Sep 7, 2016

thirty two

Friday morning I had a thoroughly normal day at the office. A one-day week, and then it was the weekend. Why just come into work on a friday? Everyone left Rome Thursday morning, and every day I can save on vacation time is another day I can use.

Friday night, Saori invited her yoga instructors over for drinks and to hang out on the roof. O, an American-Turkish woman with a German upbringing founded the yoga studio in Stuttgart after getting burning out working in the financial sector in New York. P is O’s squeeze, a meek Italian guy from Milan who tolerates being the butt of jokes he recieves from the other instructors. E, a dude my age from Connecticut is a permenant teacher (co-owner?). A is the newest instructor, a rail-thin eastern European woman who started learning yoga the same time as Saori. For people who do professional yoga, they do seem to take the six flights of stairs a lot harder than we do- maybe we’re just used to them.

Saori mixed up a mean cocktail for them- a spicy grapefruit margarita. A mixture of lime juice, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, a surprisingly lot of tequila, agave syrup, and fresh sliced jalapeno rounds. It’s a slow drink with a double burn: stronger than you think, and the longer the jalapeno infuses into the tequila-citrus mixture, the spicier the margarita. They brought guacamole and tortilla chips and we basically just hung out on the roof, snacked, talked, and listened to bad rap music (according to Kanye, the only word that rhymes with “asshole” is “asshole”) until it was very late.

Saturday we slept in and had a late breakfast. We did a bit of housecleaning and went for a stroll around Stadtmitte before meeting up with Saori’s coworker Daphne and her husband Georg downtown. Daphne is Taiwanese, and hasn’t worked at Behnisch that long, but she and Saori quickly became friends. We actually had them over first a few weeks ago, and they were happy to have some company out in Zuffenhausen.

Georg grilled up a fish and Daphne made some good fried pork rice and it was all pretty tasty. After dinner, we borrowed a headlamp and followed them into some pitch black woods to look for local deer and other critters of the night. We spotted some small deer, but they bounded into the brush before we could really get a good look. At any rate, it was nice to get out in the woods at night. The most dangerous thing out there is that you could slip on a waylaid beer bottle.

They walked us back to the metro station and we took a train full of drunks home, also late.

Sunday morning, Saori made me quark and blueberry pancakes. Quark is a German dairy product somewhere between sour cream and buttermilk. It’s about as thick as sour cream, although much more mild in flavor. It gave us really thick pancakes.

Then Saori immediately got busy again with my birthday cake. Last year she went on a sugar scavanger hunt through Stuttgart, hunting down exotica like treacle and dates to make me some STP. This year, I felt like something a little lighter, so I requested a matcha roll cake with white chocolate cream filling. The ingrediants were actually all on hand, so she got to work and despite some setbacks (like the roll cake turning accidently into a layer cake) she and I ended up laughing quite a lot. She brought it out to me with three tiny sheep on a green field, with a lit cactus candle on top. It was great but really really rich since we managed to basically whip the white chocolate cream into butter.

I lounged around the house most of the afternoon since the weather was rainy, and given the weather, I decided we should go see a movie. StarTrek was still out, so we trekked ourselves out to the original language cinema close to the American army base. Even though the screen was smaller than most movie theaters, it still beat a laptop screen.

After the movie, we took a metro over to Bonnie & Clyde, ostensibly a typical corner bar of the type seen all over Germany, but actually well known for and specializing in their hamburgers and fish and chips. Too many German burger joints are all about the accessories. Actually, there are some very fancy burger restaurants around, but if your cheddar, egg, avocado slices, and grilled onions are resting on a quarter-inch of hackfleish than you are kind of missing the meat. This burger we ordered was good, a solid and delicious burger with eat-them-all fries, and washed down with a beer.

I’m 32 years old. I’m married, living in Stuttgart, Germany. I had a 20 minute phone conversation with a structural engineer in German last week, and this week, both of my bosses approached me separately that I need to improve my German. This is an order. Something also needs to change here since we have some choices to make.

I bought a box of Dunkin’ Donuts for the office which was greatly appreciated and a welcome surprise. In a land of corner bakeries, DD still delivers a sweet surprise (considering there’s only one or two in Stuttgart).
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