Month: December 2012

Backdate….

Hi everyone. Before the year is totally finished, we just wanted to say Merry Festive Season. Hopefully everyone had a lovely Christmas and is looking forward to 2013 (obviously it’s not the same without us but.. you try, you try :)…) Here is us wearing a Christmas gingerbread (bought on the cheap the day after Christmas).  Thanks for all the messages and cards from family and friends- I have now worked out how to buy a stamp  (Breifmarke!) in German… If I’m totally honest I think I asked the lady if I can have a stamp to *smoked meat* a letter to Australia on my first try. Seemed to get the message across, and might explain why she seemed remarkably happy. (Schinken= hammy smoked meat, Schicken= send, Huhn= Chicken… it’s such a circle of confusion)…. anyway, this means that 2013 marks the year you may actually be blessed with post from Deutschland. As far as TwentyThirteen goes.. Pretty excited about setting off fireworks (we forgot to buy them yesterday, but assume they’ll be discounted the day after …

German Obsession…

The following item was sold to me in a flower shop.It was wrapped up in paper as a bouquet would be.It has a large stalk, and an ornamental part at the top.I keep it in a vase.(Ok, technically in a glass. But only because Andy won’t let me buy useless things like vases, plants and large ornamental pieces of wood until be move into a real apartment… he’s such a meany). However, the non-German among you will notice, possibly even immediately, that it is not a real flower: It is a cabbage.I am quite convinced that no culture so reveres the cabbage as much as the German (although I’m sure there will be a heavy rebuttal from the Polish community on this point) Possibly even harder than learning the German language, for the humble auslander who comes from a land where cabbage refers to a single type of pale green vegetable, is learning the 37,000 different types of cabbage, and  37,000 factorial usages for said cabbage. I mean seriously. What the CRAP is this?: I’m trying to tell …

Christmas

I feel too full of Goose and Stollen to write a proper post. Christmas table- we didn’t light the candles on the actual day because of fear that Someone would set themselves on fire… Woke up nice and early to get the goose trussed and stuffed and oven-ready  mmmmm, potatoes with Goose fat and speck! Andy gnawing on his giant bird arm  present from Lauren- Thanks ROREN! Andy loving his jumper- So Seth Cohen! Lauren and her new CatHat  Grace attacks with the cream!   Roren let us dress her up!

Expose, into the seedy underbelly of Germany’s love for dogs

Germans love dogs Many Australians may be aware of this because of the popularity of the show Inspector Rex (which in English translates to Inspector Dog). However I’ve been surprised to find out the true extent of Germany’s love of dog. Dogs just run rampant in the street, on buses and even in shoe stores! The wealthier amongst these people even dress up their dogs in costumes to parade about like court elephants. We will report more on this breaking story as news comes in

Asterix…. These Australians are Crazy

Because of the Christmas party- which went until the wee hours of Friday morning (for those with more partyskillzzz than myself), the Friday workday began at 11 am with the Hangover Brunch. I think it’s pretty good incentive to get in on the Friday morning after a hard night. There was a massive spread- everyone brought one or two things, and we ended up with breads and cheeses, cold meats, eggs, fruit and nuts and cookies and specialty foods from home countries.  For some reason, German ‘traditional’ hangover food is some sort of pickled fish. This seems to me to be the most practical way to INDUCE vomiting in already poorly feeling people, but my airing of this opinion to my supervisor only resulted in him placing a large roll of the fish on my plate. In an attempt to be accepted by the natives, I tried that fish.  It was not good. Also it’s disgusting fishy vinegary juices oozed all over my plate and contaminated my other food. I’m holding on to the belief that one …

An Institute Christmas Story

The last week, which I will call ‘The week landing up to the arrival of Andy in Germany’, has been pretty much filled with cake, and other fatty delights. On Wednesday we had cake- just because Wednesday is Cake Day in the Bock Department- where all the hungry Phd students line up at the door of the tea kitchen, and then swarm all over the foodstuffs the second the clock hits three. I’m pretty much calling last Wednesday’s cake time as The Beginning of the End of the productive working week. That evening, there was much Christmas decoration of the window in Alix’s office: Actually, not so much Christmas as seasonal- note the Menora and Dreidel, courtesy of Gal. Anna and Etienne look somewhat pleased with their efforts- or are possibly doing Blue Steel. Adam is searching for pictures of ants on the computer to convince people that his Santa on a sleigh is being pulled by reindeer and not ants. Note my beautiful Xmas Kiwi under the Dreidel. See how I am so supportive of our little …

Frozen extremities

Because the last week has been filled with snow, this post will have to be too….   On Saturday I went to Berlin to have another general wander. I spent most of the day in Kreuzberg, a suburb known for its large populations of immigrants (particularly Turkish)… Wikipedia is telling me that in 2006 ~32 % of Kreuzbergians didn’t have German citizenship. Which means it has a really cool multicultural vibe (plus yummy foodstuffs!). It also has a massive density of opshops and cute weird hipster shops for both new and used stuff. The morning was literally freezing- I think minus 4.. so I stuffed my face with steaming hot curry36 currywurst and chips (mit mayonaise). Told ya I’d be back! There’s something superfun about having your fingers nearly fall off while rapidly stuffing boiling hot chips and sausages into your mouth… And then the Wander Began! I just happened to stumble upon a fleamarket: Plus a graveyard: Eventually, I wandered all the way to Alexanderplatz (I cheated, my wandering involved U-bahns)

KrampusKristmas

Thursday (the sixth), was St Nicholas Day, when the Saint visits children and lives gifts or choccies in their boots if they’ve been good.Clearly I was a good girl (some would say Best), because in the morning I found this: And after lunch there was more chocolate! (plus a lovely gift from Ralph of 3 journal articles to read). If you’re not good- you get left a stick instead, with which your parents can then beat you. In some versions of the tale, St Nick is accompanied by a creepy, demonic fellow, called Krampus: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/krampus Apparently he will lick you, chain you up: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-wxpFOl2ZYNg/Tvblwbd_1vI/AAAAAAAAArA/lj08Cjs7N5I/s1600/krampus1.jpg … and beat you, while you desperately try to escape on your rocking horsey: http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r256/masterskip/krampus.jpg Less politically incorrect than the Dutch Black Peter (‘he’s only in black face because he’s a chimney sweep we swear’) but very very terrifying. In other news… Max Planck is looking forward to Christmass

Defence

To be honest, I’m quite disappointed not to have seen Mr Tumnus! The last couple of morning I’ve woken up to find fresh snow on the ground. Which has been quite amazing! More amazing is the fact that it’s actually sunny outside. I know it doesn’t look it here, but that’s only because this photo was probably taken at about 8:15 am, so, you know- the sun isn’t actually properly up yet.  Current sunrise in Potsdam: 8.02 am Current sunset in Postdam: 3.55 pm Anyway- today we had the thesis defence of one of the girls in the institute (Ignacia, for those playing at home). [In a side not to organisers back home – this defence thing is SUCH a good idea compared to the crappy trailing off that occurs at the end of a PhD or Masters in Perth]. Pau and JuanK decided to do a massive feast in her honour: which involved a massive swarm of people in the tea kitchen this morning placing pickles on bread and organising crackers and generally producing this: I …

Potsdam Christmas Markets with Sabine

I’m officially calling the Winter Christmas Season ‘Open’! Last weekend was the first Advent weekend (for all the Heathens among us this is significant only in that it means we can start tucking into our advent calenders chockies)…which coincided nicely with the start of the snow. I celebrated by using the cold as an excuse to stuff my face with delicious steaming Gr√ľnkohl (green cabbage) cooked with smokey sausages: Unfortunately, I’ll admit that this is one of the times that the photo really fails to do any sort of justice to the meal… Also- most of you are looking at this with an Aussie mind, and can only see limp green cabbage, mashy potatoes and a sad looking Coles-type sausage. Firstly, this is no flavourless, Aussie BBQ sausage, but is instead is a smokey delight. The cabbage has been sitting, simmering, in the presence of this sausage, and is now a vegetable-based extension of the aforementioned flavour explosion.(You’ll notice that, being German, they’ve also managed to sneak a bit of potato into the meal!) Secondly, try to take …