Life has normalized for Mariko and I now that our language classes have started. Classes started for us on Thursday August 11th, Mariko began in Class 2 and I began in Class 1. I knew that I had forgotten a lot of German over the last 12 years, so I opted for the lowest class. I was hoping that it would help me build my basics back up and restate what I had learned back in high school. Well it didn't work like that, I was bored for the two days that I was in class... pretty much already knew everything that was being taught. Since I did want to make sure that I knew how to speak/read/write German fairly competently I decided to go up to Class 2. It has been tough for me, but I think I need that challenge to learn much more than I needed some of the basics. Mariko also jumped up one level, to class 3, but she was just put into the wrong class and is learning more in Class 3.
Other than that we have been doing a lot of grocery shopping, as we only shop for a single day or two every time we go. It's been mostly pasta style dished for us, as it is simple to cook and there are a variety of ways to cook it. We only have one pan at this point in time, we don't want to buy too much and then have to move it with us when we go to Braunschweig..... so we have had to be creative with our cooking, but it hasn't been to difficult.
One of our favorite meals was bacon, eggs and toast. Pretty basic meal for us, but it was the ingredients that made it so much better. The bacon came in a slab, and we have to cut it ourselves! It was thick and peppery, but also very salty when cooked. The eggs were fairly standard, though the yolk was orange versus our standard yellow... different but not scary. The other awesome part was the toast! And yeah I'm sure you are all thinking, "Toast?! Why the toast?" Well its simple. First take a loaf bread that has sunflower seeds baked into and on top of it (and when I say a loaf, I don't mean pre-package and pre-sliced, I mean a LOAF of bread). Slice it thick and slather both sides with butter... and I mean slather it. Then put it on the hot pan, leave just a little of the bacon grease to help flavor. The butter will melt quickly, but when using a hot plate to cook its best to flip them often so they don't burn. Wait until the seeds inside the bread get crispy and viola! Tasty toast!!
We've tried some local cuisine as well, and we'll try to get some pictures up of those that we do try and describe them a bit for you all. Nothing has been bad, some weird things definitely, but nothing bad. We've also tried out two pubs the other night. The first was a modern style pub, very nicely lit and had quite a bit of food on the menu. The second was quite nice in a different way. It was located in the old part of the city and was, at one point, an old German house. It was like I imagined a classic German pub would be. It was three stories, the first was a bar with smoking, the second was a bar without smoking and the third was just seating. The smoke wasn't on the third floor since they had windows open, but you'd think smoking section would be on the upper level. Pretty much the entire building was trimmed in old dark wood. There were little niches everywhere, with beams stretching overhead. I had to duck in quite a few places, but Mariko was fine (being short does have its advantages). Sadly it was dark, otherwise I would have taken pictures
The beer has been fun also. Though I am sure Dale would not approve of my choices. The first one I had was called a "Wibi", it was a Pilsner mixed with wildberry juice. It was a sweeter drink, but I think that it balanced out the beer well. The second was called a "Radler" it was a weiss-beer mixed with Sprite, and again it was a sweeter drink. Mariko was not a fan of either one, but that's ok she is more of a normal beer drinker than I am. I bought a six pack of a beer called "Cab", it's beer mixed with cola and flavored with Dragonfruit.... definitely another sweet beer, but tastier than the others.