I'm in Germany for a few weeks on business, and man do I miss the Monkeyfish (she seems to be coping). My wife has sent me photos, and we've video iChatted a few times, and she already seems older, smarter, taller. And it's only been a week. I think that when we take people or granted—that is, when they're around all the time—we perceive them as a sort of aggregate of all the time we've known them. The specifics fall away; it's like a conceptual shorthand. It's why husbands are the last to notice a haircut, or why a wife might not immediately recognize that we just shaved off our beard. When we've missed someone, when we're hungry for detail, we see them in the moment, and all the latest changes are telescoped into a slightly new person.
I'm in Hamburg, currently the Rainiest City On Earth. Today was a break in the weather, however, and I think it finally lifted me out of the funk I've been in since my no-sleep-on-the-plane-exacerbated jet lag took effect. Staying here during the World Cup has made my choice of hotel rather limited, but I finally moved to a place with Internet access. And you, dear reader, and the beneficiary.
Hamburg is lovely. I'm living in a little suburb called Norderstedt, and all the rain has made it green, green, green. My hotel is surrounded by farmland and horse pastures on one side, and an industrial park nearby on the other. Of course, German industrial parks are more attractive than most American suburbs.
I've only been into Hamburg proper a few times, and mostly for drinks. This weekend will be my first real sightseeing adventure. We're going in for Schlagermove. Any excuse to drink beer here. There have been about nine festivals since I arrived last week.
I'm traveling with our MacBook Pro*. It's great. The 15-inch is a good size to carry, and this notebook is screamin' fast. There's everything you need as a traveler: big, bright screen and decent speakers for watching DVDs with Front Row (I even brought the remote); built-in iSight camera for video iChat (time zone differences permitting); the power supply is perfectly designed for international use; very good WiFi range; backlit keyboard for nighttime airplane use; and it even runs Windows, which I need for one lousy application. If I sound like a commercial, it's only because I'm trying to convince you to run out right now and buy one. And note to Apple travelers: as I fortunately discovered, your AirPort Express can serve as a charger for your iPod Nano and your Motorola Razr. Sweet!
* Yes, honey. I know that it's your computer.