crystal's capers

one girl's international adventures

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What's Going On?

I've found myself VERY busy lately, but I've been reluctant to report on it here, because much of what I've been up to is still TOP SECRET. Here, however, are some tidbits:

  • I've 100% finished my self-study, Hueber, German for Beginners course. Still can't speak the damn language.
  • My mini-job visa was denied.
  • I've enrolled in a full-time German course through the community center in Ludwighafen; it's costing 150 Euros for 100 hours and will start April 30th. The hours are Monday to Friday, 2:30 to 5:45 with, I'm warned, about 3 hours of homework per day. I had to enrol so that I could apply for a Student Visa and not get immediately deported.
  • Riccardo and I are being flown to England for 4 days next weekend - all expenses paid. Woo-hoo, England!! I can't say why, but I've been hugely busy arranging craploads of appointments for while we're there...
  • I am absorbed in preparing games for our friends' Thomas and Jeannette's Super Wedding Extravaganza. Riccardo and I are Events Coordinators for this weekend-long, castle-located broom-jumping.
  • This is a busy time of year - I've been crazily researching gift options for up-coming weddings, birthdays, Mother's and Father's days, etc. Got some cool prospects.
  • And, I'm trying to casually morph into Martha Stewart by being crafty, cooking lots of "comfort food" (like the Beef Pot Pie I made from scratch last week; it was fabulous!), and keeping a tidy house. Ugh. Hey, when you've got nothing better to do...


    • At 1:26 AM, Anonymous parker said…

      tell me, tell me, tell me!

    • At 9:17 AM, Anonymous nori said…

      TOP SECRET???
      nani? nani?? nani???
      You've been study German chooo hard ne(^0^)Ganbatte!
      Tressa is leaving's everytime really sad to see friends are leaving:(

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Weather in France...

...I can report, is good. Or at least it was on Monday, when Riki and I decided to take a little ROADTRIP!!!

The Japanischer Garten wasn't large, in fact it took us only about 45 minutes to do a walk-through, take 49071924761 pictures, and sit for a muffin-break. By noon, not only had we finished with the garden, but we had toured the city of Kaiserslautern as well. And what to do next?

Well, since we were already about halfway there, Riki suggested a quick drive to France. It wasn't Paris, but it was Metz, a fabulous Medieval city along La Moselle, and less than two hours drive from Gruenstadt.

The city, especially Saint Jacques Cathedral, was beautiful! We strolled through the streets, finished our picnic in a park, and ordered Cafe Au Lait in the square.

OMG! I used (very poor) FRANCAIS in FRANCE to order FRENCH coffee from a FRENCHIE!!!

I have officially added a seventh country to tally - and am tentatively scheduled to add an eighth before the month is out! :D


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Our Own Hanami

I've been reading a lot about this year's fabulous spring Hanami from Japan friends For those of you who forgot, Hanami is a special picnic that takes place during the short time that beloved Cherry Blossom trees, or Sakura, are in bloom. So a few weeks ago, Japan was a picnic-having, Chu-hi-drinking, game-playing, sing-songing wonderland...

Needless to say, I was feeling pretty jealous and "home-sick" (weird!). In attempt to cheer me up, Riki suggested a Hanami of our own in a nearby Japanischer Garten. The Japan-themed garden is located in Kaiserslautern, just a 23-minute drive from us. It was just as great as I expected - complete with Sakura.

So, the lesson is, one doesn't need Japan to enjoy Hanami!


I Love Picnics!

We decided to have a fairly low-key Easter weekend. The only plans we made were to spend about 24 hours at our friends' (Thomas & Jeannette) place to begin our part of the planning for their up-coming fantabulous wedding weekend.

Spontaneity is awesome when it leads to hill-top vineyard picnics - wine and boyfriend included!

Here are some shots of our local vineyards, and of Gruenstadt from above.


    • At 3:33 AM, Anonymous Kani said…

      Sorry I can't offer you fantastic hill top vineyards in exchange for wedding planning help!!! I do offer an open bar if you two can make it!!!

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A few weeks ago, Riki and I decided to spend a day in beautiful, historic Heidelberg. We went on a Sunday, so our visit was restricted strictly to sight-seeing (since all shops in Germany are closed on Sundays), but it was well-worth the tour!

The Alte Stadt, or old city, was packed with foreigners; of course this guaranteed a few laughs at the Oh-so-obvious-Americans! After walking along the Neckar river, and stopping for ice cream, we decided to take a cable-car to the top of a large hill on which the Heidelberger Schloss (castle) is situated. Up-up-up, and finally a breathtaking panoramic view of the city and many surrounding towns that bleed into the horizon. The hike down the hill took about an hour, but the trails were well-used and the weather was beautiful. At the castle, I partook in my first pay-toilet, and toured the expansive grounds pretty much awed.

Heidelberg was so great! Can't wait to return!


What to blog first?

Okay, okay, okay, just so that you'll all stop harassing me (haha) I have decided to post some pics and events, even if it takes all day to do so, what with my stupid wireless connection. I have accumulated so many pics over the last few weeks that I wasn't sure where to begin, but I've decided a good starting point is to introduce you to our new town and surrounding area. Let me know what you think!


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Yep, still alive...

It's just a p.i.t.a. to blog hunched over my window sill. But stay tuned for some possible HUGE, totally unexpected & life-changing NEWS in the near future. Or phone me to find out the details in advance.

Love yas!


    • At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Aaaaah!!! Riki-Riccardo said…

      Hey, that sounds like you wanna talk about secrets that are better kept until it is official...

    • At 10:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      some of us love, scratch that, LIVE for gossip. founded, or not.

      fluffy mcshorto

    • At 8:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      wtf. you can't tease like that.
      parkeroo needs to know.

    • At 5:30 PM, Anonymous Shawna said…

      Hambrook, you can't do that. You know it drives us crazy. spill!!

    • At 3:02 AM, Anonymous amy said…

      what the hell crystal spill your beans!
      luv ames

    • At 4:27 PM, Blogger Crystal said…

      So sorry ladies, I can't spill anything just yet (unless you call/mail to get the goods in person) but I'll be able to make the announcement in a couple weeks, when we return from a little trip...

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