Crickets.... Are important.  Due to our lack of Internet and cable, they have been our entertainment in the evenings the past two weeks- not to mention all this blog has heard. 

I am not an I-phone writer/blogger- but I promise as soon as we have Internet and my beloved computer, I will pick up where I left off! But for now, we will listen to the crickets and catch a few lightening bugs...


Not just a Hallmark holiday

My father is known to refer to Fathers Day as a "Hallmark holiday".  Well, maybe it has become somewhat of an over marketed therefore over shopped holiday in America. 

But I call it honoring the man, that among other things, taught me compassion towards the world, how to be open minded about the things we don't understand or know, to think positive even when things aren't so, he shared the gift of reading, taught me independence, showed me the meaning of hard work by example and most of all, gave me the gift of unconditional love. 

So whether Hallmark says today is the day or not- here's to you dad! 


Still learning strength

My learned strength from our time in Germany (that I so gallantly bragged about a few posts back) was tested on my flight to the Grandparents in Oregon with the kids earlier this week. 

I will not write about how our journey turned into a FIFTEEN hour trip due to mechanical problems, missed flights, re-routing and a luggage no show.  That is always a gamble when one flies now... A days and I try not to stress over those things.

But, I found that I was not quite the strong girl I thought when just 15 minutes after this visit to the captain, switched to my little 8 year old laying in my lap feeling as hot as a desert and basically not responsive.  The crew paged over the intercom for a medical doctor and she was iced down, given meds and we have been nursing her all week with TLC and antibiotics. 

So I guess living in Germany did not teach me how to deal with all things with a perfect calm and grace cause I was not very calm as the doctor stayed with us 20,000 feet in the air and Karina felt felt more like the sun laying in my lap. But I was shown that there is grace all over the world and the sky. Maybe that was supposed to be my first lesson moving back to the US because I now understand that I will continue to grow as a person from life's experience even though I am back home and not living in a foreign country. 


Grits...southern breakfast of champions

sausage gravy and biscuits
topped and ready to go
Some of our friends helped welcome us back with yummies in our hotel room as we returned to Alabama and we immediately felt at home.  HOWEVER, my first morning at the hotel breakfast bar, I was welcomed home by a true "Southern Breakfast of Champions".  Not good for the heart (or hips) but what is a girl to do when she has just moved back home and is being greeted by cheese grits, spicy sausage, and biscuits with gravy....EAT IT, don't think about the calories, and take tums immediately when returning to the hotel room. 
cheese grits and sausage

Landed back home.

We landed and are driving to Alabama
We landed and it felt a bit like we were in a foreign country....the sun was shining and the heat was hugging us tightly. 

After all of our chaos' moving morning' ...including no reservations on our train to Frankfurt airport and an impromptu shopping trip to get Rocky a brand new crate in the airport since his didn't meet German law requirements, we arrived back in Alabama.  And yes, the skies were so blue.   

Checking out the new digs
Even Rocky wanted to tour


Germany Do-Over?

If I had a do-over, would I move to Germany again?
I wouldn't hesitate! (Which is a good thing I guess since my husband's line of work could land us in another country at some point in our life)

Why should I lie?  Change is hard!!   And changing to another country can be like a mosquito bite right In the middle of your back that you can't quite reach.  But there always is a way to get a good scratch in and Mosiqitio bites heal.
But my mosqitio bites helped me find new ways and I discovered a strength within myself that surprised even me and I'm not even talking about the shock of my tongue spitting out the German language.   I made new friends and a created a new home for our family, all while overcoming a language barrier and learning a new culture.  Yeah, at times, I didn't overcome the barrier but they usually led to some needed humor for someone including my family.

I toured places that reminded me how precious life is and needs to be appreciated. I have eaten food that I am lucky wasn't part of the other 45 years of my life since I enjoy fitting thru doors. I have learned what a real cappuccino was and it doesn't include ordering into a speaker. I have learned cooking new foods when the directions are not in English can lead to disaster. 

I have been to a German wedding to help celebrate the beginning of a beautiful marriage and unfortunately, attended a Jazz funeral to say goodbye one of the first German friends I met when we arrived.  These events reminded me that in many ways, it doesn't matter the country because life takes similar paths-both happy and sad.

I have learned to walk and drive in snow ( it would be pushing it to say I mastered running on the slick stuff) I guess I did NOT master cleaning off our snow packed sidewalk since there is still a stench of soy sauce lingering around my house.  I have learned that there are indeed various types of socks, clothes, hats and coats that are more than a fashion staple. 

I have learned how to become more patient when life can be frustrating and love the constant phrase of "kein stress" my German friends say to me when I start living life a little too booked. I have learned that walking is not just a sport, it can be the means of transport home from the grocery store.  I now also know for a fact that I really do prefer having a food disposal rather than my German compost box.  Thank goodness they are legal in the US of A.  Of course I would be faking it if I didn't say how excited I am about the new Extra large front loads that will join our family. I am not sure what it will be like to do one day of laundry in about 30 minutes versus 30 hours as we waited for them to dry on the line.

I saw that my children will grow and go thru life no matter where we are living.  It is all the example we set as to the attitude they take on change.  They are not the little ones we moved over with...they are now our adventurous children. 

I have learned that I can be naked in a sauna...but it is not really my thing being all nervous, listening to others sit and chit-chat like they aren't naked all while sweat pours out of my skin. 

I have learned that sometimes in life, the things you worry about and fear will happen...WILL.  But it isn't always as scary as you thought the situation would be when all that time worrying was spent.  A Medical emergency in a foreign country was one of my biggest fears prior to the move and boy didn't we experience the whole spectrum.  Many Emergency rooms were toured, an ambulance was ridden, a hospital was home for a week, conversations with doctors were had in another language...but we went thru it and I learned that fears aren't always worth the worry.

I am sure I could write about many more things I have learned.  But, AGAIN, I have learned that life doesn't stop just because you are flying out in the morning as I sit in the hotel room with Cooper and a very high fever that will not scram even with my good ole US kid's IB Profen.  Maybe it is just one last test of my strength here in Germany and I guess I pass since I just got the giggles when I looked at my last load of laundry blowing in the wind hanging outside our hotel room as my son is crying because he wants to go to school to say goodbye but feels too sick and here I am worrying about change. 

I will take many of my learned lessons and use them back in AL... Like taking my own bags to the grocery store, not stock piling unnecessarily, recycling, eating a long dinner in a restaurant because the conversation is just as important as the grub and realizing that it is just too hot to walk home from the grocery store.

So with that, I finish writing about this chapter of our life, not with a "the End" or Auf Wiedersehen...but rather, see y'all real soon now-ya hear!!

Friendships abroad

I can't seem to find the words in any form or fashion to describe the somewhat surprise dinner a group of friends had for us tonight. Their schedules are more than chaotic now, and  some have life altering things going on in their lives...but they found the time to confirm what I believed... Germany became our home and our friendships here became our family. I will miss you all (and my friends that have moved away before us)...but remember what I always say, " once you are my friend, you are stuck with me for life like a fly on a glue trap!" Xoxox


GRUB...not just German style

Our last two months here in Germany,, we have gone with the motto "no regrets on grub!"   The restaurants in Stuttgart are numerous, good and represent every country.  I have almost forgotten the idea of fast food...until someone mentions Chic-Filet and look out Charlie cause I'm the first in line.

We have dined with friends, we have dined with kids, and  we have dined without.  We suffered to have that last bite of African because reservations were late so we cricked as we all sat on a sand floor that was available.  We munched on Greek, Italian, Korean, French, Spanish, Turkish, German, Swabish, Thai, and of course many "I have no idea what this is..."  If it was a restaurant we hadn't tried, a reservation was made...and later the Tums were broken out.  

The food here in Germany has been tantalizing, and sometimes just plain ole scary when thinking of those blood wursts I mistakenly tasted.  I am going to try hard to stick to the limited amounts of processed food when we return but not sure if we will be able to match these past few months of making sure there were no grub regrets!!!!


A dog's world in Germany

who needs a train when I can snuggle with Karina?
Our dog moved with us to Germany and now we are heading to his "exit" health inspection.  It isn't cheap moving a dog with you across the ocean...but he isn't a dog to us...he is part of our family.

As soon as we greeted him in the Stuttgart airport 2 1/2 years ago, I immediately told him how much fun he was going to have in Germany.  "yep Rocky...dogs can ride the train, go in most stores, sit under tables in restaurants begging until you get a nibble, go for walks in big forests, play with many friends in those same forests, dig for mice, roll in the snow and get treated with a big S-P-O-I-L-I-N-G."

He gave me a wag of his tail and then refused to get 2 blocks near a train, but loved the forest and his new friends not to mention will probably need dog therapy once we return to Alabama and there is no snow.

I took many pictures of the dogs in the department stores during our time here in Germany to show Rocky...but I somehow deleted most of them before I was able to blog about my amazement.  One thing is for sure...Germany is a dog's world....

not allowed in grocery-but can wait in lobby

I did a double take at this nap



Austria-our last weekend this chapter...


It was our last weekend living in Europe and luckily, it was a long holiday.  A few months back, we booked this holiday in the Salzburg, Austria area at a Wellness hotel on Fuschlee lake.  We thought it would be a great last weekend filled with sunshine, mountain views, fresh air, lake swimming, and a little touring.  

Torential rains decided our last vacation would be other... as the news media reported.
"torrential rains lash central Europe, triggering floods and landslides and disrupting transport. "

OK...so our drive home turned into a whole day affair due to the many detours around flooded roads and autobahn, however, the few days before our return journey, we did what we always TRY to do when circumstances are beyond our control.  We put on our bathing suits and swim.  

We decided to make the best of the weekend despite the cold pouring rain....We took advantage of the 'Wellness hotel' and got well for our return to the U.S. 

We swam, sauna'd, ate fresh meals, played pool and checkers in the lobby by the fireplace, we petted the ponys in the barn (and for some reason I AGAIN got bitten), swam some more in the heated outdoor pool while sitting in bubbly massage chairs under the water that made you forget your face was freezing as the rain fell, we warmed up by dancing as the evening bands strummed, we popped up the umbrellas with confidence as we went for a walk in along the lake and ventured out in the cold rain to hike up the mountain to tour the salt mines (and afterwards drying the kids socks and shoes in on top of the Mine's heater)

Tonight, while I was doing our laundry in our "home hotel", it dawned on me how representative this weekend was of our adventures here in Germany.  They weren't always easy, but we always had a choice of our mindset.  Our choices led to a great 2 1/2 years in Germany and it also led to a great last European vacation in this chapter! 

nice fire by the pool

some afternoon checkers

Inside the salt mines on the slide down

a break from the rain

heading in the Mine
all dressed and ready to head in the mine
Thank goodness we get to ride some of the way up the mountain

View from the room

all different honey with homemade yogurts

dancing the night away..

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.