Jun 29, 2012

A "taste" of home in Germany...

Gana always welcomes us-no matter what the season
Within our first few weeks of living here in Germany, we found our 'neighborhood restaurant'-Il Pomodora.   http://www.ilpomodoro-stuttgart.de/speisekarte.html

You know the type...they greet you by name when you enter, tell you what you would like for dinner, turn the other check when your kids aren't acting right and make you feel all full of warm and fuzzy as you are leaving and are already licking your lips anticipating your next visit. 

no carrots needed to lure us...just fresh Italian!
If you have visited us here in Germany, you have more than likely eaten with us at this little slice of a charm.  We go there in the winter when we need the coziness, homemade soup, and pizza to warm us up.  We go there in the spring when we want some fresh air but still need a blanket in order to sit outside.  We go there in the summer when we can ride our bikes stopping at every park on the way home to burn off all of the calories.  We go there with friends, we go alone, we go with guests...We go.  It is our neighborhood spot.  We go and we feel at home. 

In the beginning...
















 It isn't just because the food is so delectable...We go there when we need someone to greet us, welcome us and help us feel like we aren't living in another country but rather making this our home. We go...and we eat.  That is what defines a neighborhood restaurant in any 'neck-of-the-woods'.  This is what helps us feel a little bit of home all the way across the ocean.....


 

blankets needed..



Jun 28, 2012

Germany De-Frosted...

Seems like the moment the heavy winter coats hit the basement, the snow boots hidden, and we have switched to light jackets, it is inevitable here in Germany that some street will be blocked off on any given weekend to host a festival.  Who doesn't love nice weather, a street filled with the smells of wursts and waffles cooking, the sound of bands playing, champagne bubbling and balloons popping. (and we all know what sound comes after that)









You can feel all of the happy energy here when the weather is de-frosted and people shed a  few layers.  But these festivities tend to be a bit dangerous for me not only because they include some type of street fare that must hit my lips but also because I don't understand what many of the vendors are saying to me...therefore nod in response... and end of walking around with a bag full of brochures promoting their local business. This past weekend, our little village blocked its streets, opened the shops on Sunday and welcomed us and our friends to come join...and of course, I went home with both a full stomach and bag of brochures.  






Jun 25, 2012

GOT BIKE?!?!


I have written about what a big part of life bicycles are here in Germany.  I have a huge respect for mine since she takes me places in a jiffy, is free to park and can help carry my groceries home.   She is a part of my everyday life here in Germany.  (It helps that I'm not pedaling down the road in 100 degree temps and 100 plus humidity...then I doubt she would be such a good friend) When I was in Munich last, I snapped this picture because you know the adage..."A picture is worth a thousand words"

Jun 19, 2012

Re-fried beans in Germany


(hummed to the tune of Bing's "Do You hear what I hear?")

Do you smell what I smell?..
The Bell, The Bell...
creeping up my nose
Let us hope the re-frieds will be nice!
Let us hope the re-frieds will be nice!

Nachos, tacos, and Buritos filled my nose with glee and left me remembering why I don't miss fast food so much.  There just aren't fast food restaurants every 3 blocks here in Germany.  Yes, there are  McDonalds, Burger King and KFC sprinkled in what I like to call the high tourist areas.  THEY ARE NOT LOCATED WITH EACH EYE BLINK.  But another American fast food was eaten by us this past weekend complete with taco sauce!

Our friends invited us to to see "Madagascar 3" at the cinema located on Patch Barracks.  (There are four U.S. bases located here in the Stuttgart area;Patch Barracks, Robinson Barracks, Panzer Kaserne and Kelley Barracks.)

Since we are not GS, TESA (Gov Contractor), or a Local Nationals we do not have access to get on base, other than as a guest of one of the above.  This was only my second time on a military base and I was again surprised at all of the security it took for us to obtain an "ok" to proceed thru the gate.  Once they had thoroughly checked under the hood, in the trunk and all the nooks and crannies of our car, we headed in for a fun day with our friends.

I again had the feeling of confusion at hearing all of the English being spoken around me.  But that confusion quickly went away as I ordered in clear English from the Taco Bell cashier.  We ate in an area with various American 'fast food' restaurants that brought back memories of the survival lunches I would have more often than not with the kids at the mall's food court.  We finished out our day at their cinema enjoying a funny movie that was all "auf English."

I have learned many exciting and interesting things about Germany since moving here, but I have also learned much about the U.S. military.  Over the past year and a half, I have gained a higher respect for all of the people that move around the world on a regular basis in order to serve and protect our country!   They deserve all the Taco Bells they want and much more!  (I wonder if there were German bases in America if they would serve a good flammkuchen and hefeweizen bier?)
Even the 'pre-show' brought excitement...




Jun 16, 2012

Karlshöhe

Astonishment- According to Webster-a feeling of being very surprised:amazement


Yes, that would describe the feelings I experience often when exploring here in Germany. 
 












I enjoy aimlessly wondering around discovering all of the hidden treasures; good restaurants, whimsical stores, historical sites and old steps that offer good people watching.  Again and again, I find myself being pleasantly surprised and left in a state of astonishment after stumbling upon yet another breathtaking beauty here in Germany. 

It is as if I am Alice, but rather than jumping down the rabbit hole, I jump into a storybook that transforms me to back to a time of old European charm.  However, it isn't a fantasy I am playing my role in that always seems to include old church bells ringing, cobblestone streets to walk down and children laughing, it is a non-fiction. 

The car was all snug in the Park House, so after one of my appointments, I decided to just start running without a destination in mind.  I happened to hop right into a charming non-fiction called, Karlshöhe complete with churchbells ringing, lush wine vineyards growing, vibrant rose bushes, statues greeting me as I ran past them and a Bier Garten begging me to come back when the story was finished.  That is better than any fantasy!















Jun 15, 2012

Fashion Faux Pas

I am sure it isn't the first time in my life I have walked out of my house wearing a FFP, or  'Fashion Faux Pas' for long, but today was the first time I ever remember doing it in a state of full knowledge.

I decided I was not going to let doctor's appointments or  German school get in the way of exercising anymore and therefore would be squeezing a run in today.  Dilemma; I would need to commit a necessary cultural FFP.  And it didn't go unnoticed!

As I walked around in my sport clothes, running shoes and cap, I received one of many, "du siehst sehr sportlich heute" (you look very sporty today) I even got a big laugh when one of my classmates acted like he had forgotten something in his car, ran back outside,  then returned to class sporting a ball cap and greeting us with a good ole' American "Morning". 

Even though this was my typical outfit many days a week in Alabama, due to a mid-morning run or a tennis match, (Heck, we would even all meet in our sweaty clothes and baseball caps at a local restaurant for a quick lunch after our sports), you just don't see it where I live in Germany unless someone is actually going to 'do' sports.

There are many cultures differences between Germany and America that I am learning, understanding and try to respect. It doesn't mean either are right or wrong...just different based on many factors.   Since moving here in Germany, I have tried to follow this unwritten fashion 'norm' ...until today.  I found that it brought me a day full of laughter, and some astonishment (see tomorrow's post about my quant run)  Goes to show that sometimes in  life a Fashion Faux Pas can bring rewards.

Jun 12, 2012

Life will follow

It doesn't matter what country your things are packed-up and moved too...Life will follow and will continue to be full of "small things" that can make us feel Big emotions.  Today, my life was just that....full of small things that brought BIG emotions....

Like that "small" camera hidden in a van that BIG "blitzed" (rather blinded) me as I was driving a little too fast to get to my already in progress German class.  I am sure I will get a nice "small" ticket that will ask me to pay a BIG bit of cash. 

Or that "small" package that comes monthly from my PILs (Parent-In-laws).  Their birthday gift brings me BIG pleasure once a month because it consists of US magazines that I miss dearly and have yet to find here in Germany.  It may seem small that I want to read about how to have "Your Best Hair Ever" or learn "4 Ways to Perk up Your Porch".  But this serves as a BIG happiness when the postman brings me this "small" but important piece of America each month. 

This day finished out in a BIG way with one of those "small" things in life that are Big when it is happens to your own child. (and can make you forget that camera flash from earlier) We all lose our baby teeth, so it continues to surprise me that this thing can create such a BIG emotion as a mother...It creates a small bit of nausea in my stomach when I am about to yank it out, and a BIG fiesta once an empty hole shows.  So it is a good thing the BIG tooth-fairy knows how to get to Germany in a small amount of time! 

It is no BIG news that Life will follow you no matter what country you live-in but it sure does give me many "small" pleasures each day!

Jun 6, 2012

Filderado

If you are in the pool cleaning business or an Orthopedic doctor, you probably could make some great cash here in Germany (hint, hint Uncle) Or if you want to make some life long friends and try daring new things...just become an expat.
Cooper in the wave pool

In the first category, pool cleaning, you would have a list so long of jobs you would eat like a king with a turkey bone hanging from your mouth.  Now I thought I knew pools moving from hot-ole Alabama, but Germany has us beat in the pool category...forget the cold temps.  Most of them are indoors with a outdoor section that opens in the summer. And buddy, they know how to do a pool right.
Karina isn't in the pictures because she and Zoe stayed on the waterslide

Cooper in the rain shower
ICE BAR---not a good idea to stick tongue on though..
 
Second category, Orthopedic doctor... the Germans know how to turn a slide into an human rocket launch and one will probably need an Ortho doc within an hour of launching. Or one can just take two good ole American purchased Aleve when arriving home.

I took that double dare and double Aleve!!!
 Third category, life long friends.  I have made friends here in Germany that I will keep for a lifetime...even if they double dare me to go down the human rocket launch which is exactly what I did at Filderado today...as well as take two Aleve the minute I walked in the door. (I still luv ya Elizabeth)
Click on Video of E going down launch below.













Another southerner in Germany

A friend from Alabama is preparing to make her first visit to Germany so we can have a much needed play-date. During one of our recent phone calls, she asked if she would be able to get her daily coca-cola fix during her visit...  

That would be a big gulping -yes.  Seems Germany agrees with this other born and bred Southerner and you can find it most everywhere...especially outside of the Kino (cinema)!!

Jun 3, 2012

Before you came into my life...



It isn't one of my usual melodies, but I have been walking around singing Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe".   I am hooked on this song because of one line that sings much better than I can express how I feel about Jason.

"Before you came into my life  
I missed you so bad 
And you should know 
that I  missed you so, so bad"

As a surprise for our 8-yr anniversary, Jason made arrangements for the kid's care and whisked me off to Munich for the weekend. As he pushed the accelerator, I thought about the fact that eight years may seem like peanuts to many married couples who are well up in the double digits.

My eight, are like a good cup of coffee, a perfect taste of tiramisu, the first sip of a rich red wine that has been breathing, the quite slow dance in the living room, the squeeze of my hand, feeling safe when life goes a little scary, and most of all still enjoying our time together...especially when it involves being whisked away from everything but him. Before you came into my life, I had the coffee, tiramisu, and wine, but I missed you so, so bad.
Bocce Ball....



It felt like a honeymoon all over again. We have "toured" Munich more than once, but we don't get much time together without our two minis. It was nice to have so much quality time just 'being' us and strolling Munich with no schedule. We have always been fortunate to meet intriguing people around the world. On this weekend trip, we met and spent part of the afternoon with this 94 year old women. She was very much alive, didn't ask how long we had been married, or what we did for a job and stressed as she was leaving, that living a happy life was the secret of living long. I believe her!

Look closely
'Windows' of Munich are eye candy...We even made it in












"Stadt Lessen" city reading complete with bean bags
Ironic how many bachelor parties we saw...He popped into our picture in a snap!

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Stuttgart, Germany, Germany
We moved from Alabama to Stuttgart, Germany in December 2010. This is a great adventure for our whole family that we enjoy sharing.
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