From Thanksgiving into the Holidays




Spending the holidays away from my extended family, is quite the blessing!  No drama, no yelling, no drunk aunts and uncles with their white zinfandel-tainted breath, blowing across my face, “So Anthony, how’s school going? Are you still up that Chico State?  You still work for Trader Joe’s?”  Yes.  Yes, I still go to school (which is why I’m visiting Ventura for the holidays) and yes, I still have means of buying food and paying rent.  Maybe I’m a bit too harsh, but to be honest, I couldn’t be happier knowing that this holiday season, I don’t have to deal with any of my family’s BS.

Thanksgiving was a lot different than years past. This time, I cooked. I made whatever I wanted!  It started off by marinating chicken breast, skinning potatoes of all colors, dicing up veggies, and watching lots of YouTube cooking videos. I roasted the chicken in the oven with the freshly chopped veggies. My wife and I have never been big fans of turkey, so we prefer a little chicken or honey ham instead. The chicken was juicy and tender, the veggies soft but crisp on the outside, and the sweet potato marshmallow casserole came out absolutely disgusting. The sweet potatoes came out great, but the marshmallows were incredibly over-artificial (which is a name I just made up to describe such an atrocity), ruining the entire dish. The worst was yet to come.

At the end of the night, and you’d see me feeling like crap and falling asleep with flu-like symptoms. The next day I woke to pains and sweat. I rose from bed and immediately felt sick to my stomach. I threw up, drank some water, and went right back to bed. The kids stayed home from school, my wife nursed me back to health, and 24 hours later I was hitting the gym.

The Aufbaukurs (basic structure course) has been going well. We’ve had our first two Grammatiktests and I am now preparing for the final. We cover subjects such as Präsens, Präteritum, Perfekt, vocabulary (modal verbs, regular/irregular verbs, with conjugation), grammar, Haupt/Neben Sätze (main and complimentary sentences), as well as develop phrases and compose sentences. There is a wealth of information learned in this course. With the first Grammatiktest, I received the “equivalent” of an 85%. I say this because the grading is completely uneven. I don’t mean to complain about a B, however, if you saw the grading scale, you’d question it too. One improper conjugation, and bam! 50% of one question was deducted, a question involving 6 parts (with 6 verbs needing to be conjugated), but I digress.

Often, I must stop and remind myself that German is my secondary major. I’m an engineer. It’s been difficult adapting to this part of my brain, but I always welcome the challenge.  Again, it’s not to make any excuses for myself, but I suppose to show myself empathy.  I’m always wanting to do better, so I suppose this is my opportunity to really shine for the final!

Recently I’ve been missing California. I do miss my old coworkers at Trader Joe’s, my colleagues at Chico State, and all the customs that I was raised with and used to. I can’t just go buy a burrito or visit my favorite outdoor spot; I’m totally stuck here for another 8 months! I say that sarcastically; I truly love living and studying in Germany.  I’ve become a part of society here, especially by meeting other parents in the kids’ kindergartens.  We have adapted incredibly smoothly. The only barrier that stands is the language barrier and that will take some time. In the meantime, I’m meeting regularly with my tandem partners, studying grammar, watching German language lessons on YouTube, and trying my best to not shy away from a German conversation. If I’ve made this much progress after just four months, I can’t wait to see how well I improve with the other eight!

Here are some recent shots I’ve taken of Germany!

Asher eating Indian food from our favorite place around the corner from our apartment.

We finally tried the only Mexican food place in Tübingen.  It was super mediocre.

Asher opening our new Spätzle Shaker! This classic German dish (Späzle) is now a staple in our home!

Ezra and I being awesome on a bland day.