Archive for März, 2008

Aldi and Steaks

Montag, März 31st, 2008

So, my first night is over and my Jetlag kicks in again. I had a good night and a nice breakfast at the Hotel. After talking to my lovely family I headed to the Atlanta Airport to return my Rental car. I only rented it for a day since I stay here in the same Hotel with my colleague and good friend Hans. We also work on the same project. So no need for two cars. I waited at the Hertz rental in the cold air. After the lots of rain and thunderstorm the temperature dropped 10C / 15F to only 41F (7C) . Hans got a nice Mercury Mariner SUV with 3L V6 and 200HP. Funcar. 🙂 So we drove to the Hotel and Hans got his room.

We then drove to our little shopping tour. We need food, drinks and so on. Around the corner is a ALDI. This supermarket chain is very well known in germany for the low prices.The store looks the same and many products are also the same as in germany.

Since we have not found all we need, we continued a bit. We went to the Mall  where I got a haircut. A better one than the one at my last visit in Poughkeepsie. We finally found also all we need in another supermarket but we could not buy wine today, because it is sunday. On Sundays you can not buy alcohol here in Georgia.

So we will see how the weeks continue.

Atlanta – Airbus – Applebees

Sonntag, März 30th, 2008

What the heck am I doing again in the USA ? Well, I moved to france and I am once more in the USA. In Atlanta to be precise. It was already planned a while ago, but the schedule has changed a few times and I had to change also from Poughkeepsie to Atlanta. It is not easy for me to get away from my family because I already spend a long time without them due to the move to Montpellier, but we are used to it and it is only 3 weeks this time.

I had a easy trip from Montpellier to Paris. I was happy to have a E-Ticket, because Air France only had one person for about 70 guests with normal tickets but 3 for E-Tickets.


Anyway. Paris is always a pain in the …. Yes one of the worst Airports you can think about. Huge and not guestfriendly. So I had to go from Terminal 2D to 2E. Sounds easy, but E is still under construction and a BUS transfer needs to be used. In the Terminal itself you have to go through the painful security checks. At least I had enough time. At the Gate E67 itself it was easy. This part of the Airport is a new Terminal. I was surprised to see that my flight was in a Airbus A340-300. The past years I always had a Boeing 767,747 or 777,  some other Airplanes also. 777 is the best Boeing, quiet and huge. But the Airbus was a pleasure, quiet too, inseat Entertainment, roomy seat (compared to 747 or 767). The food was also very good this time, I was very pleased.

In the 10 hours flight I was able to watch 3 1/2 movies. Enchanted, Juno, Beowulf and only half of We own the night (with Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, Eva Mendez…). That movie was the best, but the entertainment System was reset about 2 hours prior landing and the film stopped and never started again. Well. We landed on time in Atlanta and I used the lazyness of most Guests to get in front of the crowd. Everybody was using the Escalators, I was the only one using the „normal“ stairs. Voila, I was at the immigration line and … there was almost no line. in 5 minutes I made it out of the plane and through immigration. It was easy and the staff was very friendly. In the next 5 minutes I picked up my luggage and went trhough customs. Also a record for me. Another 5 minutes to get through the strange security check at Atlanta Airport. I haven’t had that in New York, Minneapolis or so. Here you must go through Security again when you already did all other checks. You even have to transfer your luggage again to the South Terminal Baggage Claim.

In this case it took me 15 minutes to get out of the plane, get trough immigration, customs and security check and then it took another 30 minutes to get my luggage back. It is so rediculous. But thats Atlanta.

After this experience I went through the rain to the Hertz bus. Heavy rain. Thunder, Lightning. Even the bus had a leak and rain dropped onto a seat inside the bus. The seat of course I tried first, eaahhhh, wet jeans.

At Hertz I pciked up  my Ford Focus and drove to the Hotel in about 25 minutes. Was easy. Hotel is ok and room is nice. After I brought my luggage in my room I went Shopping. I needed some water, toothpaste and so on. I found a Wal Mart. But that was a bad choice. The store is under renovation and they have not much available. At least it had the right stuff I needed. I was totally wet while going from car to the store. Whatever. I went to the Applebees restaurant to get some Dinner. Riblets with fries. It was close to the Hotel, so not a long drive. I could have wlaked, but not in the rain.

So I am here now and come back in 3 weeks. A biento

Driving around

Montag, März 24th, 2008

We had a relaxed morning and enjoyed our Breakfast. Since we had a little sun we decided to drive somewhere where we have never been before. So I looked at a Map. Programmed the Navigation System and voila, there we go. We decided to drive to Sete, a little well known town. 40000 people, at the mediteranean sea. About 45km away.

But the temperature was not like our 13C (55F). It was only 8C (46F) and lots of wind. So we only drove a bit through the lovely city center and we stopped at a parkinglot at the sea. It was very windy but we took a deep breath of the wonderful seabreeze.

The Kids were hungry, as well as we were hungry. So we drove back to Montpellier. It was sunny there and a bit warmer. Since the Kids wanted to have a meal at Mc Donalds, we went there. The first time ever here. After four weeks of delicious french food we went into a McDonald at the Place de la Comedie in Montpellier. Wasn’t too bad. Of course I had a Big Mac. After we finished the little meal we did some more little sight seeing. Due to the fresh wind the kids were not very amused. So we finally drove back to our Apartment.

New Pictures: starting from france2008_119

C U soon

HAPPY EASTER and bathing trunks

Sonntag, März 23rd, 2008

We hope you all had a wonderful Easter. We were able to search for the eggs outside in our little garden here. The kids also found some little presents.

The afternoon was lazy and we wanted to spend it at the Parc aquatique “L’Espace Grand Bleu” in La Grande Motte. It is a indoor/outdoor Poolcomplex with waterslides and so on. After we entered the Dressing area we found out, that our so loved bathing shorts (the long, loose-fitting shorts) are not allowed in this Pool complex. We need those tight bathing trunks. Surprisingly there was a vending machine with all different sizes. So we spent our 25 Euro for three bathing trunks and not for drinks and food. Interesting experience.

The rest of the day at the pool was easy and nice. The kids loved it and it was not the last time that we were there.

New pictures: starting from france2008_119

Green gras and a Greenbox

Samstag, März 22nd, 2008

While looking for eggs at easter in germany is tough in the snow, we are happy that we have mild and partly sunny weather here in Baillargues. We do not have 20C (68F) but at least 13C (55F) and we can go outside and have some fun. Green gras, spring is coming.

On Friday we tried to get banking card (debit card) for Dagmar. So she can pay also moneyless in the Supermarkets. We never knew that this could cause more Softwareproblems than the Millenium change 1999 -> 2000. The fact, that Dagmar kept her maiden name when we got married confused the banking software too much. The bank employee had to do some magic to make it work.After we finished some shopping on friday afternoon we opened our latest toy. A green blanket. It is part of a upgrade for my Video Editing Software Pinnacle Studio 11 plus. You can use this blanket for the Chroma Key or so called Greenbox effect. Another well known name is Bluescreen (with a blue color). The kids and I made some first steps and filmed some shots with Fabi and the Lego Star Wars ARC-170 Starfighter in front of the New York Skyline. It is not Oscarlike but it was fun to watch it 🙂

Enjoy our 5MB WMV (WindowsMedia) Movie:


Spring and Jonathan’s Birthday

Mittwoch, März 19th, 2008

What a beautiful day. Spring is aproaching in large steps here in the Montpellier Area. The mild, mediterranean climate makes it possible. While snow is falling back in germany we enjoy the sun outside.

Of course this was a special day today. Jonathan had his fourth birthday. It was the first time that he really, really noticed this special day. He was fully aware. Not like in the past years, where we kind of showed him whats going on, this year he knew since weeks, that his birthday was coming near and he planned his day, he told us his wishes. Yes, he is growing…His new friends Jan and Nils came today and we opend his presents. Played with some of them .Had his birthday cake, inspired by his favorite movie CARS. We went outside and played in the sun.

We walked to the playground, fed the goats, played some games. The kids and us, the parents, had a great day. It was our first birthday in france and we enjoyed it. The new life in france is getting more and more „normal“. We met new friends and look forward.

A bientot

More pictures: starting at france2008_079

A bicycle tour

Sonntag, März 16th, 2008

Again we had a new, intersting week here in france. One week after we bought Dagmars MTB we were finally able to make a little tour. Something else…the little caterpillars we saw last week are the unpleasant oak procession moths. So we don’t touch them of course and we will avoid them.

Last thursday we went to Montpellier to pick up Fabians last schoolbook. It was beautiful day with sun and so we decided to eat also a Ice at the Häagen Dasz Store. That was delicious. On the way back we passed the Zenith (a big Entertainment / Fairhall ) where thousands of Kids were standing in line. Police was directing the traffic. What was going on ? The famous, young german band TOKIO HOTEL was playing there. Sold out show. Those little guys from Dagmars Hometown Magdeburg really rock (if I can say so, my generation listens to Music like ZZ Top, Bryan Adams, No Doubt and so on) the world. Sold out concerts in France, USA. The kids learn german now, just to understand the songs. On the radio we heard screaming girls shouting the boys names, singing the songs. Crazy. Those guys really stick to their roots and stay original, no famous Songwriter uses them to make money. They write their own songs and lyrics. They do how they want it, and it works. I can only say RESPECT. They are young but they are a new generation of Bands…

Our french training each monday and wednesday with Estelle is really great.We understand more and more. Estelle uses daily situations and explains the „real“ french and not the school french. Several sentences and words we remembered from our schooldays are never used by a french.

In their sparetime Fabian and Jonathan are outside a lot. They play with their new german friends Nils and Jan. They are really great together. The weather was ok, on friday it was again 21C (70F) and lots of sun. Saturday it was unfortunately grey, Fog and some rain. We used that time to prepare our bikes. My rear tire is 10 years old now and so I bought a new tire and inner tube. I spent some more money for a self repairing inner tube. The only problem…was me. I damaged the inner tube while putting on the tire. So I had to fix it. Was good for the kids, so they could see how to do it.

Today our weathergod had patience and gave us some sun, mild 18C (65F) with some strong winds. Fabian did a very good job with the wind. He managed our 25km  (15.6 miles) pretty good. Just Jonathan was upset, because he had so sit in the childseat on my bike. It was very beautiful driving across the countryroads, almost no cars and lots of blooming trees already. The mild weather here is wonderful. We drove to the sea from Baillargues via Maugio. Dagmar was happy about her new bike. She enjoyed it a lot. My new tire also worked fine and I had no flat.

In the evenings we watch some german TV. With the online TV recorder we can record TV series for free. Of course I also bring some DVDs and CDs from the IBM Library. Especially cartoons that our kids know already in german are great. We watch them in french and english.

Watch our latests pics : France Pictures starting from france2008_047

A bientot

School, golf, bike and new friends

Sonntag, März 9th, 2008

What a exciting week. Fabian had his first experience at the international school. It was not easy, that is for sure, but it is better now. Since all the Kids had to write tests the whole week, we made a deal, that he could stay home and if he wants he can come to school and participate. So on friday he went to the Golf class. Ray, the english teacher took the class to our Golf course and they could practice there with Olivier, the instructor. The Kids were happy to see Fabian again and Pierre, a kid from his class, was glad to play in the same team as Fabian. Pierre also played with Jonathan, since I came with him to the class to help Fabian. It was very cute how they all played. Golf was really cool and Fabian was happy after that lesson.

Dagmar and I also had our first french lesson with Estelle. She is a very good, patient language trainer and she gave us a very nice, interesting lesson. Every Wednesday and Monday we will now have french lessons.

After my first days at work I was happy to enjoy the weekend with my family. Saturday was a beautiful sunny day. Best of all was the fact, that we now have new Neighbours/Friends. Another german arrived with his family and they also have two Kids in almost the same age as Fabian and Jonathan. They will also go to the same school. Holger and Ute were also very happy to know, that we are here and so we can share our experience and our kids have it a little easier. The kids met each other saturday morning and played the whole day like they were friends already for years. It was amazing. We just stopped them for a short time to buy a bicycle for Daggie. In the past a totally stupid sales guy sold he a 28inch Bike. That is totally wrong for her height of less than 1.60m. So we found one with 26inch frame, V-Brakes, suspension fork… at Decathlon for a very good price. Dagmar loved the design too, so we are all ready to go now. Unfortunately the weather is not good today, we have some rain.

After the shopping Ute, Holger and Kids came to our Apartment. Ute cooked some delicious food and we had Dinner together and we talked for hours. The kids were playing the whole time. It was sooo great. We are all happy now about this new situation. We are looking forward to have more days like that. More to come… A bientot

Flowers and caterpillars

Dienstag, März 4th, 2008

Just a few flowers, photograped at the playground. Also pictures of Fabian on his bike Jonathan on the slide.

…and we saw something we never saw before. Some strange, about 30 caterpillars were lines up one after the other and they crawled across a walkway:

Fabian`s first day at school

Montag, März 3rd, 2008

It was different today. Fabian had his first day at the International School. It is not easy to feel comfortable in a new school, in a different country with no friends and no foreign language skills (besides a little english). But with Mama Dagmar, Brother Jonathan and Daddy Marc it was a little easier but not totally satisfying for Fabian. Since the kids at school have write examns this first week after the holidays it is boring for Fabian. Bruno, his teacher talked also in german, but Fabian was not really happy at all and was sitting in the room with some tears in the eyes. But the kids in his class were all pretty nice and gave him a warm welcome. After having some mathematics together with Daddy Fabian went to his first break. Immediately some girls (Karla, Rebecca and Karla) came and talked to him. Little Karla is german and speaks german and translated between french and german. That was really cute.

Just before the lunch break the class had also GERMAN. That was the first time Fabian really warmed up and smiled. The other Kids were asking Fabian questions. Teacher Karla helped them and so we mastered the first part of Fabian first school day. In the lunch break Fabian and Daddy went home to Mama Dagmar and Jonathan. Mama was preparing lunch and waiting desperately for Fabian. She was so excited and feeling together with Fabian.

After the break Daddy could not stay in the class with Fabian. But the german Teacher and Bruno made a deal. Since the kids write tests and Fabian can’t really learn something he will be picked up after one hour at 2pm by Daddy. So he was happy. Since they found out the CM2 class is too tough for Fabian he moved to the class with little Karla, that translates a little bit from french to german.

That will help Fabian. It was a tough, exciting day for all of us and we will look forward how it develops.