Altonale

We had quite a fun weekend!

It was the annual Altonale street festival in our neighborhood. (I seriously can’t believe it’s already that time of year again!) The festival itself lasted two weeks long, with lots of cultural events and performances, music, street vendors, barbecue, flea markets, and lots of alcohol. But the majority of it happened this weekend, so we made sure to take advantage of all the fun.

Here’s some shots from Saturday at the flea market. We didn’t actually buy anything, and it was so crowded that it was more stressful than anything else, actually! But we had been to our favorite flea market in Bahrenfeld that morning already. Cheaper there anyway! Still fun to look, though!

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(This stand looks like it has a lot to handle. // Die haben es da alles im Griff!) (TWO puns, booyah!) (I’m a dork!)

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We got some free lemonades from the Mercedes stand. (P.S. Those are Tobi’s shoes in the top corner of this pic!)

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Then we headed over to the field next to our church, which is always set up as a “Mittelaltermarkt” – renaissance-festival style. We watched a guy shoot some arrows at a target.

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Of course, it wouldn’t be Altonale without a rain shower. We ducked under a tent to take cover and watched people run by with and without umbrellas. When the rain let up a bit, we ran a bit further down the street and met Tobi’s friend Jens in a coffee shop. His friend Merlin from Melbourne was there. Lots of people were just standing around because there weren’t enough seats, but everyone wanted to stay out of the rain. I had a hard time focusing on the German conversation because there was a group of Americans sharing our table.

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We also stopped by our neighbor friend’s atelier to see his newest pieces of art. Johannes is a rather fantastic painter, and it’s always nice to see his new stuff.

Then it was back home for a nap, as I was feeling exhausted, and then we went back to Christianskirche to see the 6th annual StopKlock Poetry Slam. I sat next to Johannes and Ariane, who was a member of the jury, while Tobi sat with other friends on the side. Seating was hard to come by, and we had to squeeze into the pews – the church was packed! Both Ariane and I had a bit of trouble understanding some texts, but we enjoyed it.

Sunday morning, Tobi and I went to the fish market. We did our shopping for the Tatort dinner we hosted on Sunday night, and we ate breakfast there by the water. It was crazy and chaotic as always, but fun.

Because we always buy things in such large quantities at the fish market, we have to deal with the food fast or risk it going bad. There’s something really nice about the work of washing, chopping, and freezing fruits and vegetables for later. A way to slow down and relax on a Sunday.

Hafengeburtstag 2013

Last weekend was the annual Hafengeburtstag – the Harbor Birthday, so they call it – here in Hamburg. Before Tobias left for LA, we spent an afternoon down by the harbor to participate in the activities. We watched the boats parade up and down the Elbe, we took a nice, leisurely walk down to Övelgönne, Tobias had a hot dog (okay, Wurst of some sort), and we hopped on the ferry boat and rode it around to Landungsbrücken. You know, our typical route. It was a gorgeous day and it was fun watching all of the boats sail around.

Here’s a little video I made to remember our day at the harbor!

 

Happy birthday, port of Hamburg. You’re the best!

Jessica’s baby shower

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This past weekend was my good friend Jessica’s baby shower. She’s due next month but even her doctor thinks the baby will be making his appearance a wee bit early. But he stayed in there long enough for our baby shower to go on as planned!

We had reserved a room at the Mälzer restaurant in Lüneburg. It was a great location and we were even able to decorate the room a little bit with balloons and a Welcome Baby banner once we got there! The food was great and we had plenty of space for our games and activities. Jessica’s sister-in-law Jenna organized the event and asked for my help, so I put myself in charge of games. We just did a few activities, and they worked out really well. It was a lot of fun!

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First we put together a picture book for the baby. I had prepared pages ahead of time with the letters on it and we all drew pictures to fit each letter. People were a little intimidated at first (me too, since I really don’t consider myself good at drawing!) but once we got going, we ended up with some really artistic stuff! (A few of them may have pulled out their iPhones to find a picture to copy their drawing from. Whatever works!)

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Next, we played a more typical game where each person had to cut a length of string to measure how big they thought Jessica’s baby belly was. As you can imagine, most people cut way more string than necessary. I actually won that game (!) but as the organizer, I let the prize go to the second closest guess. Jessica thought it was pretty funny!

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The third game was to draw a picture of the baby on a paper plate. But the catch was that you had to draw the picture with the plate on top of your head, so you can’t see what you’re drawing! It was simple enough but really hilarious. Some of the pictures were actually surprisingly good!

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We then took a break from games to open presents. Jessica’s sister-in-law, Laura, got her a present hat. I’d never seen this at a baby shower before but it’s similar to the bouquet of bows you make at a bridal shower and then use at the rehearsal dinner. I joked that Jessica has to wear her hat while she gives birth. It was a crowd-pleaser.

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Check out this beautiful diaper cake!

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The last game we played was the German version of The Price Is Right – Der Preis ist Heiß. I got some random baby items at the store and created a list for people to guess the prices. I put the items out on the table for everyone to see and then gave each of them the price list to fill out. Funnily enough, the items usually cost less than what people guessed! Then I gave out points based on how close their guesses were. For an exact guess: 5 points. Within 50 cents: 2 points. Within 1 euro: 1 point. The winner ended up with 21 points. The lowest guess belonged to Laura, but that’s just because she’s still used to Canadian prices being much higher. Jessica only got 10 points, but that doesn’t matter – she’ll know soon enough the exact prices of the items she’ll need to buy! But for the meantime, I think we’ve got her covered.

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(In addition to photoshopping Jessica’s and Lübbe’s faces onto the real Der Preis ist Heiß hosts’ bodies, I also used MorphThing.com to morph their faces into one to predict what their baby will look like! Lübbe really loves How I Met Your Mother, so I figured he’d appreciate the bro reference and the baby in a suit.)

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When the shower was over, we all walked back over to her apartment for some cake. Her brother, Jeremy, made this cake. Mmm, I can still taste that cream cheese frosting!  BABY CAKE!

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Congrats, Jessica – and good luck on the home stretch!

Easter dresses

When I was a little kid, I do remember wearing dresses to church. Especially wearing dress shoes or sandals with those frilly white socks with the lace on them. (Do you remember those? Do those still exist? Nevermind. A quick Google search proved that they are still out there!)

Just for fun, here are a few pictures of me and my brother. My parents always took a picture of us in our outfits after the Easter egg hunt and before we headed off to church.

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Check out that gap in my teeth!

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As we got older, we stopped dressing up so much for church. Since the church I attended then was rather casual, it was quite normal to wear jeans to church, and I welcomed it as a chance to dress the way I wanted, since we had a dress code at school. But every Easter, I did take it up a notch and always got a new dress to wear.

I went shopping today and ended up with these two dresses. It’s been about 3 years since I’ve bought a new dress just for Easter, so I’m excited! We’re also not taking a road trip over the long weekend this year, so it’s our first time in Hamburg and I’m looking forward to celebrating it here.

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And a sweater to go with it because it’s a bit too chilly for a sleeveless chiffon dress.

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I’ll wear one of these for Easter Sunday and the other one for my friend’s upcoming baby shower. Yay! Dresses! Now if the weather would just cooperate, I wouldn’t have to wear jeans under that blue dress! But if so, that’s okay. Tobi said people don’t really dress up here on Easter Sunday.

A heart-stamped Valentine

This year for my Valentine’s present to Tobias, I kept with tradition and made him something. Last year I made a little “you are loved” matchbox Valentine. This year, I made a heart-shaped stamp out of a wine cork and made a little art print card for him.

I went with paint I already had on hand – magenta and gold – and stamped away to my heart’s content. I ended up loving the finished product, and so did Tobias. My gifts to him are never quite as cool as what he gave me (especially this year!) but they’re definitely from the heart. I wrote a message using a black felt-tip pen, and this is what resulted:

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I’ve been meaning to experiment a little with making my own stamps. I’ve especially been inspired by these triangle prints, this cross hatch stamp, and this method of stamping with toilet paper rolls.

The idea to use a cork as a stamp came from this carved cork magnet tutorial over on Family Chic. It worked rather nicely! The magnets are cute, too. Might have to try that one day.