Thursday, July 3, 2008

Pizza with a fork and knife

I am a traitor. I betrayed all Americans by eating (Germans pronounce it pit-za) last night with a knife and fork. Why was I eating pizza??? more on that later.

My poor little guy. His sleep schedule is all messed and he seems tired all of the time. I blame our move. He seems happy enough when he is awake. He likes riding the trains everyday but I still wish he could sleep better. I let him take a 3 hour nap on Wednesday. I kept worrying about waking him up because I was scared he would be messed up from the little bit of a schedule he actually has.

So, while he was sleeping, I decided to do my hausfrau thing. I did the laundry! It seemed easy enough when our landlords explained it on Sunday. However, when I got back, I was confronted with the buttons you see on the right. Now, as far as I remember, the buttons on American washing machines say just "Hot", "Warm", "Cold" but these buttons say nothing of the sort. In fact, the only thing I can remember is that he said wasserplus button means you save water (wasserplus -water plus which doesn't make sense to me)

I don't really know what buttons I pressed but the clothes came out wet and non-smelly so I guess I did ok. I will have to try to look up those words when I have time.

I was warned ahead of time that Germans don't use dryers that often (more of that energy saving stuff) and sure enough, our apartment didn't come equipped with a dryer. They do have a drying rack though. Listen, I am totally all for energy saving. I mean, I hardly ever dry most of my clothes at home anyways because of the energy it uses - well and more because I think it ruins them (especially sweatshirts-I love the feeling of very soft, new sweatshirts) but I felt like a very primitive person hanging out all of my clothes to dry. But I did it and C was very impressed at my new hausfrau abilities! And of course, they dried pretty quickly. I can get used to this.

By the time C got home, B woke up a few minutes later and I wanted to get out of the house. We needed a water filter because we were told the calcium levels in the tap water were really high. So we hopped on a couple of trains much to B's delight and headed out to Wilmersdorfurstrasse which is a couple of train stops away. It is a big large pedestrian only street. We figured we could find something there.

But I had already been there the day before so C suggested at the last minute we go to Savignyplatz where he read there is also shopping. So we walked around on streets we thought were interesting and eventually I wanted to change B's diaper. So I looked for a public restroom. I guess there aren't many public restroom sbut we eventually found this one you have to pay for! See the coin slot on the right?

It was really fun. We had no one to see and no where to go so we moseyed. In the states, I always felt like I was in such a rush but here, (at least today) we moseyed. We found a playground where a bunch of naked kids were playing in the water fountains in the sand. It was really cool. However, B didn't want to go in the water though. He was obsessed with this elephant thing you could ride on.

We also found a specialty beer shop where C and I bought this type of beer we really liked. It is called Augustinerbrau Munchen. (I have to figure out how to add umlauts one of these days) It is a specialty beer and hard to find. The street was LeonHertzstrasse. We promise we will have cold ones in the fridge when you visit. :)

I know I told you I hadn't met any Americans but of course, I was proven wrong. We went into the MediaMarkt (sort of a bigger more diverse best buy) to look for computer cords and they heard our accent and their son, who was about 12, asked us if we were Americans. By chance, we were both from the Chicagoland area. They were so nice and even offered to show us around the See (some lake nearby I think). She also kept insisting her son had no accent but he sounded British to me. They were going on holiday but would be back in a couple of weeks. She was a midwife and told me how many visits new parents get from a midwife as covered under the German health care system (37!) She said midwives drive to the new parents house and make sure everything is ok. We had a visit after B was born from the nurse. Just 1 visit. I am going to keep this an expat blog though and not a "complaining about the American Health system blog."

We also helped out some American guys looking confused at the train station afterwards. The clues that gave them away? First of all, they looked African. Secondly, they were dressed completely in Nike and Adidas. (I haven's seen too many Africans here.) They said they were here for track and field and running races until August. They were super nice and I am guessing some kind of elite track stars due to their being here all summer running races.

C's language school classmates were going to go to a biergarten on the east side of Berlin later that night and because we thought B might go to bed early, we decided to head there to eat first so I could have sometime out of the house. We eventually found it and sat down. Germans hardly ever take people to their seats. You just sit down.

So we sat down only to get cussed out by this server. I didn't know exactly what she said in German and was still confused so I said "Wie bitte?" which somehow means "I didn't catch that-can you repeat it?" She rolled her eyes and spoke in very clear English that these seats were reserved for a private party and they didn't open until 8pm. I looked around after we got up and left and I didn't see a single sign saying anything that it was a private party there. I don't know how other people knew that but I am sure in the future, it will be obvious, and I will figure it out and go "What was I thinking??"

So we went across the street to this open air Italian resturant that seemed rather busy. They only served pizza there and I was really skeptical. I have eaten pizza in Germany when I lived here before and it was GROSS! But we were stuck. So the waiter comes up and speaks in Italian and this REALLY threw us. He laughed when we looked confused and started speaking in German. we ordered a pizza from what I could make out.

Now the Germans are very strange about their pizza. When I looked around, no one was sharing pizza and everyone had an American sized small pizza in front of them which they cut up with their knife and fork. But I thought, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do!" So hence I am a traitor and cut up my pizza with a knife and fork. I don't know how they ate it all but I was pretty full after most of my pizza and I shared some with B too but it seemed like the majority of people around me ate the whole thing-women and men!

C went back to their biergarten with his language school friends now that the private party was over and I took B home so he could go nigh night. (BTW: C-you owe me babysitting when my sis is here)

He made me take the pic on the left of him with his whale.

It is really hot here and it is supposed to be 90 on Thursday and my Seattle acclimated self is not used to that! Germans also don't believe in air conditioning so I am going to do my best to keep cool.

I also wanted to apologize for my spelling and grammar mistakes. Spell check isn't working in this program so I know I am missing a lot.

UPDATE: The pizza place was called "I Due Forni" It was GREAT pizza but pretty bad service. Regardless, we will still go back.


Afferent Input said...

Leonhard Strasse, not Leonhertz.

This is an important detail, because we WILL be going back there for more beir. MMMMmmmm.... Bier...

Nicole Saewert said...

Hi Danielle -- I am so enjoying your blog! It is so entertaining and it gives me an opportunity to keep up with you guys overseas! I hope that all continues to go smoothly for you all and that you have a great time enjoying every minute of this adventure!! -Nicole

Anonymous said...

You could try to get the instruction manual for your washing machine here:

Tessa Enright said...

yeah, i will never get used to the washing machines...i found a setting that doesn't destroy my clothes, so i use it every time even though i have no clue what it means! but i miss dryers! back home i never gave the power bill a second thought, so it is strange here when people scold me for leaving computers, heaters, lights on, etc.

and i still haven't had good pizza here...

Yelli said...

The instruction manuals are in German and when my little guy takes a nap, maybe I can try to sort it out! Thanks for the help anonymous!