Settling Back In To America

It’s been a minute since I actually found some time to sit down and write. Toblerone and I have been slowly re-acclimating to all things American and the process has been fun so far!

We no longer are in the company apartment (THANK THE LAWD!), purchased a new home, and moved in! Everything happened so fast – literally 2 weeks time. Check out our new digs:

home

 

The neighborhood we are in looks like Wisteria Lane (for you Desperate Housewives fans).  The people wave and are friendly and our direct neighbors are just incredible. It makes the world of difference to just feel like we would have someone to help us if something was wrong. In Germany, the neighbors wouldn’t even return a “Good Morning” until after 3 years! It was crazy.

I’ve already stored our Thanksgiving turkey in someone’s freezer while we waited for our fridge to arrive, and another one brought over her carbon monoxide detector after she learned we were having potential issues with our fireplace. We also got a quick visit and a bottle of wine on Thanksgiving from our other neighbors. I mean, where am I? Oh yeah…America! 🙂 But seriously, Michiganians (say that ten times fast!) are reallllllllllly nice people. We got so lucky!

I worked frantically to get two of the guest bedrooms finished for our very special guests (THE PARENTS!) I learned I forgot how to paint on walls here in the US so that took me a little bit longer than I expected! But they are mostly done. Need a few more things like end tables for one room and more pictures for both, etc. But we are ready for unexpected and expected guests alike!

gstrm1

gstrm2

 

Thanksgiving was great! My parents and Toblerone’s mom came to visit us and we had a small yet very festive Turkey Day! It was so fun to host my first Thanksgiving here in the states in our new home. I wish the entire family could have been with us but some year we will host everyone. This was definitely a scale down from doing it in Germany for 15+ people!

10384915_10154888529055593_2621778915003588264_n

We went to a Christmas tree farm with my parents in search of the perfect tree. As you know, previously, my experience with Christmas trees wasn’t exactly easy for me to adjust to! At the farm we went to we didn’t bring any cameras, just our memories and it was the greatest memory I’ve had in a long time!

We put the tree together and it was really wonderful to have our parents here to be apart of the first Xmas in Michigan.

10351387_10154894173040593_2317479594810055511_n

Harley is adjusting and after going through a little bit of Reactivity (Fear Aggression) from being in a completely new place, he is finally starting to be more like himself.  We are all adjusting just fine and although we miss parts of Germany, I think we are happy where we are in this moment. We are where we are supposed to be. Which reminds me of my favorite quote from Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata”

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

The universe is unfolding as it should…profound if you can just believe it and let it.

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

 

 

 

Our Christmas Break In The US

We’ve made it back to Germany after spending 2 weeks in the US with family. It was INCREDIBLE! I don’t know what was so different this time but for some reason I was way more relaxed and not so stressed out. I was feeling like I had seen everyone enough and wasn’t rushing around trying to get things done like I usually am. I sort of just let it all happen the way it should. Maybe that is my queue to stop being such a organized snob and live a little bit more spontaneous like I used to do many moons ago!

Our trip was packed full of fun things! Even a surprise bridal shower for me!!! Naturally, I didn’t know about it so I didn’t bring the camera. Sadly, I don’t have many pictures to document it but I promise, it really happened!! It was great to have a few of my favorite people in one place. I felt like a princess!
1525255_10202910838236056_459241690_n

Christmas is for me the best when I am at home with my mom. I never want to have Christmas anywhere else. She just makes everything feel so homey and she’s the best gift giver!!

Christmas morning...or...afternoon actually!

Christmas morning…or…afternoon actually!

My stocking contents! Santa knows me well!

My stocking contents! Santa knows me well!

Tobes got Cape Cod Beer Tap Markers!

Tobes got Cape Cod Beer Tap Markers!

Hanging out in my penguin onesie!

Hanging out in my penguin onesie!

Entering nostalgia land, we went to see the Lights on the Lake (bunch of Christmas lights set up on a drive through portion of a park. Beautiful!) And it’s still as exciting as it was when I was a little girl.
232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv86;8=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-883--563239ot1lsi

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv;984=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-883-6576239ot1lsi

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv9-6-=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-883--556239ot1lsi

And mom got us all tickets to see DISNEY ON ICE!!!!! Freak out moment! I was so excited I wanted to curl up and cry! I used to LOVE going to see the Ice Capades when I was a little girl and I got to go again!

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv8;8-=ot-2-88=4-5=-;6=39974-5;-532-nu0mrj

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv-5;9=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-883--566239ot1lsi

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv39;;=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-883-65-5239ot1lsi

1517620_10201319893298733_528329432_n

We spent New Years at home drinking adult Rootbeer floats and playing monopoly which ended up being a great idea!
996086_10201307644792528_247354235_n

And Toblerone got to hang out in the jacuzzi (just like home) and played soccer where the dude literally was smiling non-stop for 2 hours. Something I have never seen him do when he plays soccer in Germany. It was so sweet!
232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv;694=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-883-6555239ot1lsi

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv533-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=399749747332-nu0mrj

All in all, we had a blast! We made a pact that we would fill each day with things to do no matter how minor and we did just that! I hope you all had a great Holiday season and your New Year is off to a great start 🙂

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

The Christmas Museum

Going back to our little trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber since the snow is falling today and it’s just so incredibly Christmas-y feeling here, I wanted to share with you the Christmas museum we went to.

1

First of all, you will have to excuse some of the pictures which were taken with the iPhone. They don’t really like pictures to be taken so I was careful about it!

4

3

2

The museum starts from the origin of Christmas and gives a beautiful walk through the history of ornaments and decorating. Literally everything to do with Christmas is shown from the tree stands to the tree topper. I loved that they showed how over time the material used for ornaments changed with time. Some really beautiful things to see.
8

5

For those of you who don’t know…Christmas trees were first recorded here in Germany. That makes it extra special! In fact, the trees weren’t popular in the US until around the year 1850 or so. Germans sent the trees to relatives and to German soldiers around the world and this is how it came to be that many homes all over the world celebrate with a Christmas tree in their homes. And as the trees in homes began to pick up speed, the rich people had a tree for each person in the family. So having 5 trees up in your living room wasn’t unusual. Spoiled rotten….But maybe they were on to something! They decorated them with oranges, apples, breads, and cookies and the Children would help themselves to it whenever they wanted.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv--99=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-6-4-3424239ot1lsi

13

12

6

7

11

The Angel tree toppers have been made in the Nuremberg area for the past 300 years and legend has it that the angels were made by the doll maker in memory of his daughter who passed away.
14

Once the museum was over, it leads you right into a massive Christmas shop with thousands of over priced ornaments and decorations. (No pictures were allowed in here either…boring.) Really beautiful things but I wouldn’t dare pay 13 Euro for a small ornament. Not in this lifetime. But it was beautiful to see nonetheless and to see all the unusual decorations. I was searching for a typical German ornament but sadly no luck!

10

9

It was just so beautiful everywhere in there and it really helped to throw us right into the Christmas spirit!

Until next time, Readers!! xoxoxo

The Most Gorgeous Town In Germany

Now and again I browse through my travel board on Pinterest and I come across pictures of places that I know must be in the area. The greatest part about where I live, I’m surrounded by Switzerland, France, and Austria. Literally, just a short drive away. Ahhh the greatness of being an expat! One of the pictures that recently caught my eye was of a town called Rothenburg ob der Tauber:
89242693c8674df5043a679b67e61e00

I did a little more research and found out it was a touristy area but for many reasons. I usually try to avoid those type of places but there was so much about this place that was drawing me in. Documents date back to the year 950 for this town which is just mind blowing! There is a town wall that goes around the entire village which makes you feel like you’re going back in time.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv6479=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-6-836487239ot1lsi

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv43-6=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-6-7-7;4;239ot1lsi

This town has incredible museums which Toblerone and I loved! We started off at the Christmas Museum made our way to the Medieval Museum, and ended with the Doll & Toy museum. Because I loved these places so much and I took so many pictures, I decided to split this blog up a bit. So today, I’m sharing with you just the quaint little town.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv5556=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-6-836485239ot1lsi

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv945-=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-6-546-94239ot1lsi

Thanks to our good friend wikipedia.org I learned this town has been the stage for many movies such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Part 2. I mean, walking through this place felt like I was walking through a movie. Or another time. It just didn’t feel real.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv;-4-=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-6-4-8448239ot1lsi

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv;359=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-6-4-2423239ot1lsi

I’m not sure where these little balls of joy came about but the Schneeballchen (snow balls) are special for this area. I wanted to say they were like fried dough but it’s more like a fortune cookie in a giant ball of yarn form. Toblerone got a nuss-nougat and I a chocolate filled one. Nothing to be excited about. I would never get them again and I think that’s the consensus from most that have tried them.

schnee

image
image (1)

There were souvenir shops all over the place selling over priced Christmas decorations,ornaments, and of course beer steins. Cute to see but nothing I would be willing to open my wallet for! But pass the tourists, through the streets of quaint little shops came suddenly the place I was searching for. The reason I drove over 200 kilometers. The house from the picture. Sadly it was a cold, gray day but nonetheless. Still really cool to see. One of those moments you say to yourself, “check!”

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv9;77=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-6-546-8;239ot1lsi

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv672-=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-6-554664239ot1lsi

This place was very quickly made my top favorite town in Germany. There is more history than I can even wrap my head around and full of Christmas shops which are open year round. I found my heaven at last!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxo

I Live In A Place That…(Part Two)

As promised there is definitely a part two of the “I live in a place that…” posts. Just too much to share in one post! If you missed Part One please click here. Let’s get this party started!

I Live In A Place That…

…Snorts tobacco up their noses.
Snuff tobacco is huge here. This isn’t like chewing tobacco which is stringy. Snuff is a very fine powder, usually with a menthol smell to it. You take this stuff and snort it up your nose. You can take it in between your fingers and shove it up your nose as you sniff it up or you can put it on your hand and run your nose across your hand while snorting.pb-120708-snuff-jb-02.photoblog900
Here in Germany it’s whatever but when Toblerone takes a sniff of the stuff when we’re in the US it looks like he’s doing cocaine in public places! I’m always a little embarrassed and rush him to finish it up, lol. I mean, it’s not every day you see someone snorting something up their nose! There are actual snuff-sniffing competitions in Germany. The contest is similar to eating hot dogs but they are giving 60 seconds and a 5 gram snuff container. Whoever consumes the most and has the cleanest nose wins! Fantastic! You can see more pictures from this competition here.

…Christmas time traditions include singing with your family around a Charlie Brown tree.
Charlie brown trees are really the only ones they have. There are no full trees like we have in the US which was a GIANT punch in the throat when I had my first Christmas here. Almost shipped myself back home!

This was the shock shown round the world...

This was the shock shown round the world…

And Christmas morning. Did as best as I could decorating that thing!

And Christmas morning. Did as best as I could decorating that thing!

I can’t speak for all German families but for Toblerone’s they gather at his Omi’s house and light the candles that are placed around the tree (charlie brown tree is good for this massive fire hazzard) and sing German Christmas songs. It’s actually really sweet and the tradition itself brings you the true spirit of the holidays: Family. I love my family’s traditions as well but they are just totally different. Let’s not forget that they only get one or two small presents from their parents. Like a bottle of whiskey and maybe some money. Leaving out the excitement of gifts, it brings you back to the simplest of times. Spirit of family and love. It’s a beautiful thing! But I’m not going to lie…I LOVE presents on Christmas morning!!

…Don’t sit around the tv in silence.
Only when you’re home with your spouse do you do this in German culture that I have seen. For example, when we go over to visit anyone we sit around a table, tv is off, and we talk for hours. Eat, drink, and be conversationalists. I actually like the most when we go to Toblerone’s parents house and we have dinner and then we move to the living room and his Dad is on wine duty. He’s always going down to the basement to get more beers or bottles of wine. The thing that is the most amazing is the actual ability to keep the conversation going. Toblerone talks to his parents every night usually just to check in and see how they are doing. So, when we go for dinner on the weekends sometimes, what is there to talk about?! How do they find so much to say? It’s like magic. But I love it.

…Wearing house shoes is a must.
Every house I’ve been in people have house shoes to wear. German houses are different in general, there are doors to every room rather than open doorways. This is to keep it warm in each room that you have the fire place on or the radiator on. Where in the US we have large rooms with no doors and the whole house is heated. Our house here has floor heating in the living room so we put that on and shut the doors and let the fire place do its thing. top-felt-house-shoes-1It stays nice and cozy warm where we are for the majority of the time. But the rest of the house can be cold or at least the floors are. German houses don’t have carpet flooring. It’s usually only tile or linoleum from all the houses I’ve been in. So, everyone wears socks and puts on their cute little house shoes. Not to mention, most homes have extra “guest slippers” for visitors. We have them too!

…Deodorant comes in a spray or roll-on form.
Ok, I’m a solid deodorant kind of gal and there is literally sometimes only one option at the stores for that. People love the spray on stuff which I HATE! I mean, where am I living?!?! People…let’s get some options going. So it’s always funny for me when I go home and buy deodorant, I stand there for hours going through all my options and all the different smells. Then here in Germany, I literally walk down the aisle, put my arm out, and grab the only option there is. It’s the same smell as all the others: Powder or whatever it is. Bleh. Not ok. 21376-body-spray-deodorant-1
I think I may be living in a 3rd world country. (This just screams: First world problems..yikes!) And the other worst part, you’re paying an arm and a leg for half the size. Like, hello people…I have a routine. I put deodorant on twice a day. That’s two armpits, 5 strokes each, twice a day. I go through this stuff like mad. I’d say I buy a new one every two weeks whereas in the US it was maybe every month and a half to two months. Europe is expensive because they try to live like they are the size of ants.

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

A Cure For Homesickness

I’m sure it’s no secret that I’ve been feeling a bit sad lately and I think more so around the holidays it seemed to get worse. I am SO lucky that a portion of my family was able to come and share Christmas with us. I think Harley was more excited than me though, if that was even possible!

We tried to fill their days with something special each day even if it was just a walk around  outside or off to explore a castle. For me, I didn’t care where we went as long as I could soak in their presence as much as possible. For the entire time they were here I didn’t feel lonely anymore and even though we were in a strange land, I still felt completely whole. For those of you who have lived in another country will understand how nice it is to be around people who speak your language, share your sense of humor, and understand how hard it is to make this type of move.

With my family having a picnic

So instead of writing about each event I wanted to share with you the highlights of the trip via photo gallery, I know, I’m lazy! We’re still on X-mas vacation here (back to it on Monday..blah) but what a good few weeks off!!! We’re already planning a trip back to the states with a focus on NYC in February! Can’t wait!! Counting down already! This is a year of big news, I just know it!

Anywho, if you need a cure for homesickness…it’s as simple as this….FAMILIARTY. Which this equals, easily, FAMILY. Going to the US was great for Turkey day except I had to leave again. With tears and hiccups catching in my throat I had to say goodbye to my mommy again. This time, when they came here to where I am, it was a lot easier for some reason. I guess I finally felt complete that they saw where I was, put their own touches on the house, and understood where I was coming from.

And of course…CARE PACKAGES are fantastic! 🙂 Just saying! (I have one on the way I’m keeping my eyes peeled for! THANKS MOM!)

We went to see the largest cuckoo clock in the world and to see the video of this baby in action you need to go to my facebook page to check it out. And since none of you got me a Christmas present then I would highly recommend that you “like” the page and pass it along to your friends to enjoy too! 🙂

In the slideshow you’ll see a picture of a elk on top of a mountain. This is deep in the Black Forest. Directly across from this mountain is another mountain as well. The story is that this elk was running from a hunter and he came to this valley with no where to go but directly across. He made the risky jump and survived. (HAPPY ENDINGS!!!) So, there he was…just hanging out waiting for me to snap his photo! (Just kidding, it’s a monument to him)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxoxox

A Bah Humbug Story

The countdown has officially begun. Which countdown? Oh silly you! Obviously not the countdown until Christmas! Naturally, I’m talking about how much longer until I’m driving to Switzerland to pick up my family!!!

1 day, 33 hours, 1993 minutes, 119625 Seconds……make that 119624 seconds…oh wait…119623. You got it, count with me now!

Excitement doesn’t even cover what I’m feeling. I think stressed is more like it! I just want everything to be perfect. This is collectively their first time to Europe and for two of them, first time out of the US. One went to Mexico for work but that was a disastrous suicide mission. So I want this to be perfect, I want the house to glisten, I want their Christmas away from home to be one of their greatest memories. I know, that they will love this no matter what – I have a super easy going family, but in my mind…it’s something straight out of clockwork orange. It’s all a mess and crazy and miscombobulated! Got that?

Not only that but this is the first Christmas that Toblerone, Harley, and I will have together. I know…we’ve been together 3 years…that sounds weird right? Well the first year Toblerone went to visit his brother in Michigan (who was there for a internship) and Harley wasn’t even a thought yet! The second year, Toblerone and Harley moved on December 19th to Germany (and then I followed a few months later.) So I need it to be nice for that reason too!

Want to hear a funny story? So I wanted to get a fake tree but here in Germany they are TERRIBLE looking. They have three options all named after different parts of the US( ie: Salt Lake, Aspen, Anchorage.) Wretched things. Toblerone’s Uncle who is the mayor sells trees from his town and offered to give us one from his stock. We went to grab one quickly, he threw a giant one at us so we went home to take a closer look. What do we find? A few things to make our already stressful days a completely fire of rage!

1. The tree is about 3 feet too tall.

2. There are random branches that are longer than the others. Not to mention the branches wouldn’t come down at all – they stuck up straight to the sky!

3. Giant gaps between branches brought me to tears.

4. THE TREE(s) WAS(were) A(A) SIAMESE TWIN(s)!!!!

This tree was worse than Charlie Brown’s tree. In fact, at least his tree was somewhat proportionate! This was all sorts of whack and impossible to decorate. I know how much you all would love to bask in the glory of my madness so I took pictures just to show you how incredibly painful this is. We immediately took the bastard outside and threw it in the woods. (Actually, we felt really sad and had to reason with ourselves why we would do such a cruel cruel thing!)

Giant lopsided mess

Two bodies, one private part

Today we went on a search for another tree but it seems Germany is out of trees. All that is left are the Charlie Brown types…or ones that are full on the bottom and not on the tops. Maybe I should start by telling you that the type of Christmas trees they have here are NOT what we have in the US. I’ve never seen a tree like this so I can’t even describe it but they are pretty bare on the tops it seems. We’re off AGAIN (third times a charm right?) in hopes of finding our perfect tree. If we do not succeed, well then I’ll tramp on up to the woods myself and get me one!

I bought all these GREAT ornaments and I had a lot given to me as well so the tree will be full of memories old and new.  Lesson learned…NO waiting until the last minute anymore.  Maybe you all have a few tips for me on this tree hunting thing. This is so new to me, I’m a lover of the fake trees!

I can’t wait to show you guys pictures of all the fun stuff we’ll do while they are here. From Lighted waterfalls to Christmas markets, shopping, and all that fun stuff! All the cultural mingling we will do! 🙂 And once again, I have to test my translating skills.

Happy Christmas to all and to all a goodnight! Until next time, Readers!!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

 

……1 day, 32 hours, 1967 minutes, 118032 seconds…1189031…..1189030……:-)