An American Easter in Germany

Easter rolled around again and it’s crazy to think that I’ve been here for two Easters already. My how time flies. We were slammed with more snow BUT our home was warm with American friends and a roaring fire of course.

I mean look at these lovely guests!

I mean look at these lovely guests!

We had our American buddies, who live in Stuttgart Germany, drive out to spend the weekend with us which was such a treat for me! I really love having visitors to begin with where I can speak my own language and remind myself of all the slang words I’ve forgotten living out this way! Not only that but these two brought us the most AMAZING gifts!!! I mean…HELLO!! Take a look at these:

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Can we talk about that for a moment? They are not in the military but have access to the military base because one of them works on base, which means they have access to the grocery store with all the American stuff. It’s like this treasure hidden away and I’m not allowed in ūüė¶ I wish they would just grant me access to shop there. I’d be all over that! Anywho, we got a normal sized peanut butter jar with YUMMMY peanut butter inside, loads of reese’s, Sam adams beer for Tobi (there were more but those went bye bye in a mere 5 minutes!), and GIRL SCOUT COOKIESSSSSSSS!!!!!!! OMG! I can’t even begin to tell you. Its amazing. The last time I bought girl scout cookies I think I had to leave them with my parents because I was moving to Germany so I never did get my last one ūüė¶ So…THANK YOU, FRIENDS!!! Made out Easter 1 million times more amazing by bringing a piece of home to us!

So we had a great dinner with my strawberry salad and caprese filled burgers. Totally American, totally loved!
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After our bellies were overstuffed overjoyed we hopped in the jacuzzi for a long time and discussed wedding plans. Obviously not with each other but our American weddings are a week apart. So that’s fun! We snuggled up on the couch and watched the Syracuse game against Marquette and it was totally amazing to see live (thanks to our new “English” channels).

The following morning was filled of Easter fun and more snow…fantastic. Everyone had to find their basket…including Harley and there was also an Easter egg hunt at the end! Loved doing this and now I know why my mom loved doing it every year too ūüôā

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We had omelettes for breakfast and then they were on their way home. It was SO nice for us and so easy with these guys. I forget sometimes just how easy going Americans can be and it’s not an all out process like it is with the Germans. Two totally different cultures and two totally different stress levels!

Here’s a little gem for you….check me out in the mornings with the lovely Fe!! WOOHOOOOOOO Sexy thang!

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Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxo

Maibaum – May Tree Celebration in Germany

I think everyone has heard of the May tree somewhere in their life. If you’re anything like me you don’t have a clue what the heck the May tree is or what it’s purpose is. I’m here to explain that to you – as I’m learning about it as well!

Der Maibaum – The May Tree

The whole idea is to raise a may pole on May 1st to welcome spring. A may pole is a large tree trunk of a pine or birch but without the branches. On top of the may pole is a small pine tree decorated with ribbons, figurines, or other decorative things that are specific to the town.

So far, each town I’ve been through whether small or large has a May tree up and they are pretty cool once you see them. Really tall. Most towns have a big festival to follow the rising of the pole and this includes singing, dancing, and of course eating/drinking.

This is all grand however the fun part of the May tree is this:

May tree also stands not only for Spring but for LOVE! The story goes that if a young boy/man likes another girl/woman he will decorate a tree with colored ribbons and the like and then he will put it on the top of her roof in the middle of the night before May 1st as a surprise. The dude then leaves it up for one month and when he returns to take it down, if the girl likes him back, she will invite him to dinner, give him a cake, a case of beer, or if he’s reallllllly lucky – a kiss.

If it’s unrequited love? Well, that sucks for the guy. He wasted his time, energy, and craftiness for nothing. I’m waiting for my May Tree on the roof but Toblerone has confirmed that this could cause quite a scandal in this little town we live in. That would mean that I’m clearly having an affair. The May Tree on the roof of your home would only mean that another man is looking for my affection. Since I’m not married and/or ENGAGED (hint hint!) then I expect a May tree. NOW.

Happy Spring and Happy May!! ūüôā

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

Maienstecken – Witches Night in Germany

Today, as I write this, it is April 30th. It’s a regular day, the sun has been shining and all seems well and good in the world. What you wouldn’t know, especially as an “Ausl√§nderin,” is that today is actually the day of terror. I remember last year that we sat in the dark and watched the town unfold into a world of chaos and panic!

Ok, maybe I’m being a little dramatic but the possibility the town could be a giant fireball by morning is high. April 30th is known as “Maienstecken” here in Germany. Also known as the “Witches Night.” Halloween sound familiar?? What does this mean? It basically means to take/hide/move things. There is no literal translation but the meaning is that the children (ages from 7-18 approximately) get together and go around their town causing chaos hidden under the dark blanket of the night sky.

Here they are getting ready - bag full of tricks!

Chaos can start with the basics of egging, toilet paper, or the other usual Halloween tricks we all know and love. The more extreme is where the name “Maienstecken” comes from. Toblerone was telling me about his past days and told me a few of the menacing things he and his buddies did:

* Blowing up a mailbox – Need I remind you that all the mailboxes here in Germany are attached to the house. Not down the driveway as a separate entity as we know it in the US.

* Taking a hay tractor and moving it down to the town hall.

* Putting an entire bottle of dish soap in someone’s fountain.

* Hid trash cans.

* Took the wood pile and built up a wood wall directly in front of someone’s front door.

* Took a trailer apart, rebuilt it on the roof of a barn and filled it with cow manure.

The idea is to take someone’s things and completely move them so they hopefully never find them again. So picture this. Last year, we sat in the dark, looking out the window for shadows of scrawny tweens, and cleaning the BB gun. I’m an American – you come near my stuff, I will break your legs. We were lucky last year, no one bothered us, but I’ll tell you what. If I find that anything is out of place I just might be tempted to place mines on the soccer fields where the kids play all day long. I just might. Watch out kiddies! I’m a retired Halloween trickster.

Found this video on YouTube of some drunk nonsense. These idiots are drunk and doing it in broad daylight. I’m not sure exactly what they are doing to someone’s tree but all I could think about is how much that tree must have cost at the Garden Center!!

UPDATE: checked out the damage this morning and all we got was a stupid shaving cream smiley face. 

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Until next time, Readers!!! Xoxoxoxo

Vacation In The Alps: Day One – De-Stress

I can’t even tell you how excited I am about sharing our vacation with you people! I’m so ridiculous, I even made notes everyday of everything we did so I wouldn’t forget and you wouldn’t miss out on ANY detail! So let me get right down to it! I’ve decided I will spread it out over a few blogs that way I can post more pictures without boring you to pieces!

DAY ONE

We left the house around 11am and I felt pretty good that I had packed everything into the smallest suitcase ever made. Of course Toblerone would find the reasonable sized suitcase and pack all his crap in there before I could get started. So, after all that was finished, I decided to clean the house so it would be perfect and spotless to come home to. Which included vacuuming and mopping the floors, 3 loads of laundry, dusting, dishes, changing sheets, and cleaning the toilets (FUN!). As we left though I felt a bit of a clam rush over me. After the months of stress during his surgery and illness and finally being able to get away from the house and just de-stress, it was more than welcomed!

Equipped with road beers, wine, and my iBooks on my phone I was ready to start the 2.5 hour drive to the Alps. A beautiful drive at that! Completely through the country-side, avoiding the Autobahn. (THANK YOU BABY JESUS!!!!) The weather was a kicker too. Prior to this, it was primarily cold and rainy – The entire summer thus far. All the sudden as we start out on our trip the sun comes out! Couldn’t have been better timing. I was whiter than necessary and starting to scare the children in our neighborhood. Anywho, as I said, the drive was great and I couldn’t tell if it was the wine that was making me so excited or not but that’s neither here nor there!

We arrive to our hotel which is surrounded by the breath-taking views of the Alps. For those of you who have been living under a rock, the Alps are incredible. Mountains upon mountains but more so I’ve learned it’s not the mountains that are so amazing, but the little villages that are in between all of them.

Our hotel was set back behind a small cow farm and behind a little creek. There were people walking everywhere and the sun was shining down hard on us to welcome us with GIANT open arms to a world of relaxation! Hotel Sonnenbichl was the name – which means Sun something or another. There isn’t really a translation for the second word there. We were greeted by a girl in the typical Dirndl and she was nice as pie, showing us to our room. As we arrived in our room I was surprised to see our bed made up like the honeymoon suite! ¬†Rose petals everywhere and the blankets in the shape of a heart. Adorable! Could it get better? Oh hell yeah it could!

The bed would recline to my fancy! Toblerone could sleep flat as a board and I could have my feet and head lifted slightly. Perfect. Let’s also not leave out that they had many different other types of pillows that we could choose from if we didn’t like the standard one in the room. HELLOOOOO service!

I turned my head and there was our balcony, past our “living room” area and it was incredible. The Alps staring at me right in the face as if to sing, “YODEL-WELCOME-HOO!” I had to stop and take a moment. Sometimes I forget that outside of my little world is a much larger world. A beautiful one and I need to slow down and cherish it. In that moment I reminded myself that while I was homesick and sad most of the time, I’m so incredibly lucky that I get to see all of this. Some day that sadness will get easier, I hope, or manageable at best but I will have captured all these other beautiful memories. I wouldn’t replace it for all the money in the world!

I quickly got over the mushy moment when my stomach started to yell at me. LUNCH TIME, Bitches!!  The Hotel Sonnenbichl is completely stocked with a 5 star restaurant which I was very excited to try out. (No worries, I took a picture of our 4 course meals to share each night!!) Our breakfast and dinners were included in the overall price anyways so I course I would be taking advantage of that! We decided to sit out in the sun and enjoy the sunshine for a bit since it had been missing out of our lives for much too long!

Of course we ordered beer and, my favorite, k√§sesp√§tzle¬†(cheese noodles!) This particular kind however was different than how I make and love it. It was made with mountain cheese called, “Berg k√§se” which is seriously stinky stuff. Kind of smells like feet and puke together. Delish. Somehow though, it’s actually really tasty with a good red wine. Melted and mixed with noodles, I found, was NOT my favorite thing. It was mushy and just didn’t sit right with me. So, needless to say I stayed FAR away from that nonsense for the rest of the vacay!

After eating we decided to take a tour of the place. This particular hotel is also known for it’s rehabilitation services¬†as well. They offer services for people that were just in the hospital or need rehab for injuries. They have a whole spa place with all sorts of crazy things I had never heard of! We wanted to go look at the spa area so as we walk up and around to the back of the building, there in all it’s glory was a naked man. Just chillin. He was laying out in the sun with absolutely NOTHING on his body. Mr. Willy was hanging out tanning as well. WHAT ON EARTH?! Let’s note that directly across from this area was the children’s play area. HA! Oh strange folk here. I swear!

The sauna looks like a tree house which was pretty cool. There was a typical sauna – two floors! – and a steam room with hay all over the floor. Special place where you could take a hay bath. Strange! Oh and the story gets better. As we are checking these places out a man walks out of the steam room…Mr. Willy wagging around as he hops in the shower. He greats us with the typical greeting,”Gr√ľ√ü Gott.” Literally means, Greetings from God. How on earth do you send greetings from God when you’re naked and your manhood is staring me in the face. Like waving at me and mocking my prude nature.¬†GAH!

Moving along, QUICKLY, I decided I needed a nap to recover from the naked sightings and Toblerone decided he wanted to join the mass in their naked ways at the sauna. By all means…go right ahead!!

Dinner time came along and I was excited to check out what they had. Germans know how to cook and it’s fun for me to try out the new stuff, no matter how much I miss Kraft macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, or pumpkin pie.

We arrived at our reserved table and there I sat staring at 800 forks! I ordered my usual – Amaretto with Apple Juice and headed to the Salad bar. I think I’ve explained this before but the salad bars here are not what we’re all used to in the states. Here, it’s many different types of salads. Most with a vinegar base. At first I didn’t think I could handle eating carrots in vinegar or cucumbers¬†in vinegar. Now, I don’t think I would like the basic salads back home. Let’s EAT!


The Salad Bar:  

And My Selection: 

Noodles with balsamic sauce, ham, deviled egg, and rosemary bread: 

Sauerkraut Soup with Bacon. (AHHH!! BACON!!!): 

Chicken Cordon Bleu filled with gorgonzola cheese, ham, and eggplant: 

Mango Ice-cream with watermelon-mint salad and dipping sauces- strawberry and apricot:

Brilliant stuff! The dessert was my favorite part. A burst of flavor that kicked me straight to heaven! Jealous yet? Piano music played overhead which made me miss my family the most. “Dream a Little Dream” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” pulled at my heartstrings and with an overfilled¬†belly, I was ready to go for a little walk!

We wanted to take a drive and see what we could see. We stopped at a church that had an outside concert of the areas big band. Picture the oompa-oompa music! And then of course we see signs like this – graphic much? I think we get the point, no? It looked like Harley – I couldn’t resist!


We headed into the town called Oberstdorf and upon arrival it felt like magic was in the air. I sound so cheesy but seriously, this town was incredible. Shopping, restaurants, lights, street vendors, everything. There in the background was the haunting silhouette of the Alps.

Like a carnival town with out all the freaks. Wait, I lied. There was a guy walking his black cat around on a leash. Strange happenings. We grabbed a few drinks and sat outside. Day 1 was a success and I was excited to see how Day 2 would turn out!

Mission De-Stress: Accomplished!

Stay tuned for the next few days of the trip! Lots to show you, lots to tell! I’m still dreaming of this place and can’t wait to take my family and friends who arrive. THIS is the place to go! So much to do and see whether it be winter or summer!¬†

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxo

Everything is Bigger in America

I’m still here in good old Germany. I’ve been busy getting our house ready and trying to make itmove-in” friendly for when the container comes. Unfortunately, Tobi will be working and I will be back in the states so this is already causing some stress. I’m not sure how I feel about all my things being unloaded and boxes filling my house. I’m actually starting to think about moving sooner only because I know I’ll be needed. Decisions, decisions. One decision I have made though is to give my notice as soon as I’m back. No more waiting around!

One thing I have noticed is how much bigger America is. Not literally speaking. It seems that we glorify what we have in the states. For examplecheck out a picture of Tobi‘s Grandmother‘s tree:

 
Cute right? But bare? As soon as I saw this I thoughtCharlie Brown. But it‘s quaint and done the old way with real candles. On Christmas Eve they light the candles as a family and sing around it. Thats the REAL meaning of Christmas. Along with this, they recieve 50 Euro from their grandparents and two small presents from your parents. Completely different!So now lets check out how the Americans do it:
I’m slowly becoming acclimated with what I’m walking in to. It’s fun! I loved being able to pick out paint colors and all the furniture. It’s like playing house but this time, it’s for keeps!

Holiday Season vs Close-Minded People!

I’ve been trying to keep my mouth shut and just allow people to wish you the best for the holidays as they please. I celebrate Christmas but am not religious in any manner. For me and my family, Christmas is a time for us to gather and be thankful for our health and happiness. Of course, to celebrate presents as well! Obviously!

But what gets me is the way people ignorantly express their wishes for you. Today at work I received the following email. This email came from a colleague of mine who sent this out to all employees in three different locations across the globe. This means, it would reach over 3,000 people! This person isn’t upper management, just one of those annoying people that send out trillions of emails that have nothing to do with work!

“I would like to wish all of you a Blessed Holy Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with God’s Grace and Mercy.”

Each word was a different color and underlined where he felt it necessary. I haven’t corrected anyone as of yet but I’m two second away from going OFF on this guy and letting him know that we, being a global company especially, have many people from many different walks of life and different beliefs. A “Happy Holidays and Happy New Year” would have sufficed but no…he took it to the next level and disrespected not only me but I’m sure other people who work here that are Jewish, Atheist, and whatever else!

For those of my close friends who I know celebrate Christmas in a religious manner, I make sure to say “Merry Christmas” and to everyone else, “Happy Holidays.” Why is it so hard for people to get that? Stop pushing your religion on everyone else! I don’t want a new year filled with “god’s grace and mercy”!!!!

Sorry if I offended anyone but quite honestly, I’ve had it up to here!! (I’m gesturing above my head…lol) For years now, everyone talks about being politically correct especially around the holidays…I just wish people would crawl out of their holes and think a little bit before they speak! You never know who you may be offending!

End of rant.