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, February 23, 2011

Once again it is time to join Joyce from across the pond in her weekly "Hodgepodge."  Her questions are always thought provoking, ingenious, touching, and pertinent.  Today she asks about topics that range from what inconveniences us to what our opinion of a teacher who blogs about her students is.  No matter the topic, Joyce has a way of drawing us in and allowing us to participate in the banter.  If you haven't done so yet, grab her badge and share in the fun of "Wednesday's Hodgepodge."  You'll  be glad you did!

1. Did you know there is a national day of pretty much everything in the universe? Feb 23rd happens to be National Inconvenience Yourself Day...when was the last time you were inconvenienced?

Today. We are purchasing a car and we want to pay for it with funds from our American bank accounts.  We called the U.S. and had our bank transfer the funds into our German account.  The German bank asked us to access the money by using the ATM, but it has a limit amount far below the amount we needed.  Why isn't anything straightforward?  After three unsuccessful attempts, the ATM said our account had technical problems and we could not access it anymore.  Tomorrow, we will go to a bank here in Germany and get it in cash from a human being instead of a machine.  Inconvenience.

2. When a room in your house needs painting, who does the job?

We are moving and German rental agreements stipulate that the whole apartment must be painted and cleaned before we move.  We will have it done professionally.  With over 130 sq. meters, I do not want to spend our time here in Europe with paintbrushes in our hands.  My hubby will organize it.

3. Are you friends with your cousins?

Yes, yes I am.  My mother had four siblings and my father had one.  (There are only 2 cousins who are deceased.)  In all, I have  15 cousins.  We don't all live in Ohio anymore, but we have made attempts over the years to get together.  We are spread out in Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Alaska, Florida, and North Carolina.  It makes visiting family that much more fun.  We have an uncle who turns 90 this summer and many of the cousins will make an attempt to join us, I'm sure.  It will be good to see them again.  

4. Do you use an alarm clock-if yes, is it an actual alarm, music or something else?

Yes, my i-phone playing harp music.  Set for 6 am, an ungodly hour for a retiree, but my husband loves to have breakfast with me so we wake up together for our daily bowl of hot oatmeal and coffee.  It is a good way to start the day together.

5. What do you put ketchup on?


6. What smells make you nostalgic?

  • Perfume my mother, who is now deceased, wore makes me miss her. (Opium) 
  • Wood burning fires take me back to autumn when I was young and we could burn leaves out in the streets.  
  • Eucalyptus scented candles or wreaths transport me to Australia where my step-children, mother & brother-in-law, and grand-children live.
  • White glue reminds me of the classroom  

7. Did you hear about the high school English teacher recently suspended for some things she wrote on her personal blog? You can read the story here but in a nutshell she vented a lot of frustration onto her blog. She didn't mention individual students by name but she did make some harsh comments about kids in general and their parents.

What are your thoughts-if you're a parent is your child's teacher online and are you a 'friend' or 'follower' there? If you're a teacher are you on facebook and do you accept or friend students there? How about their parents? If you're a student are you friends with your current or former teachers online? Do any of them have blogs you read? If you're a teacher or a parent do you ever use your blog as a place to vent your frustrations with our educational system? So much to discuss....

I am a parent of grown children and I am a retired English teacher.  What this teacher vented in her blog was done anonymously.  In that respect, I can see no legal reason to suspend or fire her.  Does it upset parents and students?  I am sure it does.  Is it professional?  Probably not.  

But, is it a reason to lose her job?  Not in my opinion.

Blogs are a platform that should be protected by the constitutional right of freedom of speech, but I would not advocate anyone putting something out there that they know is injurious to another reader.  If you do so, you do so at your own risk.  I am continuously shocked at what people write just because they can.

She may keep her job, but she has lost her integrity for good.  A monumental price to pay just to get something "Off her chest."  

But, if valid discussion about educational reform results from this conundrum, then I say, although dangerous for her, it will be constructional for helping to educate our youth in the future.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Wisconsin teachers, don't give up the good fight.  The nation's teachers are behind you.  You may be on the front lines, but soon every state in the nation will have to fight a similar battle.  You are first, but we are all behind you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


 It's time to connect with Joyce at www.fromthissideofthepond.blogspot.com and join in responding to her Wednesday's Hodgpodge.  Go to her blog site, grab the badge, and link up.  You will be glad you did.

1. Your favorite chocolate treat?
    There is something about a milk chocolate covered pretzel that makes my mouth water.  Yep, pretzels and chocolate!  Sooo good.

2. What more than anything else makes you feel loved?
     I know the old adage, "Actions speak louder than words," but I need the words-- and often.

3. Cherries or blueberries?
    Cherries, always.

4. What is the one trait you most want the leader of your country to posess?
     Integrity, he/she must be trusted.

5. Are you a saver or a spender?

    I'm not a saver by nature, but I have learned to be.  My husband believes in cash only, so we have lived debt free for all of our marriage, but that means we have had to save in order to have some of the big ticket items we've wanted through the years.  Living this way has given us peace of mind and has allowed us to focus on the retirement years when our ability to earn money will be diminished.

6. If you gave a party for all of your friends would they already know each other?
No, they wouldn't and wouldn't that make for a great party! 

7. Are you interested in antiques?
 I appreciate the beauty and rarity of antiques, but I have no desire to live amongst them.  The few I do have are more keepsakes than anything else.  I do enjoy the Antique Roadshow and often recognize an item a grandmother had or someone else in the family.  Too bad we didn't know those items would one day become an antique, eh?

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Berlusconi, time to hang it up, man.  It is beyond embarrassing. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011


We went walking today to our favorite spot, the Blutenburg Schloss.  It wasn't a long walk, about a half of a mile.  The ice on the pond is melting since the days are a bit warmer and the ducks and geese are taking advantage of the small ice floes to sunbathe before entering the still chilly water.

There were plenty of Munchiner's with the same idea in mind for a sunny afternoon.  It was good to get out and smell the fresh air and see mother nature preparing to shed her cloak of white.

She is already decorating the ground with new, tiny blossoms.  The first sign of spring here in Germany, although winter still hasn't left for sure.

The sun was so warm, I sat on a bench near the pond, closed my eyes and drifted off to a place unknown.

New buds were on the trees, another harbinger of better weather ahead.

It is easy to daydream in the sun's warmth when you are surrounded with beauty.

 To have this at your door step is comforting.  It never fails to inspire us.

And apparently, it doesn't fail to inspire our neighbors either. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011



1. What is more important to you-doing what you love or loving what you do?

 At first, it seems like "The chicken or the egg" question, but I don't think anyone loves doing anything unless they love what their doing, including me.

2. Do you like bleu cheese?

Not in any passionate way, but I don't hate it either.

3. What is the most difficult emotion for you to handle?

Injustice, in a perfect world, there would be no such thing.

4. Fresh flowers or chocolate?

I've never felt guilty receiving flowers.

5. What's a song you love that has the word 'love' in the title? It doesn't have to be a 'love song'.

I am hopeless at this sort of question.  I barely know the lyrics to any song.  My sons tease me about it.  I'm all about the melody and beat.  Sorry I don't have any examples to offer, I could hum for you....

6. Are you the person you wanted to be when you grew up?
Heavens no, and we can all be grateful for that!

7. Any special Valentine's Day plans?

Yes.  But he reads my blog from time to time, so I cannot reveal any plans until AFTER the big day.  I could use some ideas (see previous post). 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I went ot a lecture on nutrition for women and my brain is trying to adjust to ways to get rid of free radicals, who I thought were abolished years ago.  I haven't seen a "Make love, not war," sign carrying flower child on Berkley or any campus in 30 years.  Now, they are threatening my health and I need to eat more antioxidents to keep heart disease, diabetes, and cancer at bay.  Will these guys never let me live in peace?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Valentine's Day is my ONLY favorite "Hallmark holiday." This year I'm planning something very special for my love, my husband,  I haven't quite put it all together, and can use any help I can get.  Other than the "Aphrodisiac Cocktails," "Chocolate Covered Strawberries," and rose petals all of the magazines recommend, what else is likely to make my Valentine happy?

How are you going to spend your Valentines day?  Do you have any ideas to share on how to make it memorable?  I would love to hear what you have done or might do to make this day one to remember.  I am strongly inclined to have it be at home.  I've given consideration to the candle light even though he is not a candle or scent person (allergies).  No menu yet, but I want it to be romantic--come on, it's Valentine's Day!

He does have a sweet tooth, so I can come up with something for that, or Neuhaus will.  But how to make it unusual and something he will appreciate?  Ideas?


Valentines isn't just for grown ups.   Children are also looking forward to the holiday as much as I am.

It is of great dismay that I find that many young people I know grow up with a sense of entitlement, and lack a sense of pure gratitude and thoughtfulness.  Too many of them believe that it is their right to receive, yet have little sense or knowledge of their obligation to give.  I have struggled with this and can't help but think that is because of a lack of upbringing that they are this way.

 I know there are many thankful, giving, and thoughtful young people, but I also am aware of those that are not.  What makes one young person think of others and another one think primarily of their own needs? 

I have never really thought about Valentine's Day being a holiday that offers a teaching moment.  But, being a teacher,  I am always on the lookout for lessons in life that we can learn from.

This morning, while reading my list of favorite blogs,  I came across just such an example of a teaching moment from Lecia, a mother who is taking full advantage of Valentine's Day to instill a caring and thoughtful nature in her children.  She can be reassured that by taking the time to instruct her children to complete this Valentine's Day activity with her, they will remember how important it was to her that they learn to "give to others,"and not just expect to take.

I was so impressed that Lecia was able to go to her child's classroom, photograph each of the children in the class, and print out the photos.  Next, she had her child glue the photo onto card stock and with glitter glue, write what her child liked best about that classmate on the inside of the card. 

This handmade card will then be given to their classmate in the classroom for Valentine's Day!  What a wonderful gift, to her child!  Oh, and as a by-product, to her child's classmate!  The gift of giving!  I wish I had thought of it when my children were young!

Here is a link to her blog where she describes and photographs the steps she took to make this memorable event happen in her child's life.  Please go to her blog and take a look.  She is a very creative mom who is doing a wonderful job of being a mother.  I know you will love, love, love her blog,  A Day That is Dessert .  

And, if you can recommend any great ideas for making my Valentine's Day more memorable for my hubby, please don't forget to leave a message.  I need all the help I can get!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tierpark Hellabrunn: Munich Zoo

Pretty scary dude, eh?  He may not be the most handsome lizard in the pack, but I'm rather pleased with the photo I took of him.  Today, a friend of mine took me with him on a photograph tour.  I think his lessons paid off, don't you?

Here are a couple of more from our excursion.

When I posted this, it looked like he was a statue, but it's the real deal!


I wonder what he is thinking here?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Joyce did it again this week.  Seven killer questions designed to make you go....hum.  Don't wait!  Click on her badge above and jump in.  I promise, you'll enjoy it.

 1. Would you rather be seen as a person who did your duty or forged your own path?
As paths go, I am a person who is tethered to duty.  Marriage, children, grandchildren have all secured that for me.  Besides, my Puritanical ancestors have largely seen to it that should I ever have a notion to forge out on my own and throw all caution to the wind, the notion won't last longer than a nano second.  

However, if you ever open a newspaper and read that a certain senior citizen is tight roping her way over the Las Vegas strip, you'll know that not only did I throw all caution to the wind, but I buried it too!

2. This week's Wednesday Hodgepodge happens to fall on Groundhog's Day. In keeping with that theme, if you could have a do-over of any one day out of the last seven, which day would it be and why? If you haven't seen the movie Groundhog Day this question will make absolutely no sense but that's okay...you can answer anyway.

If I could have a do over this week, it would be the day the husband came home and we....Oh, My!  TMI!!

3. Hot cocoa...yay or nay on the marshmallows?

Yay, but only the big fluffy ones.

4. Do you wear makeup every day? What are the top two must haves in your daily makeup routine?

At the risk of sounding like I am boasting, if there is one thing I am proud of, appearance wise, it is my skin.  Not that I have ever done anything to make it good.  I was just dealt a good hand at birth; it is all due to my genes. 

 My whole life people have always guessed me to be 10-15 years younger than I really am.  Now, it is a compliment, not so in my 20's or even 30's.

I know, it's a curse.....one that I share with my one and only sister.

Here is the reason we sisters rarely need to wear makeup.

She was modeling in this photograph in her 70's!  

Me mum.

Sis and I remember mom using a bar of dove soap for her cleansing routine.  But, boy did she love her makeup!  I never recall her leaving the house without a full face, as she called it.

Here she is in her youth and you can see her dewy complexion through this ancient,  73 year old  scanned  photo. 

And again here, but I honestly don't recall her exercising or skating a day in her life.  But here is proof positive that she did.  

Sorry for posting so many photos of her, but she left this world at 78 yrs. old, eleven years ago.   I miss her more and more each day.

Now, back to the question.  I think it is cultural as well, Joyce.  Here in Germany women rarely bother with cosmetics.  All ages seem to prefer going Au Natural.  "When in Rome...."  Or, it could be due to the exorbitant cost of cosmetics.  More about that later in my blog.

 A few years back, my sister and I got our eyeliner, under our eyes, tattooed.  The best thing I ever did for my appearance.  

Now, a little bit of lippie, as my Aussie hubby says, and we're off!

Mom, sis and I in days gone by...(Check out my blond do.)  Blame my sis, she's my hairdresser, tee, hee.

 (I can't believe we aren't having champagne!  It was our favorite drink when we were out together...miss those days.)  

Ah....what was the question again, Joyce?? (Just kidding.)

5. Is it more important to you in a relationship to be loved or understood?

As Oprah said to Piers on CNN, "You're good, Joyce.  You're very good."

HA!  No man has ever understood me, EVAH!  

Even my own sons don't understand me, but I'm used to it.   It no longer rattles me.  But if I were not loved by them, I ... I....I...

6. Parsley, sage, rosemary, or thyme...your favorite?
Rosemary on leg of lamb, please? Danke.

7.  What do you do when you are angry?

Retrieve my list of hit men from the house safe, change my name, and go underground.   Wish there were another way.

Just kidding.  I stew, I pout, I toss a few pillows hither and yon,  and then I submit, let go, and drop to my knees.  

8.  Submit your own thought here.
God bless the Egyptian nation.