Link to Profile Semperoper, Dresden Sieg (auf dem Siegesäule), Berlin Brandenburg Tor, Berlin Skyline, Frankfurt am Main

Saturday, March 18, 2006

How I (Really) Spent my Winter Vacation

OK, its not like I've been sleeping 24/7 ...

1) I've baked a lot of bread. In the past six months I have only bought one loaf of bread, and that was to stuff the Thanksgiving turkey. The homemade stuff is just too good to "waste." All sorts of bread, including the dark, grainy ones like Bauernbrot, Vollkornbrot, Mehrkornbrot, etc. to keep the Partnerin happy. And the sinful ones like baguettes, ciabatta, etc.

2) I have taken a couple of German courses. Even though I have lived here a few years, I never formally learned German, so the net result was that I speak a combination of very technical "Berufsdeutsch" and very informal "Umgangssprache" ("street talk" or very common speech). I also now have a couple certificates saying that I have actually studied and can do German, which is handy for job applications and interviews ... Germans love certificates, and expect you to provide them for nearly every aspect of your life.

3) I started learning Chinese ... might not seem very useful in Germany, but learning a third language through a second language has the salutary effect of focusing you more on the second language. Nevertheless, the assigned course books are Chinese to English, so some of the benefit is lost on me, but my classmates have the salutary effect of improving their English.

4) Looked for work. To do that, I had to learn to apply like a German, which is another story in itself. More on that some other time.

5) Cleaned the house. A few times, but not as much as the Partnerin would like.

6) Started walking a lot more. Had to give up the company car when I left, but this was probably not such a bad thing since I have gained more than a few kilos since moving here.

7) Went to the gym a little more often. But I just dropped membership in the fitness center across town (it was just around the corner from the office, but now that it was across town it was a pain to get there), so it is a good thing I'm walking more.

8) Re-discovered the geek in me. I built a new gaming computer to run my flight simulator. Tiny, quiet little XPC barebones with an Athlon64 3500+ and 2GB of memory and XP Professional x64 (boy was that a headache, but it is faster than regular XP pro). I rebuilt the family computer with a Sempron 3000+ so that the Partnerin would stop crashing it when she was processing pictures for the family.

9) Flew a couple hundred simulator hours. I'm a pilot in real life, but my US license only gives me limited opportunities to fly in Germany, and even then it is quite expensive (much cheaper to fly when on holiday in the US).

10) I baked cookies a few times, but fortunately only a few times. Don't need the calories.

... and probably a dozen other little things. Suffice it to say, it has actually been nice to see some daylight, which is something you don't see much of when working from 8 to 8.


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