December 02, 2002

Ich habe Dich nicht vergessen....

It's beginning to feel like home here. I now know how to use the washing
machine and can remember to press the button to stop the water after
flushing the toilet.

Last weekend Frank and I spent a few hours rearranging some things in our
flat. Much of the work involved hauling furniture and other stuff we don't
need down to the basement. We could have the garage sale of the century.
Frank and I have made a pact not to buy anything for the flat unless we're
sure the item we want isn't already somewhere in the house. The other day we
went to IKEA (in Germany it also is the ultimate gay couple outing)to
purchase a carpet. The next day Frank found a really nice rug rolled up in a
corner downstairs. It looks like we're headed to IKEA again to return the
new one. We did the same thing at another store with some dining room
chairs.

I've been spending most days bicycling around Munich getting lost.
Yesterday I rode my bike to meet Frank downtown at a government office,
where I received a 3-year visa. After 3 years -- if I don't commit any
felonies -- I can stay forever. It seemed like alot of running around to
different offices and filling out various forms, but Frank says it went
smoothly. Since I couldn't understand most of the dialogue between Frank and
the office workers, I'll assume it did go smooth.

Next Monday I begin language lessons, which will be five days a week, five
hours a day for 2 weeks. If I like the school, I'll continue there. If not,
I'll switch to another school. You'll get a kick out of this: When I went
to pay for the classes, I practiced my German outside and then proudly
walked into the office and said, "Guten tag, mein name ist Keith Warnack.
Ich möchte register für English lessons." The woman looked at me and said
"Are you sure you wouldn't rather take German lessons?"

While not working, I'm trying to get up at the same time Frank does so I
don't become a total slug. However, it's rare I shower before noon. I think
the neighbors are wondering who the strange man in the bright red bathrobe
is.

How are you celebrating Thanksgiving? Pilgrims aren't popular in Germany,
but on Thursday we are going to to the home of Thomas and Susan (our Hawaii
companions) for "an American dinner." Susan is going to make chili con
carne. I was going to bring a pumpkin pie, but the combination sounds
disgusting. I think I'll bring flowers.

This will be the first Thanksgiving I've had without a turkey and all the
trimmings. That's fine with me, I'm working on dropping a couple kilograms
anyway. When I first weighed myself on Frank's bathroom scale, he told me
that 1 kilo = 2 pounds. That would have been good news. I looked it up and 1
kilo = 2.26 pounds. Even if the label is Versace, leather pants don't look
good with a gut.

Today I was planning to bicycle to Dachau, but it's raining. I'd rather
visit a concentration camp on a sunny day. Instead, I think I'll walk to the
Schloss Nymphenburg (the castle around the corner) and take a tour. I love
the architecture here. Monday I went on a self-guided walking tour of an
area called Schwabing. The main boulevard of Schwabing, Leopoldstrasse,
looks like the Munich equivalent of the Champs Elysees. The sidestreets were
lined with homes built in the Art Nouveau style. I also walked through a
number of graveyards that had some interesting monuments. One mausoleum
contained a lifesize marble statue of an elephant.

In addition touring around, I've been going to the public pool/sauna. I keep
thinking how much fun it would be to take out-of-town visitors there, but
then I imagine how awkward I'd feel sitting around naked with friends and
family. Maybe just the pool -- where people keep their pants on -- would be
enough. Germans are such a contradiction when it comes to health. After a
cardio workout of swimming, going in the sauna and then jumping in cold
water, you can sit poolside and have a beer and a cigarette.

Well, I think Frau Neuhaus is finished cleaning/damaging our flat, so I can
go back upstairs and get ready to head out. Frank told her Friday will be
her last day. She's a lousy housekeeper and possibly a thief, but I'll miss
her. She's actually glad to quit working here. By the time she makes it to
the 3rd floor she's breaking out in a sweat. I offered her coffee this
morning and all she said was "Nein! Nein!" while patting her chest where her
heart is.

Posted by topher at December 2, 2002 04:54 PM | TrackBack
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