Tag Archives: hope


And So It Ends

It’s probably no surprise to you that I’m writing this.

It IS a surprise to me.

I’ve been pondering about it for months now, trying to make time for everything, trying to hang on, trying not to say goodbye.

I’ve rationalized too long, finding comfort in my internet securities.

I’ve remembered that the hardest decisions are almost always the right ones.

I’ve realized that in order to keep growing, you must allow change.

And, wow, have I grown.

I’ve been in Germany for over a year now and I have moments where I don’t even recognize myself. And, that’s not a bad thing.

It’s just….time to keep growing and make more changes in the hopes of reaching even bigger goals.

So, it is with a heavy heart that I’m saying goodbye to this blog. I know people have found it helpful. I just received an email from someone the other day, thanking me, but I think this is the right decision for me.

To be honest, I’m not sure if I will delete it or leave it up, although I’m leaning towards deletion.

I can’t let go of this name though, or the cool idea that jolted me back into a lost dream. So, you’ll still be able to find From Casinos to Castles in social media.

As for me, I applied for almost 20 jobs today. The boy is in kindergarten now and I am hoping with all my heart that something works out. Anything.

I’m not giving up my dream of being a writer either, so, you can still find me over at Tipsy Lit. You may not know, but I’m Managing Editor over there now. I’m really excited about that opportunity and I think this year, I’m going to grow even more than the previous one. I have so many things in the works.

I’m working on a memoir as well as my first book of poetry.

I’m also working together with 7 other fabulous women on a new site we will be launching soon that is community oriented with a goal of helping and supporting women.

I’m working on finding myself again and figuring out who that is without all of the labels I had before.

I’m working on making one dream come true, while letting go of another.

I’ve loved getting to know all of you and I’ve appreciated you coming here and getting to know me. As I said, this is goodbye for the blog, but not for me. I wish you all the best and if you’d like to keep in touch you can find me at these places:

Facebook - Author Profile
Facebook Page - From Casinos To Castles
Twitter - Author Profile (C2C will be deleted)
Tipsy Lit

And the new site isn’t ready yet, but you can follow on twitter to stay up to date on the launch!

The Sisterwives

Thank you again and I hope to see you at one of my other online locations!


Saturday Feature: Sara in Le Petit Village

Yes, I realize it’s not Saturday and for those of you just tuning in, I explain the delay caused by living life here. And boy did we live some life! I had 4 glorious days with my boys filled with sunshine, great food, shopping, apartment hunting and even a DATE! Can you imagine? We haven’t been on a date, alone, for almost a year. Did I mention it was wonderful?

So, here I am, back to all my lovely fellow expats and readers and for this feature, I want to share Sara with you. She was an American expat in France who is now going through the stages of becoming a repat as she adjusts to life in the states once again. This post in particular, she says goodbye to the LPV and I thought you’d all love to meet her (if you haven’t already) and see the place she used to call home.

The Last Days of the LPV

My last days in The LPV whooshed by. I was busy; suitcases needed to be packed, bits and pieces had to be sold, given away and moved out, and goodbyes needed to be said. I was sad, but after six months of preparations, ready to go.

Because my move date was closing in, and I was a spinning top barely able to catch my breath, I made a point of snapping a photo or two every time I was out and about in the village. I was too busy to truly appreciate it all at the time so it was important that I captured it to savor later. Well it’s later.

I have no idea what the story behind the unicorn that has tagged Le Petit Village is all about. I’m pretty sure our local tattoo artist painted it, but as for the significance behind it, I’ve got nothing. I dig it though and like to think a unicorn was chosen because that’s The LPV’s symbol. I honestly couldn’t think of a better one.

I’m actually going to miss walking into my yellow post office. Post offices should be painted cheery colors, it’s a bit deceptive to be sure, but cheery nonetheless. Every time I accomplished something at La Poste (which doubled as our bank), I felt like I had slayed a mythical beast. It tried to better me on more than one occasion, but I remained victorious. Suck it La Poste, I own you.

And of course I’m going to miss the creepy tree house behind my house. It became my favorite thing to show visitors… it’s a medieval building that has been eaten by a tree for heaven’s sake! How does that even happen?!

But what I’ll miss the most in The LPV, is coming home to this door with Gregory and Fifty. There’ll be other doors of course, other homes, more memories, but I doubt any will hold a handle to the quaintness of this one. It’s too darn cute.

There was one last thing that I knew I had to capture, the bells. The church bell at the top of my garden that clanged hourly, driving Fifty batty and ensuring that no one in our house ever slept past 7AM. Now I find myself straining to hear them toll. Clocks strike another hour and are met with nothing, no sound. It’s downright un-Petit Village like.

Sara I was glad to see that Gregory and Fifty made it safely. Hope you are all adjusting well and I wish you the best in your new repat adventure!

Everyone else, please go give Sara a virtual hug and thank you for being patient with me. Don’t forget, no linkup this week as I work on the exciting Tipsy Lit feature, showing off several of your favorite expats!

xx Deanna

Expat Life: Releasing Feelings of Isolation

As I mentioned yesterday, we had a bit of a rough weekend. Nothing bad happened, it was more of a releasing of emotions. My husband is my very best friend and sometimes we just have to get it all out. These are things that are hard for me to share, embarrassing to share, but truthful. 

Sometimes, expat life is hard.

Sometimes the only way to be free of something, is to feel it completely.

I recently wrote this for another site and I realized that no one understands better than my fellow expats so I surely must share this here as well! If you’ve seen this before, feel free to disregard. 


There are things you don’t fully realize when make a big life change. Sure, you know they are there, you know they will be hard, but you don’t realize just how hard.

In May, we will have lived in Germany for a year and it has been one of the harder years I’ve experienced. Underneath the romance and spontaneity of our move, lies the reality of it all. We started over, completely over.


I’ve done this before, but this time, this time has been so much harder. I’m so isolated and not by anyone’s fault, it’s just the situation we are in. We’ve had to rebuild our life, so what does that mean? Well, my husband had to find a job to which he still is only employed under a temporary contract. We had to buy furniture, television, some necessities. The only furniture we shipped over was our son’s bedroom set. We are limited to one very small income and one car which my husband has to use for his commute to work. And, technically now, that doesn’t matter since I’m only permitted to drive on my U.S. license for 6 months, I can no longer drive legally; I need a German license. Add all of these things together and you can see why life may be difficult; how just the act of being social could be difficult.


Most weeks, I only leave the house on Saturdays when we run errands as a family. I have no friends. I’m embarrassed even admitting this, putting it out there for all the world to see, but it’s the truth.

We aren’t living, but surviving.

I woke up with a heavy sadness today; a heavy, dark sadness. I wasn’t sure where it was coming from until I accidentally heard this song. Suddenly, as I was singing, tears started pouring from my eyes.

Why today? Why is this hitting so hard today?


Last night, I had an amazing two-hour Face Time date with my best friend in Las Vegas. I miss her. I’m homesick. I still know we made the right decision moving here. We are making a sacrifice for hopefully a better life for our family, but today, I am sad. I am lonely. And I wish had some friends here in this new home to help it feel more like home and less like sacrifice.

I will listen to this song on repeat and shed all the tears I’ve been holding back.

I will hold my little boy.

I will hug and kiss my husband.

And tomorrow will be better.




How about you? Anything you keep buried that’s been hard about expat life?

And in case you were wondering, it helped. Letting it all out, crying, feeling it fully, helped. Today is a better day because of it. 

Saturday Feature: Beginnings In Bayern

Welcome to the first Saturday Feature! If you’re just joining us, on Monday I held a link-up where you could submit your favorite post from the prior week for a chance to be featured here on Saturday. I have to admit, every single entry this week was a good one! You made it SO HARD to choose! In the end, I decided on Shannon as a fellow expat in Germany who will be returning to the states very soon. They have already packed out of their apartment and she is beginning the series of goodbyes. I thought we could help make her smile by featuring her today and going by her blog and sending her some well wishes. 

Moving Sucks but I’m not going to be a Grumpy Cat about it

I guess we’ve finally entered that period where it’s time to start saying the goodbyes. This weekend we left our apartment and moved into the hotel on post. I said goodbye to my Women’s Ministry friends today. The countdown to America has officially begun.

Leaving our apartment had its share of tears. As I walked through before we left, every room had a memory. I thought about the day I arrived in Germany after our wedding and how Fionn carried me across the threshold. I remembered teaching myself to embroider in my craft room, trying to fill up oodles of spare time with something, anything productive. I thought about the days spent battling my German washing machine, inventing things in the kitchen, and time spent drinking tea with girlfriends in my living room. The joy of finally making friends!

One thought that really struck me was how much my experience in this place has changed. If you told me in 2012 that I would be in tears when faced with leaving my Bavarian village in the middle of nowhere, I would have laughed in your face. I would have been elated to get the hell out of Dodge. Moving was hard, and I let myself get bogged down by a lot of negativity. Pretty much, I was the human version of Grumpy Cat.

My goal for our next move!

When I first came to Bavaria, after the newness and excitement of getting married and moving to a new country wore off, it seemed pretty bleak. It took me ages to make friends. I was rejected or just ignored from every job I applied for. I had tons of free time, nothing to do, and lots of people asking me, “What do you do all day?”

In the darkest times, probably about 8 months into my move abroad, I often dreamed of just going back to the States. I wondered if my situation would ever change or improve. I wondered if I should give up hope. I wondered if I would feel this way forever.

Whenever I worried about things as a kid, (which was pretty much every night), my mom would tell me,“The best and the worst thing about life is that nothing lasts forever.” That phrase has been on repeat in my brain as I face the daunting prospect of moving to a brand new place, making new friends and a new life, and then (most likely) picking up and moving again 6-8 months later and starting the process all over again.

I’m not going to lie, I’m scared. Scared of all the work it’ll require, scared of going through that “period of suck” that everyone endures when they move to a new place, and most of all scared of the what if’s.

What if I’m lonely? What if I don’t make friends? What if I can’t find a job? What if we get sent somewhere I really don’t like and I’m miserable?! Oh man, what if we get Alaska??

I’m scared of all these things. But then I think about 2012 Shannon and how much she hated Bavaria and how that girl morphed into 2014 Shannon who ugly cried when she gave up her apartment keys. I think of 2010 Shannon moaning that she was going to be alone FOREVER and just needed to get her brood of cats already because she’d never meet the right guy and how that girl became 2011 Shannon saying “I do.” Or how about 2009 Shannon who cried on the train to Paris because she was convinced she’d never live in Europe again or see any of the international friends she’d made that semester ever again. If only she could have seen me a few weekends ago meeting my best friend from that semester for a drink in Berlin.

My point is, despite my fears, I am going to try to embrace two things this year: hope and patience. Life changes and we despair. We get stuck in that moment and refuse to look ahead. But around the corner, sometimes just days or weeks or hours away, is something great. Something life changing. Something hopeful.

Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof - Life is not a Pony Farm

Moving sucks. No doubt about it. But as I prepare to move again (and possible again and again), I’m reminded that moving means a fresh start. I don’t know what the future will hold for me. Maybe I’m a few weeks away from meeting a friend who becomes like a sister to me. Or maybe I’m a few opportunities away from the job of my dreams. Maybe I’ll be one door over from the neighbor who inspires me to do life better. Who knows?

Yeah, I’ll have bad days. Frustrated days. Woe is meeeeee days. But I hope that once my pity party is done, I’ll remind myself that being a Grumpy Cat won’t help anything and I need to embrace some hope and patience.

Cause the best and worst thing about life is that nothing lasts forever.

(Thanks, Mom.)

Hope you all have a great weekend and join me again for The Monday Ante for your chance to be C2C’s Saturday Feature!



Be Brave Enough To Follow A Dream

From the time I was a young girl, I always loved to read. As I grew up, a love for writing naturally followed. English was my favorite subject and despite my inner rebel causing me to skip a notorious amount of classes, I rarely missed English.

I adored the beauty to be found in metaphors and symbolism, the flow at which some of the best authors convey their message. When I found that my emotions were more than I could handle, I would turn to those metaphors and spill them out on paper, usually in the form of poetry.

My English teachers easily became aware of my love affair with the written word, encouraging me to write. One of my poems won a school literary award while the other was published in the real world before I graduated high school. I remember these teachers, the guardians of my future, persuading me to consider a degree in literature allowing me to dream of a future writing career. Yet, my inner critic slammed down the heaviest of hammers on the idea.

What kind of future do you have as a writer? You don’t want to teach or become a journalist….you won’t make any money. You’re not good enough.

doubt, dreams , quote


And there lies the misguided direction of a teenager. My focus was hell-bent on success and happiness being driven by financial gain while my insecurities weakened my spirit.

I was wrong. 

Please don’t misunderstand, I am happy that I pursued a career in social work. Helping others soothes my soul and its rewards far outweigh its annoyances, but writing lights my fire.

Today, this post is my 100th post on From Casinos To Castles. I know I have been distant from this space. I accept that is has morphed into something unplanned. But this little space in my small corner of the blogosphere, will always be so special to me. Here is the place where I unknowingly rekindled my sweet love affair with writing. Here is where I found a supportive community encouraging me along the way, much like those teachers who once believed in me. Here is where I found a network of writers and other lovers of words that lead me to more new places.

Among these writers is Emily, from The Waiting, (you may remember me mentioning her here). I followed her blog for sometime as I always enjoy the clever and humorous way she writes, especially about her daughter Cee. One day, Emily shared a post about her new venture as Managing Editor for the reading and writing community, Tipsy Lit. She spoke about this fun, new community and mentioned that they accept submissions to be published on their site in addition to their book club and other features.

I was intrigued.

I messaged her, but was discouraged for two reasons: 1. I never considered myself a writer 2. I had never written fiction. Our email discussions grew which soon lead to my guest post on Tipsy Lit about being an expat blogger. I stalked Tipsy Lit’s author interviews, v-logs and other helpful posts doing my best to absorb as much as possible; to make me a stronger and hopefully better, writer. I was also introduced to so many more wonderful people, wonderful bloggers, wonderful writers along the way.

I was ecstatic when one day, Emily mentioned that they would like to have me join “The Crew” and become a regular contributing writer. I, of course, accepted and my first published piece goes live today.

So, you see, this 100th post of mine is special. You are special. So, you’ll forgive me if you have heard some of these things before? I felt overwhelmed by the need to share with you where I am today, my dreams and maybe even introduce you to a whole new world.

Until then, let’s all dare to dream. I’ll start.

Hi, I’m Deanna and I’m a writer. 

Source: Pinterest