At the airport in Frankfurt, awaiting my flight to Leipzig, I tried out my German by ordering a latte at a coffee bar. "Milchtkaffee, bitte," I said. The woman behind the counter replied in German-accented British, "Would you like a bun with that?" Apparently I cannot pass for German.
Leipzig looked lovely in its fall foliage. I was here ten years ago, when the Russians had only been out for a scant decade, and then the city was very run down. Not so now: There is construction everywhere, and the place lools prosperous and inviting. My small apartment, in a new building, is cheerful and sunny, with bright yellow curtains and tablecloth. As I unpacked, I made a list of things I need to buy, and at the top is a decent-sized coffee mug. There are tiny little cups here in which the Germans serve their high-test coffee, but for someone used to a mug that can hold a pint of java, these are inadequate.
Sebastian Hermann, the very efficient doctoral candidate who is my liaison here, told me that the Germans are very interested in the American presidential election. (As always, the rest of the world knows far more about us than we do about them.) The TV in my apartment gets both CNN and BBC, so I, too, can keep up with American political news.
I got only two hours' sleep on the trip over. Sebastian took me grocery shopping. I unpacked. Then I slept for ten hours.
An interesting note: When I log onto Blogger, the headings (SIGN IN, etc.) now appear in German. And the English spellcheck no longer works.