Mittwoch, 18. Februar 2009

*German City Gardens*

Germans love their flowers, but in the cities, they don't have the luxury of a backyard. So what do they do?

First of all, I can't even begin to describe the ascribed worth of a balcony attached to apartments. If an apartment is a piece of phooey and someone mentions that it has a balcony, no matter how minuscule, the apartment seems to have become a find in seconds, and covered in flowers, vegetables, bushes, and climbers of every kind within days.

Secondly, many people rent or buy a plot of land in an area dedicated specifically to gardens. They are fenced off and usually quite small, but they bloom beautifully and some people even have a tiny hut on the plot where they can spend summer evenings enjoying the fruits of their efforts.

Sonntag, 8. Februar 2009

*I've Been Interviewed*

Swisstory is an expatriate blog I read (since I love Switzerland so much), and as an extension of an interview she did, she has sent me interview questions:

- Where do you think you would be right now if not in Germany?
This is a good (which usually means "unanswerable") question. I tend to get antsy when I stay in one place for too long, so I travel to random places. As for where I would be living, I've always wanted to live in Switzerland. Germany is just my roundabout way of (hopefully) getting there after learning the language. However, it's also nice to be close enough to family to actually receive visits. I have yet to have someone come see me, so it might be nice to be in one of my favorite cities in the U.S. So, in short, either traveling (China, Thailand, India, Egypt, Hungary, and Poland are currently at the top of the list), or in Switzerland, or in Boston, San Francisco, or the like.

- What do you like the most & the least about living in Germany?
Wow. The most? Hmm, easy transportation, diverse people, beautiful architecture, lovely country, long history . . . I guess I would have to say the language. I always wanted to learn German, since I discovered that my Swiss ancestors spoke German. I think my (non-Swiss) grandma scared me a bit out of going directly to Switzerland when she said that I didn't want to learn Swiss-German, I wanted to learn High German. Now I love the sound of Swiss-German and can't wait to use my High German skills to help me learn Swiss-German.

The least? The obvious answer would be that my family is so far away. The not-so-obvious answer is the constant things I hear about Americans and the U.S. government, as if everyone else is the expert on me and everyone in the U.S., though they may not have been there or may not understand why things are the way they are. I don't think I fit most of the things people say about Americans (even directly to me), and yet I consider myself deeply American, and pretty typical too. Once I was on a date and the guy kept telling me how Americans did things that bothered him and that they were the worst workers. When I would do little things, he would say, "Oh yeah, all Americans do that." Then he would add comments about how "I bet you do this" or "You probably do that." It's really annoying to be classified before you do anything worth classifying.

- What is your favorite German food? What could you not bear to live without?
All German food is my favorite German food. Seriously. The first time I flew back to visit my family, my mom said, "Yeah, you like the German food" upon first seeing me. Thanks, Mom. ;) I love the Klöße and the Rouladen with Rotkohl especially for Sunday dinners, and chocolate for everything else. Unfortunately, I decided to give up the chocolate for a long while. It's just so much easier to say "no" than to say "a little." I also love anything that comes from the bakeries, yogurt, cheese, Wurst, everything . . . Of course, this might be adversely affected by the fact that I'm a student who will take anything given to me.

- Why do you blog and which blog/s inspire you most?
I love to blog; I love that I have somewhere to put all my random thoughts. Although I love getting comments, if I were to never, ever get comments, I would continue blogging because of that space I have that is so very me. Naturally, I love blogs that keep me in touch with friends and/or family, but I also love a variety of other blogs of non-acquaintances. I like ones that are personal and thoughtful, intellectual, and/or funny, even if they don't really relate to me, such as with the mommy blogs I read. Oh, and I also like the beauty I find in design blogs. Some of my favorites are Bankhead Adventures (my sister's family), Lawsons Did Dallas! (for funny anecdotes), American Dresdner (expatriate blog), Colour Lovers (design), Scribbit (mommy blog), Feminist Mormon Housewives (religious discussion), "The World is a Book" (friend's blog), Design Mom, Amo, (another friend's blog), What About Mom (another mommy blog), The Jolly Porter (the famous NieNie's brother), No Caption Needed (discussions of photo journalism), Segullah (more religious discussion), You Go Nate! (another expatriate), ach I'd better stop here . . . and many, many more.

- And stealing from Ms. Mac, if you had to choose a flavor of ice cream that most fits your personality, what kind do you think you would you be? Feel free to make one up if necessary.
What a tough question. It would be so much different if you were to ask what my favorite flavors were (lemon and starlight mint), though you might think people would like to be their favorite ice cream. I like to think of myself as eclectic in my identity--it is made of spirituality, books, music, sports, traveling, art, family, friends, etc. So I guess that would mean my ice cream would be made up of a lot of things that don't typically go together. Maybe lemon and starlight mint ice cream actually would work, but it doesn't sound very appetizing. However, I'd also like to think that this variety would be enjoyable, so let's think about the individual flavors to make it sound better: the crispness of the mint combined with the coldness of the ice cream, the tang of the lemon, and the joy of those bits of chocolate . . . we may as well add some raspberries for texture and color. Make sure you eat it on a realllly warm, sunny day in a beautiful place with people you love. Or alone with a good book. Then you have the ice cream combination that fits me. :)

If you would also like to be interviewed, here are the rules:

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.” (done!)
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions. (here they are!)
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions. Be sure you link back to the original post. (
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Donnerstag, 5. Februar 2009

*The Michelle*

I like how the German language allows for people to have definite articles. In English, you wouldn't say, "the Michelle" in answer to the question, "Who writes this blog?"

But in German, you would. And because nouns have genders, it would be a cute little feminine "die," pronounced "dee," that goes along with my name.

"Wer schreibt diesen Blog?"

"Die Michelle."

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