Friday, July 31, 2009

German Adventure Day 2: Sunday, July 19th

On our first full day in Germany, I awoke early due to the effects of jet lag. But that was okay because I had agreed to go to the Hamburg Fish Market with Wolfgang and Julius. All other family members decided to stay in bed, including Mike, so it was just me and the boys!

It's called a Fish Market, but you can buy basically anything there. We bought cherries from this stand - a huge scoop that the three of us couldn't finish for one Euro!

Julius used his expertise to pick out a melon.

It was really crowded. Lots of them were young people who'd stayed out all night in the St. Pauli district and came here to prolong the inevitable hangover. The guys who are front and center are a great example!

Later that day, we traveled to the Altes Land, an area of Northern Germany that is well-known for its beauty and plentiful orchards.

We found this adorable little house-turned-produce store, with an orchard out back and a warehouse full of old-fashioned electronics that Mike had a ball exploring.
He loved this old-fashioned Victrola so much that he insisted that I take his picture with it.
Seriously, how cute are these?!?

The warehouse guy told us that we could explore the cherry orchard and eat as much as we wanted off the trees. Needless to say, we were more than happy to oblige.

I'm not sure if they used Ladybugs for organic pest control, but they were everywhere!

There really is nothing like walking through an orchard, eating the freshest possible fruits. One of the many simple joys of life.
Somehow the boys managed to drag me away from that orchard, and we got a beautiful view of the river.

I love this picture. And the fact that I got a picture of this kid when he was STILL is quite an accomplishment!

After the Altes Land, we stopped in Strade, a beautiful little town that is reminiscent of times past.

We went into a beautiful old church that had one of those organs I wish we had more of in America.

In the bottom corners of the previous photo, you can see the paintings that lined the aisles. They were gorgeous at first glance, but upon taking a closer look I discovered that they were scenes from the life of Christ.
If you click on this picture you will see what I mean! There is a surprising amount of detail in this picture.

The marble altar.
Then we enjoyed more of the beautiful town scenery:

We also tried a popular "fast food" in Germany, doner (pronounced "doo-nah"). There's a large Turkish population in the country, and Turkish-operated doner stands are found all over. I was glad we had Wolfgang and Nils there to help us order - ordering ethnic food in a foreign country is even harder than ordering food in America!
The doner guy thought it very strange that I wanted to take his picture.
It was as good as it looks!
Back in the USA...

We made it back safely to Florida after a loooooooong day of travel, and I will be posting some of the 500+ pictures I took over the course of our trip to Germany. We received a very warm welcome from the cats, and an even warmer welcome from the fridge, which has been sitting at room temperature for two weeks, unbeknownst to us. So much of today has been spent cleaning up all the food that was in there and trying not to hurl from the smell. Do you know what exploded Pillsbury biscuits smell like when they sit for 2 weeks? I do, and trust me, you do NOT want to smell that.

Monday, July 20, 2009

We Made It!!

We made it safely to Germany, and are having a GREAT time!! Of course we were quite tired from the long plane ride, but we were very excited to see "our boy" and finally meet his family.

Here is Nils and his little brother Julius.

We explored Hamburg in the afternoon, mostly running on the excitement of being here!

Looking tired even under sunglasses!

Hamburg is a port city - this is the Elbe River.

Nils' father, Wolfgang, speaks very good English, as do most people here. We can communicate well with everyone in the family except for Julius, the baby of the family. But I brought him candy, so I think he likes me, even if we can't speak to each other directly :)

We visited the St. Michaelis Church, which I think is a wonderful symbol of the resilency of the German people. It had been rebuilt time and time again, after being destroyed by lightening strikes, fire, and war bombings. We took the stairs to the top of the tower and got a great view of Hamburg. After the long trip and jet lag, it was very hard for us to climb the 433-foot tower, which had nearly as many steps.

The view was quite nice, however.

All that on our very first afternoon here! More will come, but I can't promise how soon! We have been very busy, but are having the time of our lives!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

Mike and I are SO excited to be leaving tomorrow for Germany!! I just can't believe that the time has finally come! We have been planning this trip for many, many months, but this week has been a whirlwind trying to get ready. I never realized how much there is to be done in preparing for an overseas trip - I have been making lists like a maniac! I'm not sure if I'll be able to get on and post much, but expect lots of pictures when we get back!! We appreciate your prayers for safety.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Eye Candy Friday - 4th of July family

I have noticed that my picture collection has suffered from photographer-itis as of late. I am so often the one taking the pictures that I have no pictures of myself from the last several months! So on the 4th of July I asked my mom to take a family photo of us. More 4th of July pictures to come!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Catching Up

There has been a lack of real, actual, informative posts on this blog as of late. Mostly they are posts like, "here are some pictures from this thing we did last week, along with some cute comments about my puppy." I have a lot of excuses as to why this is, none of them very interesting. So, here is a collection of random updates on mi vida loca:

  • Nils went home a week after school let out. I already alluded to this before. Holy crud I miss that kid. BUT we are visiting him in Germany later this month! We are SO excited! I have been reading all about Germany and doing lots of planning, but I've pretty much given up trying to pronounce German words correctly. My tongue just does not bend that way!

  • I am having way too much fun this summer. I really, really needed a break from school - those last few weeks were pure survival. I am a little concerned about the way I have completely disconnected from anything academia-related, though. There were days in the beginning when all I did was watch I Love Lucy reruns. All questions directed towards me were answered in the form of either single words or grunts. I didn't even shave my legs. But I have to bring my critical thinking skills out of hiding this week, because I am taking a course for credit towards a certification I must earn for teaching. Which is EXACTLY the way I want to spend my summer! Yes, my attitude sucks, why do you ask???

  • I still miss Sophie. A lot. Especially at night. During the last several months of her life, when we knew our time with her could be cut short at any moment, she always slept in a ball right near me, so I could fall asleep touching her. And I always made sure to tell her how much I loved her and thank the Lord for one more day with her. I would think about an old Diamond Rio song sometimes:

One more day, One more time.

One more sunset, baby, I'd be satisfied.

But then again, I know what it would do.

Leave me wishin' still for one more day with you.

Sigh. Why do animals have to leave us? I miss Howie, too - I visit him when I take Mollie outside in the morning. The vines Mike planted above him are flourishing.

  • We got a Wii Fit, and I LOVE it! I am just not the type of person to go to a gym. It really shows you how to do the exercises correctly, and it has lots of things you can do, so I don't get bored. So far I have been gaining weight since I started, despite doing 3o minutes a day, but I definitely feel better. Hopefully the scale will start going DOWN soon so the program will stop yelling at me! I tell you it can be brutal sometimes!
  • My toenails are nasty.
  • I need a haircut.
  • It's raining.
  • I need to stop this post, now.

Fun at the Dog Park

Mollie and I have been able to go to the dog park often since summer began. She LOVES meeting other dogs and people, and sniffing around the different areas.

Our dog park is really nice - it has different areas for differnt size dogs, nice benches for the humans, water spigots, and even a dog washing station! I can't believe we lived here for a year before we discovered it!

I have gotten so many action shots of Mollie, but I have yet to get a good still shot of her. There's a reason for that!!

I am so in love with the ear action going on in these pictures, especially this one!!

Time for a rest!