we watched the royal wedding in germany

Saturday, April 30, 2011

so it’s pretty much like we were there at westminister, right alongside the beckhams.


and now i will provide some “live” commentary, courtesy of lindsay and myself.
“i wanna fast forward this.  why does it have to be live?” -- me
“she looks so much like lauren conrad.” – me
“prince harry’s hair is so silly.” -- lindsay
“that’s a stupid hat.  that’s a really stupid hat.  why are all these hats so stupid?” -- me
“she really does look like lauren conrad!” – lindsay
“isn’t this the song from home alone?” -- me
“is that katy perry?” – lindsay
“prince harry is my favorite.  i want to be his princess.” – me
“this song is stupid.” -- lindsay
“remember when prince harry was a nazi?” -- me
“another prayer?” -- lindsay
“another song?” – lindsay
“are they falling asleep?  -- lindsay
“can this be over?” – me
in closing:  kate middleton’s a doll, her dress was perfection, harry’s a gem, the lindt easter chocolates we ate for breakfast while watching were delicious, david beckham is so charming, i’m very glad i wasn’t in london yesterday because just looking at that crowd gave me a headache…and so glad we didn’t have to wake up at 5am to watch this.  i knew being in this time zone would pay off one day.

my favorite weekend of 2011….so far.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

the 4 of us hadn’t been together since may 28, 2009.  and for 4 girls who love each other a whole lot, that’s a long time to be apart. 
we’ve seen each other separately since then, but our reunion weekend was the happiest i’ve been in a very, very long time. 
it seemed only fair to reunite in the city where we met, the city where our friendship takes root.
i’m happiest in this city.  it does something to me that i can’t put into words.  but i always feel a little incomplete in salzburg without these 3 next to me.
if all these words i’m saying don’t do my happiness justice, just look at the photos. 
so. happy.


my favorite easter memory: the austrian version

Monday, April 25, 2011

2 years ago on easter, this was happening.


(my parents in salzburg)

goodnight, everyone.

my favorite easter memory: the german version (continued)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

today i am flashing back (just as i did in yesterdays’s post) to easter weekend 2 years ago.  during this leg of the trip, we stayed in füssen as opposed to freiburg and the following events took place:
* we traveled to a nearby village, where my parents bought a cuckoo clock.
* because the weather in salzburg had been nice during the days in which i packed for the trip, i didn’t think to bring a jacket along (i cannot tell you how many times this logic of mine has failed me) and my parents were nice enough to buy me a very soft albeit slightly overpriced fleece hoodie (which i’ve worn a lot in the past 2 years, so i don’t feel too badly about that).
* we toured a couple of castles, took a couple of horse drawn carriage rides and learned a lot about my favorite bavarian (könig ludwig, of course).
blog  54blog1  blog1 8
also, i’ll never forget the funny conversation that took place between my parents on this train ride.  there was a screaming baby a few seats away from us and my dad said, “no matter how old i am, every time i hear a baby cry, a little part of me jumps, thinking it’s my own child.  i guess i’ll always be alert to the sound, after raising you three girls and waking up all the time when you were babies.” to which my mom replied, “that’s interesting, because i don’t remember you being the one losing sleep…pretty sure i was the one taking care of the babies and you were the one snoring the night away.”

my favorite easter memory: the german version

Friday, April 22, 2011

when i was going to school at the university of salzburg, my parents came to visit me for 2 whole weeks.  i hadn’t seen them in months and i remember riding the train to the munich airport the morning of their arrival and being so excited to see them.  i was never homesick in salzburg, yet spending that time with them was much needed. 

it was such a weird feeling being in total control of the itinerary.  how many family vacations had we been on together prior to that (with my sisters, of course)?  my dad was always in control, i think.  yet, on this trip, i was making all the reservations, buying the train tickets, saying “we take this bus here” and “this train there”, etc.  it was a very strange moment when i realized i had the ability to possess more knowledge on a topic (in this case, international travel) than my parents.  i mean, aren’t they supposed to be infinitely smarter than me about everything?  ;)

i do hope they visit me again soon because i’d love to re-live this trip from 2009 (can you believe it’s been 2 years, mom?).  i thought i’d share some photos of the first leg of our trip when we went to a few different german cities.  today we’ll start with freiburg.


freiburg is located in the most southern part of germany – just at the edge of the black forest.  and apparently, it’s been meteorologically proven that freiburg is the sunniest and warmest city in all of germany!  it’s also one of the most (if not the most) pedestrian and bike-friendly cities in germany; absolutely no cars are allowed in the city center.  i love that.  i also loved our hotel in freiburg because the breakfast was so amazing (good food is the key to my heart, if you haven’t figured that out by now). 1.0 50 58   blog4  blog6 blog7 blog8 blog9 59

has anyone else seen/loved this?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

when my friend laura emailed me an article about the 2011 Washington Post Peeps Diorama Contest, i didn’t think much of it.  i glanced through it and thought, “that’s cute” and then went to bed.  in the morning, however, i gave the photos a more thorough look-over and decided that this contest is one of the cutest things i’ve ever seen.  i’ve always hated peeps but now, after seeing these photos, i think i’m kind of obsessed with them (just as long as i don’t have to eat them).  mostly, i’m just amazed at how creative people are.  and since tomorrow is good friday, i figured today was an appropriate time as ever to share it here.  hope you enjoy!

the winner (and my top 10 favorite finalists):

Contest winner: “Chilean CoPeepapo Mine Rescue” b2

eggs031.  “TSA Agents Get a Peep Show”weekends 

2.  “Peeps in Purgatory” (the peep skeletons get me every time)5

3.  “Vincent Van Peep’s Starry Starry Night” (to be honest, i just like this one because the name ‘Vincent Van Peep’ makes me laugh!)6

4.  “Inpeeption” (this one is simple but so clever nonetheless…..and, like #3, the name ‘Inpeeption’ is so hilarious to me…)


5. “The King’s Peep” (again, can’t…get over….the title…)cobblestones 6.“Black Peep” (this one is hard to see but i think that’s the mattress on the left and i want to say there’s a blood-covered peep laying on it….having seen the movie, i’m laughing out loud.)


7.  “The Very Hungry Catpeepillar”


8. "Apple's iPeep Release in Georgetown"


9.  “The Peepstones” 14             10.  “Peeperazzi” (this parody of lady gaga’s grammy entrance is hysterical…who would ever think to recreate this with peeps?  unbelievable.)


11.  "Peepie Sheen Receives His Daily Transfusion of Fresh Tiger Blood" (okay, i meant to choose only my top 10 but this one is, hands down, the funniest title of the bunch…i was laughing out loud in the teacher’s lounge saying, “peepie sheen!!”  but then again i was also saying that for “the peepstones!! the very hungry catpeepillar!  inpeeption! the king’s peep!”….)


the rest of the washington post article (including other finalists + behind the scenes videos) can be found here.

a letter to my former home and the place my heart still resides.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

dear salzburg,
my city! oh, how i miss you, my city!  and though i visit you quite a bit, there’s still that little bout of separation anxiety that continues to plague me (will it ever go away?).  i know it’s been awhile since i packed up my things and headed out (wasn’t my idea, i swear) but the thing is – you still feel like home to me.  even though my passport technically says it’s no longer legal for me to call you “home”, my heart says otherwise.  and even though your austrian residents still refuse to speak german with me (you remember this tirade, don’t you?), i’ll excuse that.  they’re so charming in their lederhosen and dirndls that it doesn’t even phase me anymore.  but i have to know: do you miss me as much as i miss you?  i like to think you do.  and i also like to think that, after mozart, i’m the former salzburg resident who you miss most.  is that true? …actually, don’t answer that. 
i can’t wait to see you again, salzburg.  until then, i’ll just keep talking about you way too much and thinking about you even more.
p.s. sigh.
top: linzergasse / bottom: festung
(photos taken from my recent salzburg trip with caroline)

schloß schönbrunn instax

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

i tend to be anti-tourist when it comes to sightseeing
but i'm not too cool for the schönbrunn palace.
plus, part of marie antionette was filmed there
(okay, like, 5 seconds of the very beginning)
and even though everyone in the world hates that movie,
i’m a little obsessed (hey, sofia coppola - love ya, girl).
non-instax photos of the schloß
can be found here.

sometimes the worst months turn out to be the best months!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t have the very best relationship with my landlords.  While I don’t particularly want to re-visit all of the “incidents”, let’s say, that transpired under that roof {okay, nothing that bad happened…this is getting cryptic), I do want to say this:  I moved in mid-September and by November 1st, I was ready for a new place.  Despite my efforts to find a new home, housing is really hard to come by in this area of Bavaria (which is why my friend Matt had to spend his first 2 weeks here living in a church and almost had to sign up for a room at the homeless shelter…not even kidding!!!!).

Let it be known that I am generally a happy person.  But it is hard to be happy when the home you retreat to at the end of each day feels nothing at all like a home.  And by February, I had dealt with so many ridiculous conflicts that I was contemplating faking my own death so that I could break my lease without legal implications.  Every time I sent cries for help to my mother via email, she’d answer with the same reply, “Keep looking for a place.  I’m praying that God provides something for you.”

It was mid-February when I decided to myself, “This has got to be the worst month of my life”.  I was getting yelled at on a daily basis by my landlords (mostly landlady) for there being too much of my hair in the carpet (she even asked me if I needed to see a doctor for my “hair loss problem”!), turning on the lights in my bedroom when I should be using the window for sunlight (sometimes I like to not be naked in front of open curtains) and doing too many loads of laundry (3-4 loads per month is “unebelievable”, apparently).  Just when I thought she’d run out of reasons to scream at me, I was informed I owed 262 euro for “excessive electricity usage”.  Trust me, I fled that apartment at every available chance (I spent a total of 3 or 4 days per week there, being gone every weekend) and there’s no possible way I even used enough electricity to amount to the arm and leg I was already paying them per month, let alone 262 euro on top of that.

So, I sat on my bed and cried.  I wanted to move out (duh), I just didn’t have a place to go.   I’d been checking online sites every day for months and had had no luck.  I’d even viewed a couple of rooms but both had 30-40 other prospective renters viewing the same room (I wasn’t exaggerating when I said the housing here is competitive).  I was especially stressed that Caroline was arriving in 2 weeks and I’d told her she could stay with me; was I supposed to contact her now and retract my offer? I emailed my boss in hysterics and asked her what I should do.  As a German woman in her early 40s, she’s the closest thing to a mom I have here.  If only I had known while typing that email, with tears rolling down my face, that my “German mom” would pull through, that this nightmare of events which had just taken place would prove to be the much-needed catalyst in my escape and that all my problems would be solved in a matter of days, once Piotr came to my rescue.

So then I moved (as you know).  And then I went to Ikea to furnish my new place (as you know).  And then Caroline arrived and we went straight to Salzburg (as you know).

And suddenly, being a happy person again wasn’t so hard anymore.

p.s. look at that Krapfen!

vienna instax

Saturday, April 16, 2011

thursday was my last day of work until….may 2nd. 
easter break has officially begun & i could not be happier!
to celebrate, here is some more photographic evidence
my vorteilscard (austrian rail card) expires soon
so i'm thinking one more trip to vienna isn't going to hurt anyone,
either that or i'll just renew my card.
....yeah, i'll probably do that.

left: teresa's incredible apartment, where we stayed
right: taken during our vienna at night adventure


have a great weekend!
{i figured i should end the week on a positive note…that rant felt a little too abrasive for my taste…}

really, europe?: a rant.

CIMG4487^^ photo from st. sebastian, when i just wanted to go to bed, but caroline was scaling the side of vending machine...^^

as mentioned here, i really appreciate it when germans let me speak german.  this is because i think one of the most impolite things you can do is cut someone off in the middle of a conversation and switch to a different language.  why is that offensive to me?  well, i’m glad you asked.
1. i have a friend who lives in spain. she is eastern european but she's dating a spanish boy and she speaks, like, 5 langauges - spanish being one of them. while ordering in a restaurant a few months ago, the waiter cut her off mid-sentence and began speaking english with her (previously, she had been ordering in spanish). mortified, she assumed her spanish wasn't good enough (even though it’s so good) and that it was inconveniencing the waiter to stoop to her level of communication, so she proceeded in english (keep in mind english is not her native language, nor is it the waiter's). halfway through the conversation, she realized that the waiter's english was so bad, he was misunderstanding half of what she said. he realized this too and his face reddened. she asked him, ''so will you let me speak to you in spanish now?''. embarrassed, he agreed.  

2. story #1 reminds me of a time erica and i were on the u-bahn in vienna. now, i speak german but erica speaks german. her accent might sound american but she is never at a loss for words like i so often am. we asked an austrian girl standing next to us for the number of the ÖBB (austrian rail system). we asked her in perfect german (i mean, asking that question requies, like, level 1 german) and she replied in broken english, ''okay, you, um, you must, um, take the 1, 4, and 5 and then the, um....how do i say it in english...um, um....''. alright, maybe she was just excited to practice her english with someone but this interaction took way longer than it should have. had she told us in german, we would have understood perfectly and the conversation would have lasted 10 seconds as opposed to 2  minutes (we were in a huge rush). also, ''take'' in her mind apparently means ''dial'' or ''press'', which confused us and delayed the whole process even longer. 

3.  speaking of erica, we were on a train in austria later that same summer, when the food cart rolled by.  she asked the man who was pushing the cart (again, in perfect german) what kind of sandwiches he had that day (again, level 1, basic german).  when he began speaking in english, we exchanged a glance of “is this really happening again?” and as he was describing the menu to us in english, erica sighed, shook her head and told him never mind.  he rolled the cart away and she looked at me with tears in her eyes.  i mean, this man (totally unintentionally) made her cry!  she said to me, “i just don’t know how my german’s going to get any better if no one will let me speak it”. 

4.  i know a different friend who studied french for years and then moved to paris for awhile.  her french was good when she moved but after a few months it was awesome.  she was trying on clothes in an h&m dressing room when she asked an employee for a different size.  he interrupted her, laughed and asked in english, “are you trying to speak french?”.

5.  the most recent of these stories happened shortly after i picked caroline up from the airport.  i wanted to get a bagel from the munich train station and when i ordered it in german, the girl responded to me in english.  feeling discouraged, annoyed and frustrated, i switched to english and told her the bagel i wanted… to go.  moments later, she handed me my bagel on a plate with a fork and knife.  i stood for a moment, contemplating how i was going to carry this on the train with me and wondering, so the plate and silverware are free?  then i asked her in english since that was the game she wanted to play, if i could have a bag, which led to a pointless conversation that took much longer than necessary as her english wasn’t that good.  my german isn’t perfect but if my german is better than your english, can we please  just speak german?  we’re in germany, for crying out loud.  if you want to practice your english, either ask me if we can switch to english (i’ve had people do that before and when i know they just want to pratice, i’m happy to oblige!) or get a tandem partner.  but i didn’t move over here to practice my english.  sorry.  please stop treating me like an idiot.
basically, i just wonder -- how are we supposed to practice these languages and counter the stereotype that ''americans can't speak any language other than 'amurcan' '' when we aren't allowed to try? so, my plea to you, dear europeans (not all of you, but many of you!):  please think twice before switching to english and consider the possibility that doing so might be crushing someone’s self-esteem.  these 5 little stories are just 5 little stories but i could write a novel of my friends’ and my experiences with this.  sometimes, you might mistake us for dumb tourists, carrying around pocket language books and trying to pronounce, “where is the bathroom?” and for that reason, you switch to english, thinking you are making your lives easier. i'll offer up the benefit of the doubt; sometimes, yes, sometimes you are just trying to be helpful. but often times you’re not being helpful, you’re just being plain rude. when you roll your eyes at me and switch to english as though you can’t believe i’m hurting your ears with my non-native speaker’s accent, you’re being condescending and arrogant. i can think of more adjectives if you want.  it doesn’t make me feel more comfortable or “at home” to be speaking english.  it makes me feel defeated and stupid for thinking i could ever speak anything but english, so why even try?  why did i go to school for 4 years to get a degree in spanish?  and another degree in german?  these are the questions i ask myself when i can’t order a bagel without being patronized.

normally, i’m all about austria but this is one reason i love germany and one huge difference i notice between the two countries.  this is one reason why i love the germans i work with. they speak german to me.  every day.  even the colleagues of mine who are english teachers will wait it out if i struggle over a word and correct me when i make a mistake (i LOVE this… it’s super humbling and i learn so much this way…). 

so, my plea to you, dear germans (minus the bagel girl):  just keep doing what you’re doing and i’ll keep loving you for it.

is it normal to have a favorite airport?

Friday, April 15, 2011

beacuse i have one.

and i definitely have a least favorite. but let's not talk about that....

the munich airport might be my favorite in the world - either munich or oklahoma city.  the   former because i associate it with (mostly) good memories; arriving in europe before beginning my study abroad in salzburg, landing there when lindsay and i returned to europe for the first time since cryfest '09 (aka end of our salzburg lives), picking my parents up there when they came to visit me for easter that one time, etc. and the latter because it's just so small and so oklahoma.

anyway, i love the munich airport. when anyone comes to visit me, i tell them to fly into munich, even though frankfurt is technically just as close. the thing is, when something is familiar to me, i stick with it (which is also why i order the same meal everywhere i go). and i kind of know the munich airport like the back of my hand (the train station, too.... just call me jason bourne).

so of course i told caroline to fly into munich. the night before she arrived, i could barely sleep from excitement.  i think i slept, like, 4 hours - if that!
in order to fully comprehend the excitement, you have, have, have to read this post.

now maybe you'll understand why seeing her at the airport and then taking a train straight to salzburg was pretty much too good to be true (and she brought me american vanity fair! also too good to be true).

so....is anyone flying into munich in the near future? i can probably pick you up there, if you want.

so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, see you never.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

When I moved out of the tiny little Dorf I lived in (there's no perfect English translation for 'Dorf', so just see the above photo of my Dorf and imagine suburb neighborhoods spaced out with a considerable distance between each one in a somewhat rural area), I asked Piotr to come to Germany to assist with all the boxes.  Also, I needed a car.  (Luckily, I wasn't moving any furniture, but I was moving out the result of 2 years' worth of H&M shopping sprees....)  I was worried that my landlady would try to charge me, last minute, for something unfairly, and maybe even kill me?  You can't be too sure.  Thus, as we were pulling away from my now former street, I told him to drive as fast as he could and I didn't look back. And that, my friends, is precisely how Piotr learned the expression, ''like a bat out of hell''.

Conversations with a Polish boy, part 4.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

[after putting on AVEDA lipgloss that may or may not be kiiinda orange-tinted.]
me: do you like my lipgloss?
him: lipgloss? or carrot lipstick?

[after looking at a photo of us]
him: jenni, no.  this can never be seen by anyone.
me: what? why?
him: because i look horrible. and it looks like i have a bald forehead.
[for the record, he means 'receding hairline'.]

me: it's raining in germany! i love rainstorms.
him: i do too. especially thunder.
me: me too!
him: i've even taken some pictures of thunders.
[i think he means lightning, as "thunders" don't really photograph so well.]

me: what are we gonna do at aquapark this time around?
him: we could go to that one salty cool pool.
[maybe during our next polish/english lesson, we'll go over word order?]
other conversations can be found here.

what makes me euphorically happy?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


this, apparently. 



can you tell how ecstatic i was to be moving out of my old apartment and into a new place? i mean, when emily and i went to ikea to furnish my room (the same emily of Krapfen fame), i was giddily skipping through the store. i think we spent a total of 3 hours there. for a person who has never been to ikea in the states (oklahoma really needs to get on that), this place is like paradise to me.

equally paradise-ical? the ikea food section. ikea has a food section AND a restaurant. we spent a significant amount of time in both. and then discovered a self-serve milkshake dispenser. or perhaps i should say a self-serve ''milkshake'' dispenser (i've still yet to try a milkshake in europe that does in fact taste like a true, american milkshake...did you know milkshakes originated in chicago? just another reason for me to go there one day). sadly, we threw these so-called shakes away after a few drinks... which is shocking in itself because i never throw food away.

oh, and the thing i'm throwing up in the air is a mattress. a rolled-up, super light, wrapped in plastic, throw-able mattress. what will they think of next!?