Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I suppose that since today is New Years Eve its a good time to write my Christmas post before I forget and it becomes summer again :)
We had a Christmas party for Lukas´work a couple of weekends ago at a country club which was nice. One of those typical sit down, eat, and chat with your co-workers for a few hours and then escape when you feel its not TOO early and rude to leave :)
I have to say however, it was a lot weirder at my department party with almost double the number of staff and faculty standing around than students! We tried to hold out but still left after about 1.5 hours. Fortunately to reward us from all the silly parties we HAVE to go to, my friend Yasmina had a "End of Semester/We forgot to celebrate her birthday" party the next day which was a lot of fun. Although we learned that the Germans show up on time and everyone else shows up 3 hours later.... but o well, it was fun regardless :)
Work was pretty slow for Lukas on Christmas Eve since he has European clients and if anyone was working they probably left at noon which is 6am our time. Fortunately his boss is very cool and brought in treats for them.... espec. as Lukas forgot to set his alarm and woke up at 6.55 when he should be at work at 6! He got there 1.5 hours late with no breakfast and only an apple for lunch so Im glad they fed him :) Then the day got even better because at noon they let him come home! Late to work... early to leave, Merry Christmas from CSC! :)
I had wrapped his presents and hung them on the wall which was funny because he wasnt sure why there was no present for him under our little tree, and wondered what was on the wall. We unwrapped our presents and hung out a bit and then headed down to Smyrna to my Mom´s new 4 bedroom house. I dont have any pictures of it yet but let me just tell you, its huge and beautiful and I love it!
We spent 4 days watching movies, eating lots of food, crocheting and making cookies... it was fantastic! I was very sad to have to come back to our tiny apartment Saturday night but I guess that is what happens when you grow up, get married, and move out... sad! :-p It was a really relaxing and cozy Christmas with my mom and Im glad she lives so close that we could celebrate with her. It would have been nice to see the rest of my family and some of my friends but maybe next time.
Other than Christmas, not a whole lot has been going on here after Hell Week... o, I mean Finals Week... finally finished. I ended up with pretty good grades and didnt die from all the stress, so I´d say it was a successful first semester in the German program! fortunately I have 7 weeks of vacation as we have a Winter session but cannot take classes nor teach during it. The fabulous thing is we still get paid during this session... so Im getting paid to sit at home on my butt for 5 weeks, woo hoo! We start back the 9th of February or some far off wonderful date like that... Im definitely enjoying the down time at home and just being lazy and doing all the fun things I have missed during the school year like reading books for fun IN ENGLISH, crochetting, and just relaxing.
Plans for my month+ off: Yoga twice a week with my friend Autumn, a very interestingly titled class called "butts and guts" once a week with Autumn and Lukas, reading tons of German books to study for my comprehensive exams, and the best part..... GOING TO FLORIDA FOR A WEEK! Wooo hoooooooooooooo :) Its kind of cold here, not Midwest Im up to my butt in snow and cant feel my body parts anymore kind of cold, but still... Im very much looking forward to some warmer weather down south!
Thats about it for my rambles... here are some pictures of our Christmas decorations in our tiny apartment. It feels homey and christmasy and that is what matter, right? Right!
Happy New Year everyone!!!!
Friday, December 5, 2008
My dad´s 50th Birthday was on the 25th of November and he flew out that night to Delaware to spend Thanksgiving with Mom, Lukas and I. We had lots of yummy food thanks to the wonderful cooking skills of my mother and had a good time talking, watching movies, and playing games. We all sat back later and did the "Thanksgiving full-belly-slouch" on the couch, as you can see my dad and our reindeer demonstrating :)
(I was pretty excited to get this ginormous Reindeer... although Lukas seems to monopolize all of her snuggling time :-p )
On Black-friday Lukas and I got up at 4am to go shopping, and then came back home for a nice nap :) My parents went shopping for a bit too and then we decided to go down to Smyrna to check out the new house my mom just bought! Its a ginormous with 4 bedrooms, 2 full and 2 half bathrooms, and 2 stories with a full finished basement. Definitely a lovely house and Im so excited for my mom that she will finally be moving into her own place and out of the apartment she has rented for the past 7 years. Unfortunately she will be about 40 minutes south of us, instead of only 2o minutes away like she is now, but that is ok... we will still find time for crafts and hanging out :) Pictures to come soon since she moves in on the 20th of this month!
After taking a family tour of her new house, we headed down to Dover to check out the Chocolate and Candy festival. Although there was a lot less chocolate and candy than hoped and more vendors and advertising, there were still some lovely gingerbread houses and a village on display which was pretty neat. I love how the focus turns immediately towards Christmas right after Thanksgiving... its my favorite time of the year for sure starting out with Halloween and going out with a bang on New Years Eve :)
Our friend from church, Josiah (ignoring the camera in the picture below with Lukas) knew the team captain and they decided to play together.
It was fun watching the boys play and their team did rather well but unfortunately did not make it into the semi-finals. As you can see by his bloodied up knee, Lukas did his best to save the last game but sometimes its just not enough.
Indoor season should be starting soon and Lukas is ready to get back in there. Hopefully this season will be a little less violent and hopefully just as much fun as the last!
We also visited the temple again in October which was rather lovely as always. Its so fun to see the temple from the highway while driving towards DC. Can´t help but smile when you see this beautiful Temple of the Lord pop up out of the trees :)
It was a good trip and a wonderful way to celebrate our first year of marriage.
It is rather small but we are doing our best to make it as cozy and homey as possible :)
As you can see we decked the halls a bit for Halloween and Thanksgiving, yay for Fall!
We will most likely be living here for the next 2 years while I finish my Master´s program. I dream of a bigger apartment, eventually a house, but we are content for now and counting our blessings :)
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Anyway, so a couple of weekends ago Lukas and I took advantage of a lovely sunny day and headed down to DC to go to the temple. As you can see it was a beautiful morning and we figured we should take advantage of the location and weather so we headed over to the DC Zoo to spend the afternoon. It was lots of fun and basically consisted of me running around saying " I want to pet the cute fuzzy animal! Lukey, can I have one?!" and Lukas just shaking his head and laughing at me. :-)
We were lucky and got to see one of the baby pandas as it was playing and chewing on things. Sooooo cute :-D
It was a great mini-trip for Lukas and I. Im so glad that we have the temple only 90 minutes away now and its pretty cool that we can couple that drive then with going to see something in DC since the zoo and museums are all free. We are certainly enjoying the benefits of being on the east coast for the next few years.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Tuesday night we went to Philadelphia to the Franklin Museum to see the "Real Pirates" exhibit about a pirate ship they found off of Cape Cod and made the first exhibit with real pirate treasure. They even reconstructed what parts of the ship would look like and people could go in and explore them... it was pretty sweet! Afterwards there was a 3D movie of Sea Monsters which was fun... espec. as these giant fish kept zooming at the screen and with the 3D glasses it looked like they were going to eat us and Lukas kept ducking out of the way. It was his first 3D movie I think. Definitely a great birthday present from my mom :)
Wednesday I had a girl's night with my friends again which was nice... mostly just eating and talking but hey, what else does a group of girls need right? hehe.
Thursday we were supposed to go to NYC to the temple and a free Flogging Molly concert in the park but basically Im a huge wuss and was too scared and stressed out to drive in downtown NYC so we changed plans. We are going to go some other time when Lukas has his license because he is much better driving in big cities with lots of cranky traffic than I am.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Back in Newark we have been relaxing, reading, swimming (thanks to my fabulous friend Sarah and her extra pool pass!!) and just chillin' the days away. It has been nice seeing my mom and friends and spending time with all of the above.
The best news of all however... after only one interview and one week of hardcore job searching and applying Lukas has a job! My bishop from my student ward at church owns his own business, a rather successfull business called CSC, Corporation Service Company, and he was nice enough to set Lukas up with an interview. After a 2 hour interview with more than 4 people he was told that they would let him know the following week. By his own merits he landed a great job with great benefits and I could not be prouder :) He starts on August 4th so we only have one week of vacation left but we are incredibly grateful for this new job and the huge blessings brought by its swift acquisition.
On Friday we headed to the beach since it was one of our last opportunities before Lukas starts work. We had a nice time shopping the outlet malls and a beautiful sunny and relaxing afternoon in the sand. Saturday we spent the afternoon playing in the pool which was rather nice as well. This next week we have lots of fun plans, especially as tomorrow is my 25th Birthday, wooo hooo! More to come as the fun events of this week unfold...
After visiting Robin we continued our long drive to Lukas’ parents house farther west into Germany. Lukas had fun driving super fast on the Autobahn (silly German’s and their lack of speedlimits!) and I was content to hide in the passenger seat. Ok… its not like I even noticed we were going over 100mph but still :-p After not much sleep we got up on Saturday and prepared for a going-away party to which his sister, brother-in-law, and several friends came to. It was a great bbq with good food, good friends, and a very good time. It was hard saying goodbye to everyone after the BBQ as they all headed home but fortunately on Sunday, the following day, we had the chance to get together with Jana and Daniel to watch the final game of the European Championship, Germany –vs- Spain. Sadly Germany did not see us off with a victory but it was a good game and a great evening afterwards chatting with Daniel and Jana so I guess we cannot complain so much. There is always next time!
We spent lots of quality time with his parents and grandma for almost a week which was definitely a nice break after all of the packing, school, leaving stress of Salzburg. Lukas and I made a 30 mile roundtrip bike ride to the zoo in Karlsruhe, Germany which was a lot of fun, especially for this animal crazed kid, hehe.
We also took a day trip with Lukas' parents to Speyer where there was a really cool 1000+ year old Cathedral.
It was nice getting to see all of Lukas’ family and friends before we left for the USA, especially considering that we do not know when we will be back again to visit. We had some drama at the airport including a clueless worker, an equally clueless yet more stubborn supervisor, 6 VERY over packed suitcases but in the end (after LOTS of prayers!) it all worked out and we got checked in without the impending financial burden we had been expecting (seriously, we were soooo incredibly blessed!). Lukas’ parents saw us off at the security check with some hugs and tears and after a few hours we arrived safely in Dublin, got through customs and got Lukas registered as a permanent resident, wooo hoo! After a long and not very restful intercontinental flight we arrived in Philadelphia to my happily waiting mother and started a new chapter in our lives.
My last post left me during Spring semester in Salzburg, Austria and so much has happened since then! However, there are still a few highlights of that adventure left to share.
June sped by rather quickly after our visit to Lukas’ parents house in Germany. My final papers, projects, presentations and tests all spiraled out of control at a few points including getting falsely charged with plagiarism (wow that was not a fun battle, which I however DID win!) and it was a pretty overwhelming last couple of weeks. In then end however, I am happy to report that I ended up with 2 A’s and 1 B… a successful last semester with Bowling Green State University. And boy I am glad that is probably the last semester I will EVER have with them! :-p
Lukas and I had a fun afternoon walk to Schloß Hellbrunn, a castle down the street from us one sunny day. It was a nice break from all of my studying stresses to just get away and enjoy nature with my hubby J It also resulted in some fun pictures, as you can tell… hehehe.The semester end highlight would however have to be when Carlotta, one of my bestest buds in the whole world (and I can truthfully say that because I have friends allllll over lol) came to visit us for a week! Ok so the first few days I had classes and finals and then the last few days I had to clean, pack, etc. and then we were kicked out a day early from our apartment and headed to Germany on Friday BUT.... it was still a memorable week during the time we did actually get to spend together and I am VERY grateful for her visit! It was exactley the "end of the school year" celebration I needed!! She had just finished up a year at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and then an internship in London at a PR company so Im very glad I ended up on her list of "MUST-VISIT" people in Europe :) As you can see from the attached photos there was a lot of mayhem and silliness involved but seriously, what would be a visit from Carla without a bit of craziness?!
And thus we said goodbye to our beloved mountain surrounded Salzburg, saw Carla off as she headed off to other parts of Germany to visit friends, and in our super packed rental car rode off into the sunset... or something like that... haha...
Sunday, June 1, 2008
On Friday night we went to a BBQ with some friends from church, or moreso "friendly acquaintances" I would say. Anyway, there were about 10-12 of us there and we had a good time all hanging out, talking, having LOTS of good food. One thing that made it super fantastic... they had 3 cans of AW Root Beer from a friend and we had root beer floats... sooo yummy! The silly Europeans other than Lukas didn't really like the root beer... whatever, us Americans enjoyed it a lot! haha It really reminded me of summer and home and it made me a bit more homesick, but it was really nice too. We ended up getting home around 11pm which was kind of crazy since we wanted to go hiking the next morning but hey, cant stop a good thing once it gets going, right? :)
We planned to head out around 7 or 8am but in the end we got out of the house around 9.30 and got to our hiking start at 10... not so bad :-p We had a crazy 2.5 hour hike up the mountain. I think it would have been a lot faster but I was super tired and super out of shape so that made it a bit slower. We also were retarded and didn't bring any food with, just water, and since I have problems with low blood sugar anyway that was pretty dumb. I got really dizzy for the last 40 minutes of the hike which then made it even longer because I had to take even more breaks than before. I'm surprised Lukas didn't just leave me and hike on without me, or push me off the mountain for complaining so much lol.
Anyway, the first part of the hike was a nice scenic route through beautiful Austrian countryside complete with darling farm houses and lots of cute cows :) It was a bit rough tho because the road was REALLY steep at parts when we were climbing up. After an hour of hiking we got to the woods and that is when the strenuous part really started. It was slightly slippery due to all the grass, moss and dead leaves. On top of that it was also very stony with random large stones and sticks all over blocking the way. I stepped on one branch and it swung up and smacked me in the hand harder than a catholic nun with a ruler! That wasn't too fun :-p lol. There were a lot of steep switchbacks going up which added to my slowness but hey, the map said it would take 2.5 hours and we took maybe 2 hours and 40 minutes... not so bad if I do say so myself! It was a great work out tho and at the top we were super glad we did it.
Unfortunately we missed the bus by a couple of minutes and the next one wasn't going to come for another 2 hours so we got some food and hiked back down... another 1.5 hours.
It was a long and strenuous hike but definitely good for us and I'm glad we did it. My goal is to get in better shape so that next time (provided we aren't stupid and DO remember to bring food lol) I will be able to keep up better and not be such a whiny wuss :-p
Today at church went well and then we came home and laid out in the sun a bit and just had a relaxing afternoon at home which is always welcome and always appreciated. I have to say that I definitely love the fact that we believe in honoring the Sabbath Day and keeping it holy. I love just being able to focus on the Lord and family and friends instead of work, homework, exercising, shopping, etc. Its just great having no commitments other than church and just being able to relax one full guilt-free day :)
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
On Thursday we saw his grandmother who is 93 for a bit and then in the afternoon we took a trip across the French border as it is only 30 minutes away. They make a special kind of pottery in Alsace (bordering area between France and Germany, used to belong to Germany but is now French territory) and it can only be made there due to the special kind of soil-clay they have. It was fun looking in the little shops and hearing Lukas speak French... super sexy I must add, hehehe. Afterwards we went to a gigantic super market (seriously atleast twice the size of any Super-Walmart, etc. in the states!) and got some wonderful French bread, cheese, etc. I have not had "Chevre" (French goat cheese) in YEARS and wow it was soooooooooo good :-) Best dinner in a long time, that is for sure, yum!
On Friday Lukas' grandmother came over in the afternoon and we hung out in the yard with her enjoying the sun and talking to her and his mother. It was really nice to see her so happy and talkative, as she seemed a bit down around Christmas time when we saw her. Luke's parents said she usually just has a winter-depression and is always much better in the summer... which was nice as she was much more talkative this visit. It is super funny tho because she has a tendency to repeat things over and over because she forgets that she has already said them.... probably gets pretty old for those who see her daily but it was fairly amusing for Lukas and I. I am always glad when we can spend some time with his grandmother as she is 93 and who knows how much longer we will have that opportunity, espec. as we are moving back to the USA soon. We decided to spend the day with his family instead of going to see friends that evening and it ended up being a good idea as his grandmother was over for a while and then his dad came back in the evening after work and we all played cards together until 1am. It was a nice relaxing day and nice for me to spend more time with my in-laws and get to know them a bit better.
On Saturday morning we headed to the LDS temple in Frankfurt, Germany and did a session there with his parents which was nice. Well ok... oddly enough they got pulled out of our session and put in the one that started right after it because there was some "organizational problem" at the time.... which is strange in the temple but whatever, germans will be germans, haha. Regardless, it was wonderful being in the temple again espec. as we had not had the opportunity to go since we were visiting at Christmas-time.
Afterwards we went to our friends in Darmstadt and then 2 other couples came over and the 8 of us had a nice bbq and hung out and talked all afternoon-evening. Jana and Daniel are pregnant, she is due in about a week, and it was so cute seeing tiny little Jana with her big pregnant belly. Sarah and Ralph have a 1.5 year old boy and Ingo and Amalia have a 6 month old boy so it was basically "mommy-talk" between the girls but that is ok.... I didnt feel left out, more grateful that I am NOT pregnant and do NOT have any kids yet, hehehe. Jana loved playing with the kids tho, she is going to be a great mother... I stayed away from them mostly because as you all know... KIDS SCARE ME! lol
REALLY cool experience tho.... Jana said that the baby was moving around and let me feel her belly and I could feel their little girl moving around... so amazing that there is a little person in there just waiting to be born into a loving family :)
Lukas and I stayed a while after everyone else had left so that we could spend more time with Daniel and Jana. Unfortunately no time is ever enough time when you only see your friends twice a year... but regardless it was nice to hang out with them for a bit. Fortunately in 5 weeks we will be back at his parents' house for 5 days before we fly back to the USA and will hopefully be able to get a little "going-away party" organized and will get to spend some more time with everyone before we go to the states. I have to say that I am sad we cannot take Daniel and Jana with us... Lukas is best friends with both of them and I have to say they are by far my favorite from his group... I already feel like I have known Jana forever and love being able to talk so openly with her and always have a great time when the 4 of us get together. It is sad to have such good friends in so many places as it makes seeing them all much more difficult but I guess that is what happens when you are a traveling-nomad like me :-p
On Sunday we went to church and Lukas' sister and brother in law where there which was nice to see them as our plans to see them on Thursday did not work out. Afterwards we headed to the train station to head back home. It was truly a wonderful and relaxing vacation for us and we are very grateful to his parents for funding our travel so we could come visit.
Funny story from the train however... at the next stop a large drunken marching band group (so not joking!) got on the train with all of their instruments and of course, being as drunk and load and crazy as they were, started playing and singing on the train. It was soooo funny to hear a marching band on a train... and of course we got some pictures :-D In Heidelberg where we had to switch trains, they switched as well and were playing at the station which was pretty funny too. O the crazy things that go on in European trains :)