I am not a great movie watcher, by any means. I tend to judge movies based as much on their length (my enjoyment is directly inverse to the length) as much as by their content. I don’t like scary movies, and if a lot of people die in a movie, it probably isn’t for me. Mike, however, is very much a movie-kind-of-guy. Last weekend, he had reached his limit: we had to go see a movie. As luck would have it, the new James Bond movie was not only out here in Germany (apparently at least one week earlier than in the States), but there were a few showings where it wasn’t dubbed or subtitled.
True story: I’d never seen a James Bond movie. Like I said… I’m not a great movie watcher…
As a testament to how much I love my husband, however (or was it that he bribed me with Starbucks?), we went to a movie. At 2 hours and 23 minutes, this is well past the length that I can comfortably sit still, but, like I said, I’m in this for the long-haul, so there are probably going to be a few more movies whose length exceeds their content (“Snow White and the Huntsmen,” anyone?).
One of the things I really like about going to the movies here is that when you buy your ticket, they give you an assigned seat. We were there almost an hour before the movie started, but still ended up with seats on the 5th or 6th row. Even though we didn’t have great seats, I still liked it that I didn’t have to scope out the theater, angle for seats in the center, and all of that hubbub. I just show up with my ticket and follow directions. This, this I can do!
I have read numerous reviews, both of the professional nature and quick blurbs on Facebook (which honestly is where I’m also most likely to go on Sunday mornings these days to find out how college football in the US went on Saturday), and it seems that most everyone thinks that this latest iteration of the James Bond brand, “Skyfall,” is the best yet. I haven’t seen any others, like I said, but… if that one is the best yet, and there have been 22 others before it, a lot of people have spent a lot of time watching a lot of movie that neither seemed very exciting nor very compelling (to me). In fact, if we assume that the average length of James Bond movies is 100 minutes, many people have (or soon will) watched James bond for over 38 hours of their lives. Over a day and a half. That they won’t ever get back. (I know… I’m a real Debbie Downer about movies).
I’m not saying that I thought it was terrible, mind you, just that if this is the best yet, it is really hard for me to imagine that there were 22 other movies that managed to be successful before this one. I was also disappointed in the lack of glamour I saw. I thought that James Bond was characterized by glamorous characters, glamorous cars, glamorous accessories, glamour glamour glamour. While he is certainly no slob, I could not accurately use the word “glamour” in response to anything in that movie. 😦
Anyway… I also understand that I’m in the minority on this one. No need to convince me, I promise.
Our “garden.” While it is nothing like the lovely (and productive) garden at our home in Atlanta, having plants makes me happy. We have grown Amaryllis for the last couple of years at the holidays, and this year is no exception. It is such an incredible thing to witness: a bulb emerging from the dirt into a bloom of exquisite beauty. We are not yet to the bloom stage, but we’ve only had the sucker for a week! Watch it grow!
Flowers covered, let’s look at the flour situation. We, as you know, have tried a few things trying to somehow make it work to not have self-rising flour. There are many (and perhaps even many of you) who think, duh… just add baking soda, baking powder, etc. Well, after both research and trial and error, I am here to report that this is not always the case. In recipes like biscuits, for example, self-rising flour does not equal all-purpose flour + various leavening ingredients. Apparently, pancakes fall into this biscuit category, as well. But.. rejoice, dear reader! You no longer will have to read blog-sized fits about our flour situation! We have found, as it were, “Self-Raising” flour at the Asian grocery store. I like to think of our flour quest as a metaphor for adjusting to living in a country not one’s own: our first attempt was to take a giant-sized square and attempt to fit it into a medium-sized circle (massive effort to convert a whole bag of all-purpose into self-rising all at one time); our second attempt was to massage a medium-sized square into a medium-sized circle (adjusting all-purpose flour per cup for the recipe); our 3rd attempt was to find a triangle to align with our medium-sized triangle (go to another resource for people not accustomed to cooking with strictly German ingredients). I think that my experience probably aligns with a multi-stage acculturation theory:
- Stage 1 – Assimilation – When we arrived in Germany, I honestly did not believe that I would have another pancake until I was back on US soil. Rejecting the minority culture… I was fully expecting that somehow, I would grow to love having ein Brötchen (a bread roll) each and every day for breakfast. Not that I don’t like the bread rolls (I do), and I don’t doubt that there is significantly more variety than I am implying, either.
- Stage 2: Separation – Rejecting the host culture in favor of holding on to one’s own. Buying the big bag of all-purpose flour and trying to make it self-rising, regardless of the futility of this effort.
- Stage 3: Integration – Adopting cultural norms (all-purpose flour) while maintaining one’s own culture of origin. Buying a small bag of all-purpose flour and adding leavening as needed for the recipe I prefer for pancakes.
- Stage 4: Marginalization – Rejecting both the host culture and the culture of origin. Giving up and going to the Asian grocery store.
There you have it: Our experience as expats through a theoretical lens. 🙂
From flour to pasta: With only one week to spare, we have our little excursion to Italy booked! Yippee!! We’re stopping at Neuschwanstein Castle on the way down to Venice, where we’ll spend about 1.5 days, and then to Rome for the rest of the week. (As I write this, I almost feel like my fingers themselves get excited!) I do hope that you will pardon my absence next week… You gotta do what you gotta do, and in my case, that is go to Italy! If you have suggestions of things to do or see, we’d love to hear them!