Every day is an adventure in Cologne, Germany.I have been training, yes, but I have been doing a lot more walking, moving apartments, looking for food, attempting to get rent money, taking the wrong trains, and translating the laundry machines. I’ve also been doing my best to use the German that I remember from high school and college, but I’m not often successful I realize that my last post was really optimistic and happy, and that’s generally how I feel, but getting used to a place takes some time! Momentarily, though, I’m enjoying a nice iced mocha and evening muffin at the Starbucks with free internet in Friesenplatz, and life could only be better if Russ was here, too.
I spent my first four nights at the apartment Becky and Brianna rented. It’s nice to have friends around, but I felt out of place, as they had rented the space for themselves, not me. I looked at and signed the paperwork for my own flat in the MediaPark area of the city, and I like it a lot! It has been hot, there is no air conditioning anywhere, and fans are sold out all over the city, but my apartment has nice big windows that give good airflow to the place at night. It’s in the city, so it’s loud, but I plan on finding ear plugs and an eye mask somewhere around here soon.
When you live in the city and don’t speak the language fluently, it’s a little bit difficult to find what you’re looking for in terms of a grocery store. I love the German bakeries, but Apfeltasche won’t sustain me (or help me throw far, haha). Becky and I found a pretty good grocery store when we went to Leverkusen for training yesterday, and I will do my best to find another one close by soon. I have enough to tide me over now, but it was bleak for a while! There is a good old-fashioned Subway near my apartment, too!
I brought a good amount of cash with me (but not enough to pay rent), as I know that it’s the easiest way to make transactions in foreign countries. Credit and debit cards are different from country to country, and I’ve found that you can’t really depend on them. There are also ATM withdrawal limits overseas just as there are in the U.S., and I am forced to pay my rent in 150 Euro increments because the Deutsche Bank (partner of Bank of America, or so I’m told) won’t give me a cash advance for the full amount of the summer’s rent. Very frustrating and confusing because of the language barrier and the mystery of why something I’m told should work, won’t. My Dad is doing his best to help me, though, and my landlady is awesome.
So far, I have taken two trains in the wrong direction. I think that’s pretty good, considering I’ve taken a lot of trains! The day that I moved from the third floor (with no elevator) of Becky and Brianna’s building to the second floor (with elevator, yay) of my building (one train stop away), I took two trips to get all the stuff to the new place. The first trip took me an hour, one way, because I took the right train in the wrong direction, and when I finally got to my stop, I started walking the wrong way and had to turn around. The second trip took me 15 minutes. Friday, when Becky and I were doing our best to get back to Cologne from Leverkusen, we sat and watched two trains we thought we weren’t supposed to take pull away, then took a third of the same line of train because we figured out that it was, indeed, the one we needed. Then, we took the right train, in the wrong direction, from the main station and had to turn around. But we made it! We decided that you need to mess up in the train system before you really understand it. I feel like I haven’t messed up enough to be proficient yet.
There are laundry machines (washer and dryer, the latter of which is a big deal) in the basement of my building, and I’m so happy about that. The washer takes 1 Euro for 1 hour of power, and yesterday I put one load of laundry through one washing cycle, but without the water. Oops? I didn’t see water going in there, but I figured maybe that happened later in German washing machines? The second time around, I found a little valve to turn that let the water in. Yay! All in all, I spent 5 Euro and approximately 6 hours doing laundry. Cool. At least I have clean clothes.
In other news, I threw pretty well on Thursday at the Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln (German Sport University Cologne, the one in the picture), and felt great in training in Leverkusen on Friday!
My body is feeling a little broken down, especially in my Achilles, but my back feels good and I’m doing my best to be off my feet when I can. Becky and I went to dinner by the Rhein last night, and back to Leverkusen for throwing, vaulting and lifting today! Russ gets here on the 20th, and I honestly haven’t been more excited to see him since we lived in different states!!! He has been a real warrior of the circuit, as he will have competed in 6 meets in about a week before he arrives in Cologne. What an outrageous stud!