Hallo!

Hallo!

Ok folks, yesterday was a day…  We did two site visits in Germany to private firms–a family-owned (for 8 generations!!) paper maker and Pfizer.  And I’m sick. 😦  Scratchy throat and runny nose…  But I went to the apotheke, and I got some medicine in boxes I can’t read.  One of them I have to take 4 pills at a time. :-/  (Don’t worry–there are actual pharmacists at the register for these places so I didn’t make that up or guess!)  The other is a nasty licorice-tasting cough drop-like substance. 

The food in Germany…  not so much.  I’m not in a hurry to go back there (I think we go two more times).  I will do the bratwurst and beer next time though.  I did meet a really nice Italian cafe owner who got me to eat the German equivalent of a calzone with “beef” and cheese (wasn’t that good) and some yogurt and strawberry Italian ice.  Yes, folks, I went to Germany and ate Italian.  Go figure.  How would we know??  The guy was nice though, although he duped me–I still don’t know what i ACTUALLY ate.  The aftertaste was not what’s up.  But he was so funny–he made fun of my pronunciation of bratwurst.  I swear I said what he said, but he mimicked me as I’m used to and said that I said “brat werst,” even almost saying it with a fake southern accent, lol.  Whatever though.  I’m a southern belle wherever I go, I guess.  I can say thank you and hello correctly in German (Danke and Hallo) and that’s about it.  I tried to say their word for sink about 5 times and it just didn’t work out.  One of the hosts of our Pfizer visit needed me to tell him how to say sink and anti-bacterial in English so I asked him back how to say it in German.  We both gave up on me after a while…  The Germans add a BUNCH of syllables to almost everything!  And you gotta be more throaty. 

The French thing is ok though.  I went to a little cafe today where the waitress ne parle pas Anglais, so I had to speak the little French I remembered to order.  It was pretty cool.  I just had some tortellini avec quatre fromage.  Yummy (in a almost bland kinda way)!  Back to yesterday…

Y’all know I’m in heaven cuz I’m SUPPOSED to be observing, which I do anyway.  There’s so much to notice here.  For instance, I noticed only about 5 colored people yesterday.  I don’t know of what background, so I can’t say of African descent necessarily (for those of you who find “colored” offensive, even tho that’s what the C stands for in NAACP…).  I think it was just the city we were in, but I have no real idea.  Also, I noticed people enjoy their time here.  They’re not all stressed out like we are so often.  When I walked down to a cafe for lunch, there were folks eating in the park.  And the folks at the restaurants don’t rush you in the least.  Everybody’s just chill.  When we had lunch yesterday in the Pfizer cafeteria, the workers were all chilling and just enjoying lunch.  They had an ICE CREAM parlor in there.  And after lunch, they serve coffee.  Complaints? NO sense of personal space.  None.  Zip.  I was in H&M yesterday (didn’t buy anything, just wanted to see if it was any different from the ones in the U.S. since I spent so much time being envious of Europe when I would see it in fashion magazines before I had ever gone to D.C. on my own tab), and so many people would just walk into me or stand close enough to me that I could feel them before even seeing them. 

One question I hope to answer while I’m here…  “What is luxury here?”  Everything is modest–seems like simplicity or some version of it is luxury.  Of course you see Benzes and Beemers and Audis everywhere, but they’re made here.  The houses are cozy.  The accomodations are cozy.  So I wonder if they think Americans are just really over the top and materialistic (like I sometimes do) or what.  I wonder how they view success tangibly.  But I’ll keep observing… 

Ok, I’m done with lectures for the day and I want to explore.  I think I’ll take a nap first and then off to the center of Strasbourg I go!

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