Chef Klaus Bier Stube

As much of a mess that the trip to the Chriskindlemarket Chicago turned out to be, our reservations at Chef Klaus Bier Stube were the complete opposite. My family made these reservations as a goodbye since I was leaving for Germany in 5 days. Naturally, I had to check them out on Facebook and online before arriving and I found nothing but good reviews, managing 4.4 out of 5 starts so I had high expectations. Ranking as the best German restaurants to eat at near Chicago, IL we couldn’t wait to arrive.

Chef Klaus Bier Stube is located in Frankfurt, IL and is open year round for business. We had never been here before, but it was everything we had hoped for and more. It was the most welcoming, charming, festive and just perfectly accurate German restaurant.. and the food was incredible! We enjoyed Oysters Rockafellar for an appetizer, served on the half shell topped with a Bavarian creamed spinach and Bacon and they were AMAZING. For our meal we split several entrees. The Weisswurst was smooth and subtle just as it should be, all we were missing was eating it at 6am with a warm Weissbier. We also tried the Rouladen, which is a sliced beef sirloin, rubbed in mustard and wrapped around a dill pickle. I originally heard of this dish on Food Network, so naturally I had to try it as it was the most unique item I could find. Surprisingly, the taste of the dill pickle gets almost completely cooked out through cooking, so it wasn’t at all what I expected. It was perfectly spiced and super juicy though, so you bet I ate every bit of it. I managed to try the Leberkndelsuppe or, liver dumpling soup which I would recommend for anyone looking for something different, authentic and light. We finished off with a few Augstiner beers, Radlers and Apple Pie shots right after we devoured the entire Apfelstrudel. Although a little pricey upon first viewing the menu, it was worth every dime once the food arrived. This is the most authentic German cuisine I have found and the owner is so interactive and amazing with every guest who enters. Enjoy the true Germany environment with loud music, plenty of Augstiner Beer and a warm, inviting family welcome when you walk in the door.

Who me? It’s an interview!

 

Hey, look! TheMikebehere trusted me enough to write for his blog. It’s just a simple interview, but you should still go and pay him a visit and read it! Mike is a fellow Aupair in Germany as well, who is already in the middle of it all! I can not wait to join him! You can read it here.

 

“If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.” – Stephen King

 

Pinterest…

I spend hours. I mean hours, and I know I am not the only one on this never-ending website. Pinterest is where I found myself tonight, once again falling into its black hole of endless recipes I will probably never make, crafts I will never get around to, inspiring quotes I will never remember when they are needed and clothes I will never have the budget to afford. But yet, I still find myself sucked into the abyss at least once a week.

Tonight, however; as soon as I went to give in the my never ending addiction I stopped myself. Why? For you! Everyday I think about new posts to post, or new pictures to share but these last few weeks I just have not had any time. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I went to see my niece, Kailyn this weekend and was consumed with her cuteness all weekend (plus, I had no cell service because they live in the middle of nowhere, thank you for having my back, Verizon).

Anyways, I’m sorry. Between my work schedule, my mom buying a brand new car, personal life, preparing to leave, Thanksgiving, and Black Friday my life is totally consumed. But, if there is anything I have really realized this last week, it’s Americans.

Americans. Let that sink in a moment. The red white and blue, “land of opportunity”, be thankful for what you have and then fight for it the very next day… Americans.

Weather you breathe red, white and blue or sing to the tune of something other than ‘The Star Spangled Banner’, Americans are known all around the world.  And if there is anytime of year that American’s truly stand up to the crazy reputation we are known for, it begins with the week of Thanksgiving.

Your grinning. That’s because you know exactly what I am talking about.

By Sunday, grocery stores are packed with mothers from every neck of the woods emptying the shelves for the upcoming feasts on Thursday, which are usually filled with unwanted family members all trying to impress one another while trying to keep peace and to not ending up in an emergency room. Well, not always. But speaking for many Americans in many different situations, that is often the case… and that is just the beginning . Then, we have the real life Hunger Games.  Black Friday.  May the odds be ever in your favor.

Every year I tell myself, “I will never do this again” as I am standing in line for countless hours to save a buck. And yet every year, here I am.

This year, we were so lucky to be among the first 100 people into Kohls. Black Friday is insane. This year, I actually experienced my first fights, injuries and arguments over sales. I waited for three hours, in the 35 degree weather, because they had an awesome sale on luggage. Apparently, so did everyone else. We also got to witness  40 or so full grown adults running up the down escalator.. half falling-the other half trampling the less fortunate. It’s amazing the things a 60 year old grandma will for a cashmere sweater on sale. Anyways, I made it in, I made it out. I am alive and well.

Extremely exhausted, cursing everyone out and stumbling home like a zombie at the end of the apocalypse come 5am, I did get my brand new luggage and my traveling outfit. (Which, in case you have lost count that ‘travelling’ is in TWO WEEKS!) Plus, I got to spend some awesome boding time with mom, whom I am going to miss so much. (Excuse the terrible photo quality, This was off my cell phone around 1am.)

All in all, I hope everyone escaped the madness, stayed safe and had a great holiday.. injury and stress free. However, being American, would really be the same if that were true?

“Here’s some advice. Stay alive.”

– Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

Some things I’ve noticed…

 

“Patience, he thought. So much of this was patience – waiting, and thinking and doing things right. So much of all this, so much of all living was patience and thinking.” – Gary Paulsen, Hatchet

 

If there is one thing I have really dedicated myself to during this whole adventure thus far, it was making sure that I was sure of everything. Well, as much as I could be. No matter what aspect of my trip I was planning, there was a level of certainty that had to be fulfilled. When searching for flights, I had to have one that offered low or no cost for checked bags. When searching for a German cell phone carrier, I had to have one with unlimited data. When completing all my documents, I had to have everything completed and submitted in a certain way. And most of all, when choosing a family, I spoke with several, but I had to have one that I knew would I would really fit with.

Maybe this is just me, but everyday I read through blogs and forums and I keep stumbling, over and over, on so many potential Au pairs that are jumping on the first family that is interested in hosting them. When starting my family search, I can not even begin to count the number if Skype requests, never ending emails and even calls to my cell phone. Let’s be honest, you simply can not answer everyone and keep it all straight and organized.

Everyone has expectations, and in the first few families I considered joining there was always at least one negative aspect that I was willing to overlook. Weather it was the children’s ages, hours, location or even pay.. there was something (maybe even just a gut feeling) that I was settling for and that is what leads me to this post. If there is one thing I would like to get across it’s this:

Stop settling.

That’s it. There should never be a time when we have to settle for anything less than we wish for. In the one life we have to live, why should we lower than our standards? Whether it be moving across the world or simply choosing a new car.. Why take the chance?

In the beginning there were a few things that I knew I wanted out of this experience  I knew I had to be with a family that spoke English. I will be the first to admit that I love to talk, and being put in an environment where I could not communicate would not suit my personality. Second, I knew I wanted to care for little girls. I am so close to my niece and I just connect with them better. Third, I knew that I did not want to care for older children and I knew that I did not want to be a personal assistant. I wanted to be a care giver for children. Not for adults. And last, Location. I had to be in a position where if something did happen, I could get home safely and quickly, but I also wanted to be able to travel during my time off.

After searching for a few weeks, Eva messaged me and I almost immediately messaged back. Yes, I was in negotiations with another family in Australia, but I knew to keep my options open. I just had this feeling that they were not everything I hoped for. From the bat, there was nothing on Eva’s profile that I had to “accept.” There was nothing that made me take a step back. They were in Europe, and they were in central Europe. That meant I had easy access to my family in England in case of emergency, and easy access to travel pretty much anywhere. Paris. Rome. London. Berlin. You name it and there was a $100 flight to get there. Second, they had two little girls and believed in a strong family life. They offered me an acceptable situation and answered all of my questions. And lastly, they did not just want a care giver, they wanted to add an additional member to their family.

I can not wait to get to Germany. I can’t wait to throw myself into the unknown and learn to love this new world. To be happy and to be perfectly content. To learn everyday and soak in this new culture. To shape my values and to mold my person.

I am so happy I have not settled and I believe any person that is looking into becoming one of ‘us’ should feel the same. The feelings of excitement definitely outweigh the feelings of fear and this experience is already teaching me new things. Its already molding my values and shaping my person and I haven’t even boarded the plane yet…

32 Days..

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

Now that I have all my ducks in a row, and things are finally ready to take off with this whole trip.. I only find myself asking the last and most drug out question of all..  How many days until December 11th? It started off as over 60, so half the time has officially passed (in what seems like a second) and in case you are wondering… as of today, it is 32 days until I leave.

32 days until my life changes and I am thrown into something I can’t wait for and absolutely nothing I know. 32 days until a plane touches down in a wintery Munich with a suitcase full of everything that relates to home jammed into all the pockets. 32 days until I meet these people whom I will soon call family and 32 days until I thrust my life into the unknown and pray that everything blows my expectations away. Too much? Sorry. I’m getting really excited over here. Wouldn’t you be?!

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Munich, Germany

For the last few weeks, I have been like a kid waiting for the Christmas “Big Book” from Toys R Us. I am at that mailbox the second I get home waiting for another key document I need for my travels. Today, finally, I received the last two. First off, my passport! Yeah, Yeah.. I know this should have been my first, but, as you will learn I don’t always do things according to plan or in the order they probably should be done. Thus, it was the last document I chased down. Today it came in the mail and thank the Lord I do not have to show many people that picture. I swear they stretch it. Along with my passport came my boarding pass and Loyalty Bonus card. Just the name of it gets me even more enthralled.

At this point, there is nothing else to wait for and I can just start to count down the days. The elections are done here at home, everyone is stewing down and Christmas is on its way. Well, for me Christmas will come early at home. Yes, that means I will not be home for Christmas. But what else does that mean? I get TWO Christmases! Not so bad after all as all my hard work and dedication will soon pay off as I walk out into German air.

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Bavaria, Germany. Soon to be called home.

Kids..

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
― Madeleine L’Engle

Isn’t it funny, that as we are growing we want only to get older, and once we get there we would give anything to go back? Kids are some of the worlds most fundamental and enlightening beings on this planet. I talked to Emelia just last weekend again via Skype, she is trying SO hard to learn English before I get there. Sophia- well she is fine as long as she has that dang calculator! As soon as I get permission from Alex and Eva, I will post a photo for everyone to see these adorable kids!

I took a few weeks until I actually met Emelia and Sophia, and let me tell you.. I am in total LOVE ever since! I keep asking myself how in the world I got to be so lucky when it came to such cute and open kids. They are both red-headed typical little girls. Emelia is three and curious and I just got the update that Sophia is officially starting to learn to crawl!

Through the craziness of my job, I do find the time to email back and forth with Eva all week, and have done so since we first found each other, but today’s email really tugged at my heart-strings. Here’s an excerpt…

“Emilia is already planning for everyone where to sit in the car and at the table, she  always counts the people in our family and you are already counted, too. She’s really looking forward to see you. It’s very cute when she talking about Hanley who will sit in front of her in the new car and so on….”

How cute?! Ahh, I can’t wait to get there. I just wanted to share that with all the people questioning why I want to do this.