honestly things I had probably known all along but had never really stopped to consciously admit them.  If you are interested, my friends, they are listed below–

Revelation #1:  First of all, and perhaps the most unavoidable realization, is that Lisa and I look similar.  Lisa and I have had people saying that to us for what feels like forever now, but I’ve always maintained that we have slight, but very noticeable, differences.  I think my nose is a little bigger, she has a mole right above her lip, I have a way better butt, she’s taller and has better hair.  But when I got home on Sunday and was uploading pictures to Facebook, the automatic tagging system thought we were the same person.  It literally took one picture of us, and listed “Jen N” as both people.  How spooky is that?  I mean, it’s one thing for people with questionable eyesight to think we look alike, but for a computer to think so, too?  I was shocked.  So, I guess it’s time for me to honestly admit that Lisa and I look more alike than we think–even though I will always be older, more fashionable, and with smaller shoulders.

me & lisa

Revelation #2:  Swim meets are boring.  Wow, I feel like a traitor for saying this, considering I’ve participated in what probably amounts to 500+ meets, but it is so true.  Ohio State was swimming in a quad meet against Virginia Tech, Dennison, and Cleveland State on Friday night, and I was originally really excited to see Lisa and the girls swim.  But after sitting on the cold, hard, unsupported bleachers through four heats of the 1000, I wished my water bottle had been full of Johnny Walker instead of water.  Absolutely nothing against the Ohio State women, who looked great for an early November meet, but man, that meet was rough.  I think KNOW that I owe my parents a huge thank-you for sitting through not only the Virginia dual meets, but the week long Nationals and Olympic Trials they came to.  It’s tough to watch swimming when you don’t know anyone in the pool, and are really not invested in the outcome.

Revelation #3:  Ohio State football is intense.  I think the whole country essentially knows this, but being immersed into the student section on a beautiful gameday was quite an experience.  Lisa was adamant that we catch the band play at the start, so we were able to see the stadium go from half full to sold out.  (Fun fact:  the Ohio State stadium holds almost twice the population of Pleasanton!)  I noticed that every time Ohio State had a good play or scored, the students around us would scream gleefully, high five each other, and dole out bear hugs to strangers.  When they calmed down, they would very seriously say to each other “Awesome job, buddy, that really was great,” or “How do you feel, man?? That was huge!”  I was laughing to myself because, wait, what did they actually do?  They weren’t on the field making plays, they weren’t putting in the practice hours–but they told each other congrats anyways?  Very funny and very intense.  If I hadn’t been so afraid of them throwing me over the balcony, I might have laughed out loud at their antics.  The most the students at Virginia are ever concerned about during a football game is whether they should have snuck in two flasks instead of one, or how to avoid sweating through their nice sundresses.  I would say only 4% of the student body has ever stayed for the entirety of a game.  So, this live-breathe-die Ohio State football experience was brand new and totally unusual for me.

script ohio

o-h-i-o

lisa & me

Revelation #4:  I miss swimming.  A teensy bit.  I think I have secretly known this for a few months now, but it’s a really difficult thing for me to admit.  I decided to swim with the Ohio State girls on Saturday morning, since Lisa was going to be at the pool all morning anyways and I could use the workout.  I was at once excited and nervous for it, and had spent the weeks leading up to the trip putting in extra “practices” at my local pool.  When we started swimming, I realized immediately what I had been craving–intensity.  It’s so hard to find any kind of workout now that comes remotely close to offering the intensity that a swim practice has.  When Colleen and I do our weekly “swims,”  we just put our heads down and swim straight for 45 minutes.  There’s no frantic feeling–that if I don’t make this interval, I will have failed the set; that if I don’t give my very best, the coaches will be disappointed in me; that when this practice is over, I will only be 37 days away from ACC’s.  I thrived off of that intense energy, and it’s been really hard to find in any other sport or workout activity.  I definitely do NOT miss our 4 hour marathon Saturday mornings, but I miss the comradeship we all had in the locker room beforehand, knowing that we would be miserable together for 10,000 meters but would come out on the other side alive and proud of what we had achieved.

In my practice with Ohio State, I found myself repeatedly wishing that I was in the shape I was during college, that I could confidently go over to the distance group and tackle their workout.  Even though I was barely chugging along by the end of the two hours, I really enjoyed swimming for a coach and with a big group of girls again.  (Of course, I had an awful nightmare on Monday that I was back on the Virginia team and was getting absolutely berated for showing up late to a practice–something I can confidently say that I do not miss.)

Revelation #5:  The college lifestyle is hard!  Okay, it’s definitely not hard.  But let me tell you–coming home late on Friday from the swim meet, and then waking up early on Saturday for practice, then going straight to the game, then going out until 2 A.M. that night–WHEW!  I was absolutely exhausted.  I don’t know how I ever did it.  Partying all the time really takes a lot out of you.  But luckily, when my legs gave out on the dance floor and I had a major faceplant, I didn’t know anybody so I wasn’t even embarrassed!

me & lisa

Revelation #6:  Columbus is kinda cool.  Mama had given us money to go to a really cool tea place on Sunday morning (thanks mom!), and Lisa and I struggled out of bed to be there at 10.  It was called ZenCha and was awesome.  It’s a little cafe devotedly to specialty teas and their accompanying food.  I had an extremely delicious chai and Lisa had her usual caramel latte something something, and we had a most enjoyable morning.  I had these cool green tea pancakes that had a red bean paste on them–very unusual, but I actually really liked them.  Then Lisa and I walked around the Short North area, and I found myself really liking Columbus.  They had a number of really neat vintage furniture shops, and I came close to buying things a few times, but could never fully commit.  All in all, it was a beautiful Sunday morning.

pancakes!

Okay, I think I’m out of revelations.  Lisa and I had a great weekend, and I can’t wait to see her and my whole family for Christmas.  (Also to raid her wardrobe!  I have my eye on a particular dress for New Year’s…)

Up next this weekend is a trip to Mt. Vernon (so excited!!) and a potluck with some new friends.  Hope you have a wonderful few days off!

one last one--lisa & me

albuquerque
September 12, 2011

As I near my one year anniversary of living in Washington D.C., I am still astounded that I live here.  I was watching the 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon yesterday on TV, and I realized that the ceremony was taking place a mere 10 minute drive away from my apartment.  I walked by the White House every Wednesday on my way to kickball, rarely giving it a second thought but knowing now that the President must have been in there at least one of the times.  Also, perhaps less impressive, I was watching the TV show Bones the other day, which is set in DC, and when Zooey Deschanel’s sister said that someone was murdered in ——- U Street club, I became inordinately excited because I had been there.  Man, is this city important. 

Anyways, I am also in awe of the fact that upon accepting a job offer last June, as I awoke from a nap the day we left for a week of shame at Myrtle Beach, I essentially cemented my employment for the rest of my career.  I have a great job, ripe with opportunities, and everyone knows the government never fires anyone.  Yay.  So, as Year One of being gainfully employed approaches, I feel pretty lucky to be where I am.   

I am rambling.  I was hoping to gradually and eloquently turn the conversation toward my recent business trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, but I am failing.  (My original plan had been to talk about how lucky I am to have been chosen to travel three times in my first year, but I realize three times is not actually that much, and I have lots of photos to share, so I’m going to pick up the pace here.) 

I spent the last week in Albuquerque for some work meetings, which I was excited about because I’d never been to New Mexico and was looking forward to checking it off my list.  (Spoiler Alert: New Mexico is nothing to get excited about.  Sorry, Albuquerquians.)  I was with coworker Suzannah and boss Sara, so “us girls” made sure to cram as much sightseeing and Mexican food into the trip as possible. 

On Wednesday, we went to Albuquerque’s “Old Town,” a small square of town four blocks long by five blocks wide.  I knew ahead of time that the turquoise jewelry and southwestern art was not my style, but I was still hoping to find a little souvenier of some sort for myself or a friend.  I found nothing, and Old Town was tiny and dead.  I much prefer downtowns or Old Towns that are actually part of the city and not so much tourist attractions; Albuquerque was shutting down at 4:30 as the flow of tourists slowed to a trickle.  It was evident that locals would never step foot in the Old Town area, a fact that I did not like. 

"street" vendors

the church, founded in early 1700

We stayed for about an hour, and no purchases were made.  The night ended with a dinner at Chili’s, including my all-time favorite Quesadilla Explosion Salad and an attractive waiter. 

But don’t worry bloggies–Thursday was much better.  Using some advice from a coworker who stayed back in DC, we had booked reservations for dinner at a swanky restaurant at the top of the local “mountain,” Sandia Peak.  Access to the restaurant was by tram, a great way to see all that Albuquerque had to offer.  We gamely showed up to the tramway after a long day of meetings, and purchased our $15 tickets. 

welcome sign

our tiny, all-glass tram car


suzannah & me, pre lift-off


The nifty little car was all glass, allowing for some spectacular views.  The ride was fairly long, fifteen minutes at least, and was slightly unnerving when you looked down.  The landscape on the mountain was stunning in a desert-y, brown way, and the views over the city was equally beautiful.  Compared to smoggy, humid Washington, the air in New Mexico is clear and crisp, and made for great photos.

the start of the ascent

beautiful landscape


cliffs


more cliffs


so many cliffs!


almost to the top


looking back down the mountain


me at the top!

start of the sunset


a lovely sunset

the ride back down

Aren’t these pictures amazing?  The tram ride made me crave one of those really nice cameras that would capture all the details, but never discredit the iPhone!  I made sure to text the picture of me at the top to my mom, and then we headed back to the hotel. 

I found Albuquerque to be completely average.  It felt like a huge suburb to me, even more so than DC does.  Aside for the landscape, I felt there was very little in Albuquerque worth writing home about.  I’m glad I had the opportunity to see it, but I would never make it a destination for myself or anyone else.  I would have liked to have been there for the hot air balloon festival extravaganza, but I can’t win ’em all.  (I would say “Next time!” but we all know there won’t be one.  Hopefully.)  I was out of the office for a week, and didn’t have to spend any of my own money during the trip, so overall I’m very happy to have gone.  The End.

In other news, I read Tina Fey’s book Bossypants and freaking LOVED it.  She is hilarious.  Go buy it or ask for mine.

seacrets
August 24, 2011

I know I’m a few days late here, bloggies, but I hope everyone had a great weekend!!  I had a whimsical three-day weekend, beginning with a visit from old Pleasanton Seahawk friend Matt on Friday and ending with a scary summer thunderstorm on Sunday.  In between, however, I went to a new bar in Ocean City that is now one of my very favorite places on Earth.  (Other favorite places on Earth include Jim’s Country Restaurant in Pleasanton, Bergdorf Goodman’s in NYC, and the Lawn at UVa.)  Colleen is spending this entire week at her beach house before heading to a wedding this weekend, so some of her high school friends and I decided to drive up to Bethany to see her–and, more importantly, to visit Seacrets

We had been hearing tales about Seacrets from friends in all walks of life, and decided we had to experience it ourselves.  We weren’t sure what to expect, and even had to emergency dial a few of those friends to get more information, but Seacrets did NOT disappoint.  We arrived late in the afternoon, paid a measly $5 cover (by the way, the cover goes up a dollar every hour after 5 pm), and walked into a sandy, palm-tree-filled oasis. 

I felt like the only thing missing was a rail track with coconut-shaped cars to take us around the gigantic place and offer informational tidbits on what was what.  Seacrets could LITERALLY be a ride in any trendy theme park. 

While the tables in the water looked appealing, we decided to forgo them when we saw a drunk man with a huge bandage on his foot who said he stepped on a broken bottle in the sand.  They sure make for a great picture, though!

Seacrets is hard to describe.  It is a huge place, with sandy paths running through it and at least four stages occupied by bands.  There is a “Nite Club” with dancing and confetti falling from the ceiling, as well as a restaurant with stunning views of the bay.  The signature drink is a “Pain In De Ass,” which consists of a pina colada swirled with run runner.  YUM. 

jen r, meghan, me-- and lots of Pain In De Asses me & colleenme & colleen

me & colleen

 

me, jen r, meghan

jen r, colleen, me, meghan

Seacrets really was the best place ever.  It was so much more than just a bar–is was a whole experience.  We were sad that Colleen wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t stay evey long, but now we have an excuse to go back soon.  If you ever find yourself in the Ocean City area, you NEED to check out Seacrets.  (Note: adults and babies are welcome!  Not only did we see couples with infants, but also couples in their eighties dancing the night away.  Seacrets does not judge.)  I ended up not staying very long to tan on Sunday, and I still felt that my drive and quick visit was well worth it.

A DC earthquake post is coming soon!

bethany beach retreat
July 7, 2011

Last week marked the return of BFF Colleen from her studies in Manchester, England.  (It was also the return of other BFFs Les and Beales, who came home from a month long European excursion.  You can read their half-hearted travel blog here.)  Needless to say, I was over the moon to have her back, since I don’t have the equipment to BBM her nor did our schedules ever line up for consistent Skype chats.  She came home just in time for arguably the most American of holidays–Independance Day–and insisted on getting the long weekend off to a great start by taking a quick trip to the beach.  She extended the invitiation to me (she wears it wasn’t simply a courtesy invite) and I gleefully accepted (she swears she wasn’t caught off guard that I said yes, immediately infringing upon her family time).  Her wonderful family owns a beach house in Bethany, up the coast in Delaware, the perfect distance away for a quick 36-hour trip.  (Side note: this was only the second time I’d ever been in Delaware–the first was with the same family on our way home from Fran’s funeral.) 

After spending the first night in an adorable room with some stunning art by a four-year-old Colleen, we spent the entire next day either on the beach or at the neighborhood pool.  The sky was cloudless and the water was refreshing but not too cold–perfect tanning conditions.

I made sure to load up on high SPF sunscreen, as I feel it’s only a matter of time before my 11 years of outdoor swimming catches up to me (and let’s be serious: I’m 23 now.  Wrinkles are not far away.), but Colleen and I still managed to get nice a brown.  We marveled at how much better a girl feels when she has a nice golden tan; it’s not completely unfathomable to understand how people can get addicted to tanning beds in the middle of winter. 

During our switch from beach to pool, we wandered around Bethany’s boardwalk, a quaint and super family-friendly few blocks along the ocean.  Colleen and I indulged our inner tween with yummy snowcones– which was my personal treat of choice at summer swim meets years ago.  I went with the sickly sweet and notably artifically flavored watermelon, which was an excellent decision that left my mouht blood red, an effective way to ward of ambitious teenage wannabe surfer dudes.

That evening, Colleen, myself, and her parents went to nearby Dewey Beach for a drink at an oceanfront bar.  We thoroughly enjoyed the stunning sunset and took numerous photos, to the chargrin of the waiters who were trying to clear the deck for an impending night of dancing.

me & colleen

The sunset didn’t fail us:

 

And the photo ops just kept coming.

me & colleen (again)

We had a great time catching up (isn’t it weird how, with your closest friends, you can be apart for 6 months but reconnect like it’s only been days?) and rehashing the past few months of our lives.  I’m so glad to have Colleen back in the US, and wish her the best of luck as she applies for jobs in DC. 

I hope you had a great 4th of July!

who can give me a kiss…
February 15, 2011

…that’s bigger than my head?!?!

i may never be warm again.
January 13, 2011

Jen the Adult went on her first ever business trip this past week.  (Cue applause.)  And while some of her working friends get to go to San Diego on business, or NYC, or Europe, Jen was assigned the enviable destination of Detroit.  (Cue sighs of envy.)

While a normal person may be confused about the envious audience, anyone who’s been to Detroit in the middle of January knows that it is truly a vacation hotspot–ahem, coldspot.  Just check out all the features Detroit has to offer:

  • Accessible food for all!!

 

If you ever get the munchies while you’re vacationing in Detroit, just go ice fishing!  The ice is about a foot thick, so you can let the kids run around without fearing for their safety one bit.  Don’t fret if you’re not an experienced fisher–the fish are all suffering from extreme hypothermia, so they don’t even fight when you pull them up.

  • Free and unlimited parking!

You know how annoying it is when you can’t find parking anywhere close to the grocery store?  Or when the only spots in front of your favorite restaurant are parallel spots?  Or you get more parking tickets than paychecks?  Then Detroit is the answer!  The whole lake becomes a free-for-all parking lot!  Just make sure you dodge the herds of ice fishers, as their fishing holes may pose a slight danger.

  • Balmy temperatures!

Zero degrees!!!!!  This is the perfect temperature to wear tights under your jeans, giving you a VERY attractive look of tights folded over the top of your pants.  Watch out–it’ll be hitting the runways any day now.

  • Wonderful color schemes!

Light gray, dark gray, medium gray, woolly gray, snowy gray, depressing gray.  So much variety!!  No need to photoshop into grayscale–nature has done it for you!

 

There should now be no doubt as to why Detroit is the new California.  I know that I had a, uhhh, wonderful trip.  So wonderful, in fact, that I hope I never ever have to return.  I don’t think anything could possibly live up to my first Detroit experience.

 

Do you travel for work?  Where do you go?

This is the first time I’ve gotten to travel since I started work.  I got more perdium than I did when I was swimming, but that still doesn’t make Detroit any nicer.

find the german in you!
January 9, 2011

Today I decided to explore options related to Resolution #3 from my last post–where to volunteer??  Being unashamedly nerdy, I thought immediately of the German American Heritage Museum.  (Okay, “immediately” is a big exaggeration.  I combed the internet looking for German museum-ish places, and after a lady on the German Embassy’s answering machine told me they were decidedly NOT looking for volunteers or interns, I picked the museum closest to a metro; hence, the German American Heritage Museum.)  I headed down to the Gallery Place metro and enjoyed a nice walk through DC’s Chinatown (and by town, they really mean block) before arriving at the museum.

Neither me nor my parents are German, but Mom & Dad did live in Düsseldorf for a year before I was born.  So Lisa and I grew up with a small to moderate amount of German influence–when our parents wanted candy without the kids knowing, they would use the German word (Süssigkeiten) instead; most of our Christmas tree ornaments are handcrafted out of wood shavings; Tante Gertrude, my parents German teacher, made her way into conversations quite frequently.  So when 7th grade rolled around and I needed to choose which language I wanted to pursue, German was a no-brainer.  When I got to college, continuing my German was another no-brainer, especially because the classes were truly interesting.  Unfortunately, swimming monopolized all–literally ALL–my time, so a study abroad course or extended German vacation was impossible, leaving my accent distinctly American.  (Compared to the crisp, clean, precise speech of the Germans, Americans talk as if they have “potatoes in their mouth,” a characteristic I have yet to overcome.)  Something about German speaks to me; there is a military strictness to the spelling, word order, and pronunciation that English lacks, an easy way to say exactly what you mean without having to meander around the point without ever being able to make it.  I love that you can string words and words together to make a new one; one of my favorites is the word for potato, Erdapfel, where erd means Earth and apfel means apple–together you get an Earthapple! I love the history of Germany–you could devote a whole semester long college class on each decade in German history since the early 1800s and it would all be fascinating.

My original hope for post-collegiate life was to achieve a Fulbright award, which would allow me to teach English in Germany for a year, at no cost to me.  Sometimes, however, life has interesting ways in working itself out, and I got to the very last stage of the selection process before being named an alternate.  I still have that hope of one day living in Germany, as a resident and not a tourist, so if that ever materializes for me, I better be prepared.  Thus, I am exploring volunteer jobs in places that will allow me to exercise my rusty German tongue.

The German American Heritage Museum is in a wonderful little house on Sixth Street, with three floors packed full of information on German immigrants and their impact on American society.  (Trivia–did you know Elvis Presley has German roots?  Same with Babe Ruth!!)  When I was there, it was also crowded with adorable German children, and it was all I could do to not steal one.  German babies are all blond-haired, blue-eyed, bowl-cut, turtleneck-wearing, cuteness, with names like Detleff and Eva that make you smile when you say them.

can i have you please?!

When all the German babies left, I finally got around to looking at the material on display.  The museum is pleasantly modern, with minimalist time lines on the walls and no unnecessary descriptions.  To be seen:

An original dirndl, next to a great view!

A HUGE bust of a famous German man–maybe a composer?

The steps between levels are artfully decorated with any and all household German names, with portraits and bios on the walls.  This is actually a very arresting display that catches you right as you walk in–I particularly enjoyed the German color theme.

I really liked the museum, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it for everyone.  You have to be genuinely interested in learning a little more about Germans in America, but the museum does a good job of not inundating you with details.  It’s pretty interactive, so kids could definitely find things to occupy themselves with.  I wish they had some German food–a good roll and some cheese would have been something I’d have happily purchased if it were available.

The volunteer opportunities didn’t seem so great, unfortunately, so I’ll have to broaden my search and try again next weekend.  I’ll be sure and keep you updated!

 

Do you speak another language?

I speak a little German, but I really want to learn French next.  I was going to buy Rosetta Stone and learn it that way, but then Michael Phelps did those commercials for them and so now I think I’m going to do it a different way.  Because we all know Michael has a little trouble with decision making sometimes.

all i want for christmas…
December 22, 2010

…is this small creature.

I will name him Napolean, dress in all black, eat nothing but croissants, move to France and get swept off my feet by a fashionable Monsieur who pronouces my name “genny-FAIR” and we will be happy forever. 

I don’t think this is too much to ask.  Let’s make it happen, Santa.