February 15, 2004

Ups and Downs

The Internet, that is. My connection is lousy and yesterday it just pooped out entirely. After several efforts, Kevin finally found a workaround. Let's hope this continues to work. It's been very frustrating, but I've started to write a lot of handwritten letters. Hopefully that will inspire people to write me back *hint, hint*. Remember, it's only 80 cents to send a letter from the US to Germany (as opposed to nearly $2.00 from here to there). Our address is:

Shelby Hogan
Valentinskamp 40-42
20355 Hamburg

Yesterday we went shopping. Not to Wal Mart as I posted before. I am saving that for my first big shopping foray on my own. Instead we stayed in the neighborhood and visited our local grocery store. It was farther than I expected, and through a couple a turns and some old streets and I'm not sure I could find my way there again. That's not saying much. I can't find my way out of a paper bag half the time. I'm a little, shall we say, direction-impaired. Anyway, I'm going to have to walk that a few more times with Kevin before I feel confident to head out on my own.

We picked up a few essentials, like some new salad dressing. We'd gotten salad dressing at our first visit to Wal Mart and between the Buttermilk and the Yogurt flavors, we chose the buttermilk. Mistake. This stuff was so nasty I couldn't even finish the salad. Luckily the grocery store had a larger variety--French, Thousand Islands (with the s at the end), Italian, and "American." Not sure what the American dressing was--it looked almost exactly like the French. We stuck with the impossible-to-mess-up Italian and went to get some bleu cheese to crumble on top. There were no prepackaged bleu cheeses so we had to order from the cheese counter. Kevin did the ordering, but I understood the transaction and felt that I could do it in the future.

Fresh from our experience at the cheese counter, we decided to get our bread from the bakery counter. Before that, we headed to the beer aisle. Germans aren't big on 6 packs. They sell those large bottles of beer individually. At first I was kind of annoyed but later I realized that this allows us to try different beers without a major commitment, and they're easier to carry home. We started at the end of the aisle and hopefully we'll make it to the other end before we leave.

After the grocery store we came home and rested for a bit, then headed out to the Gansemarkt to check out the stores there. It's a lot larger than I thought it was. The food area is only the tip of the iceberg to the number of stores. We went to the pen store (not really a pen store, but a stationery store) and was disappointed with their selection. I found a pen I liked, but couldn't find the ink for it. Kevin swore that the department store down the street had the same pen and we should look there. The stationery store also didn't have the paper I wanted. So we went to the department store and wouldn't you know it, they didn't carry my pen. But they did have the paper and Kevin got a pen he's had his eye on.

We also visited a wine store. It was very small and overall I was unimpressed with their selection--the number, not the quality. I have no idea about the quality! We picked an Argentinian wine based solely on the label (it was very cool, made to look handmade). We haven't tried that yet (we drank the two beers we bought last night and they were good).

After returning home I was so exhausted I took a 4 hour nap! Hopefully I'll be able to build up my stamina in the coming weeks and last a little longer. Always a reminder that my heart condition is right around the corner.

Posted by Shelby at February 15, 2004 01:52 AM