Tuesday, June 25, 2013

“Previously at Home(land)” – The Latest Updates

So the title of this post doesn’t fit very well, but it does indicate that we have watched both seasons of Homeland since the last blog post.  Therefore, you must read the quote in Saul Behrens voice for it to make any sense.

We’ve been quite busy in the last couple of months.  In order to catch you up on our comings and goings I will try to get everyone caught up. 

May 1-6:  I went to Florence Italy to give a presentation at the Florence workshop of Behavioral and Experimental Economics.  This was my first conference presentation (30 minutes) and my first conference outside of Finance.  I learned very quickly that the dress code for an Economics conference was much more relaxed than Finance conferences.  I arrived in Florence all suited up, Barney Stinson style on the first day, and finally relaxed and wore my jeans on the third day. Meanwhile, a lot of the participants started with jeans on the first day and somehow drifted into even more comfortable clothes (I am pretty sure someone was wearing pajamas in their presentation) by the third day.  Nevertheless, I had a great time learning and networking there.  It was also nice to get a presentation repetition in, as I suspect that this paper will also be my job market paper, when the time comes. 

I had an extra afternoon/evening after the conference to do some sight seeing, and a couple of new friends from Paderborn that I met at the conference were gracious enough to let me tag along.  Some other highlights from this trip were:

Drinking 2 euro Tuscany wine at a small wine bar/shop off the beaten path and conversing with a Chinese girl who was literally a Masters student in wine (and looked exactly like Charlyne Yi).  I didn’t believe her at first, but after a few probing questions, it turned out that she really knew her stuff.  She told me that they must take 7 different types of Chemistry courses in order to complete the program in order to work at a vineyard after graduation.  She had a great sense of humor, referring to her extensive learning only to work at a vineyard as ‘a great tragedy.’
Charlyn Yi's look alike really knows her wine

Hearing a native Italian speaker properly saying my name over the loud speaker at the airport.  I had no idea I had such a beautiful sounding name if said correctly.   The reason my name was called was because I was sitting at gate 83 when the entire was/had boarded at gate 83a.  It’s a small, but crucial detail to miss at 5:30 am.   Fortunately, I made the flight.

Oh yeah, the sight seeing was nice. 

Seeing what looked to me a lot of long lost family members.  I didn’t realize that I /my Dad/my grandpa Foltice looked so Italian (we all look the same…Dana knows exactly what I will look like at age 60 and 88. See photo below).  I received so many questions for directions, confirming my idea that I really blended in there. 

Dear Dana, this is what you get to look at for the rest of your life.  

The month of May had so many Holidays and long weekends, we spent a lot of time around Hiltrup relaxing.  Unfortunately, the weather was so cold that it was tough to do much outside.  The holidays are different here, and I love the religious meaning of the holidays.  Here is the list of German holidays for May alone:

Wednesday May 1: May Day (Maifeiertag) – Not sure of the history behind this holiday, though I know that a lot of people go “tanzen in dem Mai” (Dancing into May).  Unfortunately, I am too old to do so. 
Thursday May 9: Christi Himmelfahrt (Ascension Day) – The day Christ went to heaven 40 days after his resurrection.  
Monday May 20: Pfingsten (Pentacost) – The fiftieth day after Easter when the Church received the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-6)
Thursday May 30: Fronleichnem (Corpus Christi) – 10 days after Pfingsten, celebrating communion. 

Picnic in the park
We love our balcony and spend a lot of evenings here. 
Fathers Day in Germany is somewhere in May, but we celebrated Mothers and Fathers day on the American dates, so I have a good excuse to watch the US Open golf tournament all day. 

This year, Dylan busted me on my Mother’s Day and my Anniversary gift on two separate occasions. 

For Mother’s Day, he and I went to the ‘Allstadt’ to get Dana a gift, but got distracted and went to the Mukk toy store, which is like the German version of FAO Schwartz, instead.  He wanted to get her a ‘bow for her hair’, but unfortunately we ran out of time (and good behavior) to go find one.  The next morning, I went out to ‘go workout’ but Dylan told Mommy as soon as I left that we had forgotten to get her a present and that I was out buying her something last minute. 
Side note: Dana recently found a broken hair clip in our bathroom.  Our sneaky 4-year old had a plan the whole time to replace it as a Mother’s Day gift.

Due to time restrictions, I had to take Dylan shopping down the street to buy a watch for our Anniversary (11 years already).  Despite my pleading for Dylan not to tell Mommy about her gift he blurted out not 5 minutes after Dana came home, “Mommy!  We got you a present!  You should open it!  It’s a clock for your arm. We bought it at the store down the street.”  I guess we’ll have to wait a while before Dylan is included in the gift giving process. 

The last weekend of May was the annual Hiltruper Frulingsfest (Spring fest), which blocks off our entire street for a full weekend.  With our location, we had one of the three stages facing our apartment.  The good news was that we could watch concerts from 12pm until 12am on Saturday and Sunday.  The bad news is we couldn’t escape the noise for two full days.  The boys slept just fine, so it wasn’t too much of a problem for us.  Additionally, that Saturday night was the Champions League final, with my favorite team Dortmund playing Bayern Munich.  I was really excited for the game the entire day and we made plans for Dylan to stay up late so we could watch it together.  The game started at 8:45 pm, so it would be a special late night.  Hopefully, Dylan will grow up to be a Dortmund fan as well and I didn’t want him to miss the experience.  Years from now, I was hoping we could remember this memorable day.  30 minutes before kickoff, we walked down the street to the public viewing in Hiltrup and upon seeing the crowd of people Dylan instantly did not want to be there (are you noticing a trend of crowd aversion from Dylan yet)?

"It's the playoffs.  You gotta let em know you're out there." - Our future face painter

Hiltruper Fruhlingsfest

Hiltruper Fruhlingsfest from the balcony

Instead, we watched the game in the Tapas y Vino bar directly below our apartment.  It was packed, but the owner let us sit at his family and friends table.  He is from Peru and Dana and I always try to unearth our previously learned Spanish while speaking with him. I was really encouraged this evening that I got my order right (spoken in Spanish) when the others at the table were asking me if I was Spanish.  Anyway, we made through the first half until Dylan was toast and needed to go to bed. 
I watched the second half online in the living room while the concert outside played on (with nobody watching).  For the final ten minutes of the game, the concert actually stopped so the band members could watch the conclusion.  Bayern scored in the 89th minute, ripping my heart out in all too familiar fashion (a common theme, especially for a Michigan State/Detroit sports fan).  I can’t recall a time when I was so sad about an outcome of a soccer game.  I sat in my chair dejected for the next hour while the band played in the cold rain in front of about 8 dancing Bayern fans.  What made it really sad for me was that this would very likely be Dortmund’s only chance at a Champions League title while we are living in Germany.  I ate a full bag of cookies, which made be feel better.

Dylan turned four in the first week of June.  I am going to save the ‘pimmelman’ for Dana to write about, but his German is passing our understanding, and it can be quite embarrassing for us.  He is so German that when we asked him what he wanted for his birthday dinner, he responded without hesitating, “Bratwursts, Pommes (French fries), and as much ketchup as I want.”  He is a funny kid. 

Dylans Birthday
The aftermath

Oma and Opa Mohr made it here yesterday and will be staying with us for the next week.  I have a full week of vacation and hopefully a little time to catch up on some blog posts.  I have so much that I want to write about, but so little time to type it.  Hopefully that changes this week.  Have a great week.