Wow...things are not going well for this blog so far.
I don't know what it is but for some reason it's just not flowing like it did in Kuwait.
Oh well, if I keep putting it off I'll never post anything.
Since the last post:
We got our bikes! Yay! Kerri and Rowan have been riding everywhere on the tandem (at least twice a week to do laundry on the base). My folding bike is awesome too.
We've started riding in to Heidelberg on Sundays for church. It's about 20km and takes about 1.5 hours. But the train is 1 hour and costs 15 euro, so we have some pretty good motivation to bike. And now that the sun is rising earlier and it's not so freaking cold outside, it's getting easier.
We went to the Starkbierzeit (strong beer festival) in Munich a couple of months ago. That was our first trip via train out of town, so it was a learning experience. But we had a good time, travelled with a friend from work, tried the strong beers at least 4 different breweries. Generally we prefer the strong beers because they have more flavor. However, I tried the Augustiner Heller (a lighter beer with a nutty flavor) and was pleasantly surprised. We also met up with an old friend of mine from the Philippines (Sarah for those who know her) and her husband Martin and 3 little girls. They live about an hour west of Munich and drove in to see us and have a lovely picnic lunch in the Englischer Garten. They were really cool and we hope to go visit them again in their little village which is near Lake Chemsie. It was only for the weekend, and there was so much we wish we could have seen, but it's only 3 hours away by train so pretty sure we will get back to Munich again.
We took another day trip to Wiesbaden which is close to us. They have hot springs and otherwise a nice town. The base in Wiesbaden is one of the possible places my workplace may be relocated to eventually.
Speaking of day trips, we've been using 60 Day Trips in Germany as a very useful guide for our travels. It is oriented around day trips that you can get to by train from 4 major hub cities. We're trying to concentrate on Germany since we are living here, so the rest of Europe is kind of on the backburner. I'm sure we'll be back this way again someday.
Between Heidelberg and Mannheim is a cute little town called Ladenburg. I rode through it by accident when riding to church and we've been back several times. They have a lovely cobblestone downtown area, with buildings that are from the 1600s. Restaurants and a green riverbank...it seems off the beaten path and there is little information about it. Most of the "tourists" are Germans out for a weekend walk. This is becoming our "town" that we take visitors to see. It 's about half way to Heidelberg, so about 45 minute bike ride. We figured out how to get there by train the other weekend and took Kerri's dad who is visiting.
Kerri's been to Poland with some friends to buy pottery (beautiful and cheap!), and we hope to go back for our church retreat in about 3 weeks.
As I said before, Kerri's dad is visiting and they are all (including Rowan) currently in Venice for the weekend. She'll put her dad on a boat and he'll do some more travelling on his own.
We're getting more involved at church, as much as we can living where we do and not having a car. I've taken over doing the church bulletin as the guy who used to do it will be leaving soon. Also starting to learn the sound board. The worship leader is leaving soon too and no one has stepped up. We could do it...but being so far away puts a damper on being able to get to rehearsals and such. The local home group we've been going to has started meeting at our house as the leaders (worship leader again) are leaving soon. We hope to keep it going after they leave but so many people are leaving there might not be anyone left. This is normal for around here though, so we hope some others will show up. There is a John Deer factory in Mannheim, so there are some expats living here associated with them.
We took a german class at a nearby "people's high school" (volkshochschule). Once we had our bikes and we heard about it, the price was right, and it was Tues/Thurs from 6-7:30pm, so we signed up. Did that for about a month and half til the class was over. We opted not to continue on to the next part as we got what we wanted and were getting pretty tired of having Tues/Wed/Thurs evenings completely taken over (homegroup on wed). So now we are back to normal.
There was an incredible (and incredibly funny) cultural experience we had a few weeks ago at our landlord's surprise 60th birthday party, but I'll let Kerri write a post about that.
I think those are all of the high points since the last post. We have a few pictures, but really not enough. Getting the pictures off the camera, into the computer and then sorted through is just not happening lately.
Work is...meh. I could vent more but why? I can make it through the 1.5 years left easy...at least there is plenty of other stuff to enjoy. We are once again aiming our sites at Japan/Korea/Asia after Germany. I heard from several people after the tsunami along the lines of "good thing you weren't in Japan!", but I actually felt sad that we didn't get to be there to live through that experience with the people. Maybe we could have been a more direct help to them. Kerri and I are more and more finding our hearts drawn to the Japanese people and culture. We are hoping to see if after moving there we can find a way to become tentmaker missionaries. The gospel is sorely needed there.
Anyway, that's it for now...it's late...got to ge to bed.