The readjustment continues.

As I readjust to life here, some things are going very easily and some are taking a little bit more time.  Today’s post will be short and a little random.

I’ve been slowly working my way through a list of restaurants that I wanted to visit again after my return.  I spent an entire week during my last month in Germany dreaming and drooling about a hot corned beef sandwich on seedless rye bread from Toojays Deli, and I still haven’t made it there.  I did find that the gyros at Gyroville are not that dissimilar from Döner in Germany.

I said in my Last Looks post that I was looking forward to video without geo-blocking.  This goes double for audio.  It’s fantastic to be able to stream Pandora to my phone again!

While it’s nice to have that, I’m finding myself falling further and further behind in the new fall television shows.  I watch a lot of shows, and it was easy to stay up to date on them when I was in Germany, because I had no life.  Now that I’m back in Florida, I’m easily 20-25 hours behind on my television watching because I’m simply too busy to watch most of it.This isn’t a bad thing, because being busy can be wonderful.  Outside of travel,  I really didn’t have that much going on for the last few years, aside from going out to eat with friends on weekends.

For the last three years, I spent the majority of my time alone.   Since I got back to Florida, I’ve been the exact opposite of that.  The only time I’m usually alone now is when I’m sleeping.    I’m staying at my brother’s house for a while – I need a car before I can get an apartment.  One thing at a time.

Dinner most evenings is a group event, with my brother and his boyfriend.  On the weekends, and at least once or twice during each  work-week, I spend oodles of time with my girlfriend, Amelie.

I used to write my blog posts with a nice cup of mint tea while sitting at the San Francisco Coffee Company in Regensburg.  Mint tea and bloggery go together, in my brain.  It’s really nice to add Amelie to the mix, though. Even now, I’m writing this post on Starbucks Wi-Fi with a cup of mint tea while she’s sitting across from me, reading a Queen & Country trade paperback.  (I totally won the girlfriend lottery- she’s smart, sexy, funny, and she reads comics. And for some reason, she’s really into me.   Score!)

I’m still not in anything like a regular routine.  I get to work a half hour early most days because I still haven’t gotten the hang of I-95 traffic levels all this time.  Even when I think I’ve got it, any traffic issues or small rainstorms change the transit times immensely.  There was one day last week where part of I-95 was closed because of both an accident AND a brush fire-  the resulting traffic snarls affected the entire city and much of the surrounding area, so it took me an hour and twenty minutes to travel what would normally only take twenty or twenty-five minutes.  Oh South Florida, I didn’t miss this part of you.

I need to redo the catch-phrase for this blog.  “Doin’ Time on the Donau” is no longer relevant, because I’m not there any more.    Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to come up with anything catchier than “Farting Around in Florida,” and that’s just… no.

I’ve been looking at new cars, because after three years without owning a car, I’m back in a place where cars are a requirement to an uncomplicated life.  My dad loaned me his car for a little while, so I haven’t had to rush into getting a car.  It’s not an open-ended loan, though, so I do need to buy a car in the next month or so.

I’ve spent hours looking at details about different cars that are available here-  that was necessary, because after three years in Germany, I didn’t actually know what they sell here.   I liked some of the Opel and Seat cars in Germany, but neither of those is available here, at least not under those names.I’ve test driven a number of vehicles already.  I wanted to love the Toyota Prius C, but it’s really not a good fit- literally.  I couldn’t roll the seat back and I just barely fit.  Speaking of fit, the Honda Fit (called the Honda Jazz in Germany)  was actually quite nice, but I like my cars with a little bit more zip.

After all of that, I’ve whittled my decision down to two cars:  The Mazda 3 hatchback and the Honda Civic sedan.  Now I need to decide whether I want manual or automatic transmission…

Which do you prefer, stick or automatic?

19 thoughts on “The readjustment continues.

  1. Robert

    Automatic!
    Up until like 10 years ago I wouldn’t have bought anything but a stick (I even got myself once an E-class Mercedes with a stick – I don’t think theres a Mercedes with a stick available in the US and it was quite a search here in Germany as well), but I found that an automatic is way more convenient when having to do a lot of traffic in town (like to work or shopping – which is what I do most with my car nowadays).
    Unless it’s a sports car, I’m not going to buy a stick again. 🙂

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      1. This is going back a decade or three, but the Opel Kadett of yore was marketed in the U.S. as the Pontiac LeMans. You know, the short, squat sorta 1983 Escort-lookin’ POS. Pretty sure there were Opel Astras knocking around as Chevy Cavaliers too.

        But Opels-as-Buicks? I’d love to see one of those. Kept my eyes open this month in Michigan, and didn’t see them, either.

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      2. Konrad

        That’s partly true, the Buick Verano is based on the Opel Astra, the Encore ist based on Opel Mokka (actually built in South Korea), and the Regal and LaCrosse are both on the Opel Insignia Platform (but assembled in Canada).

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  2. If you’re looking for more zip, definitely the Mazda 3! My eldest niece bought it last year after many years of owning a Civic. (I’ve also been car shopping recently, and think the Mazda 3 is more fun, hipper, and zippier than the Civic.)

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  3. gorthx

    Stick! And have you tried the Toyota Yaris? That was one of my top 3 fave rentals from my time as a consultant (I drove a lot of cars.) (For reference, the other two were the Impala and the Dodge Charger. 😀 )

    Also, I think “Farting around in Florida” is a fiiiine title. 😉

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  4. Joao RB Neto

    Stick! Usualy, you get a better engine performance with a manual gearbox. The acceleration you get from a car with a manual gearbox is usually superior because of gear ratios and more precise shifting. Also a manual transmission cost less than automatics and it will cost you less to repair than an automatic, if needed. Good luck:-)

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    1. Robert

      That’s “only” true for 5 or 6-speed-automatics, the 7-, 8- and 9-gear-automatics are usually more economic and accelerate better than a stick.
      But the cars they’re in aren’t very cheap usually either… 😉

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  5. I’ve been told that automatics are a godsend when dealing with stop-and-go traffic. I’ve only ever been able to get the hang of automatics, so that’s my personal preference! But manuals are usually less pricey, too. My car is a Honda Civic and it’s still going *knocks on wood* with 180k miles on it!

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  6. Getting used to things back home is certainly a pain. I think once you get your car you’ll feel a lot better – I certainly did.
    And I am still so jealous that you’ve found such an amazing person! I hope I find someone to drink mint tea with soon!

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