Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hiller Encounter #4

Not sure that is is really a Hiller encounter... Decide for yourself. I went to look at an apartment and the guy who showed me the apartment said his boss or "chef" was also named Hiller. Turns out it is the same Hiller from the other encounters.

This is kind of interesting about German real estate. Most people live in apartments which mixes things up a bit. Here's why:

  • When an apartment is unfurnished it is really unfurnished. No sink in the kitchen, no lights in the sockets, and no paint on the walls. Some of them have EBK, or a small built in kitchen.
  • Also real estate agents seem to focus as much on renting out apartments as they do on selling homes.
So because of this there is a sink store right on the main street. People are going to usually live in an apartment so they want things just they they like them.

Another housing note: You can get an apartment cold or warm meter. Cold means you pay the electric and water each month according to how much you use. Warm means that you opt for an average and take a steady monthly payment. We think we have found the place we want to stay at which has an excellent location, although it is small.

Thanksgiving


It's Thanksgiving in America anyway. Here we are having carbonated apple juice to celebrate, and tomorrow we'll have a dinner with all the teachers.

We're in charge of the potatoes. Jacob's going to make them, and he's very confident that they will be very tasty. He likes to mix milk and butter and taste until they're just right. Sounds good to me. I'm just going to show up.

So last night I had a turning point in my language learning. I dreamed in German. First time. And I know I dreamed in German, because I'm told I spoke out loud. I said, "Vielleicht" which is German for maybe. But the funny part is I didn't say it in a regular voice. Jacob says I said it exactly in the voice from Tales from the Crypt. Jacob thought I was awake and I was telling him something, and he said, "What did you say?" And I snapped awake and said nonchalantly, "Yes, I was talking to the Eltern (parents)."
An important step in becoming fluent...

More observations on the German culture:

A demand for order is everywhere, which as Jacob remarked, may be because there is a serious lack of order. The word "Ordnung" is one I hear every day.

A need for privacy. The Germans seem to keep to themselves and dearly value keeping personal information to themselves.

A different definition of helpfulness: Their "help with whatever you need" means referring you to a website. Punkt.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hiller encounter #3


So I was out looking for the weight room, which is where I had Hiller encounter #1. Then I noticed, near the same Hiller building, an entire business called Hiller. It happens to be close to where the weight room is so I just went in to ask directions. After she gave me directions I said, my name is Hiller like the business. The young lady said, I am also a Hiller. Then she introduced me to her mom who also worked at the business. they seemed excited. The older lady from before is the Grand Mother who lives neear the business. The weight room is right next to their business. So the Hillers can probably count on seeing more of me. It would be interesting to see if there was any relation (a long shot I know, but it's still fun to play). It happened to be a VERY VERY windy day and as I was leaving a bunch of their styrofoam stock was flying around everywhere, so I helped them gather it in the first snow storm of the year. Now snow stuck, but it was very very windy and extremely cold.


Katherine Hiller and I.

Hiller friends.

Hiller Stoffe (materials)

The Hiller Truck.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Job

Hey this is Kalli. Usually Jacob writes these cause he's the techno guy, but I wanted to explain more about my new work.
First impression: Didn't know if I could handle it--too disorganized. Ever since, though, I've enjoyed it, because I've never worked at a job with as much variety and flexibility. Plus, I'm learning new skills every day. Like making brochures, sending business letters, creating decorations for walls, starting emailing lists, fixing fliers with poor English, answering English phone callers, and speaking in limited German to visitors (although technically I'm supposed to speak English.)

I was wary of the schoolmaster at first, because she yelled at Jacob even though he wasn't even a worker there, and she yelled at me on my first day for setting the wrong priorities, but she yells at everybody. Anyway, later, she told me she really liked my style and hoped that I would stay awhile. Everybody runs around here like chickens with their heads cut off and it's almost like they equate stress with efficiency. I decided on the first day, however, that I would not join that party. I'd rather work hard and stay calm.

But there is so much to do, another reason why I like the job. I detest jobs where you just sit around and attempt to think of something to do. This is the opposite; the list is long and you are always doing things that should have been done yesterday. Future projects for me down the road: Creating a yearbook with pictures from the year by Christmas, editing the curriculum handbook, and sending out a monthly newsletter to all the parents of the school.

Today some little girls said, "Wie heissen Sie?" and asked me how come I spoke such good German. I was quite flattered, and though my German is not so good, I hope to be fluent by the time I am finished at this position. Jacob is picking up German quickly. I read Vom Winde Verweht (Gone With the Wind) every day, and will one day start in on my German workbook.

I like the teachers at the school. They are all rather intense/extreme in their own ways, which may not be surprising considering the types of young people who travel and work abroad.

I eat breakfast and lunch in the school cafeteria. Who knew that I would return after graduating college to eating this kind of undelectable, yet healthy fare typical for school cafeterias? Today was Huenchen (chicken) cutouts, Broccoli und Blumenkohl (cauliflower), und Apfelmus (applesauce) und Schocolade Pudding. And, of course, Mineralwasser.

We are currently searching for an apartment. The dilemma is this: should we get a furnished one, one that is EBK (built with a kitchen) or unfurnished? Unfurnished means there is literally a hole in the wall for a sink. When Germans move, they take their sinks with them. Whoever came up with that idea I don't know. We also would like one fairly close to my work (I'm supposed to be there every morning at 7:30).


Jacob and I are sharing a bike. He is counting the days til we get paid in Euros and he can get a Motorrad. Right now he is headed to the court to play some basketball. Hopefully he can find it; he has gotten lost a lot this week. I think it's kind of cute how often he gets lost.

The food is delicious here. For me, there is crisp and tasty bread. For Jacob, there is flavorful meat like bratwurst and doeners. We go to the grocery store every day and eat at the bakery there.

Hike in the trail nearby...



There is so much here you need a motorcycle to see it all...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Just some random stuff

Pretty view... pretty girl...


"We're in Germany and all you want to eat is a donut?"  Yeah.. but they just seem to taste better here



A day in the office....

Friday, November 14, 2008

Where we sleep now.

video

Uhh yep.

Hiller encounter #2

Later on this same day I was randomly in a bank looking for an internet hot spot. I ran into Frau Hiller again. I didn't recognize her only smiled at her as we passed then she stopped me with a big smile and said that she didn't understand me this morning, only understood that I said her name. Instead of telling her that I spoke in plain German and she had no excuse for not understanding, I explained I was a Hiller too from America and had never met another Hiller. She seemed happy about it and smiled, chirped something and went on her way.

Hiller encounter #1


I went for a walk this morning, it is very cold. I saw this image on the side of an apartment building. I looked at the name for one of the apartments and it was Hiller. I thought I might just knock and say hello. Silly really, I was just excited to meet the first Hiller that is not direct family. Well... the old lady who answered the door wasn't nearly as excited. I was really unable to get out, "I am from America, My name is Hiller too!." Her reply, "Yeah, so what." She was pretty ticked off. I said sorry and she swiftly slammed the door. So the good news is that I found some Hillers, the bad news, they hate me. Maybe I should try again tomorrow morning when it is a little warmer. She probably thought I was a mormon or salesperson knocking at her door.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We made it to Germany,



A nice little train not far from our temporary apartment.



First day in town... just checkin things out.



Here's Kalli, working away at her new job... jk



On the Train half asleep.



Cool church in town.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Getting Ready for Germany

A little going away gift for the parents. Ice cream maker. We have had a most wonderful time staying here.











Kalli and I are just getting ready to leave for Texas, and then Germany. Her job starts on the 14th of November. Packing with a smile.
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