June 30, 2010

Sunshine, Swimming Pools, and Lazy Days

So, far this au pair thing is pretty cool. I spent most of Monday afternoon lazing about in the Englischer Gartens. I rode my bike from the house to one of the lawns and set up camp under a shady tree. Half in the shade, half out. I brought a book, my crossword puzzles, and some snacks. And I just laid out and enjoyed the sunshine and fresh air. I tried to tan but most everyone knows my body isn’t very receptive to kind coloring. Usually I just burn red. But that didn’t happen either. Slow goes it, I guess! After doing this all day, I returned back to the house for work and was quickly barreled out of the house to go to the pool with the Frau and Die Kinder.

The pool is part of the BayernLB Sportarena, kind of like a members-only sports club. Technically I wasn’t allowed to be there seeing as I’m not a member but they snuck me in. The girls and I went swimming for almost three hours. It was glorious. I love swimming pools and water, especially on hot muggy days which is pretty much every day here. It was funny being at the pool because NO ONE spoke English and all of the families or kid surrounding us stared me all crazy whenever I talked and played with Die Kinder. I got a few points and some second glances. And it was pretty much just moms and their small children. I think I saw one dad there. Just one. And all of the little kids were running around naked. Well, not all of them but compared to the number of nakie kids at an American swimming pool, it was a lot.

Later in the evening, after I’d put the girls to sleep, Helen helped me fix my bed! Well, she kind of helped. Mostly she just laughed at my misfortune and doubted it’s hold but together, we managed to make it work. Here are a series of pictures showing our good efforts:



To celebrate our hard work I borrowed the DVD player from the Frau and Helen and I laid around in my room and watched a movie. On Tuesday, I went out to lunch with a fellow au pair (also named Heather) that I had met through  Toy Town and we kind of just wandered through the city and enjoyed the warm weather and Munich’s best flavors from a delicious gelateria. It was nice to have someone to spend time with during the day seeing as I’m usually off by myself adventuring and seeing the sights. She was also very helpful in the ordering of food. Although I’m getting better at it everyday! She also showed me where there is an English-only book store. Also, after accidentally buying a huge bottle of sparkling water, I’ve decided that the Germans are crazy and sparkling water is GROSS. But Heather was right when she advised me to drink some anyway. My hands and feet were all bloated again from the weather and it was comforting to actually hydrate myself. Overall, the outing was a success. I look forward to spending more time with her, especially since she’s leaving at the end of the summer.

Last night (Tuesday), I decided to go to the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower) biergartens to meet up with some people from Toy Town but, unfortunately, I couldn’t find them. I didn’t have any credit left on my phone and there were a million people there. So I just waited by the bus stop for Jessica and when she showed up, we got some bier, pommes, and meat and went to town. They give you these huge pitchers of bier – just for one person! Needless to say, I got drunk. Who wouldn’t after drinking ONE LITER of bier? Fortunately, I was sober enough to be able to ride my bike home (sort of difficult, my light kept turning off) and pass out in my bed about an hour later.

DSC03289 Ein maß weißbier!

Today is Wednesday and as of this week and last, I’ve officially dubbed Mittwoch my lazy day. I went for a half-ass jog through the Englischer Garten, did my laundry, hung it out to dry (oh, how I miss dryer sheets), cleaned and organized my room, worked on writing and addressing my pile of postcards, and ran an errand to the store down the street. It was such a small errand but such a cool experience. None of the ladies there speak English so I just had to show them my list and squeeze my fingers together and say, “Little Deutsche.”  I don’t know why I didn’t just say, “EEK SPRECKA KINE DOY-TCH!” Ha. I’m getting really good at that one! But I was able to get the three things that I needed – coffee, fresh parsley, and garlic powder. Now I can make parmesean noodles for the girls for dinner and the Frau can have her coffee. Job well done.

I know that I should feel bad for wasting a sunny day inside but I don’t. It’s so hot and humid and I didn’t get paid until about 2 this afternoon, anyway, so it really doesn’t bother me. Plus, I have so many more days to explore and adventure and enjoy this city so I don’t regret my decision at all. Beside, every once in a while it just feels good to stop going and sit down for a day.

Oh, and you know what I forgot? This morning I woke up at 6:30 am to the sound of thunder outside my window. Loud, angry thunder that seemed to shake the skies. And the rain, torrents of rain. Hot, humid, muggy rain. Even though I fell back asleep, it was a great sound to wake up to. I wasn’t even annoyed.

For the rest of the week, I am ready for anything. Babysitting tonight, Toy Town tomorrow, BBQs and more babysitting over the weekend. Another Deutschland football game. Going out with Helen and meeting some of her friends (finally!). Even though the last two weeks have gone by so quickly, I can’t wait to enjoy the rest. I absolutely love being here. Have I said that lately?

Oh, I have? Well, it’s true. :)

Now for the end of this post, enjoy some more pictures:

DSC03284 Weiner Schnitzel, boiled potatoes, cranberry sauce, and a salad. Oh, and bier.

DSC03281 Marienplatz in the fading daylight.

DSC03285 A weird Michael Jackson shrine in the city.

DSCN2598 Postcards

DSCN2603 Joshua Heather Orange (J-Ho) and Veva: the comforts of home, all the way in Germany

DSCN2545 New German Girl enjoying a sunshine Saturday

June 28, 2010

World Cup Weekend

I don’t know why but I’ve walked away from the weekend feeling extremely home sick. I don’t know why exactly – I couldn’t pin it down to any single occurrence. I think it’s just the end of a long week and the heat is getting to me. It’s kind of overwhelming, the feeling of wanting to be back in California, and although I know it will pass – Munich is good to me! – it’s hard not to give in to the longing for things that I’ve left behind. I miss stupid stuff like Aquafina, shopping at Target, Coke with ice in it and free refills. I’m always missing my family and friends and sometimes the realization that I can’t visit them on weekends or holidays hits me harder than I’d like to admit. I’m still trying to make friends here but it’s hard because everyone is so established and they’ve got their friends and routines. I’ve had a hard time coordinating schedules or getting a hold of the new people that I’ve met. So far, Jessica has been great. I love spending time with her, she’s a great friend and I think we get along so well because we’re both figuring it all out together and it’s so new and exciting for both of us. I’m not going to give up though – don’t worry. I’ll make more friends, I’m not worried about that, but I guess I just expected it to be easier or faster or something.

Although my dearest, most wonderful sister-cousin, Christy, said that she would send me a comfort/care package and I couldn’t think of one thing that I wanted more than that. In fact, any letters, postcards, or pictures sent from the home states would be incredibly thoughtful and very well received. I couldn’t tell you what I’d give to have St. Ive’s Apricot Scrub in my shower or even just one bottle of American, fancy-pants water like Aquafina or Dasani. My taste buds are doing happy dances just thinking about it. So, when Christmas rolls around, if you’re wondering what I’d like to have – think only the simple necessities.

Putting my homesickness and sad faces aside, it was a pretty exciting weekend here in Munich. Deutschland played in the World Cup against England yesterday(Sunday).  The USA played Ghana on Saturday but it wasn’t very exciting – the US doesn’t really care about soccer like Europe does so I don’t think we were very invested in the outcome. But Sunday was on fire for the football fans here in Germany (which is pretty much everyone). The whole country seemed to make all their plans revolve around the game.

Jessica and I went into the Englischer Gartens and just basked in the sun for about an hour before we rode bikes to the Chinesische Turm biergartens to watch the game. Before we even got there, when we were still lying out on the grass, we knew that Germany had scored because the cheers of thousands of screaming fans erupted from within the trees, because at least three nearby biergartens had public viewing and everyone went crazy! Right when we got to the biergarten, Germany had scored again and the crowds were going crazy. It was incredible to see such dedication and enthusiasm for a sport. I’ve never seen it at that caliber before, not even for the Superbowl.

This video was put up on YouTube, and although I did not film it, it captures the celebrations perfectly. I was able to experience all of this, from the craziness inside the UBahn trains down to the PACKED streets at Leopoldstrasse. Even though I was exhausted and didn’t party it up, it was still really cool to experience and I’m glad that I was in Munich to experience it! I can only imagine how Germany will celebrate if they actually win the World Cup. That will be a crazy day…

And now begins another week for me here in Munich. I’ m down to 30 Euros but I get paid on Wednesday so I’m going to take it easy for a few days – ride my bike into the Englischer Gartens, read my book, listen to my iPod, enjoy the sunshine. And when I get paid again I’ll buy another UBahn pass and some more credits for my phone and figure out how to pay for my bills that are back in America which are due soon. Sigh. What I wouldn’t give for a rich benefactor to pay all my bills for me. It’s really stressing me out!

I’ve been checking out prices for traveling – I really want to get out of Munich eventually and see other parts of Europe. It’s so cheap to fly around here. I found a plane fare from Munich to London for 57 Euros for Christmas vacation. That’s amazing. And a train ride to Garmisch (where I can’t wait to visit) is only 18 Euros. Hopefully I’ll get to do that later in the summer or early fall but especially in the winter so I can see the Alps covered in snow. Eventually I’d love to get out and go to Amsterdam and Italy – Milan, Venice, Rome. And then to Spain to see Jackie and to see Barcelona. I want to go to Dublin, Ireland and venture out to Scotland to see my homeland. I’m so anxious to see it all, yet fearful that I won’t be able to afford any of it! Sucks that my money problems have followed me here, doesn’t it? Ah, oh well! I won’t do any shopping and if you want me to send you souvenirs, send me some money for package and post! :)

Now I’m off to enjoy the beautiful day. Hope all is well!


June 26, 2010

Au Pair “Work,” the Love of Children, and Other New and Interesting Things

Thank God for weekends. I feel like this week has been so long!

My first full week was jam packed with actual “work.” Or at least the equivalent of what work is for an au pair – babysitting, making dinner, cleaning up after kids, digging weeds out of a sandbox, filling up mini pools with water, constructing child size nylon tents, coloring, drawing fifteen different versions of Mickey Mouse, reading Curious George ten times, pigtail braids, picking up slugs off the floor, going to tennis lessons and putting clean laundry away. Yet, despite all of this, three nights of babysitting and complete focus on my duties and responsibilities, I still feel as if I haven’t done enough. It’s very hard trying to please the Frau, I can’t read her very well. I always feel like she’s accusing me of something. I know that this probably isn’t the case but either way, it’s really frustrating.

I know that German mother’s are very different from the one’s in the US so it’s hard not to feel as if she loathes everything that I do. Did I put the dishes back in the right spot? Did I make the mashed potatoes wrong? Did I give Eenie too much cereal? If this were my job in California, say working as an au pair for the Butler’s, a previous family that I used to babysit for, would I feel this way? Most days I feel like I’m imposing, even though she wants me there. I just feel as if I’m not meeting her expectations, whatever they may be. She never really went over any rules with me, she just tells me that I’m doing them wrong as they are broken. Like last weekend when I brought two girlfriends over to the house so that we could get out of the rain, she came down on me for not asking permission. Which is a viable request, I understand, but I just assumed that because Helen was the one relaying all the rules and expectations to me, that they stood for me as well. Apparently not. It’s a learning process. I am, by no means, trying to make it seem as if I hate it here because I don’t. Not at all. But part of the experience is learning from the bad parts, too. Some days are better than others.

The best part of this week’s “intense” work schedule is that I’ve gotten so much closer to the girls as a result. They love me more and more everyday. It’s not hard to win over five year olds but, regardless, I feel good that I’ve managed to make some progress. Both of the girls are so different from each other, Vee is much more mischievous and rebellious and she takes more risks. Eenie is much quieter (in relation to her sister, anyway) and is sweeter on me than Vee. She holds my hand and sits close to me and is always asking me questions. I have my moments with Vee too, but in different ways. Yesterday Vee wanted her nails painted so we had a little manicure session and then I sat with her so she wouldn’t get nail polish all over the furniture. They both lean on me when I read them books, one on either side of me, and it’s the smallest, most quiet, and appreciated moment. I store it away and it makes me smile. I love to feel the quiet affection of children, it’s such an innocent feeling. It makes me feel very strong and protective of them. I fall in love with every moment like this and I know how much deeper that will grow as time goes on.

On Wednesday I went with the family to the girls’ tennis lesson. It was held at the “country club” or the equivalent of what that stands for in America. Private courts, private membership, etc. I didn’t much more than sit in the grass and wait for some kind of direction. I’m not really sure why I was supposed to be there. I didn’t serve much purpose other than holding a bag and a restless hand. I played “futbol” with Eenie for a little while at the end but other than that, I was fairly useless. I was relieved to find that an American family had congregated behind me and they were playing and conversing in the only language that I can fully understand. Later, I learned that they had just spent a year in Monterey as the father was stationed at DLI for German language courses. It’s really cool how small the world really is. On Thursday night I met a girl from Milwaukee that loves Hanson. This subject came up because I was drunk enough to confess that Milwaukee reminded me of them (I've been sitting here too long by a man from Milwaukee) and she said, “I love them too!” Again, such a small world!

Hearing this family behind me was such a comfort because you don’t realize how much you appreciate your home language until you no longer hear it anymore. Pretty much everywhere that I go, I have absolutely no idea what anyone is talking about. I can usually guess the topic of conversation based on the venue or a few choice words that I can make out but most of the time, I have no clue. I’m immersing myself within it, though, which is a good thing. I have no choice but to understand it. It’s almost like it’s needed for survival. During the day, when I am out exploring by myself, all I want to do is go into little Munich cafes or biergartens and order the delicious looking food but I never do because I have no idea what any of it is. I can’t read the menus and I have no clue if the person working there speaks English. And if they don’t, how will I get my order out to them? It’s really frustrating but it’s something I’ll get used to. For now, I’ve just been going out for traditional food and bier when I’m with someone who speaks German or at least is familiar with the food menus. Eventually, I’ll understand and I’ll be much more comfortable in the city. But right now, it’s really overwhelming!

I was very homesick yesterday – mostly I think this was because I’d been stuck inside the house for most of the week and was getting a little stir crazy. I had no choice but to hang out on Facebook and look at the pictures of home that are plastered all over my walls. I was also very tired from a late Thursday night – I’d went out for ToyTown again and Jessica and I hit the town with high spirits. Which equals cheap Vodka from her refrigerator and Paulaner beer that we were able to take out onto the streets, seeing as open container and drunk in public laws don’t exist here.


I got home that night around 1 am and was passed out before 2. But after waking up at 8 to get the girls ready for school, I went right back to bed around 10 and slept until 1. Therefore, I was seriously dragging all day. I don’t function very well on cat naps. I was able to bike through the Englischer Gartens on Thursday afternoon though, and it was beautiful and so romantic. I love it there. My favorite pictures:


DSCN2487  Biergartens


Before I’d went into the Gartens, I’d spent about four hours doing official paperwork stuff with the Frau. We waited forever at the registration offices to get my visa finalized and my residence papers verified. I was so grateful that I took my book. I managed to finish it and have since started another. I like being here, if only for all of the literature I will be consuming.

Today is the start to a beautiful weekend here in Munich. At the current moment in time, I am waiting for Jessica to arrive so that we can take the bikes into the Englischer Gartens and picnic. Bier, cheese, and whatever else. It’s the perfect start to a beautiful day. The weekend should be full of excitement seeing as the USA plays in the World Cup tonight and Deutschland plays tomorrow. Lots of partying and celebrating (hopefully!). And I do love to celebrate!


June 23, 2010

A Beautiful Day in Munich

It’s the first beautiful day in Munich since I’ve arrived and I’m stuck at the house, waiting for a package that’s come from California. It arrives between 8 am and 8 pm. Nice. Sigh. Blue skies, warm sun, beautiful garden in the back of the house and I feel slightly depressed that I can’t enjoy any of it. Although I think I might just take my book outside and sit in the garden behind the house. Not the Englischer Gartens, sadly, but close enough.

But I did go for a jog in the Englischer Gartens this morning and it was glorious. I can’t wait to explore it properly. I wish that I could have done that today. It’s the PERFECT weather for a bike ride. Shorts, T-shirt, and sunglasses. Eventually, I’ll get in there to take pictures. Although I’m sure I couldn’t do it all in one day. But that’s why I’m here for a year, right?

Kind of mundane but I did my laundry this morning and when the dryer started going, it shorted the fuse and now the whole basement is without power. And I can’t read the panel descriptions on the breaker so I can’t turn it back on. Sigh. So I have to wait for the Frau to come home and embarrass myself by asking her to fix it for me. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

I babysat the girls last night and for the most part, it was great. I am definitely starting to fall in love with them. It’s not uncommon for me to get attached to the kids that I care for. Obviously I have a heart for childcare, I wouldn’t have put myself in this position if I didn’t. I’ve been taking care of kids since I was a pre-teen and I studied education and child development in college. It’s just who I am, it’s a part of me. But this is going to be a whole new experience. I love them already and I live with them so the attachment will either be really strong or really bittersweet. Because if I want to get away… I can’t really. I live her! But, for now, I’m enjoying it. I have to babysit three evenings this week; tonight and Friday as well. But, ah… this is my life now. Live in, on call babysitter. Must be nice.

I went into the city yesterday and got lost. Kind of on purpose though. I walked around Munich for two hours and just took everything in. It’s such an incredible city – how many times can I say that? I fall in love with it more and more everyday. I found this adorable cafe that I hope to eat at, eventually. I’m thinking Sunday with Jessica. If it’s not raining. I stumbled across so much of the city’s beautiful architecture. It’s never ending. I feel like I’ll always have something to take a picture of. Here are a few of my favorites:







June 22, 2010

The Weekday Routine Plus a Little Extra

And so begins my second week…

It’s hard to believe that have been here for one week. Time is going by too fast already! I know I have so much more time to do all the things I am looking forward to which is why I don’t feel bad about taking it easy this week. At least until Thursday, anyway.

Yesterday I spent the entire day at the house. I had my first morning with the girls. I prepared the table and kitchen for breakfast and met the father for the first time. He is an international tax lawyer and is gone ALL the time. He comes home at like 9 pm and leaves at 9 am. So I don’t usually see him. But he’s very nice! He speaks English fluently, he went to school at Georgetown and works in the United States occasionally. It was nice to finally meet him, I was beginning to think he didn’t exist!

After breakfast, the girls were off to school. I cleaned their bedroom and play room (pretty routine schedule – I did the same today…) and then when the Frau returned, we went over the schedule for the rest of the week and through ‘til the end of the year. I have two weeks off over Christmas so I know when to buy my tickets for Christmas, the 24th through January 8th. ’m going to go to England and stay with my friend Alison. We’ll hop all over England, visiting friends. It should be fun! I have a few weekends off during the summer, mostly in August and, of course, for my birthday in November.

After my au pair duties yesterday, I went for a jog in the Englischer Gartens. I’m starting this new workout routine which is fairly do-able. When paired with my current meal routine it will make me look AWESOME. Mon/Wed/Fri will be my new routine and I have all the time in the world, seeing as I have pretty much the same schedule everyday. Plus, the Gartens are gorgeous. I hope to get some good pictures in there soon. The place is huge though… it will take me more than one trip to see it all, guaranteed.

This is pretty much the norm for my weekdays. I plan on taking it easy most of the time, sometimes venturing out into the city in the hours between my au pair responsibilities. Today I have to get a new train ticket – my first week has expired. And then I’ll actually go out and use it. I think I’m just going to get off on an UBahn stop and see what I run into. That’s the best way to explore. And the nice thing about the UBahn is that I can always find my way home in the end.

On Sunday, I did a bit of exploring with Jessica and another American au pair, Mikell. We wanted to go into the Gartens but it was raining ALL DAY so we just walked around Marienplatz, Munchner Freiheit and Odeonplatz. We went to the Hofbrauhaus for lunch. The food was delicious and the beer was incredible, as always. Plus, it was really cool to see it in the flesh and not just through touristy YouTube videos. We were sitting right next to the oompah! music so it was delightfully festive.

DSCN2318I always hold my beer in such strange ways…

DSCN2323  Incredible architecture!

We proceeded to wander around for the remainder of the afternoon. All in all, it was a successful Sunday. :)

DSCN2330Finally… one of me with the Neues Rathaus




June 20, 2010

Jet Lag and Other Minor Frustrations, Coloring Books, and the Munich Nightlife!

What a long, crazy weekend. I love this city. I love being here. Everyday I love it more and more. I’m falling madly in love with Munich – through the people, through the culture, the food, the bier, the language, the customs, the lights, the sounds. And now that I’ve made a handful of friends here, things are decidedly much better, anyway – it’s easier to love a city when you have someone to adventure with! After the meet up on Thursday, I made more plans with Jessica and we went out on Friday night as well. Helen’s also introducing me to her friends, which is a blessing.

DSC03190Jessica and I – New friends in Munich! 

There have been a few frustrations, namely the jet lag. It’s getting better, slowly. But on Thursday night, it killed me. Helen and I came back from the bars around 2 am and I was ready to sleep, in my bed, around 3. But I never fell asleep, I wasn’t the least bit tired. I stayed up until 7 am and here in Munich, the sun comes up just before 5 am. So not only was I battling jet lag but I was also fighting against the sun. Thank God for the sleep mask I got on my flight. I’ve been using it every night. It’s a big help in allowing me to sleep.

Unfortunately, jet lag and an early morning sunrise wasn’t the only thing keeping me awake. The bed that I sleep on is broken – the support beam beneath the mattress that runs vertically along the middle of the bed, is broken and is slowly snapping in half. The bed creaks and makes horrible noises every time I turn over, not to mention, it’s really uncomfortable when your whole body sinks maliciously into the middle of the mattress. I tried a million different ways to fix it. The Frau and I even nailed it back together and taped it up but that didn’t hold. Right now I have three pillows supporting it under the bed and it’s doing better. It still makes a lot of noise but it’s more comfortable and is being supported from breaking further. All things considered, I managed to sleep until 12 that morning and then began my day, which included yet another frustration.

A bottle of bright red nail polish fell off of my shelf in the bathroom, hit the porcelain floor, and SHATTERED. Bright red nail polish everywhere. It was horrible. I wanted to cry. I didn’t have any nail polish remover. What was I supposed to do? I ended up going out into the city and went to the DM at Munchner Freiheit to get some nail polish remover and cotton balls. I made up some lame excuse and told the Frau that I had to go to O2 to have them fix my phone. I was embarrassed. I didn’t want her to cancel my contract on account of idiocy and general tiredness.  The whole trip took less than a half an hour and I was able to sneak back inside, upstairs, and sat in the bathroom for a half an hour inhaling polish remover fumes and sweating profusely. Eventually, I managed to clean most of it up. Well, I cleaned all of it but the spaces between the tiles are now tinged a delicate shade of pink. I guess things like this are supposed to happen every once in a while though. Oops.

Another thing that I’m trying to get used to is that there are lack of meals or a steady routine. I’m hoping this will change with time but for now, it’s really hard to get used to. Because of my work schedule, I don’t always eat regular meals with the family so it’s hard to get a proper meal schedule going. So far, I’ve managed to have dinner with the family most nights but it’s not really traditional German food. It’s a lot of pasta and salad, bread and cheese. Mostly just pasta. Breakfast is mostly nonexistent, unless I’m invited downstairs or getting the girls ready for school. And it’s usually cereal except on Saturday it was pretzels, cream cheese, and salami. Weird. Because the girls are at school during the day on weekdays, lunch is pretty much of my own making. And since I’m still trying to figure out how to walk around the family that I am living with and exist comfortably with them, it’s been hard figuring out how everything works and what is expected of me. Fortunately, because of this, I’m going to be losing some weight. Seeing as I eat one meal on average and consume mostly fruit and water and walk just about everywhere that I go.

Fortunately, the girls are getting used to me and they are warming up to me. On Thursday I spent part of the afternoon coloring with Vee, in the Disneyland coloring book that I sent her in the spring and we also made some blueberry muffins together. She smiles and laughs with me, it’s so cute. I made them pancakes that night and they loved them. They turned out REALLY good, I even surprised myself. On Friday, they had a play date and Eenie spent most of her time with the neighbor boy but Vee stayed with me and taught how to play Snap and we played Uno. She beat me every time! So Vee has definitely been warming up to me the most and seems to like me a lot. Eenie took her chances with me on Saturday and we fell pretty hard in love with each other. Ha. We all went to the grocery store together and there is a place on the cart for the kids to ride and they would fight over who wanted to be there, of course. But when they did, they would lean into me and talk to me in English, asking me questions. It was cute. I’m definitely falling in love with them. They’re such sweet little girls. And I love reading to them and playing games with them. They are SO smart. They amaze me. They’re five and they speak two languages fluently! They’re incredible, as far as I’m concerned. Tomorrow I will work for the first time and get them fed and ready for school. Hopefully it goes well!

On a less responsible note, my first weekend in Munich was EPIC. I went out with Jessica on Friday and Saturday night and had such a good time. I love this girl, I’m so glad I met her. We get along great and are enjoying the night life! A recap of our weekend adventures:

  • getting lost in the streets looking for a ToyTown meet-up
  • taking the tram in the wrong direction
  • finding a three story tall McDonalds where we met handsome and sexy British men
  • bar hopping with said British men
  • trying to get past the “guest lists” at night clubs
  • dancing at Sausalitos to music that was three years outdated
  • Jägermeister shots in Germany! (Really! How often do you get to do that?!)
  • meeting one person from Monterey and another from San Luis Obispo
  • stumbling across the four most handsome and well dressed men Germany could ever produce and then hating ourselves for not getting their phone numbers
  • eating traditional, delicious German food
  • hanging out with drunk, middle aged British men at a classy Munich bar
  • bier! bier! bier!

DSC03234Bier and food – classic German delicacy! 

DSC03235German food at the Schneider Weiss Brauhaus – DELICIOUS! 

Ultimately, I love this city. Did I say that already? I am having such a good time here, I can’t believe that this is my life right now. When did this happen? And to me? Five years ago, even two years ago, I never would have pictures myself doing this, living this dream. It’s incredible. I am so blessed to have this opportunity.

Now if only the rain would go away and the sun would come out!

June 18, 2010

Au Pair Recommended Recipes: German Pancakes

German Style Pancakes, usually served as breakfast, but for true German tradition, eat them for dinner. Yum.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt (I mean it! A pinch!)
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 pinch sugar (Again, just a pinch!)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted (You don’t HAVE to melt it.)

Mix it all up in the bowl, like usual, and make it all soft and easy. Pour it into the pan but use just a little bit and roll in around in the pan to make a very thin, crepe-like pan cake. Cook it to perfection and then serve.

Add butter, Nutella, sugar, powdered sugar, cinnamon, etc (WHATEVER!). I buttered my pancake and sprinkled sugar, powdered sugar, and cinnamon on mine and rolled it all up. It was so good. Vee spread Nutella all over hers. Eenie ate hers with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Do whatever! It’s good. Try to forego the syrup though. It takes away from the “cultural” experience. Ha.

It’s good, trust me! I surprised myself with it’s deliciousness!

First Days with Die Kinder and City Explorations!

Wednesday June 16th was my first day meeting the children that I will be looking after. (I call them Die Kinder here in this blog for purposes of privacy. Individually, they are “Eenie” and “Vee” should I need to elaborate between the two.) They are two wonderful little girls, twins, and they are so cute. They were “hiding” from me when I first came downstairs to meet them and each of them warmed up to me slowly in their own way. Eenie was first to talk to me and be sweet and slowly, Vee came around. Towards the end of the evening, it switched as Eenie was not in the best of moods. She threw herself into a classic five-year-old tantrum and Vee and I managed to make friends. We did activities in their school books and then went into their room to color pictures. At dinner, Eenie was still not in the mood to make friends and watched TV instead. Eventually, Vee ventured off to join her but near 7:30, Vee picked out a few books and we read Thomas the Train and Curious George. Eenie was still at the TV so my host-mom (I call her the Frau in this blog) let me off and I went upstairs for the rest of the evening.

Ultimately, I am very impressed with the girls and I look forward to getting closer to them. When I first arrived, it was a little intimidating and I was slightly nervous for what I was expected to do. But Helen eased me in and gave me some tips and information that would be helpful. And, of course, once I met the girls, everything was much better and I felt much more competent. Most of my responsibilities include getting them up in the mornings (a few days a week) and preparing their breakfast, getting them off to kindergarten (elementary school in the fall), picking them up and getting them ready for their activities, entertaining and playing with them in the evenings, helping with dinner and/or preparing dinner, putting them to bed, and babysitting in the evenings, mostly on the weekends. Nothing I haven’t done before!

I went exploring in Munich today, seeing as the girls were at the kinderhaus from 9 until 6 today. I had to be back by 5 to start making dinner so I had most of the day to explore. I walked around in central Munich for about three hours. It was so beautiful! I loved every second of it. I ended up getting “lost” a few times but it was worth it. One “lost” turn and I ended up paying 3 Euros to go to the top of the tower of the Frauenkirche and was able to see the WHOLE city from 360 degrees. It was AMAZING. There is still so much to do! This adventure was only the beginning. And here are a few pictures to highlight my adventures…

DSCN2196New Town Hall in Marienplatz

DSCN2210Marienplatz from the top of the Frauenkirche tower (trum)

DSCN2223  A sexy lion! RAWR!!

DSCN2230 This is the Frauenkirche, that I ventured through! And away!

DSCN2255 Biergarten! In the market. Famous!

DSCN2276 Headstones in the cemetery by my new home. :)

Today (er, Thursday?) was a much better experience with the girls. I made pancakes and both the girls loved them! The recipe was only a tiny bit hijacked by the Frau but it turned out pretty good regardless! I did pretty much the same schedule as the night before but this time I was able to read to both of the girls, individually. Vee, at first, and then she got bored and Eenie was interested. She didn’t want to stop! So that was nice. After a while, the Frau let me upstairs to get ready for my first night out!

There was a ToyTown meet up at a bar called Substanz somewhere in Munich. I don’t know where. But it was exciting for me because I would finally be meeting some English speaking Munchens? Helen and I agreed to meet at an UBahn station somewhere down the line that was near to the club. I was a little fearful as my earlier experience with the UBahn left me stranded on a STOPPED UBahn because I didn’t realize that it stopped to change directions and that the labeled stop was actually the LAST stop. Dumb America. Anyway, I rode the UBahn to the Piccistrasse (WHATEVER) station and Helen and I met up there. Fortunately, Substanz was right there when we got out of the station.

I met some really great people and even made a new friend, Jessica, who is in Munich working for BMW. We’re going to the biergarten tomorrow night (Friday night) which is really exciting as I”ll meet more new people and will be decidedly less drunk than I was at Substanz. Ha. My bad. 

HEY! I LOVE MUNICH! <3 <3 <3

Okay, it’s 3 am and I really must go to bed. I love you all! Good night!

June 16, 2010

The UBahn, Shopping at the DM, and Marienplatz

I ventured into Munich with Helen this morning (Wed. June 16th) and had my first official taste of the city. It’s incredible! Even though it was raining, it was the perfect adventure. We went to the UBahn first and I had to get a ticket – we went for the weekly train ticket, at 12 Euro. That will run pretty expensive after a while. But, ah… what can you do. I’ve got to get around! We got on at Nordfriedhof, the station in our neighborhood. The UBahn was a pretty cool experience. I’ve been on subways before and this was pretty much the same thing but just cooler because it is German. Helen had to give me some UBahn tips like, stay to the right on the escalators because the left side is for passing. Ha. She also got me familiar with the map and the stations that I would be using most often. Fortunately, the U6 line is the one that will take me right to Marienplatz. I caught on very quickly, to say the least. 

We got off at Münchner Freiheit (not the band) and picked up some supplies at the DM. Their products are kind of the same as in America but also so different. Everything is in German so if I don’t know the brand or the purpose of whatever it is, I’m completely lost on it. Fortunately, they had my old favorites. Although they don’t have any apricot scrub. Super bummed about that. :(


I took home 5,30 Euros worth of goods. 



After our trip to the DM, we got back on the UBahn and went to Marienplatz. I was secretly really excited about this and as soon as we walked out of the station, this HUGE castle slash church slash city hall slash Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry towered above us to the left. I looked up and felt like I was in this strange fantasy land. I’ve never before in my life seen architecture like this. The history in America just doesn’t compare. The Neues Rathaus (it’s real name) is just so beautiful. I told Helen she was walking with me in my fantasy land. I really felt like I was in the middle of a snow globe or something. It was so unreal. I’m not used to that kind of historical majesty towering before me.


Marienplatz is really good for shopping and fun things like that so Helen and I ventured into a cell phone store and got me a mobile phone (AKA mein Handy, for future reference). I just a simple little pre-paid phone, a silver Samsung E1080. My only contact thus far: the Frau. Soon, Helen and the rest of my future Munich friends!

samsung-e1080_l.png After the cell phone adventure, Helen had to get on the S-Bahn to go to her nanny job so I ventured out into Marienplatz on my own. My goal was to find a power adapter for my electronics. Helen pointed me in the right direction and I was off. It was raining, raining, raining so I just kept my hood up and my spirits bright. I really enjoyed walking through the center, enjoying the little shops and stores. I didn’t really go into any of them, as I had an agenda, but I did window shop. They have a few H&M's, Espirit, Swarovski crystal, Rolex, and little markets with giant pretzels, fatty sandwiches, and, of course, bratwurst. I didn’t try any of it, I was being a little shy but I did get to use a little of the German that I do know.

“Sprechen Sie Englisch?”

Using this technique, I managed to get a box of delicious raspberries for 1 Euro. And yes, that was my lunch for the day. I’m going to be hungry for a while, until I figure out a good schedule and/or budget my money. But in this house, they don’t really eat breakfast (well, Die Kinder have their cereal) which is too bad because I love breakfast. I fully plan on enjoying my cereal in the morning with the girls.

Anyway, after I walked around a bit, I managed to find a power adapter at Saturn (AKA Germany’s Best Buy). It cost me a pretty penny, about 9 Euros. But then I had what I wanted and I made my way back home. I got back onto the UBahn and using Helen’s tips, “Follow the direction of the Fröttmaning football!” and “Walk in the direction of the airport signs!” I was able to make my way back home. Here are some pictures of my peaceful journey:

DSC03165The gate to a beautiful cemetery which is just around the corner.

DSC03168The path that I will be walking day after day.

Once I was home, I did some work (AKA blogging and Facebook) on my computer and relaxed a little bit. But thank Heavens for a good view!

DSCN2185My room overlooks the English Gardens!

Coming soon:
Stories from my first afternoon with Die Kinder
More city exploring!

Destination Deutschland: Day 2

I arrived at my new home on Tuesday, June 15th at about 4:30 in the afternoon. The house is on the edge of the English Gardens so the whole neighborhood is just alive with green – trees, grass, bushes, gardens. A small creek runs along the backside of the property and the garden behind the house is absolutely adorable. It’s lovely.

DSC03172Quaint little neighborhood, isn't it?

When I arrived, I was greeted by my host mother, Erika. The girls (AKA Die Kinder) were away on a school trip to a “kinder hotel” or something. So they would not be home until Wednesday afternoon so I didn’t meet them then. Erika and I sat down and talked for a little bit, about my travels and graduation, all the boring, necessary stuff. She gave me a tour of the house. I absolutely LOVE this house. It’s so gorgeous. It used to be two houses but now it’s one gorgeous big house. The first floor is the kitchen, living area, and patio and the girls and the parents bedroom are on the second floor. The third floor is my room, a bathroom, and Helen’s room.

DSCN2173My little bed, in it’s cute little alcove.
Perfect au pair dwellings.

DSCN2174My bedside table/bookshelf.

DSCN2176Window seat. I’ve ALWAYS wanted one of these.

DSCN2177    Desk, computer, etc. Duh.

DSCN2179 Closet. Everything fit perfectly!

Eventually I will post more pictures, of course. These were taken at 3 am while I was fighting jet lag. I was so tired when I first arrived here in Munich but I managed to keep myself awake until about 10 pm. Erika and I went for a walk (maybe it would help my swollen feet?) and she showed me around the neighborhood. The girls kindergarten is about three or four doors down, on the same street and I will take them there everyday. The English Gardens is right behind the house. There were so many people out walking, jogging, biking. We even ran into a sheep herder and his flock. It was cool. She showed me the UBauhn stop and the different trails for bikes vs. walking should I choose to get around either way.

Before our walk, we had dinner and talked some more. She made salad and we had bread, cheese, and pretzels. Ha. Yum! She paid me my first 150 Euros and we started my Au Pair insurance over the Internet. Then I disappeared upstairs to relax and organize and, eventually go to bed. Helen came home from her nanny job around 9:30 and so we talked for a little bit. I hadn’t seen her since September of 2008 so it was so nice seeing her again! I missed having British accents in my life!

At about 10:30 or so, I put myself to bed. I managed to fall asleep pretty easily but STAYING asleep was a challenge. I woke up a few times, mostly because every time I move the bed makes horrible noises. Ha. Around 3 am, I woke up enough that I couldn’t go back to sleep. So I got up and used the bathroom and took some pictures. I tried to read and eventually, I took a few Benadryl and started watching a movie on my iPod. That did it. I managed to drift off and woke up a few times during the morning before pulling myself out of bed at 10.

Next up: Shower, dress, breakfast, and into the city with Helen!

And so begins my first official day in Munich!