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.

Samstag, 28. Februar 2009

The times they're a changin', and not for the better

Just because I don't talk about the state of the world-wide economy on here, doesn't mean that watching the goings on in the world isn't frightening. It is.
One of the companies that is in trouble right now is breaking my heart. Waterford Crystal went into recievership recently. It is so sad to think of this company going under. The company holds so much tradition and it holds a lot of memory for me.

I remember my mom always drooling over Waterford. She had a friend who traveled to Ireland a few times, and brought back tiny crystal trinkets for my mom. My mom would hold them so carefully in the light, so that the colors would dance around on the walls and the floor. She always told me how special Waterford Crystal was.

When I was 20 and left for Ireland, visiting the Waterford factory was high on my list. I had to go there for Mom.

My friend Kelly and I went to the factory when Kelly's mom came to visit. It was right after I returned from Germany, and meeting Jörn. We spent a day going to the crystal factory, Blarney Castle, and dishing about the wonderful guy I had just spent a week with. Kelly drove the rental car, which made for many memories in itself.

The factory tour was incredible. The company is so steeped in tradition. It employed most of the people living in the area. Becoming a crystal cutter, or glass blower at Waterford was really something special, a high honor. Of course, this also means that these employees of the company are highly specialized, and it will now be difficult for them to find another job.

After our wonderful tour, I spent tons of time in the gift shop finding something that would be great for my mom. Of course, it had to fit into my college student's budget as well. Here's what I bought for her:

When I got home and gave her the vase, she held it up to the light ever-so carefully, and let the colors dance all over the room.

While we were dating, Jörn and I frequently talked about my time in Ireland. This was such a meaningful time in my life, and I wanted to share it all with Jörn. Imagine my surprise when he gave me this Waterford gift for our wedding.

As we were cleaning out my mom and stepfather's house a few months ago, I found those Waterford trinkets my mom received when I was a child. They were a toothpick holder, a sugar bowl, and a cream pitcher. I carefully held each one into the light, watched the colors dance, and could hear my mom telling me how special Waterford Crystal was.

Unfortunately, as it can happen in living abroad, these pieces broke in transport back to Germany. As I picked up the shards with tears in my eyes, Jörn promised me that we would would go to Ireland and buy the broken items. We are thinking about visiting Ireland in April.

I had heard on the news that the company was in trouble, but now it has gone into receivership. According to the website, the Vistor's Center at the factory is closed until further notice. I hope that the company can be saved, but hope that in saving it, something of the magic and tradition is not lost.

Dienstag, 24. Februar 2009

Last night's movie selection

Last night, while flipping through the channels, Jörn stopped on the Heimatkanal. This channel is dedicated to all shows and movies old-fashioned and German. Jörn's grandma especially likes this channel, as it brings back so many memories for her. Jörn and I like to watch it for a different reason, it usually makes you giggle a little.
The selection last night, "Zwei Bayern im Urwald," or "Two Bavarians in Africa." It had to be set in the 50's and was of course, about two Bavarians who were trying out new lives in Africa. Okay, the coolest part was that they were planning on brewing Bavarian beer in Africa. We only watched for a few minutes but we enjoyed the fact that they were going to call their beer AlligatorBrau :) But my favorite quote was from a young man to his girlfriend, "my beer isn't working out well. Your father will never let you marry me if I can't brew good beer."
Lesson to be learned- Jörn should be happy that my dad is not Bavarian.


Donnerstag, 19. Februar 2009

4x4 Meme

I wasn't formally tagged, but read this in Emily's blog. It is quite simple to do, and this is why I stole the idea. Open your photo folder on your computer. Then, open the fourth folder and then the fourth picture.
Here's what I found:

Don't ask me how the photo got in the America folder, there must have been some filing error (Joern was the filer.) But the picture is from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in southern Bavaria. We went there two years ago to meet up with my best friend from high school, Erica, and her husband and daughter.
At the time, Erica had been living in England, and was in Garmisch for work. That was one of the best time periods of my 20s, as Erica and I had lost touch after high school. I think this was the second time we got together. It was so much fun to be able to go to such a beautiful place, and meet one of the most important people in my life.

Despite the looks on our faces, we had a fab overnight. We even attempted to go up the Zugspitze, the highest point in Germany. Unfortunately, it was very foggy that day, and there was no chance that it would be worth the ridiculous charge to reach the top. But, we still had a lovely time visiting, and Erica's daughter was nothing but fun and cuteness the whole trip.
Erica is actually pregnant with twins right now, and due in a few months. I am so excited for their family, and seeing this picture, made me smile.

Dienstag, 17. Februar 2009

Our weekend, Frankenberg and Wetzlar

This past weekend was wonderful. First, we visited FingerHaus' Building Information Day. Second, we visited some beautiful towns, Frankenberg and Wetzlar. Third, we had a wonderful Valentine's celebration.
The trip on Friday night was a little unnerving. About 20 minutes into our drive, it started to snow. We only had 3 hours and 40 minutes to go at this point. For the most part, the snow did little to slow us down. Once we got near Frankfurt, the radio stations started broadcasting all these reports of horriffic snow in northern Hessen, exactly where we were going. The reports used terms like "snow-chaos" and ominously spoke of autobahns being closed due to jack-knifed tractor trailers and cars hopelessly stuck in the ice and snow. Jörn decided that we should continue driving, and if we reached a situation that was too bad, we would find a hotel. As we neared our destination the reports came over the radio that driving in the county of Frankenberg had become impossible. We were headed right into Frankenberg for the night. About 20 kilometers outside of our final destination, the snow started to become heavier, and the road was indeed icy. Yet, trucks were driving with no problem, and most certainly, no roads were closed around us. Odd.
However, we got in to Frankenberg at 11:30, just as Jörn predicted as we left Neckartailfingen. FingerHaus put us up for the night at the Ratsschänke guest house. It was a clean hotel, typical of a guest house in Germany, located in rooms above a restaurant and bar.
Our breakfast at the hotel was also great. Jörn was particularly excited with the small pot of schmalz, or lard, which Germans love to spread on a slice of bread, and enjoy for breakfast. YUCK!

It turned out that Frankenberg town center was extremely adorable! I had to take some pictures before we headed out to the factory tour.

On Saturday afternoon, after our amazing day, and visits to model homes, we headed to Wetzlar, which is a to the northwest of Frankfurt. We stayed at the Mercure hotel right outside the old city center. The hotel was your standard business class hotel, but sometimes, it can be difficult to find a fantastic hotel in Germany (that is not $500 per night.)
Once we relaxed for a little while, we headed into the old city center. Turns out Wetzlar is fantastically adorable, and I'm already scheming to get Jörn to take me back!

We decided on the restaurant Bömisches-Eck, or Bohemian Corner. It turned out to be a wonderful decision! The service was great, and the food, delicious! Jörn had Bohemian Schnitzel, which was like a cordon bleu. I had the vegetable crepe with a gorgonzola sauce. The meals were both out of this world, and it was such a cozy, romantic restaurant for a great Valentine's meal.
On Sunday morning, we returned to the old city center for breakfast. I had to snap a few pictures of the adorable center in the day.

I was also able to get a much better look at the cathedral. What was most interesting about the cathedral was that it appeared to have been built in different time periods. After some research, it turns out that indeed. Construction began on the cathedral in 1230, and some of this cathedral remains. The tower in the front comes from the 1500s. The concrete color in the back is the result of rebuilding after heavy bombing during WWII.

We found an adorable bistro across from the cathedral. It was the perfect place to enjoy our breakfast.

It was the best way to start off our day of looking at houses.
I absolutely loved both Frankenberg and Wetzlar. I secretly hope we build with FingerHaus, simply to return to both wonderful towns!

Sonntag, 15. Februar 2009

Happy belated Valentine's Day

Jörn and I spent Valentine's Day looking at new houses. We attended a building information day at FingerHaus, a company we really like. We left on Friday night, and spent the night in Frankenberg/Eder, about an hour north of Frankfurt. After the big day, we drove to Wetzlar to spend Valentine's night. Wetzlar is an adorable city, and I immediately fell in love.
Today, we visited two more model homes in the Frankfurt area.
We are exhausted and excited.
I will post more about the weekend, but I just wanted to wish everyone a happy belated V-day, and good night :)