Anxiety Dreams

I have two kinds of anxiety dreams.

First, and by far the most common, are dreams where I have to do something slightly complex but not too difficult (bring someone their wedding dress, find a different gate to catch a flight).  However, as I begin to check things off my list, small things begin to go wrong (construction detour, car won’t start, mishearing directions) and then smaller things go wrong on top of the small things (shoelaces untied, credit card won’t work, can’t hold stuff and open car trunk at the same time so I keep dropping things) and they pile and pile up until I feel absolutely helpless and everything is ruined.

or

Second, I start by feeling very happy and deciding for one reason or another to go visit some friends.  But, every single friend is cold and distant or just downright mean — for reasons that I really can’t understand and when I ask they won’t explain,  This happens all the way down a long, long street in every house where I know just the day before my best friends lived.  As I keep walking, the friends get more and more silent-mean till, by the end, I stop even trying to knock on their doors and I’m just walking and walking down the middle of the street, alone and confused, and thinking that I’ll never go find a friend again–not because I’m mad that they were mean, but because I’m afraid that I’m hurting people and don’t even know how I’m doing it.  And I’m stressed out the whole time because I’m terrified someone is going to open the doors to one of the houses I’m walking by and just call me horrible names or blame things on me that I don’t even understand.

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28

It’s that time of year again!  The time of year where I officially become one year older and, contrary to what one might expect, I spend a large chunk of the day reliving all the regrets I have of my life.  Which, on a birthday, is super lame!

I know what you’re thinking right now.  It’s probably something like, “Live life with no regrets” or “Never regret anything, everything makes you stronger and better” or something positive like that.  I totally get that.  But, you know, sometimes you just want to sit around and troll the facebooks and look at all your friends from high school or college school or grad school or not-school and see how they all are, like, assistant managers of important sections of very large companies or have two kids or just published a book (I’m looking at you Matthew and Joanna)… and you’re like, ‘Whaaaaaa?  When did THAT happen?”

And then you’re like, “I just got older!”

And then you’re like, “Life is overrrrr!  And I faaaaaaailed!”

And then you’re like, “I might be overreacting right now but I don’t care!”

So, because I’m preeeeeeeetty sure that I’ve more or less killed this blog and it’s now mine, MINE I tell you!, to write whatever I need to write about and only the die hards who are my good friends anyway are going to read it (maybe), I’m going to do what I’m good at and write a little bloggity blog post on some regrets that are particularly horrific to me this beautiful May morning.

Regret the First:  That I couldn’t figure out a way to assimilate into some sort of fun, interesting, Harvardy/MITy group of people outside of my grad school cohort when I lived in Boston (other than Beth, who saved my life).  Cousin Dave is in Boston now and he seems to be having a much better time of it all–this could be just because of the fact that it’s my birthday and everyone seems to be having a better time of things in general, but regardless…I wish I could have been brave enough to be less shy.  And if I had been less shy then I could have been able to act more “normal” and “confident.”  And if I had been those things then I might have been able to be in-real-life friends with people that I’m only now finding out share a crap load of my same ideas and feelings about certain things since they’re all popping out of the woodwork now that I’m more of an online presence in certain intellectual sectors of the thing we can the internet.  Lame.  So many, many, many lonely days wasted.

Regret the Second:  That I never had a straight-up “You’re mean to me and I want to know exactly why” conversation with a handful of roommates.    Also, I regret that I tried to then make up to them by friending them on facebook, hoping they might say hi! in some nice way after I did…but then they didn’t…and then it crushed me again.  AGAIN!  I let it happen again!  I regret not having more of a backbone when people are mean to me (which reminds me of a related regret involving one of my grad school advisers who deserved to get a drink in the face…which I may or may not have fantasized about doing).

Regret the Third:  Actually…I can’t think of a regret the third.

WHICH IS TELLING!

It’s telling to me that every. single. year. on my birthday I’m crippled with regret over things that happened (or didn’t happen) to me over five years ago.  And they all involve people who I wanted to be friends with not being friends with me–openly, obviously, and painfully.

So, a lesson:  always be friends with people, unless they’re being obviously super mean to you, in which case you should throw a drink in their face, reality TV style.  If you don’t, you’ll regret it.

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Into the Realm of Couple-Blogging

I have decided to make (well, I’ve already made…) a new family-style blog that I will be moving to starting today.

It’s mostly because I have a terrible habit of needing “a clean slate” to write on when I feel like I’m going through a big life transition.

It’s also mostly because we’re moving to Europe and I think that it will become the main way Atticus and I will be able to communicate our day-to-day existence with our families and friends.

I realize that most people who read this blog here already know our “real life” names, but since I’d still like to keep that anonymity valid here…I’m going to go about announcing the new blog address (a place where I’ll be using our real names) in a different way.

If you’d like to keep connected with Atticus and I and read about our German adventures, then leave a comment below letting me know.  I’ll e-mail you the new blog address and then you can check it out.

As for pintosbeans, I don’t know about its fate.  I like the web address and the individual writing space concept so I’ll keep it live, though it may stay dormant till the end of time.  Forever and ever.  Perhaps/probably.

So again, if you want to read about and see pictures of our transition to and life in Europe, just leave me a comment here telling me so.  Your e-mail address is required to comment, but doesn’t show up on the page, so you don’t have to include it in your comment body.

And with that, I’ll just see what happens…

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Wherein I Eat Raw Ham

Well, well, well.  Here I am in Germany.  I’m sitting on the bed of our teeny hotel room with EuroNews on mute with the gigantic rwindow swung open over the middle of the room like a massive glass door.  Windows don’t have screens here–at least this one doesn’t.  And I can look out over the small hotel parking lot toward the Warno River and a long row of apartment buildings with flowery balconies.

It’s very sunny today–could only be sunny to me though since I’m used to the Oregon Coast cloudiness.  But it’s sunny here in a way that’s different than in the U.S.  Well, different than any U.S. place other than Kechekan, Alaska–which is apparently where we are latitudinally here in Rostock.

The sun doesn’t go down till after ten and by 6 am, it feels like the sky is as bright as it should be at noon.  It’s lovely to be soaking up so much sunshine after my Oregonian 3-year dearth, but it also is the sign of a more portentious doom.  If it is light for so long here during the summer…then it must be equally as dark in the winter.  I’ve heard rumors that, at the Winter Solstice, the sky is midnight-dark by 3:30 pm.

Gross.

But so goes life on the Baltic, I suppose.  It sounds like all the darkness is generally battled with a two-month long Christmas Market–where the town squares are filled everyday with booths selling warm sausages on fresh bread, nutcrackers, apple cakes, chesnuts on open fires, and Christmas trees.  You gotta do something  when there are only 6 hours of daylight, I suppose.

I figure, if we move here, I’ll just drown my potential winter woes in a cup of hot chocolate from the Schokoladerie across the street on the riverfront here.  I haven’t had one, but apparently they take a whole dark chocolate bar, melt it, mix it with 3.5% milk, then float another chocolate bar on top, cover it in whipped cream, and then top it with chocolate shavings.  Isn’t that INSANE?

It’s insane.  I took a sip of 3.5% milk at breakfast our first day here and it was like drinking cream.  Imagine eating cereal with heavy whipping cream and that would be about right.  I’m starting to suspect that 3.5% is the “normal” here.  Also, cheese.  Also, herbed butter.  Also, mayonaise.  Also, herbed mayonaise.  Also, potatoes.  Also, giant french fries filled with herbed cream cheese served with a dipping sauce of herbed yogurt-sour-cream-stuff.

Also, you might as well order juice because water costs you 2 euro each.

What else have I noticed?  Hm….

The light switches are just flat panels the size of credit cards.  When you flush the toilet, you press a panel to start and then to stop the flushing.  Nutella is still the greatest toast-spread ever created.  Drinks only come in tiny, tiny cups.  Apparently, Germans don’t really associate drinks with eating meals.  Drinks are just a nice side to a meal, but not necessary.

There are about .2 obese people in this entire German district.  Most women look like Twiggy or Twiggy’s mom.  The men can often be generally larger–but only when they’re older and it looks more like they are line-backers rather than pudgy.  I cannot figure this out.  I mean, it’s  3.5% milk for heaven’s sake!  Everything comes with cheese–melty, gooey cheese all over.  Cheese or cream or butter or fried.  How is this possible?!

One hint:  Bikes.  Bikes everywhere.  Silent and deadly bikes that sneak up behind you and don’t have warning bells.

Another hint:  Walking.  Walking everywhere.

Another hint:  Meals are more expensive proportional to income.  Also, portions are smaller (I think…  They aren’t THAT much smaller though).

Anyway, it’s a mystery.

A mystery sort of like how a sandwich made up of some sort of wheat bun, boiled eggs, raw salt-cured ham, and a mysterious mayo-like herbed saucy substance actually ended up tasting amazing.

A mystery sort of like, “How is it possible for this building to have been built in 1450 and still have people living in it?”

A mystery sort of like, “How could we live here for 1900 euro/month?”

These are the mysteries of the universe right now.

Apparently it’s possible to live here for 1900 euro a month, not because everything is amazingly inexpensive but rather because everyone else is living here for about the same.  So, it isn’t that we’d be poor–it would be that everyone is poor and so there is no stigma.  I guess…  So they say…

And, it’s also notable that I can eat a ginormous pita-gyro-thing for 3 euro.  Let me tell you, if I was buying something that huge and tasty in the U.S. it would probably cost 13 bucks.

This is really, really long.  But I’m just giving you the low down.

I bought strawberries from one of the daily, outdoor markets.  They are called “Erdbeeren.”  I like “strawberry” better.  I got a carton of them, about twice the size of a typical American strawberry carton, for 1.95 euro.  They were amazing.  Most of them were still attached to their stems.  And they were all small and soft and sweet and RED.  Not hard, pale, and gigantic like at home.  I remembered how much I liked strawberries–I ate the whole carton in one sitting.

I’ve also noticed that meat is a little more expensive, but it looks so very, very different.  The butcher stalls in the market mostly have red meat and it’s all very, very RED.  The ground beef is BRIGHT red, fresh looking.  You get your chickens whole–sometimes you can get skinless breasts separate, but it’s rare.  There are more kinds of sausage than I know what to do with though.

In every market there is always more than one flower/plant stall and more than one …oh…how to describe it…’Fancy Mediterranian Food” stall.  The latter have 20 kinds of olives, pickled everything, herbed white beans, something that looks vaguely like hummus…

The streets here in the city are all sorts of pastel colors:

Imagine a Labyrinth of This

And this

There’s a big church–St. Mary’s church that has the most gigantic and rococo-baroque organ I could possibly imagine.  It also has a cuckoo-clock contraption which, on the hour, trots the twelve apostles out in front of a little Jesus who then points at the last one (Judas).  Then, as all the rest go back into the clock through the other door, the door slams in front of Judas so he can’t return.  Let that be a lesson to you.

It’s also really windy here.

And only gets to 70 degrees in the summer.

And I have to go now because I’m getting hungry.  I will probably go eat something fried with cheese and chocolate melted over the top with a side of herbed anything-you-like and no drink.

/stream of consciousness post

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Goal

I went to a funeral recently for an awesome person and I found out all sorts of things.  I found out that she was a parachuting instructor in the Army.  I found out that she’d been to, like, every country in the world.

I found out that when she died from cancer in April, she had just completed her 8th university degree.

And I thought, “That’s so awesome!”

And then I thought, “I’m totally going to do that, too.”

So I will.

Thanks for the example, Irene!

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I said, “To Heck With It.”

In one week I will be in the international terminal in Portland, waiting for my flight to Amsterdam.

Ten hours after that, I will be in Amsterdam waiting for my flight to Berlin.

Two hours after that, I will be in Berlin and taking a bus to Berlin Haubtbahnhof (Berlin Central Train Station).

Two hours after that, I will be on a train to Rostock.

Thirty minutes after that, I will be unconscious on my hotel bed.

***

Yes, people, we are on our way to a week in Germany.  I’m planning on spending my days figuring out how many times I can work the word “schokolade” into every conversation possible.  Poor Atticus will be completely stressed out–prepping for and going to his two-day interview at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research.

I don’t think I really have to describe to anyone how much we would love to move to Rostock for this post-doc.  Professionally and culturally, this is the place for us.  Atticus would get to work not only on his beloved invertebrates but on a fascinating evolutionary conundrum!  Scientist’s paradise.

As for me, I get the opportunity to storm the walls of the University of Rostock to teach English, potentially even an American Studies course!  I would have a blast even if I was only volunteering to tutor or converse in English with students.  If I also  had the opportunity to teach a course in American Art or American Lit or…dare to hope…American Transcendentalism?!…  The possibilities are staggering.  I was freakishly stoked to find out the University actually has a focus in American Studies!  What are the chances, eh?  And I could put that trusty ol’ master’s degree of mine to good use again.

But wait, there’s more.

If Atticus convinces these nice demographic folks (one blogs smart things here, if you’re interested) that he’s “Their Guy” (hope hope hope), I’m planning on starting that second year of GIS coursework and getting my second masters in Germany.  AND if I’m in Germany for that second year, I’ll need a project to map.  AND, I could potentially offer my Spatial IT services gratis to the Max Planck Institute–home of some killer spatial datasets–to complete a Master’s project that would make anyone as obsessed about GIS as I am practically fall on their face with jealousy.  Fall on their face, I say.

We’re both hoping that things will go well when we’re there.  We’re both hoping that Atticus just has to convince them that he isn’t an insane homicidal maniac.  We’re both hoping that the wonder and smartness that is Atticus will have a certain, subtle, undeniable Wow-factor for his potential future lab buddies.  Atticus is such a good, honest, hard-working, intelligent person…I can’t think of any scenario in which he wouldn’t be completely loved.

But, maybe I’m biased.

Well, anyway, if, for some reason, Atticus suddenly becomes an insane homicidal maniac in his interviews, then we’ll have had a nice week in Germany.  I’ll have eaten my way through a ton of schokolade.   And we’ll say, “Let’s move to Tacoma!  San Juan Islands!  Victoria!  More rain!  Evergreen trees!  Starbucks!”

Either way, I think things will be okay for us this upcoming year.

(But, if Fate is reading this post, I’d like it to know that I really wouldn’t mind the Germany option.  Really.  Dead serious.  Schokolade.)

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Screamin’ Deal?

What would you do if…

You could go on a one week vacation to Germany with your spouse for the price of a single plane ticket?

Would you:

a) Save that $1800.

or

b) Say “To heck with it,” cash out your vacation hours, and go see this stuff–

Seriously.  I want to know.  I NEED to know right now.

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