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, 31. Mai 2011

Party Planning

I haven't really spoken about the Richtfest in a while.  Most probably because we moved the date, and then, I kind of stopped thinking about it.  But no avoiding the Richtfest anymore.  Because it is almost here.  A week from Saturday, yup, in eleven days, Joern and I will host the largest party I have ever hosted.  I think what is so difficult in the planning is that we don't have any idea how many people are coming.  I know the list of invited is over 100, but we currently only have about 15 definites.  It is not easy to figure out how much you need for between 15 and 115 guests.  Oy!  The problem is that the invitation process has been quite open.  Joern will bump into someone he hasn't seen in years, and say, "hey our Richtfest is on June 11, you should come by."

I realized that the food for this event could not equal the impressiveness of our Thanksgiving feast.  Instead of pureed celery root and apple, it will be potato salad.   The secret is to keep it simple and make a lot.
So far, this is the menu:
     Chips & salsa (and maybe a layered dip.)
     Chicken wings
      Würstchen (akinA as hot dogs)
      Hamburgers, and yes, we are still in the great hamburger tryout phase
      Pork steaks
   Sides (here's where I'm a little weak, and have admitted to needing help,)
      Couscous salad with feta and dried cranberries
      Potato salad
      Possibly baked ziti, if Joern will ever agree to it.
      Texas Brownies

Today's job was to buy some, scarily not all, but some, drinks.  We bought more beer than I imagined.  And of course, now I'm left wondering if we might need more.  But I must admit, I have never been in possession of 20 cases of beer!

All 20 cases loaded, a very proud Joern!

                                                    Very proud of his Gallo wine too!
Frightening to think how quickly this will go!

Obviously, there is quite a bit more work to do.  Fortunately, this weekend is a four-day weekend.  I am planning on baking cookies on Thursday.  Friday will be errands day, including purchasing the meat, the final paper products, and my Richtfest outfit!  Saturday will be decoration day, setting out all the decorations, and printing photos and such. 
Next week, busy week.  It looks like our 10th anniversary will be spent up to our elbows in potato salad and couscous salad.  And Thursday will be busy brownie baking night. 
Although I am looking forward to the Richtfest, I am more looking forward to putting this behind us, and to moving on with the house!

Sonntag, 29. Mai 2011

Our last full day in Hong Kong

Saturday was a bittersweet day for me, because I fell in love with Hong Kong, and I only had one last day to soak it all in.
On Saturday morning, we returned to the fair one last time.  On the last day of fairs, many of the exhibtors are looking to offload their product samples so that they have less to lug back home.  And others, are willing to give samples to serious buyers on the last day of the fair.  Before we went into the convention center, we set out our plan of attack.  We had about 4 halls to visit, and at least 20 exhibitors to find, and pick up the samples that we had earlier requested. 
While Joern and his parents planned their route, I snapped some more pictures of the way to the convention center from the hotel. 

Inside the convention center

In total, we needed about 3 hours to get to everyone we needed to get to.  We had an especially enjoyable conversation with the head of a company from which Joern's family purchases poker items.  He was extrordinarily knowlegable about many, many markets.  He also explained to us a lot about the US market, which seems to run a bit differently than German. 

Afterwards, we split up with Joern's parents, and decided to meet later for dinner.  Joern and I decided to take the Star Ferry back over to Tsim Sha Tsui, because they had a great souvenir shop, and there was a lot more there to check out. 
I was also happy because the weather was a bit clearer, so I was finally able to get some better pictures:

Gloucester Road

The old exhibtion center

Again, I was happy and thankful for the clearning, in order to take some clearer pictures from the ferry.

Once we landed, we headed first to into the Ocean Terminal Shopping Center.  It is a mall located extremely close to the ferry terminal.  Oh my gosh, the mall took my breath away!  Joern really wanted to go into the Toys R'Us inside the mall, so this was our first destination. The Toys R'Us was almost cooler than their flagship Times Square location.  It was so well planned out and there were so many interesting little sections!
From Toys R'Us, we headed up to the balcony overlooking the harbor.  There was a fab restaurant there, that would have been perfect for enjoying a cocktail, but we were a little pressed for time.

Sadly, we didn't have enough time to explore the entire mall.  Of course, I'm sure Joern would not have said there was anything sad about not being dragged all over the mall :)  From the mall, we headed back up towards all those crazy huge designer stores, and found a beautiful building, and decided to check out the area.

It turns out that the area is now named, 1881 Heritage.  The very obviously British influenced building that serves as the backdrop was the headquarters of the Hong Kong Marine police from the 1800s until the handover of Hong Kong to China.  It is a beautiful area now with luxury stores, a hotel and restaurants. 

We then realized it was time to head back to the ferry, as we planned to meet Joern's parents for dinner.  I had to run to my favorite little souvenir shop first to do some last minute gift shopping. 

Once we made it to the ferry terminal, we realized that we were just in time to have missed the last ferry, and while we were waiting, we got to witness the Symphony of Lights, the nightly light show along the waterfront.  The show actually takes place on both sides of the harbor, but since we were on the Kowloon side, we could only watch the Hong Kong Island side, but it was impressive!

I would love to go up to the Peak  next time and watch the light show from there!

It was another busy day, and we weren't really very hungry for dinner.  After dinner, we took a little walk, but we were both exhausted.  We were only sad because it was almost time to leave the city that quickly grew in my heart.

Sonntag, 22. Mai 2011

A day in the life of our family, Hong Kong style

Since I brought my little pink point-and-shoot with me on Friday during our trip to Hong Kong, I was able to take lots of pictures during the day.  Good thing, because it was a busy day!
After breakfast and getting ready, we made our daily 5 minute walk to the convention center.  The convention center is in a really cool location, because it is right along the water.  It helps when you're tired after walking and walking and talking and talking to stop by the Dragon Lounge and to look out on the harbor.

We stayed at the fair for about 5 hours, until 4:00.  It was yet another busy day of walking up and down all the aisles of businesses, trying to attract buyers.  We met with a few regular suppliers of the business, as well as met with a few new people who had interesting products.  There were TONS of purse hangers, incredibly so.  Lots and lots of reuseable shopping bags as well.  For us, the waveboards were interesting, as well as some old-fashioned yet wonderful quality sporty-type items (think paddleball and travel soccer equipment.)  We picked up some new samples of Fun-Bands, as well as some "impulse items," like high bouncing balls.  It was a busy afternoon. 
At 4:00, it was time to leave the fair and hop on one of these:

We had an appointment with a new supplier at 4:30.  Many suppliers have showrooms in China.  When you get lucky, the suppliers have showrooms in Hong Kong.  The great thing about a showroom is it is a location where suppliers have all of their products to show, as well as some offices. 
It was my first time to Tsim Sha Tsui, on Kowloon (on the mainland.)  Sadly, it was a very foggy day, so the views from the ferry were, well, a little dull.

From the moment we left the Star Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, I realized that this area had a much different vibe than Wan Chai. 

We spent about an hour with the suppliers.  They had really cool items, like water guns and different shooting things.  The only thing that shook me a little was that the company was really large, and the two guys who founded the company were really young. 

After our meeting, Joern wanted to go back to an electronics store where he had purchased an Android touchpad during his last trip to Hong Kong.  The charging plug had broken on the trip back, so he wasn't able to use it for months, so he was hoping to buy a new plug.
Of course, what I enjoyed about doing this, versus heading back to the Star Ferry Terminal immediately, was the ability to walk around and check- out Tsim Sha Tsui.
I love Chinese in-your-face, loud advertising!

This mosque was quite beautiful.

                                                          And then, the shopping!

We headed back to the Star Ferry Terminal.  On the way, we noticed a large crowd gathering, and realized what was happening: 
Everyone had turned to TVs to watch the Royal Wedding!

Once we got to the terminal, we were lucky to find another TV.

I have to admit, it was pretty cool to stand in a crowd of people in China watching live on televison an event that people were watching all around the world! 

Once we were on the boat, I spent the short journey hoping that the weather would miraculously clear and that I would have a beautiful view of the Hong Kong Island skyline.  Sadly, it wasn't meant to be:

We headed back to the hotel for a little nap and to freshen up. On to dinner, at the White Stag.  We stayed in after dinner on Friday night.  It was a long day, and the jet lag finally caught up with us.  Plus, there was plenty to watch on TV, I had a lot of Royal Wedding catching up to do! 

Sonntag, 15. Mai 2011

Night out in Hong Kong

Hong Kong really comes to life at night.  During our week in HK, Joern and I would frequently go back to the hotel after dinner, which turned out to be pretty early, took a nap, and would go for a long stroll at night.  On our second night in HK, we took a really long walk from the middle of Hong Kong island over to the end.  It was a great night, and so much fun!

And before we went home, we stopped by the White Stag for last call.