Friday, November 8, 2013

I Proudly Present: The All New Wanderstrudel

I am not a stable person. Never have been. I mean of course, in the geographical sense of the word as I do like to think of myself of a mentally very stable person (although, I am sure, some of you probably beg to differ... ). My restless lifestyle - every other message I get from a friend starts with "where are you now?" - seems to have caught up with my blog. So get ready for the big news: Wanderstrudel has moved.
I have struggled, I have fought with Blogger, but in the end, I just had to face the facts: The Blogger platform and I are just not meant to be. As it is sometimes with complicated relationships, there was a lot of passion and a lot of fun, but also huge and long fights. And the cut was fast and deep. It hurt, but it just had to be done. More than for my benefit, actually for yours, dear readers. Because mostly, that is what I am concerned about. As intrigued as you are by my writings, and as willing to forgive the poor layout and design, and even the user enmity of the blogger platform, why not make life easier for you? I feel, as a passionate blogger and as someone who spills my life on you without asking you if you even care, I owe that to you! So let's be honest here, Blogger drives me CRAZY, as crazy as the Britney Spears song. Probably even more so. I don't want to bore you with the all the technical details that I have struggled with in the past year (yes, year. I am very persistent and I really wanted to give this platform a chance ... or two ... or three ... or fifty!), suffice it to say that this blog was trapped in the internet stone age. It was just time to move on. Wanderstrudel has now gone 2.0. And it is sooo exciting, just thinking of all the possibilities out there, it makes my socks shake.
I want to thank you all for being so faithful and patient, but we've heard you. You wanted change (deep down inside, so did we), and now you got it!!!
We proudly present, the all new, the all 2.0 WANDERSTRUDEL ON WORDPRESS! Check us out, comment, complain, rant about the new site - because now you can a) do that easily and b) I can even do something about it! And for the ones of you who are very resistant to change and just like old habits, don't worry. Nothing from the good old Wanderstrudel has been lost or tossed away. Think of it as a  make-over. It's the same foundation, but it looks SO much better.
Goodbye Blogger, see y'all on WordPress!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Move on, USA!

Waiting at the check-in line at the airport, I randomly looked at my waiver visa paper in my passport. For some reason, until that very moment I had never bothered to take a closer look at it - other than checking the date to make sure I wasn't leaving the US on the wrong date. So here, at the Cincinnati airport, it is staring right at me, my waiver visa for: Marinela Potor, from the Federal Republic of Western Germany.
EXCUSE ME??? You GOT to be kidding me! WESTERN Germany??
Almost 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin wall and after almost 25 years of ONE re-united Germany, the US is still caught up in the Cold War? I understand that for a loooong time the US considered anything that went beyond the shade of purple as a huge threat, and Russia and its allies were clearly enemy number 1. This was back in 1967. And in 1982. And probably still in 1988. But this is 2013!!! The world has moved on. So dear USA, it's about time you do it, too!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bye, Cincy


 As all good things come to an end, the time has now come for me to say goodbye to Cincinnati, the city that has been my home for the past six months. Even being the travel-addict that I am, saying goodbye to places and people that I have come to love is always hard for me. Therefore, the last few days before leaving a place are also the most stressful— not because I have to prepare for my trip or pack my suitcase, but because there are always still so many things that I just HAVE to do before I leave (with so little time). I leave Cincinnati in five days to fly back to Germany, and I have only worked my way through half of the things on my to-do-before-I-leave list. There are still so many restaurants that I haven't tried, so many museums that I haven't had a chance to see, and so many places to visit in and around Cincinnati that I simply won't be able to get to before I take off. On the other hand, I realize just how many wonderful things I have done in Cincinnati in only six months: I have eaten my way through most of the local chili parlors, I have enjoyed many many nights of great live music, I have been to a baseball game for the first time in my life, I have discovered Frisbee golf as my new favorite sport, I have shot a potato gun, I have tried some original Kentucky bourbon, I have learned how to navigate the streets of Cincinnati (and how to avoid the holes in them), I have come to know quite a bit about the city's German heritage, and most importantly, I have met some wonderful and delightful people that will always have a place in my heart, no matter where I go. However, my Cincinnati experience hasn't always been smooth. There have definitely been some bumps in the road. Especially during my first few months here, I had a hard time adjusting to the Midwest lifestyle of Cincinnati. I hated the oppressive heat outside and the freezing air-conditioned rooms inside; I hated the fact that I had to drive everywhere and couldn't just take a bus or walk as I had done for the past five years; and I hated that everybody always seemed to talk about sports and I was the only one who didn't have a clue. I was desperate: “How am I going to make it through the next six months?!” My friends tried to cheer me up: “Give it some time! Cincinnati is a city that grows on you. You'll see!” In the end, they were right! The longer I stayed and the more of the city's hidden charm I discovered, the better it got. Cincinnati not only grew on me, it won my heart. Now, six months later, I wish I didn't have to leave so soon. A friend I met traveling once said to me: “Don't be upset about all the things you didn't manage to do in a place. See them as an opportunity to return.” In this spirit I can only say: Farewell, Cincinnati. Thank you so much for the wonderful time, and don't worry – I'll be back!

Cincinnati's favorite mascot: Pigs