March Madness

It’s been a hard week of weather to deal with in Düsseldorf. Spring, which the budding trees, the chirping birds, and I have been patiently (why lie?) waiting for, is taking her sweet time. First it looked like there was hope – the sun was shining, and I was giddy at the sight of my own shadow. And with good reason. It was “the darkest [German] winter of all time.” (See? There’s more to my weather drama than the fact that I’m an Arizona girl through and through!)

Then we had another bout of snow, or Schnee.

Schnee Auto

I appeased myself with trips to the coffee house and with cozy pots of tea at home.

Coffee house

Cozy tea

Then we had snow and sun. Oh, what a glorious combination – light and color in the world again!

Sun and snow

The crocuses and those who dared sit outside at the coffee house despite the freezing temperatures weren’t showing any weakness.

Crocuses and snow

Outdoor coffee

Then the snow was gone, and Toby and I took advantage of a sunny day with a long walk along the Rhine.

Rhine in March

Yesterday it was so nice that I actually rode my bike to work without a beanie, my hair blowing in the wind (something I haven’t felt in longer than I care to remember). This is in stark contrast to my winter riding gear, which I’ve taken to calling the Reverse Mask of Zorro.

Reverse Mask of Zorro

Too bad we’re back to a lovely combination of rain and snow again today. Somebody stop the madness!


Park bench etiquette

The sun was shining today, so I played hooky for an hour this morning to wander around outside. Armed with my camera and my new Kindle (birthday present from Toby!), I walked to the park to take some pictures of the crocuses and to dawdle a little in the sun. The feel of it on my face was heaven!

But I did come up with an interesting question – what is proper park bench etiquette when it comes to a single bench, positioned ever so perfectly in the direction of the sun, that already has one occupant on it? The older gentleman was sitting at one end of the bench, and I strongly debated sitting myself down on the other end. But, he had his eyes closed and I didn’t want to disturb him, so I wandered a little more and found my own, unoccupied bench, almost as perfectly positioned.

And then I pondered. Wouldn’t his choice to sit at one end of the bench indicate that he was open to sharing his spot in the sun? I’m only concluding this because I’ve seen people sit smack in the middle of a bench – a rather clear indicator of the desire to be left alone. It’s an important consideration due to the fact that when the sun does finally shine here, the people come out in droves to soak it in. I.e., there’s a very high likelihood that my bench of choice will be at least partially occupied.

As with anything related to learning and integrating oneself into a new culture, the best method is probably to observe, mimic, and then adapt the behavior to suit your own personality. It worked for three days of Karneval partying….