05 December, 2008

My first Birthday in Germany

I have had a lovely birthday here in Überlinglin. A package arrived from my Mom and Dad with very important things like UO lip balm and a German children's book with vocabulary stickers. Awesome!

My coworkers have all made a very clear point of offering me a birthday congratulations. This includes a sincere handshake, a distinctly German birthday greeting. I know its not just me too, because Alexander had his birthday on the 4th and received the same treatment. Below is our coffee break where we ate some bread and cheese and Pacific NW smoked salmon. (I had packed some with me when I came and had to explain that it was smoked so it was okay to save it for over a month before serving)




One coworker, who is also a dear friend now, Isa, gave me a German cookie cookbook. With a little translation and an oven I'll be set.

Christina, Bernward, and Steffen came to visit for the weekend. We visited the Christmas markets in Überlingen and Konstance and visited the Therm.
The skating rink is only up for the Christmas market.

The Christmas market in Konstance

The Term is short for thermo-baths. The swiming pools and hot tubs are warmed by hot water from deep below the ground (I am lacking in my geology vocabulary today, look it up if you want to know what its called.) With the cold weather we have been having, the chance to soak in the hot water was a real treat after a day outside at the Christmas Markets.

It snowed again last week, so on Sunday a group of coworkers and friends went for a wintery hike.


A snowman out my window.

This week I will be mostly at the office. I am working on a design competition for a park and water management system in China. Its weird. After that, its home to Portland for the holidays.

I haven't mentioned work much in my blog, but I have definitely been spending time here. From what I understand there will be plenty of opportunies for me to tell you more about work after the New Year. It would seem that deadlines are already stacked up. One item of interst for now though... I have been asked a number of time to take someone's hand written notes and turn them into "Good English". Hilarious! I have had to try very hard not to laugh in their faces at the thought.

Until the New Year!

02 December, 2008

Basel Switzerland

This last Saturday a few coworkers and I went to Basel for a short 6 hour visit. Melissa, from the Singapore office (where English is the official language) and Nengshi from the Germany office but originally from China. On this Saturday we spoke some English, some Chinese (well not me) and even a little German.

NOTE: To see the videos in the post you have to go to the actual web site!

A mechanical fountain in Basel Switzerland

Me looking at the Mechanical fountain in Basel
Little boy who also thought to sit and look at the mechanical fountain in Basel, and looking to see what I am taking a picture of.
But here you can see why we were both so intersted: in the fountain.


video

The Christmas Markets were up and running in Basel as well.

Here is a cool sled at the Christmas market:
and a Frank Gehry building.


Melissa is contemplating the structure.

And if you ever wondered what happens when three landscape architects:

video




Another fancy building.


And then we found the playground near by. So much cooler!





I got to ride too!

video


Oops!

The buildings we looked at were part of a secured campus.






The city of Basel, Switzerland is also on the Rhine River.
Notice the stars that are over the street lights just for christmas.


And then another building: good for looking at,

And for shadow theatre!

video