Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A little Schweiz & a little Frankreich

We took a trip down to Switzerland to visit one of the companies that has a relationship with LJ. We had a fantastic week of fancy dinners, great food, really nice people, and beautiful scenery. Before we headed home after that week, we drove up into France, explored the French countryside and stopped for lunch in a town called Colmar. It's not well known by the tourists, and the locals (French, Swiss, and German) all love it because of this fact--and its charm. This area has been battled over by the French & Germans and thus has a very French-German flair. Then, we visited our friends, Jen & Andy, at their home in Germany before heading back to Neuenrade.

We love road trips!

The photos start in Switzerland. A few posts ago, I added a few from Zurich when we just arrived. Here are photos from Luzern. It's a beautiful town that is large according to Swiss standards. It has an old, well-known bridge called the Chapel Bridge and picturesque mountains in the background.
Left: photo from a town called Aarau (where our hotel was located). That's a real traffic conductor!
Right: Random scenery from Luzern
There are lots of interesting buildings we saw and photographed in Luzern. A few of them are below.

Standing in front of the Chapel Bridge with the Swiss Alps in the background

Here's Pinocchio's restaurant (we didn't eat there)

...and here I am with Pinocchio!

We visited the Dying Lion Monument (originally built by a Danish sculptor) Mark Twain classified this as one of the most "dark" pieces of sculpture in the world.

Here's what the we saw as we walked along the Chapel Bridge. It's really charming and many of these paintings are hundreds of years old. The bridge itself was constructed in 1333 and some of the bridge burned in a fire in 1993. The burned portion has since been reconstructed.
Though we visited Mt. Titlis before Luzern, the photos are in the wrong order. Here they are... and this first one is of the world's first revolving gondola. It cost about the equivalent of $60 U.S. dollars to take this to the top. And we didn't even ski!
There are a few of these because I couldn't decide with gorgeous Alps photo to choose!

Here's a typical Swiss countryside photo... it was breathtaking!

On top of Mt. Titlis, there was a glacial cave. I'm not really sure why. There are glaciers on the mountain, but I don't know why they created this feature. It was free to enter (with ticket to the top).

Here are a few photos from the top. It was incredibly sunny + brightness of snow (which is why our eyes look closed).

Here's Ray pointing to Jungfrau (another popular mountain).

I'm standing with Alexandra, our tour guide for the day.

Standing at the top, 10,000 ft above sea level

Getting caught while throwing a snowball!
Dorky cutout photo.

Changing countries now... we're in France (again)! Last time we were in France, we had my parents visiting! I still can't believe they were able to come travel around with us in Europe. This photo (below) is of the Statue of Liberty... obviously we're not in New York. We were driving in Colmar and saw this, so I shot the photo. It turns out, the guy who designed Lady Liberty was from Colmar. Here's the tribute to him, we assume.
I thought it was a cute town and managed to find some beautiful things to shoot...

And the journal... for anyone who still keeps up with this after 169 entries! I'm almost done...

Dienstag 23.02.2010 (day 162)
We woke up and had breakfast downstairs in our hotel. I drove Ray to work while also managing to break a level that pulls the seat in the company car forward and backward. I wasn’t forceful or anything—it just broke. I headed back to the hotel after dropping Ray off at the Swiss company where he learns all about machine logistics and all kinds of (boring) technical things all day. I was able to watch The Bachelor in the comfort of our hotel room. We put a “do not disturb” sign on our hotel door whenever we stay somewhere because we often leave out items we don’t want others having contact with (i.e. jewelry, paperwork). We also feel that it’s a waste for them to replace towels and make our bed when we’re gone the majority of the day. Anyway, yesterday, we came back from dinner to a bag of fresh towels we never requested. Today, though the sign was still on, the housekeeper knocked on our door. They must really want to clean our area! Haha. I headed out for lunch but had a concern that I would spend $20 on a slice of pizza considering my $19 eggroll last night as an appetizer. I went for the obvious—McDonald’s. While I don’t have much to order there except French fries and salads… at least I knew that it would tie me over until dinner and the cost wouldn’t be exorbitant. Well, what costs 1/3 of the price in the U.S. costs 3 times as much here! I had a $1 (in the U.S., here = 3 Swiss Francs), and $3.50 SMALL French fries. Ouch! As unhealthy as it was… I just needed to eat for the sake of it. I headed back to the hotel after a little driving around and sent some emails, researching some teaching ”stuff”, and got ready to head back out to pick Ray up at 4:30. We came back to the hotel and he was able to pseudo fix the seat lever I broke. Really, it’s a wire that must be replaced, but it’s possible to rig it. We were picked up by two people from the finance department for a dinner near a lake. We drove around, up down, and around the Swiss countryside and finally arrived at the lake where we had dinner. They brought out an incredibly large appetizer plate with about 30 mini dishes of choices, bread, salads, and vegetables. After, we had dinner. I ordered what they recommended as a Swiss specialty. Honestly, it looked like 2 inch tall isosceles triangle seasoned and deep fried made of what seemed to be fish skins. I really don’t know, but it wasn’t worth SIXTY Swiss Francs! It was inclusive of the appetizer and dessert---similar to the appetizer being in small dishes of miniature sizes. Our dinner was close to $300 and I ate fish skins! We’re completely shocked by the cost of everything here. They drove us back to our hotel after a bit of an awkward dinner (two finance people = no sales or schmooze background = silence a lot) around 10:10 p.m. We’re ready for some sleep… that’s for sure!

Mittwoch 24.02.2010 (day 163)
I was SO tired today. It was one of those days (maybe it’s just me) that you just cannot keep your eyes open. I was in a funk the entire day, but luckily we actually did have some interesting stuff going on! We met at the company at 8:45 after our hotel breakfast and left with Peter to a company in the same group (they are owned by the same group and use their products, too) that produces rubber. It’s a really cool process and we had a small presentation about the company and background from the managing director before taking a tour of the company production floor. It was really interesting and we really enjoyed it. We saw the machines that they first blend the chemicals to create the rubber, the mixing machines, the melting & rolling machines, the cooling machines… and many more. I imagine a candy factory is similar in their production. We had a great time and since the factory itself is less than two months old, it was brand new as well and quite spacious and clean. After, we drove with Peter near another lake about 15 km from Zurich and had lunch at another hotel restaurant. Hotel restaurants are very popular in Europe because they aren’t chain hotels like all over the U.S., so the food is one-of-a-kind and usually quite gourmet. Of course, this is like my 10th gourmet meal in a row (aside from McDonald’s yesterday)… so we could go for something cheaper at some point pretty soon here. Again though, the food didn’t disappoint. After lunch, we headed back to the company, spoke with someone who is taking us to dinner tonight and the woman who is taking us out for sightseeing tomorrow before heading back to our hotel. We watched last night’s American Idol (yay!) and rested before heading downstairs at 6:45 to be picked up for another fancy dinner. He said we could dress casual, though. It was actually a really nice dinner with a guy, Heinz, and a woman, Iris. We went to a 300-year-old courthouse for dinner that’s obviously a converted restaurant. I had curry again. I had it for lunch and now for dinner. But, I love curry and it was even better for dinner! We had good conversation and the time passed very quickly—though we still ended up back at our hotel at 10:30. Tomorrow I have a feeling I’m going to struggle keeping my eyes open… again. It was a nice day and we had great meals, again. I do believe Papa John’s is calling my name real soon, however.

Donnerstag 25.02.2010 (day 164)
Today was our day dedicated to sightseeing. We were looking forward to seeing the Swiss mountains (well, I was. Ray’s already seen them and gone canyoning in them!). We met with Alexandria downstairs after breakfast at half past 8 (halb nuen in German). Did I mention how completely exhausting this fancy dinner eating, being entertained thing is? I mean… if you’re reading this, you probably don’t feel sorry for the two of us: expensive food, wine, sightseeing when many are slaving over desk jobs and counting the minutes until go time. Well, I can honestly say that being “on” at all times is something very difficult to do. It’s more exhausting, in my opinion, than doing the entertaining. When you are doing the entertaining, you at least have adrenaline to fuel you through. It’s like you live off the adrenaline and crash later. In this case, we’re crashing every single night (and admittedly, I crash in the car sometimes…) and waking up still totally asleep. This day was no different, despite the sightseeing. We drove to Mt. Titlis and joined the many skiers and snowboarders (sans boards and skis) on the various gondolas to the very top. We began around 1,000 ft., and arrived at 10,000 ft. at the top. The last gondola we took was a rotating one—going over 360 degrees while moving up/down. They boast it being the first in the world. Since I’ve never seen or been to another one, it was the only one as far as I was concerned. The view at the top was gorgeous, of course. It was around -12 Celsius with a wind chill and blowing snow. We took photos, walked around a bit, explored a totally random glacial cave they carved at the top of the mountain for you to walk through (like a small scale cave), and sat down for another expensive meal. We had a spectacular view of the mountains below and that was really great. After a 2 hour lunch of strictly entrees and a soda, we headed back down on the gondola. We shared a cable car with 4 children and their ski instructor on the way down. They were the cutest kids and what we saw them do made my day. They were playing “rock, paper, scissors” in their native language of Swiss German. They were saying “schere, stein, papier” (scissors, stone, paper—see the resemblances?) as they were counting before the reveal of their choice. They were cracking themselves up, and we were also cracking ourselves up just watching them! We reached the bottom of the mountain and hopped in the car with Alexandra towards the city of Luzern. We entered the gorgeous city that of course had a river running through it and parked at the main train station (Hofbahnhof). There are 4 bridges in the city and we went on the most famous one—the Chapel bridge. It’s made of all wood and was built in the 1300’s. There are other charming bridges around and they have really old paintings above your head as you walk along. It’s a covered bridge, so it’s nice to shield from the elements, too. It has a water tower in the center of the bridge where it bends and it has at one point or another served as an archive, treasury, and prison. Part of this bridge also burnt down in 1993 and some of it has been reconstructed. On the other side of the bridge, we walked around shops and took lots of photos of delicately painted buildings. The country has so much charm. We walked in some stores, bought our Switzerland boot ornament (we did a tiny bit of hiking on the top of Mt. Titlis, so we get a little credit!), and walked toward a “Dying Lion Monument” created by a Danish sculptor and finished in 1792. I think Alexandra told us that Mark Twain called it one of the “darkest” sculptures in the world. We headed home around 5:00 and arrived to our hotel around 6:30. It rained the entire car ride back, so we’re happy we got a lot in during the day hours. We were so tired of fancy dinners and knew we didn’t have dinner plans with anyone tonight, so we found a pizza takeout place (gotta love those Turks with their pizza/kebab places) and bought our food. Overpriced, but nothing ridiculous by European standards. We brought it back to our hotel and ate. It was excellent and we were so happy to be able to relax and arrive home way earlier than 10:30 p.m. We watched an episode of American Idol and learned more about our housing situation. The house appraised for $10,000 less than we agreed to pay. While this doesn’t worry us, it changes the contingencies put on us by USAA who is funding out loan. In addition to the appraiser registering it as “too expensive in a declining market”, we also knew this was the perfect house for us that we could live in for 30 years and be content given size, open space, looks, location… everything. And, it’s not a declining market. It’s slowly working its way up, but of course it’s the end of a recession and banks are afraid. Luckily, we still have the money, but we’re still dealing with two things: we are buying a house for over its value and we’re hoping the *cheapskate* sellers will drop the price (doubtful), and the mold situation. Keep in mind, it’s a super clean house, but we’re just paranoids. Any slight “off” smell and I’m placing 20 questions. As I should be, thank you! They actually did find a lose tile in the basement bathroom and water was leaking under the stairs. They have a ton of stuff down there, and as I suspected, there was damage to their boxes and mildew on some of the fabric and items they had stored down there. Take heed, people—if you own too much junk and have to store it in weird and crowded places where you can’t access your pipes or check for issues, it’s time for a visit to the Salvation Army. I mean, really. They offered us $100 to fix the problem ourselves. Our attorney thinks they are just trying to shut us up and skate out without having to do too much. The mold test itself cost us $300 and they are only willing to front $100 for us to figure it all out ourselves? Obviously, they’re cheap and don’t want to deal with this. We counteracted with a statement that we expect them to fix the problem, or compensate more for us to fix it. $100 can barely buy a phonecall with a professional. And… if their stuff wasn’t under the stair storage area anyway, our inspector (which we paid) could have accessed it and seen the damage and saved us the $300 mold investigation. Our inspector thinks this may be the cause and consulted their inspector to take a tape sample and test it for the mold. If that’s the cause, we can easily fix the problem and clean the air. Again, this costs money. While we’re fine with money, we don’t think it’s our duty to have to fix a problem when they advertised 3.5 bath but we cannot use one of them because it needs to be repaired. In addition, we will need to put a new roof on the house this summer/fall and that will be a cost out of our pockets—paying $10,000 more is really more like $20,000. But, we want this house. It is perfect for us, despite the wear we’ll need to address. We’re just not two people who have an interest in going to the cleaners over it.

Freitag 26.02.2010 (day 165)
Blessings today. We’re thankful and still nervous. But mostly thankful. I woke up with Ray to have breakfast downstairs. Breakfast hours are 6:00-10:00. Pretty standard… except, at 8:40 a.m., we received a call to our hotel room from the reception asking if we are planning to come down for breakfast. Have we been here that long that they’re learning our normal hours of eating? I mean, we still had a full hour and 20 minutes to eat before it technically closed for the day. We arrived downstairs and there was only was table besides us. But, does that mean they call all the rooms to check if anyone plans to eat before shutting down early? It’s not that small of a hotel. I believe it has 5 or 6 floors. Weirdness. Another weird thing is that every day we place the “do not disturb” sign on our door, we are given a new bag of towels. Not soap, but towels, yes. Another strange thing. Ray went off to work and learned more about the company’s logistics and products in greater detail, and presented some ideas for them and their web development. I stayed in and nerded myself out on the Internet and stared at new houses just in case ours falls through. We’ve been on a wave of emotions the last couple days thinking we could afford it, then the mold, then the mold was resolved, or maybe it wasn’t, the appraisal was too low, they were requiring more money down above our funds, calls, emails, and more communication between attorneys, the sellers, our agent, inspector, and us. Ah. What a long and draining process. But, we pray. God knows what we need and if this isn’t it, he will work it out. It’s just crazy to think that we have 20% for a house we can totally afford and it’s still difficult to purchase it! Financially, we are fine… but it’s just so weird coming out of a recession and searching for a house because everyone is being cautious, including us. Ray got home for lunch and told me we were having lunch at the “Golf restaurant” next door—but my hair was still wet from a shower. So, I hurriedly half blow-dryed my hair and received a call telling us our lunch guests had arrived. We walked about 30 feet to the restaurant and had some Indian dishes for lunch. I could seriously eat Indian as often as Mexican food. I love it and I intend to have as much as possible when we are out for meals—which has been all week (did I mention how done we are with that?). After our lunch, we had some ice cream/sorbet. I tried the grapefruit and Ray had the Pistachio ice cream. They were both amazing. Ray also tried a small tart-looking dessert that was made of maroni (those nuts that gave me food poisoning in Austria back in October I never want to see again) and we tried a small fruit from Asia that looked like a small yellow cherry tomato but tasted like a strawberry. Really interesting and tasty. We got some good news after lunch from our lender, USAA, that the amount they want us to place down is inclusive of closing costs… taking us back where we started. I’m telling you, this whole home-buying process is a crazy one! I think it’s magnified even more being overseas. We headed out around 5:45 for Peter’s house to have some traditional Swiss food. He and his wife prepared a traditional Raclette grill for us. We had some Prosecco Italian champagne, then wine, and grappa, also. Needless to say, I’ve had plenty to drink this evening! The grappa was chocolate flavored and was very strong. The Raclette was amazing. It’s basically a heated plate and you take a variety of vegetables and seasoned uncooked meats and grill them on the plate. You take pre-cooked potatoes and cute them into bite-sized pieces on your plate and place a piece of thick white cheese under the grill to melt while the meat/veggies cook. When the meat/veggies, and cheese are melted, you pour the entire amount on the cut potatoes. It’s incredible. It’s not fondue, but I surely get excited about purchasing one (eventually after this whole house thing!) and having Raclette dinner with a chocolate/peanut butter fondue for dessert. Doesn’t that sound lovely? You’ll have to come visit us for some of that! We headed back to our hotel at 10:15 and are about to head to bed at 12:15, exhausted once again. We had a great dinner and nice company and we’re looking forward to seeing Peter and his wife, Olga, again sometime in the future.

Samstag 27.02.2010 (day 166)
What a great day we had! We slept in (yay!) and packed the car before heading to our free breakfast… then off to the grocery store, S.P.A.R. before leaving Switzerland. We had about 5.5 Swiss Francs left that we wanted to use up, so we bought a few Cola lights, a Rivella (Swiss sweet drink that looks like soda but is actually a 30% milk derivative and so weird), and some cookies. Though, we later found out we had one more Swiss Franc left and now have nowhere to spend it—it happens to nearly all countries we visit! Anyway, we headed on the highway toward France to visit a town everyone was boasting about, Colmar. It’s a cute French town that has been battled over between Germany and France for many, many moons. It looked like exactly that—it had quaint German looking buildings and French was spoken exclusively there. We walked around, enjoyed a few shops, bought a postcard, explored around a few beautiful churches and some canals, and purchased some Wok food from a small take-out restaurant for 8 Euro! We couldn’t believe how cheap our lunch was compared to all the meals we’ve been eating the past week. We bought a postcard in a store across from the Wok place and gave him a 2 Euro coin. The postcard was .35 Euro cents. He gave us back change as though we paid with a 1 Euro coin—but we were positive we paid with the 2 Euro coin. Anyway, Ray mentioned that he had just been ripped off and I went in and explained in English/German (to a French guy) that I gave him a 2 Euro coin and wanted my correct change. He obliged, though not believing me. Interesting…but don’t try to rip this girl off! We headed on the highway through France, paid more tolls to the French in the form of 7.90 Euro, and saw a gorgeous amount of countryside. We drove from Colmar through land that had one castle after the other. It was just spectacular. We ended up driving through Strasbourg and saw a gorgeous church (from the Autobahn) and headed on into Germany. We actually headed back into Germany the same way we entered/exited when we drove through France to Paris and Versailles with my parents back in early January. It was a case of déjà vu, but many things are around these parts since we’ve been around here awhile now. It’s amazing how much more comfortable we are with speaking, making purchases, and exploring. There’s almost nowhere we’re uncomfortable to be. It’s not the exact same level or feeling as being in the U.S., but we feel like we belong here. I’m not sure when that finally kicked in. After entering Germany, we drove through the German vineyard region along the Mosel River and we love it every time. It is absolutely spectacular and the river is just so serene and calm. Aside from Rothenburg ob der Tauber, this might be my favorite area in Germany to drive around in. Rather than enter through Bitburg to Ehlenz, we drove another way this time through a town I think was called Bickerdorf. We ended up at Andy & Jen’s house around 5 p.m. and had an excellent dinner with them. Andy made homemade lentil soup and bruschetta. It was delightful and we talked from the moment we walked in until nearly midnight. We played a few fun games: Jacks & 5’s and another game that’s similar to Balderdash but it’s called Malarcky. We say it every time… but it’s so nice having friends who we can just enjoy a simple meal with, laugh, share, talk, and just be ourselves with. That’s something that excites us a ton about heading back to the States in 16 days. Though it’s rough trying to connect, once you have found good friends, you just cannot replace that bond and the great times. We talked for 7 hours and didn’t waver a bit. We had a blast. Today was just an overall fantastic day that we were happy to have shared with friends and one another. Also, it doesn’t hurt that it was about 14 degrees Celsius the entire day: spring is in the air! There’s certainly something about green grass, sunshine, and warm temperatures that can cure any funk and make your mood a little brighter. Now, time for bed…

Sonntag 28.02.2010 (day 167)
After a great breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes at the Burghdorf’s house, we set out on the road back to Neuenrade. It’s about a 3-hour drive from our houses so we arrived around 2:30 p.m. We only stopped off to refuel at an Aral station and were rushed with intense winds. They were out of control today! The temperatures are well above 10 degrees Celsius and just about all the snow has melted and the fall leaves are being blown around again. We took a new way home that we don’t think we’ve ever taken and it was pretty nice. When we got home, it had started to rain a decent amount and we rushed inside to get out of the wind/rain. Just to see greenish-brown grass on the way back up to our German house was refreshing. If yesterday didn’t fill us with excitement, driving home today and seeing the area that’s been completely white since October covered with green, we were for sure excited. We were super lucky this week/end to have every day we acted as tourists (Thursday on Mt. Titlis in Switzerland and yesterday driving through into Colmar, France) sunny and beautiful out. Now that I’ve experienced my first year of 4 seasons, I am thrilled for the springtime to come, the birds to sing, and the flowers to grow. It sounds cheesy, but I’m ready. We unpacked a bit, did some laundry, had dinner and watched the US v. Canada Olympic Hockey game. Actually, make that watching the game. No report on who has won yet being just before halftime. Ray spent some time creating work presentations and I spent a large part of the afternoon/evening researching furniture, appliances, etc. While we won’t have the money to purchase lots of furniture in the beginning stages of our home ownership, we will eventually and I was scoping out some possibilities and styles we might consider. We do need to purchase a fridge immediately and I found some models we can look at and possibly purchase. I’ve recently discovered the following items online: Canopy furniture & Sears Outlet. I’m a huge fan of both and we will most likely be using them for some purchases. Sears Outlet sells mostly refurbished home items and store models up to 75% off list price. I found some serious deals on there, but they’re only as good as the stores that carry them. Because they are outlet items, they vary by location and require some travel or flexibility. Okay, now I’m off to finish the last load of laundry, watch the rest of this game, and head to bed. Tomorrow, I vow to work out for 30 minutes. Typing it better be a motivation. Ha!

Montag 01.03.2010 (day 168)
It was a lazy, yet somewhat productive day for me. While I didn’t get out of bed until an unmentionable hour, I did manage to fulfill my entire list of tasks today. I wanted to sort through and name the photos from Switzerland, France, and house pictures I took on inspection day. I also went through our food stash and calculated how many and what meals we can make with our current stock, and what I need to buy at the grocery store. It seems like this task is done so often in our recent history. Before we left Redondo Beach, I did this. Before we left Chicago for the first time, I did this. And, now, for the third time I’m making this list. For the last time, hopefully. Stability is calling our names. I made us lunch and Ray came home to eat with me. The day was so bright and sunny (though started out rainy and drizzling) that we figured we’d better get our behinds moving since spring is around the corner and go out for a run. So we did. We ran up and around the route we took on our walk back when the weather was super snowy and this time, not a lick of snow on the ground. It’s amazing since I’m so used to seeing and dodging the white stuff everywhere I turn and watching the ground to make sure I don’t accidentally slip on the ice lining the streets. We have a big blue water barrel outside our door and it’s been frozen solid since early December… or even earlier, I can’t remember. It’s about 25% thawed out now! After our run, we walked down to buy a stamp, but realized we didn’t have the correct change (such a weird machine: requires exact change, or multiple coins to create exact without going over 5 coins… so no pennies!), so we walked back home. We had TJ’s Indian for dinner with rice and veggies and carried on with our nightly routine of technology geekfest on the couch. Hah.

Dienstag 02.03.2010 (day 169)
On this day two weeks from now, we’ll be arriving in our new town for a permanent move. It’s surreal to think SIX months have gone by. After Ray left for work, I got to business. I did just about nothing for the first 1.5 hours except email, reading CNN stories, and catching up on the world that went on while I was asleep. Being 6-9 hours ahead of all US time zones can lead to missing a lot of what’s going on in my neck of the woods. After, I went for a run in the 41 degree (Fahrenheit) weather because the sun was shining. Nevermind that I was the only one running or wearing shorts. I came back home after nearly dying on a 2-3 mile run (pathetic, really), got ready, and fixed lunch for us before Ray got home just before 12:30. We’ve been eating a hodgepodge of meals because we’re trying to use up the supply before we are off in 13 days back home to the states. After lunch, we headed back to work. As soon as I opened the door, we saw SNOW! I couldn’t believe it. We were hoping that the snow was over for the season. I mean, after all, the Germans told us that we wouldn’t be seeing very much snow at all because they just don’t get that much—haha! Well, we had a lot of snow and apparently it’s not over. Though, by the time we arrived at work, it was a mild drizzle-snow. The sun came and went for the rest of the day, trying to pretend like spring is in fact just around the corner. Oh, how I cannot wait. Buying a new house, moving, decorating and all that during the spring! Nevermind again that Chicago can get snow until nearly May. Well, when we got off work, it was lightly snowing again. Bummer! We headed to the market for a few items and then back home for dinner and to watch the past 3 episodes of Amazing Race that I taped today during my fit as I sat and waited for the season finale of The Bachelor to be uploaded. As I sit here at 11:20 p.m., it still hasn’t been uploaded from yesterday! I guess I should be lucky that I can even watch episodes of shows all the way here in Deutschland. But man am I excited to watch things in real time. We had a pretty relaxing evening and nothing else really to report.