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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Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Monday, after my bridge group completed our bridge marathon (four and a half hours !) at Oberpolinger's restaurant in Munich, I noticed a cell phone on the floor under a table.  I picked it up and noticed it was an LG phone and that it was turned on.  Under normal circumstances, I would have handed the phone to the restaurant management in the hopes that the owner would return looking for his phone and they could easily return it to him. 

But that is not what I did.

Image from LG 

You see, about eight months ago, I either lost my i-phone or it was stolen at the Detroit Express airport.  I really can't say which since I never noticed it was missing until we loaded the luggage into the car, and it was not with me.  I do recall having it in customs when we arrived from Germany, however.  So I know it was with me that far.

I made a police report with both the Wayne County police and the airport security. 

It was a traumatic experience for me.  All of my contacts were stored in that phone and a I recognized early on that a significant amount of work lay ahead of me in terms of reestablishing my contacts lifelines. I had stored important links, yes even passwords, in my i-phone; something I vowed right then and there to never do again, 

To add to my consternation, was the fact that I would have to wait eight more months for my T-Mobile contract to expire until I could again purchase another i-phone in Germany without having to pay for two contracts. 

The whole experience was emotional and I felt a physical loss as if an appendage, such as an arm or leg, was missing from my body.  The connection to my phone's ability to have instant email access had created an almost addictive need in my consciousness.  This desire to reach for my phone didn't just last days or weeks.  No, I was truly dependent and even months later longed for it, in spite of the fact that I had purchased a moderately priced replacement cell phone piece of crap (that I hated with a passion). I won't mention the brand for fear they will sue me for defamation (just kidding) or in the case that you may have the exact phone and leave hate mail in my comment box for dissing your favorite phone.  

So, I gathered up the necessary language skills--hardly....(remember, I haven't begun my German lessons yet) and politely asked the clerk at the register if any of them spoke English.  Fortunately one poor soul admitted to the crime.  I wrote my cell phone number to my just recently purchased NEW GENERATION i-phone down on a paper napkin and told him that if anyone came looking for a missing item to have them call me. 

Feeling good about my wise choice to return the lost item to its' rightful owner, I boarded the train for home while scanning the phone's telephone contacts and favorites.  Perhaps, I thought, I could call someone who would recognize the owners' name on the caller i.d. and direct me as to how to reach the owner. 

As luck would have it, the first person I called was the phone's owner!  Hurray, I thought!

But my joy was very short-lived when I heard him speak Japanese.  Somehow though, we were able to communicate with his limited English and my non-existent Japanese.  I asked him how he wanted to retrieve his phone.  He asked where I was, and I told him I had already returned to my train exit near my home and if he wished to have the cell phone in his possession, he should come immediately to my train station.  I would wait for him there.  He said he would leave and meet me in 15 minutes.

Monday evening, the weather hovered around 44 F and sadly, I did not dress to stand at an outside train station waiting for someone I didn't know, in a car I had never seen,  to pick up a phone,  that was not mine. 

But I waited....

....And I waited..... 

Until I wondered if this person, who spoke Japanese,  really understood my English.  Fifteen minutes turned into thirty and then stretched into another forty-five minutes.  "Where was this person?  Did he really even know how to get to my train station?  How would he recognize me?" I thought.

It is Oktoberfest this week in Munich and there are millions of extra bodies scurrying like rats up and down the S-Bahn waiting for trains.  "How in the world would I find this person," I asked myself?  So, I called him back and he frantically answered and said the traffic was just terrible and would I wait another 10 minutes.

I think you know that the ten minutes came and went.  But, miraculously, he did show up, running madly through the train station with a cell phone up to his ear.  I was waving excitedly at him and when I answered his call, I asked him to turn around and look for the crazy woman waving her arms wildly about.  

He did.  

I gave him the phone and he said to me, "Vieilen dank," in German, or "Many thanks."  

And you know what happened next?.....the cold magically disappeared.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

AU REVOIR! (part 1)

Our last day in Paris. An unscheduled day to ourselves to do just what we wished.  Take a long stroll along the Seine, sit outdoors at a cafè, sip wine, and watch the locals. Our idea of a lovely afternoon in Paris. 

We opted for the Latin Quarter to while away our morning and afternoon before our 6 pm flight back to Munich.  We wanted to absorb ourselves in Paris and remember this delightful city.

We were not alone.  Parisians also felt the need to spend a leisurely Sunday soaking up the morning sun at one of the many outdoor cafès.  Once we were sated and had our fill of "people watching,"  we resumed our wander through the narrow cobblestone streets of the Latin Quarter and back along the Seine.  Here are just a few of the sights we saw.

On a building facade

Seine with Notre Dame Cathedral in background.

There are over 20,000 love locks on the Ponts des Arts (Art bridge)

Artists' subject along the Pont des Arts bridge
Artist at work

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Credit to Musèe Jacquemart-Andrè

 The Musèe Jacquemart-Andrè was once a private home of Èdouard Andrè (1833-1894) and wife Nèlie Jacquemart to display the art they collected during their lives.  For us, it was the chosen evening location for the Awards Dinner in Paris.  Èdouard spent most of his fortune buying works of art and then exhibited them in his new mansion built in 1869.  He married a well-known society painter, Nèlie.  Every year the couple traveled to Italy collecting large amounts of art for their collection, now one of the finest collections of Italian art in France.  The mansion, with it's spectacular art collection, was bequeathed to the Institut de France as a museum and opened to the public.

Credit to Musèe Jacquemart-Àndre

Actually, once we entered the gates leading up to the curved stone pathway that led to the grand entrance, I was entranced by the tiny sparkling tea lights that lit up the pathway on both sides.  Up lights strategically placed along the pediments, sculptures, and fountains highlighted their beauty.  Lush gardens, dotted with cocktail tables where free flowing champagne and d'oeuvres were being served by waiters in black suit coats.  There was even a violinist to serenade the party guests as we waited to tour the mansion's rooms and then be led to the banquet hall for dinner.

Our tour was short, but included all of the rooms.  Breathtaking art including Botticelli, Rembrandt, van Dyck, Gainsbourough, Bernini, and Canaletto, just to name a few, were distributed throughout the many rooms of the museum.  It is simply spell-binding to be reminded that this extraordinary collection was once a private collection in a home. Today, they would be astounded by the wealth they amassed by purchasing so many masterpieces.

By this point, our group was feeling rather overwhelmed both with the extravagance of the art and the beauty of the mansion.  Our tour leader then guided us into the banquet hall to begin the Awards dinner.

 Here is another couple seated at our table trying to decipher the menu (not an easy task!.)   Below is what was served for the first course.  A Crab and Navet Daikon on Gazpacho--don't ask me,,,,, but it was delicious!

Next came the main course, Filet of Duck with Chantrelle Mushrooms and Vegetables.  

More wine....2006 Chabis 1er Cru, Domaine JP Crossot,,, Burgogne, France and 2004 Medoc, Chateau La Fleur de By, Bordeaux, France, both impeccable. 

Before dessert, which was a Dessert and Cheese Buffet, we were entertained by a cabaret singer accompanied by a pianist and an accordion player.  Think Edith Piaf and you can imagine her voice and style of music.

And here are a few of the lovely desserts at the buffet.  How to choose?

As the evening drew to a close, there was only one thing left on the program--the Awards!  Here is a photo of hubby receiving the "2010 Patent and Innovation Award" for his recent research and development of a stronger, thinner, more flexible, anti-reflective solar glass that will be much more affordable to produce. (Now that was a mouthful.)

Congratulations, sweetheart!  You are most deserving!  And thank you for your brilliance that enabled us to attend this unbelievable weekend in Paris.  I will be looking forward to see what 2011 brings (no pressure, sweetie.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Lunching at the Louvre

It's hard to believe that touring the prestigious Pompidou would work up such an appetite, but by noon on Saturday, our group was famished. Paris is known for it's hidden secrets and the one at the  Louvre surprised us all. On the rue de Louvre with it's pedimented classical facade, you can continue your walk along the gardens that extend past the once royal and later imperial palace. The gardens of the Tulleries and Carrousel form a city walk past the Palais du Louvre.  Before the great Promenade sits a terrace restaurant, Le Saut de Loop, and that is where the company had arranged for us to lunch.  The photo above is a carpaccio of salmon with a creamy dijon mayonnaise.  The salad had the most delicious balsamic dressing that gave it a wonderful piquant flavor.  So elegant, fresh, and colorful, it was a perfect meal to have on the terrace while enjoying the sunshine.

Hubby's company does nothing half-measure, including the free-flowing wine and champagne.  I reckon that they want the word to go back to the company offices that the reward for creativity and problem-solving is one that all employees should strive for. Moèt & Chandon sparkled in the afternoon sun and I can tell you, it hardly mattered after the first two glasses what they served because in my humble opinion, the French champagne, by far, was superior to any thing else on the menu.

But, I have to tell you that the 2008 Chardonnay, Grand Ardèche, from the Rhòne Alpes will always have my gratitude.  What a delightful wine.  I highly recommend it if, like me, you prefer a white over a red.  Oh heck, I'd highly recommend it even if you prefer reds!

Do you love chocolate?

I have no idea why it was shaped like it was, with all of the little triangles on the top.  This, my chocolate lover friends, was vanilla ice cream with a tiramisu center, covered in milk chocolate-- and let me just say that it didn't disappoint.  Oh, my, it was sooooo delicious!  

Once the coffee was completed, all that was left to do was to work off all of those extra calories.  The Westin is next to the rue de Louvre on the left side of this photo.  The beautiful gardens surrounded us as we made our way back to our hotel.

One could really get used to this lifestyle.

 I have already given the husband "the ultimatum."  How can you raise a gals expectations by raising the bar so high and then not continue to follow through the next year?

I have no idea where the "2011 Patent and Innovation Awards" weekend will be held, but darn, I want expect that he does everything he can to see that we attend. 

 Not that isn't too much to ask, is it? (wink, wink...)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Courtyard where we ate breakfast at the Paris Westin

Thanks to the hubs for winning the 2010 Patent and Innovation award, we were treated to an all-expenses paid weekend in Paris, France, compliments of his company.  From the moment we arrived at the Westin at the Place de la Concorde, we were treated as royalty.  Surrounded by luxury, we were able to soak in the atmosphere and allow our penchant for busy schedules to gently unwind while taking in all of the beauty of this spectacular and romantic hotel.

Our room was beautifully appointed and gifts were awaiting our arrival on the table.  We took note of the tasteful room and kind gifts and then, due to the amounts of wine we had consumed at dinner, we set our alarm for a respectable 7:00 am wake-up for Saturday morning.  Settling into the crisp white linen sheets was not a problem for us.  

Morning promised an awesome day for Parisians.  The sky was clear, the sun was out, and we were ready to begin our day.  Breakfast was served in the inner courtyard of our hotel (see photo above) and we relaxed in the early warmth of the sun.  Excellent cappuccinos, warm croissants, fluffy omelets and fresh preserves offered the bit of energy our bodies needed to sustain us through the morning. We were being collected for a trip to the Georges Pompidou (Musee National d'Art Moderne) and the bus awaited.

Promptly at 9 am, we were whisked away to tour the sights of Paris and then arrive at the museum.  Arriving at the Pompidou, you are immediately aware of all of the primary colors of the exposed pipes surrounding the building.  


Entrance to the Pompidou

The "Beaubourg" has the largest collection of modern art in Europe and is rivaled in quantity and quality with the MOMA in New York. Matisses' paintings and sculptures, Picasso abstracts, Robert Delaunay's cubism, and a plethora of paintings and sculptures by the European masters such as Braque, Duchamp,Mondrian, Dali, Kandinsky, Giocometti, Ernst, Miró, Calder, Magritte, Rothko, and Pollock graced the grand exhibition halls.  For this I would have needed a week to view, but we were only given a few hours before we were to depart.  

One of my degrees is in Art and I have studied and taught courses involving many of the artworks I saw at the Pompidou.  To be able to actually stand before the paintings and sculptures that I have only seen previously in books or in film was an experience I will never forget.  To view the piece in it's entirety, notice the brush strokes and application of paint or to study the artists hand at sculpture was awe inspiring.  It was hard for the group to pull me away, but as I turned around to see the gallery one last time, I promised to return when I can give these masterpieces the time they so greatly deserve.

Before our departure, we were guided through the clear tubes exposed on the outside of the Beaugourg.  From here you see the magnificent landscape of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Montmarte, Notre Dame and the beautiful, Sacrè Coeur or Sacred Heart Cathedral.  Here are a few of the photos I was able to take from this amazing vantage point.  

But what I won't be able to share with you, is the accidental photo I got from clicking a shot with my telephoto lens of an interesting apartment building.  After processing the photos, I was presented with a photo of a naked man basking in the sun's rays as he sat before the open French doors of his balcony.  (I would be a dangerous paparazzi with that lens.  Sorry, I am not including the photo, but it was sheer art, I tell you--sheer art.)

Rooftop view of the Eiffel Tower from the Pompidou Center

Sacrè-Coeur (Sacred Heart) Cathedral 

Site of my "sighting."  Left hand side, four windows down, captured with telephoto lens which I WILL NOT publish!

Here are just a few of my favorite paintings (who can really choose?):

Ferdinand Lèger and his industrial influences..
When viewing this projected on a screen, you cannot get the sense of it's size.  Seeing it in proportion to the man standing next to it, shows it's enormous canvas.

Mondrian and his beautiful "swan-like" necks.

I love everything Mondrian has ever done.  His work absorbs my attention and mesmerizes me.

Here is another work by another one of my favorite artists.  Anyone care to make a guess as to who might have painted this famous painting?  I'll give you some clues:
  •  He was French, 1869-1904
  •  He was also a print maker and sculptor
  •  He was known for his use of color and pointillism and was heavily influenced by Van Gogh
  •  Used intricate patterns and wallpaper in his interiors
  •  He was great friends with Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein
  •  Invalid and in a wheel chair at the end of his life, he made gigantic paper cutouts

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cruising Down the River

Here we all are at the Westin Hotel in Paris, France.  We are waiting for the bus to come to take us to the Seine where we will board a dinner boat with live music.

The bus was a Mercedes-Benz and accommodated about 50 of us comfortably.  Once at the dock, we boarded the boat to discover that many of the invitees were former colleagues of my husbands' in various parts of the world.  For such a small gathering, he felt like it was "Old Home Week" for him.  He greeted people from California, New Jersey, Malaysia, Germany, and the U.K., to name a few.  I finally had to go and drag him to a seat when the dinner began.  The photo below shows hubby making the rounds. Seated directly in front of my husband was one of the company's top CEO's who would eventually be seated to my husband's right-hand side.  How did I know when I picked the seats that he would be rubbing elbows with the top boss?  As it turned out, our table had us entertained the whole evening.  No shop talk, and lots of fun stories were shared.

The weather was remarkably warm Friday evening in Paris and the sky was perfectly clear.  You could see a nearly full moon that evening and with the lights sparkling on the Eiffel Tower and the uplights reflecting on the Seine, it was a romantic Parisian evening.  

Dinner began promptly after setting out with champagne and white wine.  Assorted breads and rolls plated beautifully dotted the table.  The first course, a cream of lobster soup, was served next.  A frothy cream was added to our soup that had been served to our individual seats. The soup was delicate and full of flavor.

 Following the soup, we were presented with a tender filet mignon, fluffy garlic mashed potatoes, and a zucchini and tomato vegetable dish. It was delicious.

 Next, the red wine began to flow (all too easily, I might add).  It was followed up by a cheese and fruit plate, and exquisite European chocolates.  It was while we were all finishing this last course that the waiters brought out the desert wines.  

Meanwhile, there was entertainment and we were treated to a singer, a violinist, and a piano player.  Perfectly timed, the music, the wine, and the dinner came to a close as we returned from our meandering cruise back at the docks.  

Happy to have returned, we were sated and ready to return to the Westin de La Concorde.  Tomorrow promised to be a big day!

Ooo La La, Paris!

I have so much to share about our trip to Paris.  Since it is such an amazing trip, I will blog about it in sections.  

There is just too much to say in one posting.  As you can easily tell from our smiles, we had the time of our lives.  Steve's company treated us to the best Paris had to offer and mother nature did too!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Is this your mother's kitchen, your grandmother's kitchen, or your great-grandmother's kitchen?

A German kitchen has changed over the decades.

Perhaps you recall some of the appliances, implements, or furniture?  That baby's highchair might ring a bell?

This kitchen brings back memories of the kitchen's of the 60's when avocado green and orange were all the rage.

This rustic kitchen would have looked quite at home during the early pioneer days of my American forefathers.

This one is unmistakably Bavarian.

Stoves like the one on the left are still found in Germany today.

I especially like the plate shelves, small windows, and country baskets.  Spinning wheel, not so much.  I love shopping for my yarn--not making it.