Thursday, December 16, 2010

America here we come!

We are both so excited to be traveling to the States to visit family and friends in a few short days. I am also excited because I will be staying there for SIX WHOLE WEEKS! The plan was to go for two but when my brother announced that he would be celebrating his big day at the end of January, it only made sense for me to stay. Phil will go home and work for a few weeks in between the festivities.

Every time I think about traveling home the Cheers theme song pops into my head. Don't get me wrong, I have loved learning about German culture and working on my language skills but to be surrounded by those that speak my native tongue sounds wonderful. I am ready to walk into any store in the mall and ask whatever question is on my mind. Although most people speak atleast a little English here, I have found I am not always understood. This has made for some very interesting conversations.

I am sure I will continue blogging while I am in the States. Who knows, maybe Phil will blog as well while he is back in Germany. His posts may be more interesting than mine. I will be busy trying to find everything on our "U.S. favorites" list to bring back to Germany. I doubt anyone else is going to be interested in my excitement as I stock up on Crystal Light and low fat peanut butter.

Family and friends, we can not wait to see you all!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Snow, Ornaments, and Gluhwein

Walking through the park on our way to our towns Christmas market. It was gorgeous.

We ran into this character who was handing out packets of kleenex.

The four of us trying to stay warm. I love the little kid in the background. Most of the younger kids are in snowmobile suits. I have decided that someday my kids will all wear snowmobile suits. It is just so cute. Hopefully we will live somewhere with snow.

The booths

At the Nuremberg trainstation and on to another Christmas market

Walking into the city

The Nuremberg market was packed with people and very cold. We plan on going again tomorrow to get a better look and shop for Christmas gifts.

Ultimate in the Snow

Phil has been thinking, for a while now, about writing a post about one of his favorite past times here in Germany, Ultimate Frisbee. After playing in 6 to 8 inches of snow this week, he was ready to blog about it. Enjoy!

One of my favorite things to do here in Germany is to play Ultimate Frisbee. Ultimate is pretty hardcore here, and you can find a tournament around this area just about every weekend of the year. When the people get together to play Ultimate, even if it’s on the weekend for fun, they have a collective warm-up and do drills before actually playing a game. I usually train with them every Monday in Nuremberg and every Thursday in Erlangen.

The thing that makes it so much fun is the people – ranging from college students to people in the 40’s (but play like they are 25!), the group that has befriended us is super friendly and almost always up for playing. A few weekends ago, the weather forecast was promising: a few clouds and sun after a week of rain. So I emailed everyone and asked if we could get a weekend Frisbee game going. Ten of us showed up on the cool November Saturday afternoon with light rain that never let up while we were out there, but no one left! It wasn’t the best conditions, but we had a lot of fun playing in the rain (unfortunately, the picture from that day didn’t come out since the guy’s phone short-circuited shortly after taking the picture!).

Which brings me to this past Monday – my first snow Frisbee!! It was absolutely beautiful standing in front of this pristine field covered in snow before we started trampling all over it with the snow falling in buckets around us. I ran around like a goofball for a while just trying to figure out how to run in it…getting my ‘snow legs’ I guess! And tell you what, it’s a workout running in a foot of snow…extremely exhausting! Running did however warm my frozen toes.

Diving into the snow after Frisbees was fun! Even I was doing it, and I never dive. Of course, the last dive attempt wasn’t great cause the snow was packed down and I slammed my knee into the hard ground underneath the snow.…but it was ok after a few minutes. A couple of hours later my first snow Frisbee experience was over, and I knew I was gonna sleep well that night.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

We love snow! It was so exciting every time the weather man called for snow back in Charlotte. This was partly because it meant that we might not have to go to work the next day and partly because snow just makes everything beautiful. There is something about snow that makes me want to smile when I see it. It has been snowing just about every day since we returned home and it is predicted to keep snowing steadily until this Saturday.

Today we did a lot of walking in the snow as we took a bus and then trekked the rest of the way to church this morning. Although it was 18 degrees we did not mind since the scenery was so pretty. As we were leaving a friend’s home this evening we walked into a heavy snowfall. I am so grateful to be living in an area of the world that sees a lot of snow each year. I have been told that I will not feel the same way in January. We shall see.

Our walk back home from the Haptbahnhof (train station).

Phil, still with his guitar from leading worship

Cute little Christmas tree

A quick stop into the Christmas market to grab a few candied nuts

One of my favorite eateries covered in snow

A fantastic snowy weekend.

More on the Christmas Markets in the near future.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gran Canaria part 2, traveling home.

We had joked about what a shock it was going to be to travel home to a 50 degree temperature change. We joked, but we were not prepared. I had received an email or two while on vacation concerning the snow and ice but it was a hard site to picture while we were shooting down water slides and laying in the sun.
Before we knew it we were packing up our belongings and heading to the airport.

Taking a very crowded and very hot shuttle to our plane.

After a short delay we were on board and in the air. We were very happy about this since most airports in Germany were currently having 24 hour delays.
As we flew into the center of Europe we began to see the climate change.
Flying over Portugal

Snow covered mountains of northern Spain

Four and a half hours later we were on the ground in Nuremberg

We were welcomed home to a winter wonderland

We could not believe how much it had snowed over the past four days.
My bike and snow filled basket

The next morning we woke up to our beautiful town covered in a blanket of snow.
Pictures from our kitchen window

Our trip to Gran Canaria, pt.1

We had a wonderful time in the Canary Islands and are now back in snowy, chilly Germany. It was a great time of swimming, relaxing and enjoying the 78 degree temperatures.

The resort was beautiful and was situated on the southern coast of Gran Canaria Island.

The view from our balcony

Behind the hotel

The girls and I decided to take part in the Grease show in front of hundreds of guests one night. We had a great time learning choreography and performing together. It was also a lot of fun getting to know the cast and staff.

We were exhausted by the time it was over.

After we had spent the first couple of days enjoying the resort we decided to explore the rest of the island. We traveled to the wester side of the island to Puerto De Mogan. This small fishing port was beautiful with all of the colorful homes designed in the mediterranean style.

Next we took a bus to see the dunes in Mespalomas. The dunes were designated a national park in 1994 and can only be crossed by foot or by camel. We even got the chance to toss the frisbee for a while once we located a smooth area.

The water a few feet away.

Even though the dunes were covered with families, we found out that it was also a spot frequented by nudist. After our game of frisbee we didn't hang around.

After the dunes the four of us split a stuffed crepe (stuffed with bananas, strawberrys and whipped cream). Yum.

The seven days flew by, like most fantastic vacations, and before we knew it we were on a shuttle back to the airport.

I will write more about our return to winter in part 2.