Tuesday, January 23, 2007
I have not been writing daily these past two weeks becasue I simply have not had the time. Today, I realized so many things that I wanted to write about are still in my head and not in my blog so I'm going for one monster post split into sections. Of course, I am under time pressure so I may have to stop abruptly if I carry on too much but in that case check back tomorrow. The Neighborhood is going to the ... I guess I can't say the neighborhood is going to the dogs as it is just going and taking the dogs with it. A while ago I bloggged a brief run through on all of my neighbors in the building and the pieces of information I knew well since then so much has changed. First Pete (guy upstairs) moved out shortly before Christmas (his wife was going blind and as such had to train for a new trade). In the mean time, the sword incident happened involving the boy directly above me, Stephan, and the family on my floor, Anya, Lars and their twin babies. Anya and Lars felt that their safety was compromised and gave notice that they would move out. Note: In Germany, leases can be canceled at any time by either party with 3 months notice. They found a new apt and aparently moved most of their stuff while I was home for Christmas, today their doormat was gone and I have not heard the babies since I've been back so I think they are already gone. Last week, Stephan (the boy with the swords) moved out with the help of a social worker. As I did not see his girlfriend moving or helping him to move, she may still live here. Of 8 apartments, 2 are now empty and a third is possibly vacant. Two of these people had dogs which are now also gone so we are down to one dog in the building and I'd like to keep it that way. Looks like we will be getti ng new neighbors, I hope they are nice and don't carry large swords! Train Spotting I People watching is one of my favorite things to do and where better to do so but on the commuter train in the morning and evening. As I have been taking the same train at the same time for the past 5 days I have begun to pick out and look for the regular characters. I first noticed guy with the danish. He is about 5'4" tall and 2' wide, his hair is the same color as his skin and he tends to wear light colored kacki pants and a watching colored winter coat. He is very mono tone and to top it all off he likes to eat a large simarly colored danish. Each day I want to point out that he could prob easily lose weight by replacing the morning danish but refrain as it would be WAY to personal for a German and I have no clue how to say that in German. There's also one random army man who rides my train in his full digital (yes Germany has that too) cameo with red barret. I don't have a problem with him, I just question the value of cameo if you issue a red hat as part of the uniform. One of my favorite passengers is a middle aged woman who I dubbed Bridget Jones. She is about 15-20 years older than Bridget but has that small eyed, pouty moth look that Rene Zellwiger does so well and she is always wearing these outfits that you can tell she thinks are trendy but are not quit attractive. In addition, she always looks a bit lonely (I did observe a wedding ring however). I had the pleasure of sitting next to Bridget Jones today and her outfit was impecable. From the platform, I could see that she was wearing blue, suade, round-toe pumps with a kittin-ish heel (trendy, and quite cute) BUT she was wearing them with straight leg capri length jeans AND baby blue tights! It was a total fashion disaster and a guaranteed Glamour NOT. Upon entering the train she removed her coat to reveal an even worse sweater. Said sweater was kind of chunky, involved sequins and 4"x4" squares in alternating shades of light blue and dark blue. Okay so she matched in the sense that she was wearing a blue on blue sweater, blue jeans, blue socks and blue shoes but none of the blues were the same! Safety and Evacuations If one common beliefe is true it is that Germans are prepared. I am not sure I would say Germans are safe in that some common German practices would be considered serious fire hazards in America. However, Germans don't take chances with imminent danger. Example number 1. When the hurrican passed through last week, a national warning was issued to return home and remain their until the next morning. My company subsequently made a nation wide decision to close early. Yesterday, I received an entire 30 minute power point and accompying presentation on safety. Today, there was a fire or a gas leak on the first or second floor (the informatiion came quickly and in German so I am not completely sure) and they told us (on the 4th floor) to stay calm and not do anything. Well the one asshole in my class started freaking out and arguing. Our teacher finished up the assignment he was giving and then went and found out more information. At this time, we were able to see out the window that 3 fire trucks an ambulance and a crowd had accumulated at the entrance to the building. Our trainer came back and dismissed us down the back stairway. We exited the building and had to duck under police line tape as if something tramatic had just happened. The onlookers hapily stood by smoking. One of my collegues pointed out the ammount of people with lit cigarettes standing outside a potential gas leak. haha the entire thing appeared to be much adu about nothing, but I got out of class 30 minutes early so I didn't complain.