Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh

After Germany, the Brit and I popped back to Paris for a couple days before flying to Dublin. I’d never been to Ireland before, the Brit went with his family when he was 3, so it was pretty much his first time too. We stayed at the Shelbourne across from St Stephen’s Green. When I saw the bed, I was tempted to stay in during the entire trip.

We did some of the typical touristy things like the hop on/off bus and a ½ day tour to the south coast. I was even a good girlfriend and accompanied the Brit to the Guinness brewery and old Jameson distillery, even though I don’t like Guinness or whiskey (except in a hot toddy). Funnily enough, during the whole time we were there, almost all of our servers were Polish. An American who lives in France and an Englishman who will soon live in Germany, in Ireland being served by Polish waitresses – gotta love globalization.

I had a wicked hangover the day we left, not related to either of the aforementioned beverages. Fortunately for me the Brit has some experience in this area and found some Lucozade for me (I’d never heard of it before). A couple of those and a good Irish breakfast and I was able to move around without worry that I’d hurl at any moment.

In general, Dublin was ok, but I have no desire to return any time soon. If we go back it will definitely be to another part of Ireland. But at least now I can say that I know the tune to Molly Malone and discovered another way to drink whiskey – with ginger ale…

Monday, July 28, 2008

Apartments in Deutsch

The next few posts will be sans photo because the pics from Germany and Dublin are still in the camera with the Brit in England.

Our trip to Germany was for apartment hunting. As part of the Brit’s relocation package we had a person accompany us to view apartments she had found. On a completely unrelated side note – her relationship is just as odd as ours. She’s Brazilian and lives in Germany, her husband is Dutch and lives in Belgium. All except one of the apartments we visited were a definite no.

The first apartment used to be a hotel and was cheaply remodeled. It was also on a main road and we could hear the road noise with the windows closed (the Brit is VERY sensitive to road noise). Apartment two was so disgusting I was tempted to leave as soon as we walked through the door. It was on the top floor and had a slanting roof/walls, which is a problem due to the Brit’s height. But the ceiling was not the main problem. The current tenant (who appeared to be high on something) lived in the apartment with a couple of large dogs and, since there was a climbing/scratching post, I’m guessing at least one cat. The apartment smelled like he’d lived in it with the animals for decades and hadn’t bothered to clean or open the windows since moving in. I have never been in an apartment that smelled so nauseating.

The third apartment looked amazing in the photos. It was on the lower level of a two story house. The ad didn’t show photos of the kitchen, or bathroom, which set off alarm bells in our heads, but we visited anyway. It turns out the snazzy new glass part shown in the photos had been added to the much older house. The apartment was previously used as an office with the bedroom serving as a recording studio. The landlord didn’t even bother to remove the bright blue carpeting or padding on the walls. The kitchen consisted of two plaques/eyes and a mini-fridge. I’m sure that bathroom is older than I am and the entire apartment smelled damp and moldy.

This brings us to the last apartment. The Brit had some reservations about the small kitchen and road noise, but it was the only decent apartment we visited. After viewing the apartment, our guide informed us that the landlord lived in another part of Germany and didn’t want to rent the apartment to someone he didn’t know so if were interested in the apartment we’d have to meet the landlord’s brother. We thought this was odd but agreed since we didn’t have any other apartment prospects and drove to meet the brother in a café in another town.

The journey was supposed to take 45 minutes. It took us more than an hour due to some odd TomTom directions. The meeting was going well, but the brother suddenly asked me who I was going to vote for. I glanced at the Brit and thought “Uh oh, you might lose the apartment because your left wing girlfriend can’t figure out a quick and diplomatic way to avoid answering this question.” When I responded that I was going to vote for Obama, the brother seemed pleased then began a small tirade against the current administration. He said we seemed like nice people and didn’t have any issues with us, but we did get the impression that his brother would prefer a tenant who could agree to a longer lease term.

One of our relocation contacts was supposed to call us the next morning to see how things went with the brother – she didn’t. Later she said that she had received some bad personal news and wasn’t able to call us, but didn’t clarify what the bad news was. Mid-last week she told us that there were two other potential tenants and the landlord would make a decision by the end of the week. We heard today that he selected someone else, so the Brit has to start his apartment search from scratch next week. I thought apartment hunting in Paris was a pain until this fiasco.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I’m back in hot and humid Paris and the Brit left for England earlier today to visit his family. The first part of our vacation was spent in a small city in Germany apartment hunting. I haven’t gotten into it here on the blog, but the Brit and I have been long distance for way too long. Long story short, it proved difficult finding him a job in Paris so he accepted a job in Germany with his current company. We’ll be only 3 hrs (via train) from each other which isn’t a permanent solution but is a HUGE improvement.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


The brit has arrived and we're off for a couple of weeks. Will share info once we're back.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Headphones ≠ Rude

On the way home a fellow exited the bus and from the reaction of the woman standing in the aisle next to me, he bumped into her on his way out. She grumbled (for several minutes) to her friend about how the guy didn’t say “pardon” or even “dans le cul” and just because the guy was listening to a walkman doesn’t mean he should be rude. She went on griping about how people with a walkman, phone or stroller were in their own world. This lady was so into her tirade that she didn’t notice 1) I had on headphones and 2) I looked at her rather pointedly a couple of times during her diatribe.

To Ms Grumble, first of all I believe the man was listening to an mp3 player, not a walkman and second, there are some of us who still say pardon or excuse me even with headphones on. Maybe the guy was just a jerk, maybe he was mute or extremely shy. Politeness doesn’t automatically go out the window when the headphones go on, so don’t assume that he would have said anything had he not had on headphones. If I have to squeeze past you in the future, I’ll be sure say pardon. Although perhaps you’d prefer a polite “dans le cul”…

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


This rant is for all of you Parisian drivers. Get off the phone while you drive!!! If there is a pedestrian in the crosswalk, you are supposed to stop, not nearly run them over because you’re too busy yapping on your mobile phone. I’m speaking from personal experience, but in case that’s not enough read this article about driving while talking on a mobile phone.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Heinz controversy

This Heinz commercial resulted in complaints and calls for a boycott. Because some people (at the time, the total was around 200) objected to the ad, Heinz decided to pull it. As a result of the ad being pulled, gay rights groups have called for a boycott of Heinz products. Being from Seattle, it’s not surprising that I fall on the liberal side of the line. I didn’t find anything wrong with the commercial and found the wife-as-NY-deli-guy character amusing. Heinz had to know that it wouldn’t go over well with certain people, yet they aired it anyway. It’s disappointing that they didn’t have the courage to stand behind the ad despite a few objections. Read more:

Thursday, July 3, 2008


As soon as the woman sat next to me on the bus, I knew she was mid-west American. Ok, I didn’t really know, but I was pretty sure. She pulled out a book and I couldn’t help but look at it from the corner of my eye. I muffled a chuckle when I saw that the book was in English. The lady could’ve been British, American, Canadian etc. but I had correctly pegged her as Anglophone. Another confirmation that when abroad, some of us really stand out…