Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The cabin makes me happy

I recently read an article about how spending time in nature makes people happy (here's not the article I read, but something else on the topic). Even just 5 minutes gives a boost, and hours in the woods has measurable benefits.  We spent about 24 hours at the cabin this weekend.

 Weeds can be pretty too.

 We planted the tree that's right in the center, about 10 years ago. It's a crabapple.

Kids reading in their hammocks.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I passed!

After just about 36 weeks, I took my language exam and passed.  This means the American government feels safe sending me out to Germany to represent my country in their language and not create a international incident through saying something incorrect or inappropriate.

Woo-hoo!
 
Intensive German language training is now a thing of the past for me.  At post there is usually a couple-of-hours-per-week class to continue learning or at least not forget too much of what I now know, and I do plan to take advantage of that.  I also plan to continue listening to Deutschland Funk Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft (A German radio program on economics and society, in my mind it's like NPR's All Things Considered) during my morning commute. And American politics is a lot more bearable when I first have to decipher the German so I'll probably still read Der Spiegel sometimes. But I have no homework - none of this is required.

I do, however, have to navigate a veritable mountain of paperwork and logistics to make sure I am ready and permitted to travel. And next week I get to start learning about how to do my job as a consular officer.

It's feeling more real than ever before!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Cake!

Sometime around the pre-election season I had to quit NPR and started listening to podcasts instead. As I got further in German I started listening to news in German. But I usually play a fun podcast during my commute home to make it more bearable.

Today I listened to one all about cake and its relevance in American history. By the time I got home I knew I was making a cake tonight, German review be damned. With my test in just under 2 weeks that is a strong craving indeed.  I mentioned all this to my fabulous au pair, who then whipped up a cake in the 30 minutes between dinner and when she left to bring Zoltan to soccer (I participated too ... I took it out of the oven)

It is delicious.