opinion · personal · Expat/Immigrant Experience

The Autostadt VS AutoWorld

autoworld

I’ve never been a car enthusiast. Unless it’s a sports car or several decades old, I have no idea what my husband finds so appealing when he points out a “cool” car.  So it may come as a surprise to some people when they find out that my favorite place to go as a very young child was AutoWorld, the short-lived “amusement park” in Flint, Michigan, USA.

If I’m being honest, none of my memories of AutoWorld include a single, solitary car. I don’t even remember the giant engine they had on display. My strongest memory is of a creepy animatronic man with what I thought were fireflies in his head. I only found out later, as an adult, that this memory wasn’t just some early childhood fever dream; one of AutoWorld’s “attractions” included a life-size replica of Flint in the 1900’s, which began at the cabin of Jacob Smith, the city’s founder. Good old Jacob wasn’t so much animatronic as he was a mannequin, and the “fireflies” were actually a video about Flint being projected on his blank face. So, still creepy; just in a different way.

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Expat/Immigrant Experience · personal

Unexpected Differences: It’s Rainy and there are Slugs Everywhere

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A small lake near our apartment on a rare sunny(ish) day.

After nearly dying from the heatwave in NYC, the cooler temperatures here were a welcome change.

…for the first day or so. Now, I’m getting a little tired of all the rain. Of all the ideas about Germany that I had in my head, a lot of rain wasn’t one of them.

Mercifully, the weather has taken a nicer turn over the past two days, but it’s cold by the time the sun sets. I didn’t expect that, so all of my hoodies, sweaters and jackets are in our container, which we still haven’t received. I finally gave in last week and bought a new light jacket, which has really come in handy.

In terms of getting settled in, our kitchen is mostly done now and we can finally cook at home! Hooray! We’ve also made a fair amount of progress in getting my temporary residency established. I probably won’t have my card until November, which means I can’t apply for work. If we’re being honest, even if I could legally work right now, I don’t think most employers here are eager to hire someone with the German linguistic skills of a 4-year-old.

“Warum sollten wir unbedingt Sie nehmen?”

“Ich mag Äpfel. Wo sind die Toiletten? Tschüsssssssss!”

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Expat/Immigrant Experience · personal

First Day in Germany, First Day in “Poo-partment”

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Not our new apartment, but it is a nearby local business that is both topical AND delighted my inner 13-year-old boy.

Today marks two weeks since we’ve arrived in Germany! We’ve been fairly occupied with cleaning up our apartment, registering our marriage with the city, and getting everything in order for me to be able to stay and work here.

We’ve been lucky so far; some people who temporarily work overseas have to sell their apartments, and then have to find a new one when they return. Finding an apartment seems to be much more difficult here than it was back home in Detroit; some acquaintances of ours are also moving back to Germany soon, and they expect to be living in a hotel for up to three months while searching for a new apartment!

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travel

New York City, 2017

Bridge View - Edited

I feel like a broken record saying this, but: it’s been a while, hasn’t it? A lot has happened since my last update! Up until two weeks ago, my husband and I were extremely busy planning for our move to Germany. It’s been a little stressful, but I’m very happy to say that the hard part of getting documents, moving logistics and goodbye parties in order are over, and we are now officially in Germany! We’ve been here nearly two weeks now, and although I still have some adjusting to do (and German to learn) I am very excited to be here. Soon, I’ll be regaling you twice a week with a bit of schadenfreude, as this blog becomes less travel (for now) and more “here are some awkward situations I’ve gotten myself into while getting used to my new country.”

Before all that, though, I want to tell you about the short vacation to New York that we took in between handing over our U.S. apartment, and flying to our new home.

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personal · travel

Back…to Los Angeles!

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For the last few days of our vacation, we stayed in the Historic Core of Los Angeles. Our AirBnB didn’t seem to have the best insulation, as you could hear every conversation (and screaming match) on the street below, even though we had the windows shut tight. Thankfully, we brought ear plugs, so the arguments that went on well past 4AM were reduced to a dull roar.

Our friends really wanted to see the Walk of Fame and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, so those were our first stops. I wasn’t too excited about the Walk of Fame, as it’s just names stamped in concrete, but there were a few surprises that gave me a chuckle. Did you know Godzilla has his own star? Well, now you do! Sadly, I didn’t grab a picture, but I did take a few around the theater. There, at least, the names in concrete were actually written by the celebrities!

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personal · travel

Viva Las Vegas!

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After a long drive through Death Valley, we spent two nights in Las Vegas.

I had been to Las Vegas about 10 years prior, on a trip to visit with family. My memories proved to be a bit grander than reality; I had told my husband on several occasions that he needed to see Las Vegas before we left the United States. I regaled him with tales of “huge fountains,” a “ceiling that changes,” and “lions in a glass cage, which is kind of sad, actually…”

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personal · travel

Death Valley and the Mojave Desert

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As I mentioned in my last post, we left Los Angeles extremely early the very next day. The plan was to drive to Las Vegas through the Death Valley, spend two days in Vegas, and then head back to Los Angeles for the rest of our vacation. I will admit, I was initially bummed out by how the trip was planned. I don’t like long car rides, and it seemed like a huge waste of time; if it were up to me, we would have flown into Las Vegas, spent two or three nights there, and then taken the fastest route possible to Los Angeles.

Well, I’m glad we didn’t. Sure, sitting in the car for the majority of two days was not fun, but the scenic views more than made up for my cramped legs.

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