26 June, 2009

Getting Ready for July 4th in Germany

Click on the post title to see the link. It won't last long.

24 June, 2009

Dog Face Tours 2009

You'll notice that my favorite pictures in this collection are of my family visiting from the states. Uncle Johnny and Anthony can tell you what they thought of traveling in Europe. I will tell you instead how amazing it is to live for 6 months without family and then spend two weeks with with them 24/7.

I felt like I had ghosts following me around for a few days after they left. I got so used to Uncle Johnny suggesting that we get a cup of coffee at a cafe 3+ times a day, or Anthony getting excited about seeing another unusual German bird or insect. I should also mention that I will never forget the look on Anthony's face when we began to climb yet another hill or Uncle John's look when the waitress told him the bill was 15.36. He would look at me with that same dear in the headlights expression that I always imagine must be on mine when I can't understand what someone is saying to me in German. Luckily I have my numbers pretty much down.

The Independence that I have learned to embrace here is different from what I experienced in Portland in the last few years. Here it is more proactive. I had already recognized this. But the family that I experienced here was different too. It was more intense. Traveling together is so much more than a BBQ on the weekend. You get to know peoples habits and interests and quirks and have conversations that never come up in when you're in a crowd 20+ aunts, cousins, and uncles mingling at the same time (although those are great times too)...

...and you have lots of fun.

06 June, 2009

Saturday Morning Westerns

I turned the television on this afternoon while I was eating lunch. Its a rainy cloudy sort of Saturday where I would likely find myself sitting on my parents couch watching a John Wayne film with my dad if I was in Portland.

I was thinking about just how nice it would be if I happened to find a western on TV today, even if it was dubbed in German. Much to my delight the TV was already on the perfect station. It was totally a western, 1960's color video quality and all!

However, within the first few seconds I knew that this was no John Wayne movie.
It was Winnetou!

Isa had told me about Winnetuo. She grew up watching Winnetou thinking it was an American western movie, and it certainly compares to the ones I grew up watching, but I had never heard of it. Turns out Winnetou was filmed in the mountains of Chek for German speaking audiences. Isa loves it and was shocked to realize I had never heard of it. Almost as much as I love the sound of music and was shocked to learn she had never seen it either. We are planning an international 1960's korny movie exchange night.

So, how did I know this movies was not an American original within seconds of recognizing its American Western genre. The second camera shot was of the American flag with all 50 stars. Never realized it before but that’s one historical point that westerns always capture, the old American flags. As soon as I saw the modern flag I knew something was amis.

The movie was over 3 minutes later. And I could hear the echo of my mother clapping her hands and saying to nobody really, but absolutely to me and my dad lounging on the couch, "Well, Thats Over, Lets clean the house!" ***

Its a good Saturday.

***to be shortly followed an hour later by "Jaime, Your definition of clean and my definition of clean are not the same thing!" Whilst she points to the kleenex clutter I left hiding in a corner of the living room. (I can't wait to use that line on my kids!)

05 June, 2009

The Hills Are Alive With the Sounds of Cow Bells

I had a fantastic weekend hiking in the Alps a week ago. It was better then I could have imagined. A few photos are included here as short cut through the 300 I took. But I if you follow the link at the bottom you should find some video as well. I can't begin to describe how cool it was to be in the middle of the Alps hearing nothing but a little wind and the echo of cow bells.

We started in Appenzell Switzerland.

Once we started on the hike my references to The Sound of Music went completely unappreciated.

This is the creek where I lost my sunglasses... You can see I still have them here, but when I stood up... lost forever in waist deep glacial water. I bought them for cheap at H&M in Paris. I'll buy some more next week in Berlin.

For more photos see: