Sunday, September 23, 2012

Zwei Monate "Two Months"

Today marks two months living in Germany. I miss blogging so much and hate typing on my phone so I'm going to keep this short.

Top 10 Highlights of Month 2:
10. Free bookshelves
9. Free washing machine
8. Free patio furniture
7.Scrapbooking class
6.Attending Oktoberfest
5. Hiking in the Alps
4. Picking out paint
3. Signing my teaching contract
2. Visiting Oberhausen
1. Moving into our own space

The crate should arrive in a week and a half. Our new kitchen is being installed Oct.4th-5th which means I will be baking Reece's Pieces Banana Bread Oct.6th! Our internet connection is at the mercy of the provider and is tbd. Another difference between the States and the German ways. Less than 3 months until we are back on the other side for Christmas!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Climbing to New Heights

It has been too long since I last wrote. We are in our new place but still without internet. However, I can wait no more so I am writing via smartphone. Ugh. This better be good...
This week I joined Husband on a business trip to escape the emptiness of our new unfurnished and plain apartment. We traveled 6 hours northwest to Oberhausen,Germany. It is currently known for being home to the largest mall in Germany but this story isn't about shopping. It's about gas. I am not talking about Husband's gas but natural gas. Back in the day Oberhausen was a major industrial city but that ended  a couple decades ago. The Number 1 recommendation according to TripAdvisor is a visit to The Gasometer. So while Husband sat in a training class, I set out for an adventure.
The Gasometer is a giant silo. It's tall cylinder shape used to be the largest holder of natural gas for many years. Nowdays the hollow inside has been transformed into a cultural museum. After opening the heavy thick metal door you step into a dark concrete ground floor level. A faint smell of natural gas carries into your nose but is unnoticeable by the second sniff. All around the circular room are giant photos lightly lit showcasing the wonders of the world. I wished several times my students could see the images of rock formations, the rainforest, and monarch butterflies. Walking up the industrial stairs leads you to the second floor with a vast amount of open air hundreds of feet up to the top dome. It took me a second to gather my bearings. Being among a dark space so wide and steep made my legs a little weak. More breathtaking images from the world a round filled the eery space. My favorite was a photo of The Waterfall House by Frank Lloyd Wright. The saddest display was a watch stopped by the atomic bomb. In the center of the room stood a giant lifesize rainforest tree sculpture lit up and synchronized to spa like music. The adventure of it all being the glass elevator running smoothly all the way up to the top of the silo. Riding up I could not even face the glass windows. I gripped the metal side with my sweaty, clammy hands. Another girl held her husband's bicep as we both exchanged nervous giggles. I definitely was practicing Lamaze breathing during the steep ride up.  Once we reached the top another set of industrial doors opened to the blue sky. Stepping outside of the Gasometer with just metal grating below my feet and seeing how far down the ground below was made my knees shake. After a minute adjusting to the daring heights, I climbed two staircases to reach the absolute top. Standing on top of the silo, the panoramic views of Oberhausen surrounded me hundreds of feet below. A walk a round made me satisfied that I had done something that scared me. Facing my fears, on the way back down the elevator, this time I looked out the glass again gripping the side. Afterwards I was glad that I forced myself to do something that made me nervous. I think today was definitely seized when for a few minutes I stood on top of the world.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Yarning for College Football

It's Saturday night and the Texas A&M football game is blaring in my ears.  We are halfway across the world and my husband has managed to pull up the game via online radio.  He was so determined to pull up the game that he did not even take up my offer to guinea pig the cookies I made tonight.  I had to lick the spoon all by myself!
When I took this picture of Husband his eyes were red and watery.  He denies crying but those eyes were definitely teared up missing Tailgate.
This afternoon was a lot of fun.  We drove to three different apartments answering adverts for furniture. 
Here is what we picked up:
-2 Ikea Rast dressers, 25Euros
We will use these as nightstands after I hack them of course!
-1 white Expedit shelf, FREE
This will go between the living room and eating area, more plans in the making for a hack
-3 Gorm shelves, FREE
Currently our closet is a shell so we will put the shelves along one side for shoe and bag storage
Total of $317.98 worth of furniture for 25Euros.  Not a bad deal! 
Look for future entries on my exciting upcoming IKEA Hacks!
Since my husband has been out of town working this past week and my job does not start until November 1st, I have had a lot of crafting time on my hands.  I have been making more yarn wreaths with hope of creating an Etsy shop sometime in the future.  Here is a past tutorial on how to make the following wreaths you see.
 Valentines <3
The Danger Zone 
It is hard having a husband who travels a lot. 
A girl has got to keep herself busy! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

As Long As We've Got Eachother

Yesterday I blogged that we would be moving into our new apartment in 10 days.  Well...change of plans...We are moving in TWO days!  For the past month and a half Husband and I have been renting someone else's house while they are out of the country.  I found out the home owners will be back on Sunday night and so that means we've gotta go!  After a minor freak out the panic is over and we are now in survival mode with excitement for another adventure.

Now moving into our own place wouldn't be such a big deal EXCEPT we found out our crate is going to be 6 weeks later than planned!  Gulp.  We have no idea why, but for some reason our crate sat in the good O' USA for a month before taking the trek across the Atlantic. It will not arrive until mid October.  So...this weekend my husband and I will be moving into an empty apartment with just our six suitcases and a free bookshelf (look for an entry in the future on that one!).  It is time to get creative.

Here is what we have among our six suitcases:
-Summer clothes (It's already in the low 60s here.)
-Curlers, curling iron, hair dryer all with American plugs
-About 8 read books, 10 read magazines
-CVS Pharmacy
-Yarn, hot glue gun, felt
-Two random kitchen towels
-Desktop computer (yes, we carried our pc through 4 airports and onto 3 planes)
-stowaway kitchen shears

We sound prepared right?  Well, you're forgetting that we have a month now in an empty apartment.

Here is what we DO NOT have among our six suitcases:
-Frying pan
-Kitchen knife
-Bath towels
-Air Mattress
-Bed sheets

All things that we own, that we packed, that are in our crate, somewhere in the middle of the ocean!

When researching international moves never did I find a blog or article that explains to people how to be best prepared.  Husband and myself have failed as former members of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America.  So if you are moving internationally, listen up people, TAKE MY ADVICE!

Here is what to pack among six suitcases:
-Pack Suitcase 1 and Suitcase 2 with layering clothes as if you are going on a normal trip.

Wear, wash, repeat over and over again for however long it takes your crate to arrive
-Pack Suitcase 3 with all of your shoes you will need
Forget high heels and cute summer wedges they do not exist in cobble stone countries
-Pack Suitcase 4 with two bath towels, two face towels, bed sheets, blankets, pillows
Things are expensive over here without TJ Maxx, Ross, or Target to help you out...
-Pack Suitcase 5 with one pan, a knife, a few utensils
Who really wants to eat PB&J for a month?
-Pack Suitcase 6 with CVS or Walgreens whichever you prefer.
Benedryl and Neosporin are prescription in Germany and Tampax Pearl doesn't exist.

Looks like we will be doing some shopping this weekend but at least we will finally be in our own place.  The move is definitely going to make us feel more at home and it will be nice to not be surrounded by someone else's clutter.  It will be even better when our own clutter arrives.

Here are some pictures of what started out as organized packing:
The "Store" Pile
*Such a shame to see that beautiful C&B box in storage :-(
Over half of our wedding presents went into storage at least when
we get back to the States everything will be brand spanking new!
 The "CRATE" Pile
The mover dropped the box that had our two china sets inside.
The guy looked at Husband and asked: "Do you want to check nothin' broke?"
Husband replied: "You saw the redhead in there.  You better check that china."

The "Liposuction of the Closet" Pile
More of the "CRATE" Pile
Sure would be a shame if that A&M helmet fell off into the Atlantic...
Our Crate

Hopefully someday soon our crate will arrive here in Germany and we will rejoice loudly on the top of every hill in the State of Bavaria. Until then I'm just thankful I have my glue gun.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Maren's Dream Apartment

One of my favorite things to do as kid was to "play house". Now that I am a grown up, "house" is still one of my favorite things to do but now it is not just for play!
I remember asking a few holidays for a Barbie Dream Home but I never got one.  Looking back now I am thankful that my parents forced me to use my imagination even if that wasn't their original reasoning.  Not having a Barbie Dream Home did not stop me from playing "house".  Instead I would hunt down every pencil, marker, and pen in the entire house.  I then would sit on the floor in my bedroom and design floor plans.  Each wall was created by laying pencils one after the other.  The result would look something like a birds eye view of a floor plan.  After creating the perfect layout I would then set up and arrange my various pink plastic Barbie furniture pieces.  This would keep me busy for hours (or what felt like hours as a kid) rearranging, adjusting, moving pieces to the perfect spot.  Then when I was satisfied with the entire house, I would clean up not even interested in actually playing with the Barbie dolls.
This past Friday Husband and I signed our contract for our new apartment.  Perhaps in the future when things have settled down I will share the stressful process that is finding an apartment in Munich. (I've heard similar stories from people trying to rent in NYC...)
Husband, myself, and our 6 suitcases will be moving into the new apartment in 10 days.  Luckily, we get the keys this Friday!  This means I have all of next week to PAINT our new blank slate! Can you tell I am excited about this new project?
Since we are in Munich for the duration of the next 3 years and downsized into an apartment, we want to have fun with this space!  It is not our "forever" home.  We are on an adventure and that is the perfect theme for our living space. 
 Here is my inspiration picture:

I think this is a cheerful muted green that I would like to incorporate in our living space.  We will have a neutral couch, bright natural lighting, and similar wood floors.
Here are my virtual mock ups: 
(With the true windows and floors)
Picture 1- With green walls
 I'm looking for a light green with grey undertones not yellow.
Picture 2- With taupe walls
 Taupe without yellow undertones but more grey undertones.
These are not the best examples but I had so much fun playing "house" in real life!  What do you think?  Go green or Totally taupe?


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ski Jumping Gives You Wings

If blogging were an Olympic sport, I'm not sure I would win the gold metal.  I want to get better at writing more often as I do have things to tell.  I simply do not have an excuse. (
Speaking of the Olympics... Husband and I visited our second Olympic stadium this year.  The first stadium we visited back in August was Olympia Park, home of the 1972 Olympics held here in Munich.  I must confess, the purpose of that visit was to attend the flea market held in the parking lot.  In the end, the flea market turned out to be a bust but we have decided sometime in the future we want to take a tour of Olympia Park.  It has some pretty amazing architectural features.
This past Saturday we drove an hour south into the start of the Alps.  We spent the day in Garmisch-Partenkirchen which is a highly tourist area come ski season.  It is here in the mountains that the 1936 Winter Olympics were held.  Husband and I spent the later part of the afternoon hiking up a mountain, 216 steps each way, towards the top of the Olympic Ski Jump.
It is astonishing to see a ski jump in person.  When someone wants to learn to fly, ski jumping is probably the sport for them.  After Husband and I climbed to the top of the slope we already were feeling how high up we were from the ground.  We weren't even at the furthest top point of the entire ski jump!  Neither one of us stood too close to the dainty red rope because when you can't see over the edge of something, you just know it is a straight shot down.  This was not the kind of green hill you want to roll down as if you are at recess back  in 3rd grade.
The Olympic Ski Jump was renovated back in 2007 to provide a more challengingly, gravity defying jump.  I hope that sometime during our stay in Germany Husband and I will get to attend a ski jump event.  Just seeing how steep and high the jump is up the mountain makes me want to watch in amazement as someone takes that leap of faith.
Here are some photos from the Olympic Ski Jump:
Check out where we climbed
Inside the stadium 
About halfway to the top of the slope
Halfway to the top of the slope
The top of the slope and the red rope "holding" you back 
Husband already gave me two rings and yet.... 
 The top of the ski jump taken from the top of the slope
 Pretty crazy huh?
Beyond that walkway is the top of the slope
Huband checking out the view 
And some people are afraid of slides...
Below the mountain there was a roaring river
Lots of people out hiking the mountain 
And because I like to post videos...Here is ski jumping in this stadium:
Who's coming skiing? When I say skiing, I really mean hot tubing...