Saturday, March 23, 2013

Easter in Germany


I recently blogged about my Easter decorations on the little tree in our front yard. My husband complained that our bush is a little pathetic and doesn't give the true flavor of Easter decorations in Germany. First step, I added more eggs to pep it up. More = better, right?

Anyway, I decided to rectify my portrayal of Germany online. People in our area of Germany go all out at Easter time, building structures over the fountains, and painting eggs in glorious detail. This amazing volunteer work is generally organized by church groups or senior citizens.

Here are some pictures of Easter decorations on fountains within ten minutes of my house.
in Niederndorf, where I live

in Herzogenaurach, the next town over

Just to prove those aren't just simple polka dotted eggs....



Besides the Easter fountains, what's different about Easter in Germany? Well, we have Good Friday off work, but also Easter Monday. Woohoo! Four days in a row! 

Beyond that, there are a lot of similarities to the States. Easter bunny...Easter baskets...chocolate.

But...there are no Peeps in Germany! And jelly beans are just beginning to make their way here, although I don't think they're considered Easter candy.

So, who's planning on making their own Easter bush this year? 

Wishing you all a Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Random Things I Love About Germany (Part 1)


I've lived here so many years that Germany is home to me.  When you feel at home, you tend not to notice your surroundings anymore. But every now and then, something reminds me things aren't the same in the US. Here are some simple things I love here in Germany.

Easter Bushes/Easter Fountains
I live in the area known as Franconia, where it's a tradition to decorate fountains and bushes for Easter. Here's our Easter bush.


I'm a wimp when it comes to crafts, so I use plastic eggs. Some go for gold and blow real eggs out, dry them, then paint the empty shells and use them for decoration. At the beginning of Spring, when the weather is often drab, perky eggs flashing from everyone's yard can be a real pick-me-up.

Bakeries
Yum!


The best thing about most of these cakes (no, unfortunately they are not calorie-free) is that they are not very sweet. Some might look like they're piled high with sugary-sweet frosting, but it's actually yoghurt-based or whipped cream. Real whipped cream, made (logically) by whipping real cream.

Organization
It's kind of a stereotype that Germans are organized. Stereotypes are often fact-based, and here's one I love.  Example: every child in my daughter's second grade class has one of these "folders" for organizing pens, pencils, rulers, erasers and scissors.


Recycling
We have six kinds of garbage: paper, biodegradable, tin cans, glass, plastics, and everything else. All but the last category are recycled, at least to a certain degree. No picture here. Didn't think you needed to see our garbage.

Watch this space—I'll probably be inspired to write more about things I love about Germany.

Some of my readers live in Germany. So how about you? What are some everyday things you love?

Friday, March 15, 2013

I Love...Bad Boys (and Good Boys!)



At YA Misfits, Erica M. Chapman blogged about the choice between Damon or Stefan from Vampire Diaries. If you're not a fan, Stefan is the caring, trustworthy one.  Damon is witty, tortured and seriously dangerous.

So how do you choose between such different men?  

Checking out YA Misfits again to concentrate on the question. So easy to get hypnotized by the pretty pictures....

snapping out of it!

If I'm going to analyze the question, I have to separate between real life and fantasy.

In terms of TV and books, I have to go with the bad guy.  Why?  

Because he's way more interesting.   

You can't trust the bad boy.  You never know what's going to happen next. He could help you, but he has his own agenda. Uncertainty can be captivating.

Also, if your bad boy is the love interest, he'll have to end up doing a lot of changing, growing in the course of the story. He needs to prove to his ladylove that he's worthy of her after all. He has to come to terms with his demons and learn to put her first. That journey can be fascinating to watch.

Real life is a different animal.  For me, in real life, the good guy wins hands down.  My guy has to be someone who'll tow the load with me.  Who'll share. Who'll support me when I need it—and not unexpectedly, like a bad boy might. 

I have to be able to count on my man. With rock solid certainty. No questions asked.

So when I watch Vampire Diaries, I'm Team Damon. All the rest of the time, I'm Team Hubby. Because he's one of the good boys.  The really good ones.

How about you? What's your preference?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Kryptonite



It happened again today. My normally in-control mind was rendered helpless by my own personal Kryptonite: dawdling children.

I sound like Eliza Jane from The Little House on the Prairie, don't I? Who uses the word "dawdling" nowadays anyway?

But seriously, there are a finite number of minutes to get everyone awake, dressed, fed and ready for school, get them to school, and get myself to work. (And, no, getting up early doesn't increase the amount of time available for preparation; it increases the amount of dawdle-time).

I understand the problem: preparing for school is the least interesting thing for a child. The spray made by fanning toothbrush bristles with your thumb is interesting. The crunch of the snow under your feet is interesting. The long stick with the peeling white bark is interesting. Writing on the scum covering the car with your fingers is interesting. The little boy with the glasses standing near the door is interesting.

Mom's constant reminders she'll be late for work are ultra boring.

So sometimes, I crack. My son got quite an earful at school today when he JUST WOULDN'T FINISH UP. He was shocked at my outburst. It happened in front of his friend, who luckily couldn't understand my English, but certainly understood my tone.

In my defense, my son woke me twice last night and his sister woke me once, meaning I got a total of maybe five hours of sleep. And I give warnings all the time. They know very well why I need to be at work by eight.

Does anyone else have a personal Kryptonite? Something that whittles away at their physical or mental control? I'd love to know I'm not alone.

Love it even more if you can come up with an antidote.