Thursday, March 29, 2012

Home Away from Home

 Have you ever asked yourself how much a taste of America costs abroad? Well, now we have the answers!

Libby's Canned Pumpkin
USA: $1.29 for the large can
Germany: 5.95 EURO

Newman's Own Salad Dressing
USA: $3.95
Germany: 8.95 EURO

Baking Mix
USA: top shelf - $9, Betty Crocker $1 - 4
Germany: Top shelf - 9 Euro, Betty Crocker - 6 Euros

Candy canes
USA: $0.99 - $2.99
Germany: 5.98 Euros

And for your political amusement:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Flea Market

The weekly Frankfurt Flea Market, where you can get anything. No, really, anything.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Working in Frankfurt

My work commute!

Before the start of spring, there were mornings when I was out of the house at for me most of the time but some mornings are just beautiful.

Fall and winter on my streetcar tracks...

The view from the 25th floor in the fog...

The view without the fog...

The view in the snow...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Frankfurt at Night

Views of the factories are much more interesting at night...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Frankfurt Botanic Gardens

Frankfurt has a university biology program that runs a botanic garden, which anyone can visit for free. My friend T and I went to check it out and came again later for a free "mushroom hunting" seminar. The garden is huge and their free seminars are taught by professors at the local university. I highly recommend it if you're ever in Frankfurt during the spring, summer or early fall (it closes in winter).


Kite Surfing

My last day in Berlin my friend Philip invited me to visit his company's stand (Coronation Industries) at a kite boarding/kite surfing event. It took place at Tegel, which is a converted airstrip, and various companies had booths. With the beautiful weather, families were out in full force enjoying the park and checking out the event

Philip and one of the Coronation Industries shop owners

Friday, March 16, 2012

Madrid Airport

The airport had this same design throughout, running through all the colors of the rainbow. Below is the yellow section...

Toledo in Black and White

We were supposed to be in Toledo for half a day. We only got 45 minutes. Did I mention that this was the worse tour I've ever taken?
September 29, 2011

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I'm a gangsta'

So, as previously mentioned, I had my wisdom teeth pulled. Some people are blessed with no swelling and others are...well, not. Like me. Those others wake up the next day looking like a chipmunk that fell off the Jenny Craig bandwagon.

I had to go to the dentist today for a follow up examination, which meant taking public transportation for an hour while looking like those hamsters from those car commercials. To top off my amazing look, a blood vessel in my eye had ruptured a day before and I had dark circles under my eyes from not sleeping a whole lot. Before leaving the house, I put up my sweater hoodie. When I looked in the mirror, it appeared to hide my swollen face and as long as I looked down or straight ahead, my left eye looked almost totally normal. So I was fine, right? Wrong!

20 minutes into the trip I noticed people who choose not to sit next to me or give me quick, worried looks. I mean, I know I look bad, but I'm trying to keep it on the DL here people! But then I saw my reflection and realized what all the hub bub was about. By putting on my hoodie and avoiding eye contact, I had transformed myself into a hoodlum. I looked like I'd been in a fight because my left eye was bloody and the sweater hid the fact that my whole face was evenly swollen. Instead, I looked like one half was swollen (probably from a fight) and the dark circles looked like residual black eyes. Then I was avoiding eye contact and probably acting a little shady in my attempt to not freak people out. So for probably the first and only time in my life, people not only noticed me on the street, they were legitimately scared. Hah! I'm a gangsta'!

Then I took the hoodie off. No sense in adding needless extra stress to people's lives so early in the morning.

Intercultural Exchange

I got all four of my wisdom teeth pulled yesterday and had been telling everyone about the appointment for the past two weeks. I figured that the more people that knew about it, the more pressure I would have to actually follow through. This was something I've been putting off for ten years (yes, you read that right) and in an ideal situation I would just "oversleep" and rescheduled the appointment for ten past never. Well long story short, I look like a chipmunk now (and no, there will be no pictures!), but it's done.

What I found so interesting, though, was the responses from different people to my upcoming ordeal. I will make the same statement I always do: the following is a generalization! Not every single person responded exactly the same way, just the vast majority...

The Americans I told came out with, "That sucks, but don't worry, it's never as bad as they say" and then regaled me with stories of miraculous, painless recoveries. Germans on the other hand, immediately started talking about some nightmare situation regarding broken jaws and stitches gone wrong. I was beginning to wonder if all Germans knew the exact same person who had this gory operation and all Americans knew the exact same person who bounded out of the operation room and immediately had pizza and hamburgers for dinner.

Of course, in reality most cases end up in the middle. It sucks, it hurts, but it's relatively uncomplicated and over soon enough. I don't find either approach right or wrong, but it's one of those moments where you realize that you share more with your fellow citizens than you realize. I am not on the same page as all Americans, nor do we always understand each other, but I can't deny that I share certain personality traits with millions of people I've never met simply as a result of being born and raised in America. This doesn't mean I can't integrate successfully into other cultures, it just means I will always have some things about me that are inherently American (or Turkish).

On a side note, the German approach was encapsulated perfectly in the little model train town display at the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof. There is an adorable model train riding around a cute city, with little people waving out of their apartment windows or sipping coffee in a cafe. And right in the middle of this idyllic setting is a little accident, with a mini-fire truck and paramedics pushing a person in a stretcher towards a mini-ambulance.