I Hate Showering!

Let me explain….it’s more that I hate my actual shower here in Germany. Yes, I am seriously writing about this. Why? Because I just took a shower and I am so annoyed for about the 500th time that I just have to vent about it and what better place than here….right???

Let’s start off with a fab picture of the place where the most annoying task of my day happens.


What do you think of that blue? Awesome isn’t it? I even got a loofah to match. {Yes that’s sarcasm and someone really needs to invent a font style for that.}

Anyway, I digress as while blue is not my first choice for stylish bathroom colors, it is far from the reason for my daily dread. You see, in Germany, while some apartments are similar to apartment living in the U.S., others are not. Many “apartments” are actually built inside one large multi-family home. In our case, we live with two other families; our landlords on the second level and another family on the first. We share a basement where our laundry facilities are located and we each have a separate, locked, storage room. Now that you can somewhat picture my living arrangements in your head, let’s get on with the complaining.

Water Pressure

Dear God of all that’s holy all I want is a little water pressure! This is by far my number one reason behind times I have actually screamed in the shower. No matter what time of day I attempt to take a shower, the pressure almost always sucks. One day, and of course the day I was washing my hair, I was literally standing under the shower head praying for water….ANY WATER! Why? Because it had completely stopped and was just dripping. I will admit that it is not always quite that bad, but usually the pressure drops significantly enough that I find myself standing there waiting for it to come back to a level that will actually get the shampoo out of my hair.


In the summer, you would never hear me complaining about this one bit. We live in the roof so it gets hotter than Hades up here so I usually took a cold shower by choice. But it’s winter! Aside from some hot tea, a hot shower is about the only way I can defrost my bones. I tend to get very cold living here and a hot shower is just what I need to resolve that problem. Well, not in this apartment and not in this shower. I have two options: scalding or lukewarm/cold. On a really good day, I get the perfect hot temperature and just as I’m enjoying it, I lose pressure and then it goes to lukewarm and it’s over. And I cry.


This really isn’t a huge deal, but while I’m complaining about a shower for crying out loud, I might as well get it all out. I’m all for utilizing space well and it’s one of the things I love about German homes. They utilize small spaces very efficiently! But this shower just drives me nuts! The little shelf they actually built into the wall is only big enough for a single person’s items if you don’t want to play Tetris and Jenga every time you want your soap. It’s pretty difficult to turn around and definitely not big enough for two people {not that we do that in our house!} ;-) The only plus side to this small space is that now that it’s winter, we have been completely wiping down the shower after each use to prevent mold. German bathrooms don’t have ventilation aside from the windows. We were opening them, but that wasn’t helping, so we just completely dry it off and being small helps this happen quickly. Although, I also have times like the other day where I was drying it off, hit the faucet with my arm turning the shower back on and spraying myself and the wall of which both were dry already. It was great.

Well, that’s pretty much my venting session for today. I will say that this has been far from my experience with other showers in Germany. I’m just lucky enough to have this one as my own.

Anything about where you live now that drives you nuts?

Posted in Expat Life, My German Experience, Simply Random | Tagged , , , , | 26 Comments

The Countdown To My Sanity

25 weeks. 175 days…..until….

I can go grocery shopping (or any kind of shopping) alone!

I can vacuum without a battle of wills.

I can mop without strategic maneuvers.

I can do laundry without having to hear blood-curdling screams.

I can have time for myself (what is that?). 

25 weeks. 175 days….until….

He has more educational playtime.

He has more social engagement and interaction.

He is submerged more into the German language and culture.

He has more intellectual stimulation and less time in the house. 

He walks to and from school with Mama with picnic lunches and playground time on nice days.

25 weeks. 175 days….until….

We have a two year old and kindergarten begins! But who’s counting?


Perfection Pending

Posted in Mom Stuff | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

There Aren’t Enough Words

Have you heard of Emily who is the author of the blog, The Waiting? If not, you have been missing out. She is witty, funny, down-to-earth and presents a style and charm through her online presence like no other. She is an excellent writer and has the credentials to prove it. 

Well, once a week she hosts a link-up called “Remember the Time” with each week having a different theme. I have never joined in and I’m not sure why since I am such a big admirer of hers. This week’s theme is last days and it really got me thinking so I decided to join in. 


Once upon a time, in my pretty distant past, I had the blessing and opportunity to work with children who had both chronic and terminal illness. The diagnosis could range from behavior issues such as Attention Deficit Disorder or Oppositional Defiance Disorder to seizure disorders and cancer. I started on this path in 2007 before I knew I would move to Germany for the first time in the early part of 2008. Sadly, I was only able to work with these amazing children for approximately 9 months. It was the best 9 months of my social work career. Granted, I loved working in the hospital and that too was both hard and wonderful work, but working with these kids on a regular basis is inspiring and not just in the moment, but for a lifetime.

Hardly a day goes by where I don’t remember the children that I came to know, but most importantly, the ones that I lost. People are typically shocked when I say how much I love working with terminally ill children. I’m sure you are shocked just reading that statement. It couldn’t be more selfish or more true. And here’s why: those kids are AMAZING.

As adults, we tend to underestimate the strength in children. We see them as innocent, beautiful creatures who also lack the life experience to make big, bold decisions. It’s in our nature to want to protect them, to shield them from the nasty evil in the world. So what do you do when your child is diagnosed with a terminal illness? More importantly, what do you do when you know your child is dying? It’s an unfathomable question, I know. Having my own child, I can’t even begin to think about it without my stomach doing all sorts of flips and being on the brink of tears. But it happens and these poor families struck with this tragedy have to deal with it.

So you’re probably still wondering how in the world I could enjoy such heart-wrenching work? Well, like I said, these kids are amazing. They have a spirit like no other and if spirit alone could cure their disease, there wouldn’t be loss. They fight the hardest fight anyone could have and they do it with smiles. They are still children and show it through the hope in their eyes, but they become so wise in a short time. They understand their illness and they know when they are ready to stop fighting. But until then, they will make lemonade out of lemons.

They will decorate their hospital rooms for Christmas. They will go trick-or-treating in their hospital ward. They will play games and laugh. They will remind you how precious life is and how much is taken for granted.

Of course there are bad times when they wonder what it’s like to die. When they realize they will never get married or have children. When they know their disease is winning and they are just tired. When they cry the tears of a child who just wants to be a “normal kid”. Those days are brutal, sad, heart-wrenching.

There aren’t enough words to describe the pain.

There aren’t enough words to describe how inspiring they are to others.

No words can accurately describe their hope, their dreams, their love.

In the end, these children accept their fate and their only concern is their loved ones. They become the protectors. They become the strength as their family is brought to their knees in despair. They become their own voice in telling the doctors to stop treatment. They become empowered. In the end, they get to have that last bit of control over their beautiful short life. 

It’s like nothing I have ever experienced and I feel so privileged that I was ever allowed to share those moments in a child’s life. They are my heroes, my inspiration, my hope. They aren’t here anymore and I am not there, but they have never, never left my heart. They changed me just as I’m sure they changed everyone they met.

They are angels here on Earth.


Posted in Becoming Myself, Mom Stuff, Simply Random | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

5 Reasons I Love Grocery Shopping in Germany

Yes, you read that right. There are some things I actually love about the grocery shopping experience here in this new country of mine. I know you are surprised after reading about all the reasons I loathe grocery shopping here in Germany, but there are some definite positives amongst the negatives.

1. The Grocery Carts (Wägelchen)

First off, I absolutely love the grocery cart setup. If you have ever been to an Aldi, then you know what I am talking about. The carts are generally stored outside under some sort of covered facility or near the inside of the store under the overhangs. This is nice because the carts are almost always dry and clean. The part I love though is that they are all chained up and to get a cart you must insert 1 Euro into the coin slot on the cart. You can also use a “mark” if you have one, but they don’t always work. If you’re wondering, a “mark” is a thin piece of plastic in the shape and size of a 1 Euro coin. We have a few of these and use them all the time. I’ve only had one instance where it didn’t work. What I like about this is that if you want your Euro or your “mark” back you have to return the cart. No more car dings from runaway carts, or parking lots covered in carts waiting for someone to put them away! Plus, it helps keep costs down as the store doesn’t have to pay people to keep up with carts (and bag groceries).

german grocery cart

2. The Bakeries (Bäckereien)

Oh you just haven’t lived until you’ve had fresh breads and pastries from a German bakery! They have bakeries as free-standing buildings but they also have a bakery in almost every grocery store around! I have yet to go into a grocery store that didn’t have a bakery. I love the smell of the fresh bread, being able to get the monster a little treat to eat while shopping and then buying our fresh loaf of bread, brötchen, and any treats if we so desire. The bread is not the same as in the states, although their white bread is very close and I would even say, better! You can buy the loaves whole or they will slice them for you. This is an authentic picture of what they look like, although some are obviously bigger/smaller.

Assortment of fresh baked bread in German bakery

3. Cafes/Food Stands/Beer Stands (Bistros/Imbiss/Barzelt)

This is just awesome all the way around! Some of the smaller stores obviously don’t have these things, but a larger store like Real, Globus, Ratio, will. At Real, they have an Imbiss and Hänchen cart outside where you can buy “fast food” as well as a McDonald’s inside. Imbiss has the standard wurst and pommes while the other is basically rotisserie chicken. Yum! Real does have a beer stand outside serving the local Trier Löwenbrau beer. I actually find this pretty funny, but at least I know I could actually drink and shop! Now, at Globus, they have the Imbiss as well but they also have a cafe inside (picture below) which has a salad bar and serves what many Americans would consider cafeteria style food. I have to say, it’s nice, especially with monster man, to be able to eat before or after at the same place we need to shop.


4. Butcher Store (Fleischerei)

Just as they have bakeries both in a grocery store and free-standing, they also have butcher stores. Granted, the butcher section inside the store is mostly like the ones in the states, however, the experience I have had here is very different. They have several employees working behind the counter who are very familiar with the meat products/specialities. On the cute side, they always and I mean ALWAYS, give the Junge (boy) a snack. It is usually a big piece of a bologna ring and he loves it! We buy some meat and deli at the butcher section in the store, but when we want to live high on the hog (pun intended) we go to our local butcher. The meat is so incredible and it should be as it is all local and fresh!EDEKA-Ahrens-Fleischerei-Abteilung

5. No Bags (keine Taschen)

I love, love, love this. Instead of going home with 5,000 bags and one item in each only to throw them away or into recycling, you just bring your own bags! Sure, you can buy them there and they have your standard plastic or upgraded versions, but why? We have some lovely bags from Thirty-One that do a great job! Germany is definitely a worldwide leader when it comes to recycling!

So there you go! What are a few things you love about grocery shopping in your country?

Posted in My German Experience | Tagged , , , , | 22 Comments

Bloody Marys Count As A Salad #20: A Link Up & I’m a Co-Host!

Hi everyone! I’m pretty excited as this is my first time co-hosting a link up. When I was asked by the lovely A Boy A Girl and The Marine Corps I couldn’t refuse! I love her blog and was flattered to be asked. She writes anonymously, but her personality and straight-forwardness shine right through. Please check out her blog as well as the other hosts! I’m sure you’ll find some new ones you also adore!

Welcome to Bloody Marys Count as a Salad # 20

Bloody Marys Count as a Salad

Bloody Marys Count as a Salad

What’s with the name?  We named it Bloody Mary’s Count as a Salad, because anything goes in this hop! Need to vent? Go for it! Need to say something snarky? DO IT!  Or do you just want to share your blog and/or a specific post?  We’d love to read it!  Anything you want to share, we want to see it!

And introducing a social aspect of the hop!  Each week we will feature a different social media linkup.  This week is Google +!  Link up your blog in the first linkup and your Google + Page in the second linkup!  

Of course, there are a few rules, we aren’t going for hop chaos here!

  1. Follow your hosts and each weeks special guest co-host.
  2. Link up your blog or specific blog post.  Whatever you’d like to share is ok with us!
  3. Visit 3-4 other blogs and say hello!  Try to be nice and follow those who follow you.  And don’t forget to say hi to your hosts if you are new!
  4. Grab the link up button and put it in your side bar, in your post, or put our link on your link up party page.
  5. Not mandatory, but we’d love to have you share our hop with others.  Tweet it, post about it, or share it on Facebook.  We’ll love you forever if you do… And it might help you grab a co-host spot next week.

Don’t Forget to follow your Hosts and special Co-Host:

               A Girl                                                                           Erin                                                                        Kara
A Boy, A Girl, and the Marine Corps                 Unconventional Mommy Tails                             Ramblings of  Marine Wife

Special Guest Host: Deanna- From Casinos to Castles

Posted in Link Ups | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Advice To My Pre-Expat Self

You know, I realize that I don’t write that much about being an expat. You don’t see envious travel pictures from me weekly. I don’t write that often about all of the great things here in Germany or complain too much (except for this time). If I had to give a reason as to why, I could sum it up in just a few words: being an expat is hard. expat advice

As most of you know, I only moved to Germany in May, so we are coming up on my 6 month anniversary this week. We moved overseas in a pretty unconventional manner; no jobs, very little belongings and a one year old. We have family here and we did have a place to live, but we started over. ALL OVER. On top of the stress of that, I was learning an entirely new cultural system. I had lived here before so the culture was familiar, but the system (insurance, housing, day-to-day stuff) was all new. I had no ties to the American military base (aside from some friends I still have here). So this was the real deal.

That being said, it’s hard to write about some of my experiences right now. Many of my days are spent just on every day life and trying to get settled. We are still climbing up that big hill rebuilding our life.

So, when I saw this month’s Expat Q&A from Belinda and Bailie, I thought it so appropriate! I have joined in before, but haven’t in a while as the prompts didn’t necessarily fit into my life. Boy, do these questions fit! M and I actually had a conversation about these things last night!

Be Patient. Be Kind. I am an impatient person by nature and looking back, I would have told myself to be patient and kind. I was (and still am) very hard on myself and just expect so much to happen so quickly. I knew it would be different this time, but I didn’t realize it would be THIS different. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change my decision and I still know it was the best decision for our family. I just had no clue how overwhelming it would all be, especially having a toddler. So many other things to worry about and take into consideration when you have a little one in tow. Plus, when you have children as part of this expat equation, there is very little time to decompress from the brain overload you experience when suddenly being immersed into another culture. So, I would be kind….kinder to myself. I can look back and see that girl struggling so much  to get everything right the first time and then beating herself up when she didn’t. It’s not necessary. It’s not needed. You don’t have to learn everything at once and it is just not possible anyway. The language barrier will be a struggle and it is hard to learn, but you will get there. You won’t know what to buy at the grocery store, what to buy at the drugstore, where to find the things you need, but eventually, you will. So, be kind to yourself. It’s going to be hard, don’t make it harder. 

This is such a great question and one that I think makes most of us expats feel better knowing that everyone else is just living life also! When you dream about moving to another country, it’s only natural to romanticize it. I dreamt of walking along the river, going to the bakery daily for fresh bread and pastry and having more time with M. It’s close to that, but as I mentioned, we are so busy trying to rebuild that it takes precedence over other things. It has to and that’s just life.

We have to rebuild our home so we have clothes, furniture, appliances. We have to buy vehicles to get around. We have to make doctor appointments and buy clothes for our ever-growing little boy. Rebuilding our life and taking care of our son come first. If there is any time or energy (or opportunity) left, then it is for us. And honestly, that is how I reconcile it. I have moments of disappointment where I wish there was more fun and excitement, but then I remind myself we did this. This was a choice and no one made us start our lives over. It will take time and this is only temporary. As the saying goes, “Stop comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle”. We just aren’t there yet and that’s okay. Someday, we will be in our middle and someone else will be just starting, looking at us and feeling how we do now.

Found Love.  Now What?

Posted in The Journey, Expat Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

You Might Be A Toddler If….

A little Jeff Foxworthy inspiration for this one…..enjoy! {Make sure to read it in his voice, it’s more funny that way} ;-)

  1. You might be a toddler if….You make your own hair products by first sticking your fingers into whatever messy food you can find, then rubbing evenly in your hair. 
  2. You might be a toddler if….Your own favorite styling tool is your fork.
  3. You might be a toddler if….You live by the creed “My way or the highway!”
  4. You might be a toddler if….You think sleep is for the weak!
  5. You might be a toddler if….You think that the snot running out of your nose belongs on your face.
  6. You might be a toddler if….You have declared your mission on earth to destroy any plans your parents have!Evil-toddler-strikes-again_original
  7. You might be a toddler if….You believe in effective communication styles such as head banging, screaming and slapping your own face.toddler tantrum
  8. You might be a toddler if….You practice sharing: what’s yours is yours and what’s mommy’s is yours.
  9. You might be a toddler if….You think socks and shoes are for sissies.
  10. You might be a toddler if….Your patience lasts as long as it takes to yell “Mama!”.

Posted in Mom Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 25 Comments

The New Me


So what do you think of my new selfie? Ok, maybe the medicine is getting to my head, but this picture is definitely how I am beginning to feel these days; an uninspired hermit who spends her days reading {just throw in a poor, bored little boy}.

It’s been 10 days and this cold has been nothing but a roller coaster teasing me with days of wellness and then kicking my ass for the remaining. Monday I felt so invigorated, I cleaned, caught up for the past week of illness and even posted my pumpkin bread recipe! Maybe I did too much because on Tuesday, I did go get my hair done, but I felt like crap doing it and it’s been downhill again ever since.

M has bought me sinus medicine, sinus-fever medicine, cough medicine, throat drops, cold cream and the pharmacist has even given him two free bottles of cold aromatherapy type thing for the bath. Right before I got sick, I had my first “blate” with Megan, from Megan Joy Jaunts, and she even had the impeccable timing of bringing me NyQuil. Some things are helping, but I’m still so down right tired and just wishing I could breathe normal again.

I have the cold that keeps on giving. It’s taken up residence in my body despite multiple attempts at eviction; it’s staying put.

Yes, I have thought about going to a doctor, but as many of you expats should know, it’s just not the easiest thing to do for a few reasons:

  1. I don’t have one and would have to find one and make an appointment.
  2. Should I remind anyone that I don’t speak German yet?
  3. Then, say that all happens, I have to try to go with my son….that sounds fun and so not stressful!
  4. I’m not really sure I’m in need of antibiotics and I’m a big fan of doing your best to let your body fight it off. I’m terrified of “Super Bugs” and quickly running to the doctor for scripts is the quickest way for the world to start breeding them (IMO).

So I am mainly writing to vent , say hello to the world and see if anyone has any tips? Any old family tried and true methods out there?

Help a girl out….

Posted in Expat Life, Simply Random | Tagged , , , , | 35 Comments

Pumpkin Bread Without the Can

Well, hello there! Why yes, it looks like I am still alive and possibly feeling better {dare I jinx it}. My head is still in a cloud, full of cold medicine, so be patient with me and possibly my poor writing skills.

Before I got this plague cold, I embarked on finally making my favorite pumpkin bread with fresh pumpkin! For us expats, we have to learn to adapt and in Germany, they don’t sell canned pumpkin. So what’s a girl to do? Figure out how to make it anyway!

Years ago, I found this recipe and it has never let me down. It is always moist with a perfect chewy crust on the outside. It has a perfect spice to it and the recipe makes a lot! I have made both bread loaves and muffins for gifts from this recipe and always received rave reviews. The bread tastes better the second day making it even more perfect for holiday gift giving!

But first, if you are without the luxury of canned pumpkin, you have to make your puree. I found this recipe, courtesy of Pinterest and it worked out great. I would suggest possibly making the puree the day before only because it can get a bit time consuming. I used these four pie pumpkins which gave me enough for the recipe and an equal amount to freeze for next time {or pumpkin pie}.

As you can see from the photo, there is one pumpkin that looks more “normal”, like the ones we are used to in the states, but all were listed as Kürbis (pumpkin). The three that look the same I bought at Aldi and I was actually more pleased with their results. They were more moist and did not require any added water to make the puree while the other was quite dry. However, the seeds seemed different so if you are also wanting to roast seeds, I would recommend buying the pumpkin that looks “normal”.

To Make the Puree:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F (180C)
  • Cut off the top of the pumpkin and then cut in quarters.

  • Remove all the seeds and place quarters in a baking dish ( I used a baking sheet lined with baking paper).

  • Bake the pumpkins for about 45-60 minutes until you can pierce through the flesh and skin with a fork.

  • Let the pumpkin cool and then peel off the skin. The quarters make it easy for you to cup in your hand while scooping out.
  • Place the pumpkin in a food processor or blender {I used my fabulous Vitamix that I love so much I that we have a transformer so I can use it here with the different power voltage)

It had to make an appearance….did I mention I LOVE this thing?

  • As you blend, add water a teaspoon at a time, to reach the puree consistency. The first batch I made, I used the “normal” guy and one of the other pumpkins. I needed 3.5 teaspoons of water. However, the other two pumpkins did not require any added water. **Just be careful to add it slowly as you don’t want it watery.**

It’s not the usual brown color like the can, but it smells so good and it’s fresh!

Then I just proceeded to follow the bread recipe from allrecipes.com as usual.


1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup water

3 cups white sugar

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Zimt)

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (Muskatnuss)

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (Nelken)

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (Ingwer)

*The German word has been placed in parenthesis for the spices. Also make sure the spice is labeled “gemahlen” for “ground”. 


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans.

2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.

3. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

It turned out mostly perfect! The only difference is that the cloves were too prominent. Here in Germany, they sell ground cloves in a jar like usual but when opened they are in little packets. This obviously keeps the spice very fresh, but for me, a bit overpowering. 

M suggested adding some whipped cream or ice cream when eating it to smooth it out, but next time, I will just use less. I gave a loaf to my mother-in-law who had never had it before and she loved it just as is!

Hope you love it as much as I do! If you make it, let me know how it turns out!

Posted in Expat Life, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 24 Comments

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program

Yes I am still alive although I feel like death. On Monday, I was told that my sweet dog Snicker, who was back in the states, had died. That same day my son came down with a terrible cold. The next day, so did I. It’s by far one of the worst colds I’ve had in awhile and it’s lingering. I had some great plans for posts this week, but they will have to wait.

I appreciate all of those who have reached out to check on me. I’m sorry for the radio silence and am afraid it will have to continue until I’m better. Until then, hope you all are having a great week and I hope this cold/flu skips your house!


Posted in Simply Random | Tagged , | 31 Comments