Phew! It's been a while since I updated this, but we have been just a little bit busy! It seems like once we started traveling in Nov it has been nonstop every since! It is like we are always going somewhere or planning out our next visit. It is amazing! I love it. This is by far more amazing than I ever imagined. I love to travel and explore and if I had enough money I would travel pretty consistently for most of the year. Maybe hike 6 months of the year, travel the rest of the time. So this is amazing! Though now that we have gotten back from Belgium we don't have any other plans for the near future. We will probably just hang out here in Berlin and enjoy the beautiful summer weather!
Anyways let's see. I flew back to PA to surprise my mom with a visit, but the night before we went to our first concert here in Berlin. We showed up just before the opening band went on and the place was empty. Like maybe 20 people, and yes it was a tiny space but the sign said it would hold 400 so...it was a bit odd as I am not used to not showing up until right before the main act goes on. So the opener was this German band and we tried to find them online to see what their music was like, but couldn't find anything (they had a website, but no music to listen to). Well...maybe that is because they were terrible! Like one of the worst bands I have ever seen. Really the music was not that bad, but the singer was horrible. There was one song where I was really liking the music, but then the singer started reading from a sheet of paper - like spoken word style and it was just so strange and like what in the world were they thinking?!? This is ruining the good music! Really every time he opened his mouth it just ruined anything I might have liked about them. Oh well, they were also the shortest opener I have ever seen. They played for like 15 min tops! Yes! Just when I was like man when is this going to be over it was! It worked out pretty well.
Then the main band - The Rumour Said Fire - came on and they were great! They are a band from Denmark and apparently most of the crowd came from there for the show and man did they have horrible fashion! Like mind boggling horrible. Like are you trying to look as bad as you can, because if so you are succeeding remarkably well! It was just...I wish I would have brought my camera to take photos. It was a little crazy. Like awful 80's style made worse complete with horrible hairstyles like the pony tail on top of your head. It was incredible. The band was really good and I loved them. They played a bunch of their old songs and some of their new ones and it was just really great. Though the audience was odd...like people clapped after the songs, but it was so tame and...like calm like they were just eh on it. I don't know it was so quiet it was just odd. And in the back of the room were a ton of people just lounging on the floor - like half the people in the place were in this big group on the floor in the back. It was just not like any other concert we have been too, but it was fun.
So I flew home the next morning and man was it a mess trying to get to the airport and everything. We got up with plenty of time to make it to the airport (it is tiny and the security is at every gate so only the people with flights at that gate go through so no line). So everything was fine until the ticket inspector people came through and I realized it was a weekday and I didn't validate my ticket (I am used to riding the subway on the weekend when Raymond's pass covers both of us). So I have to get off and get a ticket which is super lame, but it was my fault so whatever. So we catch the next train to the stop where we get the bus to the airport and....the bus never shows up. We are waiting and waiting and waiting...and no bus. So I start getting a little worried as I am going to miss my flight if I don't get there soon. So we walk over to try and flag down a taxi and one just pulled up for 2 other people so I asked if they would mind if I shared with them (they didn't know each other and were sharing to begin with) and they were nice and said sure no problem so off we went in the taxi. It is a good thing we did that because there was a lot of traffic for some reason and the taxi just zipped in and out of it no problem. So we show up at the airport pay and I am off trying to get to my gate and I just make it before they close the doors and was one of the last people on board. Phew! So then I had an hour layover in Frankfurt which should be plenty of time as long as the passport control line isn't long (they check your passport and stuff leaving the country which I think is kind of odd. Not like a pre check so you don't have to do it at your destination). Well then there was a lot of traffic or something so we ended up circling the airport a bunch and landed like a half hour late. I was just like really? Really. What else. Just let me make it to the gate in time and luckily we landed at the terminal (sometimes you land out in the middle and there is a bus that shuttles you to the terminal that can take forever as you may have to wait for everyone to deplane before the bus leaves). So then there was no line at the passport control and it took no time at all to get to my gate for boarding which was nice. I even had time to get some water before we boarded. There was also this nice older couple who were waiting standing behind me. They had announcements but you couldn't really hear them so they were wondering what they said (there were two lines) so I told them what the deal was and we got to talking. They were really nice and from PA also and had been over to Europe for a 3 week trip. And my luck had finally changed with that good dead. I got on the plane and there are two seats on the sides and no one sat next to me! It was great, plenty of room to spread out and yeah it was nice.
Oh the best part of the flight for me came at the end. While we were flying I noticed that the flight attendants would speak to the people in front of me in English, then when they got to me they switched to German. It was fine as it is all simple stuff, what would you like to drink and such, but I just thought it was odd and wondered if they thought I was German. So then at the end of the flight the one guy was going through and collecting the head sets and he stops at me and hesitates, then in English asks if I speak German. In German I said a little bit, but I am learning and he was just like oh you are not German? You look like you are, but then I wasn't sure. I was just like yes! I look like I belong here apparently ; )
We got into Philly and my sister picked me up (though I had picked the slowest customs line ever) and we drove back to my mom's house for the big surprise!
My sisters friend was with her in case she needed someone to help with driving and we had a great drive back - no traffic even though it was 5pm and I thought it would be horrible. So my neighbor called to ask my mom to come over for a min, then my sisters friend went over and got my mom and when she walked in there I was all hey! It was great. We had a really nice visit and it was one of the nicer trips home. Not that it is not usually nice. I love my family and we are such goofs and have a lot of fun, but usually by the end I am just like I hate PA!!! That didn't happen this time which was nice.
Well what did I do while I was in PA? Let's see. The first day (Friday) my mom went to work and my sister and I went to visit with my grandfather (we didn't tell him I was coming in for a visit either so it was a surprise for him. We had a nice visit and then my mom met us after work and we all went to dinner.
Saturday morning we got up and went downtown to market. We always go up to the top of the parking garage so we can go down the spiral and we stopped and looked at the city (with robot). Then we went and ran errands to get foods for Sunday when we were having people over. We also went and did some shopping and it was a long day of running around, but it was nice. Then my sister had gotten two tickets for the comedy club that evening so my mom and I went to check it out with one of her friends. It was pretty good, the first comedian was hilarious, the second not so much. On the way home my mom and I were dying laughing remembering some of the jokes. It was so much fun.
On Sunday my grandfather came down and we played Uno until more people showed up in the evening. It was a really nice day. The bottom photo is my cousin Paula and Chris and two of their kids Danielle and Maria (who is cut off). I was really happy they were able to stop by as when I got back for a visit at Christmas time I usually don't get to see them as they are traveling, so it has been a while since we had a nice visit with them. Danielle might also have a semester in Italy in the fall which would be exciting. We would definitely have to go visit for sure, especially since Italy has been on out list of places to visit forever. There are just too many places!
Monday was spent thrift store shopping which was great. We were out all day and I managed to find a ton of great clothing to bring back. So much so that I had a hard time getting everything into my suitcase to come home, but somehow I just barely did. It was good though as I needed new clothes and these were cheap and I love it. I had much better luck than I did in Seattle.
On Tuesday we got up and my sister and I went to this flea market place with one of her friends. We wanderer around until my sister was getting tired then headed back home. I did find one of the most amazing games ever though while there - Hip Flip! So there is this bar and a pair of hands on either side and in the middle is this plastic thing with a bell in that hands down. So you put the hands on your stomach, or hip, or back, or wherever between two people and then you try and move and get the center thing to swing around the pole. We laughed so much when we were playing this. It is hilarious! Like seriously I love it. It is so much fun and absolutely ridiculous.
Then when we got back from that I went down to visit my friend Erin! It was so nice to see her again. She has three super cute kids we just had a very nice visit. It has been a while so it was really nice to catch up and just talk. I was wearing my boots and her kids were having fun wearing them around the house, which I thought was adorable, and Erin said at one point I don't know if Jen wants you to play with her shoes and I was just like it is fine. I mean really what will happen to them? Apparently some people don't like the kids wearing their shoes around the house. Silly people.
Later that evening my mom, sister and I went to see Warm Bodies (again for me). Man that is a good movie. My mom and sister enjoyed it as well. It is just so cute and sweet and I just loved it.
Wednesday morning my sister and I did a little shopping, then stopped for some lunch downtown. It was really nice. This visit she was definitely able to do more and it was really nice being able to spend some one on one time with her again.
Later that evening my mom and her friend Phillis and I went to trivia night! It was very different from other trivia nights I have been to, but I really liked it. It was so much fun! The way it worked was everyone got small pieces of paper and wrote down your own answer to the questions, which were immediately collected and the answer was given as soon as everyone turned in their guess. You could work with your team and all write the same things, or you could write different answers if you didn't agree with your team mates. Then all the correct answers go into the box and every now and then one paper is pulled out and you win a bag of candy. Then there is the lightning round at the end and you just call out the answers and whoever calls out first (or multiple people) you get a piece of candy. Then at the end they just send around the candy and you can take more! The top photos is some of our candy stash from winning (that we didn't eat already throughout the game) and the bottom is our three way high fives! Really is was so much fun. We were probably the rowdiest group and were laughing and carrying on and it was great. It was fast paced and it felt like you were winning the entire time even if you got some wrong. It was so much fun. I would definitely go back again if I am in town for it.
Thursday morning I went to visit Wade and his new baby. We hung out for a bit and took a walk up to the park and it was nice. He has a nice place with a yard and everything, and his baby was great while I was there.
We then went and visited with my grandfather for most of the afternoon. We were talking about his time in the military and he has this book of important dates and info in that was quite interesting to look through. A list of ever mission he was on and where they flew over and whatnot. It was a day full of stories.
Then my aunt and uncle came down for dinner and some of my sisters friends came over for game night which was so much fun. I probably keep repeating how much fun or how nice everything is. I keep starting to write then stopping to do other stuff then picking it back up and I don't read what I already wrote. I'm getting sleepy now, but I am determined to finish this before I go to bed as it has been way too long already. Game night was good even though I was on the losing team (except for hip flip cause man my mom and I are totally amazing at it!). Hip Flip was just so much fun - we laughed so much.
Sunday, my last full day in PA, was relaxing. We went up for breakfast with my grandfather, then just hung out and went to dinner with my mom and sister.
Monday was just hanging out until it was time to head off to the airport. My flight wasn't until 5 so we stopped for some lunch on the way down. The Philadelphia airport is really confusing, but once I found a security checkpoint there was no one in line so I got right through. Then while exploring I found the main checkpoint that was a bit busier. They did have these nice rocking chairs to sit in while you waited. They also had lots of displays like this Lego one, and one on the Pointer Sisters with some of their costumes from shows and stuff. Just lots of weird things for an airport.
The flight back was just as nice as the other ones on Lufthansa. It was like an 8 and a half hour flight and the guy sitting next to me only got up once the entire time. He also just drank gin and tonics the whole way so I am not sure how he did that. He was nice though, but I kept thinking he is probably thinking man this girl is getting up all the time! I drink a lot of water, and they bring water around all the time so...I did have a 2 hour layover in Frankfurt and thought that would be really a long time, but it took me just over an hour to get from my flight to my gate. It was a bit ridiculous. We landed out away from the terminal so we had to wait for the buses to take us to the terminal, and that takes forever, then I had to go through the passport checkpoint, then go through security again. The security people were super friendly and my suitcase was packed so full I was really hoping that they wouldn't open it up to search it. I was waiting behind this line of ladies and I saw all of their bags come out and put to the side to be searched and I was just like please no! I don't want to try and fit everything in again...and they didn't. Thankfully.
Then on my flight to Berlin there was this lady sitting next to me who had a puppy in the cargo and she was freaking out before we left because she didn't hear confirmation that the dog was on board. She asked about it after the doors were closed and we pushed back from the gate so I just thought a) that is too late and b) What would you do if you didn't get confirmation? Get off and then the dog is on and then you have to get a later flight and the dog is waiting for you there. Or maybe stay on the flight the dog is not on it and you have to wait in Berlin for it to get there. Or it is on the flight and everything is fine. I don't know. It seemed like you should have faith that the airline knows what they are doing...but she was freaking out. Then the one flight attendant come over and said she got confirmation the dog was on board and she was freaking out cause she didn't believe them. I just wanted to say calm down - they say they are on board, then they are on board. The whole flight she was a wreck. Then the one flight attendant told her she should say she needs it for emotional support or something and then she can carry it on and she doesn't have to worry so much. It was a small dog so...not sure why she didn't just do that anyways.
We were delayed in Frankfurt like an hour, but we only got into Berlin like 20 min late so I am not sure how that worked. But when we got here Raymond was waiting for me! I didn't think I would see him until later since I got in at 11am on a weekday, but he stopped by to say hello before he headed into work :) He is the best!
My trip to PA was really great. I had so much fun just hanging out and it seemed a lot more relaxed. I missed Raymond so I was glad to get back, but I didn't hate PA as much as I normally do. It was nice to see my family again. I do wish they lived closer. I always wish I could just move everyone with me! It would make it so much easier. Oh well, I love Berlin. Plus Skype and the like make it so much easier to stay in touch with everyone. Alright I am pretty tired so I am going to sign off. I am going to try and get our Belgium trip up next week! We had fun and watched some great roller derby.