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Come and gone…

15 Jul

Our first visitors in our “new” house (since moving in Janurary) just left today.  My parents were here for just over a week and it was fantastic.  Of course the time always goes too quickly and there is always more you wish you could have fit in- but, I am grateful for the time they were able to spend here.  I enjoyed every second of their visit and am so happy they had a chance to see our new surroundings and experience a bit of our life in Germany.  We spent time in Frankfurt and Heidelburg, shopped in a nearby town of Bad Homburg, rode bikes, and went to the zoo (among other things)!  Here are a few pictures (mostly taken by my mom) of their time here.  I wish I had time to write a more detailed account of the last week but this will have to do for now.  Life is good and having family here to share it with is even better!

Frankfurt Roemer Platz

Dom Cathedral in Frankfurt

Grandpa and Quinn in Frankfurt

Grandma and Quinn at the duck pond

Quinn loved the bike trailer we rented! And so did Kitty.

Opel Zoo

Is it just me, or does this giraffe look surprised?

Definite style points Quinn. I like the approach.

"I'm just 24 years old, leaning up against this fence. What? You don't think I'm getting back in that stroller do you?"

Heidelburg

Part of Schloss Heidelburg

Hotel Gummersbach is the hot place to stay this summer.  My sister is booked next and so we’re on to ready the house and prepare the suite, ha!

 

 

 

Snowfall in Frankfurt

8 Dec

I contemplated walking to the store tonight for diapers.  I wanted to stay inside, drink a glass of warm, red wine and take a hot bath.  But, Quinn does need diapers.  Then Joe mentioned it had started snowing and I took a look outside.  

And the winner is……wine and bath!  Guess the diaper bag reserve of diapers will have to do till tomorrow.

As a side note- Did you know that it is a law (along with many other things) to have snow tires in Germany?  There is a certain date that is the cut off and it is required by law to have the proper tires on your car or else… Well, the “or else” is that if you have an accident or any sort of mishap, it won’t be covered by your insurance.  Plus you will be fined for being in violation of the law.  Wowzers.  These people are serious.

 

Sporty Spice goes to the zoo

16 Nov

This weekend we took Quinn to the Frankfurt zoo!  Our German instructor was nice enough to offer to meet us there and teach us what some of the different animals were called.  Once again we tackled the train system to get there, which felt awesome.  And I should also mention that the weather was amazing.  For a November fall day, we couldn’t have asked for more.  All around a great day!

The word zoo is spelled the same in German, however it is not pronounced the same.  Here is how I think of saying the word- Pretend you’re sneezing except instead of saying Ah-choo, say Ah-ts00!  Or you could just think of the breed of dogs called Shih Tzu.  Or you could just not think of it at all since you don’t live in Germany and the zoo is just the zoo where you are.  Even better.

Anyway, here are some pictures from our day at the Tsoo.  Or the Zoo.  Whatever.

 

Laid back. With my mind on money and my money on my mind. (Just kidding- that probably means nothing to most of you)

Peekaboo Goat

Whatcha got, whatcha got??!

Side note- While we were watching the goats and the people feeding them there were two goats that started to fight a little bit.  Nothing major, just a couple interlocking horns and a little pushing.  You know, a little squabble to let each other know they were irritating the other one.  My guess is it was over the food being handed out on the other side of the fence.  Anyway, a couple small kids observed this and  pointed to show their mom what was happening.  Our German instructor translated her response for us: “What?  You kids fight like that too.”  Ah, some things are the same everywhere.

 

Giraffes. Again spelled the same but pronounced differently. I think it's like gear-affa.

Still cute no matter how you pronounce it.

Daddy and Quinn watching the gear-affa.

I personally have never seen this donkey/ zebra hybrid.

Apparently it comes from Africa and is called an okapi. I like donkey /zebra hybrid better.

I swear she's having fun.

Seehund pronounced kind of like zee-hoondt (but you have to emphasize the "ndt"...very important)

Uh-oh, one of the animals escaped!

Vogel equals bird...can't get more specific than that though

Mom and Quinnie by the vogels (if that's how you even make it plural)

Quit looking at me. Hmph.

I didn’t get the actual word for baboon.  Just affe for ape or monkey.  Close enough I suppose since I am probably at maximum capacity already for new words/ language.  General terms are just fine right now.  It’s not like I’m enrolling in zoological studies at Goethe University.  Affe works for me.

These little guys were rough-housing and it was so cute! Wish I had taken better pictures to capture it.

No Lions or Tigers or Bears on this visit.  We will have to go back.  To the Tsoo!

So what’s been going on?

12 Nov

I’ve been neglecting the blog lately…not intentionally, mind you.  Just, somehow a week has passed and I realized I haven’t put anything down about what’s been going on.  Shame on me!  So, I think I’ll give a bullet points overview of what has been happening lately.  Here’s what we’ve been up to:

  • We had our cultural training-  We talked about the process of adjustment that is pretty much universal to all expatriates.  It was reassuring to see on paper that the phases we’re going through and feelings we have on any given day are pretty much normal.  We also talked about cultural differences between Germans and Americans particularly in the area of relationships, both work related and personal.  This was insightful.  We already were aware of the stereotype that Germans are more distant and hard to get to know.  But, it was interesting to see why and how they perceive becoming friends vs. how we see the process.   Overall what we learned was helpful and I think gave us good ideas about what to expect going forward as well.
  • More language lessons-  Ugh, German is so tough!  Our instructor is very friendly and comes to our house twice a week to teach us.  Poor fellow!  Hahaha.  Anyway, we are learning….slowly.  Here are a couple phrases that I think will be particularly helpful:

*Entschuldigung = excuse me

* Wie bitte= tell me again please, excuse me (not an exact translation but this is how it’s used)

  • We went to an international craft bazaar type thingy (exact name by the way)- This was on one of the bases about an hour or so away from us.  Someone that Joe works with invited us to go along with her family and we had a lot of fun.  There were vendors from all over Europe selling goods there ranging from antiques and other furniture to jewelry, food items, linens etc.
  • We actually got invited to a dinner party- Um, this was pretty exciting.  Someone that I met in the first couple weeks of being here invited us over along with two other couples.  The host and her husband are from South Africa and UK respectively (had been living in London) and are here for work.  The second couple was German and the third couple is from Mexico also here on an expatriate assignment.  It was quite an international night!  We had a lot of fun and it was so good to spend time with other people in our situation (with a bit more experience under their belts).  We got lots of good advice and were able to discuss things with people who understood first hand what we are going through.  Yay us!
  • In addition to all of this we’ve been managing, uh strike that…enjoying our little Quinn.  She is quite the little pistol these days.  She knows exactly what she wants pretty much at all times and really doesn’t settle for less.  Delightful.  All kidding aside, she really is delightful, but a handful nonetheless.  We enjoy her immensely but sometimes slip into bed the first chance we get after she goes to sleep…hence the neglected blog.

    Mom, you don't care if I pull everything out of here right? Right?? Right.

    Let's play a game. The rules are: I pull all of the shoes out of the closet and you put them all back. Sounds fun right?!

    Little slivers for eyes is how you know she's really having fun.

    Okay, Mom...I'm ready for more! What's next?

The Zeil

1 Nov

Friday was a nice little outing for us!  We managed to take the strassenbahn from right in our neighborhood to the Hauptbanhoft (Frankfurt’s main station) and then get on the S-Bahn heading into a part of Frankfurt we hadn’t visited yet for some shopping and walking around.  This felt like a huge success because we not only learned how to purchase the correct ticket but we also were able to change trains and arrive at our intended destination without getting lost!  Wow.  There is an area in downtown Frankfurt with many outdoor shops and restaurants called the Zeil and there is also a mall that has been added to the area as well with lots of indoor shopping.  We just went to the outdoor area and walked around and then found a bite to eat.  It was lovely.  Anyone who visits- we will be sure to take you too!!

part of the Zeil

We stopped for a warm glass of gluhwein!

The outdoor seating comes with blankets! I doubt you can see them but they are draped over the chair backs.

All of the bikes have fenders and baskets....not really related to the Zeil, but this is something we see everywhere.

 

Happy Halloween!!

31 Oct

Halloween isn’t really big over here.  Go figure.  I guess other countries don’t encourage their kids to go knocking on other people’s doors asking for handouts.  Party poopers.   So we didn’t dress Quinn up in a costume persay but she did have a cute outfit to wear today thanks to Grammy.

"Daddy's under my spell"....so true!

So disciplined with her oral hygiene she brushes while eating.

It was a beautiful day so we took advantage of the lovely weather and took a walk through the neighborhood visiting a nearby park.

lovely fall trees

Somebody give me a push!

This is how we celebrated Halloween…low key, just hanging out together as a family.  Hope you all had a great day too!

Who wants to try haxe?

24 Oct

Who out there knows what haxe is?

haxe mit sauerkraut

So Joe and I had been told about this dish during our very first week in Germany.  We were told it is delicious, a favorite item in these parts.  In fact someone told us it was their absolute favorite thing they’d eaten while living abroad.  Hmmm, that is a pretty big endorsement.  Makes you want to see what this haxe thing is all about right?  So, haxe is…..are you ready?  Knuckle.  Yes, seriously.  A big ole pork knuckle.

Today on another one of our weekend excursions we stopped for lunch at a really cute German brauhaus.  The place was very warm and inviting.  The menu was, go figure, all in German.  Thankfully our waitress spoke English (or at least enough to meet our needs) and recommended the haxe as the best item on their menu.  So, Joe decided to go hog wild.  Haha, bad joke I know.

Quinn is proud of her German roots!

Yes, even little Quinnie tried the haxe.  She is an adventurous little eater at this point and will eat ANYTHING.  She liked it, honestly.  I  even tasted it.  And I will admit, it was good.  Here is what I ordered though:

schweinebraten

My dish was a much more tame roasted pork with red cabbage and dumplings.  It was delicious though.  Another wonderful and low calorie meal 😉 Who wants to join us for dinner??

 

Dinner at Zum Rad

2 Oct

So I’m still catching up on all that took place while my friend Kim was visiting.  While at a meeting for an expatriate women’s club that I will be joining (yes, I drug Kim to that as well) I met a wonderful German woman named Moni.  She was so kind and as Kim and I explained our escapades in looking for things to do and getting to know the area she extended the invitation to dinner at a local apple winery.  I believe the term is Abbelwoikneipe but I was informed this isn’t really in the dictionary and is part of the Frankfurt dialect.   I could hardly believe how sweet Moni was to meet us out so we could have an authentic German dining experience.  We would never have found this place on our own!  Moni’s husband and son joined too and we had an absolutely wonderful evening.  This family could not have been any friendlier or more welcoming.  The restaurant/apple winery  was adorable and the food was delicious.  All around this was a great night!  Here are some pics from our evening out at Zum Rad:

 

Here is the whole clan: Moni's husband Helmut, Joe, their son Max, Kim, myself with Quinn, and Moni.

 

 

outside area at Zum Rad. Lots of families and kids running around!

 

 

Look at all those apples!!

 

 

This is their son Max with Quinn....this kid was such a delightful young man!!

 

 

Kim and Quinnie!

 

 

Ready to go home after a wonderful evening.

 

We are hoping to find our way back to Zum Rad and to meet up with Moni, Helmut, and Max again!!

Trying to find the Sachsenhausen…

26 Sep

So, as I mentioned earlier, my friend Kim has been visiting since Tuesday.  She arrived exactly one week after Joe, Quinn, and I did and she has been a great sport in  helping us explore our new surroundings.  One area I had heard about was the Sachsenhausen-an area along the riverbank near many of the museums etc.  There are also supposed to be a lot of restaurants, and cider houses and it’s an area that is easy to walk around from place to place with lots to do and see in between.  It sounded like a perfect spot in Frankfurt to see for ourselves and take a visitor!  Well….I don’t think we exactly found what we were looking for.  We did land somewhere near the water and we did have a great dinner at an adorable German restaurant.  Somehow these “must-see areas” (implying they cover a large amount of space and are somewhat obvious and easy to find) can be pretty elusive.  I guess this is part of the exploration of a new city.  You don’t always find what you set out looking for….but you do find something new!  Below are a few pictures of our time out that evening.  Again-these pics are all courtesy of Kim, which I think is pretty apparent right away, but still feel should be mentioned.  Enjoy!!

 

The Gummersbachs on our walk before dinner.

 

 

After our light (haha) German meal.

 

 

Full moon, view along the River Main

 

 

Crossing the bridge over the Main River

 

 

Another view of the river and the bridge...beautiful.

 

Fun in Frankfurt

23 Sep

Okay, so no time for a real post, but how cute is this??  I must give credit to my friend Kim for taking this adorable picture!  My dear friend from waaaayy back (longer than I care to admit) arrived on Tuesday and we’ve been having a wonderful time.  We’ve got more pictures to post and more stories to tell, but this will have to do for now.  Joe and Quinn enjoying the city!