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, September 28, 2011


I have been vacationing and it has been difficult to keep up with Joyce's mime, but this week I am back and I intend to give it my all.  If you care to join, just click on the badge above and give it a go.  I'm sure you will enjoy it.

1. It is officially fall here in North America...I realize not everyone who participates in the Hodgepodge lives in North America but if you do, what's your favorite memory of Summer 2011? If you're not in North America, what's your favorite memory of the season just ending on your side of the world?
My favorite memory of the summer of 2011 would have to be the time I spent with my son's and their families back home in the U.S.  Because I live far away from the family back in Ohio, my best memories are of the times I can be with them.

2. Your favorite nut? You know I mean the edible kind, right?
I am not a nut person, but of all of them, I would say cashews.
3. What activity puts your sense of balance to the test?

Anything having to do with descending stairs, hills, or mountains.  I've torn my meniscus in my left knee more times than I want to admit to and this is the activity that puts me off kilter the most.  Other than that, I'm game to try anything, at least once.

4. How would you describe your sense of humor?
Hum, I tend to find humor in slapstick and love it when people don't take themselves too seriously.  I'm awful at telling jokes, but as a former high school teacher, I am pretty good at finding humor in almost any situation.  Laughing is good for you!

5. September 28th is National Ask a Stupid Question Day...what's your stupid question?

Always wanted to know why there is Braille at the drive thru ATM's?
6. Roller skates~hula hoop~jump rope...which activity would you most enjoy? Yes, you have to choose.

Most certainly hula hoop--the meniscus thing again.

7. What's your most sentimental possession?

Any piece of jewelry my husband buys for me as a surprise is going to qualify.  These pieces mean so much to me because he gave them to me from the heart.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Can the Christmas holidays only be 87 days away?  How did that happen?  OH!  Happy Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) today to all of my Jewish friends!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


We've returned from our week in Sardinia and we're both sporting a lovely tan and the smiles haven't left our faces yet.  This vacation was meant to be all about sun, surf, and sand and it did not disappoint.  We have not had such a relaxing vacation in years and it was just what we needed.  No appointments, no agendas, and no deadlines.  We woke when we felt like it, beached when we wanted to, and stayed until the sun went down.  The temperatures were in the high 80's each day and a gentle breeze off the Mediterranean allowed us to bask in the sun as long as we wished.  A better week we could not have picked.

Our trip began when we drove from Munich, Germany to the port city of Genoa, Italy.  We spent the night in Genoa and took the ferry to Sardinia the following night.  The photo above is Christopher Columbus' house (on the right of the towers).  He was born in Genoa and they take great pride in his accomplishments.

The ferry took our car and we spent the night in a cabin.  The ferry was actually a cruise ship with four dining rooms, two large bars. a play room, a movie theater, and a pool!  We arrived in Sardina 10 hours later at 7:30 am rested, showered and fed and then got in our car and drove out of the ferry into the town of Olbia.

Our hotel was in Esmerelda, Cale de Volpe; a section of Sardinia where all of the beaches are.  You can see the hotels begin on the left top of the photo.

The beach was just behind our hotel and as you can see it was a beautiful shade of aquamarine with a white sandy beach.  The water was so clear that you could see the bottom of white sand.   I believe the water and the air temperature were nearly the same.  It was refreshing without being a shock to your body when you entered the water.

Sardinia is known for it's red wines which the Italians call "black" wine.  Much has been written about the longevity of the Sardinian folk and they attribute their long life span to this wine. Must be the high anti-oxidents. We found it delicious.  The photo above of the grape arbor was taken near our hotel.  Vineyards are everywhere.

Because of it's many inlets, Sardinia is considered a favored spot for many who yacht.  At almost every turn along the coast you can see all sizes of boats or ships, but sailing in this part of the Mediterranean seems to be the most popular activity.

We are not sailors, but if we were, this would be a sailor's paradise for sure.  Plenty of places to set anchor or dock your boat with loads of cafes, restaurants and hotels nearby to set your sea legs.  Although, by the look of the watercraft in the harbors, I would venture to say that many of them have facilities on board to accommodate their needs.

However, if they are in the least bit short of bathing suits, towels or, I don't know, let's say champagne...Sardinia has shopping to equal any in any part of the world.

We are not shoppers on vacation and try to use our time to enjoy nature and relaxation.  But we are not opposed to enjoying the fruits of nature and we found  plenty of opportunity for that.

After all, isn't this what vacations are for?  We think so!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


It's been a strange week in Munich.  The weather has been all over the place.  Today it is raining intermittently throughout the day.  A perfect day to catch up on all of my correspondence and participate in Joyce's mime, "Wednesday Hodgepodge."  Interestingly, her questions had me thinking about fall, the weather, and even natural disaster preparedness.  I hope you can participate with us.  Just click on the "Wednesday Hodgpodge" badge above and it will take you to Joyce's site where she explains the procedures.  Have fun!

1. What is one piece of advice you would give a 'just-turning' 21 year old adult?
Speaking from experience (both of my sons who turned 21 many years ago)  I find it difficult to give them advice that they a) want to hear, and b) will heed.  That being said,  I suppose I would suggest that they reach for the stars and not let anything or anyone put them off their course.

2. Besides cooler weather (or warmer weather, depending on your hemisphere) what is one thing you are looking forward to this fall?
Our vacation to Sardinia next week and then a week in Venice in October.  We didn't take a vacation this summer and preferred to wait until all of the kiddies are back in school.

3. What sound lulls you to sleep?
I have trouble falling asleep.  If I could be near the ocean, I'm sure that the sound of the waves would be lulling and sleep would come naturally.

4. September is National Preparedness Month...does your family have an emergency 'kit' and/or disaster plan in place?
Our home in the states is in Ohio and in the spring tornados watches and warnings are quite frequent.  Everyone knows to go to the basement immediately.  We have fire alarms throughout the house and a plan for evacuation.  

5. How has your blog changed since you started blogging? Or has it?
It began as a diary of sorts to commemorate our move from the U.S. to Germany.  Throughout the 2  1/2 years that we have been living in Germany it has morphed into a blog about everyday life and commentary about all sorts of things.  Still, it serves it's purpose of giving family and friends back home an idea of what life is like in Europe.

6. What's something you've recently learned to do on the computer?
My computer, a MacBookPro, does just about everything.  My 12 year old grandson showed me how to make a movie, a slide presentation with music, and to make music.  Still, I can't say that these activities are that useful to me other than preparing a video for a special occasion.  I wish I had this kind of technology when I was teaching high school.  I could have made lessons much more appealing.

7. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.
One from an experienced, professional photographer or artist that understands his craft can even be better than words.  An image, done the right way, can evoke emotions in a way prose cannot.  Here are two examples that say all that can be said about the subject of war.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
We are in the midst of making some important decisions regarding investments and business ventures.  I am on needles and pins.  I wish I had a crystal ball so I could predict the future.  Life is so unpredictable now, economically.  I hope we make the right decisions. 

 After meeting with our financial advisor, researching stocks and bonds, reading all that we can about investments, it still feels like we are being blindfolded and tossing a dart at a picture of a donkey taped to the wall.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

West Family Adventures: Liebster Award

Liebster Award

Liebster Blog Award
has nominated me for a
Liebster Award!
Kathy is a follower who once lived in Germany
and called herself "Frau."
She was one of the first people I blogged with
when I moved to Germany
two years ago.
Thanks Kathy!

West Family Adventures: Liebster Award

The idea of the Liebster Award is to recognize and share blogs with less
than 200 followers.
So, you both receive it (go check Kathy out too!) and then award it
to 5 blogs that you enjoy.

Here's my 5:

Michelle at Jeweled Concrete
Betz at Betz White

Thursday, September 1, 2011


If your idea of a holiday is to live inside a sewage pipe, then have I got the place for you!  Das Park Hotel in Austria is just you kind of place.  There are 3 concrete drain pipes in a public park in Ottensheim.  The rooms are two meters across with storage, light, a bed, and blankets.  Sorry, no windows, but there is a sky light and a small window for air.  Andreas Strauss built these in 2004.  The designer had Austrian artist Thomas Latzel Ochoa put the paintings on the far wall with a coat of varnish to protect them.  Voila!  Living space!

I could see many uses for this type of living area.  Backpackers come to mind, youth hostel, campers and curiousity seekers.  The space stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer so there is no need for air con.

The hotel is located in a public park so you wouldn't have to go far for entertainment.  They give you a key after you have made your deposit and the room is yours, just like in a real hotel.  It has an advantage in that you wouldn't be disturbed by your neighbor with paper thin walls.  My only question is this:  "Where do you go to the loo?"