Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Latin Dancing ... in Borken?

Here's something that I forgot to blog about ... a few weeks ago when it was still cold, rainy and gross, our friend Martin called and told us about a National Latin Dance competition at Borken's SportHalle.  Bryan had a basketball game that night somewhere far away, so Dylan and I had nothing to do and decided to go and check it out.

It was kind of hard to take pictures in the gym, but overall the performances were excellent and very entertaining.  I never would have thought that I would see a Latin Dance Competition (a national, really good one, no less) in tiny little Borken.  Basically there were about 8 teams consisting of 10-15 partners per team.  Each team had well-choreographed, long routines that sometimes seemed to last as long as 8 minutes or more.  The costumes, hair, spray-tans, everything were all really cool.

We didn't stay until the end - 2 hours was long enough for Dylan to watch dancing.  He kept asking me "When is the basketball game going to start?" and "Where are the balls?"

Here is Dylan with our friend, Martin.

In order to get Dylan to sit still so we could watch the performance, I allowed him to play with my camera.  Normally my camera is strictly forbidden, so this bought us quite a bit of time ... and about 20 pictures that look more or less exactly like this. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Borken Easter Market / Farmer's Market

Yes, yes, I know - it's been a long time since I last posted anything here and I'm not doing my duty of keeping all 2 of our readers informed on what's going on. Relax. Until about 10 days ago, it was still cold and rainy and we avoided doing anything at all because it was just too terrible to go outside. Then finally, the sun made its first appearance since last fall and started to thaw us out and we can finally go outside again. I think me, Dylan and Oscar all have had major cabin fever. Lucky for us, the past 10 days have been pretty consistently sunny and about 60-65 degrees (15-17 Celcius).

This past weekend was Borken's annual Easter Market / Farmer's Market. It's one of the 3 Sunday's a year where the retail shops are allowed to be open, so the open market plus the nice weather made for a pretty packed town square. Here are some pics:

Dylan's really into wearing his sunglasses these days.  He probably didn't understand the point of them until recently when the sun finally came out from hibernating behind thick clouds all winter.

There were more flowers for sale at the Easter market than anything else. 

One whole street was full of play houses, slides and cool things for kid to do.  

You could watch a blacksmith demonstration, although the only thing he would make were little "Good Luck Horseshoes."  It seems like he goes through a lot of work to sell little €3 trinkets.

Other things for sale were monstrous handmade benches, wooden shoes and handmade wicker baskets of all sizes.

An of course, where else could you buy your sheepskin-lined children's booties,  animal pelts and rugs?

No German market is complete without a massive bratwurst grill.

The highlight of Dylan's day was getting to drive the Santa Fe Express choo-choo-train.  When he got off he said "Wow, Mommy - that was fuuuuuuun!"

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My (Not-So) Emergency Room Experience in Germany

Last Tuesday night immediately after basketball practice, we were in the locker room getting ready to take a shower and go home.  I found the towel in my sport bag and was rooting around the bottom of my bag for some shower gel.  After a few seconds of digging around, I felt a sharp prick in my right hand’s pointer and middle finger.  When I pulled my hand out of the bag, it took me a little while to realize what I had just done:  I had caught my two fingers on my razor lying in the bottom of my bag.  At first, I figured that the cut couldn’t be that deep.  After all, it was a shaving razor, not a chainsaw.  Then my fingers started to bleed… a lot.
Unfortunately, after 15 minutes, the bleeding was not letting up.  I took a one handed shower while my other hand bled into the public shower drain.  The blood trail looked like a shower scene from a horror movie.  If my teammates were not wearing flip flops in the shower before last week, they certainly are now.  After the shower, I put my clothes on and wrapped the injured fingers in Kleenex.  My teammates suggested that I go to the Emergency room to see if I needed stitches.  I initially refused this offer.  Every trip I had ever taken to the emergency room resulted in a minimum 5 hour stay and at least a $200 bill (this is with insurance.)  I really did not want to stay in the Borken Hospital until 4:00 am.  Based on my previous experience, my finger would have to be completely cut off in order to go to the emergency room at 10:30 pm.  
One of my teammates offered to go with me to the emergency room, which told me that a. maybe my finger really was hurt, b. maybe the trip wasn’t going to take as long as I feared and c. I would have someone to explain to the doctor, in German, how I managed to slice my fingers.  I agreed to go. 
We walked in the Hospital at 10:20 pm, checked in and waited for the nurse for 5 minutes.  When the nurse came, my teammate Dennis explained the story to the nurse while I sat there feeling totally embarrassed and stupid.  The nurse took me in to the examination room, laughed at me, cleaned my fingers, laughed at me, said that I wouldn’t need stitches, and laughed at me again (in that order.)  Soon after, the doctor briefly appeared and offered a tetanus shot.  After declining the tetanus shot, he was quickly out of the room. 
Before I knew it, I was at the checkout desk paying my quarterly co-pay of a whopping €10.   That was all I needed to pay.  At 10:40 pm, we were back in the car on the way home.  
The wounds on my fingers quickly healed and I was able to play basketball without any major disruptions. 
Next time, when I have an actual emergency, I will feel much more comfortable going to the Emergency room in Germany.