dees ees Germany

Why did I think eating three giant pancakes for dinner was a good idea?  I am so so full right now, ick.  I guess that’s what I get for skipping lunch and going grocery shopping on an empty stomach, eh?

Well, we didn’t end up going tobogganing this weekend because it is absolutely frigid here.  It’s been below zero degrees several days this past week, and wherever we were planning on going is even colder.  Being covered in snow, outside all day, sledding down a mountain would have been miserable, so they cancelled the trip. I was pretty bummed, BUT…

On Friday, Elizabeth and I went to the movies with Charmaine and her kids to see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close on post.  (I’ve linked all the things highlighted blue to websites/pictures/videos/descriptions of what I’m referencing in my posts.  Click them! They will give you more information on what I’m talking about).  Being one of my all-time-absolute-top-shelf favorite books, I wasn’t expecting to like the movie very much. (You know how it goes. Directors never interpret books exactly the way you do, so when it’s one of your favorites you gotta lower your expectations for the film version).  The trailer seemed promising, though, and the film itself proved to be Extremely Sad and Incredibly Moving; definitely a must-see. (Becca, you would lovelovelove it I think).

As most sad things do, the movie left me feeling a bit lonely and empty.  The first time I’ve really felt so here in Germany.  It’s incredible how happy I am here in the day-to-day.  I definitely have my mentor teacher, all 19 little 2nd graders, Elizabeth’s calm nature, and Vilseck in general to thank for that.  My life has upturned greatly since this time last year; being surrounded by such a happy, positive environment makes up for Kirksville’s arctic tundra weather following me here (seriously though, why so cold, Germany?).  Anyway, Friday post-movie was a little rough, but nothing a glass of wine, a good skype conversation, and some lesson prep couldn’t cure.  Good as new. :]

We still wanted to do some traveling this weekend, even if we couldn’t make it to the mountains, so Elizabeth, Meredith and I went to Nürnberg Saturday morning.  Meredith met an officer (ooh la la) on the bus on her way to Graff last week, so he and 3 of his friends joined us.  They were all pretty nice guys, and all newbies to Germany as well.  They arrived only a couple weeks ago, so it was fun to explore a town with people who have never been there before.  For lunch we went to Treibhaus, a little artsy cafe we stumbled upon in my guidebook (thanks, Britt!).  I got my fix of Glühwein (yesss) and a salami sandwich; Elizabeth got some nutella crepes and what seemed to be a medium-sized bowl of coffee. 🙂

We did some window shopping around Nürnberg in the afternoon and the boys were on a hunt to find some lederhosen–no luck, although one of them bought a German hat with black, grey and white spots.  Cruella DeVille, Cruella DeVille…


We ran into some interesting characters in Nurnberg... check out the tiny dude on the left!

an "interesting" fountain we found in Nurnberg.

Elizabeth and I parted ways from the group around 5:30 and trained it back to Vilseck.  We had a cold walk home from the train station, and then almost immediately left again for Amberg.  Mary (who lives in Amberg) invited us to see some live musik (!!!!!) in an Irish pub called Kate’s, where the motto is “There are no strangers here, only friends who have never met.”  Of course we jumped at the opportunity, as live musik seems hard to come by over here.  She picked us up in Vilseck, we wandered into the pub and were immediately greeted by loud clapping and Irish drinking songs.  It was pretty much shoulder-to-shoulder when we got there, so I wedged myself next to a tall dude by a toasty fireplace (adorable).  All the sudden a loud, happy man with a camera came around and started snapping pictures of everyone!  He looked at me, then said to Mr. Tall, “HEY! I told you not to let anyone take my spot!”  Yikesies.  I started to apologize, laughing nervously, and he gave me a quick smile and said “Oh, that’s alright love, you’re pretty so you can have my spot. Girls, get together and I’ll take your picture!”  To avoid any sort of awkward confrontation and to please this loud-happy man, Elizabeth and I awkwardly cheesed it up for a picture.  He said, “You’ll go on the hall of fame!”  Soon after he walked away, Mary leaned over and said, “Umm, that was the owner of the bar!  He’s never usually out and about, but he is tonight, I think because of the band.  There’s a wall of photos when you first walk into the bar that we passed, that’s what he meant by that!”  Ha!  So, if you’re ever in Amberg, stop by Kate’s Irish Pub and check out the Wall of Fame.  Maybe you’ll see some friendly faces 🙂  For the rest of the night he was laughing, photographing, dancing and singing; so happy!

Sidenote:  He made his way around towards us later on in the night and heard Mary talking to us.

  • Bar Owner: “Well that’s a funny accent you got there, where are you from?”
  • Mary: “Umm, Missouri?”
  • Bar Owner: **shakes her hand vigorously** “Welcome to Dublin!”

The bar atmosphere was fantastic, and the music was even better.  They played a variety of tunes, from drinking songs to slower Irish melodies.  My favorite song was the classic that starts with “In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pretty, I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone…”  One of the band members even played the spoons!  The bar had us itching to go to Ireland and visit some pubs there, so we’re planning on heading there in May.  The same band is coming back to Kate’s Pub on St. Patrick’s day, so we’re going back to Amberg to see them again.

the ceiling of the pub had beer steins hanging all over the place.

our table; half germans, half americans, lots of beer

The band! The guy on the left was my favorite, he had the best voice I think. He also was the one who played the spoons. 🙂 The violinist was excellent as well.

Unfortunately the last train back to Vilseck leaves Amberg at 10:22, so we had to call it an early night.  We didn’t want to leave at all, but we had no other way to get back so we walked to the train station around 10pm.  Although it only takes about a half hour to drive back to Vilseck, the trains are much slower.  We had to wait for the train to arrive in Amberg and ride for a few stops (attempted to ride first class, got our tickets checked for the first time in ages, and were booted to coach), then get off in Neukirchen and wait another 45 minutes for a train to Vilseck.  Oh my, it was COLD.  But we made the best of it with drawings of hand turkeys and bald men.  We’re a strange bunch, but we have fun.

hand turkey, with a slight nod to the German train conductor who said "I can't understand English. This is Germany." as he was kicking us out of first class...

last but not least, Elizabeth's beautiful drawing of the man of her dreams.

(WordPress won’t let me rotate the images for some reason, so you’ll just have to turn your heads!)

I slept in today (and oh was it glorious) and then headed to the Internet Cafe on base to get some work done.  I did all of my planning for this week for Reading and Writing which feels great!  Now I gotta figure out Math and Health…

A few shout-outs:

1.  Ode to my MAMA:  You are the best mom in the whole wide world.  Thank you thank you thank you for the wonderful packages from home and the cutesie emails and the support and love you give me every day.  I don’t know if you’ve ever heard Billy Collins’ poem “The Lanyard,” but it’s quite fitting and here it is for you to enjoy:

(you : his mom, this blog post : the lanyard)

“Here is a trip of a lifetime,” she said,

“and support and love and even presents from home.”

“And here is your blog shout-out,” I replied,

“which I made with a little help from WordPress.”

2.  Grant/Aunt Lisa:  Mom sent me the coffee that you gave me for Christmas and it is DELICIOUS!  At first I was drinking this German off-brand coffee that was pretty terrible, but now that I have this Chocolate Fudge Brownie flavored coffee I am happier to wake up at 6:15 every day.  So, THANK YOU!   And I’m sure my students thank you as well (because who can be in a cranky morning mood after drinking basically melted chocolate?).

3. Seester:  Oh, you are the best a girl could ask for.  Are you getting excited to come visit me? Are you?  Are you?! ARE YOU??!!!  🙂

Love love love,


P.S.  If any of you (San Diegans OR St. Louisans) want to send me some of your beautiful non-winter weather, I’ll welcome it with open arms. Just sayin’.



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3 responses to “dees ees Germany

  1. Suzanne McGraw

    I welcomely accept your lanyard and all the love that went into it. I am so proud of you!

  2. Aunt Katy

    Sending warm thoughts your way! Can’t wait to see you in San Diego. We rented a house by the beach and are counting down the days.

  3. Becca

    I want to see it! Also, I got really excited because I thought you were in the little town where my former exchange student Christina lives (do you remember her?) it turns out that a difference of one letter switches it up from Nine Churches (where she lives) to New Churches (where you were [Neukirchen]). thinking of you always ❤


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