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.

Sonntag, 29. November 2009

The house

I know that this is not my house blog, but if you're interested, I have our house plans posted in our house blog.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Last night, we had Thanksgiving dinner at school. It was actually a really nice dinner, and a really enjoyable evening, and helped with the homesickness. One of my colleagues, Heather, worked hard to transform our ordinary staff room into a beautifully decorated Thanksgiving table. There were about 20 people at the dinner, and what was so cool to me were the countries represented: Belgium, England, Germany, Mexico, Canada, America, and Zambia. This mixture is so cool to me!
We chowed down on some Thanksgiving treats, turkey included! I made sweet potato casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallows (for Joern,) corn pudding, mashed potatoes, and Oreo truffles. I guess I was the carb person. Everything was so tasty! My friend Brenda made an amazing broccoli casserole, and my friend Heather made an incredible chocolate pecan pie with burbon. We talked about how we have adopted other people's recipes and that is something that we would not have done if we hadn't moved so far from home. My corn pudding is actually a recipe from my friend Carol, I never would have had this had I not met her. Thanksgiving dinners for expats tend to be a true example of America's mosiac of cultures, we learn about different people and their families through their traditions. It was so much fun!
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving too!

Donnerstag, 26. November 2009

Being thankful, with a side of homesickness

This year is the first year since I've moved here that I have not hosted a meal for Thanksgiving.
My first year here, I made a lovely dinner for Joern's parents, cousin Alex and his family, and Joern's grandma. According to my mother-in-law, this was my most successful Thanksgiving ever.
Over the years, I guess my dinners became more and more popular, and my Thanksgiving morphed into a holiday get-together with Americans, Germans, and well, friends from all over the world. My last dinner was two years ago, and we ended up with 30 people, and at least 35 pounds of meat, 15 different sides, 3 pies, two cakes, cookies, and oreo truffles. Although everything was delicious and the party incredible, I think I over-did it.
Then came last year. Between April and December, I spent two months in Germany, the rest of the time was home, and believe me, I was not partying it up.
This year, life is returning to a new normal, life has obviously changed a bit. Every thought we have is about the house. We decided that the stress of another HUGE holiday party wasn't worth it, especially with the stress of the house.
So, here I sit on Thanksgiving night. I have lost the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, lost the day to gather with my family, and now, even lost (only temporarily,) the party with the friends who have become my family here. This year, I am finding Thanksgiving particularly tough. Amazing that its been 8 years since I've had a Thanksgiving at home, and all of a sudden, I am finding it really hard.
Despite the longing to be home, I took the time today to think about all the things I am thankful for. It is long, but here's a go:
-I am thankful for my incredibly loving, kind, and supportive husband. I know that people may think I am biased, but I really do have the best husband in the world!
-I am thankful for my dad's health. There were a few whoppers this year, but he's come through. I am so thankful for that because my dad is also a wonderful guy, and I love him so very much.
-I am thankful for my aunt and my wonderful cousins, Katie and Elizabeth. I am thankful that over the years, we have grown much closer. I can't imagine a life without these three wonderful women!
-I am thankful for growing closer with my step-mother again, and my sister. They're cooky, but they're also mine, and I love them.
-I am thankful for the many wonderful memories of my mom. I am glad that I've been able to hold on to the good memories, and that the more difficult ones are fuzzy. I miss my mom more than I thought possible, but when I think back on the good times, I also find incredible comfort and peace.
-I am thankful for my amazing friends. Some friends are old friends, like Erica and Monica, who I've been friends with for almost 20 years now. Even more incredible, are friends like Emily and Nadia, who I've known since I was 5. It is so wonderful when people come back into your life. I am thankful for the support my friends provide me. My friends I've made here in Germany are incredible as well, like Mandy and Doug, Julia, Carol, Tori, Ashley, Emily, Lelia, and Marcel. They have become my family here, we share our experiences and go through the ups and downs of life abroad together. Even the ones who have moved away now have left a huge impact on my life, and for this, I will be forever thankful.
-I am thankful for the few incredible ladies at work who keep me sane, and have become wonderful friends. Iris, Prisca, Adele, Priscilla, Carola, Stefanie, and Maxine. I know that I can always rely on these girls to pull me up when everything is spinning crazy.
-I am thankful that I was able to become closer to a few other wonderful people at work. Last year, despite its difficulties, I was also able to actually talk with more people in our school, and form relationships with them. Although it has been tough this year to find the time and ability to keep up these relationships, they are still there. It is comforting.
-I am thankful for our kids this year. They are thankful for cake, and dolphins, and muffins, and their mommies. They're right.
-I am thankful for the opportunity to live in Germany. Although I have my issues with it sometimes, overall, I'm very happy. There are days when I need to pinch myself to realize that I'm not dreaming, I acutally live in Germany, and take weekend trips to Italy, Switzerland, and Paris.
-I am thankful for my car. 10 years ago, I never would have believed that I would now be the proud owner of an X5. Yes, this is materialistic, but we are dedicated car-lovers.
-I am thankful for my little apartment. Yes it is small, but it is really perfect. In a perfect world, I would move our apartment into our new house, that way all the memories that these walls have witnessed could come with us.
-I am thankful for Enbrel. I am thankful for my wonderful doctor who wouldn't give up with my arthritis, and who is just such a great guy. I am also thankful for the German healthcare system, that allows me to get Enbrel because I need it, no questions asked, and I don't need to shell out tons in copays to get it.
-I am thankful for my many memories of home, my photographs, and my tokens of home that help me to feel connected to a place that is 4000 miles away.
-I am thankful for the house that is in the plans right now. I am thankful to my in-laws for giving us land, and saving us some money.
-I am thankful for every day that I have, and every day I have to share with Joern.
-I am thankful for the future that lies ahead. I am so excited to see what will happen in our life.

We will be going to a staff Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday night. Even though it won't replace home, or our annual bash, it will be an opportunity to celebrate all those reasons for being thankful.

Samstag, 14. November 2009

An anniversary

Normally, we associate anniversaries with happy events. Sometimes though, an anniversary can be a heavy affair, like today. A year ago today, Joern and I spent our third day in a row at St. Vincent's with mom, and tonight, a year ago, she passed away. I planned to do a huge blog entry for today, but I think simple may be best.
I miss you mom. I miss our daily phone calls. I miss shopping with you. I miss hearing your updates on home. I miss knowing that you were always there, and that you always loved me, no matter what. I miss laughing with you. I miss your mom hugs.
If there are computers in heaven, if you are reading this, know, I miss you today, and every day.

Mittwoch, 11. November 2009

My new car

On Sunday, we made our way to Cologne via train. Why, would this car-loving couple head to Cologne in a train? Because we were headed there to look at a car for me!
We arrived in the early afternoon, and met the sellers of a 2004 BMW X5. At first sight, I was in love. It is dark grey- my fave car color. The only problem is that someone went a little chrome crazy, but the chrome is easily fixable.
The interior is lovely as well. It is nice and roomy, and is so much fun to drive!
After a short time, and Joern's inspection, we decided to take it- after all, we were in love.
Sadly, I don't have any pictures right now, but I will post as soon as I find my phone or my camera.
I've driven to work for two days now, and I'm so happy!! I can't believe I went so long without a license!

Samstag, 7. November 2009

Official decision

Thankgsiving at our home is cancelled this year. I'm a little sad. Joern and I spent lots of time discussing, and well, our hearts aren't into it this year. We're busy planning the house, and we both have lots of stress with work. I love our annual Thanksgiving party, but our apartment has gotten too small for the size of the party.
The good news is that there's a good chance that we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving next year in our new house. Everyone's invited.
Start looking into plane tickets now, as this is a great excuse to head out to Stuttgart!!

Donnerstag, 5. November 2009

I did it!!

After basically locking myself in my apartment all weekend, and chaining myself to a chair, I finally took my German driver's license test the other day.
We had originally planned that I would take the test last Wednesday, but thanks to all the goodness of German bureaucracy, I was never offically signed up to take the test. I ended up signing up to take the test this week.
The test itself is a bit different from that in CT. First, you are given two booklets full of all the possible test questions that could appear- 1300 questions in all. YIKES! I now know how to calculate breaking distance, reaction distance, trailering weight, and well, a whole bunch of useless facts, all of which I plan on promptly forgetting.
The test takes place at the local TUV, which is kind of like the old emissions testing places- but is the agency responsible for the safety of cars. I was pretty surprised that about 15 people were also taking the test, and congratulations to me, I was by far the oldest. Thanks to the TUV though, I was able to take the test in English. The test itself was exactly taken from the practice questions, except there were 30 questions. Thank you very much! The test is definitely easy if you are well prepared. I completed the test in about 10 minutes, and the test was immediately corrected- 100%!!! Hurrah!
The test results were supposed to be sent to the district office, where I originally had to apply for the license. Unfortunately, they wouldn't arrive until Friday. But, Joern being Joern, talked the woman working at the TUV to get us a copy of the test results to walk away with. So, we took the test results, and headed to the district office of Nürtingen. Another difference to the US- when you apply for a license, you must also turn in photos. They make the license for you when you apply, and they then hold the license until you turn in test results. So, it was a quick swap, and I walked away with my license! I am now allowed to drive here, completely legally! After 3 years feeling like a teenager, I am finally free again.
We're headed to Cologne on Sunday to check out a car to buy! Wahoo! It feels so good to be back in the real world!!!