1. When traveling, roller bags are ALWAYS a good idea. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Having toted around a duffel bag on one shoulder and a computer/book bag on the other shoulder yesterday (up and down untold numbers of flights of stairs; funny thing: I had actually considered adding the concept of consistently working escalators to my list of “things that I love about Germany.” Then, I threw a couple of heavy bags on my back (metaphorically) and suddenly a remarkable number of escalators were out-of-order. Should I take it personally? Is it a sign of the apocalypse? Your call.), I am here to tell you that roller bags are ALWAYS a good idea.
2. Hurricanes can really throw a wrench into a perfectly good plan. Even hurricanes that are thousands of miles away. (I add this not to be insensitive to the genuine danger and havoc caused by this deadly storm, but because it is a part of my story.) I had made an appointment to be at a particular place at a particular time to take a particular test which I am going to be unable to make due to the hurricane and related travel difficulties. Very sad. Tragic, even (though definitely not as tragic as what some people in the path of the storm have experienced). Upon calling this particular place to cancel my particular time, I was told that I may be given a refund as the “Big Brother” may understand the extenuating circumstances given the weather, and that this particular call center employee did not want to cancel my appointment until Big Brother had a chance to weigh in on the matter. Upon calling the “Big Brother,” however, I was told that they are not working due to the danger and difficulties caused by a certain storm (why call center lady didn’t know that part of the story is still beyond me). And, in the meanwhile, I am unable to reschedule said appointment because I can’t cancel the 1st appointment, so now, I’m pretty much stuck for the time being. And stressed. And sore (see point #1). And I really want to go ahead and be done with it, darn it! Please say a prayer that this works out somehow.
3. Everything does, in fact, get better with Starbucks. On my little adventure yesterday, I took the train by myself! 🙂 I figured out where I needed to go, purchased my tickets, and made multiple transfers. While this may not seem like that big of a deal, let me assure you that it is a VERY BIG DEAL. I am selectively independent, and logistics are one of the areas I choose to de-select. I look at a map and usually get more lost than I was to begin with, so this is a very adaptive choice most of the time. However, I did manage to take 3 different trains involving 4 different stations (while carrying said bags up and down said stairs while wearing clothes that were much more appropriate for my originally planned activity of sitting in an artificially heated environment) BY MYSELF. Combined with the previous day’s success driving a stick shift car IN THE SNOW (which I adamantly avoid ever since the “Blizzard of 93” (trust me, if it is a blizzard in Atlanta, it is serious business; also, as an aside, when I typed this, I was recommended a tag of “1993 Storm of the Century;” I hope that puts this in perspective for you. ) incident involving ditches and semi-trucks), I am feeling very empowered with regards to my own transportation. But anyway… back to Starbucks… While I ended up successful with the train situation, it did not come easily, and there were many extra stairs to run up (while toting the bags) than would have been absolutely necessary. After one such unnecessary trip down and back up (8 flights of) stairs in an un-heated building, I felt like I may be entering into an alternate reality when suddenly, just out of the left corner of my eye, I saw the familiar font and the familiar green reading “Sta…. Cof…” (the angle coming up the stairs was such that I really couldn’t see the ends of the words). Rejoicing filled my heart, and a new spring appeared in my step as I fought through the desert of train-station-land and arrived and arrived to the site which summoned me. Starbucks! Hallelujah. And, as if to say, “we got you, girl,” they are celebrating their 10 year anniversary in Germany this week, so I got a nice little discount on my warm and tasty beverage. ****ahhhhhh**** I felt renewed and remarkably, for the next half an hour, I travelled up nor down any unnecessary stairs. PTL.
4. Expectations are bad news bears. They will bite you in the rear end. Don’t have them. I’ve learned this lesson before (and I expect to learn it again), but as always, dear reader, I am thinking of you and want to pass on what I am learning. Expectations are like assumptions and are best avoided.
Today, I will leave you with some of the images of the graffiti and street art we’ve seen. It hasn’t been Banksy or even Banksy-esque, but… I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve averted my eyes (none of these examples are included; again, you can thank me if you would like), and I’ve appreciated. I hope you do, too!