Double 0-Who? + Updates

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!

We were in theater #5, seats 30 and 31, row U.

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.

Other updates:

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!

Picture #1, Amaryllis Day 2. Our friend the Amaryllis is joining company with the enduring basil, and 3 mini-plants (including a rose bush).

Amaryllis Day 3.

Amaryllis Day 5.

Amaryllis Day 7. Pretty cool, huh?

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.

“Self-Raising Flour” Who needs White Lily when you have Green Dragon?

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!


7 thoughts on “Double 0-Who? + Updates

  1. One of many reasons we get along so well…we share the same opinion of movies. IF I see Skyfall, it, too, will be my FIRST Bond movie. I am motivated simply by Adele singing the song, I think, which is not a particularly worthy reason to see a film. Enjoy Italy! Perhaps I will relocate to some spot in Europe for a spell in spite of the flour challenges; I am mighty jealous of your recent travels!

    • The song is pretty awesome, but… it is over and done with pretty quickly right at the beginning. And then you have 2 hours and 23 minutes of minimal plot line to sit through. Buy the song on iTunes! 🙂

      I am hoping that the pictures and adventures may inspire visitors… 🙂 Relocating to Europe is also a good idea. At least for a period of time, I’d say. Did you know that if they had the chance to vote for the American president, 86% of Germans would have voted for Obama? I’m relatively confident that that position is held by the rest of Europe, but I haven’t done that research yet.

  2. In Venice, you must splurge and eat at the Grand Canal Restaurant. Worth every penny…and honestly, with how much they up-charge at all the restaurants there in Venice, it’s not that much more than the little corner restaurants (that are usually poor quality and filled with tourists). Resist your urge to not plan, and make a reservation…or you’ll be stuck eating questionable, expensive food. You can reserve online:

    A Beccafico was the winner for best tiramisu of our trip to Venice. A bit off the beaten path, though.

    In Rome, any of the Gusto locations:

    We used the Avventure Bellissime company for tours in both Rome and Venice, and they were great!

    • You are so much the bomb it defies words! Thank you! Thank you thank you thank you! Especially for the tiramisu, even if it is off the beaten path. Mike’s favorite food is, in fact, tiramisu. I was hoping that the real thing wouldn’t let him down… I also appreciate the heads up with regards to tourism+food in Venice. We had that experience in France, too (not including breakfast and breads in general), and hope to avoid it as much as possible in the future. 🙂

      I’m leaving this comment to start making reservations! 🙂

  3. I, too, am a Bond virgin. I have vague recollections of my mom watching them on tv when I was younger, but to purposely sit down and watch one? Nope. Not an action flick kind of girl. I’m not much of a movie in a theater fan either. I just can’t sit still that long. DVD’s are much better in most cases. I’m so jealous of the Italy trip! I can’t wait to hear details!

    • I TOTALLY AGREE about the dvd thing… TOTALLY. And the action movies. I had no idea that there were others out that there were others who had not drank the Kool-Aid about Bond. Seriously, I’ve lived my whole life believing that I was in the 1% who didn’t get it, but there are apparently several of us kindred spirits in this regard… 🙂 We should unite!

      I’m pretty darn excited for Italy. I hope I don’t get carried away and bore you with the details, but I’m pretty excited. This trip would be #1 on my bucket list, actually, if I actually had a bucket list.

  4. Great post! My gf & I tried for numerous weeks to find a decent film in Frankfurt at Cinescape, but we were only offered Madagascar 3 in the OV. Uh, no. I’m very happy you at the very least enjoyed the experience, not so much the film. I have never seen Bond either. I’ve watched pieces, but they don’t seem, to me, extraordinarily enjoyable.

    Venice is beautiful. Very expensive, but beautiful. I lived in Rome for a few months 8 years ago, and it is still one of my favorite cities. It will be empty of tourists, yet absolutely beautiful. Enjoy your trip!

    One more thing: on one of my last days visiting my gf we made pancakes. She absolutely loved them! Yes, we added baking soda. 🙂

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