February 20, 1999 – This is Us

20 years…

20 years and here we are… in Germany?! What? Actually if you want to get technical 29 years… It started in 1990. Our story, our dating, our numerous cars purchased for under 500 dollars! Hanging out with our friends at local bars on Long Island.  Meeting each other’s families. Making friends together and combining our friends, watching some of those friends marry. Playing billiards, playing volleyball, going to the beach, going to Florida, going skiing at Mt Vernon, hanging out “Down Port”, going to Puerto Rico. Getting pets Buddy then Scoops, you were there for me when Scruffy crossed the rainbow bridge.  Loving, laughing, fighting, crying, growing up, living… you have been here for me for half of my life. You proposed to me at the top of a Merry Go Round at the Church fair, because you knew I loved them even though you hated them! You had them stop it at the top and asked me to be your wife.  We married in our church with a full Catholic Mass (much to some of our friends dislike!) and the mass was my favorite part.  Our reception was a party in an amazing hall with all of our family and friends around. We honeymooned in Jamaica! We rode horses in the ocean and climbed the falls and were stranded out on the reef with the 2 person bike!  We moved to our own apartment and we painted it and had the floors done and made it ours! We had Scoops Buddy and Shyloh in that apartment. My Grandma and Grandpa came there for a cook out (one of many of my favorite memories there!!!) We went on the best cruise ever with our friends. I learned how to play Texas Hold em there and I think I was pretty good at it!  We played lots of games with friends there, we had lots of friends over for football games I watched Monday Night Raw with my brother in law there and we sucked you in too!  We had holidays there and I watched many dog shows on Thanksgiving with the same wonderful brother in law.  We found out we were going to be parents there in that apartment! We made a nursery fit for a beautiful princess.  We had our first beautiful baby there.  We made the big decision to leave NY and moved for a job opportunity and a chance at a better life for our little family.  We drove to NC with Scoops and Shyloh in the rented minivan and Kendall in the back of the Elantra. I had the screaming little girl and you had the barking beast for the entire drive. You found our house which wound up being on the best court ever with the best neighbors that became family. We had Duncan there and our family grew and our hearts grew.  We made lifelong friends in NC. We explored NC together and found fun places to go and survived job losses and new jobs.  Here we are now on a crazy new adventure in Germany, WOW! Our children are getting the experience of a lifetime, we are getting an experience of a lifetime.  We were together for the birth and death of loved ones, we were together for good times and in bad and sickness and in health.  Marriages are never always perfect but as far as vows go ours has gone through all of the items and has remained strong and lasting through the test of time.  I look forward to living in this blessing and adventure that is our life.  I look forward to watching our babies grow up (OMG we have a teenager now!) I look forward to growing old with you, but before that happens I look forward to many more adventures! Strongest together! I love our family! Happy 20 Year Anniversary! I love you! 

xxxooo

 

 

Advertisements

Eis Cafe

Took a walk on this warm day to the Eis Cafe!!! Delish ice cream! Kendall rode her new long board and Duncan road his scooter. Took some pics of local graffiti. Not sure if I have mentioned it, there is a lot of graffiti everywhere, some good some not so good. The rest of the day was spent binge watching Game of Thrones! ❤️

Happy Saturday

xoxo

“Don’t Blink”

Another beautiful day in Germany. Kendall has turned 13! On the 13th! My little baby girl where did the time go? Feeling sad that time goes so fast… faster once you have babies. “Don’t Blink”! She missed her friends and family, but there were lots of friends here that went out of their way to make her day special. I think it was a good day. The day before she went into Hannover on her own with some friends, a first.  Well kind of on her own, I took the tram with them and left them at a spot and met them back there after.  It was a big step for all of us and a little nerve-wracking for me!

I went to a chocolate factory (Rausch) with the ladies from school this week. It was fun. Next week is a winter break for International School children. I wish we were going to see something amazing… but we are staying home. I will try to do some day trips with the kids during the week.

Feeling sad today without a really good reason. I guess some days are just like that. I think I am missing some people, my people, my daily phone calls, my family, my house, my dog, my job, my people at my job, I am feeling kind of far away and disconnected.

The weather has been amazingly beautiful, sunny and crisp, but not too cold! The windows are open and the sun is reflecting off of everything! It’s truly beautiful. I think I am just feeling the passing of time and wishing I could just slow it down… I bet no one ever said that before. Sorry for some of the old photos… I am just missing my little peanuts!

Here’s to hope and love and bright exciting futures!

Thanks for reading!

xoxo

 

Thankful for every day

Just look at that first photo! Isn’t that just beautiful. I apologize for always sharing photos of the same scenes, but each time I find a new beauty in them.  The sunrise today 2/6/19 was amazing!!! That is a partially frozen lake with a shining sun, cold and beautiful. I know I post lots of photos of the fireplace too, that is just something I always wanted and LOVE having and love sitting in front of with my family. It’s cozy and warm and comforting.  Now all I’m missing is the rest of my family and friends! COME VISIT! 😉

So our containers came! Both the ocean and air freight containers arrived on the same day.  My living room is cozy, my kitchen is useable, my bathrooms have all our necessary items, the kids rooms are full of toys and stuffed animals. My room is full of clothes that I have no idea where to put! (house does not have closets-imagine a master closet that was FULL with no place to go)  Yes that is what half of my room looks like and no I am not posting those photos until I figure it out! I can say that there is an attic and I have lugged many boxes up there, of clothes we are not wearing right now, boxes of hangers (No point of hangers when we don’t have closets!), Suitcases, boxes of extra blankets and sheets. So happy to have all of our things, so stressed over the mess of my room! The man who first arrived with the containers spoke only German, but between Google translate and some patience we were okay. Then the crew came in and they were young men that spoke English and were from Poland and Russia.  When they first walked in I was staring out at the frozen lake and watching something in the distance skate across it. One of the guys confirmed it was a cat! (the one the kids and I have seen visit our backyard) SO FUNNY, he was just sliding across the ice.  The guys moving our items in were great and were finished in a day.

I know I had hinted at a possible job opportunity, which I did get the offer, BUT we found out the next day that our paper work is not complete. So that is going to take a couple of weeks to iron out and I have missed out on this opportunity. I was mad and upset over this and I feel that we were let down  by the people in charge of making sure we had all of the correct paperwork.  I know everything happens for a reason so there will be other opportunities in the future and maybe this just wasn’t the one for me. It sure felt like it was though.

I have spent a lot of time with some of the people I have met at the school recently.  They are really nice and go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome. There is major bonding with everyone going through similar situations.  Everyone I have met always asks if everything is okay and is there anything they can do. The kindness of others is a blessing and is overwhelming as always. I have made some really nice friends and am so lucky to have met them.  Everyone’s story is so interesting. Did you know that there are some people who are what I would call professional ExPats? They continuously travel from place to place (country to country) with their families based on where the job currently needs them to go. The strength to do that is something I cannot even fathom. The kids have also made some friends which is great to hear and I love that they are doing okay with their new school. We have gone to a trampoline like place, Superfly (think Defy Gravity or Sky High), we have done a lot of shopping, finding little shopping areas or spots to get some foods that we are missing from the US.  Had some nice lunches and breakfasts and drank a lot of coffee!  I feel like I have been here for so much longer then I have. It’s only been 5 and a half weeks.

Oh yes and Duncan’s field trip was fun. We went to HohlenErlebnisZentrum -Hohle and Museum am Iberg. We explored a dripstone cave and learned about the people who lived there 3000 years ago during the Bronze Age.

I met a neighbor on the train when I was going to get the children.  She speaks only German but is friendly and tries to talk to me every time she sees me.  I think she has said that she sees me walking to the food store. She lives a few houses down from me. She thinks our house is beautiful. She asked about the kids and John and told me about her husband, I think his name is Todd.  I need to learn German fast, I want to be able to speak to her. That is when it’s the most frustrating. There are so many people here that do speak English, so that is helpful and some enjoy practicing. I always ask them to teach me the proper way to say things as well. This way I am learning!

Recycling has been a learning experience but it has been okay. I have four small garbage cans in my house. One for Bio, one for paper, one for other containers, and one for all other trash.  All the bags are different colors. I think we have it all figured out and I think I have the schedule for pick up almost figured out!

One of my friends from school brought us to church a week ago. Once a month there is an English service, so that was really awesome and the kids knew other children from school so they were excited to go!

Sunday we went to the zoo.  We had fun and the kids got to ice skate and I finally was able to have my Gluhwein officially from Germany! It was yummy!

John’s birthday was this week, February 5th.  We celebrated with dinner and  brownies. He traveled today to Brussels, but it was only for the day so that was good.  Everyone else is already asleep, they all went to bed at 8. I have too much on my mind to sleep yet but I’m sure I am not far behind them. It’s almost 10 now.

Also I became an Aunt again! Congratulations to Michael and Kals on their beautiful baby girl Emmelia.  She’s beautiful!

Thanks for reading, miss you all!
XO

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee Talk

Today I spent the day with two moms (Dunc’s class mum and my new friend Megan) from the children’s school. Duncan’s class mum showed us around Kirchrode (a part of Hannover). She showed us where there were English-speaking doctors and dentists for the kids and ourselves, she showed us good places to food shop and regular shop.  She showed us places to get ice cream and to go walking through the “forest” (park) where we will see lots of deer.  Catherine also brought us to have croissants and coffee at a nice little French bakery.  We talked about our moves and lots of different challenges and what we missed. Can anyone who really knows me guess what happened? Yes I started to cry! UGH… She was so kind and hugged me and then both of their eyes were watering as well.  Sometimes the move can be overwhelming. I am still brimming with excitement and cannot believe that we are living in Germany and that we have this awesome house with such a beautiful view!!! There is still the hole in my heart where I am missing everyone, missing my home, my stupid mini van, English, Scoops, having a job… (although I think it’s much easier that I am home for the beginning part of this transition). So I think just talking about home became too much and my eyes filled up and I was just so sad. After that we walked around some more and then went to lunch at a beautiful place, 6 Sinne Sky Bar & Restaurant, with about 20 other moms from the school.  Everyone is from so many different places, US, Scotland, Brazil, Japan, Abu Dhabi, England, Australia… I can’t keep track.  Everyone is very nice and going through a lot of the same things. Part of the problem is you can decide you really like someone and think you can bond and have a great friendship, but their time here is limited and they may only be here for a few more months. That in itself is unsettling. While I had such a wonderful time today and so many kind offers of assistance, today it just made me feel lonelier. Does that make sense?

Good news is that I had met someone at the school the other day and I made a good enough impression that she recommended me for a temporary position that has opened up within the school! She just let me know this afternoon!  So I am looking into what I need to do to make that happen.  That would be amazing, especially if it is within the kids hours! Can you imagine?! How amazing would that be?! I am hoping it will work out so that it fills the time until HR and I can find a position for me in our Hannover office.

Wednesday is the day I get to chaperone one of Duncan’s field trips which I am really excited for.  We will be exploring some type of caves! I will make sure to write more about it.  I am very excited to be more involved with the school and to be able to attend these kind of events.

Thanks for reading.

xoxo

We’re back

Good morning from Germany.  Many of you aren’t up yet. I’m feeling happy, blessed and lucky this morning! So many small things have happened over the last two weeks. As many of you know the small wins are big wins at this time.  This may be a long one. Sorry John I know that you hate that.

We moved into the house so we did not have to struggle in the small space of the hotel any longer. We have temporary mattresses from the homeowner we rent from. Since none of our containers have arrived yet, we went to IKEA and purchased the basics. Blankets, sheets, pillows, pot, pan, cups, plates, silverware & towels.  So basically everything we would need to get by until the containers arrive.  Each bed had been made in each room, but the kids did not like the emptiness of each room, so we moved all the beds to our living room  downstairs and we are all asleep by 9! John and I are looking forward to the arrival of the containers so the kids are comfortable enough in their rooms.

I am happy to report that my dryer is AMAZING compared to the hotel dryer and it definitely dries everything faster.  They are still smaller then the US though, so wash is a daily endeavor.

When we first got here, I was FREEZING during the day.  John’s colleague came over and helped to read the directions on the heater (all in German of course) and he was able to set it so I am no longer losing fingers and toes! so Ralf was my savior! Thank you Ralf.

I have become a pro at making fires in our awesome fireplace! One of my favorite features of the house, as many of you know since I post an almost daily photo of my fires! Silly John said fires only on weekends! That has not been going to his plan. They sell wood at the local food store! I shop at Edeka and Lidl.  Edeka I take the train to on my way home from dropping the kids to school. It’s the stop before my house.  Other days I walk 5 minutes to Lidl. I try to break up the heavy items needed by day, since I carry everything home.

I have attended two morning coffee meetings and a PTA meeting at the kids school.  Everyone there has been very nice and informative. I have met other parents and teachers and admins.  Duncan’s class “mum” is so nice.  This Monday she is taking myself and my new friend from SC (mentioned previously) to an area with local English speaking doctors and dentists, then to breakfast at a French pastry place and then to lunch with about 20 other moms from the school.  I HAVE PLANS! So exciting. Last Friday I went SHOE SHOPPING! With Megan from SC! Found some cute boots, got to the register only to find out they do not take VISA or any other card, unless it’s from a German bank or cash.  I had to put my boots back! So sad.  Not to worry though on Saturday the family took the train back there and my boots were still there, plus a pair for Kendall and Duncan.  Comfortable, waterproof, warm shoes are a must for Germany! John still has his squeakers, for those of you that were wondering.  I have never been a part of the PTA, because I was always so involved with work and just never had time.  It did not disappoint as there was drama from the first day.  That’s a story for another time, but wow the way it is represented in the comedic movies, based on FACT!

The kids and I have been threatening John with getting a cat.  The other night I was looking outside at the lake and I saw a shadow moving around the back yard (garden as it is called here) and it was a CAT! Duncan said quick get him! I did not. He was too skittish.  He did come by another day. He is probably a neighbor’s cat but it’s ironic that he has been showing up.  Kendall and Duncan think they are going to catch it and keep him or her!

Recycling is an education in itself here. You have Blue plastic bags for Paper, Yellow for containers (cans, milk cartons, chip bags…), Black for bio (banana peels, egg shells, apple cores…) maybe black again for all other items (not sure I get this one yet).  I need to get inside bins for all of these items.  All glass needs to be brought to the bins (luckily for me up the street by Lidl). There are specific bins for clear, green, brown glass.  Soda and water bottles you pay .25cents per bottle deposit, so you return those at the machine for store credit.  I think I’ve got it down. I’ve tried to figure out the schedule for when to put these items out for garbage pick up… the website is in German and I am finding that challenging. So that will be a job for next week!

I have also posted some photos of the sunrises on our lake, I love it! So amazingly beautiful! And we have DUCKS! They are afraid of me, I have tried to feed them twice.  One time I saw one in our little cove, so I ran out there with some bread and he was so scared he dropped the little fish he just caught and flew away! Upside, I saved a fish!!! The next day two of the ducks came to the little pond right outside of my back doors. As soon as they realized I was there taking photos they left.  I am getting some bird feeders, there are so many flying around and I am also going to get those ducks to like me! The setting of this house is like a dream, it’s so beautiful… I cannot believe it.  I am amazed by it every day.  Once it’s furnished it will be even more amazing!

Internet was hooked up this week! AMAZING, contact with the outside world and our tv. (we have a firestick, with Directv app, with a VPN, all connected through the internet) The internet technician and myself had some struggles communicating. My friend Tobias came to my rescue and called and spoke to the technician on my behalf! Thank you Tobias for saving the day! After the technician was done, he called his girlfriend to fill me in on what he did and give me directions. She is from the US and is at the university here in Germany. We found a way!  It is frustrating so don’t get me wrong, while it all worked out with the help of others, I wish I knew German and it can be lonely and scary when surrounded by a language you don’t understand. It’s amazing to me how many people here do speak English. Every day I try to learn more from the kids and their friends and from strangers I meet. If you try to understand and try to speak German they are very helpful and want to help you.

Quick funny story, I am told that ice cubes are not a big deal here… so of course the first trays we saw we purchased. When talking to Megan about it, she said, so you have the fish shaped ice cubes from IKEA… must be the official ice cubes of ExPats! Because YES, those are the ice cubes I have and we are not the only ones. I have not seen any other kinds of trays! Hysterical.

Good news our containers (ocean and air) should be delivered on Thursday to the house, just waiting on confirmation. My Amazon Echo is working, so I can dance away while cooking, that was a happy win yesterday! We watched the Deadpool with the kids last night that was supposed to be child appropriate PG-13… it’s not really.  Just a heads up for anyone wondering.

I will share some photos and I will try to write more often now that I have internet!  Field trip this week with Duncan! It’s really great having this time with the kids and I am trying to make sure I am as involved as possible!  OH yes and Kendall is on the Floor Ball team (indoor hockey) and will be in a tournament. She has also been added to the girls soccer team as a goalie! She has a tournament with them in Italy in the spring! Crazy! A lot of letting go here for me and you all know that is so hard for me.

Miss everyone! xoxo

Shout Out to Laila Boo! We love you! Happy Birthday!

 

Today is the day!

Thursday we shopped for items that make our home livable! Today we are moving out of the hotel into our house. First night of a home cooked meal. Of course right now we have only four single beds and a table with four chairs and no internet or tv! LOL but we will survive! I plan on lighting a fire tonight in the fireplace and drinking some wine and watching a movie on our tv through a thumb drive (if possible)! Fingers crossed for complete success! Hopefully our containers arrive soon!

I met more parents at the school this past week and most struggles are the same for all parents when embarking on an ExPat assignment.  Sadly I am not sure if any of these companies have the process completely down to smoothly transition people.  I would love to be part of a team that assists ExPats with their moves.  Also at the school we found out that Kendall has a week-long trip with all of 7th grade  in April and Duncan has a week long trip next year. Very exciting and traumatizing for me! This will be a first. Kendall is excited and nervous! Lots of outdoor activities and sleeping in comfortable Canadian style wooden huts for the week ( I will have to Google what that is) She will be outside swimming, canoeing, raft-building, high ropes course and zip lining! Sounds amazing and like all things she will love!

This was a rush post since I do not know when I will get back on-line! Going to check out now!