We've been so busy with getting ready for Christmas and the baby and doing other things that we haven't even had time to poop. But some how we managed to fit in a week long vacation in Tenerife, Spain, which is one of the Canary Islands. Stefanie is now 5 months pregnant and already can't really move so well, so this was one of those typical "laying on the beach in the sun drinking cocktails (non-alcoholic of course)" kinds of vacations.
Any time you want to go somewhere and stay in the same hotel the entire time, the best thing to do is to organize the trip through a travel agency who will give you some packaged deal. Which is exactly what we did. For ~650Euro per person our package included the flights, 7 nights in a 4 star hotel, breakfast, dinner and a rental car for 4 days. If we reserved earlier we would have gotten a better price, but this was still a significant discount. However, booking a trip this way also means that the hotel will be in a super tourist area.
We stayed in Playa de Fañabe, which is at the edge of a large city stretching 5 miles along the coast with nothing but hotels, restaurants and beach shops.
If we stayed on the beach the whole time I think I would have died of boredom. I can only sit still for so long. But that's why we got the car. One day we drove through the center of the island. Tenerife is a volcanic island, and a large volcano, Mt. Teide (the highest mountain in Spain), dominates the island. A large part of the island is over 5000ft altitude and there are 6 different climate zones. We probably drove through most of these on the way up to the mountain. In the National Park, there are lots of places where you can see old lava flows and different rock formations. It was all very neat and beautiful; I had never seen any place like this before.
We also took trips to other non-tourist beaches and small towns. I even went hiking one day while Stefanie stayed at the pool. And one day we went on a whale watching trip, where we saw lots of dolphins and small whales (that look very much like dolphins).
That was pretty much the whole trip. Now we're back in Bremen with 20°F weather, putting together our Ikea furniture for the baby and thinking about where to put all the stuff.
Welcome to my new site! It's been a few weeks in the making, and I'm still not done yet, but it's in a fairly usable state. I've reorganized everything and I'm now using WordPress, which should make maintenance a lot easier. It also means that I can use lots of fancy things with not much work but, I don't really see the need. However, you can now sign up for email updates using the little form at the top right. So now you don't have to manually check the site to see if there are any updates. I'll be making a few more changes here and there, but they won't be very noticeable.
That's it for now. I haven't been up to much else. We're still waiting for the baby and we're going to Tenerife in a few weeks. I'm also very much looking forward to be back home in January. I need a Taco Bell infusion.
Two weeks ago today marked the two year anniversary of my life here in Bremen. My life is not too much different than it was 1 year ago, but it's still much different than my life in Boston. Over the past year I've been doing pretty much the same things as the year before. I've been traveling a lot (about 15 countries on 10 different trips), playing ice hockey during the winter, running in the summer, working a lot, still trying to learn German, ... oh, and making a baby.
Yes, I will be a father soon, sometime at the end of April. We weren't trying, but we have been talking about starting soon anyways. Stefanie and I are both pretty happy about it. One thing is for sure, I'm glad we're having it here in German instead of the US. The laws here provide some comforts that do not exist in the US. We are both allowed to take off as much time as we want from our jobs for the next three years. For the first year we get money from the government equal to ~60% of our normal pay for all the time we're not working. For example, if I work 20 hours a week I will get half the money I normally get from my employer and 60% of the other half from the government. It's pretty cushy.
My German has been coming along pretty nicely too. Things are getting easier for me and more natural. I think I'm currently at the upper end of an "intermediate" level. Although I still can't understand a conversation between two natural speakers. When that day comes then I will have reached "expert" status.
I'm trying to think of other exciting things I've learned or done in the past year and, other than what I've already blogged about, there isn't much else. But that is the way of things. The longer you stay living somewhere or doing something, the more you get used to it and the more it becomes normal. That's how it is for me now. I'm used to the way things are now. Soon I will have a child and that will change.
Anyways, things are still going pretty good here. I'm still looking forward to the future, as usual.