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, 14. November 2010

Thinking of you, Mom

It seems hard to believe that two years ago, I said "goodbye" to you, Mom.  Two years ago, we had just been discussing you moving here to Germany.  I remember how excited you were when Joern and I discussed that it would be best if you would move here.  And that was our last conversation. Its amazing to me how much I miss you.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of you, and I still miss your daily phone calls.  I went through a really tough time a few weeks ago, and often thought of how badly I wanted to talk to you.  Some days, I still struggle with the unfairness of it all, but I know that you are with Jerry, and I know that you are happy.
Please don't worry about me, Mom.  I am fine.  I know you were watching over me while I had my surgery, thank you for looking out for me.
I love you and miss you.

Mittwoch, 10. November 2010

A full day in Dublin

Surprisingly, it seemed like we had jet lag when we arrived in Dublin.  Obviously we didn't, but with the hour time difference, and the fact that winter-time started the day we left for Ireland, Joern and I found ourselves wide awake at 6 am on Monday morning.  Annoyed that we couldn't sleep longer, we were able to get out pretty early on Monday morning.  We had no real plans for the day, which was good.  We just wound our way around the streets of Dublin, and had a fantastic day!
Since we were so close to the River Liffey, it was our first "stop" on our tour for the day.
 Then, it was over to explore Temple Bar a little deeper than we did the night before.

And then, we made our way towards Lower Mount Street, the location of my old school and my old dorm.
On the way there, we passed the Department of the Taoiseach, or the headquarters of the Irish government.  It brought back so many good memories, as I passed by this building quite often.
 As we got to the corner of Merrion Square and Lower Mount, I was immediately happy and sad at the same time, my old school, American College Dublin has been renamed Irish American University.

As we walked further down the street, the economic crisis that has taken hold of Ireland really hit me.  Almost all of the buildings lining the street where I used to live were for sale or for rent.  When I lived in Dublin ten years ago, the country was still in an economic boom.  It was almost impossible to find housing in Dublin, despite the fact that real estate had risen 300% between 1990 and 2000.  It was sad to finally see that the country is indeed in crisis.
 Only a few fronts down from my old dorm, my old pub Oil Can Harry's, seemed like a great place for lunch.

After a yummy lunch of seafood chowder for me, and fish and chips for Joern, and of course, a pint of Blumer's, we headed out to Guinness.  It turns out that Guinness is a long walk from Merrion Square, but it was definately an enjoyable walk.
Some sights along the way:
A pub preparing for another night

Dublin Town Hall

Christ Church   

Once we finally arrived at the Guiness Storehouse, we had to make a few obligatory photos outside.
 The Guinness Storehouse is open to visitors, not the brewery itself.  But the Storehouse has undergone a huge rennovation in the past few years, which has resulted in an awesome visitor's center.  It was such a huge change since I was there ten years ago.  The old storehouse, while having a more authentic feel, was really unimpressive.  The new one was so cool!
The new storehouse consists of seven floors. On the entry level, you receive a brief introduction to the beer and the brand, and see a copy of the 9,000 year lease Arthur Guiness signed with the city of Dublin for the land for the brewery. 
The first floor is devoted to the product, Guinness.  I firmly believe the Guinness is a marketing wonder, so the product is not the only reason it is such a good selling beer, but a large portion of the brand.

The second floor is devoted to the history of Guiness.  And the third floor looks at the marketing of the brand.  We skipped the fourth floor, and stopped on the fifth floor to look at the exhibit of John Gilroy's advertisements, which have become icons.

The coolest though was the Gravity Bar on the seventh floor of the building.  For this Dublin lover, there is really nothing more exciting than sitting in a glass surrounded bar, drinking a Guinness, looking down onto the city I love below.

 Exhausted, we headed back towards the hotel at around 6:30.  We were able to stop for Joern's favorite meal in Ireland, fish and chips, before turning in for the night.  I'm pretty sure we were asleep by 8:00.  It was a fantastic and tiring day!

Dienstag, 9. November 2010

Our first day in Dublin

We landed in Dublin on Sunday at 11:30 am.  Since we planned on staying in Dublin for the first two days of our trip, Joern decided against picking up a rental car immediately.  So, we used AirCoach to get from the airport to the O'Connell Street stop, which worked out very well, as the drop-off point was two blocks from our hotel. First stop in Dublin was the awesome Wynn's Hotel, to check in.  The hotel was wonderful, dating back to the 1800s, the hotel is very turn-of-the-century, with lots of dark wood and beautiful wood trim.
 Since we were a bit early for check-in, reception offered to hold our bags for us while we went out for lunch.  I was really hoping for a great pub lunch, but Joern was much more excited about finiding a fish and chips place up the street from our hotel.  We walked one block down from the hotel, to the River Liffey, and up another block.  It was so fantastic just to soak up all the wonderfulness of being back in Dublin.
Some sights near our hotel, O'Connell Street, statue of Sir John Gray, the Bachelor Inn, Ha'Penny Bridge, the Spire of Dublin, and the General Post Office (GPO)

After our yummy lunch,

we headed back to the hotel for a bit.

Before dinner, we stopped off at the very cool Saints and Scholars Bar at the hotel for a pint.

Without laughing, dinner was at TGI Friday's at St. Stephen's Green.  Although not authentically Irish, Joern and I were both looking forward to a good taste of America.  After indulging in some Blumer's cider and some buffalo wings, we headed in for the night.  It was a fantastic beginning to a fantastic trip!

Mittwoch, 3. November 2010

The trip to the west coast

It is so comfortable to be on a trip and to sit in someone's house, watch TV and blog.  Yay! 
Yesterday, we braved the pouring rain, and walked out to pick up our rental car.  Along the hour walk, we decided to stop in Dublinia, a very unique Dublin history museum.  It covers the Viking founding of the city through the 19th century.  Although I've been there before, I still found it interesting.
Afterwards, we stopped at Hertz, and picked up our Ford KA, to head out to the west coast.  Of course, we had to stop back by the hotel to pick up our luggage, which turned into an adventure, since it was Joern's first time driving in Ireland.  Aside from driving in a few bus only lanes, he did really well!
On our way to the motorway, we found a toy store, and decided to stop in- since Joern and his parents import toys, he is always interested in visiting toy stores in other countries.  The toy store was located near the Church, which is a restaurant, bar, and nightclub located in a former church. My friend Carol had given me the tip to go to the Church while we were in Dublin.  Wow, it was so cool! The building is so huge, and beautiful inside.  The way it has been converted is so cool, we really enjoyed our lunch there.
We left Dublin at 3:00, and the ride out to the west took about 2 hours. It was pretty windy and rainy, but the drive wasn't bad at all.  Now, we are staying in Athenry, with Joern's cousin Marc, and his wife, Elli.  Their house is lovely, and Athenry is an adorable town, about a 15 minute drive outside of Galway.  Dinner was great last night- Supermac's, a burger joint.  Yummy! 
So far, the trip has been great.  And like I said at the beginning, it is so comfy to stay with friends when you're on a trip.  It totally changes your experience!   I'm excited to see what the next few days bring with them.

Montag, 1. November 2010

Waving hello from Dublin!

Its Monday night, and I'm sad that one full day in Ireland is already over.  We've had a great trip so far!
We flew Lufthansa out of Frankfurt yesterday at 10:35.  Flight was great and totally uneventful, which is the best kind of flight.  It was a little sad that I honestly couldn't remember the Dublin airport, but flying in did bring back tons of memories, like flying into Dublin for the first time, with no idea what lie ahead.  Wow.
After landing, we took an Air Coach into the city, and got off on O'Connell Street, about two blocks up the street from our hotel.  It was so fun and so exciting to walk down O'Connell Street again.
Our hotel, Wynn's Hotel, is fabulous!  It is so old and has that classic turn-of the century feel.  Plus,we're really in the city center.  And there is a LUAS stop (the new, and lovely tram system,) right outside of the hotel. It isn't bothersome at all.
Yesterday was pretty quiet.  We enjoyed fish and chips for lunch, and then took a rest.  Before heading out for dinner, we stopped off for a pint in the hotel bar, which is so cool.  Dinner was at TGI Friday's (wahoo!) at St. Stephen's Green.
This morning, we made our way to the center again, in the rain, and headed towards my old school and my old dorm.  It was so exciting the way the streets and areas came back to me, and poor Joern, got lots of stories.  It was sad to find out my school was renamed the Irish American University, instead of American College Dublin. And the International Student Dormitory is gone.  Actually, most of the block of apartments where I lived are all for rent.  Made me a little sad to see just how strongly the city has been impacted by the economy.
To make myself feel better, we headed into Oil Can Harry's, the pub that was our old hangout.  They had a pretty good lunch crowd.  I enjoyed a half pint of Bulmers and had some yummy fish chowder.  Joern enjoyed some fish and chips and a Smithwicks.  Joern is sadly still on the hunt here for a beer he likes.
After a great time at the "Can" we walked to the Guiness Storehouse.  It was so different from their museum that I visited last time I was here.  But really cool.  I loved the Gravity Bar, the totally glass enclosed bar on their 7th floor. 
I think we're headed to the Temple Bar area tonight for some good music and good Craic. 
So far, so good.  Tomorrow, we're off to Galway!