Sunday, December 31, 2006


Sparkler, originally uploaded by Eric....

We've just rung in the new year. Hope your weather is a bit more suited to fireworks than it proved to be here in Germany - we were forced to brave a freezing drizzle and high winds. (Happy to be back inside, warm and dry.) May you and yours have a very happy 2007!

Thursday, December 28, 2006


snow day 004, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

We finally had our first day of snow since my arrival. I threw a snowball at David, and he built a tiny snowman. Now it feels a bit more like Christmastime.

Tomorrow night we are planning a bonfire in the firepit behind the house. We'll cook hotdogs and have smores. It has been raining a lot lately, so we're making the most of the predicted clear night.

Fireworks went on sale this morning, and David was there when the doors opened, Christmas money in hand. I might just be in for my loudest New Year's Eve, ever.

Sunday, December 24, 2006



Christmas Lights, originally uploaded by Patrick Q.

We lit the last advent candle tonight. In a few hours we'll head to the state church for a song service. Tomorrow morn we'll open gifts. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 22, 2006


My niece attends public school here in Germany. Ellen is pretty level-headed, but like most 15-yr-old girls, she spends her day with schoolmates whose lives are brim-full of drama. Her little brother's English has a few gaps, so yesterday at dinner when I compared Ellen's classroom to a "Soap Opera," I had to define the unfamiliar term for David.

His Dad helped me to explain by offering the example of "Verleibt in Berlin," a cult hit in Germany that boasted 5 million daily TV viewers in 2005. Dan described the plot and cast to me, and I recognized the show as a current cross-over American weekly dramedy called, "Ugly Betty." Curious, I googled it and found out the history of the show.

It originally began in 1999 as a Columbian telanovella titled, "Yo soy Betty, la fea." In addition to Spanish, English, and German versions, there have also been Dutch, Russian, Indian, and Israeli adaptations. Score one for the "small world" concept. I imagine that the writer of "The Devil Wears Prada" also took the idea from some version of the original Columbian hit.

My inner grad student is tempted to write a comparison contrast essay about the different versions of this Cinderella story and the insights they reveal about our changing global cuture. I wonder why lots of the world's population enjoys watching fashionistas make fun of an ugly duckling.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


I've had a bit of jetlag and the weather's been rainy, so sightseeing is getting a slow start. We did drive around to a few of the neighboring villages, and tonight we went to the State Church in Hamburg for a Christmas Concert. I've posted a few pics on flickr, and you can see them by following the link in the photo above.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Empty Seat - lomo, originally uploaded by hangingpixels.

About an hour until my first flight to Houston, and I'm killing time in the airport. Then it's on to Newark and Amsterdam before Germany. Thankfully, the airports have wifi and I've packed some novels, so I shouldn't be too bored on layovers. Check-in was a breeze. It's an uneventful beginning, but I'm not complaining.