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



My photo
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.

Subscribe Now: Feed Icon

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


1.  Do you think the world became a more dangerous place on September 11, 2001 or are we just more aware of the danger? How has your own life changed as a result of that day?
It is more dangerous to us in the sense that tragedy has come to OUR soil. No, my life is not that affected by it.

2. Did you think your parents were too strict when you were growing up? How about in hindsight?
My father was the Dean of Boys in charge of discipline at my high school. I lost the battle before it began.

3. Share one random but candid fact about yourself.
Today is my birthday!

4. Would your nearest and dearest describe you as simple or far too complicated?
No doubt complicated.

5. What is your favorite stadium or carnival food?
Hot pretzels are my fav whether they are at a stadium or a carnival.

6. Tornado, hurricane, earthquake...how many of these natural disasters have you experienced? Which do you think would be the scariest?
An earthquake in Indonesia.  I slept through it.  

7. Labor day weekend is approaching so a work related question seems appropriate. Growing up, did your parents assign you regular chores? Were you paid for doing those chores. If you're a parent do you assign chores to your own children? Why or why not? 

Are you kidding?  An allowance for me as a child?  What is that?
My two boys never got one either.  They did chores because it was their duty.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Birthdays on the other side of the world from my children and grandchildren are not ideal, but the important ones in my life remembered me and contacted me to wish me a happy birthday.  I am thrilled that I have so many loving people in my life.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Each week our village is visited by surrounding farmers who bring in their produce for us to purchase.  The produce is organic and fresh.  As the summer draws to an end, it won't be long before squash, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes begin to appear.  I am anxiously awaiting these vegetables as the ones in the stores are not worth buying at the moment.

In addition to the lovely produce, they bring kegs of delicious olives, sun dried tomatoes, gherkins, fresh cheeses and breads to the market .  Right now it is mushroom season and I have been buying them to prepare sauteed over a salad of baby lettuce and arugula.  Delicious with fresh tomato, cucumber and balsamic vinegar and oil dressing.

I can't think of a vegetable or fruit that I would need that doesn't exist in this market.  They even bring exotic fruits that I have only seen in Asia, such as durian, the fruit Singapore banned because of it's obnoxious smell.  But, it is so delicious and sweet.  Almost like custard.

The durian fruit is in the basket at the bottom of the photo with the spiny skin.  The moment it falls from the tree it begins to give off it's uniquely abhorrent odor.  Only the brave dare to slice it open to find it's sweet pulp.  Rambutans, the red spiky fruit on the top shelf can be found in Malaysia, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Hawaii, and even Puerto Rico.  They have a white, soft, oval seed that tastes similar to a lychee, to me.  What a treat to find in Munich!

It wouldn't be a farmer's market without fresh farm eggs.  This particular farmer has lines before his stall that are a good 20 feet long.  I head out early since the market is across the street, just to be sure to get his eggs before he sells out.  He even sells hard-boiled eggs that are amazing.  On Friday, he comes again to sell his freshly butchered meats.  Lamb, chicken, duck, beef, pork and home made sausages.  Again, if you don't get to him early, he may sell out before the day is over.

Here is the mushroom stall with about every kind of mushroom you might imagine.  They even sell white truffles if that is what you like to prepare.  I love to eat pasta with shaved white truffles, from Italy.  Perhaps I will try to prepare my own one day.  The possibilities are endless when so much fresh produce is just at your fingertips.  Tonight I am preparing a carrot, orange, and ginger cream soup with the lovely carrots I bought.  I will let you know how it turns out.  It is the first time I have made it.  

Monday, August 29, 2011


There are days, such as today, when I have to keep pinching myself to see if it isn't all a dream.  Small Bavarian villages, Alpine lakes, clouds that appear to be floating through the sky suspended in air with invisible strings and a crisp blue sky enchants me once again .  Today was such a day; unreal as if the true perfect balance of nature conspired together to create a day so gentle and pure that it defied the imagination.  Today was a day that I wish could have gone on forever.  It was really that good.

We are fortunate to live within 15 minutes of Starnberg lake and 30 minutes from the Ammersee (Ammer lake). If you look closely at the photo I took of these sail boats idly floating on the calm surface of the water, you will see the Alps in the background.  On this day, they are nearly blue on the horizon.  Depending on the weather they can appear gray, blue, and even purple.

The weather was gorgeous so we took a stroll along the shore admiring the German architecture until our thirst got the better of us.  A small cafe suited our needs and the husband decided to do an iced coffee that looked mighty tasty.

I stuck with my usual, and Apfelschole (apple juice with spritzer water.)  Since it was so beautiful outside, we chose a small biergarten nearby.

Of course, we could have went rowing or kayaking, took the ferry to the other side of the lake to Herrsching or played miniature golf.  Instead, we chose to soak in the afternoon sun and people watch.  We were not alone.   Nearly every available park bench on the promenade was taken.

Bikes, strollers, skateboards, and rollerblades made their way past us as we took in the sights and just chilled.  People of all ages and ethnic backgrounds passed before us.  Most everyone was keen on taking the ferry to the other side of the lake.

We chose to while away the hours with the beautiful lake in front of us and gardens like the one above, behind us.  Bavaria has so much natural beauty to offer.  I still pinch myself from time to time to check that I'm really here and living so close to nature.  It has surpassed all of my dreams.

Friday, August 26, 2011


On Wednesday, August 24th at 1:54 pm, my husband mailed some rather important legal documents by Fed Ex here in Munich, Germany to arrive in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He generally leaves nothing to chance and has been "tracking" the documents since Wednesday afternoon by computer on the Fed Ex website.  Today, he "lost it" when he logged onto the website and found this (read from bottom up.  DE stands for "Deutschland" or "Germany").

Aug 26, 2011 7:40 AM 
Departed FedEx location 
Aug 26, 2011 5:35 AM 
Arrived at FedEx location 
Aug 26, 2011 4:06 AM 
Departed FedEx location 
Aug 26, 2011 3:18 AM 
In transit 
Aug 25, 2011 12:37 AM 
International shipment release 
Aug 24, 2011 11:24 PM 
Arrived at FedEx location 
Aug 24, 2011 10:00 PM 
In transit 
Aug 24, 2011 9:15 PM 
Departed FedEx location 
Aug 24, 2011 7:26 PM 
Arrived at FedEx location 
Aug 24, 2011 6:32 PM 
In transit 
Aug 24, 2011 5:58 PM 
In transit 
Aug 24, 2011 4:59 PM 
In transit 
Aug 24, 2011 2:19 PM 
Left FedEx origin facility 
Aug 24, 2011 1:54 PM 
Picked up 

Why our papers went to Paris, we do not know.  We do know why Fed Ex is expensive after witnessing a trip over the Atlantic from Europe and then back again.  What is it Fed Ex?  What's the problem?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday's Hodgpodge

1. What is something that bothers you if it's not done perfectly?
 Not much really.  I'm not a perfectionist.  One thing I dislike is crumbs on a countertop.  How anyone can walk by a countertop with crumbs and not stop to clean them us mystifies me.  It is so obvious.  But I seem to be the only person in my family that is disturbed by it, so I am usually the one to do the cleanup.  But, I hardly call that doing something perfectly.  I guess I don't get too bothered by minor details.

2. Do you think a 6th sense exists? Explain.
 As in ESP or something?   Yes, I do believe that there are people with a keen sense of reality and who are blessed with an uncanny ability to look into the future.  Some people seem to be much more "in tune" with their surroundings and appear to "pick up" on clues that the rest of us don't recognize.  I like to think of these people having a more developed set of sense than the rest of us for whatever reason.  I have read that people will develop parts of the brain that are not used in the future.  Who knows if everyone will know the future then?

3. Do you say your goodbyes slowly, quickly, or not at all?
 I like them to be quick and they are never, "Goodbyes forever."  I always add, "Until next time,"  or "I'll see you soon."  And then I make a point to do just that.

4. On a scale of 1-10, with ten being hot hot hot, what level of spice do you like in your food? What's your favorite 'spicy' dish?
No where near a 10, I'm afraid.  Perhaps a 4 or 5 at the most.  Spicy Tofu is my favorite "Spicy" dish.  It is a Chinese dish with hot chili's, minced pork, and tofu.  I am addicted to it. P.F. Chang's has an amazing spiced tofu.  However, the best I ever tasted was prepared by my Ayi, Shau Gau, in Shanghai, China.  Fortunately, she gave me the recipe.

                                                                Nestle Dog, Farfel

5. What is one of your all time favorite commercial jingles? 

Well, one that has stayed with me throughout my life was the old Nestles commercial.  A dog would sing, "N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle makes the very best......chocolate."  Then, he would snap his mouth shut and it would sound like two boards hitting one another.

 I have no idea why I remember it, but the jingle stayed with me all of my years.  I love chocolate and Nestle makes very good chocolate so I am always remembering this little ditty from the commercial back from the early 60's.

6. Plane, train, boat or auto...your preferred method of travel?
Planes are so much faster, so it is my preferred method of travel.

7. What is something you take for granted?

Health, and I am quickly learning that if I don't take better care of myself, my health may not be with me in the future.  I've made some lifestyle changes because of it.  Time to get my head out of the sand.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

We bought the boxed set of "Mad Men" here in Germany.  We've watched Season One and just started Season Two.  Of course, seeing so many people smoking in public places was awkward, but to see how many cigarettes they smoked at one sitting was shocking.  Yet, I remember my mother smoking constantly when I was a child.  She did give it up, cold turkey, in her 50's, but she would have smoked a couple of packs of day in her prime.  

Another odd thing is watching a pregnant woman drink alcohol.  Then again, who knew the dangers of drinking while pregnant back in the late 50's and early 60's?  But it is interesting how I cringe today when I see it and it was socially acceptable and not considered a health hazard for the baby at all back in the 50's and 60's.  It makes you wonder what else we are doing today that is unhealthy that one day our ancestors will cringe at.  I'm guessing it will be the hormones in our beef, the pesticides in our food, and the pollution in our air.  One day, I hope people will be aghast at our heedless attention to the environment and our food supply.

I guess the most disturbing part of watching "Mad Men" is the attitude of the women in their 30's and older.  It is as if they exist as mere extensions of their husbands.  Their lives are filled with shopping and housekeeping and mostly making their husband's" happy."  This attitude spills over into making sure that they are attractive as a way of "Earning their keep."  What a sad notion. 

 Do women today still think that way?  It was horrifying to watch, but unfortunately, I recall my own mother and aunts doing the very same things to "Keep their husbands."  I would hope that we females have evolved more than that since the 60's. Have we?


I have a very special milestone coming up in my life; my birthday is at the end of the month.  It is a significant birthday and let's just say it isn't one that people tend to let pass without some special celebration.  When the hubby asked what I would like to do for my "Special Birthday," I didn't hesitate to tell him that I wanted just the two of us to escape to somewhere romantic.

We are blessed to live in an ideal location in Europe, Munich, Germany.  We are close to Italy, Switzerland, Austria, France, and countries like Croatia, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. So, it was quite an ordeal to narrow down the destinations to one we thought would fit the bill.  Fortunately, we chose Sardinia, Italy.

Sardinia is an island so we will have to take a ferry there and back from the mainland of Italy.  We chose an overnight ferry to the island where we will stay at a Spa Resort for one week.  I can't tell you how excited I am to spend one whole week with my husband ,just being pampered.  We've never done it.  We've stayed at plenty of resorts, but never a Spa Resort.  It is an all-inclusive resort, so our meals, drinks, and spa treatments are included.  I get chills just thinking about it.

The resort is on the Northwest side of the island and sits on the ocean.  A huge National Forest is within walking distance and we are taking our bikes to explore.  Sardinia is known for it's excellent cuisine and for it's luscious wines.  I am sure we will have no problem partaking in either.

This will be a birthday that I won't forget, even though the accumulation of years will have made their mark, it will be easier to swallow with some great Italian wine, a beautiful massage, and a Mediterranean menu with my lovely husband who made this all happen.

Although my birthday is at the end of the month, the trip is the week of September 11-18.  I don't know how I will get through the next three weeks of anticipation.  I have seen photos of the resort and we have discussed the many things we want to do while on the island.  Having a full week with my husband without a computer, phone calls, or a set schedule will be wonderful for the both of us.  Another good thing is that all of the kids in Europe will have gone back to school by then so we will have a very quiet get away, which I love.  Don't get me wrong.  I love children and have some of my own, but this is an adult vacation and I am so looking forward to it.

I don't  to wish my life away, but September 11th can't come soon enough!
"Grazie tesoro mio marito per questo dono meraviglioso," Thank you for this wonderful gift, my darling husband."

Monday, August 22, 2011

About three months ago, I removed my acrylic nails and I have regretted it ever since.  I love having beautiful nails, I really resent having to spend time in a nail salon to have them done every 3 weeks.  My nail tech is fast and she is good, but I still fidget and yawn and practically fall asleep while she is working.  Does anyone else have this problem?

Flashy nail polish intrigues me and I love seeing it on someone else.  Since I can barely tolerate the amount of time I spend in a nail salon now, I very much doubt I would be willing to spend the extra time it would take to wear some of these nail designs.  Still, they are intriguing.

The color above, since it is just an application, would take minimal time.  It is a color I have never worn, but I could see myself trying this one.  Would you?  I guess it is a matter of taste, but I also think it is fun to push the envelope at times and wear something fun for a change.  It can always be changed.

T'hen again, I think one can go overboard and the nails above scare me.  I love the length and shape of all of these examples.  I usually went for a bit longer, more squared look.  To be honest, I mostly had them do a French nail technique and loved it.

Perhaps I will go back to my acrylics and the mind numbing time in the salon, but not just now.  Summer is here and a nail salon is the LAST place I want to be right now.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Today we went to visit a local "Bad" (swimming pool) in our community.  While there, we were asking the clerk at the desk questions about memberships, hours, etc. and she was extremely pleased to be speaking English with someone.  Since it wasn't very busy today, we humored her and spent a few moments with her so she could use her English.  During the conversations, she asked where we were from and the hubby said, "Australia" and I told her "America."  "America?" she asked. "Isn't there a lot of violence and shootings there like we see in the films?"  As I started to explain that what one sees here in Germany is what Hollywood portrays as real, isn't necessarily reality, the husband goes into an uproar about how all Americans carry guns and our crime rate is so far above Germany's.

Now I know he does just this to pull my chain, and between us it is funny and I get it that he is exaggerating just to get a rise out of me.  But,  after we left I began to worry that her notion of what America is really like is probably no different from what the rest of the world sees.  They only see what we (Hollywood) want them to see--a violent America.  I guess we shouldn't be surprised when they actually believe it.

Another event that happened today had me practically doing cartwheels across the lawn was when I went to the drug store to refill my prescriptions.  I take four different medications daily.  I have them refilled for a three month supply.  Even though I have medical insurance in the U.S., I rarely leave the drug store under $70.00 every three months. Now, since we are local in Germany, we carry German medical insurance.   Today, under the German medical insurance, I paid €18.30 for the very same three month supply!!  Imagine!  I couldn't!  Even though I questioned the pharmacist a number of times, she assured me the amount was correct.  Yea for German medical insurance!

We spent another lovely weekend by the lake and I came to appreciate another fact about Germany that I hadn't realized until now.  There are no speedboats, motor boats, or jet ski's on German lakes.  WHAT??  How can that be?  American's would be in an uproar if they couldn't race around in watercraft on the lakes and rivers. What would a weekend on a lake be if not for the yacht, high speed motorboat, or revved up Skido?  Not so in Germany.  They have been banned for years.  Noise pollution and environmental pollution.  Again, I just love Germany.

One more tidbit, before I go,that I would like to share with you is how German's pay their bills.  Like Americans, they can go online to their bank account and have money transferred to pay a bill.  But what they cannot do personally is send a check.

Instead, they take the bill to the bank and the bank pays the bill directly. The bills come in the mail with a detachable form that you write in the amount, your account number, and your signature.  You drop it in the slot and off you go.   Now how cool is that?  No checks to order, ever!  No waiting in line at a store while someone writes a check.  Like us, Germans use cash, credit, or debit cards; otherwise, all bills are paid directly by the bank.  It couldn't be any easier.

 We have a lot to learn from our German friends.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


It was an overcast, cloudy sort of day today, but the temperature was hovering between 70 - 75° by mid-day.  Bits of sunshine managed to escape through the clouds from time to time making it a rather pleasant day for a day trip to Walachensee, Germany, near the Alps.

From our new apartment, the Alps are a stone's throw away.  Today we left the apartment at 11:00 am and within 20 minutes we saw them rise from the horizon. It is a good feeling to know that they are this close.  Now, on a weekend we can head for the hills (um, mountains) to get away from Dodge.

When you live in a large city, nature and the outdoors mean so much more.  We find that scenes like the one above so close to our home are extremely valuable to us.  It doesn't matter what direction we drive, we are always presented with pastoral scenes that restore our souls.

"Say hello, cutiepie and greet my readers!"  This fellow was eating out of our hands on the side of a road.  He and a fellow colt were both grazing in a field with their mothers.  Isn't he gorgeous?

He wasn't the only pretty face we saw today.  My, my, this cow stopped her grazing to give me the evil eye.  She was in good company with her mates in a pasture at the foot of the grand Alps.

Talk about gorgeous.  I told the hubby today that it is a good thing that our apartment is only on the 2nd floor and we couldn't see the Alps from there.  I want to come upon them and feel thrilled each time as I was today.  I'm afraid that if they were visible each day I might tire of their grandeur.

This is the Walchensee surrounded by majestic mountains and full of clear Alpine water.  The skies have cleared, as you can see, and provided a perfect day for us to enjoy.

These two fellas had the right idea.  Notice how clear the lake is.  Oh, and what you may not realize is how cold the water is.  No swimming today for us, thank you.

Instead, we chose to go here, lakeside, and have a cuppa.  There's the hubby waiting for me to finish taking photos.  He is ever so patient with me.

These were planted in the garden and these below.

I am not an expert on flowers, so I can't tell you what they are.  I have a feeling the peach colored ones might be Dahlias, but I'm not positive.  The wine colored ones grow on a stalk like snapdragons do.  But again, I can't identify them.  I just know I love them both equally.

I don't think I will ever tire of the perfect fairytale German villages in Bavaria.  There is a certain pride in what is traditional and German and Bavarians work hard to keep their villages authentically German.  Wouldn't you just love to go inside?  Well, you can!  It is a guest house open to the public.

This is another guest house in Walchensee.  I love the facade and the paintings around the shutters.  I'm guessing there is a whole industry of special painters who are able to conform otherwise bland homes and buildings into these glorious masterpieces of German art.

No, I don't think I will ever tire of admiring the building or the art in these small Bavarian villages.  What a delight for the eye!

Even the less grand buildings still maintain their integrity and German charm.  (Notice the scarecrow in the garden.)
Yes, it was a perfect day at the Walchensee admiring the landscape, the livestock and horses, the lakes and the mountains.  Oh, did I mention the trees?  The forests were so green and abundantly fertile.  Bavaria has had a great deal of rain in the past months, as you can tell.

I am sure we will revisit this area.  We were back home by 4:30 pm with plenty of daylight to spare.  Hubby wants to ride his bike around the lake and I've spotted a spa on the edge of the lake that is also a guesthouse with saunas, whirlpools, and massage treatments.  Whoo, hoo!