Yesterday we took a family trip to the beach. Which one you ask? California (or Kalifornien as it is spelled here), which happens to be right next to Brazil. The Germans have simplified vacationing by placing two popular, and usually far apart destinations right next to each other. Mrs. A (the mom/my "boss") claimed the English are responsible for this, dating back to the post-war period, but I'm not convinced, as it seems like just the sort of sneakily efficient thing Germans would do to make travel easier (I can see the travel ads now: "Vacation in California, then Brazil! Cutting out all inefficient travel time and costs! From only 49 Euro a night...). Anyhoo, the weather was lovely (80s I think) and I mostly laid out and read (like any good Au Pair should right?) The boy wanted me to go in the water, but man, it was COLD. I tried, really I did, but my californian upbringing did not prepare to swim in ice water. I am not a polar bear. Besides, he had a friend there anyhow, and they promptly forgot about my chickening out. All in all it was very nice.
Oh, did you know people here get naked on the beach. No, not like a nude-optional, or topless beach; this is just your everyday, run of the mill, kids and families and old people spending the day at the beach. Then I notice people taking off their clothes, changing into their swimwear... no towels, or attemtps at coverage. And guess what? No one cares. I mean, back home women would faint, mothers would cover their child's eyes and shriek in horror. Here, ah naked dude at 2 o'clock? Whatever. Grammy shimmying into here flowered one-piece? No biggie. Well, let's just say I got a couple eye-fulls. My naked, harry old dude butt quota has been filled- probably for life. My boyfriend (who happens to be German too) explained to me (after I excitedly called him to giggle about the naked people I saw... yes, I often behave in a manner befitting that of an 11 year-old boy) that it is normal, and while many people do not change on the beach, no one really cares if others do. Interesting, I think, and while I don't think I will be baring it all anytime soon, it's nice to know the option is out there... in case I ever find myself at the beach, needing to change with no bathroom or towel in sight.
Oh, Happy 4th of July all you Amis (cute nickname for Americans, which also happens to be the French word for friend- Ami. No, I didn't make it up; honestly,I'm just not that frigging adorable/creative). Feeling a tinge of patriotism (OK, I admit I was pretty bored too) I decided to introduce the family to a particularly tasty piece of American culture- apple pie. So I made the dough from scratch (which turned out somewhat chewy and not at all flaky and how I think I remember it should be... oh well) and did the apple-peeling, slicing, thing. They don't have any pie pans like I'm used to (the family I mean; Germany may have them- I honestly don't know) so I ended up using some sort of casserole-like dish. All in all, it looked funny (oblong and not round) but tasted yummy, albeit chewy. Yay for apple pie for making me feel a little closer to home.