Well, I am hiding in bed, making myself update this. You’d think it was the most difficult thing in the world…or at the very least, you’d think I had something better that was keeping me busy, like this little thing called employment. Nah, instead, I have this little thing called endless visitors and I will have you know, entertaining is a full time job. After Kait left, Lainie arrived for over a week. In the middle of Lainie’s stay, Trey arrived and he’s here for another week. The day after he leaves, Chris’ family arrives. That’s right, eight weeks straight of visitors, all here until Oct 19, which is 19 days away, my day of silence/rest/celebration of normalcy. Don’t get me wrong, I love each and every one of our visitors and love spending time with them all. But as someone who doesn’t actually LOVE people all the time (ever), someone who is a grump, someone who loves to nap alone, doesn’t prefer talking before noon and two coffees, well, entertaining and being pleasant all the time is just impossible–ask any of my visitors.
So far, so good, though. Lainie made it to three countries during our stay and learned what it’s like to live in our car for three days. Bet she’s looking forward to doing that again. She was great fun, a happy camper and I was thrilled to have her all to myself for over a week. She met my all of my German friends, my friends in the Stu, was my partner in crime at Volksfest, and best of all, we had hundreds of hours to catch up and just relax. I miss her already and am working on convincing her to live in my basement.
Trey is here for another week. Ah Trey, the King of Jager. He is going to attempt to ruin my liver for sure. So far, so good with him, too. After he arrived, the four of us started our tour around the area. We took them to Wiel der Stadt, the town within castle walls, where we found the most amazing grocery store within 10km (how did i miss it last time??), as well as an overweight, robust mannequin modeling lingerie, which was slightly odd yet comforting at the same time….We went to the Hozenhollern castle, where the group tour was offered only in German. That was awkward. Do you know how hard it is to look interested for over an hour while someone tells stories about pictures and rooms and you have no idea what they’re saying? I just made up stories in my head. It kept me busy while all the Germans laughed and pointed around me. At the end of the tour, the 20 something tour guide came up to me in her cowboy boots and said clearly—in HER BRITISH ACCENT, “You don’t speak any German, do you?” SOB, I knew it. I knew those Germans don’t wear cowboy boots and how does she have two accents? She should be an actress because she does a great German. Was there any chance she could have asked me that at the BEGINNING of the tour? It also makes me realize that I must wander around looking clueless. I really need to work on that.
We all went to Strasbourg, France for a day, which was great. I love, love, LOVE Strasbourg. It’s my second favorite city in the world (so far), second only to Salzburg, Austria–where I’ll be next weekend. Ah, but Strasbourg, my pretty little jewel of a city. We did the typical tour of the Bourg–the Notre Dame de Strasbourg, the canals, the La Petite area, with all its charm and sidewalk artists, bakeries and restaurants lining the cobblestone streets. We watched the gypsy ladies with their little children props, shaking their cups and not getting a euro from my pocket, though I know what it’s like to have to beg for money at this point…actually, not beg, just steal, which is what I do every morning from Chris’ pockets. He never remembers to take out his euro and I have myself quite the secret collection going on. Note to self: If you come to my house and leave your change lying around, I will find it and I will keep it. That is what the unemployed do, sorry. And for the record, I’d rather be unemployed than one of these crazy ass street mimes I keep seeing everywhere. They are a nightmare and I think strategically placed to scare the hell out of me around every corner in every big city over here. (they scare me on the same level as clowns, which makes sense, because they are like the cousin of the clown…) I mean, really. Just because you paint yourself metallic and stand still for hours does not make you a “street artist” and if it does, I’m going to paint myself silly and call myself employed. Here’s a pic of one to prove my point, but I didn’t take this pic and I don’t know who those kids are, but they should really button up their shirts and stop looking so impressed. Anyway, after our successful trip to Strasbourg, we rested that evening in preparation for our big night at the Volksfest the next evening.
Volksfest is Stuttgart’s Oktoberfest and is second only to Munich’s, which clearly can’t be topped. It was a blast. It’s like the Big E, a birthday party, a sauna, and a bottomless keg all in one. Oh, and a costume party, so I guess Halloween, too. It is amazing. For 30 euro you get a reserved seat at a table, which is a must, as otherwise, the Germans will seat themselves wherever–we had 54 people at our tables. You get three beers, which is three liters to kick it off, and a half a roasted chicken, which comes in handy if you order it after your third liter. Between the endless beer, the Rammazoti shot girls, the dancing on the tables (yes, of course I was up there), the carnival rides (Chris and I did the go carts), the corn on the cob on a stick (just as good here), brat on a stick (clearly), and all the American music you could ever imagine sung by Germans (bizarre, they just can’t get enough of Rod Stewart, Huey Lewis, the Boss, and Ace of Base), it was an exhausting display of alcoholism. I think we’re going back this weekend while some of the crew heads to Munchen to tackle the beast that is the real Oktoberfest. I’m still in practice mode, as I know my mom wants to see me in November–it’s really best for me to just stick to the mini-Oktoberfest for now.
Let’s see, what else is new..
My huge job application for DIA is out and finalized, which is a huge relief. I won’t know anything for months and it’s me fighting for 15 jobs with 3800 other people. Nothing like good odds…but I did find 5 other jobs to apply for, so there’s hope. Gisela’s daughter Tina (my German grandmother’s daughter, of course) asked me if I wanted to walk old people in town to the grocery store and then keep them company as a part-time job when I saw her at the bar the other day. Hmm. How do I put this without sounding terrible and selfish? As good as it would be for my karma I suppose, the elderly scare me because I do not like the smell of death. And I am not a great caretaker, though I can work with small children because that’s just a case of outsmarting little people. Older people? Not so much…. I just cannot have people up and die on me and that’s what the really old ones do and so I think I’ll have to pass and hide in my safe, little bubble here while I wait for my big, bad govie job to come through. Politicians, I can deal with them. They are heartless, right up my alley. And they don’t die, they just cause trouble and trouble is something I can work with…I’ll just wait for my job and pass on the good karma for now. Thanks for the offer, though.
Ah, yes, I almost forgot. It’s pumpkin roll season, which means my second attempt at baking. I’m pretty good at making a pumpkin roll, as Katie has taught me well. This week I’ll be making a whole lot of them and giving them out as Happy Fall gifts (I have a date with Gisela on Friday at 4pm–pumpkin roll and beer at her house!). They are delicious. As soon as I make one, I’ll post it.
And lastly, but most importantly, guess what’s in 21 days? That’s right, my 30th birthday! Tomorrow is the official start to birthday month. Remember (and it takes a week): Heather Smith, Lindenstrasse 6, Aidlingen Germany 71134. Don’t be shy. 😉