Stories of this Canadian girl's adventures exploring Europe & beyond...join me!

Friday, December 31, 2010


Well, friends, I apologize for my blog silence, and am so happy that if you're reading this you have continued to check for new posts.  Thank you.  Greetings on the last day of the year.

On Sunday, great guy and I managed to get the car started, with best friend entrusted to keep finicky Pelletti happy, and we headed for the autobahn.  With our tom tom navi (GPS) telling us our fastest route would only be 350 kms we were excited.  But, technology, as I found with my unloadable handy (cellphone) and the unreliable internet connections, is not to be trusted.  Seven hours later, after lots of stau (traffic jams) tom tom said that we had arrived at our destination.  Family.

In the coming days I will write about Kempten and München, but today I'm feeling reflective.  This year has brought many changes, probably most years do.  In my case, this year, these changes, were wonderful and good for me; new place, new guy, new career (hopefully), new friends, deepening relationships with older friends, good news, excellent kid time, a great wedding, new york, grid road runs, mojitos, camping, baby k on the way, inspiring interviews, station work, and I could go on.  

I know that, for some of my friends with families, who will be reading this, they will be thinking that nothing much has changed in their lives over the past year.  They might be thinking that life is stale, boring, constant.  But, I look at these lovely families, and see growing babies, exploring toddlers, energetic preschoolers, and constantly evolving children into teenagers into young adults...and the adults who nurture, inspire, dream for and with, encourage, support, and love them.  I love watching these families, and this process of growing children.  It fascinates me, and I think that these changes are really so much more profound and important than the changes brought by a location or career move.  

But, mired in the constant-ness of daily routine, money and life stress, the ways in which we all grow and change can be missed.  Wouldn't it be a good idea to check in with who we were a year ago and who we are now?  What did I learn this past year?  Anything?  What were our children interested in last December? What new words does my kid know now, or I for that matter?  Where did I go this past year and who did I meet?  Was I changed by that person in some way and what was my impact on him or her?  Am I a kinder person?  Some good questions for the last day of the year.

My family will be changing dramatically in 2011, and I can't wait!  I'm so excited for a new little K to be born, the first Canadian K since 1975...and it's about time.  In thinking about my family, over the past week especially, I would like to share my favorite family story (which some of you already know), which my dad told me this summer.

Here it is:

We have a family whistle, and by that I mean that my dad and my brother have a whistle which I, and everyone who knows them, responds to.  Yes, often I have felt like the family pet being called into the house, but mostly it's just plain handy.  In a crowd, even though we're a family of giants and very easy to spot,  our family whistle has always been a comforting, uniquely-our-own, call of home.

This afternoon, sitting across from my dad at his kitchen table, in his idyllic home in the country with the horses grazing outside in the heat of the summer sun, he told me this story:

In 1945, the war having come to an end four months previously, my grandfather, a young, German soldier, had made his way home from Denmark or northern Germany to Oberau-Berchtesgaden, a mountain town deep in south-eastern Germany.  To avoid being caught by the British or the Russians, he had been hidden by a farmer who supplied him with food and civilian clothing, and presumably, directions.  When he set out for home and family he kept close to the British and Russian occupational zone borders, not venturing too far into either territory.  He had slept in ditches during the days and hitched rides on midnight trains, each day getting closer.  As he entered the American Occupation Zone he relaxed a little bit.  Home was near.  He began walking during the daylight. 

And on a warm,  August day in that mountain town, my dad, a month shy of turning 6, sat in a cherry tree outside of their simple, white house.  Suddenly, he heard the whistle , our whistle, coming from down the road.  The war was over.  His dad was home.

My love to all of you this December 31.  Thinking of you.  Nina 


Sunday, December 26, 2010

on the road

So, great guy and I are hitting the road today...hopefully.  He has to get the car started first.  It was so, so, so cold last night, a whoppin' -6! There is schneekaos (snow chaos) here!  I love that word, schneekaos.  I've heard it everyday for the last 3 weeks, and granted the autobahn and train system in parts of the country are in chaos, but really people it's just some snow.  Once the car springs an (starts) then we will try to head south to visit my mom's family in Kempten-Allgaü.  I'm excited about that; great guy will finally meet some of my peeps, and I will be around family again.

Oh, crap.  It looks like the heating just went out again.  We might not be hitting the road any time soon.  As great guy's sister always says, his place his beautiful, but it's different.  And, we've been having a heating issue for the past 4 days-unfortunately, ever since I 'helped out' by refilling the pellets into Pelletti (the heating system) and trying to re-start the thing.  Right after that, the entire system collapsed for a day and a half, the day before Christmas, causing a heating outage for the big house and the little häuschen.  Great guy got it fixed eventually, but it looks like the problems are continuing.  It's not quite the relaxing morning I had envisioned before we head out. Maybe I will head over and give Pelletti some can that not help?  Although, maybe it's best if I just stay far away.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

merry christmas

Frohe Weihnachten (Merry Christmas) to all my wonderful friends, wherever you might be finding yourselves this Christmas.

Great guy and I had a nice Heilige Abend (Christmas Eve) yesterday.  First, in the morning, we did a little Weihnachtsbummel (Christmas stroll/shopping trip) through Bad Kreuznach.  This is a beautiful, little town on the Nahe River.  We walked the cobblestoned pedestrian zones, stopped to have some glühwein (I just can't help myself), and enjoyed the Christmassy frenzy of last minute shoppers.  I find the atmosphere, here in Germany at Christmas, incredibly romantic; the cobblestone shuffling, snowflakes falling, cathedral bells ringing, glühwein smelling, and people merrying.  We didn't shop much, but wandered through the shopping area, crossed the bridge spanning the tiny island (which only holds a cathedral) splitting the Nahe, and explored the quaint, picturesque Altstadt.  We bumped into a friend of great guy's who seemed harried, a bit frantic maybe, with the idea of too much last minute shopping, or as great guy put it, he might have just been enjoying a few too many glühweins at the Christmas market.  It was a relaxed and happy morning for us.

(Great guy just down beside me, having a smoke break, and after reading the 2nd line of this post, said, "Really, is that true, did you have a nice Heilige Abend?"  Does that mean that he didn't?)

Ok, so we didn't get everything done yesterday (or during the entire week for that matter) that we wanted to.  The kitchen chaos is really stressing him out.  I've been feeling quite un-Christmassy.  So, the idea that somehow we were going to have a Christmas meal in the new, non-kitchen/baustelle, and also decorate the house, and bring in the giant Christmas tree (which a friend chopped down for us) and decorate that, overwhelmed us both.  And...I really wanted to go to the Christmas Eve service at 5:30pm.    I did not think we would get everything, or anything, done.

But, great guy is an architect.  A German architect.  He is precise and logical and determined.  Sure, some things take a bit longer because of his genau-ness (exact-ness) but he gets them done well.  So, after a wonderful visit from Bärbel and Max, we brought the tree inside to dry. He chopped it down to a manageable 2.5 metres so that it could actually stand up in the highest part of the ceiling.  We got ready for church super-quickly.  Had a lovely time in the soft, candle-it, old cathedral, listening to the church choir sing familiar songs. Then, headed back home to put up lights and kügeln (Oh my gosh!  I can't think of the English word!  It's starting!!  I'm losing my English! What are those things called?  They aren't Christmas balls are they?  Surely, they can't be.  Shoot.).  Anyways, the tree turned out to look, well, fine.  Actually, I think it looks pretty great in our cool, little place.  Then, we decided to skip the big meal and just eat some bratwurst with fresh brötchen, and have a glass of wine.  After that, great guy was pretty much finished.  So, we didn't go to Schrille Nacht (screaming night?), a party here in town, but hung out and stared at the tree for while, listening to Harmony Radio's Christmas broadcast, and went to bed early.

A lovely Christmas Eve.  With great guy.  In Deutschland.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

hand cheese

Never order anything with the name of hand cheese.  Trust me.

Last night, great guy and I went out to the glass-box-like, wine bistro on the Rhein.  We had to drive, so no romantic river strolling, because I currently have a small, very annoying, infection on my foot.  Over the past few days, I have been going a bit stir-crazy;  no little car to zip around in, not knowing where to go, no friends to hang out with, my father not feeling great, being far away from family with Christmas around the corner, and so I really wanted to get out of the house.

We sat down by the window, ordered our favorite Riesling, and opened up the menu.  I had no idea what anything was, so great guy made some suggestions, ordered and then we started talking about our day.  Actually, I think I started babbling about my basketball days-gosh, how boring.  Can't believe he didn't walk out.

Then the hand cheese arrived.  Now, I think that if people actually could accumulate crud between our fingers, like say, toe jam or belly button dirt, and you scraped it off, patted it together into a little cake, sat it on a shelf to age for two or three years, and then served it up as a snack with crackers or bread, this is exactly what it would taste like.  Please don't get me wrong, I am a very un-picky eater, and I truly love German food.  There is only one thing I can think of (other than, now, hand cheese) that I don't like eating, and that is capers.  Ick.  So, when I say DO NOT ORDER HANDKÄß on your next Germany visit, you should really listen.  But, there are some odd people who do like it...for example, great guy.  He ate it all up.  Ick.

To end this post on a positive note:  I, for the very first time, used a German recipe and baked a cake.  Great guy's boss asked him if his little missus could actually bake, and when will he be bringing some goodies into the office.  So, I baked.  Mokka-Mandel-Kuchen.  Unfortunately, there were a few details in the recipe which I did not understand and so I just guessed.  I made sure to tell great guy to try a piece first before handing it out, and then to quickly chuck it in the garbage if it was horrible.  Apparently it tasted okay.  Because, honestly, most German food is really good.

Monday, December 20, 2010

who is the german tom hanks?

Recently, great guy, best friend and I watched an American movie, auf Deutsch.  It was one of those slightly irritating, cute, animated movies, where celebrities are speaking the roles of the mouse or lion or dog - you know the kind I'm talking about.  Anyways, I was trying hard to focus on the fast dialogue (which, unbelievable to me, German children can follow) when best friend all of a sudden said, "Oh, that's Tom Hanks right?"  Great guy said that it was. I looked at them both, thinking I had misunderstood them, and said "That is SO not Tom Hanks speaking!"  And they both looked at me.

I find it incredible that there is someone out there who has the job of being Tom Hanks' German voice.  He speaks all of Tom Hanks' movie roles and commercial gigs so that the German movie-going audience always recognizes his voice as that of Tom Hanks.  Isn't that weird?  Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise, Sylvester Stallone...all have German 'voices', and every other language which their movies are played in.  How does that work?  Does the 'voice' have to go to acting school?  Maybe only if that actor actually had?  Or do they need to have voice lessons?  What would happen if the 70-year-old German 'voice' of Robert Redford dies before the real Robert Redford?  Does that end Robert Redford's German movie career?  Maybe it's already over, but you get what I'm saying.  These are important questions which somebody needs to address.

And, to the lucky German guy who 'voiced' Edward in the first Twilight must be a very busy person now.  Good for you for dragging your butt to that audition!.  It must be similar to being Mel Gibson's butt, way back in the '80's.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


"Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile.  Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbour.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

This quote was posted by a friend of mine, and it spoke directly to how I'm feeling right now...a bit adventurous, a bit terrified, a bit frantic and unstable, a bit happy, and a bit hopeful.

Last night, rock 'n roller's wife turned 27.  There was a little party.  Rock 'n Roller sang and played guitar, in his leather pants. Unfortunately, he sang a song he had written about how sad he was after some girl had left serenade his wife's birthday?  I guess he'd say that that's rock 'n roll.

At midnight, great guy and I were standing by the open window looking over the incredibly still river and the four swans swam by.  We got some old bread and brötchen (buns) and headed out to feed them.  I think they appreciated the midnight lunch.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Max's birthday

Today has been a very domestic day for me.  I haven't had a day like this since I was house-sitting at my Dad and his wife's farm over Thanksgiving.  That was a glorious day of baking bread, hanging laundry out to dry on the line which overlooks the back field, and preparing dinner for friends.  I felt like a pioneer woman that day.  Today, I'm feeling a bit like a German hausfrau.  I cleaned the house while listening to German music, shook out the carpets from the balcony, baked Weihnachtsplätzchen (Christmas cookies), ran to the bakery to buy a fresh baguette, and made bruschetta for this evening.  Is it bad that I kind of loved today?

Last night was Max's birthday party at Max and Bärbel's beautiful , old, house.  I kept wandering from room to room admiring their whimsical art (by Max's sister), their '70's inspired light fixtures (the coolest), and the handmade book and CD shelves (made by Bärbel).  It's one of those houses where when you spend time in it you get to know a little bit more about the people who have made it a home.  It didn't look like a showhome, and didn't feel like it was trying to impress anyone.  It just felt like their home.

I was nervous about the evening, because it's the first time in my life where I've been to a party where every single person is speaking a language other than English.  I wasn't sure if I would be able to keep up with the conversations...or, if great guy's friends would all think that be brought a deaf/mute person as his date.  But, of course, everyone was lovely.  I am always so touched when people make an effort to get to know me;  when they intentionally cross a room, pull up a chair, and say, "okay, jetzt zu Dir" ("okay, now to you").  I think that's a gift we can give each other...our time, our attention, and our energy extended to getting to know another person.  Of course, I realize that these people are also giving great guy the gift of wanting to get to know his girlfriend.  That says a lot about them too.

P.S.  Great guy isn't always so great.  Last night I commented on how much slimmer German women are than, say, North American women.  I said that I think I need to lose more weight to truly fit in here, and you know what he said?  "Go ahead, if you want to."  Damn, I think he's one of those guys who doesn't play that female game of giving platitudes when we go fishing for them.  I guess that's probably a good thing in the end. And, I will try to say less stupid things in the future.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Yesterday, I explored the city of Mainz.  In the middle of the Altstadt (old city) is an incredible, double-spired Dom (cathedral) overlooking the Rhein river.  According to great guy, Mainz is about one tenth the size of Munich, but I was excited to finally be in a bigger city.  I happily wandered through the pedestrian areas, peeking in and out of shops, taking in the sights and wanting to get to know this place.

In the evening, great guy met me in a coffee shop, which has the awesome name of Pomp.  After a latte we hit the streets, heading in the direction of the Altstadt and the Weihnachtsmarkt (christmas market), popping into a second hand shop and buying me a cellphone (finally!) along the way.  Walking through the narrow, cobblestoned streets, treading on a light dusting of snow, the atmosphere was enchanting.  The houses within the old city are all intricately painted with folk-like designs.  The whole place looked like one of those Tudor villages you set up on your mantelpiece at Christmas, with fluffs of cotton standing in for snow, and tiny lights within each, creating a warm, fuzzy glow.

We enjoyed a steaming mug of glüwein in the Christmas market, under an incredible canopy of lights which covered the entire square.  The air was full of the sweetness from Gebrannte Mandeln (honey-roasted almonds) - a delicious aroma which smells like Christmas to me.  The most difficult part of the evening was trying not to get scalding liquid poured over us as we were jostled amongst the fellow revelers.  We capped the night off with some tapas and a cocktail in a quaint, Spanish-inspired pub close to the Bahnhof (train station).  And, after a half-hour train ride, which we spent talking and laughing the entire time, we were home again.  A great evening.

P.S.  Two swan pairs are spending the winter here with us, on the river.  As I write, it looks like 2 of them are having a small disagreement...or are they mating?  They must be mating, unless he (or she) is slowly killing her (or him).  How can you tell?  I'm feeling a bit voyeuristic and so, I will now look away.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

castle princess

There is something so strange about walking on the exact sidewalk you walked a year ago, but being in a completely different mind and heart place.  If someone would have told me then, that I would now be living here with great guy - who, at the time, was just a guy I had met a couple of times - I would have laughed that off as totally nuts.  A year ago, I was still mourning my last love experience.  Believing that there could be, might be, someone out there better for me, and whose life would be lovelier with me in it, was difficult for me.

A year ago, I dropped my sister-in-law off at the Frankfurt airport, after our Rome and Barcelona adventures, and found myself standing on the train platform thinking where should I go now.  I wanted to spend a few days on my own.  I was feeling a bit blue about my life back home.  I was missing my mom.  I wanted to be somewhere that might feel familiar, safe, and maybe bring me closer to her.  I ran my finger down the train schedule, looking at all the destinations of trains leaving within the next half hour, and after a minute knew exactly where I wanted to go.  With my insanely heavy backpack, filled with Spanish pottery, I jumped on the train heading to this place I'd never been to;  a place which my mom had visited and where great guy's sister was from.  I knew it would welcome me.

There is a castle near here....okay, there are lots of castles near here.  But, there is one in particular which my mom loved.  Before she died, she gave me a small photo album filled with photos just of her (which, for anyone who knew my mom, was just like her) and about 25 of those are of her wearing a black ballgown, with a flower wreath in her hair (I'm not kidding), posing in front of the castle wall, on top of the castle wall, on the castle staircase, and through the castle windows.  Mom had asked great guy's sister, who was here visiting, if she would be the photographer, and amazingly she said yes.  Great guy's sister is a very patient and nice person.

As I walked on that sidewalk yesterday, I realized that though some things are so different now, others are not so different.  I still want to visit the castle where my mom dreamed of being a 'burg prinzessin'.  But, not to worry, there will be no photo shoot.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

christmas market

On the weekend great guy and I took in the town's Christmas market.  In the darkness everything looked so festive.  The cobblestoned pedestrian area was lit with hundreds of Christmas lights and lanterns were set up around the wooden huts where food and drink and Christmas trinkets were being sold.  There was glüwein (mulled wine), spanferkel (piglet on a stick - yup, you heard me...I asked twice just to make sure I understood correctly), kartoffel puffer (potato cakes with appelsauce - so good!), and a few different kinds of bratwurst on a bun.  Christmas music was being piped out of the sky; speaking of which, there is a place along the Rhein, kind of like a boardwalk, where there is music seemingly being piped out of the trees.  It was just a little bit romantic when great guy walked me past there and pointed it out to me.  I, as all my friends know, am a bit unobservant, and I think that in that moment had just figured that the soundtrack to my life had begun to play.  Don't you sometimes think you're in a movie?

Back to the Christmas market.  So, this one is quite small compared to some, but it was lovely to be amongst great guy's great friends who met us there.  Best friend was there, and rock 'n roller, and a couple who I have come to really like in such a short time.  Max and Bärbl - I could give them different names, but I like their names so much that I can't think of anything better.  In such a small city (maybe it's a big town), events like these are the perfect time for everyone to see each other, catch up, and have some drinks together.  We stood around the tall tables drinking the pungent, potent, sweet yet bitter, glüwein, while taking in the merry surroundings.  Great guy kept catching my eye, standing where he was on the other side of the table, with his quirky, yet so cute, half smile = me happy.  And, later the two of us walked back, arm in arm, across the bridge, with the cathedral standing tall on our left, the burg (castle) lit up on the hill, and the Rhein on our right.  Not a bad place to spend some time.

P.S.  Great guy read this blog for the first time the other day (I hadn't given him the address before) and now he refers to himself as great guy.  Uh-oh.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

rock 'n roller

There is a rock 'n roller who lives in great guy's house.  That's what he calls himself; a rock 'n roller.  He wears leather pants.  Enough said.

Great guy has a house which includes 3 flats, one on each floor.  He renovated the top 2 flats a couple of years ago and they are incredible; glass doors, eucalyptus wood flooring, open beams, spacious and interesting living spaces.  Best friend lives on the top floor, and rock 'n roller lives on the 2nd floor with his wife and his daughter.

The other day rock 'n roller was going on and on about how horrible Germans are at enjoying and conserving nature.  Interestingly, the next morning I saw him drive to the corner store to pick up some groceries. He mentioned to great guy that he feels he should hang out with me more during the day while great guy is at work, so that I'm not bored.  He suggested we watch TV together or something.

Yesterday when I was feeding the geese and ducks which hang out on our lawn, the thought crossed my mind, why isn't rock 'n roller out here enjoying all this nature.

Friday, December 10, 2010

wine bistro

It's early morning here, and slowly the world outside is getting lighter.  The river is high from the rain and snow of the past few days, but the ducks, who look like they are almost swimming on our lawn, seem to be enjoying it.  For some reason at 7am each morning the church bells from across the river go crazy.  They ring and ring and ring.  I'm not sure what that's all about.  Is 7am on weekdays a special time for the Catholic faith?

Yesterday evening, great guy, his best friend, and I went out (after my gym experience which, like most things I dread, turned out to be good).  We went to an intimate wine bistro located just steps away from the Rhein.  Like being in a toasty-warm, glass box, the bistro has floor to ceiling windows with a crackling fireplace in the centre of the room.  The small space was full of Christmas partiers enjoying fine wines and plates of soft cheese and bread, but luckily one table was still free for us.

As we tasted various Riesling and Burgunder wines from this area, which great guy wanted me to try, I was constantly distracted by the lights of the massive, slow-moving freighters seemlessly gliding right past us on the high water; like giant black squares with tiny white lights floating by in the darkness.

This week, speaking has been a bit of a problem for me, which was made loud and clear to us when our server thought I was mute...and possibly deaf.  Granted, I am feeling a bit insecure about my social situation, chit-chating skills auf Deutsch.  With great guy I continuously speak a horrible mixture of English and German, what I affectionately call Deutschlish.  So, as the evening progressed, with the server routinely coming by to check on us, I would just sort of smile but not say anything to her.  All of a sudden, she says to me in German, "Really, can't you just say YES or NO one time!"  Amusingly to me, she used, of course, the very formal and polite way of addressing me, a stranger, except that what she said wasn't really that polite at all.

So, before I could finally say something, best friend jumped in and said that I had just come from Canada;  thereby unleashing an even greater reaction from the server, who, it turns out, is originally from the U.S.  I thought I sensed something familiar about her! (No dig intended to my American friends, who I love).

Overall, the evening was wonderful.  It was the perfect opportunity for best friend and me to get to know each other.  She is a warm, sweet woman who is quick to laugh and who great guy has known since they were teenagers.  So, with these words in my head (courtesy of one of my sage Saskatchewan friends), "girlfriends and boyfriends come and go, but best friends stay around forever", I spent the evening thoroughly enjoying getting to know this very important person in great guy's life.  And, now I know why she is.

P.S.  Happy birthday partying to my two, small, Saskatchewan friends.  I miss you.  Eat some cake for me please!  Just tell your parents that now you're eating Nina's piece...they'll go with it I'm sure!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

snow on the rhein

Last night it snowed here like it was Saskatchewan.  We woke to beautiful, weighted-down trees, snow-covered garden benches, and radio commentators listing off accident after accident, stau after stau (traffic jam after traffic jam).  And, the poor ducks and geese swimming outside our door...I've been feeding them, wanting to make new friends, but I didn't do it yesterday, cause, well, it was snowing, and now I feel bad.  I think I'll go feed them right after I'm finished writing, and beg their forgiveness.

So, the kitchen isn't quite finished...or quite started.  It's my fault for thinking it would somehow go quickly.  But, I wasn't fully understanding great guy's plan.  There is some constructing that needs to happen..not just simple sliding in of cupboards and appliances, my bad.  So, last night he cleaned and organized his 3 workshops (yup, that's right, he has 3) so that the building can begin this evening.

And, I will be spending the evening, unfortunately, at a gym.  I made the mistake of asking great guy, the other day when it was raining, if I could possibly use his gym pass so that I could go for a little run on the treadmill.  On Monday I went running along the river and it was so beautiful, that I got inspired to run every second day. it's Thursday.  Story of my life....always a bit behind on my planning.  Anyways, he called his gym and BOOKED AN APPOINTMENT FOR ME TO HAVE A WORKOUT CONSULTATION!!!  Yup, I'm screaming!  I really, really do not want to do that.  I never wanted to do that with any Canadian gym I ever went to, and those had English-speaking people in them.  This will be workout-guy talking to me about workout-stuff, in German!  I can already feel me beginning to look stupider and stupider....on top of looking fat.  Yikes.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

the beginning...

Four days ago I kind of moved to Germany.

Here's the quick story:  In August my German friend, who has lived in Canada for about 25 years, got married again.  I headed to the wedding, north of Red Deer, with excitement and anticipation.  I was planning on chatting up her father, who was coming from Germany for the wedding; maybe bond with him a little, with the hopes of possibly house-sitting for him during the winter.  I needed a 'career',and a location change and wanted some time to focus on writing.  But, instead of bonding with the father, I kind of instantly clicked with his son.  Great guy.  Great guy and I ended up spending every daylight and firelight hour together for those three festive days.  And, a week later we went camping in Waterton, where a birthday kiss sealed our togetherness. 

Now, three months later, after surviving endless long-distance calls, emails and Skype sessions, I'm sitting at my laptop, in great guy's house, about 100 meters from the corner of 2 beautiful of those the incredible Rhein.  Needless to say, it is very pretty here, and so far I've noticed that that goes for any time of day and no matter the weather.  But, great guy's little house is not a normal house, and is currently 'in progress', or as Germans would say, a 'Baustelle'.  Great guy comes 'home' and we begin to work on the least that's been the pattern so far, after day 2.  Current project:  Kitchen.  Because currently we don't have one.  Stay tuned for a photo, or should I say foto, if we (meaning: he) gets it finished tonight.
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