Friday, July 21, 2006


I've always laughed at the fact that Germans actually wait for a light to turn green before crossing a street despite there being not a car in sight. After numerous failed attempts to stay upright on my bike I see why. There are many roads intersecting at one crossing not just 4. Not only do you have to watch for cars but for buses and trams and an extremely high volume of bikers of all ages- I swear I saw a woman who was at least 100 zipping by, can she even walk?- rollerbladers, high speed wheel chairs, pedestrians and all kinds of wheeled contraptions people ride around in that I have no name for. Probably some really long German name that I cant pronounce, I dunno some kind of Verkehrsteilnehmer(in) (road user).

Speaking of German words here is Lisa's German lesson 101.
Fahrerei-driving about, long hours of driving
Fahrt- journey
fahrtüchtig-person who is fit to drive
fahruntüchtig-person who is unfit to drive
Fahrvergnügen (fahrfignugen in the USA)- driving pleasure (compound word "made up" by VW, not found in any dictionary here nor in the conciousnessesesessses of my German friends who look at me strangely while we are taking a Fahrt in a Farrari* and I say Fahrvergnügen!!!!

*this is an Italian car. Farrari is the dudes last name. (Ya ok Im dumb, I dont know anything about cars!) I just looked this up on Wikipedia because it seemed so similar to Fahrerei, which would be the perfect name for a car anyway!

I got farrari's on my mind because not too long ago Jurij and I were rollerblading out in the middle of peaceful German countryside and we saw one. We were stopped on the side of the road admiring a quaint church and a magnolia tree when this black flattened car from the future appeared behind us and drove very slowly around us. My jaw dropped as it went by. It was quite out of place! (I cant figure out what model it was..Ive spent 45 min of my life looking)

***correction: Jurij just said it was a Lamborghini. Even cooler! No wonder I couldnt find it on the fararari's website!

Anyway thats all. Tomorrow were going on a canoe trip in the south of France. See ya!

Actually Im not sure how I will canoe because I ripped the pads off the fingers of my right hand when I fell off my bike. This was my only injury but even though it is quite small it is on a very important part of my body. Jurij thankfully (or unthankfully) put me through an hour and a half of excrutiating pain cleaning my wounds last night. While he was hunched over my hand after 12 hours of working, I ate all the cherrys he brought home. He was really mad. He said I did it in revenge. YEP!! (I bought him a kilo of cherries today to make up for it)

Today I bought a pair of sports gloves to hide my wounds. Im going to look like whatshis face in Moonstruck....

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


This isn’t getting much press in the NYTimes but is anyone as obsessed as me with what happened to Zinedine Zidane at the World Cup?

After a beautiful day of bike riding though old forests, picking strawberries and swimming in a lake with friends a bunch of us sat in a beer garden eating sausages, drinking Radlers (beer and lemonade…sound gross? I think so. I’d rather drink a PURE beer…just like my men!) and watching the game on a big projected screen. I was all for France winning the World Cup. I like Zidane. He’s soo cute! And has an awesome name. But I was really mad at him for reacting to Materazzi’s insult, head butting him in the chest and therefore getting evicted from the game, the last game before he retires. What up Zizou? If you had played the final minutes of the game France probably would have won. They were the better team.

I’ve been obsessed with reading about the head butt on the internet(BBC sports) since it happened…as well as the Tour de France doping scandal. Oy vey don’t get me started.
It’s just as good a read as US weekly or People magazine! I’m starting to understand sports…

On another but similar note it seems that not only have Germans taken a liking to flag waving but that they will wave ANY flag! After the game ended, cars were honking, people were shouting and Italian flags were waving. For a moment, I thought to myself boy there are a lot of Italians here in Germany!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

World Cup


So the big news here is that Germany beat Argentina the other night in the semi finals. I’ve never been a sports fan. Perhaps because I never understood what I was watching, I always thought it was a pointless waste of time. Solely because of the interests of the men in my life, I’ve watched mostly baseball, basketball and football. By this statement I am obviously American. Why is it that the entire world has a love affair with soccer but in the U.S. it is not quite so popular?

I’ve never watched a soccer match until a couple weeks ago when I arrived in Germany at the advent of the World Cup. I’ve been completely hooked since Germany played Poland in the group play. Soccer is easy to watch. 1. I can follow the ball. 2. There are a lot of fine young men in shorts. Girls, why watch a sport whose male players are buried under so much equipment (like U.S. football) you can’t even see them?

Germany is hosting the 2006 World Cup. The logo is “A time to make friends”. 2006 is no longer a time to gas Jews and conquer the world. I think that’s what they’re trying to say.

Last week Jurij and I biked into town to our favorite bar Julep’s for the Germany-Poland soccer match. The place was packed for the game. Soccer was projected onto large screens and TVs through out the NYC themed restaurant and its large Bavarian beer garden. We found a seat inside with a fairly good view when the German soccer players were singing the national anthem.

Jurij said to me that the soccer players were just recently taught the words as nationalist songs were not taught in school. Three women sat at a nearby table painting flags on each other’s faces but first we overheard them asking what the order of the black, red, and gold stripes were. Then the giant world cup hamburger that I ordered arrived with a German party flag on it, only the colors were upside down making it look closer to a Belgian flag. These were signs of Germany’s discomfort with patriotism and I was comfortable with that.

The big story here (by now its an old story) is flag waving. 6 months ago or even 3 months ago it was an activity looked down upon and associated with nationalist right wingers. By the time the German team won the match Augsburg erupted into a sea of black, red, and gold. Biking home was disconcerting. The streets were crowded. People wrapped in flags were shouting and waving flags. Cars with flags on the sides of their windows were honking their horns. In my mind I was biking as fast as I could away from the Nazi’s. Jurij was uncomfortable with this exaggerated display of patriotism. He said its ok for young kids to wave the flag, but it really makes you think when those over 65 are waving the flag!

The next day we watched USA vs. Italy. The Italians were expected to win but instead the game ended in a tie. USA played aggressively and 3 of their players were eliminated because of fouls. This has only happened a few other times in world cup history. Jurij said it was a strange match. At the end of a game I heard a nearby American voice saying. They tied? What’s next? That’s it? Ah yes another clueless American besides me watching an unfamiliar sport. Who ties in American sports? There is always a winner.

After a couple weeks of unabashed German patriotism, I think I’ve come to terms with it (to some degree anyway).
It’s in the spirit of the games. After all every other country is waving their flags. In my German language class all the students were decked out in their countries colors and team jerseys. Although it still makes him uneasy I can tell by the flags painted on his face by the nurses on his ward that Jurij has come to terms with it too (to some degree!).

Last night at Julep’s (and I’m glad I’m literate or I would have thought it was Jew lips) I routed along with Jurij and the crowd for Germany. I kinda felt weird about it but what the hell I’m here and the U.S. team is out. Anyway I felt better about that when during half time I went around the corner to synagogue!

I became friendly with Gili, a Russian Jewish guy in his 60’s or so, in my German language class. He told me to meet him there at 6. Services were at 7 but he wanted me to meet some people. When I arrived I got a nice private tour of the building and then Gili ushered me into a room where many members sat watching the TV. Well, he said in his broken Germlish, today is not a good day to meet people. I looked around me and saw many yamalka-ed heads all engrossed in the game. They cheered when Germany scored. Why not, they are German. The children and teens waved German flags (in the temple!). You’ve come a long way baby!