November 30, 2010

Dankeschön, You Lovely Germans. DANKESCHÖN.

Well, now I really want to stay here in Germany.

The mail man needed me to sign for a package but when I asked him if he spoke English, he scowled at me and asked, “You live here? In Germany?” I responded yes and he says, “And you don’t speak German? That’s terrible.”

Stupid jerk. But I guess it’s just the same for all of the stupid Americans who argue against the immigrants living in the United States and not being able to speak or understand anything other than Spanish. You don’t see me going up to the ESL children that I worked with in California classrooms saying, “You live in America and you don’t speak English? You’re a disgrace. That’s horrible.”

I’m not living here forever and our charming mail man has given me a reason to be happy to leave.

Thank you, VERY MUCH.

November 29, 2010

An International Thanksgiving, Sun and Snow, and Munich’s Christkindlmarkt

Thursday, November 25th


Happy Thanksgiving!

The holiday is finally upon us. Well, okay… not really. But for those of you in the States, it most certainly is. Here in Germany, it’s just another day. It is, however, the first time in all 24 years of my life that I haven’t been with my family. And what a painful feeling it was to miss them so much. I’ve been homesick here but nothing compared to the ache that I felt on Thursday. I was tempted to just stay away from Facebook all day because every single status update had to do with family and delicious food and the warm fuzzy feeling that overcomes you after you’ve gorged yourself on wonderful Thanksgiving food. And the status updates about the leftover Turkey sandwiches? I was dying. That’s one of my favorite parts about Thanksgiving – turkey sandwiches with gravy and mashed potatoes smashed between a Hawaiian king roll. YUM. More than anything, I missed the tradition of being with my sister-cousin Christy and her four crazy boys. Since I was 16, I’ve been going to her house for Thanksgiving (give or take a few years) and I spend an entire week in good spirits with some of my favorite crazy kids and their ultra-super-cool mom. We watch Elf and decorate their Christmas tree. We spend all day making food. Last year I made chocolate cream pies and they were GOOD. Fortunately, we’re going to have Thanksgiving in July, just for me. This is why I love my sister-cousin. She is amazing. I pretty much just missed my entire family – even my little brother who I haven’t seen over Thanksgiving in years. My mom, my dad, my step-mom, my grandma, my aunt Debbie and her delicious food, my cousins, my step-sister, my niece. I wish I could have celebrated Thanksgiving with everyone but I couldn’t be in five places at once – especially when I’m in one place 500 million miles away!

I should comment, however, that of all of the things that I am grateful for – the opportunity to be in Germany right now is one of them. I know I complain and that my life isn’t always a bucket of sunshine but I really wouldn’t choose to be anywhere else. I am so thankful that I was given the chance to experience this and everything that’s led me here –  thankful for my parents who never gave me any limits or restrictions on what I could accomplish or who I could become, thankful for my self-determination to make something of myself - personally, academically, and spiritually -and thankful for the confidence that I had to know that I could do this year abroad. I will never forget this experience and already it has given me so much insight into who I am and who I will become later in my life. I am learning so much about how to grow and become a truly independent young woman and there is nothing that I cherish more than that. Germany is what I am thankful for this year and just the fact that I am here and that I did it. I surpassed all of the mediocrity that I thought defined me and proved that I am capable of doing great things and being one hundred percent, absolutely proud of myself. So, thank you to everyone who supported me as I made this journey and to everyone who is by my side here in Munich and aslo to those who patiently wait for me to come home and who give me every reason to know, without the shadow of a doubt, that I am loved. You are all wonderful and I am truly blessed to know each and every one of you.

For my lonely holiday, I got my mind off of my longing by going out with my darling Laura and meeting one of her friends, who – of course – became my friend as well. That’s one of the best parts about being here. I am constantly meeting new people and I love it! We had good conversation at a sweet little Italian restaurant near Sendlinger Tor and then wandered towards Karlsplatz in search of free cupcakes. We didn’t find them. I then headed home to get ready for a play date at the house. I spent two hours sitting in the girls play room with the other family’s pregnant nanny where I drew pictures with Eenie and talked a lot of business (for her, anyway) about her soon-to-be-born baby. I made dinner for the eight of us (spaghetti bolognese and salad with tomatoes, gurken [aka cucumbers], and mozarella) and was surprised to find that it spread between all eight of us. Around seven I got the girls ready for bed, read them two books, played make-believe with Eenie and her multitude of stuffed horses, and then was dismissed for the evening. I joined Eric, Helen, Paul, and Michael at the UBahn and we ventured into the city for a night with ToyTown – which is ever the interesting event. Then I came home to discover that I’d left my window open and it was freezing cold. Oops.

Friday, November 26th

I woke up to snow! Snow that actually sticks to the ground! It was a wonderful sight to behold – I forgot how lovely snow is when it’s falling down and it definitely made me a bit nostalgic for my childhood winters in Montana. But only a bit. I’m sure I’ll be tired of it come January or February when it suffocates the city and refuses to go away.

DSCN9816Snow outside the house at 7:30 am

Friday was fairly uneventful concerning my au pair responsibilities. The family left for their condo in Kitzbühel, Austria around one and so I was free from the afternoon on. I met up with Laura and Eric and we wandered through the city looking for the cheapest copy of Desperate Housewives season 5, since the Frau gave me money to buy it for her (and for me, of course!). It continued snowing for most of the day and I thoroughly enjoyed running around in it as the big, fluffy snowflakes fell all over the place. I had friends over that evening for pizza and wine – good friends and good company.

Saturday, November 27th

It didn’t snow overnight so I didn’t wake up to any new snow but Friday’s snowfall stuck around. For the most part. I had a lazy morning and had some friends over to watch Desperate Housewives and other various films. We were cooking for our International Thanksgiving at Ana’s house that evening so we made use of the kitchen and the oven for most of the day. I baked banana bread – the most delicious banana bread you will ever eat – and also made candied yams with baked marshmallow topping and some delicious mashed potatoes. In the afternoon we decided to get out and go for a walk in the English Gardens and enjoy the beautiful sunshiney day. Laura, Helen, Benji, and I walked through the gardens for a wonderful thirty minute adventure and it was glorious.

DSCN9883 DSCN9888 DSCN9900

On Saturday evening we ventured out into the city with our arms full of Thanksgiving food and made our way to Ana’s apartment off Max-Weber-Platz. Our International Thanksgiving was perfect from start to finish. Ana and Candace managed to cook a delicious brown turkey. We had all of the traditional staples like mashed potatoes, yams, corn, Pillsbury biscuits, and even a delicious stuffing. We didn’t have any pumpkin pie though – that was a bummer – but we had other wonderful desserts many which were from different countries, like Portugal and China. A lot of our meal came from different countries so it was definitely an international feast. And oh yes, there was wine. Bottles and bottles of wine. And glühwein, of course! By the time the food was done and I was ready to load my plate, I was flushed and every bit tipsy. It was a high spirited Thanksgiving feast and the food was delicious. I was so happy. I couldn’t have asked for a better Thanksgiving-away-from-home!

DSCN9931Bob, the delicious turkey!

DSCN9926  Glühwein!

DSCN9945 Me and Wing – about to enjoy our feast!

156250_174152932603266_100000256819848_529831_2475950_n Me and our lovely Thanksgiving buffet!

Sunday, November 28th

It was another lazy day. I consumed even more Desperate Housewives episodes and cleaned up from the weekend – all of that baking and kitchen cooking took its toll. Helen and Laura spent most of the morning and afternoon hanging out, watching TV with me and in the afternoon, Eric came over with some piano music and entertained us with his lovely piano playing. He is really good! The boy is full of tricks. In the late afternoon, Helen, Eric, and I ventured to Marienplatz to check out the Christkindlmarkt. I hadn’t been yet so I was very excited to go. It was beautiful and delightfully Christmasy but it was freezing cold and I started to lose feeling in my legs and fingers so we all turned in early and went back to our respective houses. But I look forward to exploring it again! It’s going to be in Munich until Christmas Eve.

DSCN0019DSCN0021DSCN0026DSCN0043 DSCN0052

November 24, 2010

Lazy Mondays, Desperate Housewives Obsession, A Promise of Snow, Miscommunications, and a Tollwood Double Shot (Nov. 22 – 24)

Monday – I woke up at 6:30 and carried on with my regular morning routine, which usually consists of emptying the dishwasher, making the girls school snack, eating breakfast, and trying not to lose my cool over a child’s dramatic daily tantrum. This happens every morning. Give or take. I cleaned up after the girls weekend mess – I hope they learn how to clean up after themselves someday, for their futures sake, anyway. I didn’t do much of anything else after that. I read my book – I’ve started reading Summer Sisters again (for the 12th time, I swear…). I watched two discs of Desperate Housewives over the course of the day. I’m obsessed with this show. I can’t believe I never gave it a chance. I’m halfway through the 4th season and I cried when I saw the tornado episode. I know that Lynette’s family would survive but the emotion of her discovery that they were buried under the rubble was jarring. I ached for them as if they were my own. I started writing some post cards but only got through one and a half out of 12. One for my grandma and half of one for my mom. I “worked” which means that I made dinner (salmon grilled over butter, white rice, green peas, and lemon butter sauce), played board games with Eenie and Vee, and wandered around aimlessly trying to get the girls to get ready for bed but they don’t listen to me so I had little purpose or desire to be there at that particular moment. I then cuddled warm in my bed and fell asleep to another episode of DH. Uneventful Monday, to say the least.

DHwivesMy new favorite ladies!

Tuesday –  Followed my usual morning routine and then I read my book for most of the morning.  Jessica came over around 11, after she’d braved the crowds at H&M’s one-day only Lanvin sale. She tried to convince me to join her but when I don’t have any money, shopping is the last thing that I want to do (and in Europe, trust me, this sucks because the clothes and the shoes are amazing and I can’t buy any of them). I get cranky and irritated and the crowds start to piss me off. I couldn’t convince her of this and she begged and begged but I did not relent. I opted to get out of the house today anyway. Sans shopping, of course, and in spite of the weather which is getting colder and colder everyday – and Jessica and I ventured into the city for aimless wandering. We managed to go to Tenglemann (grocer) to see if we could find some variety of turkey for our Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday. We found some small birds (baby turkey, duck, and goose) but they’re all incredibly expensive and we’re thinking we may have to pass on that particular novelty of American tradition. After we met defeat, we wandered into a little eclectic store on Leopoldstrasse and oo’d and aww’d over their delightful Christmas displays and adorable ornaments. I love Christmas time for this reason. The stores turn into beautiful, Christmasy wonderlands with fun stuff to look at.

DSCN9722 It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

One postcard purchase later, we ventured down the street a ways to Karstadt (department store – kind of – with a bottom floor grocery store and food court) to get out of the cold and sit down and eat our homemade lunch but they kicked us out and so we ended up back on the UBahn and, eventually, at Odeonsplatz where we wandered into San Francisco Coffee Company and stayed for 2 1/2 hours. (By the way, I’ve never even seen a SFCC in the actual city of San Francisco.) We didn’t buy anything but instead took advantage of their comfortable chairs, free wireless and convenient bathrooms and we played Words With Friends (Jess is winning) and I read my book while I waited for her to find her words. At 3, I returned home to regroup before the twins came home at 4:15. During my walk home from the UBahn station, I encountered my first snow fall – which was, to be honest, pretty pathetic. It was kind of like a rain-snow hybrid and it melted as soon as it hit the ground or my outstretched (gloved) hands so I guess it’s not really snow but it was exciting and left me wondering if one of these mornings I will wake up to a winter wonderland outside my window.

Kind of like this (which are all photos of past winter wonderlands here in Munich):

munich snow 3[source]






(Okay maybe I’m a little bit excited for the snow…)

Once the girls came home at about 4:30ish, I attempted to entertain them (and myself) for 3 1/2 hours. They were throwing tantrums right from the get-go – high pitched screaming, hysterical crying, hitting, and yelling – you know, the usual. I don’t know about what but it’s starting to really grate my nerves. We had dinner early – or they had dinner early, seeing as I wasn’t interested in dinner at 5 pm. Then we all kind of wandered around the house without purpose or direction. I don’t understand why they don’t just go off and play together – it can be very strange sometimes how they just wander around the house with no aim. Vee even talks to herself sometimes. Weird little kids… They took a bath for about 45 minutes and then got ready for bed. I read them two books and then was dismissed. The Frau is going out but not until 9 so going out to karaoke tonight (the usual Tuesday night event) would have been rather pointless. I tried to watch Sex and the City 2 but I quickly realized how ridiculously stupid that movie actually is (for the second time…) and I fell asleep instead.

Wednesday – Repeat of the morning routine and just a few frustrations. Miscommunications or something between me and my host-mom about some laundry business. Because I had to use the drying rack which had all of the cloth placemats on them, I opted to bring all of the placemats upstairs to put them away in the kitchen. I left them on the kitchen table and intended to put them away after breakfast but when she came into the kitchen she immediately questioned me about why they were there and then very rudely stated that they were not ironed and that we’re not using them anymore so they need to go back downstairs. And then suggested that I iron them. Well, ironing placemats isn’t part of my job (sorry!) and I don’t appreciate being criticized after I’ve tried to be helpful  so I just nodded and agreed, “Okay, okay. Yeah. Okay.” I put the placemats downstairs in a nice and neat pile, un-ironed and tried not to be too angry about the exchange. I’ve gotten to the point where I just concede and nod to whatever she’s saying when things like this come up. I used to smile and nod but even that’s getting to be hard to do. I think it’s just a cultural thing, to be honest. Or a clashing of personalities or lost expectations. I really don’t know. I honestly don’t think that she means to come across as rude – at least I hope she doesn’t – but it’s very hard for me to keep high spirits when I feel as if I’m constantly doing things wrong, especially five months later. It happens more than I’d like to admit and it’s a huge part of why I’m starting to resent this job. But alas, I will suck it up. In the end, I do get to leave so I’ll chin up and manage. I know that I should try to talk to her about it but I’m terrified. I hate confrontation and who knows how it will end so… I probably won’t and will just hope for the best.

After all of this, I did my laundry and cleaned my bathroom – took out my garbage – took a shower. I went into town around 9:45 to meet Helen for the morning. She and I are both in a similar situation – we’ve been working with children so long that we’re in dire need for a new perspective but neither of us can really come out of it. So we spent the morning venting and complaining and getting it all out. Sometimes that’s just what you have to do. We both agreed that we’re tired but that we’re starting to take it out on the kids and it’s not, in the least bit, fair to them so I hope that the two of us can get some kind of clarity. I really do love having this experience, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t expect it to be sunshine and roses all the time but I just wish that it wasn’t so taxing on my emotions. I am so stressed out and with everything else that I’m dealing with, this resentment and frustration certainly doesn’t help. All I can do is hope that Christmas brings glad tidings of joy… and stuff.

Anyway, after Helen went off to work, I tried to go to Tollwood (winter folk festival) but it wasn’t really… open. Even though it’s supposed to have started today – it definitely wasn’t so I just wandered around the streets of Munich until I stumbled onto an UBahn station at Sendlinger Tor. I was approached by some Mormons (one of them from California) and they tried to get me to tour their church and then invited me to a Thanksgiving feast on Saturday. I told them I was busy but thanked them kindly. I couldn’t really figure out what to do with myself so I took pictures of random wintry stuff and then headed back home where I finished my laundry, made lunch, and watched yet another episode of DH.

Random observation but whenever someone starts talking to me in German or whenever I am too overwhelmed to try to speak German myself I say, “Sprechen sie Englisch?” And no matter what, 98% of the time, the German person always says, “A little bit.” It’s cute because they always know more than they give themselves credit for.

Come late afternoon and I’m back with the girls and I’m still trying to figure out how to entertain them in a way that works for all of us. Today I went with a Thanksgiving theme, trying to explain to them how important the holiday is for me and why it’s so hard for me to be away from home and how they can help me feel better. I sat down with them and told them about Thanksgiving and how it’s all about celebrating the things in your life that you’re grateful for and I told them that I was very grateful to spend the year as their au pair, learning from them, loving them, and growing together. I gave them some coloring pages of turkeys and pilgrims and stuff and I asked if they could color me a picture for my wall so I would have reminders of my favorite holiday to keep close to me while I’m far away from home. Of course, they obliged. There’s nothing these little girls love more than coloring.

DSCN9745Not colored by a 6-year-old… but a 24-year-old. Ha.

In the evening I decided to give Tollwood another go and Eric and Helen joined me for the evening. We enjoyed ourselves as we sipped our glühwein and checked out all of the Tollwood vendors and did a bit of “window shopping.” There is so much cool stuff there. I can’t wait to get Christmas presents. Between Tollwood and the Christkindlmarkt, I’ll be set!

DSCN9760Hey, dad! It’s me and my  glühwein!

DSCN9765DSCN9777 DSCN9786 DSCN9806

Boring Technical Stuff

Testing, testing…. 1 2 3.

Just trying to configure my Facebook fan page.

This will be deleted.

November 23, 2010


I’m starting something new with this blog in an attempt to keep myself on task with updating more frequently. I don’t want to miss out on anything – from the boring, busy au pair stuff to the cool travel/European-adventure stuff. I end up writing these monstrous long posts in which I attempt to cover way too much stuff that I was too lazy to write about when (or near to when) it was happening. With this new “system” I hope you’ll get a more detailed look into my au pair experience and you can see that even though I’m living through this cool life experience – it has just as many normal and sometimes boring days as it does its adventures. So expect some new and (hopefully) exciting variety around this blog over the next few days!

November 22, 2010

Book Review: The Lost Symbol

LostSymbolYou know how I’m always saying that I’m really lazy and that I tend to stay inside a lot now that the cold weather has come in? Well, I’m not lying – that’s all true. But I don’t just sit around, I actually do things. Like obsessively watching any and every season of Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives that I can get my hands on. And I go on Facebook. Maybe too much. And I blog. Not often enough but you’re happy. Right? Well… I also read. A lot. I’ve read a million and a half books since I got here, or so it seems anyway, and just recently I finished (kind of…) reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. My host-family are big fans of Dan Brown books and so I’ve read my fair share of Robert Langdon and non-Robert Langdon plots since I arrived here in June. I read Deception Point over the summer and I really liked that one – even if it was pretty much exactly the same type of story as all of the rest of Brown’s books.

Don’t get me wrong – I loved The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons. They were great books. Especially the latter of the two. Historical page turners that I could hardly put down. They’re full of suspense and mystery and blah, blah. You get my point. But, needless to say, each book is fairly predictable. You know there’s going to be a good guy who is really a bad guy. And Langdon and his female-accomplice-of-the-moment are going to get out of every sticky situation they find themselves in… no matter what. Who cares if he gets locked inside of a fiberglass casket that is being filled with water? He’s going to die, right? Eh, probably not. And the giant 7 foot steroid beefed villain will definitely not be able to catch the 40-something female lab scientist even though they’re in an enclosed room surrounded by pitch black dark. It’s laughable at best but it doesn’t matter – you keep reading because it’s interesting. I knew what was going to happen halfway through the book and it turns out that I was right about 95% of it.

Like I did in the first two books, I found myself needing to Google most of the monuments and locations that Brown was writing about. Even though they’re in Washinton D.C. in this book, I had no idea what he was referencing. And getting up to Google something really throws off my reading vibes. So that was kind of annoying.

In the end, I finished the book… kind of. The villain was revealed as (surprise) someone important to almost all of the main characters and I found myself thinking, “Really, Dan Brown?” And of course, they all got off so easy and there wasn’t anything to clean up. As per Dan Brown usual. In fact, I didn’t really finish the book. I found out the villain's true identity and then read about 500 pages of boring blah-blah explanation before I thought, “I really don’t care what happens in the end. This is boring. The exciting part’s over, right?” And I suppose I’ll never be able to answer my own question if I don’t read those last twenty pages or so.

Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend this book. It’s not Brown’s best. In fact, I like Deception Point the best and it’s not even part of his Langdon legacy. Sorry, Tom Hanks, but I hope this book doesn’t get to the box office. But if it does, I’ll probably go see it anyway. I’m a sucker for a book-to-movie adaptation. Plus, I’d love to see how they translate this story’s crazy freak of a villain to the big screen.

Alles Gute Zum Geburtstag!, Harry Potter, The Incoming Christmas Season, and Other November Events

So much has been happening in my German world lately and, without any real excuses other than my laziness slash writer’s block, I have been neglecting a proper update of this blog. I am sorry for that and I hope that this super, super long post will suffice as a proper apology.

November is in full swing here in Munich and a lot has been going on. I don’t think that I need to admit that I love November, though - I always have. Not only is it my birthday month but it’s also got Thanksgiving and long-anticipated new movie releases. And it’s kind of like a pre-game for Christmas, too – as the holiday spirit starts showing up in store windows and on the radio waves and the weather starts to change for the worse. Here in Munich it’s been a bit of a different experience, of course. The weather has been kind of indecisive about it’s honest intentions. A few weekends ago we had gorgeous, warm t-shirt weather and so we made sure to take advantage of the good day and we spent half of the day at Olympiapark playing football (or watching, in mine and Catherine’s case) and enjoying the sun and warm weather. We also caught a beautiful sunset – which, so far – has been the best part of the sun now setting at 4:45 pm everyday. Unfortunately, that warm weekend weather has passed and we’re back to rain and frigid cold and frosty mornings. The weather forecast calls for snow this week. Fun.

Last week I went to the opening of Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows Part 1 and it was every bit the amazing movie that I expected it to be. Of course, I’m always a critic of the book-to-movie adaptation so I was skeptical but, to be honest, they did a really good job of keeping the basic plot line in order and the movie turned out fabulous. It’s not the first time that HP has released in November, that’s half of the reason why I like November so much – long awaited movies usually make their debut. Last year (and the year before) I had Twilight releases and about 5 years ago, I had HP and the Goblet of Fire, three years before that was Chamber of Secrets and when I turned 15, I had Sorcerer’s Stone. I don’t know what’s going to happen when all of these movies are done and are no longer being released. Hopefully something amazing takes their place or I just grow up a little bit more to let it go. Ha.

My birthday just passed and I had a Munich-style celebration. It was actually a bit of a birthday weekend, seeing as Helen’s birthday was on Friday, so we celebrated birthdays from Thursday to Sunday. Thursday was a messy accident and I hadn’t planned on anything getting too crazy but we ended up moving on to a second bar after the first bar turned on the lights and shouted last call and we all ended up going home somewhere around 4 in the morning. So, happy birthday to you, Helen! On Friday we went out again for her “real” celebration and we started at our age old favorite, Jaeger’s Hostel where Cris treated us to free birthday shots in Helen’s honor. After Jaeger’s we danced all night at Neuraum night club before Lauren, Helen, and I decided that we’d had enough and we wanted to go home. With way too much money spent and our attitudes and enthusiasm going down the crapper, we caught a cab to Helen’s place and the three of us snuggled in her bed before Lauren and I headed to our respective residences at 7:30 in the morning. Saturday was spent sleeping it off – I managed 3 1/2  hours – and then that evening, we celebrated my birthday at Peaches bar in our tracht wear – Bavarian style! We got two Zombies (the second with a birthday discount!) and managed to stay at that particular bar until 1 am before we tried to find a worthy club and then failed. But it was all right, seeing as we’d had a rough couple of nights, and I was more than happy to head home and crash in my bed. Birthday party success! On Sunday, my girlfriends and I wandered aimlessly around Munich doing everything and nothing (read: eating everything in sight, keeping warm in pizzerias and coffee shops, ogling Christmas window displays, watching ice skating in Karlsplatz, and eating ice cream at McDonalds) and the day ended with cocktails and dinner at Roxy cafe on Leopoldstrasse. It was a lovely, wonderful birthday and I was (and still remain to be!) so grateful to have so many wonderful friends to share it with me. Danke schon, my lovelies!

DSCN9529DSCN9535 DSCN9721 Wing, Fio, and me at Roxy

DSC04368My birthday hat?

Also, something I should mention about my birthday… as a gift, some of my friends bought me a ticket to see one of my favorite bands, Angus & Julia Stone, as they passed through Munich on the 14th and the concert was wonderful. I absolutely loved every minute of it and my ever so delightful company! They are such wonderful performers and their music is even more incredible when it’s live. I highly recommend that you check them out and I can help! Here’s a video that I took from the show of their performance of  “For You” which is one of my favorite tracks off of Down the Way. Enjoy!

Now that I’m officially 24 and my birthday is done and over, it’d be only normal for me to start thinking about Thanksgiving and getting all geared up for that. Unfortunately, the holiday will not be as traditional as usual because I’m not in the United States and because Thanksgiving is an American holiday. My friends and I are going to try to host our own international Thanksgiving dinner in celebration of the true holiday but with a bit of a foreign twist to it. Everyone can bring whatever kind of food they want and we have a Thanksgiving buffet, probably sans turkey but with a lot of other fun and interesting stuff. Of course, I’m going to miss my family this year – Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I will really be aching for my family this week. Hopefully it will pass without too much anguish and I’ll be okay until Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, Munich is ready for the holidays – officially. The Christkindlmarkt starts on Saturday and their already preparing Marienplatz for the big show. Basically, the market runs from November 28th until Christmas Eve and it’s just a big fancy market of Christmas vendors and pretty lights and eventually, snowy Christmas scenes. I’m really excited for it to start though – it’s something new and exciting and I love Christmas time so it’s the perfect venue to get into the spirit of the season. The Tollwood winter festival is starting up on Wednesday too and runs until December 31st. It’s a Christmas folk festival, much like the market but in a different place. Ha. And, of course, all of the stores in the city are putting up their Christmas displays and they’re especially delightful – probably just because I’m in a new country and it’s more exciting than being at the Del Monte mall or Cannery Row. Needless to say, I am super excited for the Christmas season to come in, full swing. And maybe I’m kind of, a little bit looking forward to the snow. A little bit…

DSCN9666Creepy Christmas puppets…


DSCN9338   Putting up the massive Christmas tree in Marienplatz

DSCN9668 DSCN9669 DSCN9704 Ice skating at Karlsplatz

DSCN9718Get your toasty, warm Christmas snacks – Gluhwein indeed!

In closing, I should say that I have about 5 zillion blank postcards that I need to send out, many of which are long overdue. So, if you’d like a post card – let me know. No promises though! I’m quite lazy and going to the post office takes a lot of effort. But I will try. ;)

November 18, 2010

A Picture is Worth One Thousand Words

I’m having trouble finding words right now. This is my life, right now, in pictures and captions. And in the spirit of the upcoming holiday, these pictures also kind of serve as a visual guide for my gratefulness to be here. Right now. Today. For seven more months.

DSCN8258To stumble upon new friends…

DSCN8256  Only to find that they’re really not that interested in your friendship, after all…
And that you don’t really care.

DSCN8803 To delicious German bier and new friends to fill in the gaps…

DSCN8869To the naked trees and their shivering silhouettes…

DSCN8892  To blue skies in November…

DSCN8910To green grass and disrupting the peace… I mean, geese…

DSCN8993To a city that still surprises me with its splendor…

DSCN9017To Germans and their strange and creepy corner shops…  

DSCN9074To American past-times brought to distant lands…

DSCN9125To discover that you’re still a tourist at heart…

DSCN9183 To fitting it all inside of a picture frame…

DSCN9187To twilight at 4:45 pm…

DSCN9299To your favorite band touring Munich and to
really, really good friends who get you tickets for your birthday…

Also, if I had a pictures for the rest I would share but I am ever grateful for movie premier nights and unhealthy Harry Potter obsessions and to the friends who help me feed it and who still love me even after I thoroughly explain and complain about the scenes that were left behind in the pages of the book. I’m also grateful for thick scarves, an overabundance of gloves, warm coats, worn in Uggs, and stockings. And, over the weekend, I will be grateful for another year of life (that’s 24 now!) and good friends to celebrate with, even if they’re not the same friends from last year. I’m also grateful for good parents and strong love and the benefit of trust. I’m always thankful for my sister-cousin and her beautiful children and the promise of a hand-picked birthday present, sent overseas with love and care. I’m grateful for my experience here, even if it’s not what I first expected and even though I can’t afford to enjoy the better parts. I’m grateful for my surrogate Oma and her loving family and the way that I am always cared for, no matter where I am or how I struggle. I’m grateful for my life, for the love that I have for myself and all that is around me, for my experiences and the choices that I’ve made, and I’m grateful for the fact that I have the choice to regret taking a year away from my adult responsibilities but that I make the decision not to. Regret has no place in my grateful heart. I am thankful for everything, all of it, everyday.

What are you thankful for?