Out of the Office…

I don’t know when I have been so busy before.  Travel, house guests, home projects and work to name a few.  I thought it was high time I finally take some time to write this post for you.

There is no better way to say it other than… I will be Out of the Office for a while.  I have quite a bit of local and not so local travel planned and big trip too.  House guests in between.  It is a busy time for us and I feel so blessed.

I still have a delicious cake recipe to share with you from the Betty Crocker Cookbook, travel tips and a trip to the Northern Part of Germany.  Later this week I will be visiting a country I have never been to before.  Very excited for that!  Then soon, some International travel which includes yet another place I have never visited before.

This year I have gone back to journaling while traveling.  Something my Dad taught me to do as a child and of course something I did not continue doing as I grew older, unfortunately.  What a great way to save experiences as they happen and reminisce about special places.

I love taking a camera and a small journal with me lately to capture those special moments and places.

With that said, I don’t want to throw a quick post up sporadically.  I have great plans for this little space of mine on the Internet and will be back in December, ready to put those plans to fruition  and blog regularly.

Until then…

xo

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Fresh from the farm – a day in the life

Standard items on our grocery list are milk, butter, bread and eggs.  I thought today I would share our preferred way to pick up these items.

Now, we don’t do this often in the winter months as it is a 3.5 kilometer bike ride each way, but for the next three seasons we enjoy doing this.

My bike basket full of freshness from the farm & bakery.

Yes, you read that right, I bike for those four items because they are fresh from the farm.  With the exception of the bread, this time we stopped at a bakery on the way home.  You have to get there very early in the morning if you want to get any of the fresh-baked bread.

It doesn’t cost much more than going to the store.  The exception is the eggs were picked fresh that morning, the cows were milked then too.  The butter is homemade. The difference in taste is very noticeable.  I figure even with the extra fat in the milk, it is healthier for you.  On a side note, we do pasteurize the milk at home.  It is such an easy process, I don’t even have to think about it anymore.  Although, many of the people I know do not do this and they haven’t had any issues.

Here is a look at the butter.

Just simple and quite old-fashioned.

We usually ride out on saturday mornings to the farm.   The ride is so relaxing as half of the way is along the Danube River.

Just another day in our life … in Bavaria.

 

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Over before it really began – MSL

It was only two weeks ago, during a layover at the train station in Frankfurt to be more exact.  To kill some time, we took a stroll through the book store.  Large train stations have amazing bookstores.  I like to peruse the magazines to see if I can find the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine in the International section.  This time, I did not find it in english but in german!  As one who channels Martha at times, you can magine my surprise!  I was so excited and let out a little “woo hoo”!  I did get a few stares but I didn’t care.  I almost ran to the other side of the store to show my husband what I stumbled upon.

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I did not care that it was in german, even though my german is not really fluent.  I thought this would be a great way to improve my language skills too as well as get my monthly Martha Stewart fix in paper!

Unfortunately, my excitement was short-lived.  While happily reading my find, I flipped to the last page.  Well, my husband did and handed the magazine back to me.  Auf Wiedersehen… WHAT!??!! No way!

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I did not even know the magazine was being circulated over here until the last issue.  😦  This is the one magazine I would love to receive as it unfortunately does not deliver overseas.  I didn’t even care if I had to read it in german.  To have a family member send one to me, the postage is $20.00.  I’m not that desperate!  Am I?

I never saw an issue on the newstand here but then again, I do live in a very, very small city.

At least I can find her on the net but…. it is just not quite the same as sitting down with a cup of coffee or tea, curled up in my favorite chair and losing myself in an issue of Martha Stewart Living.

Auf Wiedersehen….

 

 

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Turning loneliness into healing solitude

737Loneliness is something that many deal with, especially those that live in different countries, cities or states, far away from their loved ones.  I suffer from this too at times.  Happily, it is much less now.   Sometimes it is just hard to tone the thoughts down when you are by yourself.  The past is what creeps up often for me.  The good living in the eighties,  my childhood, all those mistakes I made in my first marriage.  How things used to be during the happy and not so happy times.  Once those memories start bombarding your thoughts, it can be hard to make them stop, but you have to.  The past is just that.  The past.  Even though it may have some bearing on where you are now in life, it is over.  It has to be let go of.  The time is now to be who you truly are and be present in everyday life.   Once we stop dwelling on things we just can’t change, the loneliness tends to diminish.

One misconception I find is knowing the difference between solitude and loneliness.  Just because a person may spend time by themselves or isolated even, doesn’t mean they are lonely.  I enjoy quiet moments.  Especially out in nature.  I have a few favorite places to walk to and take in my surroundings and just breathe and let my negative thoughts fly away in the breeze.  I used to think  in those times when I was feeling a bit down and missing my kids and parts of my former way of life that I should make myself busy.  This would actually make me feel worse.  When I stopped  ” being busy”,  the feeling of loneliness was even more overwhelming.

Now, when I start to get that sinking feeling, I find gratitude in my life.  Thank God or the universe for things, moments and people I am grateful for.   I stop to smell the roses, if you will.  If I feel like crying, I just cry now.  Not because I feel sorry for myself but it is a way to cleanse your soul.

I like to take in my surroundings wether it be the warmth of the sunshine, or the calming sound of rain falling, the song from a bird.  Even the noises of the traffic passing by can be soothing or the chatter of the kids walking home from school.  Wherever you are there will be some sound or smell even that will be soothing.

Though some of my days are long and I am by myself, I am not so lonely.  I have routines, projects, work and friends, yes.  When I think of a memory  now, it is one that puts a smile on my face. I have made a habit of  taking time to enjoy a bit of solitude and just be present in the moment.  I realize that I have always done this, even when my kids were young.  I found a time, early in the morning before anyone one was awake, to just sit in solitude with a cup of coffee and just be present in the moment.  Feeling the wamth of the cup in my hands, breathing in its fresh aroma.  No distractions.  Simply, being.

If you turn that feeling of loneliness or sadness into a moment of being present and grateful  in solitude it can be life changing.

 

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Six years ago today…

…I packed up my whole life into 2 suitcases, a hockey equipment bag and 2 small boxes and moved to Germany.  Newly married and having no knowledge of the German language let alone the dialect used in my new hometown.

734I left sunny Detroit, a city I still love, to live in  sunny Germany, Bavaria to be exact.  It was love at first sight.  My “new downtown” area reminded me of Cinderella’s castle.   It seemed so relaxed and quiet and so “old-world.”039-2

I don’t think I suffered from too much culture shock as I was groomed at a young age to live abroad.  Who knew then that living overseas for 3 1/2 years in the seventies & eighties would have helped prepare me for the challenges that lay ahead in my life.  I am so thankful for that time, it truly made things a little bit easier.

On the other hand, some changes weren’t so easy.  A lifestyle without a car, dryer, Tylenol, Farenheit, Imperial measuring system (ex. ounces & gallons), TV in English,  A/C, ranch dressing or Cheese-It crackers, to name a few.  No family or friends, no job and the realization that English is not spoken or known even world-wide.  What in the world was I doing here.  Can true love be that strong to get me through the challenges I now faced?

Thankfully, my husband was so patient, caring, loving and helped me along the way.  Not only introducing me to his own culture and the “how-to’s” but to new and beautiful cities throughout Europe.  Also he showed me a simpler lifestyle which I find to be very satisfying now.  He is my best friend and I love him more than I ever thought it was possible to love another.

Now, I don’t think of my life as different, but normal.  I finally have accepted that things are different.  We celebrate not only German but the American holidays that I love.  I have learned to re-create my favorite American foods as well as make his favorite German dishes.

My language skills? Yes, I feel I can finally say that I speak German.  I can go to the doctor and dentist by myself.  Pick out a cut of meat at the deli area in a market.  Order a meal in a restaurant and discuss shoes with a saleslady.  I can watch a movie in German but…. the thought of an actor like Brad Pitt not speaking English, I have a hard time wrapping my head around.  Writing German is a whole other subject which I don’t do well…yet.

I feel settled now, it took a long time.  Even though, it is a harder lifestyle and takes more effort than life in America, I am happy.  I have learned so many important life lessons along the way.  I have been asked by many if we plan on moving back to America.  Of course, I would like to, I think my husband wouldn’t mind either.  But jobs and health insurance are the deciding factors which at this time don’t seem a possibility there.  I don’t know if I am ready to go back to that fast paced lifestyle and Iphones quite yet.

For now I will just live in the present moment, happily and proudly as a stay-at-home wife.  Enjoying every new day with my soul mate, living the Bavarian life with a touch of American flair.

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Supposedly… I have an accent.

It is just as the title suggests.  Supposedly, I have an accent, which I should have realized being an American living in a foreign country but…. let me start at the beginning of this short story.  Yesterday, as I was walking to the market, I passed an elderly woman on the sidewalk and smiled and said Good Morning.  Because the sidewalk was so narrow I stepped of the curb to give her space as she was using a cane. (Don’t worry, there is never any traffic on this particular street!)  She greeted me as well and smiled and thanked me saying her eyesight is not what it used to be.  I replied back and we shared a few pleasantries.  Then, she asked me if I was from Russia.  Supposedly, I speak German with a Russian accent.  She was so surprised when I told her that I came from America.  She isn’t the first person either who couldn’t place where I was from when speaking in German.

I honestly never think about accents.  When I was visiting Stateside last April, my Mom and I were out at a favorite restaurant of hers for lunch and the waitress came over and said, “I remember you, you’re Moms daughter and you have that nice husband with the cool accent”.    I looked at my mom and asked, does he have an accent?   She said, Oh yes.   Funny as I don’t hear it when he speaks English.

So that is my short and spontaneous post for today, it still kind of blows my mind that a local woman, who actually came to Germany from Russia thirty years ago, thought I was from her country as well.

Have a wonderful weekend & I will catch up with you next week!

xo

Did you get the memo?

Hi!  I can’t help it, not only is my favorite tv show The Office, one of my all-time favorite movies is Office Space.  I guess I have a thing for shows in office settings.  But really, both are so funny and entertaining!

As I was getting things together today for some upcoming travels, I realized I need to get a bit more organized with blogging.  Of course, this movie clip came to mind and I thought I should send y’all a memo of sorts.

I am probably one of the few who do not take a laptop,  tablet or smart phone even, along when I travel. (I don’t even have internet on my phone.)   I just take a camera.  Remember those?  Anyways I will be mia for a week or so taking photos and having experiences which I will be sure to blog about.

Blogging here is still a bit new and I have so much more to learn.  Writing a post is the easy part, it’s just all of the other things that go along with it.  I am not very technically savvy I have realized.  Also, everything comes up in German and this is one language that doesn’t always have an English translation.  I know quite a bit German but things just seem to take longer for me to figure out online.  Even my keyboard is different. When you are used to typing about 78 wpm in America, well…you can see the adjustment.  No more qwerty keyboard but a qwertz.

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Next time, I am sure I will be a bit more organized and have regular posts ready to go when I am “out of the office”.   Maybe one day in the future I will even be connected when out-of-town but for now, nope.   Just being in the moment, making memories with my husband, is something that I treasure without distractions.

I am curious if others travel without electronics?

Be back soon!

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Getting over the culture shock – thinking positively.

honeymoon-2011-012The first thing that most people do when moving to a new country is make comparisons and of course imply that their way of doing things or products they use are better.  Yes, I have been known to say the common phrase”that’s not how we do it in the U.S.!”, or “I can buy that in the U.S., why don’t they sell that here?!”  Let me share a few example’s of phrases that have come out of my mouth.

  • “You want me walk to the grocery store? How am I going to get the groceries home?”
  • “Why aren’t there coupons in the paper, how on earth am I going to save money?”
  • “What do you mean they don’t sell Revlon makeup here or Secret deoderant?! I won’t survive!”
  • “No, seriously, will that refrigerator get bigger when it grows up?”
  • “Thats not funny!  They really don’t pick up the trash every week?”
  • “What do you mean I can’t throw it away? Now you tell me I have to carry every plastic container to a recycling center and its’ HOW many Kilometers away? Can you translate that into Miles please?”
  • “I’d like a side of Ranch please.” My husband than telling me they don’t have Ranch dressing here.. not even at Mc Donalds!
  • “What does that mean?  28 degrees?  It’s going to be really cold…wait, it’s summertime!”
  • “The recipe call for 150 grams of butter, how much is that? and “I need to use a stick of butter, how many grams is that?”
  • “OMG, she wore that yesterday!”
  • “Does anyone speak English here?”
  • “What is the German word for…. & how do I say that in German?”
  • “What do you mean there is no English translation?”
  • “What do you mean we have to spend 5 euros on a garbage bag to set at the curb?”
  • “Look at that, that lady is on her bike, with groceries in a basket and its like 30 degrees out (farenheit) and she’s like 80!”
  • “I have to walk how far to mail a letter and then I have to speak in German?”
  • “Just call the guy to fix it.”
  • “No, I am not hard of hearing… I just asked you to repeat what you said because I did not quite understand your German.”
  • “Where is the elevator?”
  • “What do you mean we can’t cut the grass today, it’s Sunday.”
  • “What did they say?” (the most popular phrase I say to my husband, when someone talks to me in German, even now at times.)

It was a shock when I first came here, but then I started to live this way of life and it works.  Everything is smaller and metric and just because rules are different does not mean its a bad way to do something.  Less is so much more here and that is something I needed to change in my life.

Now when I travel to the U.S. to visit, I find I suffer from a bit of reverse culture shock.  I never thought that would happen.  I admit, this past April I actually had a panic attack walking into Krogers to grocery shop.  It was so overwhelming!

I embrace both cultures and look at the positive aspects of what both have to offer.  I no longer make rude remarks or comparisons.  I find myself much calmer and happier even.  The diversity of other countries and cultures is what makes our world so unique. I think people should try to travel and experience other cultures.  It broadens our thinking, understanding and acceptance of those who may seem different from us.  It can also cause us to take a look into ourselves as well.

Finally, I have learned to just enjoy and embrace the culture of where I am at that moment.  Just because I might do things in a different way does not mean their way of life is wrong, it’s just different.  A bit of diversity is definitely a good thing.


Coming soon…. Lookbook Brugge, Belgium

                               Oh No – my Lipstick!

                                Devils Food Cake with Buttercream Frosting – Sinfully Delicious.


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