Saturday, May 1, 2010

Neustadt am Rübenberge

By Liv

We arrived safely to our final destination in Germany. The town we are staying in is relatively small (45k people). We are staying at our good friend's (Paul's) Grandfather's house. The house is beautiful and we are thankful to have more space to move around in. 14 days in a cruise cabin was enough to remind us how lucky we are to have such lovely living spaces.

We are within walking distance to a Fred Meyer's-sized grocery store, which makes for convenient meal planning, even if we look and sound like utter fools trying to blabber out our wannabe German :) It takes me about five times longer than normal to go grocery shopping because I have to stare at labels and use a dictionary to figure out what I am buying. I'm sure the locals think I'm nuts, or really dense!

Within minutes of getting off the train in Neustadt, we noticed that the majority of commuters use bicycles to get around town. Luckily, Paul's Grandfather has a few bikes already, so we are able to use those. One of the neighbor's, Sigfried, was given a heads up that we were going to be staying here, so he came and introduced himself and has been incredibly helpful, even if we don't understand a word he says. It's amazing how much can be said using hand gestures!

Today I started my new resolution, which is a goal to be able to run 10 miles consecutively before we leave Germany in September. On my run this morning, I went past the grocery store and noticed that the entire parking lot was filled with people and things. It was the largest community garage sale I have ever seen! Imagine a parking lot for a store the size of Wal-Mart. Then, imagine nothing in that lot but tables with stuff for sale. There must have been a few thousand people in there!

At the sale, we scored a jogging stroller (which is rad, because we were just browsing online and they were upwards of $300 euros!) a baby bike seat (so we can ride with Stella on the back of one of our bikes), a baby bike helmet, a bunch of fun baby toys including wood lego looking things and some German-word baby books. We figured the books would double as learning tools for us, too.

The weather here has been great since we arrived - sunny and slightly windy during the day and about 60-65 degrees. We are looking forward to starting some German language lessons and meeting up with some English-speaking Mom's groups in the area.

We hope everyone is doing well back home and look forward to hearing from you!

PS - if you miss chatting with us as much as we miss chatting with you, you should find us on skype so we can talk or video chat. Our skype sign in names are: Livia416 and NickTostenrude

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