Thursday, October 30, 2008


Aparently pink puts me in a good mood. Yesterday, I woke up in a rather depressed mood and I dressed myself in a pink dress and brown leggings (they also make me happy through comfort and warmpth), after a quick consultation with Patrick, however, I changed to a lt. brown skirt and white sweater for a more professional look since I had a meeting with my boss. Today I woke up and decided it would be a good day, when I realized my jeans were not yet dry, I grabbed a pair of black pants and, without consideration, a bright pink shirt and my redic cardigan with giant black polka dots. Somehow, bright clothes put me in a good mood especially when it is grey outside. I also feel more inspired and productive but maybe this is based on my decision to have a good day or the coffee I drank this morning. Either way, here's to a good in spite of nature.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Lunch Countdown

Lunch has become a significant part of my day as a doctorate student. It is the one point when we all drop what we are doing, lock up our offices and walk a couple of blocks to eat and socialize (mostly within the department, sometimes with others). It's also, more often than not, the first food I eat all day. We typically leave between 12:15 and 12:30 to go to lunch and one of our most frequented places is a Pizza/pasta/salad shop called Clarissa. Their pizza is amazingly delicious, cooked by a legit Italian and so cheap, 5.90 will buy you any pizza on the menu and a Coke (light for me). The pasta dishes look nice and cost the same but I'm just not a big pasta friend and while I always tell myself I should try the salad, I've never seen anyone eat one and I'm worried I'll be disapointed since I know how good the pizza is. In 2 weeks, I've eaten there 3 times. I'm not sure where we are going today but it's that time of the afternoon when someone will pop their head in my dorr and say lunch. Right now, I'm having a bit of a craving for a chicken patty with sauce and cheese on a bulky roll from my high school cafeteria...mmmm! There's something so weird about that combo that it took me years to finally try it but once I did I was hooked and am happy to report I stopped by my former high school in May and it's still on the menue and still tastes the same (I had to have one). I guess I haven't anticipated lunch this much since high school.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rise Dollar Rise!

In the midst of this terrible financial crsis, the US dollar has been gaining strength on the Euro like crazy. As of two minutes ago, told me the exchange was $1.24 to 1 EUR. That is about ten cents stronger than when I first moved to Germany two years ago, and the EURO costs 4 cents less today than when I went to t he ATM last week! Mostly, I've been paying attention to the USD/EUR relationship for obvious reasons but thanks to a new format on where they display popular currencies at a glance, I noticed the USD/GBP ratio is 1.53/1 which is about the rate it was in 2003 when I lived in London. At that time, in 2003, the USD/EUR ration was about 1.15/1. Which makes me think that the EUR is holding its value better than the GBP. It's also kind of interesting that it took a global financial crsis to bring the dollar up. I'm going to start paying for everything I can with my dollar based crredit card from now on ;) In case you were wondering, it's safe to go to Canada again, the USD is worth about 1.29 Canadian dollars today.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Stepping into Year 3

It's weird to think that I've been living in Germany for the better part of 2 years. In that time I've...
  • lived in 2 apartments in 2 cities, 5 hours away from each other
  • had 3 different jobs
  • visited over 2 dozen German cities (and towns)
  • joined a team
  • never been to Oktoberfest or Karnival
  • fell in love with Christmas markets
  • eaten countless döners and schnitzel
  • rode zero bikes
  • only swam in the ocean once
  • traveled to almost all scandinavian countries (except Sweden)
  • made new friends, then moved and started over
  • became friends with 4 other Americans living in Germany
  • got engaged
  • went camping once (Denmark 07)
  • flew to the US 5 times
  • spent 1 night in Toronto due to snow
  • driven in Germany (once)

I'm sure I could come up with several more things I've done over the past 2 years but I'm going to leave it at that, please feel free to add any milestones I've forgotten via comments. In recognizition of the begining og my 3rd year in Germany, I'm going to go try and sign up for a German course.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Currency Exchange

The Dollar started to gain value against the Euro about a month ago, right around the time the current financial crsis started to his Europe and talks of a 700 billion dollar bail out plan began. In the past month international markets have been up an down and down and up. I don't have much money in the stock market and I don't have a 401K but these fluctuations have had a significant impact on my life.
As an American living in the Euro zone but maintaining a dollar bank account I watch the currency exchange rate a lot more than most and can tell you there is a seemingly strong correlation to the stock market. Unfortunately for me, I was in the US while the Dollar gained on the Euro and as soon as I return the dollar is instantly down 2 cents to the Euro. Ultimately, I shouldn't complain at all as the dollar was at it's lowest in comparisson to the Euro a few short months ago but for me the timing, couldn't have been worse. I spent the last 3 weeks in the US and in 2 days I begin a new job where I will be paid in Euros. It felt so nice to think of my Euro income in dollars at a ration of 1:1.60 and now I'm looking at 1:1.35 - it's like I've had a decrease in pay before I even begin. I guess if this is the worst I see of the financial crsis (more expensive trips home) then I shouldn't complain. While in the US, I really began to realize the seriousness of the situation. People are losing their jobs or seeing decreases in hours. Consturction is being scaled back and layoffs are more prominent than last year in this volitile industry. I'm thankful to be living outside of the US during this time but worry for my family and friends at home, for the economy and for the reutation of our nation. I am thankful that Bush is about to be out of the Whitehouse and hopefl that Obama will make it in and be able to enact change. Now more than ever, I see a need for a strong government and hope that my country will be able to come out of this "financial crsis" on top. I'm off to secure my place as an absentee voter...