Unpleasant transit passenger processing? Hostages taken and/or killed? Yeah, that’s us!

Tell me about it. I know you will.

I posted earlier today about a lovely evening we had yesterday with our current and former housemates. Upon reflection later today however, a couple of points in the conversation have raised my dander. Two different people we met for the very first time last night learned we are Americans and immediately commented on international political topics.

Situation number one:

Oh, you’re from America? That’s nice. I was just in the U.S. for the first time earlier this year. Can you believe I had to go through immigration and reclaim my luggage and re-check in to my flight to continue on my itinerary to Panama? It was a major pain!

Situation number two:

Do I detect a bit of an accent? American perhaps? Yes, I thought so. You know they killed those German hostages in Afghanistan. It’s been confirmed.

For reference, Mr. #2 was talking about this story. I had only a vague recollection of the issue; I’m not sure how well informed I am compared to other Americans living overseas. Has this story made news in the USA at all?

Fortunately after the awkwardness that initially followed both situations, I didn’t feel attacked or otherwise singled out, and the rest of the evening was quite enjoyable (to give you an idea, I slept in until almost 10 a.m., and I’m always out of bed by 7:30 — even on Sundays!). I just wish that when we identify our nationality, the first association people make would change from war and terrorism and President Bush and energy consumption to something

  • I’d rather talk about, and
  • that doesn’t make me feel like I’m supposed to offer an explanation or apology.

Sometimes I want to turn around and ask them if they knew anyone who’d ever been trapped aboard a hijacked plane or right in the middle of enjoying a nice morning cup of coffee (admittedly, the coffee’s better here) when one of said planes makes an unscheduled stop. Or if they could imagine what it’s like to represent a country whose leader was not their choice and whose actions had a deep and lasting impact on their national reputation. How about it, deutsche Freunde? Wouldn’t that be a bitter pill to swallow?

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Basic chili powder/tomato based enchilada sauce. I make a half recipe, which is still a little more than I need for one 9×13 pan of enchiladas (12-16). If you have freezer space, go ahead and make a whole batch.

4 T butter
1/2 c chili powder
1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp oregano
5 c chicken or vegetable broth
1 can (400 g) tomato sauce

In a large, deep saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Combine all dry ingredients, stir well and add gradually to melted butter. Stir frequently until mixture is crumbly. Add chicken broth a little at a time and stir constantly, until all broth is added and there are no lumps. Keep stirring, add tomato sauce and bring to a gentle boil or until sauce is slightly thickened.


Yesterday we got to meet (most of) our neighbors for the first time. After having lived here for 3+ years, that sounds weird, doesn’t it?

We still don’t know who organized it, but we are glad they did. Over the past two weeks, a notice has hung on the wall in our building’s entry way encouraging people to commit to attending and bringing a dish to pass. We brought home-made salsa and chips (OK, the chips were from Kaufland) and Sarah’s ever-famouser enchiladas.

There was way too much food there in general, but it was all good. We got a good turnout and despite sitting out in the Hof next to the composters, it didn’t stink. The only bummer was the rain that rolled in late, but even that was surmountable — we just moved upstairs to Hausmeister Wolfgang and Trini’s kitchen.

It was a very nice evening.