How to eat a Kiwi

It’s funny, really. I can’t even begin to explain how many times during a normal day that my last stay in Germany randomly pops up in my mind. I have always been the “story teller.” I have told countless poor souls about my Germany experience- probably at minimum three times each- and I would gladly talk their ears off again given the chance. Weather it be something I learned, experienced, lived, saw, ate or even smelled, my life now is so different than it was during my stay in 2012, yet it is so easily comparable at the same time.

Just yesterday, I was cutting up fresh fruit for a friends bridal shower the next day and I couldn’t help but chuckle at myself half way through. I had carefully carved the watermelon into little hearts while my friend quartered strawberries and got small punch cups ready to be filled with fresh fruit. I was soaked in watermelon juice and the floor was simulating a musical instrument every time I lifted my feet off it from being so sticky when I remembered that I had a few kiwis in the fridge we could use. As I started to cut into them and almost made it an entire hour without talking about my upcoming trip I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that, I actually had to think about how to cut a kiwi.

Growing up, my mom had kiwis in the house quite often. I have always been a fruit and veggie lover so naturally I was just as content having kiwis or grapefruit for breakfast as  I was having typical breakfast meals. I remember my mom cutting the skin off the kiwi, rinsing it off and then eating it. That simple…

Until my stay in Germany. I should note that every morning we had the same breakfast except for Saturdays- when Alex would load us up with bakery treats. During the week, one of my duties was to make fruit salad nightly so it would be ready for Alex when he he went to work, and to make sure there was enough to Eva, myself and the girls upon starting our day. Everyday, I made it the same, apples, pineapple, grapes, maybe some mango, banana, sometimes oranges and almost always- kiwi. Again, cutting the flesh off, washing and dicing. However, one day that all changed when I looked around the corner to see little Emilia eating a kiwi with a spoon. And in that moment I was 100% outsmarted by a 3 year old.

With that, How to eat a kiwi:

1. Take the kiwi out of the fridge and give it a good rinse. I always rinse my fruit because I don’t know about you but I’m always the person squeezing, smelling, touching all my fruit before I buy it so, wash all those hand germs off it.

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2. Cut the kiwi down the middle horizontally. Notice how the kiwi makes two little bowls.

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3. Use a spoon and scoop the kiwi flesh out. The juice stays within the skin making it mess free, cutting board free and painlessly easy to eat.

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4. Enjoy!

How I had missed this genius way of eating a fruit that I had been consuming for most of my life I have no idea but yet again I was subtly reminded of how much I grew as a person in Germany- even if it was just learning the right way to eat a kiwi.

What are your favorite fruits? Have you ever learned something so mind bogglingly simple that you wondered how in the world you hadn’t already known it?

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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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! 

 

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

and so, it begins!

Okay, so I’m not as good at this blogging thing as I once thought, but I promise its because my life is so awesome I haven’t had the time to sit and write about it. I’m usually four “blog worthy” events past the one I’m writing about and now I know what my bloggy friends meant by this can sometimes be like a job. I’m tired, hungover and a hot bath is calling my name, but I like you guys so here I am!

Mozart was a genius. Two months ago this thought would have never crossed my mind, but it did, has and always will. Why am I talking about Mozart? Becaussseeeee I made the jump! What I mean is, I broke the border and I’m writing this post cozied up in a 600 year old Victorian hotel in the heart of Austria in this great composers hometown, and Mozart is playing in the background. (Moments like these, I really, really love life.)20130120-231418.jpg20130120-230957.jpg

We got into Salzburg late, because well…. Munich nightlife was a little too good to us last night and there was no way in hell we could even stand daylight until about 1pm. It was a good, good night and after scarfing down a half a bottle of Tylonol, way too much Tai food and a gallon of water, we recovered. Anyways, due to our initiation into European partying, our arrival in Salzburg was a little delayed, so I haven’t gotten to much yet. I have, however; used that “cute” word about a thousand times and enjoyed a fine 3 course Austrain dinner.

Tomorrow, were off to explore castles, cuisine, Mozart and the Sound of Music (literally). Oh yeah, then to a spa …….in the middle of the Alps.

Once again, life… Rocks.

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Shut up & Drive

“zero to sixty in 3.5, baby you got the keys, shut up & drive.”

For the last month (yes, I said that.. I have officially lived here a month!), I have been dreading the whole driving thing. Why?

1. It’s a diesel and that is just unheard of in a car

2. It’s a stick shift

3. As much as I love my Indianapolis 500, I have had 1 too many heart attacks while being the passenger in this race they call life, er.. driving in Germany and…

4. where the heck are the street lights?!!

I have officially been here 31 days. I have been living, breathing and taking in Germany for 31 days and I still freak out over the driving. THIS is where all those commercials are where they are doing 100 around a mountain stream from. It has to be.

Eva and I decided this week that I would get my driving lesson today, while we were childless because things are going to get hectic around here real soon. Eva has had contractions all week, although she isn’t near labor and the baby is doing fine, we are expecting her little arrival early. We have seven weeks left until baby Antonia’s due date, so we are attempting to get this house in order in the mean time. (HA!)

Sophia at school, Emilia in Kindergarten, Eva 8 months pregnant, Alex rushing around in Munich and me in the drivers seat on about 3 hours of sleep. Let that sink in for a second.

As we set off out of the drive way, I managed to swipe three cars on the way out. Just like that. They park way too close together and I’m not used to this. I’m kidding. I didn’t hit anything and everyone survived. Eva didn’t go into stress induced preterm labor and my heart is back to beating at a normal pace. It only took about an hours time and some Luke Brian.

We did good. Learning to drive a diesel stick shift isn’t exactly what I would call amusing.. or fun or even slightly enjoyable, but I managed it. WE managed it. We both also admitted whole heartedly that we will never be able to go into the driving field. Eva kept telling me to go faster, I kept shaking. Is it really necessary to do 100 km on a dark road, on a steep hill that ends in a curve? Germany thinks so.  (And you guys all thought I drove like a maniac before!) And, while I am at it. They must be noctural, because where are the street lights?!

Anyways, after an hour of practice, tons of laughing, 10 motor kills, two times of Eva having to get in the drivers seat to figure out what I was doing wrong, we managed and we made it back home. We also saw some killer views, but unfortunately, I was driving and couldn’t get any pictures. Public transportation was made for a reason, right?

Good news of the day, I found out I can see the alps from about ten minutes away. I am so there when the skies clear up. (say.. in May if we’re lucky??)

Speaking of the Alps.. that is exactly where you can find me this weekend. Taylor is finally here (THANK GOD) and we are off to Munich on Saturday and Neuschwanstein Castle on Sunday with a group of friends. Did you hear that?! I’ve been here a month and I finally have friends! Next weekend, I officially start border hopping to Salzburg, Austria for two days with another friend. Then, in three weeks, I’ll be in Italy with another friend. Everything is better when your not alone!

Europe is freakin’ awesome.

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Girl on fire

I let you all in on a little secret about how awesome New Years was in Germany here. I wasn’t kidding. I was holding back tears and my cheeks were hurting from smiling so hard the entire night.

If there is one thing that Germany has got a grip on, it’s celebrating New Years. That, or just celebrating anything. Or just drinking in general (reclosable beer bottles, seriously?!) , but we will stick with the New Years and celebration assumption for morality purposes.

Up until the night before, I had planned on staying home with my host family and attending their annual New Years eve celebration complete with raqlet, fondue and the fireworks. “If this is my only New Years here, do I want to spend it home?” Absolutely not. So, the night before I was on a mission to make a plan. In another country. Through websites in a German language.  It was a tough call between celebrating in Regensburg and going to Tollwood Winter Festival, but with a little help from almost a local, we managed to figure out where and when we would celebrate. Tollwood Winter Festival made its way onto our agenda. Tickets were almost sold out, but we managed to snag a pair and I am so glad that we did.

A pair. We managed a pair of tickets. Ester had to beg and plead at the door for about twenty minutes before some god blessed soul sold her an extra ticket and we were in. Think Lollapolooza, put it under brightly colored tents, double the strength of the alcohol, put it in the middle of winter, add a German accent and language barrier and call it New Years at Tollwood. (Right away, sorry for crappy quality pictures, I was sick of pulling my camera out after the first. So everything is off my cell phone.)

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After burning our mouths off  finishing our Pad Tai and Weissbier we headed to the music tents to enjoy a night of dancing and rocking out to various types of music. Including American! YAY. Jamaram was awesome and played both German and American music. However the fun hadn’t begun until we made our way over to Rockomotion. Rockomotion played all American covers, and it was so. much. fun. I even, ironically, met a German girl who was an au pair in Chicago. What are the odds?! This world is such a cool place.

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Complete with old couple dancing the night away.

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hansssss

Three minutes to midnight and we headed outside to see the fireworks. They were nonstop and as far as you could see. And I thought the 4th of July was intense!

Please excuse the voice. I was holding back tears and smiling so hard it hurt. Forgive me.

And this was almost twenty minutes later. Germany still going strong.

Girl on fire. Those are the only words that I can currently muster up to explain my feelings at 12:00 midnight New Years Eve. I was so overcome with the sounds, sights and feelings that at the exact strike of the year 2013, it finally hit me that I now live in Germany. I’m not here on vacation and I don’t have a return date. I literally live in Germany. And I couldn’t be happier. I cried tears of joy. (see below) I cried at fireworks, what is happening to me?!

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I hope you all enjoyed New Years as much as I did.

One for the record books, that’s for sure.

Almost makes me want to plan for 2014 ;)

On it’s way…

Celebrating Silvester (New Years) in Germany was freakin’ AWESOME. We made it to Tollwood Winter Festival and had so much fun.

I am, however, still recovering and trying to catch up on sleep. I promise pictures and stories are soon to follow, this week is busy. Alex and Eva are buying a new car, Emilia and I are off doing all sorts of goodness like ice skating, and Sophia finally learned to stand today! (You go, girl!)

So soon, you will hear about how awesome it was to celebrate New Years in this incredible country. Think fourth of July fireworks….times five. Soon, soon.

Eva’s Carrot Cake

This afternoon Eva (or rather baby in the making #3) demanded that we make carrot cake for absolutely no reason. And let me tell you this was, by far, the best carrot cake I have ever tasted.

Granted, it wasn’t coated in dreamy creme cheese icing and covered in nuts, BUT this cake was so good it didn’t need an inch thick of delicious fat covering it. We simply paired it with fresh whipped cream and it complimented the cake perfectly.

This was so good, I decided to convert this for everyone back at home as well. (this took me an hour to do and confirm, so you really should go make this everyone back in small town USA)

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So, for everyone here in Europe:

Eva’s Karottenkuchen

3 Eggs
200 mL Oil
230 g brown sugar
185 g flour (whole wheat)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 tsp cinnamon
90 g walnuts/pecans (we used walnuts)
250 g grated fresh carrots

Beat eggs, oil and brown sugar until smooth.
In separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
Beat into egg mixture. Fold in carrots and walnuts.
Put baking paper in the bottom of a spring form pan, put mixture into pan.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes and 150 for the remaining 25.
Let cool and top with sprinkled powered sugar.

Fresh cream:
Open a container of fresh cream and beat it. That’s it.
Don’t beat it to much, or it’ll turn to butter!

Eat cake with cream on the side and indulge in heaven.

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And, for everyone back at home using cups and not all these crazy mL and g.. here it is for you.

Eva’s Carrot Cake

3 eggs
3/4 cup of oil, plus a little splash
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 1/3 c flour (whole wheat is what we used)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 c walnuts/pecans (we used walnuts)
1 3/4 cups grated fresh carrots

Beat eggs, oil and brown sugar until smooth.
In seperate bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
Beat into egg mixture. Fold in carrots and walnuts.
Put baking paper (wax paper) in the bottom of a springform pan, put mixture into pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes and 300 degrees F for the remaining 25.

Fresh cream:
Open a container of fresh cream and beat it. That’s it!
Don’t beat it to much, or it’ll turn to butter!

Eat cake with cream on the side and indulge in heaven. You’re welcome US of A!