Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Day 1


It's 3:05 a.m. and I am sitting at my Mother In-Law's desktop blogging.  Gosh, I hope nobody wakes up...this lack of writer's block could lead to an awkward middle of the night situation. 
 
In case you were wondering, I'm happily jet lagged because Husband and I are back in the States for the next two weeks!  Each day I will document our events on here.  Since tonight we (started) watching a Christmas Carole, I will keep with the movie theme and organize my thoughts by Past, Present, and Future.
 
Past:
Less than 24 hours off of the airplane and my first stop was my former school.  I spent five years teaching with some amazing people, sweet children, and supportive parents.  Just walking into the office I was greeted with friendly faces, big hugs, and felt very welcomed.  My friend Kim and I were able to visit several classrooms, speak to teacher friends and say hello to what used to be our little second graders.  It was so refreshing to be reminded of what a wonderful school family we had.  I'm so fortunate to have taught with such giving people and to have started my education career in such a warm place.
 
Present:
After the school visit, Kim and I headed to one of my favorite spots in our historic downtown, Spoons Cafe.  I love this place because the food is comforting and the atmosphere has a vintage rustic vibe. I had a BLTA (mmm bacon!) and pumpkin soup with a passion tea. One of my classic Spoon orders!  Better than the meal though was our conversation.  Don't you love having friends that after months of not seeing each other you can just pick up where you left off?
Not a beat was missed as we talked about married life, future plans, and our walk with faith.  While expressing how Husband and I missed meeting with our small group each week, I had an "ah ha" moment.  It has been difficult finding a church to get plugged into in Germany and this past fall we have felt lost without worship. The "ah ha" moment came when Kim reminded me that the people are the church not the building.  If we can't find a place to feed us God's word then perhaps we should find other people like us in the same situation and form a new small group.  Perhaps there is more to the great plan than just work opportunities during our stay in Germany.
 
Future:
The last time I drove a car was July 22nd.  After five months of DB training me around and Husband chauffeuring me in our standard car, Flash, I was ready to be behind the wheel. My in-laws have been so kind in letting me store my car at their house during our time in Germany.  My car is the same one I drove in high school and after 10 years I still love it.  It took me to and from college, back and forth (nearly) every day of my teaching career, and man did we let the good times roll.  I was nervous about driving again after such a long time, but just like riding a bicycle, it came back naturally.  It is amazing how refreshing it was to get back behind the wheel, cruise down Highway 75 and blare the best of country music. The small things...  I know our time together is coming close to an end.  When Husband and I get back we will end up getting a new car. One with four doors, a roomy trunk, side airbags, childproof rolling windows, and if I'm lucky...automatic locks. 
 
Merry Christmas,
 
 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Modernly Old Fashioned


Reflecting on our day over steaming bowls of homemade chicken noodle soup, Husband and I realized that today must be declared an Old Fashion Sunday.  Going through the things we accomplished today it was pretty hysterical to see a resemblance in what the day held.  

1st. Old Fashion Zucchini Bread
Every Christmas season my mom makes a delicious Zucchini Bread.  With a zucchini just hanging out in the fridge, I decided it was time to make some good use of it.  Not having my mom's recipe here in Germany, I took to the next best thing...Google.  There I found a healthier version of this timeless classic from Skinny Ms that uses honey in replacement of sugar and low fat plain Greek yogurt instead of butter.  I decided to experiment and used cherry yogurt but in the end could not even tell. Next time I will stick to the suggested plain Greek yogurt.  Breads do not last too long in our house, so knowing this version from Skinny Ms makes me feel less guilty when I have made it two weeks in a row! 

A delicious warm aroma fills the entire house while this bread bakes!

2nd. Old Fashion Orange Juice
One of the perks of visiting Great Grandma Alma in sunny California were her gorgeous orange trees.  Waking up in the morning you could expect to find fresh squeezed orange juice waiting to quench your thirst.  As newlyweds, Husband and I were so excited to receive an electric juicer as a wedding gift.    The first sip of fresh squeezed orange juice always takes me back to those warm visits in California.
Just about each week I buy a bag of orange from Aldi for about one euro.  
While they are not as wonderful as California oranges, they still produce a really nice juice.
The whole process of cutting and squeezing only takes me about 15 minutes.
It is so easy it makes me wonder why I haven't been doing this more often...
Our not so Old Fashioned Electric Juicer from Cuisinart.
I highly recommend this juicer!
One orange squeezes out about half a cup of juice.
One bag of oranges will make about one liter of juice.
3rd. Old Fashion Laundry
Our washing machine is downstairs in the keller with about 8 other machines in a washroom that each unit shares.  The washroom pump has been broken for about two weeks and a new part is on order but still not here. German time frames are a lot different than American time frames... Patience is a necessity!  Twice the laundry room has had a nice flood of water on the floor so it has now been closed off.  That means for two weeks our laundry has been piling up!  Do you realize I had to count my unmentionables to see how much longer I could last without doing laundry?!  Well today was Doom Day but I have a wonderful husband who took this damsel out of her distress.  He washed two loads of laundry for us...in our bathtub...  You don't realize this when you run your washing machine, but that water turns a nasty grey color in it's first cycle. Ek! It was too gross to photograph for you to see. I think my husband deserves a Husband of the Year award! 
In Germany it is very common to hang dry your clothes.
Since it is snowing outside and below freezing... our bathtub has become our dryer.
It will take about two days for these socks to fully dry without the sun. 
I just hope my knickers won't still be drying when we have family visit this weekend!

4th. Old Fashion Christmas Music
While working on the chicken noodle soup tonight we enjoyed some classic Christmas music from our favorite artists via the not so Old Fashion Youtube.  It is December 2nd today and we still had not heard any Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, or Julie Andrews.  But huddled around the lap top with our bowls of soup we enjoyed these traditional tunes much like you would have experienced decades ago.  It was such a nice rewind to a laid back, Old Fashioned Sunday.
 
Enjoying Gluwein at the Residence Christmas Market Saturday night!

In other news:
After 6 months of being an "Accidental Housewife" tomorrow I start work at my new school.  I was hired in August for a job that starts the beginning of December.  After planning a wedding, teaching in a new testing grade with new content last year, and moving halfway around the world God knew I needed this time off to decompress.  I was burned out and this time has allowed me to get back the passion that had been spread thin.  Teaching is such a rewarding experience and I am so excited to gain new perspective in this field.  I'm looking forward to meeting people from all over the world, learning what kindergarten is all about, and hopefully some 5 year olds can help me improve my German speaking skills!






Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!


Waking up this morning it was weird not being able to turn on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I have fond memories arriving to my grandparent's house early Thanksgiving Day and laying on the floor watching the parade.  Then after awhile my aunts, uncles, and cousins would trickle in over the next few hours.  My grandparents would set a table so long it would stretch into the the living room.  Everyone had their "spot" at the table.  Lefties on the corner, highchair at the other corner, and the dog whining underneath at my grandmother's feet.  After dinner everyone would retire to the living room, every seat and floor spot taken.  We would visit or watch family film strips.  Then came time for dessert and coffee.  We would have an assortment of pies to pick from; pecan, apple, chocolate, and my all time favorite, pumpkin.  One of the cousins would "take orders" and pass out the pie pieces.  There were some great times shared around the table and in my grandparent's house.
Usually 15 or more people would sit around this table.
Sometimes card tables past their prime were brought in for the "kid's table".
Today was a lot different.  As the years are coming and going new traditions and changes are taking place.  Today my husband and I celebrated our first Thanksgiving married.  We were sad to not be with our family crowded around a big table, but did have an enjoyable experience just the two of us.  I started the baking and cooking at 1:00 p.m. with the traditional pumpkin pie.  I knew canned pumpkin was not available in Germany so I packed a can into my suitcase back in July.  When it comes to pie, I think ahead!  Grandpa would be proud.
My pumpkin pie brought all the way over the ocean.
After awhile Husband was able to come home from work.  Together we made homemade green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, veggies, and a well herbed turkey.  Initially we were concerned about being able to have an American traditional Thanksgiving meal but with some improvising everything worked out well when it came to finding the ingredients. We learned how simple it is to actually make homemade green bean casserole. Since french fried onions are not available here, we sauteed onion in oil until crispy. Cream of Mushroom soup comes in a packet in Germany so we created our own with onions, mushrooms, butter, flour, and milk.  It was good and just as easy as the common recipe.  
Just so my husband and I knew where to "sit" at our table for 2!
Both of us enjoyed talking for a few minutes to our families.  It is hard to be away from them but I know we are fortunate to have the new experiences here in Germany.  Someday we will go back to large family meals at the grandparent's house.  New additions will lay on the floor watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and I will be in the kitchen making the green bean casserole.  Today I'm thankful for family, past and present, near and far. 

Happy Thanksgiving! And Happy 80th Birthday Gpa!



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Homesick for...Kroger???


With Thanksgiving tomorrow, I felt this was an appropriate entry with all the grocery shopping everyone has been encountering this week. 

I loved Saturday mornings in Texas.  My body would wake up way too early so I would spend time at the kitchen table creating my weekly menu, going over the grocery list, and reviewing my coupon selection.  Then in jeans and a fleece, with hair in a ponytail, I would head to my local Kroger.  This became one of my favorite parts of the week.  The roads were bare, the day fresh, and the store not yet overcrowded.

At Kroger I would get my shopping cart, carefully buckle my purse into the baby seat, and place my coupon file on top.  Then I would stop at the Starbucks coffee stand for a warm treat.  With my white chocolate mocha in hand, I would leisurely stroll the aisles crossing off my listed items using my bold felt tip pen.  This was time for me to relax and practice my mad math teacher skills.  It was like a game. "How much can I save on this item?"

My favorite part at the end of the transaction was when I would hand over my stack, hopefully, of coupons.  If I saved at least $20, I considered the grocery trip a success.  I think my mom received a few bragging calls in such occasions!  Afterwards, I would make small talk as the bag boy helped me load my car.  I enjoyed the friendly service and my visits were usually quite pleasant.

Here in Germany, grocery shopping is a bit different of an experience.  It is more like a marathon or a fight between life and death.

I get anxiety when I am due for a shopping trip.  Having only one car I shop several times a week instead of once.  It is about a 10 minute walk to the store so I take only one reusable bag.  This prevents me from buying too many items to drag home.

There are two grocery stores that I usually shop at depending on what items are on my list.  Aldi is great for affordable produce, meats, and basic pantry items.  AEZ is where I purchase name brands and milk.  Before going to Aldi sometimes I feel like I should stretch my muscles.  It is always an intense experience.

Inside Aldi the aisles are over crowded with hurried people.  You better move it or lose it.  There is not a fancy coffee stand just loud noises of the rush.  Much like a french fry grease clogged artery, the floor is packed with staff stocking shelves and carts whizzing around pushed by mad housewives.  You can hardly get through the place.

The check out lanes always contain people backed up into the produce section.  If you aren't watching, an aggressive retiree will try to sneak their way in line after not so indiscreetly picking up an avocado.  On the conveyor belt I always organize my items heaviest to lightest.  Meats first, then cheeses, followed by produce, and finally breads last.  While standing next to the conveyor belt, I get my money ready.  Pulling out your wallet and counting money takes too much time.  I always slip my ready cash into my jacket pocket for quick access.  

When it is my turn to check out, I better be ready.  At lightening fast speed the checker girl will fling my items across the scanner.  There is no time to follow the rings ups to check for errors because you better be bagging.  The girl is always done ringing my food before I can shove it all into my bag.  Then she stares at me impatiently until I hand over my money.

Hoping the change is correct, I stuff it into my pocket and quickly move out of the way.  At the door I reorganize my bag of groceries, throw it over my shoulder, and head on the walk home.  In and out as quick as a flash.

WHEW!

Despite the differences in customer service, we are saving a lot more money on groceries here in Germany.

Estimated Weekly Grocery Costs:
Kroger: 80 dollars
Aldi: 30 euros which is about 40 dollars

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  




Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Shelby Saves the Day


Our dog Shelby has been in Germany for less than a week and already we have gotten our moneys worth. And it was not cheap to fly her internationally but that is another post some other time.
Last night we went to bed with Shelby resting on her pillow next to our bed.  In the middle of the night I was awoken by noise in our apartment. Shelby was pacing back and forth between our bedroom, the hallway, and the living room.  The clicking our her pawnails on the laminate floor was so consistent it woke me from my sleep. Curious to see why Shelby was pacing the floor I got out of bed. In the hallway I found our Shelby standing in the living room illuminated by a glowing light. Two feet away from her I saw a candle left burning.  Halfway melted and inches away from Halloween garland, I'm not sure this story would have had a good ending if Shelby had not been pacing.
I'm not sure if she really knew the danger or if it was coincidence I woke up.  Labs are very smart dogs. Shelby probably notices our nightly routines of going to bed. Either way I am so thankful she woke us up.
From now on I'm going to have to go back to leaving myself a "Candle Lit" Post-It in places I will be reminded; doorknobs, toothbrush, bathroom mirror, etc.
What do you think? Did Shelby wake us on purpose or was it mainly sleep-apnea?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Oktoberfest Review


This year Husband and I visited Oktoberfest three times. Each visit was completely different.
1st Visit- On opening day we arrived at the Weisen around 10 a.m. to watch the opening ceremonies and parade. We luckily had a front viewing spot next to the beer tent where the Mayor of Munich tapped the first keg. The parade was filled with several Bavarian marching bands, horses dressed in their finest bells and flower garlands pulling old fashioned wagons with barrels of wooden kegs (Is there really beer in them? Anyone?), and then there were decorative floats carrying the mass drinking beer maids. I learned a beer maid can make up to 30,000Euros in just the two weeks of Oktoberfest. These girls carry sometimes 8 or more liter glasses of beer at once. Talk about power lifting! During the parade it started raining and we knew there was no chance we would get into a beer tent Opening Day. These tables have been reserved since January. After the parade, wet and cold, Husband and I started heading towards the exit. On our way we saw a back alleyway beside a coffee stand. Much to our surprise we saw a cozy warm, most importantly, dry tent. Husband and I hurried in from the rain and grabbed a small table. And this is how an Irish Coffee became our first ever drink at the World's Largest Beer Festival.

2nd Visit- Later that night Husband and I headed back to the Weisen to see what a sight it would be brightly lit from the rides and attractions. Rows and rows of rainbow flashing, chasing lights advertised the bumper cars, roller coasters, and tiny tick shows. A very cool sight. The not cool sight were the men laying face down in the grass on "pass out hill". Cops shining strob lights in drunk peoples eyes and bright yellow strechers wheeling people out in the midst of alcohol poisoning was not the best second impression of Oktoberfest. The good thing is this whole scene is kept at back of the Weisen. We only saw this because we turned down the back road. The other thing that grossed me out was the amount of trash and broken glass out on the streets. They definitely needed more clean up staff sweeping the streets. Still no beer this visit, just a giant chocolate waffer ball.

3rd Visit- Husband and his colleague, Benny, took off Thursday afternoon. This is normal to take off half a day of work to visit Oktoberfest. The three of us headed to the Weisen in hopes of finally getting into a beer tent. Husband and I were excited to have a true Bavarian show us newbies the Oktoberfest ropes. We spent the afternoon in the Spaten tent near the center in close view of the traditional Bavarian band stand. For lunch I had 1/4 chicken, potatoes, and chicken broth soup. I washed it down with Radler. This is a mix of Oktoberfest beer and lemonade. Everything was delicious and our waitress was awesome. We were joined at the table by two Englishmen and a newly married couple both just finishing their medical residency in Detroit. They now are spending a year traveling the world before beginning in the workplace. The couple behind us were visitors from Houston. All around we were in great company talking and singing along to songs like Sweet Home Alabama and Sweet Caroline. It was an amazing great time. The best part was nobody ended up on Passout Hill or with their head in a can at the train station. Just a good o' time by all. Hopefully next year I will be properly dressed in the traditional dirndl dress and Hubby in lederhosen!

So who is coming to visit us next Oktoberfest?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall in Love


Don't you just love fall? The sound of leaves crushing beneath my feet is a soundtrack only perfect for the changing seasons. There is something about crunching leaves, crisp autumn air, and harvest stands bulging in deep oranges, reds, and yellows that make me homesick. I'm not talking about 21st Century homesick, but 2 decades ago homesick. Circa 1992 small town, brown Wal-Mart, sneaking my mother's not so secret stash of candycorn, homesick.

In September my mother would start helping my brother and I put together a homemade costume. One afternoon I would come home from school and she would surprise me with a costume piece perfectly stiched or sewn with loving hands. When the entire ensemble was completed it was so hard to wait for Halloween night. "You'll get it dirty, you have to wait." My mother would say. The entire house would fill with excitement when the day would finally come that I would get to wear my new costume. A few of my favorite costumes was a pale tulle princess skirt, an Indian dress (before we were politically correct), and the classic plump pumpkin complete with a stump topper.

Someday I hope to put the same type of creativity and dedication into my own children's Halloween costumes. I will probably be crushed the day they beg for the plastic ninja outfit hanging in our local Wal-Mart.
What is your favorite fall tradition or memory?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Bad "Bath" Shopping


Friday Husband and I went to Ikea. First we stopped in the cafeteria for caffeine. Husband got coffee and I got a cappuccino, twice! Whahaha what a rush! I also ordered an amazing marzipan dessert that was pink and called princess something or rather. If you go to Ikea look for the round pink cake and try it...

We walked around and picked up some things we needed. After looking at rugs I picked up a red braided one with various shades of lime, turquoise, orange, and purple.  At first Husband did not like it because it was too bright. Later on he saw the other bathmats and hated those as well. Me too. A little bit later we were back in the rug department and then Husband said "Do you still like this rug?" I said yes and then he replied "Yeah, I don't mind it actually." Yippee! He trusts my taste.

With the new rug we headed to the fabric and curtain department. There we, okay mainly I, picked out matching material for curtains that I plan to no sew. Husband stood back holding our goods. When I asked him "Do you like this material?" or "How about this one?" he gave me his opinion. In the end, it only took five minutes, we both agreed on a fabric that will coordinate well with the bright rug. At home I taped the material into the window to see how it all looks together.

The undersink cabinet and medicine mirror we bought used (looks brand new) from a wealthy family for 40E. We have to wait for the drill out of the crate to complete everything. The good news is our crate is in Hamburg, Germany. The bad news is we still have to wait one to two weeks for the German customs to look through everything.

When we do finally have our stuff, Husband has to put up an L Track on the ceiling to hold two shower curtains. We want to get red ones. There is just so much white in there with the tiled walls. Currently we flood the floor with showering a little bit each time.

I think the bathroom looks cheerful and that it is slowly coming along. We actually had a lot of fun at Ikea picking stuff out together. You just gotta feed a man coffee and dessert before you drag them around a store picking out textiles.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Zwei Monate "Two Months"


Today marks two months living in Germany. I miss blogging so much and hate typing on my phone so I'm going to keep this short.

Top 10 Highlights of Month 2:
10. Free bookshelves
9. Free washing machine
8. Free patio furniture
7.Scrapbooking class
6.Attending Oktoberfest
5. Hiking in the Alps
4. Picking out paint
3. Signing my teaching contract
2. Visiting Oberhausen
1. Moving into our own space

The crate should arrive in a week and a half. Our new kitchen is being installed Oct.4th-5th which means I will be baking Reece's Pieces Banana Bread Oct.6th! Our internet connection is at the mercy of the provider and is tbd. Another difference between the States and the German ways. Less than 3 months until we are back on the other side for Christmas!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Climbing to New Heights


It has been too long since I last wrote. We are in our new place but still without internet. However, I can wait no more so I am writing via smartphone. Ugh. This better be good...
This week I joined Husband on a business trip to escape the emptiness of our new unfurnished and plain apartment. We traveled 6 hours northwest to Oberhausen,Germany. It is currently known for being home to the largest mall in Germany but this story isn't about shopping. It's about gas. I am not talking about Husband's gas but natural gas. Back in the day Oberhausen was a major industrial city but that ended  a couple decades ago. The Number 1 recommendation according to TripAdvisor is a visit to The Gasometer. So while Husband sat in a training class, I set out for an adventure.
The Gasometer is a giant silo. It's tall cylinder shape used to be the largest holder of natural gas for many years. Nowdays the hollow inside has been transformed into a cultural museum. After opening the heavy thick metal door you step into a dark concrete ground floor level. A faint smell of natural gas carries into your nose but is unnoticeable by the second sniff. All around the circular room are giant photos lightly lit showcasing the wonders of the world. I wished several times my students could see the images of rock formations, the rainforest, and monarch butterflies. Walking up the industrial stairs leads you to the second floor with a vast amount of open air hundreds of feet up to the top dome. It took me a second to gather my bearings. Being among a dark space so wide and steep made my legs a little weak. More breathtaking images from the world a round filled the eery space. My favorite was a photo of The Waterfall House by Frank Lloyd Wright. The saddest display was a watch stopped by the atomic bomb. In the center of the room stood a giant lifesize rainforest tree sculpture lit up and synchronized to spa like music. The adventure of it all being the glass elevator running smoothly all the way up to the top of the silo. Riding up I could not even face the glass windows. I gripped the metal side with my sweaty, clammy hands. Another girl held her husband's bicep as we both exchanged nervous giggles. I definitely was practicing Lamaze breathing during the steep ride up.  Once we reached the top another set of industrial doors opened to the blue sky. Stepping outside of the Gasometer with just metal grating below my feet and seeing how far down the ground below was made my knees shake. After a minute adjusting to the daring heights, I climbed two staircases to reach the absolute top. Standing on top of the silo, the panoramic views of Oberhausen surrounded me hundreds of feet below. A walk a round made me satisfied that I had done something that scared me. Facing my fears, on the way back down the elevator, this time I looked out the glass again gripping the side. Afterwards I was glad that I forced myself to do something that made me nervous. I think today was definitely seized when for a few minutes I stood on top of the world.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Yarning for College Football


It's Saturday night and the Texas A&M football game is blaring in my ears.  We are halfway across the world and my husband has managed to pull up the game via online radio.  He was so determined to pull up the game that he did not even take up my offer to guinea pig the cookies I made tonight.  I had to lick the spoon all by myself!
 
When I took this picture of Husband his eyes were red and watery.  He denies crying but those eyes were definitely teared up missing Tailgate.
 
 
This afternoon was a lot of fun.  We drove to three different apartments answering adverts for furniture. 
 
Here is what we picked up:
-2 Ikea Rast dressers, 25Euros
We will use these as nightstands after I hack them of course!
-1 white Expedit shelf, FREE
This will go between the living room and eating area, more plans in the making for a hack
-3 Gorm shelves, FREE
Currently our closet is a shell so we will put the shelves along one side for shoe and bag storage
 
Total of $317.98 worth of furniture for 25Euros.  Not a bad deal! 
Look for future entries on my exciting upcoming IKEA Hacks!
 
***
Since my husband has been out of town working this past week and my job does not start until November 1st, I have had a lot of crafting time on my hands.  I have been making more yarn wreaths with hope of creating an Etsy shop sometime in the future.  Here is a past tutorial on how to make the following wreaths you see.
 
Fall
 Halloween
 Christmas
 Valentines <3
The Danger Zone 
 
It is hard having a husband who travels a lot. 
A girl has got to keep herself busy! 


Thursday, September 6, 2012

As Long As We've Got Eachother


Yesterday I blogged that we would be moving into our new apartment in 10 days.  Well...change of plans...We are moving in TWO days!  For the past month and a half Husband and I have been renting someone else's house while they are out of the country.  I found out the home owners will be back on Sunday night and so that means we've gotta go!  After a minor freak out the panic is over and we are now in survival mode with excitement for another adventure.

Now moving into our own place wouldn't be such a big deal EXCEPT we found out our crate is going to be 6 weeks later than planned!  Gulp.  We have no idea why, but for some reason our crate sat in the good O' USA for a month before taking the trek across the Atlantic. It will not arrive until mid October.  So...this weekend my husband and I will be moving into an empty apartment with just our six suitcases and a free bookshelf (look for an entry in the future on that one!).  It is time to get creative.

Here is what we have among our six suitcases:
-Summer clothes (It's already in the low 60s here.)
-Jewelry
-Shoes
-Curlers, curling iron, hair dryer all with American plugs
-About 8 read books, 10 read magazines
-CVS Pharmacy
-Yarn, hot glue gun, felt
-Two random kitchen towels
-Desktop computer (yes, we carried our pc through 4 airports and onto 3 planes)
-stowaway kitchen shears

We sound prepared right?  Well, you're forgetting that we have a month now in an empty apartment.

Here is what we DO NOT have among our six suitcases:
-Dishes
-Frying pan
-Kitchen knife
-Utensils
-Cups
-Bath towels
-Air Mattress
-Bed sheets
-Pillows
-Blankets

All things that we own, that we packed, that are in our crate, somewhere in the middle of the ocean!

When researching international moves never did I find a blog or article that explains to people how to be best prepared.  Husband and myself have failed as former members of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America.  So if you are moving internationally, listen up people, TAKE MY ADVICE!

Here is what to pack among six suitcases:
-Pack Suitcase 1 and Suitcase 2 with layering clothes as if you are going on a normal trip.

Wear, wash, repeat over and over again for however long it takes your crate to arrive
-Pack Suitcase 3 with all of your shoes you will need
Forget high heels and cute summer wedges they do not exist in cobble stone countries
-Pack Suitcase 4 with two bath towels, two face towels, bed sheets, blankets, pillows
Things are expensive over here without TJ Maxx, Ross, or Target to help you out...
-Pack Suitcase 5 with one pan, a knife, a few utensils
Who really wants to eat PB&J for a month?
-Pack Suitcase 6 with CVS or Walgreens whichever you prefer.
Benedryl and Neosporin are prescription in Germany and Tampax Pearl doesn't exist.

Looks like we will be doing some shopping this weekend but at least we will finally be in our own place.  The move is definitely going to make us feel more at home and it will be nice to not be surrounded by someone else's clutter.  It will be even better when our own clutter arrives.

Here are some pictures of what started out as organized packing:
The "Store" Pile
*Such a shame to see that beautiful C&B box in storage :-(
Over half of our wedding presents went into storage at least when
we get back to the States everything will be brand spanking new!
 
 The "CRATE" Pile
The mover dropped the box that had our two china sets inside.
The guy looked at Husband and asked: "Do you want to check nothin' broke?"
Husband replied: "You saw the redhead in there.  You better check that china."

 
The "Liposuction of the Closet" Pile
 
More of the "CRATE" Pile
Sure would be a shame if that A&M helmet fell off into the Atlantic...
 
Our Crate





Hopefully someday soon our crate will arrive here in Germany and we will rejoice loudly on the top of every hill in the State of Bavaria. Until then I'm just thankful I have my glue gun.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Maren's Dream Apartment


One of my favorite things to do as kid was to "play house". Now that I am a grown up, "house" is still one of my favorite things to do but now it is not just for play!
 
I remember asking a few holidays for a Barbie Dream Home but I never got one.  Looking back now I am thankful that my parents forced me to use my imagination even if that wasn't their original reasoning.  Not having a Barbie Dream Home did not stop me from playing "house".  Instead I would hunt down every pencil, marker, and pen in the entire house.  I then would sit on the floor in my bedroom and design floor plans.  Each wall was created by laying pencils one after the other.  The result would look something like a birds eye view of a floor plan.  After creating the perfect layout I would then set up and arrange my various pink plastic Barbie furniture pieces.  This would keep me busy for hours (or what felt like hours as a kid) rearranging, adjusting, moving pieces to the perfect spot.  Then when I was satisfied with the entire house, I would clean up not even interested in actually playing with the Barbie dolls.
 
This past Friday Husband and I signed our contract for our new apartment.  Perhaps in the future when things have settled down I will share the stressful process that is finding an apartment in Munich. (I've heard similar stories from people trying to rent in NYC...)
 
Husband, myself, and our 6 suitcases will be moving into the new apartment in 10 days.  Luckily, we get the keys this Friday!  This means I have all of next week to PAINT our new blank slate! Can you tell I am excited about this new project?
 
Since we are in Munich for the duration of the next 3 years and downsized into an apartment, we want to have fun with this space!  It is not our "forever" home.  We are on an adventure and that is the perfect theme for our living space. 
 
 Here is my inspiration picture:

I think this is a cheerful muted green that I would like to incorporate in our living space.  We will have a neutral couch, bright natural lighting, and similar wood floors.
 
Here are my virtual mock ups: 
(With the true windows and floors)
 
Picture 1- With green walls
 I'm looking for a light green with grey undertones not yellow.
 
Picture 2- With taupe walls
 Taupe without yellow undertones but more grey undertones.
 
These are not the best examples but I had so much fun playing "house" in real life!  What do you think?  Go green or Totally taupe?

 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ski Jumping Gives You Wings


If blogging were an Olympic sport, I'm not sure I would win the gold metal.  I want to get better at writing more often as I do have things to tell.  I simply do not have an excuse. (eh...shopping....crafting...reading...)
 
Speaking of the Olympics... Husband and I visited our second Olympic stadium this year.  The first stadium we visited back in August was Olympia Park, home of the 1972 Olympics held here in Munich.  I must confess, the purpose of that visit was to attend the flea market held in the parking lot.  In the end, the flea market turned out to be a bust but we have decided sometime in the future we want to take a tour of Olympia Park.  It has some pretty amazing architectural features.
 
This past Saturday we drove an hour south into the start of the Alps.  We spent the day in Garmisch-Partenkirchen which is a highly tourist area come ski season.  It is here in the mountains that the 1936 Winter Olympics were held.  Husband and I spent the later part of the afternoon hiking up a mountain, 216 steps each way, towards the top of the Olympic Ski Jump.
 
It is astonishing to see a ski jump in person.  When someone wants to learn to fly, ski jumping is probably the sport for them.  After Husband and I climbed to the top of the slope we already were feeling how high up we were from the ground.  We weren't even at the furthest top point of the entire ski jump!  Neither one of us stood too close to the dainty red rope because when you can't see over the edge of something, you just know it is a straight shot down.  This was not the kind of green hill you want to roll down as if you are at recess back  in 3rd grade.
 
The Olympic Ski Jump was renovated back in 2007 to provide a more challengingly, gravity defying jump.  I hope that sometime during our stay in Germany Husband and I will get to attend a ski jump event.  Just seeing how steep and high the jump is up the mountain makes me want to watch in amazement as someone takes that leap of faith.
 
Here are some photos from the Olympic Ski Jump:
Check out where we climbed
Inside the stadium 
About halfway to the top of the slope
Halfway to the top of the slope
The top of the slope and the red rope "holding" you back 
Husband already gave me two rings and yet.... 
 The top of the ski jump taken from the top of the slope
 Pretty crazy huh?
Beyond that walkway is the top of the slope
 
Huband checking out the view 
And some people are afraid of slides...
 
Below the mountain there was a roaring river
 
Lots of people out hiking the mountain 
 
And because I like to post videos...Here is ski jumping in this stadium:
 
 
Who's coming skiing? When I say skiing, I really mean hot tubing...


Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Past is in the Current


*The following information in this blog entry is based off of other people's opinions and the information may not be 100% accurate.  In other words...I'm not BBC.

This past Monday took an eventful turn for some construction workers in one of Munich's most exclusive neighborhoods.  While digging in a construction site one of the workers located a 250 kg American bomb left from World War II.  Apparently, finding bombs buried underground is not uncommon throughout Germany.  They find British and American bombs every few months.  In fact, the last time another bomb was found in Munich was at the end of June when Husband and I were here visiting.  So just in two months two bombs have been found.  Though they say this happens every so often and most Germans are used to it, Husband and I are not.  Reading about what happened 6 decades ago in a textbook is one thing but then seeing a glimpse of the past really opened my eyes.

So what does someone do when they locate a bomb you might ask?

Well, first the police completely shut down the immediate area and evacuated residents.  People had to find accommodations Monday night and some were not even allowed to return home on Tuesday.  Then two specialist and a dog were flown in from somewhere else in Germany to try to defuse the bomb.  It took a while to get them to Munich and they did not arrive until Tuesday.  The last time this type of bomb was located was 25 years ago.  Unfortunately, they were unable to successfully use the method of defusing because it was a chemical fuse which are tricky.  (This is all foreign to me)  I have heard that there are some bombs that are "peacefully" resting left alone, others that are defused, and some that are taken out to the country to be let go.  I've heard before you build a home or what not in Germany you have to have the land checked. 

Since the specialist were unable to defuse this bomb and it was too risky to take it to the country the men decided it would have to be set off in the city.  The surrounding radius of 1 km was evacuated, roads closed, and the trains shut down.  Trailers full of hay and sand bags were brought in to "hush" the bomb.  They set the bomb off in the mid afternoon and it was pretty well contained.  There are a few buildings with broken windows up and down the blocks next to the site.  Three stores down from the bomb site did engulf in flames and was a complete loss.  Windows, walls, and buildings can be replaced but the best news is that nobody was hurt.

Experts estimate there are still 100,000 bombs still unaccounted for left over from World War II.  They believe over the last 67 years some 368,500 bombs have been defused. 

Seeing the news, the videos, and knowing that Husband and I just walked down this block a few weekends ago really makes the past seem so real.  It is astonishing that a couple of generations later we are still picking up the pieces left behind so long ago.  We shouldn't completely forget the past because it allows us to not take for granted where we are now.  


Here are some pictures from the event:  The first four photos were taken off of http://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=269937
The bomb sticking up out of the ground to the right of the man.
 
 1 in every 8 bombs dropped did not go off. 
They think this bomb probably bounced a few meters before coming to a rest.
Trailers of hay and the blocked streets
 
The area evacuated.
This is right near the English Garden.
 
 A local department store window
 Two days later the area is still secured
 Lots of people stopping by to see
 To the right of the yellow building is the construction site.
You can see the burned store front and apartments.
The police protecting the area
Video of the explosion
 
 Thanks to all the men and women who keep us all safe!