EXPATS AGAIN! Experiencing other cultures while enriching our global view.



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Munich, Germany
I am married to the love of my life and am finally able to shower him with all of the attention he deserves. I am now retired and living the life here in Europe. I am an American, he is an Australian, and this is our second overseas address. The first was Shanghai, China and now Munich, Germany. Come along and live the life with us as we continue our adventure of discovering all Europe has to offer.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009


Nothing against the obligatory turkey dinner on Thanksgiving day, but this year we decided to break away from tradition and do it the way we had hoped the Pilgrims would have done it.  It's not like crab legs, lobster tails, and scallops were not available in 1621 near Plymouth Plantation.  Instead of giving thanks for the harvest, we decided to celebrate by giving thanks for the nautical harvest. 

Here is the table my sister prepared here in Ft. Myers, Florida.  I have to say after many cold Ohio Thanksgivings, this was a welcome treat!  Here is her table with Neptunes' bounty.  It was a delicious way to spend Thanksgiving!

I guess no matter where you spend Thanksgiving, and no matter what you serve for a meal, the end result is the same!

My sisters' boyfriend after the pumpkin pie!

Monday, November 16, 2009


We are moving, but not immediately.  Our sources tell us that in order to secure a good residence in Munich, one has to start early. 

How early?

You should start as soon as possible to whittle away and eliminate places you don't want to live until you get a short list of places you would love to live.

We are just beginning that process.

Today we took a 15 minute train ride to Furstenfeldbruck to take a look-see.   The company is paying for our apartment now, but in 18 months, we will have to decide if we want to live here permanently and then it will be up to us to pay for our own living accommodations.  As much as we love where we live presently, it might be too steep for us considering the fact that we are still making mortgage payments on our home in Ohio.

Where to live?  My husband rides his bike everywhere in Munich and he has become excited about the little village of Furstenfeldbruck.  Here are some photos I took of our day trip.  It's a bit early for me to make a decision about living here, but it was a nice way to spend the day.

This photo was of the Ampere River reflecting one of the buildings of the cloister in Furstenfeldbruck.

The picturesque steeple of the cloister. 

Here is a little shrine that was up against a hill near the cloister.

One of the many gardens in front of the Cloisters.

I told the hubby that his choice of clothing blended in with the lovely fall foilage. 

Here I am trying to hold up this tree near the river!

If you are acquainted with Furstenfeldbruck, any information you might have that could help us either include the village or strike it off our short list would be appreciated.  This is just the beginning of what looks to be a long search.  Then, the real work begins...how to get an actual home or apartment in our favorite city/village. 

Maybe we should sell the homestead in Ohio, we're loving it here in Pasing-Obermenzing?
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Saturday, November 14, 2009


Beaker!Image by sea turtle via Flickr

 In our family everyone calls me "Mimi." Not grandma, Nana, gamma, or any other grandmother substitute.

Only one of my ten grandchildren has ever referred to me as anything else and that is 6 year-old, Dido.  He loves to call me Grandmother and when he first sees me, he always asks me if I am going to bake cookies for him. 

To him, I am the quintessential grandmother out of the children's storybooks who bakes cookies and spends every minute doting on her grandchildren.  (Well, he's not that far off if you ask anyone who knows me.)

But just yesterday, his mom emailed me a "You Tube" video of Dido's newest hero.  When he was a toddler it was Larry Boy from "Vegetales."  Then he became intrigued with the animal kingdom and with any monkey, chimp, ape, or orangutang.  Now, at 6, he is fascinated with Beaker from "Sesame Street."  In the "You Tube" video, Beaker is singing before an audience his song, "Mimi." My question is this, "Do you think he associates his grandmother,"Mimi," with this video?"

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Thursday, November 12, 2009


Over the past 17 years  we have made numerous guesses as to what our grandchildren might like for a Christmas gift or a birthday gift.  But it wasn't until THIS year that one of them said, "THANK YOU" in his "OWN" handwriting

Some of our grand kids are just now learning how to print. Traditionally, their parents were always prompt with a generous amount of appreciation.  They have never neglected to instruct their children to say, "Thank You!" Three siblings, on their most recent birthday, (all in September!!) gave us a very special SKYPE "Thank You."  We were able to see the children, with their gifts!   One of their gifts was a Tomy Megasketcher.  In the few short months since their birthdays,  the children have learned to write their names on their Megasketchers!  Written "Thank Yous" are now just a few steps away.  Soon, like their older cousin, Nico, 7, they will be able to send their very own handwritten "Thank Yous." 

Our two Aussie grandchildren are also still too young to write, yet are encouraged to phone their Mimi and Papa with their words of thanks.  Oftentimes, their mum will share their happiness with a certain gift with us by email.  They too are being taught how to express their thanks. 

It surely wasn't the gift we sent our 7 year-old grandson, Nico, that resulted in his display of gratitude because we have sent all of the grandchildren gifts of equal or greater value throughout the years.  Since he is of a tender age, we can't help but credit his mommy and daddy for instilling this wonderful quality of of thankfulness in him.  By their diligence in making sure that no gift goes by without a courteous "Thank You," we have great hopes that he will grow up continuing to be appreciative of the kindness of others.

In the past, when he was too young to write, his mom would send us emails with photos of him opening his gift with a huge smile!  She would always write a kind note of thanks, and have Nico phone us to personally thank us.

 Now, following her lead, here is what we received yesterday in overseas post for his most recent birthday gift:

                     What a wonderful gift to give to your children, thankfulness

In this season of Thanksgiving, while we are all inspired to think about what we are thankful for, my husband and I have to say that these grandchildren don't let an opportunity go by without thanking those who have been kind to them. They are shining examples of what the holiday is all about.    

I think you can tell how very proud we are of them!   Thank you, my darlings!  (And of course, thank you to their mommies and daddies as well, you are doing a wonderful job!)
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Border control in the United States (United St...Image via Wikipedia

The last two days have been like....redundant!  .... Think of the movie, "Groundhog Day," and you'll soon see what I mean. 

Both Monday and today were highly reminiscent of one of my fellow bloggers' little adventure back on November 3rd.  You can read about Fraus' experience at http://fraukmwest.blogspot.com/  in her "West Family Adventures" Blog. 

 Little did I know when I read about her run in with the customs officer on November 3rd that I would be retracing her steps a week later....well almost. 

 Different German villages--different contraband (ok, I guess only mine is considered contraband) --but the same questions from the German Customs Officer; however,with a decidedly different outcome for both of us.

In her case it turned out well, :-) 

In mine? 

Well, lets just say that I'm lucky I'm not in jail right now, :-)

I have broken the law.

This is pretty ironic given that my former career was a staff member at the State Rehabilitation and Corrections in Ohio

Heck, I haven't been out of the slammer even a full year yet and here I am in a foreign country unknowingly committing a crime

Well, Frau was worried about her German language skills when she confronted her nemesis,  but be forewarned--as of yet, I have NO German language skills whatsoever.  (My classes don't begin until after the holidays in January.)

 "Bitte," and "Danke," go fairly far in public, but tell it to Customs--umm, NOT advisable.

To make a r-e-a-l-l-y long story short, Monday I had to take a train and the underground subway from my village of Pasing-Obermenzing to Gaching, about a 45 minute journey to pick up a parcel my daughter-in-law mailed to me from the U.S.  When I got there, the Post Office had closed by 4:30 pm. 

 "Ok," I squirmed, "Let's do this again tommorrow."

 Today, I took the same train and underground subway back to Gaching, only much earlier, just to learn that I was in Gaching alright, but not Gaching-Hochbrueck. ( ??) Whoda thunk?

To add to my consternation, three different people in the queue behind me, all speaking German, were trying to give me directions to Gaching-Hochbrueck.  All I could gather was something about another form of transportation--Oh, a bus.

Just when I was about to give up, my knight-in-shining-armor (no not my husband) showed up.  (But more about him later). 

 Fifteen minutes later and I'm at the right Post Office ready to get my parcel.

It was then that I learned that I had smuggled in drugs from another country.  Now how did I not know that this was illegal?  How did my German doctor not know this?  How did my American doctor not know either?  After all, we all worked together on this scheme.

It all started when I learned that we have American Health Insurance--not German Health Insurance.  So, the logical thing to do, in my mind at least, was to have my American doctor fill my monthy prescriptions, my daughter-in-law pick them up from the pharmacy and pop them into the mail to send to me overseas, here in Munich.  Brilliant!

That way, each of the four medications I take monthly would only amount to around $80.00 per month as compared to the price of the same prescriptions being filled here in Germany (without insurance) costing around $1,000.00 per month.  A no-brainer, right?


It appears that there is a German law that does not allow any medications to be posted from overseas.  All prescriptions must be filled by a German pharmacy.  End of story!

Now, I can get them filled here, pay (up the nose), and then get the Americans to reimburse me....say in the next millenium, maybe.  But that is how it has to go, unless I want to be on "Germany's Most Wanted."

Medication diet squircleImage by Ennor via Flickr

Tomorrow, I get to do the train again to the city center and try to appeal to the government to allow me to have this parcel.  I have been informed, however, that it is quite possible that they will deny my appeal.  On the chance that they show mercy and let me have them, I will have to wait until they contact Berlin. If the capital city of Germany gives them the "ok," they will post them to me-- this one time only--with the caveat that I will never try to smuggle drugs into the country again.  (Folks, we are talking about blood pressure and cholesterol pills here...not pain killers or hallucinogens, although the former would have come in handy after this debacle.)

OH!  The knight-in-shining-armor?  I know I shouldn't have, and in America I never would have, but there was this charming (and handsome) man in line who spoke perfect English, although was German, who said he worked in Gaching right across from the Post Office and would I like a lift?  Well....a gals gotta do what a gals gotta do!  And thank goodness he had Navi in that shining black Mercedes because after all I had been through, I couldn't imagine another wrong Post Office!

WARNING!  Girls don't do this at home! 

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Sunday, November 8, 2009


I am no wine expert, so I have referred to "A Short Guide to German Wines," by the Deutsches Weininstitut, Mainz for good information about the local wines.  Here is what I've gathered from their information. 

White Grape Varieties:

The Mueller-Thurgau is a white grape variety that is most widely planted in Germany.
Wine: flowery bouquet; milder acidity than Riesling; slight muscat flavor; best consumed while fresh and young.

The Riesling is the best known of Germany's white varieties.
Wine: fragrant, fine-fruit bouquet; lively, pronounced acidity; piquant taste; potential for aging because of racy acidity.

The Silvaner is a taditional variety.
Wine: neutral bouquet; mild acidity; full-bodied, pleasant wines; best enjoyed while young.

The Kerner is a popular new crossing developed from Trollinger (a red variety) and a Reisling (a white variety)
Wine: light muscat bouquet; racy, lively acidity; similar to Riesling

The Scheurbe is another new crossing of Silvaner and Riesling
Wine: lively acidity; bouquet and taste reminiscent of black currants.

The Rulaender (Pinot gris) is among the best varieties in Germany
Wine: robust, full-bodied, smooth, soft, and full on the palate.

Red Grape Varieties:

The Spaetburgunder (Pinot noir) is the Riesling's red counterpart.
Wine: velvety, full-bodied, with hints of almonds.

The Portuguiser originally came from the Danube Valley in Austria (not Portugal).
Wine: flavorful, light, mild; very pleasant, easygoing wines

The Trollinger grows almost exclusively in Wuerttemberg.
Wine: fragrant, fresh, fruity, good acidity, hearty.

Here are some other links to German wines.  Why not try a glass bottle of each and see which one you prefer? (Not at the same time, mind you!)  Cheers!

Friday, November 6, 2009


Paul Giamatti as Miles and Thomas Haden Church...

 I just finished watching the movie, "Sideways."  I saw it when it first came out in the theaters and didn't think too much of it.  Seeing it this time, with new eyes, was a revelation.  It has to be one of the top all time comeback movies--if you can tolerate the protagonists' sleazy sidekick who is obviously going through a botched up catharsis of his own. 

sidewaysThe movie inspired a whole nations' love affair with wine, California's wine country, grape growing, and new wine connoisseurs. Pinot Noirs enjoyed a popularity in 2004 when the movie was released that they have never known before (a 16% increase in the U. S, while Merlots dropped 2%). This was probably due to Paul Giamotti', the main character, diparaging the Merlot over the Pinot Noirs of California's Santa Inez valley. 

Which do you prefer?  Pinot or Merlot?  Or do you have another favorite?


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Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I saw this toy in Milan, Italy while shopping.  It clearly is a robot, but other than decoration, I don't think it does anything.  I do love it's design and almost bought it for it's funkiness.  I'm going to have to start taking notes of brand names and designers when I find these things.  Shortly after I took this photo with my i-phone a clerk came up to me and told me I couldn't take photos in the store.  What is that all about?  You can buy it and then take the photos, why can't you photograph it first?  Is this a law?  Would  I have been arrested?

As you can see from the photos below, I don't take well  to store clerks telling me what I can and can't do.  As long as I'm not stealing the merchandise, I should be able to photograph it.  It's out there for public viewing anyway.  Am I missing something here?  Is this common practice?  I could see the logic if it were under wraps or hadn't yet become merchandise for sale.

 This is a childs' bag and I adore it!  I spied this little gem also in Milan while I was hiding behind store shelves, surreptitiously stealing a photo shot with the trusty i-phone  You would have thought I was a detective hunting down a cheating spouse or the paparrazi with all of my furtive moves! 

When I got home, I Googled "Nourrice" and only found links to a French baby sitting service.  If you are familiar with the brand and have a link, would you kindlly leave it in my comment section?  I am re-thinking this for a gift.

When shopping in Milan, there are so many beautiful things to see.  I don't know why, on this particular day, I was drawn to whimsy, but I am loving this dinnerware set.. Amazingly, they are made out of  plastic! I know!  I had to go up and lift the plate to make sure.  There were other patterns that were equally as interesting.  I love the colors!  What fun! 

Word of advice...if you see something and you absolutely love (and can afford it) buy it on the spot.  You wouldn't believe the number of things I pass by, only to regret that I didn't snap them up when I first saw them.  Being an impulsive shopper, taking photos of the things I love, seems to delay the urge.  Yet, when I see the photo --I still long for the object. Do you have the same problem when you see something you love?
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Tuesday, November 3, 2009


RinderrouladeImage via Wikipedia

Bit by bit, I am discovering the secrets to German cooking.  I've entered the German Cooking Challenge with other bloggers here in Germany and it has opened my eyes to some very different food preparations, foods, and tastes.  The Aussie hasn't complained as yet, so as long as he is satisfied, I will continue.

OnionsImage via Wikipedia
This past weekend we had a dinner guest and I decided to try an authentic German recipe.  It was daunting, given the fact I had never made this dish before and chose to introduce it to a house guest.  Fortunately, for us, it was delicious!  There are minimal ingredients and minimal prep.  Just my kind of recipe!

The Aussie came home as I was putting the beef rolls together and looked at the ingredients and turned up his nose.  "I know," I quickly quipped, "It's weird, isn't it?  I hope it all comes out ok."

It must be the baking process, because all of the flavors of the onion, garlic, pickle, and mustard mixed into a lovely piquant sauce that was just the right combination for bringing out the flavor of the beef.  I can't tell you how delicious this was.  Try it, I'm sure you will agree! 

If you have a Rouladen recipe that is different, please leave a comment and share.  This is one dish I will make over and over.


  • 6 beef sirloin tips, or top round steak, thinly sliced (your butcher will do this for you)

  • 6 teaspoons of yellow mustard

  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

  • 4 cloves of garlic

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 6 dill pickles, chopped

  • 8 slices of bacon, uncooked, chopped (or buy uncooked bacon bits)

  • 1 cup of water

  • 1 beef bouillon cube or 1 tbsp powdered beef bouillon

  • 1 cup of flour

  • 2 tbsps olive oil

Pound the thinly sliced beef steak to about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thickness.

Season meat on both sides with salt, pepper.

Mix mustard, onion, pickles, parsley, bacon bits and garlic into a paste. Spread about 1 tsp onto each beef slice and roll up.  Secure with a toothpick.

Put flour into a shallow bowl.  Put beef roll into flour and dredge on all sides.

Put oil in skillet and heat to med-high.  Brown beef rolls slightly on all sides.

Put 1 cup water and beef bouillon cube in casserole dish.

Place beef rolls side by side in casserole dish, cover or use foil, bake at 325 degrees F for 80 mins.

Use sauce in casserole dish and enough corn starch to make a gravy.  Spoon gravy over Rouladen and either mashed potatoes or noodles.


Serves 6

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Ingolstadt Village

Wertheim Village, Frankfurt, GermanyImage by ChicOutletShopping via Flickr
Aussie:  I have a surprise for you this weekend.

Moi:  Really?  What could it be?

Aussie:  Just be ready for the 10:30 am train on Saturday.

Moi: Do I need my camera?

Aussie:  NO!!!

Now that had me thinking....where could he be taking me that I wouldn't need a camera?  So, this is the best photo I could find of my "MysteryTour" with my husband who, hates to shop! 

I couldn't believe he took me to Ingolstadt Village, an hours train ride from Munich.  He usually does all he can to avoid any kind of shopping.

We don't have a car but that wasn't a problem as the Village has chauffered vans waiting at the train station.  Within ten minutes were were beginning our four hour shopping spree!  Woo Hoo!

Ingolstadt Village, Munich, GermanyImage by ChicOutletShopping via Flickr

Ingolstadt Village , located in the heart of Bavaria, Germany's wealthiest reagion, is one of Germanys' first Designer Outlet Malls.  It now boasts 90 luxury boutiques!  Aigner, Calvin Klein, Feraud and Strenesse, are just a few of the many international luxury brands offered.

It is laid out in a village street style similar to many of the more popular well-known designer malls in the U.S.

We started our day of shopping at 11:45 am and decided to call it a day around 4:00 pm.  Other than a quick cafe latte at San Francisco Coffee Shop, it was non-stop shopping.

Here is a list of stores and I doubt we left many untouched.  Remarkably, I only made one purchase--a pair of warm PJ's for cold winter Munich nights.  But you can be sure that it won't be my last trip to Ingolstadt.  At up to 60% discount, I already have a list of items I'm ready to go back for.  Yippie!  Germany is beginning to look a lot more interesting. 

Hey, Sis!  We can do a lot of damage here in February.  Bring your Visa or Mastercard!

Here is a list of 67 of the current 90 shops and I've put an asterik next to my personal favorites!  HAPPY SHOPPING!





BOGNER* Ski wear



CAFÉ COTON*  excellent quality mens' dress shirts (think Brooks Brothers).




CARLO COLUCCI* Italian Designer Fashion--very nice knits- beautiful fabics, jackets














GOLFINO*  Golf  designs of the highest quaality and functional sportswear









MANDARINA DUCK* I LOVE this store and have bought handbags from their Shanghai store.  






















MEXX*  I've bought the Aussie clothing from this store in the U.K.  Very trendy--men & women








PEPE JEANS* Great Urban Hip Hop clothing (London).  Baby Phat, LRG, Ecko, Apple Bottoms.






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