Mirror, mirror on the wall

I am my mother afterall!

As I have talked about for the last, well.. forever. My mom finally arrived on the 12th. First let me start out by saying that knock on the hospital room door was an instant start to a flood of tears and emotions and a huge relief of the week I had just faced in the hospital all alone. Don’t get me wrong, my friends here in Germany were just plain awesome when it came to support. Almost all of them came to visit at some point or another, some of them twice. They provided endless chocolate, headphones, naked men pictures and laughs. They chased the nurses down for me and kept me sane for the remaining days of my stay. But, with that said, nothing compares to mom. Well, my mom at least.

The first two days of my mom and grandmothers stay were, in fact, spend in Klinikum Bogenhausem Hospital in Munich (Sorry, MOM!).. but on my birthday, after much begging and pleading the doctors, I was released and we were on our way out the door! After a long two weeks spent immobile, just the feeling of fresh air felt awesome!

The next week.. well just start laughing. My mom had to push me in a wheel chair for the first three days, carry her and my grandmothers luggage through trains, taxis and long walks. My grandmother fell in the guest haus in Garmisch, thus leading to another emergency medical call and her spending the night in the local hospital, we got lost and stuck in Austria, missed the tour for the castle… well, you can see where this is going. At some point, you just start laughing at all the crap being dished to you and have a good time with it.

We did, however; make it to Zugpitze which was absolutely beautiful and worth every bit of craziness leading up to it. Saturday was just absolutely beautiful in Germany. Without a cloud in the sky, and finally able to somewhat navigate without the wheelchair, we made it to the top.

(Note: 40 Euros for the train ride up is just insane. Pay it. It’s worth every last dime…er, Euro.)

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Okay, so right here, right now you  have to stop hating on the fact I resemble a zombie in the above picture. I was being released from a burn unit and was immobile for a week and slouching because I couldn’t stand up straight.. you little hater, you. 
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Recovery

The human body is an amazing thing. The amount of damage and recoil our bodies endure from birth to death is so extensive, yet the human body somehow manages to spring back in time for us to mess it up all over again. Some people, like me, more than others! As some of you know, when I was 16 I was in a terrible car accident that left me with a shattered arm, car and a long road of recovery. After four surgeries, 10 screws, a metal plate, 2 wires, a carpal tunnel release, 2 scar tissue releases and almost three years of physical therapy… My body has sprung back, although with scars both inside and out, and restored itself to an everyday livable state. I did, in fact survive through the pain and recovery. I was released from my doctors at the University of Chicago in 2011. The time between then and now has been minimally painful and I have been quite healthy. That is, until I messed it all up over again! Haha

As I said in my last post, over a week ago I was airlifted to a burn unit in downtown Munich after spilling boiling water all over myself and I promised an update.

If I had a dollar, for every tear I shed and every FaceTime call made home over the last week, I would have enough money to go home and back five times over. It’s a good thing I have been immobile until just yesterday. I probably would have walked to the airport and borded the first plane home.

Medical care here in Europe is a totally different system. The first five days of my stay we spent in the intensive care unit (also known as prison). Visitors were only allowed to be in the room for fifteen minutes, from 4-6 pm, with a max of one per day. Anymore and I was restricted to talking to them through a glass window with a phone. Like I said…. (Prison.) Friday I was transferred to the regular hospital where my 24 hour care came to a screaching halt. I wasn’t monitored. All my IVs were still in but not hooked up. I was in pain, emotional and rock bottom. But then something happened.

I prayed. I have prayed more in this last week than I ever have, and I can say every single one has been answered thus far. I prayed for no infection, the strength to carry on and the patience in recovery. This has, by far been the worst, most painful, and most terrifying experience of my life but ya know what? I made it.

It’s now Tuesday. I have been in the hospital a total of 9 days, and I’m making it. Yesterday, I finally got the clear to get up and try to walk. (OUCH) I actually got to wash and dry my own hair, wear clothes and sit up to eat. Simple things.. But when you can’t do them and lie helpless for a week, they are big things. All my IVs are out and yesterday was my second bandage change (which compared to be first one in which I cried for 6 hours and thus delayed my release from ICU a day). Let me say this again. the human body is an amazing thing Yet again, my body has sprang back into recovery mode. The burns look SO much better than they did only a few short days ago and I’m now on the road to recovery.

Once I’m completely healed, I can say I made it.. But I have some ways to go before I can. But what I can say is, I have almost made it. I didn’t board a plane and don’t have as much of a desire to as I did a few short days ago. I’m happy. I’m getting back to healthy. I can have as many real life hospital visitors as I want and Hopefully, by Thursday, this hospital will no longer be home and I will be released. My birthday is tomorrow and GUESS WHAT?!

Mom arrives in about two hours.

( I’ve only waited forever!)

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I rode in a helicopter

Monday, I got the chance to ride in a helicopter and I have debated weather to share this story with you all or not, but I figure its a part of my journey (a big part at that) and most of you are my Facebook friends or family anyways so here it is.

Monday morning started out like any other. Woke up in the morning with a sinus headache, Sophia was her usual smiley self and still no baby for Eva. Isn’t it funny how days can change? Since I had a sinus infection, I decided to boil a potato per Eva’s recommendation to hold onto my sinuses to draw out the pressure. Per the second recommendation, I was going to breathe the steam from the boiling water to help open up my sinuses as well. Notice the past tense in the sentence.

Here’s how it happened.

I put the boiling water in a large mixing bowl, added salt and lemon and sat down in front of it. Sophia was happily playing across the living room. When I looked up, she had ahold of a picture. I got up to remove it from her tiny hands and spilt the boiling water all over myself. That was it. That fast. Boiling water.

Let me first start off by saying I am no hero for keeping Sophia calm. It was instinct that you just don’t leave a baby unattended because you are hurt. After ripping off my clothes as fast as I could, I scooped her up and ran to the bathtub to get cold water. My skin was literally melting. I screamed. Sophia screamed. There is no way a worse possible pain exists in this world. I’ve crushed bones. I’ve had surgeries. I’ve went days with a shattered arm and no pain killers. Again, no pain compares to the feeling of large amounts of skin burning.

After Sophia and I made it upstairs and into cold water, I made the decision to call my host parents, and shorty thereafter the medics. You reach this point, where you realize not enough convincing in the world is going to make an injury “not bad” and give in. 112 is the medical “911” here in Germany. How I remembered that I have no clue, but I did. They couldn’t understand me and in my panicking state of pain there was no way in hell I could manage some German. After a good five minutes of screaming, “ich keine spreche Deutsch, I NEED AN AMBULANCE” I was finally transferred to an English speaking dispatcher who assured (after much reputation) medics were in route.

Eva gets home. Medics arrive. Lots of them. I think ten, and at this point I am screaming for something for pain, when I find out that this again, isn’t the US. When medics show up, that’s just what they are, medics….. Not doctors and thus can not provide any sort of relief. Fan freakin’ tactic. Wait five more minutes under water until the doc finally arrives by helicopter, provides loads of morphine and makes the call to transport to an intensive care burn center in Munich by helicopter.

This is where I sit today. Monday was terrifying. I was knocked out as soon as we arrived in Munich, and woke up in the ICU completely wrapped up and immobile. Single handedly, this has been the most terrifying and downright worst experience I have been through. The doctors say I am lucky, and most of my burns are superficial and will heal without graphing or surgery, but I’ll know more Friday when they change the bandages and remove the dressing.

Until then, I beg daily for my release to be on time for mom to arrive. ( I NEED to take them to the castle,) and hit on the hot surgeon while trying to hook him up with Taylor. (Welcome, Tay!)

Even if it was an emergency, and medical, and I was miserable and screaming…. I still rode in a helicopter and I guess that’s pretty cool. Best friend Katie says it still counts. CHECK that off the bucket list. (Okay, really, nothing about this experience has been funny. But you sit locked up in isolation in the ICU for three days, if you don’t laugh.. you cry and momma isn’t here yet so crying just isn’t an option right now)

Oh……and Eva had the baby!
IT’S A GIRL!
7 lbs 4 oz
20 inches long
March 5, 2013

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This aint Trip Advisor

Okay, so here is the thing.

I watch a few expatty/ aupair now living the German life/ funny girl making life laugh/ home decor genius / nice bloggy friend/ girl making her way the same way as me .. bla bla bla.. You get the hint, BLOGS, I frequently try to keep up with a few. Pretty much all of these blogs have some sort of “disclaimer” stating that they are, in fact, their own opinions and views how they see life day to day, and are not meant to be taken with any kind of serious thought or offense. (Who would have thought?) Now, the time has come where I am going to post that same little disclaimer. With that being said, I am sure this post will make a blogger or two giggle, because I am sure they have had the same thing happen a time or two. Or maybe it’ll make a few mad. But frankly I don’t care, because this is my blog and my opinion. ha!

So, here is the thing. When I tell you that Germans drive like idiots, it is because I think so. And when I told you that Bretzen is disgusting, it was also because I didn’t like it. When I say you can’t find chocolate covered pretzels in Germany, it’s because I asked three local, born and raised German families that had absolutely no clue what they were, and I have yet to find them, THUS I took the idea that they are not an everyday treat to the German culture. When I say the skies are grey but the winter isn’t that cold, it’s because to me.. it isn’t. (It’s rather freaking mild, to be honest ya sissies) See what I did there?

This ain’t Trip Advisor. I’m not here to tell you the ins and outs of German culture, people, weather, food, accommodations or the best way to make the jump across the big ol’ pond. I’m only here to tell you a thing or two about the things that I do, from day to day and life as I see it. I am from Chicago.. my view of a cold winter is going to be different than a person from Arizona. I’m not a bread fan.. my view of what “good” bread should taste like is different than a person that is obsessed with the carb overload. Here in Germany, I live in an itty bitty town just north of Munich. I live in Bavaria. My views of German culture are going to be SO much different than someone staying in Berlin, or even in downtown Munich. I learn Bayerisch, not just Deutsch/ German. I say words with a Chicago accent and I think that, (GASP!) the Germans drive like maniacs. Do they drive like maniacs in Berlin or in the alps? I don’t know. I don’t live there. I don’t see it.

(Deep breath.) SO, basically, what I’m ranting and raving about it, don’t take this blog to seriously. If I say I am living without a favorite snack from home and it can in fact be found at a store here in Germany, that’s great. But from my point of view and the stores I shop at, it can’t. From my point of view this winter is nothing. And from my point of view the drivers are crazy. If you want real, true to the bone info on this place go here. They’re experts on where you can find chocolate covered pretzels.

Don’t take this, life, or anything for that matter too seriously.

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Smillllleeeeee.

Life in the fast lane

So, here I am still in Germany, still in awe every few days that I am, in fact, living in Europe. I have actual friends that will be near impossible to leave, an incredible view from my windows every morning, a furry friend that comes to visit me daily and I can actually understand and somewhat speak a lick or two of German.

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With pleasure comes pain, however; and I have missed home and my family more than ever these last few weeks. Attempting to replenish the bank account I depleted in my first two months, my friends and I have tried to lay low as much as possible, and pass up and trip or two to Munich in the mean time. Don’t let this fool you, we have had plenty of fun rocking out to Avril Lavigne and stuffing our mouths with pizza until 3 am. Taylor’s 23rd Birthday was this week, and that is exactly what we did. Helena and I made her chocolate covered Stroop Waffles and Pretzels. Here’s one that’ll blow your mind. Germany… the land of beer, pretzels and chocolate… has never heard and is just repulsed by the idea of chocolate covered pretzels. WHAT?! I’ll let you know when I accept that statement, because they were DEEELISH!

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Hopefully, coming soon will be plans for travelling to London and Paris, via the InterRail train pass. The idea of being able to travel up to 30 countries for the same price as a plane ticket is just genius!

Big news in my life is the countdown to mom arriving, which is in something like 1 week and 5 days. Not that I am counting down the hours or anything (288). And that means, the week of my birthday will be spent in the mountains.. yeah, I said it and I can not WAIT! (Now.. if the snow would just go away, that would be perfect!)

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Eva, still has yet to have the baby. I haven’t updated you much on this, sorry. But about 3-4 times a week we get a “this is it” scare and we all start to get a little panicky that labor has (finally!) begun and we are on our way to the end of this pregnancy. Buuuut, every time it’s just kidding, and against the doctors foresight.. this baby is, in fact, NOT coming early and we are all still walking on egg shells. Any day, any day…. I have been saying that for the last month, but really, this time it’s ANY day. Eva’s actual due date is this coming week.. so come onnnnn baby! 

 

fast post, loving life

For the last month or so, my days, nights, free time and everything in between have been consumed by the immersion Deutsch Course that was required for my visa. Let me first start off by telling you that 1.) absolutely no English was spoken and 2.) Thank god it is over. Seriously, there is nothing more frustrating that sitting in a classroom from 8am to noon, Monday through Friday attempting to learn a language in which they don’t even speak your language. There is no “schlafen means to sleep, and essen means to eat” but instead “Schlafen zu gehen” and “Ich esse” Figure it out.

Although the last four weeks were completely mentally draining, I will give the Germans and their learning style credit, because I did learn quite a bit of German and now can (somewhat) successfully communicate with Emilia in German. (WOO!)

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Anyways, in the little free time I have had since the start of my class, life has happened, and I have built some awesome friendships in the mean time. I told you about Taylor and Helena before and the fact that we all get along so great is a true blessing. Leaving these girls will not be easy in due short time!  What has happened may you ask? Well…

1. Fasching- In other words, “Carnival.” Fasching is a huge festival, celebrated all over Germany that  occurs just before Lent begins. Party goers dress up in all sorts of costumes to symbolize the driving out of winter and all of its evil spirits. in other words, it’s an excuse to drink from sun up to sun down. Literally. Which brings us to…

2. Hemerglenzen- (That is spelt wrong, but I couldn’t find it correctly anywhere. Bad blogger) Hemerglezen is the festival held in my Germany hometown during fasching, in which thousands of people migrate into little Dorfen, dressed in all white, and start drinking at 6am. Helllllllooo German stereotype. At noon, a straw “puppet” (life size doll) is burned. Why? To symbolize the ending of winter. If you think 8,000 people all dressed in pajamas with face paintings in freezing weather drinking at the crack of down sounds crazy, you’re right.

But it was so. much. fun. See below. Attempting to keep up with the tradition, we started at 9am and ended at 10pm.

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Everyone had the baby bottles, I swear!

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That IS infact a sash full of shots…

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During the day, most of the festivites are outside. At night, they migrate into the local bars and clubs. I wish I could take E3 home with me. It’s a bar/ club that used to be an old icehouse. It looks like a cave and is so, so much fun.

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3. I finally made it to Regensburg! Since arriving, almost every local I have talked to has hyped up this old town city, and I have been dying to go. So, that is just what Tay, Helena and I did one Saturday morning. Regensburg is home to the Wurstkuchel, which is also the oldest “fast food” resturaunt in the world, as well as a 12th century bridge. Check that off the bucket list.

Regensburg was every bit of beautiful, cute and historical mixed into one. We had a great local tour guide to show us around, so we managed to hit all the main points in a few hours and still get back to Dorfen in time to have an evening.

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We also made our way up to the Wallahala, a hall of fame dedicated to prodominant figures throughout Germany’s history.

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One of those “my life rocks” kinda moments…

4. Eva is ready to POP! Literally. Everyday we are walking on egg shells waiting on the word that she is finally in Labor. Throughout Eva’s pregnancy we have had word that little Antonia will be arriving early. However, here we are, three weeks from her due date and she is still snuggled inside. Come onnn baby, let’s get the show on the road.

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5. Sickness. Other than my few fun stories, this is what my life has consisted of and I am sorry I don’t have much more to tell you! Apparently I was wrong when I though eating clean would keep me healthy. It hasn’t. I have been sick nonstop since arriving. After getting over the flu two weeks ago, I have now moved onto bigger and better endeavors  In comes a sinus infection, upper respiratory infection and severe Bronchitis. I went to my first doctors appointment yesterday. The doctor spoke no English.. go figure.. but the word “OH!” “ooohhhhh..” and “oh.. okay” are the same in these languages and those were the words doc had to say when he listened to the party going on in my lungs.So for now, my meals include of two antibiotics, fizzy drink tablets and hot lemon.

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mmmmm, breakfast!

6. (Probably the most important…) Less than a month until my mom arrives in Germany for a week and I get to be a “local tour guide” Who ever thought I would say that?!

Onto Spring!

It’s a beautiful day in Germany

It's a beautiful day in Germany

Today, January 31st, I walked home from class. The weather is a warm 65 degrees and the sun is shining its brightest. I actually carried my winter coat home. I love it. I love this. Sunshine, Germany, and life are making me oh, so, happy.

“In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away”

Salzburg, Austria

I think the first weekend I spent not doing a damn thing is when I realized I actually live in Europe and I am not on some kind of extended vacation that will come to an abrupt end in the very near future. The kind of weekend that you stay in the same pajamas the entire time, only changing to shower and moving for the occasional meal. Or watching an entire season of a show back home (1.completely illegally because Germany has these stupid laws on entertainment and 2. I haven’t done the whole VPN thing yet and didn’t feel like taking the time out of my lax weekend to figure it out.) Thus, I live here… and guess what?

I have only had ONE of these weekends. I’m really bad about coming to terms with the fact that since I LIVE here, I really don’t have to go all crazy travel freak all the time and because of this: 1. I am constantly going and 2. I was dying to cross the country border because lets be honest, it just got a little boring with Germany, Germany, Germany. And crossing the border is exactly what I did.

Welcome to Salzburg, Austria.

Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg, Austria

Although only a few hours train ride away, and visible from the highest tower in Munich across the Alps, Austria is the small little country situated in the mountains just east of Germany. Mozart’s birthplace and the filming of the Sound of Music, Salzburg is nestled in the beginning of the Alps directly on the border of Germany and Austria.

We started our trip to Austria a little late (because, well… Munich’s nightlife got the best of our group the night before, and we weren’t out of our suite until 1pm, er 13:00. Since I LIVE here, this is acceptable. I don’t have too much of a time schedule.. ha!) Anyways, after a three hour train ride from Munich and a quick taxi ride to our hotel for the night, we said Hello to Austria. Unfortunately, it was already dark. However, darkness is for sissies and we went to discover anyways. Continue reading