A Different View

Hospital with a 'view'...in the middle of a wine vineyard
The guide book was dog-eared, the sites to visit highlighted, new food to taste flagged and a big picture of our hotel with a "room with a view" of Lisbon, Portugal was showing daily on my computer screen.  Jason was in China and as the week went on, I continued to ignore the growing pain I had in my side as I checked off my 'To Do' list.  I wanted to be sure that the minute he landed back from China, we were ready to jump on our plane to sunny Portugal.

     As the week went on, that side pain became a distraction.  I decided it was time to see a doctor so he could get rid of it so I could get on with my packing.  Little did I know that after a full day of doctors visits, needles, and a full night in the ER,  that the doctor would change my room with a view to a 'hospital room with a view' for five days...all meals included.
I always say, "that sometimes things just don't go as planned, but you try to find the good in the things that are happening". I found although my room view changed, my meals were slightly different from the Portuguese menus I had planned, and my touring did not included an ocean, that I was able to find many good views.
My room 'view' with windows wide open

Some positive things that I saw with the new "View" 

German hospitals are not scary even when you can't communicate fully. 
 (Jason was in flight back from China on my first Day) 

  • The views were great as it sat right in the middle of a wine vineyard!
  • When you can't find the words to explain in German, "I am about to throw-up"...you just do it and the communication clears up quickly.
  • They encourage you to get out of your room and have various parks, sitting areas, games for children, espresso machines, books to read, and even a picnic area.  
  • They encourage you to have your children come visit because it helps you heal (they may have retracted that one when they saw the level of energy our two have as they entertained the whole hospital with their chatter) 
  • They encourage you to open your windows wide-open to let the fresh air in to help you heal.
  • You have to buy a "card" to make the phone work, but when the nurse can't understand your German she will approve for you to just use your cell phone.  
You can make TRUE friends when living as an expat...it doesn't matter how short or long you will be living in a new country the depth is what you put into the relationship. 
We weren't so pretty to 'view' at 2:30 a.m.
  • With Jason being out of the country,  all of our friends AGAIN rallied around our family helping us in a time of need.
  • You know you have made a lifelong friend when she kisses her 4 children and husband goodnight and stays with you in the E.R.  until the sun is about to pop its head up AND helps you go to the bathroom when you have IV's in both arms.  Most importantly, she didn't laugh when she saw me naked (which can be quit humorous).  She only commented casually at my lack of modesty, "you are not an usual American" to which I quickly responded, "I am not a usual anything!!!"
My Best 'View'!!!
 The most important 'View' I saw from this experience was that I overcame one of my biggest fears; getting really sick while Jason was out of the country.  Yes, it was difficult communicating in German with the nurses, but I did it.  Yes, it was scary not having my husband there with me, but he came. Yes, it would have been nicer to have gone to Portugal, but " sometimes things just don't go as planned, I found the good in the things that happened". 

Gift I was brought to 'View'

Better 'View'

A little high-tech t.v. to 'View'


German Flying Frogs

If only my dad, Granmother 'Ma', and Granfather 'Pa' had known that Frogs in Germany had wings, I bet I wouldn't have been told so much, "If a frog had wings, he wouldn't bump his rump" (well maybe the word rump wasn't used but you get the point)  It was a nice way to be told to solve my problems and not use the excuse "If" when life is challenging.  I am glad I learned it because I would probably use the excuse "if" pretty often living in another country now days....."If only I spoke the language", "if only it wasn't so cold", or "if only German cheese and bread didn't taste so good".  Somehow the saying sunk in and I learned that most times, rather than saying "if" it is better to find a a solution.  Because no matter how hard a frog may try, he will bump his rump.

When I saw (or pretty sure I saw since my eyesight is still a tad blurry) this sign in tree, I began to wonder just IF the frogs had wings here in Germany. If only I had known, that would have been a great comeback to my elders, "yeah...well in Germany they don't bump their rump cause they fly in trees".  Last year I wrote this blog post about the signs stating to take caution during Toad Migration here in Germany.  Link to Post about Toads in Germany.  This year I am more miffed than last because it seems that one should use caution when in a tree because the toads are Migrating.  Either frogs have wings here in Germany or somebody has a very funny sense of humor! 


'Suck-it-in' Spain

I love 'Suck-it-in' Spain...as in "suck-it-in' everyone so we can fit on this too skinny thing they call a road, or 'suck-it-in' quickly Tapas so we can order some more because it tastes good and can't be too many calories since the plates are so small, or 'suck-it-in' scenery that makes you gasp for air, or 'suck-it-in' while you hunt for Sea Glass while the brisk Mediterranean Sea air cleans out your sinuses better than any neti-pot. Yes, we had such a good time sucking it all in in Majorca with the family including the Grans that flew all the way from Oregon.  I STRONGLY recommend our hotel to any family searching for good food, good scenery, and most importantly...good Spanish hospitality that 'sucks-you-in' and makes you want to pack your bags and live the life. click here for a  Link to GREAT hotel
 Now that I have returned back to reality, and have 'sucked-in' so much Tapas, it is time for my legs to 'suck-it-up' and learn how to start running again!  Bis Bald! 

not 'suck-it-up' touring

no problem 'sucking this in'!


Closest we came to 'suck-it-in' bull fight

'Suck-it-in' Moon
'suck-it-in' daddy time!

'Suck-it-in' I wish I had that sailboat


Today's lessons from" E.V."

Katharinenhospital Pic thanks to Stuttgart web
As I sit here in the waiting room at Katharinenhospital Augklinik (hour #3),  for my bi-weekly eye check, I have realized my friend, E.V., (let my creative naming shine...stands for eye virus) has actually taught me a few lessons the past 6 weeks...
  •  When entering a waiting room in Germany that is full of people- seems one must ALWAYS greet all the others with  "Guten morgen" or "Auf Wiedersehen" when leaving. (don't get scared when the chorus of patients all respond in unison which you are also expected to do when a person enters or exits)
Look out grass...here I come for a nap!
  • I CAN answer a ga-gillion questions asked in very fast German by a waiting room full of people older than me (by at least 30 years) about "life in America" or "what I think about Germany" AND enjoy it all. 
  • It is o.k. to find the nearest schlossgarten, just lay down and close your eyes without worrying what anyone will think. (E.V. gets tired when running errands downtown.) Let's just clarify that I tend to look more like a bag lady than one of the posh Europeans sitting on the lawn!
Yes, E.V. has taught me many lessons but today HE learned an important lesson as well......

  • Even when an unwanted friend is still hanging around in my eyes, trying to squash my fun, and will require at least 4 more weeks of Cortisone drops to make him disappear, THE VERY KIND GERMAN DOCTOR WILL STILL APPROVE THAT I CAN FLY WITH MY FAMILY FOR VACATION.  Hello airplane and hello Majorca Spain, it will be so nice to "SEE" you (well maybe not see you so well this time) !!!! SO, E.V.-I guess you will get to do a little touring after all and maybe learn a few lessons yourself!

A taste of "Sweet Home AL"

 Our friends hand delivered a great CP (Care package) this past weekend which included a little taste of Alabama.  Don't think I didn't run right out and buy some chicken to go with that "Sweet Home Saban" BBQ sauce and cook it up immediately.  When living abroad, it is these "care packages" that can bring the biggest smiles to our family because they give us a brief taste of "Alabama home".  This one reminded me how much I do miss eating some good ole Southern bbq chicken with my friends....so I decided to pick up the telephone and invite one of my German friends over for a Southern dinner.

Alabama football wasn't playing in the background as we wiped the red sauce from our face, but dinner still tasted like Alabama.  My German friend couldn't believe she liked the sauce so much and the kids kept asking, "what kind of gravy is this?"

How quickly they forget and how quickly they adjust to new environments and foods....but it is always nice to have a little taste of Alabama once in a while!!!(not to mention seeing friends on this side of the ocean)


Stuttgart Staatsgalerie

"Cy Twombly"
"Claude Monet"

We had to DRAG the Kids out of the Staatsgalerie today!  We took them to see the
William Turner, Claude Monet and the late Cy Twombly exhibition (which is the only venue in Germany showing these late works) and they refused to leave and insisted on seeing the rest of the museum!  I know, we have the perfect kids who love museums!
Which way?

FAMILY PORTRAIT at the Staatsgaleris
APRIL FOOLS! (Yep...that was the theme of this Hoff day)  We really did DRAG them to the Staatsgalerie and they actually were very well content during our much needed family outing that began with a long brunch and then almost 1 1/2 hours of museum time.  No, our children are not wonder kids that love looking at paintings for over an hour at a Museum, but Jason and I ARE masters of playing "I spy" when we tour such venues with them.  Yes, we I am a tad off, but our game goes like this (while looking at various paintings)  "I spy a frog jumping on a lily pad" or "I spy a horse's butt"...can you find it?  As they search with great effort, Jason and I spy a few minutes to enjoy the Masterpieces in front of our eyes.

It was a great, (much needed fun family outing) and that is no April Fools!

Daddy explaining that there isn't much to "I spy" in this one

They don't fool me anymore with this I SPY ("Claude Monet" in background)
Cooper liked brunch the best today

Daddy...Do you "Spy" Us?!?!?

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.