Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another one bites the dust

Unfortunatley the stairs have claimed another victim.

Anyone who has been to our place can attest to the fact that the stairs are no joking matter. There are a lot of them, they are steep and they are slippery. I try to remember to always wear sneakers when running around the house because about a month ago I slid down seven or eight steps bruising my back. Unfortunatley, Phil did the same thing last night and sprained his foot. This picture was after our trip to the doctor, which was also an adventure since the doctor spoke very little English.

The conversation went something like this while we all looked at the x-ray...

Doctor: I see a fracture.
Me: He fractured his foot?
Doctor: No, it is not a fracture.
Me: Should he keep it elevated?
Doctor: No, but keep it up whenever possible.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Blast from the Past

I really like Legos. I am not sure if it is because I grew up with a brother who also had a fondness for those little bricks or because I am amazed at what you can build with them. Either way, I think they are fun and was really impressed when our mall had them on display.

Our mall is always hosting some type of exhibit. Last month the mall hosted an exhibit from an artist that copies famous paintings and then inserts Donald Ducks face into all of them. Donald Duck Mona Lisa, Donald Duck as The Birth of Venis by get the idea. It was a little strange.This month it was Legos in an attempt to gain interest in Legoland Deutschland, the Lego theme park located 2 hours south of us.

I hope to be able to visit this park before we leave Germany. In the center of the park is an area called Miniland. Here, several German towns have been recreated using over 26 million legos. This may not interest most people my age but I still think it is pretty impressive.

Here are some of the displays at our mall. I felt a little silly as I waited behind several 8 and 9 year old boys to get a good look.

These are a few of our favorite things.

The more and more time we spend in Germany the more we begin to realize that there is a lot to love in our little neck of the woods. Although we still miss a lot of people and things back home, Germany certainly has its charms.

Our Place:

Local Cafes:

The Schloss Garten:
This is a very large and beautiful garden/park just down the street from our home. This garden backs up to the only castle in Erlangen.

We have met a lot of students while playing frisbee. It has also been a lot of fun traveling around Germany playing in tournaments.

Our main mode of transportation:
This is something that the both of us will miss when we return to the States. Living in a bicycle friendly town has been a lot of fun and a good form of exercise.

When we want to go a little bit further.....

The Hauptbanhof or train station:

The smells of fresh breads, pastries and crepes that fill the streets every morning. This also leads to the need to bicycle and play frisbee.

The International section at our local bookstore:

There are few bookstores that actually have an English section. I was happy to find one about three blocks from our place.

Living in the Theater District:

This is our main theater. It has been fun to watch the locals dressed up in suits and gowns walking toward the theater at night. So far we have only been to one play but plan on increasing that number in the future.

Finally, the signs of fall on our street:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A few thoughts.....

I hope to be blogging a lot more frequently in the months of September and October. This is for two reasons. The first is because I promised a dear friend that I would give her something to read while she is home on maternity leave. The second is because I am realizing more and more recently how much I am going to enjoy looking back over these entries years from now reliving my time in Europe. Instead of focusing on big trips and events during our time here I thought I might start posting about what I will miss most when we return to the States. This will include the grocery shopping experience (this will be a long post), people in Germany (the fashion, the culture, the drinking beer outside at 8am, ect....), the food, the beautiful architecture and adorable cafes on every corner. I hope to be able to describe the tastes, smells and sites of our little part of Europe through writting and lots of pictures.

I also feel inclined to do this now because I am finally feeling comfortable with living here. I have thoroughly enjoyed the last seven months but it has only been in the last month that I have truly felt at home in Germany. Before coming to Germany I was picturing an incredible life in Europe similar to what I had seen in movies and read in books. I was sure that the language would not be that big of a hurdle since everyone speaks at least a little English, right? Once we arrived I was thrown into the reality of spending the first month in a very small hotel room and shocked by the lack of English, anywhere. I would often get scoffed at when I asked if someone spoke any English (in Deutsch of course). I should also mention that we arrived in February during one of the coldest and longest winters that they had experienced in the past ten years. I was frustrated, lonely and ready for a trip back home. It took a lot of time, prayer, a wonderfully supportive husband and 4 months of language classes to get me to the point where I felt comfortable in my surroundings. I now can not wait for the Christmas season to begin, love riding my bike all over my wonderful town and feel sad at the thought that we will have to leave someday.

I share this because living in a small town in Germany is incredible. The architecture is gorgeous, the travel opportunities are unbelievable and we are blessed to be experiencing each and everyday over here. At the same time I want to be honest with the fact that it has been hard at times and it has been a time of intense growth for both me and Phil. I also wouldn't want anyone else, who might be in a similar situation, to read this blog and not know that it is hard at the beginning but that it does get better with time. I am so grateful for this time over here and I am excited that we still have another year and a half ahead of us.

Friday, September 17, 2010


I grew up in a home that loved family traditions. Birthdays were a big deal and our family tradition involved going around the table and telling the birthday girl/boy what you appreciated about them or saw in them over the past year. I was always the cryer of the family and mom would make sure there was a box of kleenex nearbye when it was my turn. It was such a great time of affirmation and is something I want to continue to do with my kids.

Christmas is another time of year that is full of tradition in our home. From the order of events, to the annual picture on the stairs, it was always the same every year (with the addition of new family members :) ).

As fall is in full swing in Germany I am beginning to notice a lot of German traditions. One of these traditions is the giving of the Schultute to all first grade students. In order to ease the transition for young kids as they enter the first grade, and their first full day of school, their parents send them to school with a cone filled with toys, school supplies, and sugary sweets. This way the child ends up looking forward to school so that they can open up their cone that's full of surprises in class. The cones are made of paper and cardboard and usually covered with glitter and paper cut outs.

They are also sold at most supermarkets, in case you are not handy with a glue gun.

It was a lot of fun to watch the kids walking home from school with their cones, grinning ear to ear. I think that this would be a great tradition to start in the U.S. Although, I think I would give my child the cone at home. I am not sure their teacher would appreciate me sending my child to school with a two foot cone filled with candy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kayaks and Teepees

This past weekend eight of us traveled to Frankonian Switzerland to Kayak down the Wiensent River. We had decided to make a weekend of it and spend the night in a 16 person teepee on the Leinen Los campgrounds. Having been told that many campgrounds in Germany were very strict with quiet hours, we were excited to hear that we could sing and play the guitar late into the night.

Saturday was a BEAUTIFUL day for kayaking and we all sucessfully made it down the river. 8 People, 1 German Shephard and 1 Black Lab.

I should add that we only took pictures in calm areas. The river was choppy at other spots.