Category Archives: Expat Life

It’s A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Can’t you just hear Mr. Rogers now? Or am I dating myself? Either way, it is a beautiful day in my neighborhood! I LOVE where I live and it occurred to me I should join up with the “Lately” link up and share those weekly reasons why my life here is so wonderful. I also think this could be a great way to stay positive and prevent that “expat funk” from setting in as we all know it can sneak up on you!

This is my past Saturday: waking up hearing hot air balloons over my roof {yes, they were so low I could hear them and you could see others in the distance}


then shopping with my two boys in the beautiful Trier Hauptmarkt….

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Life is all what you make of it and lately, I’ve made it pretty wonderful. Happy Friday!

We Took the Road Less Traveled

August Expat Q&A

Over the past week, I came across some lovely new expat blogs that I am happy to be joining in a link up this month. Belinda and Bailie have created a monthly expat questionnaire forum where we all answer the same set of questions and link up! What a great way to meet other expats! If you have a chance, definitely check out their blogs and even join the link up. So here we go…..

August Questions:

1. What is your favorite food store in your city and why?

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Well it definitely depends on what I am looking for and how much I want to spend. I like to go to Real for everyday stuff because of their great prices, but Edeka definitely has a better selection of produce. But my favorite spot so far is Ratio because this store is HUGE! They have it all and a lot of selections; the down side, is it is a bit further away all still only about 15-20 minutes.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

2. For your answer to number 1 is it ok to buy the store brand items or do you pay extra for a name brand?
This would really only apply for Real in which they have generic (Tip) and store brand (Real) in which both are generally okay to buy. I am actually pretty impressed with both the Tip brand and the Real brand.
3. What do you think is the best way to get about your city? i.e. bus, bike, car, etc
Well, I live in a small village outside of Trier so around here your best bet is a car to get to other places outside of the village. However, I live right along The Mosel River surrounded by vineyards (wine probes), cute little cafes and biking/walking trails. So in those cases, you can take your pick from biking, walking and boating!

Overview of My Village & The Mosel

4.. Which store do you turn to for basics like toilet paper or cleaning supplies?
Target. Oops. Wrong country. Mostly Real….but I would LOVE a Costco or Target. :)
5. Where do you think is the best place in your city to get a cup of coffee (or beverage you prefer) and catch up with friends?
Ahhhh, this would be Feiten here in Longuich. It is a cute little outdoor (and indoor) Weingut where you have gorgeous views of The Mosel River, good food and drink with awesome prices and across the lot is a trampoline and swing set so you can let you kids play while you relax away!

What was your “eureka, I’m practically a native” moment?

Well, since I only arrived in May, I haven’t had this moment yet but I am looking forward to it!!

Does your real accent get in the way?

Most definitely! I am only learning German right now, but when I do practice I usually have to repeat myself and I can’t roll my “R” to save my life!

So there you have it, some every day expat life from this brand new expat. Happy Thursday!

Longuicher Weinstraßenkirmes 2013 (aka A Festival in My Village)

Hello my lovely readers. I have had a busy few days, but wanted to get a little post out about my weekend before moving on to fill you in about our quick trip to Hamburg Monday.

One of the things I love about Germany is their regard for tradition and celebration of tradition. Germany has so many different festivals throughout the year, but summer is definitely the most popular time. This past weekend I was able to participate in our local “Kirmes” which in the US would be comparable to a down-sized version of a state fair. While these may be smaller versions than our US friends, they are unique to almost every village and their size depends on the size of the city or village. So instead of having one big one only located in big cities, they also have smaller versions in small villages like mine.

The basics are the same and there is always plenty to eat and drink! From wine bars to bier gartens, you can definitely find something to quench your thirst and you can’t go without some currywurst and pommes frites! There will be rides and games for the kids as well as cotton candy, candied almonds and even yummy crepes. Some tiny details stood out to this expat as they were such a identifiers of part of German culture. For instance, all the tables were neatly set with runners or small square table cloths beneath the ash trays allowing for simple but tasteful decor. Also, there was a designated area for Kaffee und Kuchen (coffe and cake); if you’ve been to Germany for any period of time you are well aware of this daily routine! And on the final day of the fair, they had a whole program specifically for the kinder (children) with a bouncy castle, puppet theater and games.

*****Disclaimer - Please forgive the horrible photography skills exhibited in the following photos**********************

Yummy Curry Wurst!

Just one of the wine bars

Candy, cookies, & kids toys

A ride for the kids and maybe the adults too. :-)

Yes I had to post this just to show how clean Germans are! This is a festival and this bathroom is almost immaculate!

M and I spent all of our time at one particular bar drinking Viez Limo (apple wine with orange Fanta). Oh. So. Good. I noticed while we were standing there that they had signs on the cash drawer stating “LPV”. M explained that the money collected from the sales at this bar would go to fund Fastnacht (Fasching) next year. Fasching is an annual carnival held around February/March time frame which is very similar to Mardi Gras. The village prepares their own parade with floats, candy, drink and more. You will definitely see posts from this girl next year with more details! Anyway, my point is that I really admire the planning and thought that goes into all of these traditions and celebrations. It’s definitely on my list of reasons why I love this country and feel lucky to call it home!

Me, Myself and I….Plus 2

My about me section has finally been updated! Check it out under the tab, Beautiful Mistakes. :)


The Kindess of Strangers

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Or actually, our landlords, who I would not necessarily consider strangers.   While I have had many share with me their frustrations with Germans and/or their German neighbors being unfriendly, I have not had the same experience. Both the other … Continue reading

Expat “Ah-Ha” Moments - New Page!

exep1We’ve all had these moments. You know, when you’re standing in the grocery store, driving in your car and just trying to move into your new place, you suddenly realize you are an expat! Maybe you realize how similar your new home is or maybe the light bulb goes off at random times when you begin to understand some significant differences between the home that once was and the one that now is.

So, I have started this page with the hopes that YOU will JOIN me. Check out the new page and message me your idea. I will add it to the list with a link back to your blog. Please make sure to include the country you are referencing.

How fun will it be to see all of our different moments, in different countries and most likely with a lot of similarities! Looking forward to hearing from you!

People Are People. Everywhere.

Being an expat can sometimes be lonely. I often times find myself searching for ways to meet new people, find new groups and seek out people in similar situations. Upon this search one day, I came across an article about expat parents raising their children in a foreign place. While reading this article, I discovered I was familiar with the two expat bloggers they referenced. This made me more curious so I began searching about the site. I found that the Young Germany has a lot to offer, including their own blog. If you check it out, you will see that yours truly has been featured as a guest on their site today. You can see my post here or below.

People Are People. Everywhere.

As featured on Young Germany

7.1 billion. Let that soak in for a minute as you contemplate just how large this number actually is. According to the United States Census Bureau (2012), as documented in Wikipedia, that number is the total population on Earth. It’s almost overwhelming when you think of it in that manner. To top it off, those 7.1 billion people are spread out over 193-196 (depending on your source) countries. With each person being unique, each country having its own culture, it would be safe to assume that we are all very different. It is therefore understandable that when traveling to a foreign country some people may have this fear or uneasiness that the people will be so different that there are no similarities. This is a hard feeling to describe and I know it exists because I have felt it myself.

This is my second time living in Germany so you would think that this fear would have been non-existent upon my return; however, it wasn’t. Granted, it was less than before, but the overwhelming process of adjusting to a new culture can make even the most outgoing of people a potential hermit. But the more you go out and interact with people in your new country, the more you realize we really aren’t that different. Sure, we have different foods and cultural norms, but our inner core is still that of a human being.

My husband and I were out running errands one day and people were driving too slow or too fast, cutting you off, flying through parking lots, parking like they are still in driving school and I said to him,“I guess nothing changes no matter where you live; you still have idiots everywhere“. That’s when it hit me, people are people everywhere. We all make mistakes. We all have feelings and emotions. We all have goals and dreams. We are all out trying to survive and enjoy life. So why should I be so nervous about interacting with these people? They are no different than I am and more than likely, they are just as nervous about interacting with me. Many times, this is the exact reason why a German who knows English won’t speak it which is again, no different than this American who is learning German but afraid to speak it.

Fear. Excitement. Love. Hate. Happiness. Sadness. Knowledge. Ignorance. It’s all the same regardless of where you live. So, don’t be nervous and get out there and enjoy the differences while relishing the similarities! Happy travels!

Beat The Heat Saturday

M and I woke up Saturday morning, unlike the rest of the country, dreading the high temperatures we knew we were in store for yesterday. The past few weeks have been hot but not as hot as it was supposed to be today (around 105F) and then add the humidity and you can just throw comfort out the window. I had to wonder: Has living in the States spoiled us? Have we become dependent on luxuries such as air conditioning? And why don’t I remember it being this hot here when I lived in Germany previously? Maybe because it wasn’t!

So, instead of staying inside our heat-laden roof apartment, we decide to go to what M referred to as a “pond party”. It was a nice large area by the vineyards of his uncle’s hotel, mostly surrounded by large trees, with a decent sized pond. Apparently the party was all weekend so when we arrived Saturday afternoon, people were recovering from the night before! :) Little M ran around, loving feeling his feet in the grass and exploring all the new sights and surroundings. Big M was having a beer and visiting and for me? Well, I was mostly feeling more hot and wondering why I was outside. Bah humbug summer! But the atmosphere was nice and when the breeze would blow, it wasn’t so bad. Before I knew it, it was time for lunch and I have to admit, I was surprised. Of course there were the typical Bratwurst and Brotchen, but this expat was more than just a little confused when she saw bowls of soup being served. But we all sat down and ate, what I soon discovered to be, Goulash. And wow, it was good. In case you have never had it, this dish is full of tender meat, potatoes, onions, red peppers and zucchini.

I still couldn’t believe I was eating soup, but who could turn down something so good? However, the heat continued to rise so we decided to go for a drive and enjoy the AC in the car. As we drive around, I see everyone out and about; walking, riding bikes and motorcycles, enjoying the sun. Seriously people? IT IS HOT OUTSIDE?!

We ended up in Bernkastel and decided to go for an ice cream. Germans love their ice cream so much that they have “Eis Cafes”. It’s a beautiful thing… me. Just check out this menu and that’s only first page! I can’t believe it took me this long to experience it!

We sat down at a cute little table and enjoyed an amazing treat. Our waitress was super friendly, even speaking English to me (although not necessary) and bringing extra wafer cookies for Little M.


From my seat this is a view of the shopping area to my left

You even have the option for Italian “Eis” across the street

The goodness was soon over and we decided to head back home. For a day I thought I was going to hate, it turned out to be pretty sweet. ;-)

Funky Town


Yep. That pretty much sums up how I have been feeling lately which is also my poor excuse for abandoning my blog and writing. I can’t truly explain why although I know there are reasons. When I ask myself why, I come up with answers, justifications and excuses for this funk I am in, but I think they don’t satisfy me because none of them are really a big deal. So, I feel that the general root of this dark cloud looming over my head for weeks, would simply be culture shock. As much as I would hope to deny it, being as I have lived here before, I can’t. Becoming an expat is hard. Leaving everything you know, everything that is “comfortable” behind is overwhelming. All of sudden, you are submersed in this land that you don’t understand and add language barriers to that to make you feel almost completely defeated. To add to my struggle, having a toddler makes it more difficult for me to just go out there, explore and learn things the hard way. A one year old has ZERO patience for that.

But, at my core, I am an optimist and a dreamer. Never in a million years would I think I would describe myself that way, but this journey has taught me that. I believe in the good more than the bad which is sometimes why reality (i.e. bad times), can take its toll me rendering me helpless but to succumb to the darkness and negativity. I miss myself and my happy, hopeful thoughts.

It finally occurred to me today that instead of running away from writing, I should be doing MORE OF IT! Writing and music have always been the two things to calm me and adjust my attitude right in the moment (aside from M, of course). I need to go back to what defines me and fuels my soul. I need to maintain ME, even though I am somewhere foreign. I know this stuff. This is not new or revolutionary thought here….but somehow I forgot it, lost it or blocked it. Now I remember. Goodbye, Funky Town.



We Have A Kitchen And It Even Works!

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After several days of blood, sweat and tears (literally), we finally have a fully functional kitchen! Let’s start with the “before” pictures, although to be technical, these are “during” since before would have just been an empty room. The pictures … Continue reading