Germany Out from Euro 2012 Finals

I admit I’m really not a big fan of football. In fact I found it boring when I tried to watch it when I was still in the Philippines. Imagine running on the field for 90 mins seeing these players trying to get the ball from each other, kicking it to supposed to be a teammate but lands at the wrong foot and then again run to the other side of the field. I feel tired watching the game. But I guess living in the country where football is the number one sport affected my view of the game. Now I found it exciting especially when a striker is nearing the goal and of course making it. And probably routing for a team made the difference. Our country only had its own football team two years ago so maybe that affected my interest on the sport.

When the Euro 2012 opened I witnessed how Germans are as die-hard fans. Fan items such as hats, flags, mugs, stickers, hood covers, side mirror covers and many other items you could think of with the German colors are all over stores and supermarkets.

This is just one of the many cars I saw which has fan items on it. Mind you that one has even lesser than the others. Some cars were almost covered with stickers and you can only see the windows and windshields. We have German flags like those given to us in a drugstore. Public viewings are held in city centers where a large screen is put up. Beer gardens are always full on game nights. I can just imagine how loud these places are but fun of course. I admire the support the people are giving to the team.

Germany reached the semi-finals but unfortunately they were beaten by Italy. I was disappointed with the game as immaturity became evident in the players. They lacked defense and many opportunities were wasted. It was kind of frustrating actually. People say Germany now is a very young team and I think given more time, training and experience they will gain that self confidence and maturity needed to face more battles.

At McDonalds Metzingen

Last weekend we went to a city called the Outlet City. It is in Metzingen which is around 90kms from home and about 1 1/2 hours travel by car. It’s called Outlet City because almost all the known brands in fashion have their outlets in it. Hugo Boss, Tomy Hilfiger, Nike, Esprit, Fossil and a lot, lot more you can see there. And when we say outlet that means that their prices are much, much lower over those that are sold in malls.

Anyway, I won’t post yet about my “sight seeing” now. Hmm.. maybe some other time. I just want to feature the services offered in a branch of McDonalds there that amazed me.

The Marker

I don’t know if anybody had already seen this but it was a first time for me to see one. Hubby had not gotten yet his Big Mac so he got this number (or marker as a friend who works from McDonalds calls it). While waiting, it has a red light that was blinking. I asked hubby how would we know if his burger is ready. Suddenly, all the lights lit up and the apparatus vibrated. That answered my question. Nice one!

The Easy Order

For customers who will use their credit cards or ATM they can order from these terminals. Convenient isn’t it? They don’t have to stand in queues. The terminal stood up to its name, Easy Order. But I didn’t find out how they claimed their orders though. 😀

In a place like the Outlet City where numerous people troop to shop, they need a place where comfort and convenience are available and McDonalds just gave them one.




Getting to Know You

When moving to a new place, it can be tricky finding your way around in unfamiliar surroundings. After a while, knowing your way around the area in which you live is more than likely to become second nature to you, but here are a few tips for getting to know a place that is new.

Firstly, you will want to invest in an up to date map for any journeys which you may need to take. Take time to plan your route, even if you imagine that it will be straightforward. It can we well worth checking online for any disruptions to your rote – something which is unlikely to take much time and can easily be done while you play foxy, order your weekly shopping, or even update your blog. After all, as someone who is unfamiliar with the area, you are unlikely to be able to figure out an alternative route off the top of your head, should you encounter any difficulties.

A Volksfest in our city center.

Make an effort to try new places whenever you can and listen for any great recommendations. It might not take look to find a good local supermarket, or perhaps a nearby pizzeria, but don’t forget to spend time exploring what else your new area has to offer – you never know what hidden gems you might uncover! Personal recommendations are usually worth paying attention to and it can also be a good idea to keep your eyes peeled for any enticing discounts or special offers.

You should also make an effort to meet the local residents of the area in which you are living – their advice is more than likely to prove invaluable! If you’re not working locally, then you may want to consider joining a social club, taking evening classes, or even just getting a gym membership. This can prove to be a particularly enjoyable way of learning what a new area has to offer.

German Cars in the Best Car Dealers

Because I’m in the country where the world’s best cars are born, seeing the latest models of Audi, BMW, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and of course Volkswagen on the highways or parked along the streets are but normal. Car dealers are everywhere, and this make it pretty easy for Germans or people living and working here to acquire such high quality cars.

But for people outside the country like in the US, acquiring these cars would cost them too much if they really want the car to be shipped all the way from here. It is definitely not a practical thing to do. However, if you would really want a German car, there are reliable car dealers in the US wherein they could acquire the same quality cars minus the shipping fees.

If you want to acquire the latest Volkswagen this year, you may check St George car dealerships They have the best selection of the Volkswagen models, may it be brand new or used. The company also got parts and services department and they could also help you out on the finances with their friendly finance department.

2012 Volkswagen GTI

Potential buyers could also have a glimpse of their latest models because everything can be found in their website along with a detailed description and prices. They can become your one stop shop for your brand new Volkswagen. You could also easily compare the models just like comparing mobile phones in some tech sites.

In acquiring cars, quality should be the highest priority while price comes next. If the brand isn’t from your country, choosing the best dealers should be your first mission. See to it that the quality remains and the increase of price should also be reasonable. It’s okay to pay as long as it’s worth it.

No Physical Life Insurance

It’s June once again and it’s time to pay for my insurance premium. Yeah, I still continued my insurance even though I’m already here in Germany. I think of insurance as an investment, I never saw it as an expense as what others think. I know they are just not well-informed of the benefits of life insurance.

When I was still working, I planned to get my parents their own life insurance. I worked with a bank which has an affiliate insurance company and they were offering this product which does not require medical examination. Usually, life insurance products require medical exams especially to a particular age group. A no physical life insurance is a unique product to cater to a wider market. One advantage is that there is no need for submission of urine or stool samples, having your blood pressure taken and many other routine tests done by medical practitioners. Convenience also extends to just applying through online, filling up the forms and answering questions regarding your health situation. Licensed agents are available to retrieve information from you and there will be no paperwork on your part. Results if you qualify for the coverage are immediately known.

Looking for Best Annuities

Sometimes I can’t help myself to look at interest rates displayed on windows of banks here.
Being a former banker and exposed to various investment instruments, I’m always on the look out for possible investment products where we could place our money. I know it’s not possible at this time since we don’t have that much but who knows, we might win the jackpot prize in lotto. Hehe..

I remember when I was still learning the basics of investment I realized that investing is not easy. You don’t just look at how much or how high you could earn. Every investor must know the risks involved. Learn how these instruments work and choose what’s best depending on his investment profile. With these, he needs expert advice from people who could present to him financial products which have the best annuities. They could be fixed-income securities like bonds, government or corporate securities and more.

Given that opportunity, I will invest in securities which has the best annuities. It’s okay if it yields not too high, but just enough. What’s important is it is secured and with lesser risk involved.

Teddy Bears Galore at the Steiff Museum

A week after our visit to the Hellenstein Schloss for our Mother’s Day celebration, we decided to go to where teddy bear stuff toys originated – the Steiff Museum. Steiff, named after Margarete Steiff who started it all, is a toy company found in Giengen which is approximately a 40-minute drive from our place.

Inside the museum you will see the replica of the first teddy bear originally called PB55.

There’s also a shop where you can buy their products. They’re too expensive, though. The cheapest stuff toy I saw was around €17 or around $21 and it was only about 4 inches long. Hehe… They also sell clothes for kids.

It was a fun “field trip” not just for kids but also adults. There were even a group of seniors who came in a bus. It was an educational one actually.

I was amazed with this presentation of how Margarete Steiff came up with the idea of the toy and the company. The mechanical movements and all. The things you see here were old possessions of Margarete. We were the only ones inside because we said we wanted the audio to be in English. I believe all the other tourists were Deutsch so no one joined us. Hehe..

After the presentation, we were led to a room where we saw the replica of PB55 (photo above) with also an audio presentation and mechanical movements (yes, that teddy bear was moving as if telling a story). After that, we rode on an elevator-like mechanism where we met Frieda and Knopf…

These cute characters’ voices led us to the different rooms where our eyes were treated to the masterpieces of Steiff. Honestly, I can’t remember anything that they were saying. I was just awed by everything I saw in those rooms.

Called the TEDDYTANIC, it’s an underwater-themed room filled with stuff toys of marine characters.

In the arctic region… (I forgot what it was called. Told you, I wasn’t listening to Frieda and Knopf. )

And the “worldwide” room where toys are showcased in the different countries around the world.

The tour was called “Die Welt von Steiff” or The World of Steiff.

I’ll let you see the rest of the World of Steiff on my next post. ‘Til then…


Preserving Documents Through Shipping Tubes

Three days ago I went to a courier service office to inquire. I was planning to send some goodies to my friends and families at home. I asked for details and how much would it cost to send a 4-kilo  package to Frankfurt because my former officemate will be bringing it home. I also asked about the box to be used. Actually I already bought one that morning but I didn’t know how to pack it. Anyway, as I was waiting for answers I looked around and saw the different things used in packaging, boxes of different sizes (of course), big rolls of bubble wraps and some long tubes. I was curious and so I asked what are those. Apparently those are shipping tubes. A shipping tube is used to transport important packages specifically documents, blueprint, paperwork and even artwork. They have capped openings on both sides.

The most common is made of cardboard. They are reusable with white, plastic caps. These tubes also come in square and triangle shapes depending on your need.

The fragility of these items for transport requires that the tubes be in excellent state and that the appropriate types are utilized for transporting of specific products. When making use of shipping tubes, you can just uncap the tubes and slide inside the item prior to securely capping it in. Even so, take vital precautions with the product’s position. You could either roll or wrap the item in an extra covering of bubble wrap or newspapers free from smudges. Bear in mind, to ensure that there are no creases in any product produced in stiff papers. The reason for this is because the item will stay inside in the exact same position for the entire travel and that could ruin the all-natural lines of a document or artwork. These are not only ideal for shipping purposes but also for storage of important documents. Aside from cataloging these documents, they also preserve and protect the items from damages due to pests and the effect of environment like the weather over a period of time.

Important items like blueprints or artworks should be protected so we must make us of products such as these to preserve them.




Express Lane It Is!

This is a follow up on my last post about cashiers and express lane. We went today in Ulm which is an hour drive. The kids have been wanting to go to Toys ‘R Us since toys in stores here are very limited. We thought of giving in to their request since we also need to buy something for Ryz’s upcoming birthday (she’ll be turning 5 on the 18th).

After buying a gift for Ryz we went to Ikea, a Swedish furniture store within the commercial center. We went upstairs to have our late lunch in their fastfood center. I’m amazed on how neat and orderly their fastfood center is. I thought if only we could have like this in the Philippines…

The place is really neat, despite no one  to clean the tables after you eat except yourself. Just showing how disciplined the people are.

After eating we looked around for something to buy that can be useful. As we reached the linens section I remembered we had to buy a new bedsheet. Looking around I saw that many people really buy from this store. As we came to the counter I was really expecting to see long queues. Good thing they have express lanes. (Yup, finally saw one here.) It was kind of unique because it was self-service.

We were the ones who scanned the barcode of the merchandise, input some details on the touchscreen monitor and hubby signed on the digital signature pad since he used his ATM for paying and then we’re done. Nice isn’t it? Now, that’s an express lane!


Who Needs an Express Lane?

I just came from a grocery store and bought 5 pieces of pretzels for our breakfast tomorrow. I love pretzels especially with butter in it. And the kids love them too. Since it is a Saturday I expected a long queue at the counter. The lady before me in line had her cart full. I had no choice but to be patient because there’s only one counter open. Grocery stores here don’t open all their counters unless they already see a need to make one available. Anyway, I was getting coins from my purse when suddenly she spoke to me (of course in Deutsch). I was caught off guard and dumbfounded. She spoke too fast for me to understand her whole sentence. The only phrase I understood was “Möchten Sie…” which means “Do you want…” and the next words were as if I was cursed at! Haha! Just kidding.. Anyway, I only got what she was telling when she looked at what I bought and pointed at the conveyor. It was then I realized that she was asking if I wanted to go first since I would only be paying for just a bag of bread. I only answered “Könnte ich?” which mean “Could I?” and she gladly let me. This is what I notice about Germans and I really like this attitude. They are just considerate when it comes to this situation. Of course I could say that not all of them do this but I have already experienced this for so many times. And I don’t think they just do this because I look foreign. I have witnessed them do this to other Germans too. Nice isn’t it?

Suddenly I thought of our express lanes in the Philippines which would only cater to those customers who purchased 10 or less items. It irritated me when the cashier from an express lane idly waits for the next customer while other stations have very long queues. Don’t you think it’s unfair to those cashiers who are handling these stations with long queues? I’m pretty sure they are paid equally because they have the same job position. Another difference I observed is it doesn’t matter what mode of payment you will use in every counter. It could be cash, credit card or debit card we go to the same counters. No special lanes for “cash only” so the people behind should be patient. Patience is really the key and I admire them for this trait.

I know express lanes are there for those who want it fast, that’s why it’s called “express” right? I just thought, there will be no need for lanes like this if only we could be considerate. If we do this, there will be no time, money and energy wasted and all resources are maximized.

Well.. just a thought.