Boiled peanuts and Waffle House

 I am ashamed to admit that there was a time in my life when I tried hard to hide the fact I was a “Southerner” for fear people would think I didn’t have any smarts.  It seems that some folks have always thought us Southerners didn’t have much sense because we talk a little slower, walk close to a snail's pace and generally live life in an unhurried way.  But don’t be fooled by this slowness, we be real smart!  As I  become older wiser, I am learning to embrace everything about who I am and learning to just be the best “me” I can be in life. That includes being proud of my southern roots. 
   Embrace is exactly what the south did this week when I returned -it embraced me with a warm hot hug.  I knew I was home as I drove down the back road singing along with the country songs, admiring the lush green kudzu, scratching my numerous mosquito bites, all while the car’s air conditioner blew full blast on my face freezing the sweat beads. I am only beginning to get my "fix" of the things I miss...like waffle house, grits, boiled peanuts, porch swings, and of course my family.   I try not to focus on the things I miss while we are living in Germany, but rather focus on all the great things we are experiencing.
   As I overhear some of the kid’s comments these first few days of our vacation in the states, I have realized that 8 months living in Germany is a long time in a child’s years.  I have also realized there are some things down south you just don’t experience anywhere else in the world.  So, as I go to lather up in some more bug spray, I’ll leave you with some of these thoughts and quotes….

Some things I love about the south
  • I always feel love because people I don’t know call me “honey” or “hon”
  • You can get boiled peanuts at about every mile on the back roads
  • You are invited to attend the local church tent revival by more than one person while buying boiled peanuts.
  • You WILL HAVE at least a 5 minute conversation with a stranger while waiting in line for the bathroom
  • You don’t need any medication to help you sleep-instead you can go outside and listen to the bullfrogs and crickets.  
  • Free weight loss plan offered;"Step into the heat for ten minutes and lose a pound"
  • Your friends will have big ole gift bags waiting for you in the backseat of the car when you land with all the important necessities.

Things the kids said since landing in the US
  • "Why do all these toilets have a handle to flush instead of a big button on the wall"
  • “I’ve never seen a garten (German name for yard) so big”-Karina referring to my brother’s house where she has spent many days during her life.
  • “Momma, they have “light up bugs” here”
  • Jet lag mornings at 3 am “is it time to go get Dunkin doughnuts?”
  • “That fish was small but it was heavy to pull in…do they have fish in Germany cause we haven’t been fishing.”
  • “wow they have “Bugs Bunny” on tv in the states and it’s in english.”
  • “Wow, mommy, it’s night time and it isn’t even cold outside here”
  • “Where’s the worm?” as Cooper looked inside the fish mouth
  • “Why is she speaking English?” as the waitress at Waffle house took our order
  • “Mamma-your skin turned dark like mine here in the states” little does she know I bought some tanning lotion when I realized how pale my skin has become in Germany
  • “Do you know what the most “excited” thing was about fishin tonight…we heard a fwoog (frog)”
  • “Uncle Mike, grab a jacket in case you get cold” Cooper as they headed out to go fishin –it was only 98 degrees with 80 percent humidity!  
 luggage with gifts we brought didn't do so well on the flight-burned

We are on our way!!!

trip to the ER-Karina's ear drum burst on the flight over from Germany
"The biggest Garten" Karina has ever seen-Uncle Mikes
Cooper try to "fish" in Uncle M's Koi pond

Cooper and Mike "really fishing"

Water balloons always help beat the heat..when thrown at Uncle Mike

YUM-grits and hashbrowns

I'll just put some money in for my boiled peanuts...

Getting our fix

Jason trying to teach Pappa about the wii

Nothing better than a good Porch Swing-especially with Nana!


So you think you can pack....

So you think you can pack...

I guess the blog felt a tad neglected this week…  Katie went home to Alabama, Jason went to China and I went too lonely.  Company leaving is not one of my favorite things here in Germany.  Each time a friend or family gives me that last hug before walking into the Stuttgart airport to return home, I feel a bit of a loss and a lot of homesick.  I am very fortunate to have such good Friends and family and they are what I miss most from across the ocean.  We are lucky that so many of them have been able to come visit us since we moved here-it has helped our transition!

As I pack today for our four week “tour de USA 2011” in which we will be hitting the East coast, West coast, Gulf coast and Alabama, that homesickness is crawling into my suitcase.  It is being replaced by a different emotion..  In reality, it should be 'fear' since I am flying alone on a 10 ½ hour flight with a 5 and 6 year old, since Jason will be joining us next weekend.   But it isn’t, that emotion is 'anxiety of packing'. What I have come to realize is that I have already acclimated in the last eight months to many things here in Germany and actually feel more like a tourist packing for our visit to my homeland.   
A few of my thoughts while packing…
  • Since I have been wearing jeans and a sweater most days this week, how do I pack for 95 degrees with an average 88% humidity level?  I have easily acclimated to not sweating when I walk out the door.  Karina even asked, “Is it hot enough in the states to wear tank tops and shorts?”  I guess she is referring to all the cute ones we bought before moving here that still have the tags on them. ..
  • How am I going to go to the grocery store without my bike?  I am going to miss my major means of transportation, especially making my daily trip to the market.  Well…maybe not my trips to the market, but I will miss being able to ride my bike most places.  However, I must say I will NOT complain about laundry or grocery shopping when I am back in the US.  I have learned the meaning of hard in both categories while living here.

a little grocery shopping

headed home from Market

dries quicker this way!
  • How am I going to throw all of my trash in one bag?  I have come to appreciate the importance of separating our trash into FIVE categories and feel proud that I am personally contributing a wee bit to helping protect the environment. Even though it can be a pain in the butt some days after I realize I have thrown the coffee grounds in the wrong trash and have to dig them out!  I am afraid of the guilt I may feel when I throw all my items in one trashcan.
  • And most importantly…how am I going to “get enough” of my family and friends to last me when we return to Germany.  I don’t think I will be able to accomplish that one. 


Rainy days don't get me down in Germany!

What do you do when it’s raining in Germany?...Put on a raincoat and go on with your plansJ

So today in the rain, our plans included Jason taking the kids to a huge indoor pool, Fildorado and my taking Katie to a huge Palace, Ludwigsburg Palace and the Modemuseum inside the Palace which shows clothes from the 18th.

Today was my third time touring Ludwigsburg and after visiting many others, it is still my favorite Palace/castle tour.  It is one of the country's largest Baroque palaces.  The English tour lasts for 1 ½ hours and is packed full of information. Not only is the tour loaded, the Palace is loaded with many of the original furnishings, silk wallpapers, tapestries, paintings and much more.  

Are you from Alabama? Mayor Maddox and his wife Stephanie

As the tour guide led us to the next room of the Palace, a couple turned around and asked, “are you from Alabama?”  We answered that indeed we were and proceeded to discuss the rareness of our ‘run in’.  After I mentioned that I was currently living in Stuttgart, he asked,  “Are you married to Jason Hoff?”  I felt like looking over my shoulder to see if there were ‘prank’ cameras about to shine the lights on us because it was almost too ironic.  But it was all real…turns out it was the Mayor from Tuscaloosa Alabama, Walt Maddox and his wife Stephanie.  To make the world even smaller…the same type of situation happened yesterday as we were touring Tübingen.  I just can’t believe we are living in Germany and run into people we know from Alabama.  It gave me the feeling that the world really is a small place! 


working hard

I spy Katie...

I spy Katie! 

Queen's bedroom

King's bedroom


Highway to...Tübingen

Ich bin müde...
...... in English-“I AM TIRED”!!  

Tübingen is a medieval town on the Neckar which dates from the 6th or 7th century.  Inside this city is 'The University of Tübingen' which was founded in 1477.  Bottom line...it is gorgeous, quaint, still standing, and OLD...and I feel just as old.  
 I have come to the realization, after touring with a 20 year old for over four weeks, that I am no longer 20.  It has been a hard realization, my friends probably knew...but I didn't.  I thought I was still ‘young and vibrant’…but I am not.  I am not old either, but throw a bunch of cobblestone walkways, mountains to castles, children to tired to walk riding on my back, and some worn out shoes in the mix, and all of a sudden-I am old.  My feet, arms, toes, fingers, belly button and funny bone all hurt from all of the touring we have done this past month.  BUT…I would do it all again (but maybe take a little Ben gay along this time)

Today, as we were driving home from our day trip to Tübingen, Katie made us realize (without meaning too), that mentally Jason and I are still young.  As we neared home, she began laughing at the fact that Jason and I were singing along at the top of our lungs to ACDC’s ‘Highway to Hell’  as the kids were sleeping in the backseat.  I guess we were both were remembering younger days as we got lost in our own renditions.  One day Katie will understand...and she will think SHE is still young.

I think I will continue to tour, be sore, laugh, sing and always be young…in my head!

Tübingen has ice cream!

and a fountain...


little doors..

Add caption

Someone rescue me from touring another castle!

Ironic- Satelite



An "Itch"

I had an "itch" to go see what had transformed in Der Höhenpark Killesberg since our last visit when everything was frozen.  It is amazing how different the parks are after some sun and warm well semi warm weather hits them here in Germany. As I said before, I really feel like I am living in a different city than the one we moved to in December.  But I am sure we will see "that" city again real soon.  I like both, but this bright colorful version is my favorite! 
K & K

K gets a view from the top

Find Katie on the VERY top

everything is smiling
new "babies" too!

born in April


Cooper honking at the Goose


About Me

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Stuttgart, Germany, Germany
We are living as non-military expats for a second time in Stuttgart Germany. The first time, we moved from Alabama to Stuttgart, Germany in December 2010 for three years and now are back after six years.. This is a great adventure for our whole family that we enjoy sharing.