Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Long Haul

I realized last night that I have completely forgotten to post about our recent cross country trip.  Before flying off to Germany, we took a few days to drive from Washington State to Maryland, where our flight was leaving from.  Yes, it would have been a lot easier to just fly, but Timmy's dad was willing to drive us, his Grandfather wanted to accompany us, and it was a great solution to the problem of seeing my own family.  So we drove.  


This is actually why there aren't that many pictures.  I was asleep the majority of the time since they wouldn't let me drive.




Sunday, November 27, 2011

Flea Markets in Germany

When Timmy showed me that there was a listing of local Antique Markets being held today in the Kaiserslautern American, I think I freaked.  So when we overslept and completely missed the Antique Market, I freaked a little more.  Thank goodness we will be here for another three years, or I would be very upset with my phone right now.  Then he showed me that there was a flea market small gathering of people selling used items at a later time, we decided to hit that up instead.  (I honestly believe that the Germans use the term "flea market" as a way to entice people to visit a group of 3/4 people selling old stuff in an abandoned parking garage)

Gorgeous accordion

Small but intriguing

The rest are photos of our visit to Heidelberg & their Christmas Market.

Aren't these amazing?  Little steampunk figurines.  Going back ASAP to get one for myself :)

heisseSchokolade mit Bailey's (hot chocolate with Bailey's)

First German meal and I don't even know what I ate

Timmy's schnitzel 

Bookish Sundays: Ender's Game

Title: Ender's Game

Author: Orson Scott Card

Category: Fiction, Sci-Fi

Synopsis (c/o Barnes & Noble): "In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.
Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.
Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives."

To be completely honest, the synopsis pretty much tells you everything you need to know about this novel.  Adding any more would give away too much of the plot and story line, so I'll keep my mouth shut and simply say that this is an attention grabber, and has a high probability of being politically motivated.  That aside, it is a wonderful tale (even for me, and I'm not a large fan of sci-fi).  It reminds me quite a bit of the idea of Hunger Games in that a child is too heavily relied upon, forced into adult situations at too young an age, and pulls through remarkably.  If you like watching a character adapt to prove themselves capable of more than originally thought, this could be a novel for you...but honestly, you could probably stop at this one.  The rest of the series gets a tad too monotonous.  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving, Black Friday & Christmas Market

I unfortunately don't have any Thanksgiving pictures to share; we were invited to a fabulous family's house (same people taking care of the pups) and the food was delicious, the decorations were amazing, the people were friendly, but I just didn't feel comfortable whipping out my camera to take pictures of strangers.  That aside, I'm still full from all the ham and potatoes and pie, and I think we slept a good twelve hours after getting home from the feast.

I honestly never venture out for Black Friday.  I've never desired anything badly enough to brave the crowds or midnight campouts, and would much rather do my Christmas shopping a few days before the holiday instead of a month before.  But yesterday, we were really hoping a GPS would be on sale for us to purchase (German roads and freeways are extremely different from the US) and made our way to the base BX to look for one. Bad idea.  We gathered our collection of maybe six items and waited in line for a good hour before we could checkout.  Blah.

So after dealing with all of that, I went back to our room and drank a cup of hot cocoa.  Makes everything better.  Helps that my adorably ugly mug is nice and big.

Today was the Christmas Market in downtown Kaiserslautern, and I know we will be going back sometime before it closes.  It was wonderful walking about in the chilly weather while looking at Christmas decorations and smelling the wonderful food cooking in the stalls.