Coffee Chat: Dealing with Time Zones and Jet Lag

Happily…. I am back or am I?  Haha.  I just have two words for you.  “Jet Lag.”  I know better too.  I learned  from a few decades  of travel how to deal with jet lag, but did I follow my own advice this time?  Nope!  I gave in to that sweet temptation after being awake for over 24 hours  of travel and fell into an incoherent sleep too soon after arriving home.

I find, the best thing to do is not to go to sleep until your regular bedtime.  This really does work.  As hard as it is to not fall into an exhausted heap when you walk through your door.  Don’t do it!.

Of course, quality time with Kitty comes first.  Then the phone calls to let loved ones know that we arrived safely.  Next, I usually have a dinner ready to heat up.  Then comes that urge to sleep.  I work through that by cleaning up the kitchen and immediately unpacking.  By then you usually find a second wind and I personally, do not want to wake up to tripping over open suitcases on the floor and sleepily digging around to find my toothbrush or hairdryer.

Once, the unpacking is done, and items are in their right place. It is finally getting close to bedtime.  Time to take a hot shower to get rid of two days of travel grime, a hot cup of tea and finally…. the welcoming feeling of being back in your own bed.  Slumber time.

That is how I normally deal with international travel and it works when I actually do it.  I would love to know if you have a secret for dealing with  jet lag when travelling in different time zones.

It’s good to be back.  There is so much to catch up with.   So much I want to share and of course am very excited to get to our Christkindlemarkt, cookies to bake, parties to attend and my favorite thing to do, decorate our home for Christmas.    I think next time I may need to plan a bit better if we travel so close to this Holiday.

 

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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

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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Cilantro & Coriander – spice talk

Sometimes it is a daunting task to find spices you have always used in cooking when living in another Country. For me personally, it includes many other ingredients too.  Although today, I wanted to share this little bit of information I never knew but quite possibly you already know this.

Earlier in the week, when having coffee with friends we got on the topic of Cilantro. It does not seem to be attainable here in Germany but I had heard that Coriander (Koriander in German) could be used as a substitute.I never questioned why but finally my curiosity got the best of me so I did some research into these spices.  The same thing? Different? Am I the only one who never knew?

Cilantro/Coriander leaves – Image from Wikipedia.org

It turns out it is the same herb. Depending on what region of the world you live in, the name varies. Not to add confusion but Chinese Parsley is also the same as Cilantro or Coriander. To me this spice has a wonderful refreshing aroma, like lime and mint.

I have only used Cilantro (Coriander) in the dried version for seasoning in Mexican cooking. I never realised how many uses there are across the world for this herb. In India, it is used to aid in digestion. In the Middle East, it is used to help with insomnia. Back to cooking though, It seems to be a herb that is trending lately.

I believe I may be venturing into learning more about cooking with and using Coriander as the seasons change into spring. Although, it does seem like a summer spice to me.  Not that spices have seasons, or do they?

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Quick chocolate chip muffins

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Tuesday evening, I was talking to a friend an invited her over the next morning for coffee, a good “natter” as she calls it.  Translated, that means coffee & chatting with friends, about anything or everything.  I didn’t give much thought to what little thing I would bake to go with the coffee till later that evening.  There was a honey muffin recipe I wanted to try that I found in an old vintage cookbook.  Yup… I tried it and it was a total flop!

While I was washing up the dishes I was trying to figure out what I could bake with the ingredients I had on had.  The stores were closed by now (yes everything closes by 8 pm during the week).  Even if they were open the temperature was -14 Celsius, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about bundling up and heading out on foot, in the cold in the dark to buy butter and more eggs.

My last-minute solution is always to run to the bakery on the corner first thing in the morning and pick up a delectable treat but of course I had to stay home to wait on a delivery.   Isn’t it always something?

The next morning came, and I still did not have an idea of what I could bake.  I really need to go shopping and replenish a few items in my pantry too.  My mess of recipes had failed me so I headed over to google and typed, muffins, easy, few ingredients and voila!  There it was!  The recipe that I would bake.   Allrecipes has saved my coffee chat!  I only had 2 hours now.  The only ingredients I altered was the last part.  The recipe says to sprinkle a mix of brown sugar and sugar to the top of the muffins.  Since the brown sugar available in Europe is a slightly different consistency than in America, I just stuck with the brown sugar.

The muffins were really moist and delicious.  I nice accompaniment to coffee.  Here is the link to the recipe.

I will definitely be adding this muffin recipe to my recipe box/binder/folder, which ever way I come up with to organize them.

So… we went on to enjoy a good “natter”,  as they say in England.

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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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