EXPATS AGAIN

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

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ME

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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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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

HAPPY, HAPPY!

Photo property of Natraj

These are the magic genies that will make my birthday (today) memorable.  The Natraj Restaurant is as close to authentic Indian food as one will get, unless they are in India or are fortunate to know someone from India who will cook for them.  We have only been to the Natraj one time prior and I can't wait to go back to try another dish.


Photo property of Natraj
There will be six of us and it is a small, very intimate space.  The table above would work nicely, so I just made our reservations and really crossing my fingers that there will be good weather, then we could eat here, outside:


property of Natraj

But Mother Nature hasn't been that kind to us in the last few days so I don't know if this option is a possibility.  At the moment is is cool and overcast, but during this time of year it has been known to clear up by evening and be beautiful outside.

Indian food is not to everyone's taste, but I find that well-prepared Indian food is incomparable.  It is the gentle mix of just the right spices and the freshness of the produce and meat that make Indian food amazingly delicious. 


Property of Natraj
So we will be experimenting with different dishes and also having a few of these throughout the evening:




property of Natraj

At my age, birthdays seem to come and go, all too often I might add!  It is just another day when you come to think of it.  But soon those birthdays will add up and I will actually be able to benefit from them.  Senior Citizen discounts, baby!  They're right around the corner!

Friday, August 27, 2010

2010 PATENT AND INNOVATION AWARD WINNER

Photo by Westin Paris, France

Whoo, hoo! Congratulations to my hubbyj!  He has been selected, by his company ( of over 50,000 employees globally),  as the winner of the 2010 Patent and Innovation Award.  The ceremony will take place in Paris, France and they will be flying us there to attend.

Guess who gets to go too!  

I am so thrilled to be a part of this prestigious ceremony and share in the well deserved honor that my hubby has earned. (Watch for future photos!)  

Much of this year has been a whirlwind of activity, trips, and long hours of meetings for him.  This award is a direct result of the four patents he has written for a new type of solar glass.  I can't go into all of the specifications, primarily because they are too technical for me to even understand, but it will basically be thinner, stronger,  more flexible, and cheaper to produce than any kind of product that exists now.  This will make it a preferable solar glass for many manufacturers.  Cool, eh?

Stock Photo by Getty of Place de la Concorde

His company's board of directors sent us the invitation and as this years "winner" he will be able to meet with them and colleagues from around the world in a patent and idea exchange .  Meanwhile, spouses/partners, will participate in cultural activities and enjoy the atmosphere of Paris by attending the events scheduled for us.

Photo by Westin Paris, France



I plan to save a chunk of time for this wonderful spa.  (Hey, it's hard work being married to the recipient of the Innovation Award--big smile.)  And since spas are literally wasted on him (like giving "strawberries to pigs," he says), I will be more than happy to take his place, tee, hee.  

Photo by Westin Paris, France
 The hotel (posh, eh?) is located on the Place de Concord, the largest square in Paris and  covering an octagonal area of over 8 hectares.  It is in the very center of Paris and  opens up into the Champs Elysee.

Photo by Paris, France

We have been to the Westin before, but never in Paris, France.  But leave it to the Board of Directors of his company to select one of the most spectacular venues in Europe to celebrate.  You know you will be well taken care of when you travel as they do, even if it is only for one weekend. 

Photo by Westin Paris, France    
Another luxury, for me at least, will be to breakfast in the gorgeous atrium.  (Guess I'll have to stray away from my morning oatmeal routine, ya think?) 

I was informed that there is a special "dress code" for this weekend.  Now I have a few dressy outfits, but nothing one could actually call "formal wear."  Since the men will be in black tie, it means the gals will have to dress formally as well.   Good thing we live in Munich and there are oodles of stores that cater to this kind of thing.  The weekend in Paris is September 17-19,  so I'd better get out there and start shopping. 


Thank you, sweetie, for all of your hard work in making this weekend possible for us.  You are just full of surprises.  You deserve this honor and I am thrilled to accompany you. 





Thursday, August 26, 2010

WHAT REMAINS


So, our grandson has been returned to Michigan safely and all that is left are these photos in my computer files.  The photos are his and they record his journey through Paris.  It seems that monuments, architecture, art and nature are not what intrigues an American 11 year-old.  But it's good to know he has an artistic eye.  The following images belong to Eli and I've taken the liberty of calling the collection, "Memories of Paris."












While I appreciate that he can look at the world and see beauty in what I see as a pox, I really tried to guide his attention elsewhere.  However, I'm fairly sure he returned home with a camera filled with graffiti and little else.  Ahhhh, boys.

Having said all that, here is one of his shoes that I regard as rather clever!  Nice job, Eli.  At least it is color coordinated (insert smile).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

THE GREAT ASCENT!


Sufer

For those of you who actually do follow my blog, and I know a few of you do because you are so kind to leave a comment from time to time or email me: I apologize for not alerting you to the fact that I was hosting my 11-year old grandson for three weeks and my blogging came to a virtual stand still. (If you are reading this and would like to follow me on my blog, just click "Followers," at the bottom of the page.  I would love to follow you as well). 


It was fantastic to spend my days doing things 11 yr. olds like to do.  He left to go back to Michigan on Tuesday and I was in a real slump yesterday.  I missed him so much. 


 But, today is a new day and the sun is finally out shining!  I am back to blogging and my photography, so you will hear more from me in the coming days, for sure , lucky you (ha, ha!)


The lake above (I know!  Could it possibly be more idyllic?) was on our way up the Alps, through Switzerland, to Splugen Pass.  We chose this route to Italy because of the vistas and we were not disappointed, they were just amazing.  


Here are a few we especially enjoyed.


Hubby and grandson on a bridge over a river in the Alps
(They're smiling, but I was a nervous wreck photographing this--I'm standing across the one lane road of the bridge while cars whiz by, a shockingly steep precipice behind me.  I couldn't wait for this shot to be over!)


Mountain Majesty
I am an Ohio gal, born and bred.  Seeing the Alps is never boring to me. (Sure beats corn fields mile after mile.)   I am continually in awe of their beauty and strength.  One day, I would love to live in the mountains and breathe the fresh air daily.  


At the Summit of Mt. Spluga





His right foot is still in Switzerland......












and his left foot is in Italy!


(How cool is that? In two countries at the same time?)












Looking back at the Swiss Alps


Looking back at the mountain pass is an exhilarating  sight.  You can't tell, but we are at least 3,000 meters high when this photo was taken.  That leaves a heck of a lot of mountain below, and looking down while your husband navigates the hairpin turns into the numerous switchbacks and tunnels is NOT recommended. 


Altitude and motion can cause queasiness; just ask my grandson who nearly lost his lunch during this drive.


Telephoto lens view 

(You don't think I'd actually go up there now, do you?)

Trickling waterfall into bubbling creek




This is more my style!


 We were treated to many more waterfalls, rivers, and pristine aqua blue lakes on our way down the Alps into Italy...but, more about that in my next blog...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

TO STARNBERGERSEE AND TO INFINITY BEYOND!

Shadow image of Steve´s bike on our car

Bikes play an important role in our family´s life.  Not only do we enjoy them for recreation, but due to the fact that we have chosen not to purchase a car here in Europe, it has become our major means of transportation.  I use it to get to and from shops primarily.  It is also my way to the gym, pool, and train station.  It is a passion for my husband who clocks in at least a hundred miles a week.  He lives to bike, I bike to live.  Now a days I am finding that the exercise I get from bicycling is making me healthier and helping me with things like blood pressure and flexibility.  I´m counting on it to stave off arthritis and other debilitation as one ages.  Certainly, moving my body is a good thing--more about that in a later posting.




Bicycling is a way of life here in Germany.  People are accustomed to making good use of the country´s excellent system of biking paths that lead in and out of the major cities connecting in the small villages in between.  Germany lays a bike path for every road it constructs, it´s the law here.  As a result, entire families take off on the weekends for long bike excursions to beautiful lakes, rivers, mountains, castles, villages, and other picturesque destinations.  Often, bikers can be seen toting picnic baskets for a lunch at water´s edge or in the middle of a lush valley or meadow.  Being the outdoors people that they are, they have conceived of many intriguing ways to carte baskets, infants, toddlers, and other bicyclists in tandem.  




We are always pleased to see bicyclists on our way to extraordinary locations such as our recent trip to the Neuschwanstein Castle of King Ludvig of Bavaria.  Perched high atop a mountain, it is only accessable by foot traffic up the levels of stairs.  But, to get to the stairs, you can bike up the mountain and many Germans´do bike up the mountain to gain access to the famous castle that Walt Disney visited and later fashioned Cinderella´s castle after.  


Young and old alike bike throughout Germany
This couple, well past their 60´s, are representative of a lot of Germans out for a weekend ride.  I took this in at the foot of the Neuschwanstein Castle located in Hohenschwangau near F├╝ssen in southwest Bavaria.  




But, you will also see them rising thousands of kilometers into the air as they struggle to crest the peak of a mountain in the Alps.  We have learned to admire these adventure cyclists, many of whom are in our age catagory--late 50´s and much older.   God bless them for not sitting in their armchair or on the couch and getting out there and showing us that we can still do it if we wish.






Yesterday, I was extremely proud of my 11 year-old (soon to turn 12 on Aug. 17th) grandson when after a full day of swimming with me, he chose to go on a bike ride with his Papa to Starnbergersee (a lake ten miles from our home).  The guys left at 6:00 pm and came back after dark around 8 pm.  That was a full twenty miles, including some stretches of steep upward climbs through the forest hills.  Papa said he sure was a trooper and gave it his all.  They rode non-stop and our little Eli was able to keep pace with his more practiced grandpa.  Eli, your Mimi loves you so much and is so very proud of your great accomplishment.  




Now that Eli has built up his confidence on a bike, the next trip will include the Alps.  He and Papa are already discussing the trail map.  Good luck guys!  

Friday, August 6, 2010

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE GERMANS

Here are the headlines in Germany for today:


  • World War II bomb found near major Hamburg bridgefrom The Local - Germany's news in English


  • A 250-kilogramme World War II-era bomb was discovered at a recycling centre close to an important cable-stayed bridge in Hamburg on Friday, forcing authorities to evacuate the area for recovery efforts.
 
  • Germany's two biggest commercial broadcasters, ProSiebenSat.1 and RTL, are establishing a free internet service that allows viewers to legally stream television shows, news and movies, media reported Friday.

  • Following the pledge by 40 American billionaires to give away at least half their wealth to humanitarian causes, centre-left politicians suggested Friday that Germany's super-rich might consider doing the same.

  • Bavaria's 'Porno Island' set for a clean-upfrom The Local - Germany's news in English


  • Sex thrill-seekers have been descending on a lake area near the Bavarian town of Senden in such numbers that locals have dubbed the recreational spot "Porno Island" - forcing embarrassed authorities to take action.



  • Afghan politician calls German air strike payouts 'laughable'from The Local - Germany's news in English




  • Cologne woman hits plush pay dirt with tours for teddy bearsfrom The Local - Germany's news in English


  • Even stuffed animals need a holiday every now and then, according to a Cologne woman who runs a travel agency catering exclusively to teddy bears and other plush toy friends.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

ELI AND THE CITY



The back of our property sits along the Nymphenburg Canal.  Eli found this small patch of sunlight yesterday morning and politely posed for me so I could take his photo.  From here we walked to the train station, but not before we admired the work of the city builders at the park next to the station.




Here is another view.




Eli wanted to go in to play, but it is still gated off and under construction.  It will be a great play space when it is finally finished.




We caught the first train into the city with Eli being the navigational director.  We'll see if we get to where we're going. He looks confident, doesn't he?


Making sure he has the right directions



We're off to the Marieinplatz!




First a trip to Hauptbahnhof (the train station) to renew our car rental for our trip to Italy this weekend.




Munich's train station is one of Europe's main passenger train hubs and we enjoy watching the trains pull in and pull out while waiting to speak to the auto rental agent,




With his new plush sheep that he named "Pretzel" he is waiting to take his first underground train into the city center.




At exactly 12 noon, we are treated to the chimes of the Glockenspiel and have a front row view of the ancient timing mechanism.




The figures rotate above and below  On top there are knights on horses with lances.  At the end, a knight in a joust is fatally stabbed.  The crowd in the Marineplatz below of about 150 people each summer day, begin to cheer.


From there, Eli is excited to visit the Apple store.  I have just bought a new Apple Mac X and Eli is fascinated with the iphone 4 and the ipads.  




After watching him for over 45 mins. I told him I was going next door to the outside cafe for a coffee and he could look to his hearts content.  Eli really loves this place.  It's his second trip there, but I also told him it was his last.  He can look at Apple products in the U.S.  He's here to experience Germany after all!  An hour and 45 mins. later he comes out to check with me.  




Here is a shot of Eli I took outside of the store while having coffee.  I even had time to have a bowl of soup for lunch.  Eli wasn't interested in taking time out from his play for lunch.  However, on the way back home he asked for one of those enormous pretzels that they sell.  Not the most healthy choice, but I allowed it this one time.  He seems to like Munich--or at the very least, the Apple Store here.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND ANNIVERSARY!


     Yesterday, thirty-eight years ago, I gave birth to my first child, Eric, pictured above with his daughter.  I can't believe I'm a mother of a child that age and I don't know where the time has gone.  It seems just like yesterday I was watching him play wiffle ball in the yard with his younger brother and their friends.  What is so weird is that while the two boys were growing up, it seemed like time stood still and I honestly believed I would be raising young children forever.  I wondered when the baths, meals, laundry, homework, and disciplining them would ever end.  I recall commiserating with my friends about motherhood and how difficult it was, especially a mother who worked full-time.  There didn't seem to be enough hours in a day.  The responsibilities were endless and all I really wanted in life was to go into the bathroom and have a long bubble bath without one interruption.  It would have been unthinkable to have one without one of the boys laying in the hallway and using their feet to bang on the bathroom door to get me to come out and attend to them. 
     While I was in the midst of motherhood, my then mother-in-law used to tell me that I should cherish this time because it would fly by like a minute.  I thought she'd lost her marbles.  It was hard work being a mother.  With no time to myself, I couldn't wait for the time to come when the boys were grown up enough to care for themselves.  Little did I know that her words would come back to haunt me many times.
     I love my sons very much.  As every mother, there is no way to distinguish my love for them, it is equal in every way.  But, as it is Eric's birthday, I will comment on his qualities.  I am his mother, so I know I am biased, but suffice it to say that he has pleased me from the day he was born.  No mother could hand pick a son who is as kind, dedicated, loving, or faithful.  He is now a father/grandfather himself and I know he wishes the same for his children/grandchild as I do.  May they be happy in life, happy in love, and happy in following God.  I am blessed to call Eric my son.  He was never mine to begin with, just mine to care for--he belongs to my heavenly father.  Thank you, Lord.



Today, is my 11th wedding anniversary!  Pictured here, on the left, next to my sons, is my wonderful husband.  If you want to know what a spectacular guy h I married, I dedicated a whole blog entry to him.  Go here  http://expatsagain.blogspot.com/2010/06/birthday-wishes-for-him.html and hear his praises.  He is the love of my life, my best friend, my protector, my inspiration, my steadfastness and my guide.  He is a wonderful father to all of our children and mine, in particular love him as their own.  He has always been there for them and for me.  Honey, I love you!