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 22, 2012


Wednesday Hodgepodge Vol 67

1. February 22nd is National Be Humble Day...what makes you proud? What keeps you humble?
Interesting, my grandson's, Wadiah, name means "humble" in Arabic.  He makes me very proud as do my children and grandchildren.  

What keeps me humble is the fact that in an instant I know all that I am proud of can disappear.  I would rather be thankful than proud.

2. Where is the catch-all (aka dumping ground) in your house?

This is a big "No, no" in our home.  I am constantly removing my hubby's keys and wallet from the countertop in the kitchen.  He has a dresser and a desk for that stuff!

3. Do you make it a point to visit State/National Parks when you travel or even in your own hometown? What's your favorite?

Yes, and once the hubs retires, we plan to visit as many as possible.  Yosemite is my favorite and I cannot wait to return.  
4. How would you define honor?

As far as being honorable, I would say a person who stands by his/her word, tells the truth, doesn't curse or swear or wish bad upon others, and treats everyone fairly.  My father was all of these things--and more.

5. Angel's food or Devil's food-which cake do you prefer?

No choice when it comes to chocolate. Devil's food it is.

6. What's the most recent road trip you've taken? Where did you go and how many hours did you spend in the car? Do you like to zoom to your destination without stopping or leisurely wind your way there with stops along the way? What is your car snack of choice?

Since we are now living in Europe and traveling from one country to another is like traveling from one state to another back in the U.S., car trips are very frequent for us.  The last one took us to Venice, Italy.  I refuse to go non-stop.  I'm a photographer and everything is new to us so we are often stopping along the way.  It's the journey, not the destination!    So we plan for frequent stops.

Car snacks for me are apples or pretzels and the prerequisite diet Pepsi, of course.
7. Recent headlines told how a preschool child in NC had their packed lunch from home taken away and a school lunch substituted by a school inspector who deemed the homemade lunch unhealthy. Reportedly the parent was then billed for the school lunch (chicken nugget meal) although an update to the story says the parent was not billed. The inspector was conducting a routine inspection of the classroom-he/she was not there solely to peek in the lunchboxes.
The packed lunch contained a turkey and cheese sandwich, an apple juice box, a bag of chips, and a banana. You can read the story here. Your thoughts?

All I have to say is, "Big Brother." How can this justify the salary of a school lunch inspector?  Next, we will have them in our homes.
8. Insert your own random thought here.  I will spill the beans as Joyce did--our next trip in March/April will be on a high speed train from Munich, Germany to Vienna, Austria, Kracow, Poland  and then on to Budapest, Hungary.  One by one, I am ticking off my bucket list of travel destinations.  These are cities are ones I have long awaited to visit with my hubby.  We are so anxious to do this.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012



     Sounds like a typical Bavarian dish, doesn't it?  Something along the lines of Schnitzel, perhaps?  Not even close!  This word was not in my vocabulary a week ago until a friend here in Munich clued me in.  Schaefflertanzer refers to a Bavarian dance done by a group of Coopers, or barrel makers.  If you don't want to wait 7 years, you can see the next best thing in the Glockenspiel (clock) in the Marienplatz (main square) in Munich. At the strike of 11:00 am,daily, the Coopers, or their painted figure resemblance, do the Schaefflertanzer for the crowds to view.

     The tradition of the Schäfflertanz dates back to the year 1517 when Munich was suffering the plague. Almost half of the city’s 20,000 inhabitants had succumbed to the dreaded disease. When the Plague ended, the Schäffler (coopers, or barrel-makers) journeymen, took it upon themselves to raise the spirits of the people of Munich by dancing through the streets with hoops wrapped in greens, accompanied by lively music. As Munich’s residents heard the commotion, shutters opened, faces appeared and slowly it was decided it was  safe to go out into the streets. The Schäffler clowned with the crowds, bringing smiles to those who had suffered so 
much grief.

Today, the barrel makers make their way throughout our fair city at designated time and locations.  The Reifenschwinger has the most difficult job. He holds a wooden hoop with an indentation on the inside rim for a small glass filled with wine. Standing on the keg in the middle of the circle of the dancers, he twirls his hoop over his head and between his legs, being careful, of course, not to spill one drop of wine from the glass. At the end of his performance, he drinks the wine and tosses the glass over his shoulder where one of the
clowns catches in his cap.

     This event grows large crowds of people of all ages.  We went to a local department store at 2 pm on Saturday and nearly didn't get an opportunity to watch it the crowds were so intense.  I wish I had an actual photo of the dance itself, but I was four or five deep in the crowd and astounded by how tall the German's are!  Truly!  Getting a decent photo was impossible, but I hope the ones I did get will do for now.

Friday, February 17, 2012


Can you believe it was way back in November when I blogged last?  I have been a bad, but busy girl learning German, Christmas travels, and post Christmas travel and participating in far too many of the Munich International Women's Club's events.  Where to begin?

I can tell you that I spent most of November and December struggling with the beginner's level of German (I-A)  and I am now ready to move up to the second level (I-B) level in March.  Taking classes every day for four hours isn't called Intensive German for no reason.  It had me spinning in circles and then came the big hiatus--Christmas and travel back to Ohio to be with the family.  I so enjoyed having my family, both sons and their wives and all 8 grandchildren together.  Here are the grandchildren and the tiny one on the left is our first great-granddaughter.

I divided my time between Toledo where our home is and Cleveland where my oldest son lives. Then, during the second week of January, I went south to Ft. Myer's, Fla. to spend some sis time with my only sister.

This photo is us, but about ten years ago.  I guess we both need to spruce up and have our photos taken again.  I think I will make that my x-mas 2012 project.  It would make a great gift for my sis and myself (and if you're reading this, sis, be prepared!)

Once back on German soil, the hubs and I decided to travel to one of the cities on my "Want to Travel To" list, Istanbul, Turkey.  We spent four days visiting the former Ottoman Empire and the former city of Constantinople.  From the Sultan's Harem, to the Blue Mosque, we were immersed in Turkish culture.  The photos below will give you an idea of how we spent our time in this sprawling cosmopolitan city of 15 million people.

For the very first time, I forgot to take the battery to my trusty Canon 40-D and ended up taking photos with my iphone. Hence, the quality is not the best, but you will get the idea of what Istanbul has to offer.

                               Typical Turkish Tea served at the Grand Bazaar

                                         Fortress Wall surrounding Istanbul

                                          Fresh produce in the outdoor markets.

                     Hagia Sophia, once the center of Christianity before St. Peter's
                     was built, before the great schism. Later to become a mosque after
                     the Byzantium conquer of Istanbul.

                                                The Blue Mosque

                              Unbelievable array of spices from the Egyptian
                                                        Spice Market

                                          Dolmabaci Palace on the Bosporus

I could go on and on about Istanbul and tell you how much  I love the lifestyle, the history, and the culture.  I loved it so much that we have already booked a return trip in early May, when the weather is much better and we can sit and while away an afternoon sipping Turkish coffee and soaking up the warmth of the sun on the shores of the Bosporus.

For now, it's good to be back in Germany and to enjoy the snow and the Alps.  We are just beginning the tradition of Fasching here and if you're not familiar with this custom, check back within the next few days to learn more about it.  It's good to be back and I hope I will see you here again soon!