If any of you are curious, my friends have a website: http://unleashyouradventure.com/
Here are some things I have learned from their visit:
1. It's nice to have optimists around - unabashed optimists who believe that anything is achievable as long as you think outside the box. "I'm sorry, Alix, but we have fixed your life" the German said to me on their 4th day here, after ordering me to switch contracting companies and move to Berlin by the fall. (It's not going to happen due to many reasons, but the fact remains that it technically is possible.) I laughed, "Don't apologize. I obviously need the help."
2. Everything sounds better in German (or when spoken with a Newfoundland accent).
Even the German speaking to the whiny dog sounded better than when I said the exact same thing in English. "Hör mal auf, Mango, das Leben ist nicht so schlimm." (Cut it out, Mango, life is not that bad.)
3. The best house-guests are fellow computer-geek introverts...or maybe just my friends, because I didn't not have to cook a single meal while they were here, nor wash dishes, nor buy groceries. The German even taught me how to make a very delicious potato dish. That all being said, I feel like I've gained 5 pounds.
4. The easiest way to not sleep in every single morning is to have a dog that you must walk (or house-guests that must walk their dog.)
5. If you plan a day's activity around the idea that you need to wear out a dog - you will inevitably end up wearing out yourself as well.