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, November 2, 2011


1. Who taught you how to cook?
Anyone who was willing to give me a lesson.  My mother, mother-in-law, her mother, my daughter-in-law,  a new mother-in-law, my sister and sister-in-law, and two new countries.  My first mother-in-law taught me Hungarian dishes, her mother taught me Jewish dishes.  My daughter-in-law is from Jordan and is a wonderful cook and has unbelievable patience with me in her kitchen.  Her dishes are truly indescribably delicious. My mother-in-law, now, is from Australia and is very generous in teaching me what her son likes, except for the whole Vegemite thing.  They can just keep that in Australia (hope I didn't offend any Aussies here, sorry.)  Now, living in Germany, I have a plethora of willing teachers, both German and from all around the world.   The International Women's Club of München, to which I belong, has an activity called "Clever Cooks" where members invite other members into their kitchens to learn how to recreate their favorite homemade dishes from there respective countries.  This has proved to be a great way to learn ethnic dishes.  I'm a cook learning in progress...

                                          My beautiful, Jordanian, daughter-in-law & son

                      My beautiful, Urguyayan, daughter-in-law with son and grandson #2

                                                            My lovely sis and myself

Australian mother-in-law and my American uncle together in Munich (were we trying to matchmake or what, just kidding.)

2. Have you been told you think too much? Are too much of a perfectionist? Are too sensitive? Were they right?

I don't have to be told that I think too much.  I'm still searching for the darn OFF button.

3. As a child did you have a favorite blanket or toy? Tell about it.

I did, but I haven't thought about it until Joyce posed this question.  It was a doll that was soft and it was my height as a child of four or five.  She actually was a Raggedy Ann doll with strips of elastic under her feet.  I would put my foot into the elastic which would make her shoes go over mine.  I held her hands outstretched and her head (soft doll) would flop on my shoulder and we would dance together the way I would dance with my dad while placing my feet on his feet.  What a great memory (tears here).  Thanks, Joyce, for conjuring up something I had long forgotten about.  Why don't they make that kind of doll for little girls now a days?  Would they like them as much as I did?

4. What 'institution' do you have the most faith in?
When I think of "institutions" I think of these guys, prisoners, because I once worked at an institution for the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation for the State of Ohio at this place, The Toledo Correctional Institution.  I don't know how much correction we did there, but I did teach and many convicted criminals (think medium-maximum level facility that houses 1,850 prisoners in the city of Toledo.) did get their GEDs while I taught there.

Oh, that word institution is fully loaded, isn't it?  Not a fan of institutions  so I guess I will have to say none.  Unfortunately, they are necessary in our society and have been forever.  

No, I prefer to put my faith in Him who will not disappoint or abandon me.  

                                                                            As if!!

5. Chrysanthemums, pansies, burning bush, ornamental cabbage...your favorite in an autumn garden?

Oh....the burning bush, for sure.  I just love them and fortunately I have them in the states.  We will go back in April to do a lot of new plantings and I am sure I will stock up on these beauties for the fall season.

6. What superpower do the kids in your neighborhood seem to posses?

We have a girl, age 3, and a boy, age 2, above us in our apartment complex here in München.  They are adorable little towhead blonds who keep their mummy and daddy very busy.  As far as the city of Munich goes, we are fortunate to have a large garden (yard for the Americans) so the kiddies are out of doors as much as possible.  They appear to have superpowers of unlimited energy as I look out to see a wearied set of parents.  Perhaps I ought to offer to help out/babysit once in a while and give these two a break!

7. Are you a fan of the cranberry?

Mostly for it's medicinal purposes or as a a companion with vodka and lime on a sunny beach somewhere.  But my sister-in-law (see #1) gave me her killer cranberry relish recipe for our Thanksgivings and I really do enjoy this dish.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Hubby and I have decided to to do the "Love Dare" that was so popular a few years back after downloading the movie "Firepoof" with one of my favorite child actors, Kirk Cameron. We are not a marriage in trouble, but we have been married 12 years (second time for us both) and have learned how important it is to "Maintain" a marriage.  Sensing a need to revisit what is important in a marriage and what work (yes, I did use the proper word) daily is needed to keep a marriage strong and beautiful, we decided to try it.  We are on day four and it really is exhausting challenging to remind yourself each day of the things we often neglect in our busy lives that contribute to a wonderful marriage.  

Although it is difficult, we are so happy we are doing this for us.  Here is what hubby sent me today in an email from his office reminding me of our past four lessons:

                       Side note:  He has the most perfect handwriting, doesn't he?

Hubby is oversimplifying this a bit.  
Day 1 meant biting your tongue when you wanted to say something you shouldn't have.  
Day 2 meant doing an act of kindness towards your mate, even if you didn't feel like it or felt they didn't deserve it.  (See what I mean about tough?)
Day 3 meant going out of your daily routine to pick up a phone and check on your spouse just to see how they are doing.  (We do this a lot anyways, but if you weren't into this habit, it could be easily interpreted as "checking up" on your spouse--a touchy area as shown on the movie, "Fireproof."  Did I tell you we were both in tears at the end of this movie?)
Day 4 meant actually going out and buying something worthy of how much you love your mate, not something chintzy or cheap just to fulfill that day's challenge.  (Sorry, I won't reveal what he got me, but I will tell you it took a lot of thought and was just what I needed! He did good!  Oh, I will tell you I bought him two 100% cashmere sweaters to keep my loved one good and warm in Munich winters.  He loved it and it was a great pleasure to see how happy it made him,:-)

Today, we are to tell our spouse 3 things that we do to cause him or her to be uncomfortable or irritated with us.  (See what I mean about exhausting and difficult??  Can you imagine the work it takes to write this in a kind, loving, and not offensive way?  Prayers needed that we don't have to decide who gets the house and kids after this challenge today!!)

He is really taking this seriously and so am I. ( Only good can come of this 40 day challenge, right?).  Pray for us....please.  It really is work people and we will need all the prayers we can get to get us through this challenge.  I promised not to look ahead in the workbook, "The Love Dare," and I haven't, but God have mercy on my soul if it gets harder than this.  


                                                KRAÜTERGARTEN (Herbal Garden)
Monday, Nov.7th, I begin Intensive German classes, alas.  I say that with foreboding because of all of the horror stories I hear from expats about their forays into German language and culture.  But, not to be daunted, I will venture forth in my blissful ignorance of the myriad errors I will likely commit and do my best to become educated.  My classes are every weekday from 9 am until 12:30 pm.  Just enough time to rattle this old brain and challenge it's ability to still learn a new language.  (Most of the Mandarin I have learned has disappeared and is only used in Chinese restaurants.  I hope our lengthy years of living in Deutschland will imprint this language on my psyche so that I will not have it disappear as my Mandarin has.)

I am looking forward to being able to  speak without pantomime communicate effectively with German speakers while also learning how to read in my (fourth?) language.  I don't feel you can truly assimilate into a new culture without being able to speak and read the language.  Only then will I feel a part of this country and not just a bystander.  Also, I will learn the correct spelling, pronunciation, and names for the things I know have to "Americanize" for my family and friends to understand.

Wish me luck on this new adventure and cross your fingers that I will be able to pass the test that will allow me to travel overseas and guarantee that I will be able to re-enter Germany.  The necessity of this validation is what has spurred me on to this quest, but now that it is imminent,I am looking forward to seeing how I do.  

I will update you and share with you what will certainly be a difficult, yet rewarding, challenge.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


It was a glorious day today in München and a holiday too!  Temperatures hovered around 55° and the hubby and I could not wait to enjoy the great outdoors so we headed about 20 miles south of us to walk along the Isar River. Alongside of the river is a canal and we found much firmer footing there than along the side of the river that is made up of large stones.

Autumn is in full here in Bavaria and as you can see, we were not alone in wanting to feel the crisp air and admire the panorama.    People were walking, riding their bikes, roller blades, and horses.  We even saw a guy on skates using his ski poles to push him along!

We took along a bottle of Wolfe Blass Australian Shiraz, a few wine glasses, cheese and apples for our mid-day snack.  Tossing a blanket next to the river, we sat down to enjoy the scenery while feeling the sun on our faces.

After a few glasses, we continued our journey along the canal until we came upon a Gasthaus with a bier garden.  The aroma of Nuremberg sausages and apfelstrudel was teasing us and it didn't take much for us to succumb.

Looking at this lovely salad, you might think I was being very healthy this afternoon, but this was just the starter.  Along with the salad, I had roast pork, a knudle (dumpling), and warm sauteed purple cabbage (think of sweet and sour cabbage).  Hubs had the sausages and then generously shared his warm apfelstrudel with cream sauce.  YUM!

I hope we have more of these weekends before winter arrives.  This week it will be sunny and near 60° so we plan to make the most of our days outdoors.  Crossing my fingers that the leaves stay on the trees and we can continue to see their vibrant hues for a while longer.