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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Sunday, January 30, 2011


It was freezing Friday in Munich.  Minus 15 C, and with the wind chill, let's just say
I ducked into a warm building every chance I got.  I really warmed up a few degrees once I found these blooms in Kokon Lifestyle Haus (Munich's Pottery Barn, Arhaus, flower botique, cafe, bookshop, and linens/materials, all mixed into one).

These tulips, pretty in pink, immediately had me in their grasp, but I chose to bring home these instead.

The apartment is filled with their springtime aroma and don't you love the glass planters for a mere 5,50€?  I love them so much, I'm returning tomorrow for a collection to plant spring bulbs on my windowsill in my kitchen.  I can't wait to see how lovely they will be when they bloom in the next few weeks.

We are moving house in the next couple of months and I thought I would change my decor after living with the same textiles for quite a few years.  I fell in love with this one and the one below.

I am not sure which I like better.  In the photo I took above, the toile looks pink, but it is a beautiful light lavender.  So gorgeous.  I'm thinking of the master bedroom.  I've looked for this shade of lavender, but it is impossible to find online for German bedding.

I was on a roll, Friday. I have a friend who has two of these chairs in her living room with a brown leather sofa.  I saw them Friday and put them on my list of items I would like to have, providing the new place has a room for them.  I know I am getting ahead of myself and should have a place first, but I am crossing my fingers that we will have a balcony or deck where I could fit these, or even the living room.  We already own the leather sofa.

I also found these bowls in many colors that I found irresistibly fun.  I haven't made up my mind if I want them all the same color or mix and match them.  They just happen to match one of my dinner sets.  Wouldn't an ice cream look scrumptious in these?

Speaking of fun items, this water glass with the heart is equally fun.

I'm seeing a pattern here with the lavenders.  I didn't notice it until I started posting these.  The green makes a great contrasting color, don't you think.  These are textured and the clean, fresh patterns are very appealing to me right now.

Here again, the lavender in this springtime linen print for a tablecloth, along with the green and some oranges and pinks.  It is so cheerful to look at.  I will grab it if we have a nice sunny nook to place a table.  I love it.

Here is a photo a glass vase that almost made it into my shopping basket.  I can see it in my bathroom with daffodils or tulips.  
It was a textile bonanza at Kokon on Friday.  So many cute designs to choose from.  Here are a couple of pillows that caught my eye.

They are more for winter, but I couldn't help but go back to them time and again.  I will probably end up with one of these.  Right now, I'm favoring the red because the house is so Bavarian.  But, the one on top is just as delightful.

Last, but not least, the piece de la resistance, below.  How wonderful is this light fixture.  I would love to see it in a stairwell.  Guess I will have to see if we will even have a stairwell in the new place, but my name is on this, for sure.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I found this plate online.  It was designed by two young mothers who both have degrees in Nutrition.  Sometimes a visual cue such as this can help us when controlling portion size.  I also hoped it would help our grandchildren learn how to control their food portions for themselves.

I sent one to each of my young grandchildren in the states and I alerted my son and daughter-in-law that they would be arriving.

Today, I received an email from my son that they arrived. He included a photo from his i-phone to show me that they are already using them.  Take a look, the smart a**.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Once we decided to stay in Germany permanently, my husband promised me that I could get a car.  For those of you who don't know, I've been using my feet and a bicycle for transportation for the last two years. 

I reckon I've paid my dues and I don't look forward to any more multiple shopping trips with a trolley bag or a bicycle basket for the next undetermined amount of years until the hubby retires.

So, let the shopping begin!

He has a VW Golf in mind, but I have a different VW burning it's image into my brain and I can argue that my chosen vehicle can far out perform his in mileage and in limiting our carbon footprint on the planet!  How is that for purchase power!

Until he can locate a brand or model that can out do this one, I'm fighting mightily for it.  Did I mention that it consumes as little as 0.9 litres of fuel per 100 kilometers and emits just 24 grams of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide per kilometrer!  YEAH BABY!

Oh, and I have been ever so inconvenienced patient.

Here it is in all of it's glory!

The will be damned, I'm spending the kids inheritance one luxury item at a time.  Hey, somebody has to keep the economy going.  It might as well be us me.

Scroll down to see my new dream car.

                                 Volkswagen XL1 concept promises 260 mpg

Although it only promises a top speed of 110 mph (and no, I could never drive over 75 mph, not even on our frightening autobahn), it is unlikely I will get this anytime soon.....

It isn't due out until 2013.  Ah la mah!  

(Oh, and to my reader Headbanger, this is another luxury problem.  But how to prove that the ends justify the means?  Oh well, I have two more years to save think about it. )



On yesterday's post, I submitted my daughter-in-law's recipe for hummos.  I wrote that it is to die for and I really meant it.  Luna, who is of Jordanian descent and lived in Amman until she was 13 and moved to America, is an amazing cook!  Most of her dishes are Jordanian and we have enjoyed many meals in her home.  She has graciously taught me how to cook some of the dishes, but to be honest, they are not nearly as good as hers and I could never compete with her talent in the kitchen.

I have two grown sons who are married with families. My husband, has two sons and a daughter who are single and about ten years younger than my children. Luna is married to my youngest son and are the proud parents of three children who were all born in the same year, 11 months apart.  Their oldest, our grandson who is now 7, was born and two months later they learned they were expecting again!  This time with twins, a boy and a girl!  It has been an eventful seven years.  First with three in diapers, then three cutting their teeth at the same time, three learning how to walk, talk, run and jump and everything else that children do, just all at the same time. 

Luna can run circles around most mothers who have singletons, one at a time.  I know she married my son with a Masters degree, but I often joke and say she's earned her Phd in early childhood in more ways that I can mention.

I have the utmost respect for my daughter-in-law as a woman, as a mother, and as a wife.  Since I do not have a daughter, she has become the daughter I never had.  Luna is close to her family, her mother and father, sisters and brothers, but she always has time and love in her heart for us, her in-laws, too.  

The photo above is my favorite of her although I probably have at least fifty more I could have chosen from.  All of them highlight her beauty, but this one also highlights her personality.  Our Luna is a fun loving, joyful, and happy soul.  Our grandchildren, much to our delight, have inherited their mother's zest for life.  My son is also a very positive and fun loving person and when you are in their presence you are automatically at ease and become caught up in their joy.

For the last 7 years, Luna has been a stay-at-home mom devoted to seeing that her children had the best start in life as possible.  This is the first year that they have all been in school for a full day.  Together, with my son, they have begun missions work full-time for the first time this year.  I just know that they will bless others through their work and I look forward to hearing more about their selfless journey in doing God's work in the missions field when I return back to the states this Spring.

Luna has always been there for our family and has always made us welcome in her home.  We trust her implicitly and have faith in her many abilities.  I think the true test of a mother-in-law's measure of her daughter-in-law lies in how happy and content her son is.  My son has never been happier than when he met his wife.  In fact, together, they are the happiest couple I know.  They are blessed beyond measure with love for one another and their children.  They put all of their worries in the Lord's hands and though it hasn't been easy for them raising three little ones all at the same time and living on the modest income of one wage earner, they have found pleasure in one another and their close knit family.  

For them, the love they have for God and the love they have for one another is what sustains them.   In fact, although they do not have a lot of worldly possessions, they are generous and give from what they have to others who they know are less fortunate.  It isn't just material things either.  They have opened their home to countless people who have been able to share in their loving spirit. 

I wanted to write this post to honor my daughter-in-law who I love very much.  I know it probably isn't the most common thing to hear a mother-in-law praising her son's wife, but in this case, it is truly deserved.  I could not have hand picked a more suitable wife for my son than our dear Luna.  My son is a very, very fortunate man, indeed.

Having said all of this about our Luna, there is a very good chance that my other son's wife will read this blog and feel that I have not included my praises for her.  Never fear dearest, Gisela.  Your turn is coming.  It is only fitting that each of you get their own blog post.  
Thank you,  Luna for coming into our lives and making it brighter.  Thank you for the love and nurturing you have given to my grandchildren.  My deepest gratitude for bringing so much joy to my son who loves you beyond measure.  I miss your smile and look forward to seeing you all again this Spring.  


Wednesday, January 26, 2011


It is Wednesday and time to link up with Joyce at http://joyce-fromthissideofthepond.blogspot.com.  for Wednesday's Hodgepodge.  Joyce gives a lot of thought to the questions she poses and they cover a wide range of topics. Stop by Joyce's post and join in the fun!

1. Will you watch the Super Bowl? If so who will you root for? If you are outside the USA what is the 'big deal sporting event' in your own country?  Hopefully, yes.  We have Slingbox here in Munich and I would love to see the Packers win!  

2. Is ignorance bliss?
Of course, what you don't know can't hurt you.  Right?  Am I missing something or am I blissfully in the dark here.

3. Which of the seven dwarfs are you? (and just in case your Disney is a little bit rusty, here they are-Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, and Sneezy)
At the moment, after a 31 hour plane trip,  door to door from Australia to Munich, I would have to say Sleepy. 

4. When you are riding in the car with another couple how do you organize the seating? (Men up front? Women up front? Couples sit together?) And thanks to Lori at Mountain Woman at Heart for the question! Everyone go say hi to Lori.
We have couples sit together.

5. What is beauty?
Whatever takes your breath away.

6. If someone asks you to bring an appetizer or a dessert to a party in their home, which would you choose? Appetizer

7. What is your crowd pleasing go-to appetizer?   My sweet daughter-in-law's hummus recipe.  She is Jordanian and it is to die for.

8. Insert your own random thought here
Happy Australia Day, Australia!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Please excuse me because I'm going to rant today; not because I think life is terrible, because life has been awfully good to me.  I have a wonderful husband who I adore and who loves me equally.  I have happy healthy grown children with lovely grandchildren for me to enjoy.  We have been amply blessed in the work/job/income area.  We are both healthy, we have heaps of friends and extended family, so you might be asking yourself, "Then what does she have to complain about?"

I suffer from plain old jealousy, that's what.  Don't get me wrong, I don't envy very much.  Material things don't impress me because that's just what they are, "material," and to me that reads--temporary.  Temporary because it isn't long after you've acquired that special "something" that you just "had to have" that it's luster wears off and you're on to the next big thing.

I figured this scam out somewhere in my forties (wish it had been sooner) and now, ahem...a good while later, I have seen through the ruse.  There is nothing material I need or want--in fact, I'm continually giving or throwing things away.  Other than necessities, I can't think of any "thing" that would give me pleasure that lasts.

Now, when it comes to loved ones, that's an entirely different matter.  I cherish my time with those I love and I would trade any material possession over time with them, if it ever came to that.  Time spent with my close friends and family is what life is all about.  No one will care what car I drove or what jewelry I wore when I leave this planet, but they will remember that I was there in their time of need, that I cared for them deeply, and that I shared in the laughter and fun that life gave us.  That is what I become "envious" of--being with those I care about.

A week from today, my husband needs to return to the states to renew his Greencard (he is Australian).  He will spend a week there and needs to be in Cleveland where the INS offices are and also where my first son and his family lives.  He will stay with them while he is in Cleveland and then drive to our home in Toledo where my second son and his family lives.  

How unfair is that?  I am sooo jealous, I can't tell you.  I can't rationalize any way for me to accompany him, and believe me, I've tried.

First, it is only for a week and second, it is financially irresponsible to take hundreds of dollars out of our account for such a short visit.  His company is paying his way in order to get the Greencard.

 I could stay longer and justify the expense, but we have just returned from three weeks in Australia and I have been absent from my weekly bridge group, my book club, my gym (oh how I need to get back into my routine), my knitting group, and my friends who keep asking, "When can we get together?"  It's funny, you know, I now feel an obligation to be here whereas our first year here I felt only obliged to what was happening in the states.  I guess I've found the life here I wanted and when I am away, I miss what is going on here.  For instance, the week my husband is away, I am scheduled to attend an art exhibit, an evening out with friends at a comedy club, lunch with a dear friend, a shopping excursion with another friend, bridge, and Needlers.  I have been away so long that it has been a month now since I've seen my friends.

No, it would be terribly wrong for me to be that selfish and leave my life here just because the yellow-eyed demon of jealousy has struck again.  Grrrrr, how to come to terms with it?  I think that in all of our 11 years of marriage (yes, this is a second marriage for both of us), never has my husband been so fortunate to see my children/grandchildren when I haven't been with him and yes, it seems unfair--to me, but not my boys or husband.

My boys are ecstatic!  Yea!  They get to chum with pops and let me tell you, he is a father to them in every way imaginable.  He has loved them as his own and they in turn love him to pieces.  They are so excited that they have forgotten that I, their mother, might be a bit sad that I won't be seeing them too.  In fact, I don't think it's crossed their minds yet. They have been emailing him and telling him how much they look forward to his visit and on an on.

Kinda makes a mom feel left out.

Kinda makes a mom proud that her sons love her husband so much.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Meet our granddaughter, Samantha, who lives in Brisbane, Australia.  This photo was taken on her 7th birthday, January 20th, and we were lucky enough to share it with her this year.  Since we live in Germany and we have grandchildren (10 and counting) in two other continents (Australia and the U.S.) we aren't always able to be present for such momentous occasions.

She was very excited to open her prezzies with Mimi and Poppy there with her.  Once they were opened, she wanted to have Poppy read her the book he inscribed for her, " Shoes From Grandpa."  But Poppy was not cooperating and kept changing the words.  Sam was having none of it and made sure her Poppy read it properly.  Sorry Poppy, I don't think you can fool her that easily anymore.

 Meanwhile, her 5 year old brother, Sean, was doing what 5 year old little boys like to do.
Saving the plant, I mean, Playing Spider Man video games.  Cool dude...

Saturday, January 22, 2011


We are back!  Back from three weeks in Australia and fun with our Aussie kids and grandkids.  The only hitch during the three weeks was the terrible flooding in Queensland and New South Wales.  Fortunately for us, our three children live in higher grounds and were able to escape unscathed.  They were also given opportunities to help the less fortunate by volunteering their time in the clean up.   Australia was not spared in nature's havoc, but as many have said in the days following the disaster, it could have been much, much worse.

The above photo is of an estuary of the Pacific ocean withing walking distance from my husband's mother's home.  Being an estuary, it is connected to the ocean and is tide affected.  During high tide, we can walk to this beach, set our kayaks into the water and paddle off to the creek for a long kayak ride which is what we did last week on a spectacularly sunny day.

Other families had the same idea since the little ones can wade on out and cross to the other side with water just up to their waist.  Surf and boogie boards offer the perfect flotation devices for paddling around.  Mom and dad can wade or while their time on the beach fairly sure that the kids are safe in these shallow depths.

These four were having a race, but I think it was rigged as the leader appears to be twice their age.  But they don't seem to mind and they take their chances in the hopes of leading the pack.

  With the boys off having fun, moms and their daughters happily sun and wade in the cool water or lay on inflatable rafts just whiling away the afternoon.  Aussie children are on their school holidays until Australia day, next week January 26th.  Families are taking advantage of the glorious weather during the last days of their vacations by spending as much time at the beach as they can.

Building sand castles, grilling sausages, feeding the sea gulls, and waiting for the high tide are the activities that fill the day for these fortunate holiday goers.  Without a care in the world, they soak up the sun and bathe in the cool waters until the sun sets knowing that nature has provided all that they need for a full day of fun.

Was it just two days ago that I shared in their revelry?  Hard to believe now that we're back in winter in Europe.  Let the sun keep shining on our blessed Australian continent for they surely have been tested in recent days.  Best wishes for many more golden afternoons in the days to come, Australia.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


We are on vacaation for three weeks in Australia visiting family.  I will return to my blog after January 20th, 2011.  Happy New Year everyone!