Saturday, April 03, 2010


Huh huh huh. Heh heh. Ok, so I'm a child. And actually it's pronounced more like zax. But, whatever. I'm easily amused. Add to that all the Ausfahrt and Othertypesoffahrt signs all over the place that I still haven't figured out, but like to giggle about and really I should just grow right up.

Today, we spent most of our day in America. We had an Easter Egg Hunt/Battalion gathering that we had to go to on post...something we like to call Mandatory Fun. Usually we skip these types of things, but The Man is the new guy and we figured we should make an appearance. We decided to catch the city bus to the closest post, then catch the post bus to the next post over where the Egg Hunt was being held. We were trying to pinpoint the location of the bus stop when the hotel staff strongly urged us not to take the direct, but tricky route and to take the longer but easier route instead. But, we figured we could handle it. And we did! We made it to the bus stop with no trouble, but once there realized that the bus route we needed didn't run on Saturdays. So, we figured we'd just keep walking and if we hit another bus stop with a running bus that would take us to post, we'd take it and otherwise we'd just knock out the 4km (2.5 miles) on foot. There weren't any other buses, so we hoofed it the whole way. The distance was measured for cars, and taking some of the dillions of bike and foot paths around here probably cut some of that down. I'm not sure how far we actually walked, but I was pretty impressed with the kiddos.

After the Egg Hunt, we caught the post bus back to the other post. Actually, we had some hilarious moments when - after being held up with good bye chit chat with some of the brass - we were sprinting down the road to catch the leaving bus. Then, sprinting down another road to just miss it at it's next stop. Then, finally giving up and flagging the damn thing down between stops. Thankfully, it stopped for us.

We did some shopping at the exchange on the other post, then walked off post and caught a cab back to the hotel. Much faster, and with less whining from Cheeseball.

We were barely home long enough for the kids to choke down half of their hard-won Easter chocolate, when we decided to drag them another 2km (1.2 miles) to Ikea for dinner. Mmmm meatballs and lingonberry sauce. I think moving here is making us extremely observant. When you don't know what the thing to do is and you can't read the signs or really ask questions, you just have to pay attention. The Man noticed that everybody was drinking out of cups, so we had to hunt some of those down so as not to appear primitive, chugging out of our bottles. Then, we had to sit and wait for someone else to get up so we could figure out whether or not we were supposed to leave our dishes or do something with them. Then, after wandering around the store for like a mile trying to figure out where the heck the exit was, we had to sit and wait for someone else to go outside before we were sure we could go out the door we wanted to use. In the US, if a door has an alarm on it, the signs are all red and contain dire warnings of imminent humiliation if opened and, of course, most importantly are in English and therefore legible to us. In Germany, if a door has an alarm on it, it merely has a polite written warning and a frisky looking gentlemen doing I'm not sure what on a green sign. I'm always terrified of opening exterior doors and having them start blaring and everybody looking at me like can't she see the frisky gentleman!?.

Nobody went out the door, so we finally gave up and successfully hunted down the elevators we came up in. We had come in through the sub-store parking garage, because it was the only way we could figure out how to get in! So, that's a very long way of saying that this evening, we probably personally convinced at least a quarter Ikea's worth of Germans that Americans are stupid. You're welcome.

Our extended tour of Ikea allowed me to mentally stock and decorate our entire non-existent house. I assured The Man that it would be no time flat before I had the entire layout memorized and we'd never get lost again. While I intended that to placate him, it might have terrified him instead. Hey, no sweat honey, we don't even need our household goods shipment! We'll just buy all new stuff here! I just hope that didn't induce an allergic reaction to meatballs in his future.

Technorati tags: Germany, Ikea, culture shock


Alicia said...

This was your first trip to an IKEA, right? They can be confusing, it's one long maze with little secret shortcuts. I wonder if you can view a map of it online? Mmmmm, now I want their meatballs for lunch.

Sounds like a good day, I'm glad you went and participated in mandatory fun day even if it was just to get your faces out there. It sounds like Germany just keeps getting better and better for you guys!

I just read an article the other day about the exit sign the US uses versus the one in use by the rest of the world. I'll have to find it and email you the link later.

Jennifer said...

Yes, it was and yes that is exactly how to describe the store.

Thanks for that link, the frisky gentleman is apparently running for his life. Ha ha ha, ok got it now.