Monday, July 2, 2012

Saying Good-Bye

The worst part about being an ex-pat is watching your friends come and go :(

The typical ex-pat contract is about 3 years.  Some stay a little longer, some leave a little sooner, but 3 years is usually the magic time frame.

The joke is, when you meet someone new and ask how long they've lived here, if they answer anything more than 2 years, you say "Nice to meet you, good-bye".  It's not usually that harsh, but it's kind of true.  Most likely they'll be leaving soon and you don't want to get too attached!  We are all in the same boat as ex-pats and understand that we won't be in one place forever, but we do form great friendships and it's so sad when it's time for someone to move on.

At some point it will be our turn to leave and say good-bye to our ex-pat community, but I do know that the friendships I've made here will last a lifetime!  And I know that we'll always have a place to stay no matter where we travel to!

Here is a picture of Drew with his friend Naomi on their last day of school together.  After 3 years, Naomi and her family will be heading back to the States!  I'm sure we'll see them again soon, since hopefully we'll be living in the same country again (unlike most of our other friends)!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What a difference a year makes!

On March 1, we celebrated our 1 year anniversary of moving to Germany!  In some ways it feels like we just got here, but in other ways it feels like we've lived her forever!

We've certainly seen and done so much since we moved here, yet there is still so much more to see and do.  We are getting our next travel spots in order and have a "Bucket List" of places we want to see before we move back to the States. 

Our next big trip planned is a cruise in May through Venice (Italy), Athens (Greece), Izmir (Turkey), and Split and Dubrovnik (Croatia).  We are cruising with Rick's parents and we couldn't be more excited to visit all of these amazing places!

We just had a fantastic SURPRISE visit from my family!  I thought they were coming to visit at the end of March, but they showed up at my door on March 9, the day after my birthday.  My Mom, Dad, and Grandma all came and we did the usual sight-seeing and just enjoying having family around.  My Dad is staying for a month (living the retired life!), so it will be nice to have him around for a while. 

As I look back at where we were a year ago, I can't believe how much we've learned and how far we've come.  When we moved here I knew 1 word in German, Danke.  Haha!  Now I can order in a restaurant, make appointments, read signs, and so much more.  I'm still far from being bilingual, but I'm happy with what I know, and I will continue to keep learning as long as we are living here.  I also learned how to drive a stick shift, which was a huge challenge (mentally) for me.  Now, I actually like it :).  I look back at my pro's and con's list and I see some changes.  I can actually move a few things off of the con list and on to the pro list :).  For example...I actually like paying for my shopping cart at the grocery never have to worry about someone leaving a cart right next to your car, they are always put back where they belong! 

I'm sure my lists will have many changes as the days go on.  It's always fun to look back and see how much we've learned!  I'm looking forward to year #2 :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy 2012!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It's been a while since I've updated this...that seems to be a recurring theme here :)  Oops...

I thought since it's now 2012, that I'd take a moment to reflect on 2011 :)

What a year!  In January we put our home in MN on the market in hopes of a quick sell, so we could move across the world to Germany in March.  Well the house sold and we (the moving company) packed up all of our belongings and made the long journey to Europe.  Rick and I laugh at how my first time in Europe was to move here!  Talk about a leap of faith!  But, we are all very happy with our decision and we've had a blast learning new things and meeting new people.

We've been taking advantage of being so close to so many amazing places in Europe.  In 2011 we traveled to Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France and other parts of Germany.  Rick took it one step further and has visited almost every country in Europe and has even been to Russia! 

We were able to meet up with my parents in Florence Italy in June.
We had a visit from our best friends from Minnesota, Katie and Christian Miller, in July.
Rick's parents, his sister Amy, and our nephew Carson, stopped by for a visit in August.

In October we headed back to the States for a month long visit, including a stop in Disney World!  We were lucky enough to visit Purdue and take in a Basketball and Football game!  We made a quick trip to Wisconsin to visit my sister and her family, and also to visit Rick's grandma.  We, of course, squeezed in a Packer game and got to use 1 game of our season tickets! 

At the end of November we headed back to Germany!  We spent Christmas here, just the 4 of us, and enjoyed going to some Christmas Markets and keeping up with some German Christmas traditions.  On New Year's Eve we relaxed at home and enjoyed the fireworks (while praying that the kids would sleep through them) from our front windows! 

This year we are looking forward to a visit from my Mom, Dad, and Grandma in March/April, a wedding in Rome in September, and hopefully a visit from my parents and Rick's parents in September or October!  This summer we hope to do some more traveling and are looking forward to taking the kids to Legoland and Playmobil Park here in Germany. 

Shall I make a New Year's Resolution to keep up with this blog more?? 

Here are a few pictures from our visit "home" and Christmas!