Welcome to our life!

Hi, I'm Allison! I'm a thirtysomething, freshly baked, stay-at-home mom. I'm originally from Connecticut, now living in Germany, hence the name of the blog. I live in southern Germany with my German husband and our baby boy. Life has turned out to be nothing I ever expected, and am so incredibly happy with it! We certainly do have a lot of laughs! I hope you will enjoy following our new experiences raising a little half American/ half German in a little German town.

Dienstag, 10. Juli 2007

Feeling really bad

Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing kids. One of the most amazing has become a good friend of mine, Tori. Unfortunately, last June, she and her family finally moved back to the States, after 4 years. Overall, the year seemed to be rolling along fine for her, despite the typical teenage trials.

She´s been going through a particular rough teenage spot lately, which of course, made me upset anyway. Now, she also told me that her mom is really sick, and her dad is deployed. Mom might need surgery, but right now, things don´t look too good. Everyone is scared.

It is times like this that I have the biggest problem being in Germany. I adore my life, but when something bad happens at home, I can´t always get back to be with the ones I love. This summer is especially busy for us, with traveling, doctors appointments, and life in general, so going home is just not an option right now.

So far, I have missed my cousin Katie´s graduation from college, and my cousin Elizabeth´s graduation from high school- both were events that I absolutely did not want to miss. I missed graduation parties. I missed going to the races with my father. I missed everything that I have worked so hard to hold on to these past 5 years that I´ve been here. And now, I can´t be with Tori when she needs a strong support system the most. This is so frustrating! I know that my life is with my husband, but sometimes, I wish life could be put on hold so I could be a bigger part of other people´s lives.

I am trying as hard as I can. I try to stay in touch with emails, and phone calls. Sometimes though, it is not enough. Then I feel guilty being here, where people think I´m living a carefree life. I´m not complaining at all about my life, there are just some days when living in another country doesn´t have such a romantic feel. This past week has definately been one of those times!

Dienstag, 3. Juli 2007


Europeans are very good at going on strike. The French are probably world champions of organizing themselves into strikes, but Germans can be pretty good too.

Last week, I started working with the cutest little 4 year old boy. He has speech problems, and I am working with his school SLP to implement his summer program. We meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This morning, Joern was going to drive me to base on his way to his meeting with Toys´r us in Cologne. Because this is a HUGE ride for him, I was going to take the train home.

When I woke up this morning and turned on the TV, it was loaded with reorts about the train strike that began this morning. The strike isn´t just the Bahn, which is the German version of Amtrak, it also encompasses the subway and street car systems in most cities- Stuttgart included. The strike began around 5:30 this morning, after some people had already boarded trains for work. A woman in Berlin had gotten on a train, and at 5:30 when the train pulled into a "middle-of-nowhere" station, she and all the other passengers were told to get off the train, because the driver was now on strike!

I hated to have to cancel, but without my license, and without Joern being even in the same state, I really had to! Argh! At least House is on tonight- I guess that´s the day´s saving grace!

Here´s to happy and easy flowing travel!

Montag, 2. Juli 2007

What to do, what to do?

Rainbow over Neckartailfingen

Coming off the news of my new job, any news pales in comparison. My new latest obsession- vacuum cleaners! I really broke ours on Saturday, and considering that it was 30 Euro and we got three years out of it, I don´t think we got that raw of a deal!
So, I hopped on my trusty internet on Saturday to check out reviews of vacuum cleaners- oh my gosh, the choices are mind boggling! I checked the Cleaning & Organizing forum on TheNest.com, and everyone recommends Dyson. I admit, I am a sucker for clever marketing, and am pretty much sold on the Dyson myself. I figure that I am a working woman now, and can afford a quality home appliance.
The second thing pushing me towards the Dyson are the tumbleweeds of rabbit fur that refuse to be vacuumed, swept, or anything, and Dyson has a specific model for animals.
The price of course, is the only problem with a Dyson- I only worked 2 weeks in the past month, and most of my money would be gone if I decide to purchase my dream vacuum.
In my research though, I have also found two other companies with animal models- one a Miele, which has an excellent reputation. Their Cat & Dog 5000 (oh my gosh, how exciting!!) is 100 Euro cheaper than the Dyson, but it doesn´t have a hardwood flooring function. So frustrating.
Unfortunately, that is all the news that is new here. My aunt wrote to me this morning- yay!
Hope everyone is good and that you´ve all enjoyed my L-O-N-G entry about Venice :)

Sonntag, 1. Juli 2007

A nerve-wracking week!!

This past week was excellent!! But, it was also quite stressful.
I worked at the International School all week, which was so cool! One of the classroom assistants in one of the senior kindergarten classes left on Monday for Mallorca, to start work on her M.A. What an awesome place to work on your degree!
But, since she was gone, they asked me to work for her for the week. Of course, I said yes immediately! I was also told that Monday would be my job interview for one of the classroom assistant positions opening in September.
So, I started the week nervous about getting to know the kids on their last week of school, but I wasn´t nervous about the job interview at all. Of course, all that changed rather quickly. The kids were wonderful! All ages 5 & 6, and they were all so cute! It took me a few minutes to feel comfortable in the classroom. The teacher was wonderful too, and it turns out she grew up in Trumbull! Small world!!
What I became nervous about was the interview. Right before my meeting, I was speaking with another kindergarten teacher, who told me that there was a surprisingly large number of candidates for the position this year.
My interview, which I thought would just between the principal and myself, turned into the principal, the assistant principal, and two teachers! Sheesh! Then, they asked me all these weird questions, like how I felt about putting up bulletin boards, and what would I do if I didn´t get along with a teacher. Argh!
So, I was even more nervous after the interview. Especially when I was told that I would find out about the job at the end of the week!
The week went so quickly. I easily bonded with the kids, and it was so sad that it was the last week of school, because the teacher I was working with needed me more to move furniture and take down papers than to work with the kids. I did my first playgroud duty, and found out that playground duty really isn´t that bad with little ones, but probably worse with older kids.
On Friday morning, the secretary called me to say that I would be meeting with the principal at 2:50 to discuss the job. Considering the fact that school gets out at 3:00, he wasn´t joking when he said the END of the week! All day, teachers were telling me not to take it personally if I didn´t get the job, and that the principal wasn´t well known for making the best decisions!
So, I nervously poked my head into his office at 2:50. He started by asking me all these questions about my week, like what I did, how I got along with the teacher, and how I got along with the kids. Come on buddy- I was there to find out if I got the job, not to discuss the senior kindergarten!!!!!! But ... then... slowly... we got around to the job. And- I GOT IT!!!!!!!! I am so, so , so excited!!!! I will be in the junior kindergarten- SO excited! Oh my gosh! I can´t believe it! I start on August 27th! Well, okay, since it is a new position, it must be cleared through the school´s financial officer first, but all classrooms below 2nd grade must have an assistant. It´s pretty certain, that I will be working again! YAY! I have to say, I am very proud of myself :)

Part II of our Venice trip

We enjoyed walking around Murano, and tried to find the store where Wolfgang (my father-in-law)got in trouble for refusing to buy some Venitian glass. Unfortunately, Joern was very young at the time, and couldn´t quite remember. After our time in Murano, we hopped back on a Vaporetto, headed for Venice. While waiting, we met a very nice couple from Canada, and spoke with them for some time about their one month tour of Italy- NICE!

We rode on one of the much smaller Vaporetto boats, which was very cramped, to Venice. On the trip, we passed the island of San Michele, which was designated by Napoleon as the city cemetery for Venice.

San Michele
We decided to get off the Vaporetto at the first stop on Venice, at Fondamenta Nove, located on the northern side of the island. From this stop, we walked along the water, then easily found the signs to the Jewish Ghetto. I was quite interested in seeing the ghetto, which was the first Jewish ghetto, begun in the 1500s, and opened by Napoleon. Unfortuately, it was late on a Friday, and the museum was not offering any more tours, so we had to put this area on my list of places for return. The ghetto lies in the Cannaregio Sestiere (district,) which has few tourists and offers the opportunity to see the "real Venice,"- quite refreshing! After exploring as much as we could, we decided to make our way back towards the tourists. Right outside of the ghetto, we found a very kind looking gondoliere. Since my mom´s anniversary gift to us was money to be used towards a gondola ride, we figured that this was the right gondoliere to go with.

Entrance to Jewish ghetto, view from the gondola.
The gondola ride went around the northern part of the city, and was wonderful! Although they are not cheap, taking a gondola ride is definately something that must be done if you´re in Venice. Since we departed from the Cannaregio area, we spent most of our time on quiet, small canals. Our gondoliere told us a lot about the history of the area, including the history of the architecture, which was quite interesting. We did spend about 5 minutes on the Grand Canal, which was very busy with lots of boating traffic. After our time on the Grand Canal, it was a pleasure to return to the quiet canals of Cannaregio. We circled around the ghetto, and our gondoliere gave us more history of the area. The ride lasted about 40 minutes, and was simply amazing! Venice seems completely different from the water!

After our magical gondola ride, we floated back towards Piazza San Marco. Of course, we got lost numerous times, but that´s okay in Venice! We finally got back to Piazza San Marco around 7, and decided that we were very tired, and it was time to head back to the hotel. The ride on the Vaporetto was about an hour, and was a nice way to relax after our busy day. We had another wonderful dinner in Lido di Jesolo.

We left on Saturday morning to head to Chioggia for a while. Chioggia is a fishing village, that is about an hour drive south of Venice. Of course, this was on a Saturday morning, and many Italians were heading to the beach for the day. The drive took us about 3 hours, and we found a parking problem in Chioggia. The town itself was very cute, it has a much more Italian feel to it than Venice, since it is not such a tourist destination. Like Venice, there are canals winding through the town, and many historic buildings. We could only stay for a short while, due to the parking siutation. Next time, we know to take a Vaporetto to Chioggia for the day, and leave the car back at the hotel!

Since we were driving home anyway, we left Chioggia and headed north. Verona lay in our diretion, so we decided to spend some time there, before really making our way home. I was so surprised by Verona, which is a bustling, wonderful city! After parking, we walked through the gateway in the city wall to find a magical place! We were totally blown away by the gigantic Roman arena in the center, which is the world´s thrid largest Roman arena. There were so many wonderful buildings. We made our way to the Piazza Bra, one of the many lovely squares in Verona. This is surrounded by the incredible town hall, and many wonderful restaurants. Off of Piazza Bra are many of the pedestrian shopping streets, for which European cities are well known. Verona is really a fashion haven, which again surprised me. I though fashion was regulated to Milan. We followed a busy but exciting street, and found ourselves at Piazza delle Erbe. The Piazza delle Erbe was the site of the Roman Forum, and is surrounded by amazingly beautiful buildings.

Verona city wall

Roman arena, Verona

Palazzo Maffei, Verona

On our way back to the car, we happened upon a car racing event. Only a few of the many old cars had come in, and we only spent a few minutes. After we left, we drove around Verona, and were extremely impressed by all the things to see. We finally left Verona around 7 pm, and headed home.

The ride from Verona to Stuttgart lasted about 6 hours, which meant we made extremely good time. Our drive took us through the infamous St. Gothard tunnel, which has been the scene of many frightful accidents recently. We drove along through Zurich, and finally pulled in to our driveway at 1:00 am. Overall, it was one of the best trips ever, and a very special way to celebrate us!!

Our pictures from the trip are at: