Last Weekend in the Hotel!

25 Sep

Happy Friday, everybody! We are especially pumped for the weekend because…it’s our last one in this hotel! BAZINGA! It’s so crazy to think that by this time next week, we will be in our new house, with a kitchen, with a yard, with our own stuff…That’s right- our stuff has arrived! ALL of it! We got the call on Wednesday that both of our shipments are here and awaiting delivery! How awesome is that? We knew our smaller shipment would arrive within our first month (it landed in Stuttgart a few weeks ago, but obviously, we had nowhere for them to deliver), but the larger main one was scheduled for mid-October, so it’s been like Christmas came early since we got the good news! Ha! So our timeline for next week is: walkthrough of the property late Tuesday afternoon and key pickup, delivery of the smaller shipment and of the washer and dryer on Wednesday, then the big shipment delivered on Thursday along with Internet hook up. And yes, that means there’s going to be a major Ikea run somewhere in all that jazz ;)

Yep, all 300+ Americans in this hotel get to share this set...

Yep, all 300+ Americans in this hotel get to share this set…

It’s hard to believe we’ve already been here five weeks. I suppose that things have just stayed so crazy busy that it’s made the time fly by in so many ways. Despite being in this tiny hotel room and working out various hiccups practically every day, it’s amazing how much of a routine we’ve already established in such a short period of time- how settled we actually feel amid the chaos. I think I said it once before, but there’s a familiarity about Stuttgart for us and being here this time- knowing that it’s ‘permanent’- has changed our whole perspectives. We feel as though we’re part of the group, not just on the outside looking in- not in limbo trying to decide if we want to be part of the group. There’s a feeling of ‘we’re all in this together, we’re all going through the same things…’ and that’s nice. Even here at the Marriott, there are so many families experiencing the same challenges and changes that we are- several whom we’ve grown close to over these last few weeks and who I see us only growing our friendships over these next three years. Yeah, I have a hunch we’re going to like it here. <3


This is a random house next to a Greek restaurant we’ve been going to. I just love it.


Speaking of friendships, the distance is definitely hard- for all of us. We’re all missing everyone back at home. I was just talking to my mom about this yesterday, in fact. I just can’t imagine what people must’ve gone though just ten years ago- before the age of technology and cell phones and Facetime…We are so fortunate to talk to our loved ones any time we want to and to ‘see’ their faces. That bridge helps the distance so immensely. For example, these two:


Gabbing like the best friends that they are!

We Love Care Packages!

We Love Care Packages!

So this last week has been particularly good. Neve has really gotten into the swing of her new school. She loves her new teachers, Ms. Rachel and Ms. Erin, and to be honest, so do I. Ms. Erin is from North Carolina and has her masters degree from Chapel Hill. She’s super creative and nerdy in a perfect way, just like we like! Ms. Erin is also an American, but has grown up here as part of the military family. Both speak English and German in equally perfect portions and the kids seem to be thriving. After two weeks, Neve knows at least 10 German words and talks about her time at school constantly. Always a good sign! And she’s made several little friends who she also tells us all about, so that just warms my heart.

In front of school...

In front of school…



We’ve had our third week of ‘gymnastics’- I use quotes only because it’s more of a tumbling class with lots of mats and energy- but she’s loving it nonetheless. It’s perfect for burning off energy, learning to use her body, and meeting even more friends.


Once a month, the bases here offer a ‘Parents Night Out’ on a Friday night. They open one of the schools and parents can drop their kids there to eat dinner with their little friends (still divided into age groups, of course) and then play games, watch movies, etc. It was such a nice break for all three of us! Neve had a blast and John and I treated ourselves to a nice meal downtown where we just talked and laughed and enjoyed. Then we all got to sleep in the next morning! Win-win! They also offer one Saturday a month for ‘Parents Day Out,’ so we haven’t tried that yet (weekends are kinda our time as a trio), but it’s nice to know that it’s an option.



Two particularly awesome things have happened this week- I’ve made two new girlfriends! And the good kind that felt that ‘click’ from the get go. I’m going to let you guys in on a little secret. I know that many of you are social butterflies and you probably have no trouble meeting and making new friends, but this is an area that I’ve always found a bit tricky, believe it or not. I’m an odd bird in that I’m very comfortable in groups and I have no problem talking with strangers, being animated and loud and energetic. To a point. But I’m also very much an introvert in many ways- I often feel awkward and at a loss when it comes to making acquaintances into friends, I’m sometimes lazy when it comes to putting myself into situations to meet new friends, and then I’m not always the best at carving out the time to nurture and grow friendships…I don’t know why, but I just run out of time and life gets in the way. Oh, and I love my alone time, too! In other words, I’d much rather come home and put on my PJs rather than go to happy hour 9 times out of 10! Ha! And jokes aside, my preference has always been to have a handful of girlfriends whom I genuinely love and would do anything for and to feel that in return- rather than to be the girl with tons and tons of ‘just friends.’ (And yes, I know that some of you are blessed to have lots of girlfriends in both of these categories and just know that I think you have mad skills!)

That being said, coming here means that I’ve left behind my handful and I knew that it would take some effort once or I’d be one lonely girl! So one of my personal goals was that I would work on this area of my person because it’s something I’ve long wanted to be better at. I would make a point to put myself out there, to be a little uncomfortable if it meant that something good might come of it, to trust the process…And I’m happy to say that the Universe has brought two awesome women into my life just in the last seven days! Well, I actually ‘met’ both of them online- one through an expat page that I follow and another through a mutual friend back in Charleston (small world, right?!), so we’ve been in communication for a while, but we finally got to meet face to face this week. And both meetings went swimmingly! The best part is that they both have daughters close to Neve’s age. In fact, as I type, Neve is napping after a busy morning coffee/lunch/play date with her newest friend <3

Cheers to new friends!

Silly faces. Cheers to new friends!


Goddess sent us some Ponies in our care package. They’re ALL the rage. Yes, they even accompany us to lunch.

So yeah, it’s been a good week! And to top it all off? Fall TV is back, which means that our SlingBox is filling up and we’re feeling even more like ‘normal!’ Big plans for the weekend- headed downtown for dinner tonight with our new above-mentioned friends (they’re from Summerville!) and Sunday we’re headed back to Pumpkin Fest one last time before it’s over. I hope all of you had a great week! Talk soon!

Happy First Week of Fall!

21 Sep

Can y’all believe that it will be Fall- officially- on Wednesday?! I don’t know about you, but it feels like summer just came and went for us. I think it’s because we were here in the spring where it stayed cool well into May and then we got back here in August where it was already turning cool again. We’ve been in pants and jackets since the day we got here! John’s favorite time of year is fall, so he’s super pumped and already enjoying the leaves changing colors and being able to see his breath most mornings. Me, on the other hand, I’m a summer girl and I didn’t get enough of it. Give me sundresses and flip flops ANY day. That being said, my biggest problem here five years ago (same time of year) was all the rain and gloomy skies ( so much so that John even bought me my very own sun lamp when we got word we were doing this adventure! Ha!) and that part seems to be better at the moment, so there’s that little silver lining :)

Well, I’d planned to write today about Pumpkin Fest- the largest in Germany and one of our favorite local excursions so far. But, I’ve decided that I just did three posts on trip type stuff and I’d rather spend this time updating everyone on what’s going on here at ‘home.’  So here goes!

We found a house! And we move in a week from tomorrow!! WOOHOO! We are shouting from the roof tops and dancing in the streets over here! We’re in Week 5 of our hotel stay and let me just say for the record, we are OVER it! Ha! I swear it doesn’t matter how nice the hotel is or how good its location is, nothing takes the place of having some space and some room to spread out and just being able to call something your own. We saw alot of places- well, Neve and I saw alot of places and took John back to anything worthwhile ;)- and really learned alot about the area in the process, which is exactly what we’d hoped to do.

stuttgart map 2

Here’s a map of Stuttgart since I’m a visual person and I like to assume that all of you are, too. So, you see the big bold in the middle along with ‘Mitte’ (this means the heart of downtown), ‘Sud,’ ‘West,’ ‘Ost’ and ‘Nord.’ That is downtown. Picture Stuttgart as a giant bowl- all of downtown is at the bottom of the bowl. Around those areas are giant hills making the rim of the bowl. The areas of Botnang, Feuerbach, Degerloch, Sonnenberg, etc. are all along the top of the rim with beautiful views down into the bowl or toward the outside of the bowl. South and west of the city is most of the industry, the smaller cities…The east and north are beautiful rolling hills, farms, countryside…I wasn’t kidding when I said Stuttgart has it all!

To give you an idea, our hotel is to the south about where you see the A81 and S-Vaihingen in a city called Sindelfingen. The largest of the four military bases- the one where John is working- is in Vaihingen. We would’ve enjoyed living here, but there’s rarely anything available due to its proximity to the base. The next largest base- the one that has all the main offices and most of the shopping- is about 15 minutes southeast in a town called Boblingen. We had considered that area until we got Neve registered in school on the third base (which happens to be my favorite one as it’s nestled in the woods and has a much more intimate feel), which is kinda near Frauenkopf over by the bright yellow area. It’s about 40ish minutes one way, so that’s just too far.

Once we got the lay of the land, it boiled down to what feel we were looking for- big time city, suburbia or countryside. And y’all, it was TOUGH. We found houses that we liked in every one of those areas! Now let me back up and say that it’s been interesting for us to take a different approach to house hunting than we’re used to. We’ve always owned our houses and therefore, shopped with that in mind- resale value, how it will be in 10 years, the costs of changing and updating…Searching for a rental is obviously so different. No, you don’t get absolutely everything you want and no, you can’t make all the changes you’d like, but you get the freedom to choose what fits you the best RIGHT NOW. You get some of the pressure taken off of you by knowing that you can’t change a thing, and there’s something really neat about that! Nothing we saw was EXACTLY what we wanted, so we were able to look at from all kinds of different perspectives to find what would work BEST.

And boy have we taken a leap of faith! We’ve decided to live in Stuttgart Mitte, in the heart of downtown! Charleston peeps, the location is equivalent to living at Charleston Place on King Street. We are so excited! Now let me share a bit of our rationale. First and foremost, we’ve often thought we’d like to live in a big city- we’ve even looked at jobs and properties in areas like Manhattan and San Diego. What better opportunity to ‘try it out’ than these 3 years, right? To be part of the action, the lights, the movement, the energy…Public transportation, taxis, big buildings…Which leads me to our second consideration. We hope to have lots of visitors (hint, hint ;) ) and there’s just no better spot to be a guest of this city. No cars needed, no Autobahns, no searching for things to do…unless you choose to. And third, it all came full circle for our original reasons for coming here in the first place- to stretch our comfort zones, to grow as individuals and as a family, to learn new ways of living, to immerse ourselves in a new culture…We know that the best way to do this is by placing ourselves smack dab in the middle of it all.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Isn’t it beautiful?! That’s us to the left with the spiral fire escape. (Grandma, the top door goes right into your bedroom <3) Now are you ready for the neatest part? Wait for it…Wait for it…The house is on top of a shopping mall! Yep, you read that right! There’s a 3 story mall right below us- in other words, the call ceiling is our floor!

Entrance to Das Gerber, the shopping mall below our house :)

Entrance to Das Gerber, the shopping mall below our house :)

Street in front of the mall...

Street in front of the mall…



Yep, two grocery stores in the basement of my house! Winning!

The Das Gerber is Stuttgart’s largest mall and it opened just a couple years ago. On top of the mall, they decided to build a small community of 4 houses and 40 apartments, complete with grass, sidewalks, and even a playground (which happens to be right out our front door!). I know it sounds crazy and I was definitely skeptical myself, but it turns out that this is pretty normal here- that space is beyond limited, so building up is about the only option!

First floor- main living area...Kitchen is to the right.

First floor- main living area…Kitchen is to the right.


Not half as large as we’re used to, but amazingly decent for German standards- and even has a dishwasher!

Looking back toward the kitchen...

Looking back toward the kitchen…


Also on this floor is the entry hallway and a half bathroom. On the second floor, there’s our room and Neve’s, along with a full bathroom…


Neve's room, overlooking the playground...

Neve’s room, overlooking the playground…

Playground outside our front door and beneath Neve's room...

Playground outside our front door and beneath Neve’s room…Those are the apartments with the arched windows…To the left are just office spaces.

The third floor is identical to the second- with two bedrooms and a full bath- plus the washer and dryer. So plenty of room for guests! And now for the best part:

thumb_IMG_5415_1024 thumb_IMG_5416_1024

Look at that view! That’s downtown Stuttgart! We can’t wait to get moved in and start enjoying this city! The only drawbacks to this house- and to the majority that we looked at- is that it doesn’t come with any light fixtures (just wires hanging from the ceiling) and no closets. Not a one. Yeah, so that will be our challenge- buying enough wardrobes to house all our stuff! And isn’t it crazy that German renters move around with the light fixtures? Lots move with their kitchens, too, but at least we lucked up there! Ha! We also lucked up by getting 2 parking spaces in the garage below, as well as a storage room and access to the bike room.

I wish y’all could see our current situation- we look like hoarders gone wild in this tiny hotel space! The dogs are about to go crazy, too! They will be so pleased to get moved in- and to have a yard! No, it’s not huge, but it’s something!


This is the side yard, but it wraps around to the front and the back :)

If all goes as planned, we should get our keys next Tuesday. The following day, we will get one of our two shipments (the big shipment won’t arrive until about 2 weeks later :/), and a few temporary furniture pieces we can use from the base just to tide us over…Please everybody say a little prayer for us that all goes as planned! (One can dream, right?!)

Stay tuned for Pumpkin Fest later this week! Happy Monday!

Part 3: Sleeping Beauty’s Castle

17 Sep

Thanks again for stopping back by! This is what happens when your adventures are just so grand- they take three days to get them all out there! Ha! We knew when were planning this trip that it would be a doozy and require a good bit of time spent either doing boring things (ie. taking care of paperwork to get the new car) or in the car making our way home. Total, we spent just over 16 hours in the car- and that’s not counting the nearly full day of travel to get up there! So we definitely wanted to do something special for Neve- something she would think was the most fun and would hold her attention. And with that, we found that Sleeping Beauty’s castle just happened to be in northern Germany along our route back to Stuttgart!

Getting there would prove to be a bit challenging, however. The drive from Copenhagen to Sababurg, Germany was supposed to take about 7 hours. Due to crummy weather and horrible German traffic (this is a world-known thing- the unexplainable terrible traffic situation in this country- they call them ‘staus’ and we call them ‘worst things ever on every single road trip!’), it ended up taking us closer to 10 hours. So frustrating. On the plus side, you take an hour long ferry between the countries, so we had a chance to get out of the car and enjoy a surprisingly delicious meal on the boat!



We made it to the castle just in time for our dinner reservations. Still raining and still chilly, but there she was- the Dornroeschenschloss, Sleeping Beauty’s castle. It was gorgeous and so majestic set atop the highest hill surrounded by lush green pastures.

thumb_IMG_5552_1024 thumb_IMG_5553_1024 thumb_IMG_5554_1024

Dornroeschenschloss, built in 1334, was originally used as a fortress to protect the town’s pilgrims from enemy invasions. Several hundred years later, it became more of a hunting lodge and home of the region’s elite. Eventually, the castle began to decay and its stone wall (originally used to fence in the livestock) became covered with thorny hedges, leading the residents of the surrounding areas to let their imaginations run wild. Two such imagination were those of the Brothers Grimm, the famous authors to so many childhood classics. From this castle, their fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty was born.

Our room- in the righthand tower- was so cute. Dated, but cute ;). Love me some timber and exposed beams, too! Neve especially loved the princess bed and even more special princess bathroom ‘only for girls, but Daddy can use it.’




Dinner was phenomenal- candlelit, overlooking the countryside and delicious fresh-prepared cuisine. All right there in Sleeping Beauty’s Dining Hall.



The gardens surrounding the castle are gorgeous- the perfect marriage of planned landscaping and letting nature do her thing. We spent our rainy morning exploring and learning the story of this particular princess. Neve is in love and has yet to stop talking about the story.


In a nutshell…Many moons ago, a King and Queen had dreamed of having a baby, but hadn’t succeeded in their efforts after years of trying. One night, a frog came to the Queen while she was in her bath and told her that her wish would finally come true- she would have a baby girl in the spring. After the birth of Briar Rose, the baby girl (and the original name of Grimm’s fairy tale), the King was so elated that he threw a grand party, inviting any and everyone- with the exception of one of the 13 ‘Wise Women’ as he only had 12 plates fit for such royalty. The first 11 ladies blessed the child with things like wealth, happiness, beauty…But when it came time for the 12th lady, the shunned 13th Wise Woman came from the shadows and angrily put a curse on the baby- that she would prick her finger and die on her 15th birthday. The 12th lady offered the only blessing she could- to lessen the effects of the curse. The princess would not die, but rather sleep for 100 years, along with everyone and everything around her.

On her 15th birthday, the princess found herself drawn to the seamstress quarters where she found a little old lady spinning on her spindle. The witch encourages the princess to try it for herself, but she immediately pricks her finger on the spindle and falls onto the nearby bed, drifting off into a deep sleep. Below her, everyone in the castle- the King and Queen, the staff, even the flies on the wall- also falls asleep and will remain so for the next century. As years go by, the vines and plants take over, essentially covering the grounds and the castle in impenetrable layers of vegetation. Word spreads throughout the country that there’s a beautiful princess inside and many a prince attempt to scale the walls only to end in uncertain death when they’re overtaken with the vines.

Finally, on the day that marks the end of the century, another prince is determined to take his chances for a shot waking the beautiful princess inside. Because the curse is over, he is able to cut through the hedges and make his way up the tower to find her sleeping peacefully. He wakes her with a kiss and they make their way down from the tower to find the rest of the castle occupants also waking and the vegetation receding to reveal the same beautiful gardens that had been there 100 years before. The tale ends with the couple marrying in splendor in the grand courtyard.






The wall surrounding the castle…



Looking down into the cellar…


Today, the castle is used as a hotel, a restaurant and an upscale event spot. Can you imagine your wedding in this castle’s courtyard and your reception in the gardens?! It’s so great what this man (a single affluent guy purchased the property years ago and has spent all this time bringing it back to life for all of us to enjoy) has done so that, hopefully, generations to come can experience this little piece of history. So awesome to get to share this with Neve.


And with that, we loaded back up and made the final 4 hour drive to Stuttgart. And with minimal staus! Woohoo! The pups had a great long weekend, too. We were lucky enough to meet a couple who keeps pups in their home- one family at a time- and it appears that Meg and Dulcie had a blast! They were spoiled rotten and even got baths before we got there to pick them up!

Talk soon!

Part 2: Copenhagen

16 Sep

Thanks for coming back to hear all about Part 2 of our most recent Scandinavian adventures! So when we left off yesterday, we had just finished lunch and a factory tour at Volvo and were headed south for Copenhagen. It took about 4 hours, but it was great because it gave us a chance to really get a feel for the new car. (Speaking of which, said new car needs a name- anybody got any snazzy suggestions?)

The scenery as we made our way south- miles of coast and cow-filled pastures.

The scenery as we made our way south- miles of coast and cow-filled pastures.

Crossing the LONG bridge- and then a tunnel- from Sweden into Denmark...

Crossing the LONG bridge- and then a tunnel- from Sweden into Denmark…

Founded as a fishing village in the 12th century, Copenhagen is the capital and largest city (almost 2 million people) of Denmark. The city suffered catastophic effects from the Plague and two major fires in the 18th century, which led to many of its original buildings and infrastructure being rebuilt into what is seen today-  a unique mix of old and modern and industrial. The best way I can describe it is ‘Venice meets Amsterdam meets Brussels.’ It’s got the huge harbor and large boats of Venice, along with the canals and bicycles of Amsterdam and the tinge of corporate feel of Brussels. All in all, we liked it!

thumb_IMG_5484_1024 thumb_IMG_5485_1024

thumb_IMG_5488_1024 thumb_IMG_5489_1024

Lots of restaurants are below street level and have a cozy, intimate feel...

Lots of restaurants are below street level and have a cozy, intimate feel…

How that's for a bill?! Ha! It's in Krone, so about $90...Copenhagen is known as one of the most expensive cities in the world.

How that’s for a bill?! Ha! It’s in Krone, so about $90…Copenhagen is known as one of the most expensive cities in the world.


Walking along the harbor's boardwalk back to the hotel after dinner...

Walking along the harbor’s boardwalk back to the hotel after dinner…


For our full day in the city, we decided to do a boat tour so that we could really see as much as possible and then to spend the afternoon at Tivoli, the 2nd oldest amusement park in the world. The boat tour was fantastic, despite the chilly wind and the drizzling rain! We got to see all the major landmarks, including The Little Mermaid statue and Christiansborg Palace.

thumb_IMG_5506_1024 thumb_IMG_5504_1024

Isn't this the coolest steeple ever?!

Isn’t this the coolest steeple ever?!

thumb_IMG_5511_1024 thumb_IMG_5514_1024

Another cool steeple! This one has stairs all the way to the very top- and yes, people were climbing them!

Another cool steeple! This one has stairs all the way to the very top- and yes, people were climbing them!

Apparently, this is the most exclusive, high end canal in the city. Unlike Amsterdam, not many house boats.

Apparently, this is the most exclusive, high end canal in the city. Unlike Amsterdam, not many house boats.



Next, we made our way through the city with a quick pit stop for lunch- the national food…wait for it…cold sandwiches. I kid you not- they’re known for their cold sandwiches called ‘smorrebrod.’ Fish seems to be the meat of choice, but most cold cuts will suffice. We thought they were ‘meh.’


Tivoli, opened in 1843, is the 2nd oldest amusement park in the world and with nearly 5 million visitors each year, it’s the second most popular seasonal theme park, behind Disney World. Speaking of which, Walt Disney got his idea and modeled his park after Tivoli. And it’s more than just rides, it’s also a ‘pleasure garden,’ which translates into acres and acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, roaming peacocks and intricate fountains.

thumb_IMG_5530_1024 thumb_IMG_5531_1024


They had another COOL playground. I bet it’s so much fun to visit during the week when it’s not so crowded. Needless to say, Neve soaked up her time there like a sponge!


That’s John and Neve crossing the rope bridge.


Neve also LOVED all the rides. In fact, she was so bummed that they told her ‘no’ on some of the rides, including its famous wooden roller coaster. That darn height requirement ;) Luckily, Tivoli had lots of options for smaller kids, so the heartbreak wasn’t too bad.

thumb_IMG_5540_1024 thumb_IMG_5533_1024 thumb_IMG_5532_1024

View from the top of the ferris wheel...

View from the top of the ferris wheel…

thumb_IMG_5545_1024 thumb_IMG_5546_1024

Let me just say that this was one of the neatest, prettiest, most unique amusement parks we’ve ever been to. It may be old, but only in the good ways- having huge trees to provide shade, having cobblestones and boulders to add character, showcasing ironworks more than a century old…The rides and restaurants, however, were new and modern and clean. It was absolutely the way a park should be done- with a little something for everyone and at a price that won’t break the bank.


So with that, our day in Copenhaven came to an end. We were EXHAUSTED! So glad to finally cross this neat city off our Bucket List. Who knows, maybe we’ll get back there one day- we definitely have a few more trips to Scandinavia already in the pipeline! Please join me back here tomorrow for the finale to our adventure- Sleeping Beauty’s Castle! Aka, the highlight of the Neve’s trip! <3


A Day of Firsts! And a New Car…

15 Sep

Hey, y’all! So today is feeling pretty significant- like this book that we’ve started writing is actually starting now- like we’re past the Prologue and all the dedications…I say this because it’s a day of firsts. It’s Neve’s first day of school, it’s John’s first real day of work, it’s the first day we’ve had two cars and aren’t dealing with drop offs and pick ups, it’s the first day we’re not dealing with a rental car whatsoever, it’s the first day I’ve gotten to put on my workout clothes and head to the gym as soon as I woke up just old times (I may or may not be twirling around my room singing, ‘The hiiiilllllls are alive with the sound of muuuuuusic…’)…And we’ve just gotten back from our first trip that was a huge success! So yep, it’s a pretty good day here in Stuttgart!


So before I get into our trip, let’s just look at the cuteness that was Neve this morning headed to her first day at school! Try to look past the hotel room that is resembling a hoarder’s bedroom. As for clothes, we’re having to make do with what we’ve got as, once again, I didn’t pack correctly. Who knew the highs would be in the 50s by early September?! Jeez. She was pretty excited, though. And a bit nervous. She’s had 4 days as a drop-off at school since we got here, along with one meet-the-teacher (and classmates and their parents) last week, which I definitely think helps her to feel more at ease. It’s tough being in a new school with new teachers (especially when you had such fabulous ones back at home!) and making new friends…Neve is like her Mama, though, and is a creature of habit. She does her best with routine and certainty. So I really think that getting back into the school groove will be just what she needs- what all of us need. Her teachers seem lovely, sweet and very qualified. Her classmates and their parents are great from what we can tell. The school itself is warm and inviting. Fingers crossed!

We had a fantastic weekend away. Thursday morning, we flew from Stuttgart to Zurich, Switzerland to Gothenburg, Sweden. Gothenburg is Sweden’s second largest city, fifth largest in all of Scandinavia. It has a great feel to it- very modern, very active and with a younger feel, probably because of all the universities there. It has the COOLEST playground we’ve ever seen. Neve was in love. We also liked the area because it reminded us of home- it looks ALOT like Washington state- pine trees, rocks, grey skies…

thumb_IMG_5440_1024 thumb_IMG_5443_1024 thumb_IMG_5444_1024 thumb_IMG_5445_1024 thumb_IMG_5454_1024 thumb_IMG_5457_1024

Gothenburg is also home to Volvo’s main factory and production facility. How in the world did you guys end up building a car all the way in Sweden, you ask? Well, we first made the decision that we wanted a third row vehicle for our time here- mainly to make things as easy as possible when we have guests. (Caravanning, finding parking, etc. in Europe is a nightmare, so riding together was a must.) We then researched our options, knowing that we needed a European make so that it could be easily maintained and serviced while we’re here. The Volvo XC90 won by a landslide on so many scales- size, comfort, gas mileage, maintenance needs…The challenge came with the fact that this year’s model is brand new, first of its kind and not available yet at dealerships. In other words, you can only order them through your dealership, but then wait 5-6 months for delivery. In Europe, the wait is about 3 months…Unless you pick it up yourself. So there you have it :)


Picking up the car at Volvo was the NEATEST experience! You arrive to the headquarters and are seated with coffee while you wait on your representative to come go over everything with you.


Volvo Headquarters

Then he escorts you to a pair of glass doors- the Delivery Hall- and leaves you to go get your vehicle. A few minutes later, a garage door opens and in rolls your new 4-wheeled baby.

thumb_IMG_5473_1024 thumb_IMG_5466_1024

As soon as you walk through the doors- you’re presented with ‘the box.’ :)


You spend the next hour or so going over everything about the car in perfect detail. He teaches you everything you could possibly need to know and then some! Now y’all know I’m a Jeep girl, through and through. I’ve owned 4 of them- the last one being my favorite car EVER. So I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous that I wouldn’t love this baby as much as all her predecessors, even if I had chosen absolutely every single feature she has! But y’all- she’s AMAZING. I’m in love. She’s gorgeous on the outside (John laughs because I do still think that a Jeep Grand Cherokee is just a smidge prettier), way gorgeous on the inside (like I’ve never seen a prettier interior), she drives smoothly and effortlessly, and she meets every single one of our needs. What a relief!



You’d be amazed at how many people pick up their cars from the factory! Seriously. By the time we were wrapping up, there were 2 other vehicles sharing the Delivery Hall with us and a showroom full of folks waiting for their turns! We were lucky in that two other American couples had, like us, the first available appointments of the day (imagine that, overachieving Americans), so we made some new friends. Volvo invited all of us to stay for lunch and then to take a tour of the factory, which was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen- a real life ‘How It’s Made!’


And with that, we bid Volvo and our newfound friends Adieu and started the 4 hour drive south to Denmark…Stay tuned tomorrow for the second half of our trip- Copenhagen and Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Lots of fun was had!

Oh, but before I go- John’s car! Last week, he also lucked up and found exactly what he’d been looking for! It’s a small 2007 BMW with lots of pep, perfect for getting him to and from work. It’s a manual, though, which meant that he’s even learned to drive a stick shift! I’m beaming with pride at my teaching abilities :) Nah, I’m really proud of him- and amazed at how few times he’s stalled!


We’re on the right path…

6 Sep

Y’all.  I can’t wait to share this story. It’s so neat and so meaningful and such a great confirmation for us that we made the right choice moving here and taking on this three year adventure. So here we go.

Starting with the end of the story: our Summerville house rented! And not only did it rent, but it rented for more than our advertised price thanks to a little bidding war! (That, in itself, is a confirmation, too, in that the house we’ve rented here is slightly more than our housing allowance, so we’d really wrestled with whether or not do it. The day after we signed the lease, we got the news :) )

Anyway, the property management company told us a little bit about the family renting our house. Not the details, but just that it was a military widow with three young children. Just that scenario alone pulled at my heartstrings. I can’t even imagine her pain, her strength, her love…

Last night, I sat down to work on a blog post and there was a list of ‘suggested blogs’ on my home page- ones that also had ‘wander’ in their names. The top one immediately caught my eye: WanderingWidow+3. Huh. I clicked on it out of curiosity because of the obvious similarities. Reading through the blog, I saw pictures of this beautiful family…of the American flag…of a husband that was killed in Afghanistan. When I got to her name, I pulled up the lease that the management company had just sent earlier in the day. The names matched. This woman, who WordPress had suggested to me out of all the tens of thousands of blogs they host, was the same woman who was going to be living in our home with her three sweet children as they rebuild their lives. Did you just get goosebumps? I did.

So then I started searching- eventually found her on Facebook (where else?) and sent her a message. It went something like, “Please don’t think I’m crazy, I promise I’m not crazy, but I think you’re renting my house and let me tell this story of how I found you. I’m really not crazy.’

The next day, I got a message back from her and it started with, ‘You have no idea how much this means to me. Thank you!’ Oh what a relief! But then the story gets better.

She has been struggling with finding ‘home’ since her husband was killed. She and her kids have spent the time since ‘wandering’ until something fit. Once she decided on the SC Lowcountry, she ultimately narrowed it down to two homes- ours and one in Mt. Pleasant. Unsure about Summerville, she decided to spend some time there one afternoon, finishing up with dinner at Five Loaves. There, she sat next to a couple and ended up talking to them a bit about her situation, the houses, what she should do. The more they talked, the couple finally realized that they knew which house she was describing and that they knew me! What?! She took it as a sign that she was heading in the right direction and requested a second showing of our home, along with another couple that was also interested.

As soon as she stepped in the house the second time, she said that it felt like ‘home’ for the first time in ages. As they were walking around, she got a text from the Mt. Pleasant house saying that her second showing of it would be delayed. At that moment, she knew that God was answering her prayers by giving her the direction that she’d been asking for. She excused herself upstairs, called the office to submit her offer above asking price, and completed the paperwork on her phone standing in our loft- all while the other couple was still downstairs asking questions!  Goosebumps again, right?!

Now having talked with her a few times this weekend, there’s no doubt in our minds that all of the above has happened for a reason- that the stars lined up, that the Universe had a plan, that God led us to each other. John and I have prayed for months that our house- the home we built to raise our family, the one we have grown to love- would rent to someone who would love it, care for it, feel at home in it, enhance it…She had prayed that she would feel ‘at home’ again, that she would get direction, that her children would love their next home- their first without their Dad, that she would know when she was on God’s path…To show just how happy the kids were- the night she signed the lease, they begged her to stay in their new ‘perfect home.’ They slept on beach towels on the floor of the master bedroom- the best night they’ve had in a long time.

So for us, we’re beyond happy to have this lovely family rebuilding their lives in our home. We’re confident that she found our home because she was meant to find it. Our path is moving parallel with theirs. But the confirmation feels bigger than that to me. I have always believed that the Universe has a plan for each of us, that if we pay attention closely enough, our lives are sprinkled with little signs to let us know when we’re on the right path- or the wrong one. I take this whole serendipitous experience as a resounding sign that things are working out, that we made the right decision uprooting our lives, that our faith will pay off. We’re on the right path. And that’s a good feeling.


We’re Baaaaack!

31 Aug

Hello, you guys! I’m so sorry it’s been forever since I posted. Once the decision was made, the summer passed by at warp speed. Seriously, I have no idea where it went. But it was so good! We had alot of time spent with family and friends- and even a week of rest and relaxation out at Edisto Beach. The few weeks after getting home from that were when things really kicked into high gear- movers packing and shipping our stuff, selling our cars, getting the house ready to rent, getting the pups’ paperwork ready to travel…Never in my life have I’ve been more thankful to get on a plane because that meant the hard part is over, at least for the next 10 hours! Ha!

thumb_IMG_4987_1024 thumb_IMG_4989_1024

They SO don’t tell you all the work that goes into moving overseas. It was never ending. There were never enough hours in the day. And there’s no instruction manual on how to function once your stuff is gone or once you’ve sold both of your cars or what to tell your 3-year-old when she wonders why her friends are going back to school and she’s not…Yep, it’s all just feeling our way in the dark. Very thankfully, we had our village of support that stepped up to make the transition as easy as possible. We stayed our last two weeks with my parents, borrowed their cars and my grandmother’s, sent Neve with Ms. Lori to visit her friends at school…Not sure what we would’ve done without our village!

thumb_IMG_5077_1024 thumb_IMG_5079_1024

Our biggest hurdle ended up being with the pups. Long story short, Meg our Frenchie, is now classified as a ‘bully breed’ with Delta, which means that they won’t fly her. (WTH?! Who in their right mind groups Frenchies with Pit Bulls?!) Well, because the government pays for our flights, the tickets have to be with the contract carrier. You guessed it- it was Delta. So we ended up having to fly separately. John and Neve flew from Charleston to Stuttgart on Delta. The pups and I flew from Charlotte to Munich on Lufthansa (always an AWESOME airline, btw!), then rented a car and drove the two hours to Stuttgart. I won’t get into all the fun-ness of that arrival day, but just take my word for it that I don’t intend to do it again and that I was beyond proud of myself by the time I crashed on the hotel bed that afternoon!

Alright, enough with the catch up. We’re here! The three of us, the two pups and our luggage have all been in Stuttgart now for just over a week! (Told you I was late to get y’all caught up!) Just to be at this stage of the game is a milestone. We’re staying in a Marriott for up to 90 days while we house hunt. The good news is that, with the per diem funds we’re given, we’re able to have 2 adjoining rooms. So while we don’t have practically any storage (our stuff is in piles around the perimeter), no kitchen (I swear I won’t eat at another restaurant until next year when this is all said and done!)  and definitely no room for running or playing (not sure who it’s tougher for- Neve or the pups), we at least have two beds, two bathrooms and a door in between for naps and bedtime. Jet lag has been a beast- we’re all awake until well after midnight and have trouble getting moving in the morning. We also have internet and free laundry, so that’s a plus, too. Oh, and we got German cell phones! Not sure how folks did it before the age of technology- I’d die if I couldn’t talk and text to everyone I’m missing back home! So if I haven’t already sent you our numbers and you want them, just let me know. (If you have an iPhone, communication will be free- otherwise, we use an app called Whatsapp, so it’s also free :) )

First meal as a resident of Stuttgart! Schnitzel at the biergarten.

First meal as a resident of Stuttgart! Schnitzel at the biergarten.


We’re in the process of getting our cars. So far, we’ve just had one rental car, which means that Neve and I either take John to work in the mornings or we hoof it on foot for the day. But, John has found a few cheapie cars that he’s going to see tonight (he’s buying just something small and practical to get to and from work), so hopefully we will have our own new-to-us wheels before the end of the week. We decided to build a Volvo SUV for my car, our primary vehicle. It will be ready next weekend, so we’re making a mini-vacation out of our trip to Sweden to pick it up from the factory. We’ll fly there, pick it up, then spend a few days driving the 14 hours back to Stuttgart. We’ll get to see Copehagen for the first time and spend a night in Sleeping Beauty’s castle- Neve is so thrilled! :)

thumb_IMG_5128_1024 thumb_IMG_5120_1024 thumb_IMG_5126_1024

House hunting is moving along. The thought of being stuck in this hotel for three months is enough to make all of us squirmy! It’s tough being in a new city that you’re not familiar with the ‘good parts’ of town, the ‘bad parts’ of town, the ‘up and coming trendy parts’ of town…You’re just not sure where to even start! It definitely helps having lived here for a minute back in 2010 because at least we recognize some town names, street names, etc. We spent alot of time during our first few days just driving around and getting a feel for where we see ourselves being happiest. Stuttgart has it all- big metro city, smaller suburbs and country living. Just like everywhere else on the planet, it boils down to what’s most important to you- size and amenities of the house or location…There are such pros and cons to all, so Neve and I have just been seeing as many properties as we can that seem to fit our bill! Any that are contenders, we take John back to see. I don’t want to jinx it, but I think we’ve narrowed it down and have our sights set on one house in particular. Fingers crossed!

House hunting!

House hunting!

thumb_IMG_5152_1024 thumb_IMG_5157_1024 thumb_IMG_5165_1024 thumb_IMG_5191_1024

And finally, the work front is so-so…There was a typo on John’s orders apparently, so it’s taken until today to get it corrected so that we can continue moving forward. Our first 10 days are spent ‘in-processing’ through the base- getting IDs, learning the lay of the land, getting German drivers licenses, touring the local hospitals…It’s mandatory for John, and then I attend when the school has space for Neve to visit. Tomorrow will be her third visit and she’s loved it every day so far! Preschool officially starts week after next, so I know she’ll be so happy to get back into a regular routine- and with other littles! Oh she’s missing school and her friends. She’ll be in the German Immersion 3-year-olds on one of the bases to start. It’s apparently one of the most sought-after classes available and we were lucky to snag the last spot as it got a cancellation while I was standing there last week! Because we’re really leaning toward putting her in regular German kindergarten once we get settled, we think this will be the best test run and transition as it will be with other American children, but with German-speaking teachers. Fingers crossed! Before long, I’ll be able to take my language lessons from her instead of paying someone! Ha!

thumb_IMG_5212_1024 thumb_IMG_5240_1024 thumb_IMG_5239_1024 thumb_IMG_5238_1024 thumb_IMG_5237_1024 thumb_IMG_5236_1024

So there you have it- our first week officially living in Germany in the books! There’s actually something comforting about being back in Stuttgart after these past five years. There have been alot of changes, but there’s plenty still the same and definitely a sense of familiarity. We have moments of, ‘Oh yeah, I remember that!’ just about every day. And I don’t know how to describe it exactly, but John and I are both feeling it- this sense of belonging that we’ve never had either of the times we’ve been here before. Yes we’re new and yes we feel completely lost and overwhelmed the vast majority of the time, but for the first time, we’re here to stay and we’re not outsiders. We’re members of these communities- the Americans living overseas, the residents of this city…It’s kinda neat. :)

thumb_IMG_5255_1024 thumb_IMG_5254_1024 thumb_IMG_5253_1024 thumb_IMG_5251_1024


Thanks again for coming along with us on this next chapter of our lives. It’s so many emotions all rolled into one and we’re just doing what we can taking it one day at a time. We’re together, we’re healthy, we’re growing our comfort zones and we’ve been given such a wonderful opportunity. Having y’all with us makes it all just a little bit better. Talk soon!

Drum Roll, Please…

9 Jul

The post you’ve all been waiting for. The answer to the big elephant in the room. Are we or are we not headed back to Germany?



(Let’s just pause for a second and all appreciate the magnificence that is Matthew McConnaughey…You’re welcome.)

Just typing that ‘yes’ gave me a pit in my stomach! Ha! I know we’ve talked to some of you along this journey of decision and that some of you even knew within the last few days that the decision had been made, but actually putting it in writing and sending it out there for all the world to see just makes it so real. Everything about this week so far is feeling pretty real, actually. I spent the better part of yesterday doing the things I’ve been putting off or ‘waiting until we’re 115% sure’ to tackle and I’ve gotta say…I think I may have overdone it! Ha!

One of the biggest hang-ups for me all along has been Neve’s school. For the last two years, she’s been enrolled in two wonderful programs that we’ve loved and appreciated more than words can say. At Bethany UMC in particular, we’ve truly grown to consider them family- the teachers, the parents, Neve’s classmates…And it’s not just been wonderful for her, but for us, as well. For me. To part with that, as I did officially yesterday morning, is huge and comes with so many more emotions than I’d anticipated. To say that we will miss the program- and moreso, the people- is such a gross understatement. I can only hope that the friendships we’ve made- at school and in our new neighborhood- will not only continue, but will grow and flourish. The same is true for all of our friendships. I’m confident that they will, though, because we’re committed to making it happen.

On the flip side, I also took my first German language lesson yesterday afternoon! I’m taking it as a sign that one of my former clients is from Germany and had a career with Bosch as their language instructor! She’s retired now and works privately with students in her home here in Summerville. How crazy is that?! And that we’ve kept in touch since I sold my business last year, so that I could just call her up and say, ‘Hey, I’m gonna need some lessons starting immediately if you can PLEASE fit me in!’ Ha! Needless to say, upon leaving my first lesson, I feel somewhat incompetent and even more overwhelmed than before I got there! My goal is to learn as much of a foundation as I can in these next few weeks so that when I enroll in classes there, I’ll at least be able to hold my own. Surely that’s a feasible goal considering I have a language brain (Spanish major) to start with?!

OK, so the few details we ‘know’ so far…I use quotes because it seems that every time I start counting things as certain, the change or grow or we learn new facts…So, as of now:

We will be in Stuttgart with John working on the same base he did several years ago. Our tentative move date is August 14 with John reporting in to the new office that following Monday, August 17. Yep, that’s less than 6 weeks. Lord.


He will then get two weeks to get settled without having to do a whole lot of work- some stopping in the office, some phone calls and paperwork and emails, but not 9-5ing. That time will be spent getting our ID cards, our paperwork filed, meeting with folks, maybe house hunting a bit…

We will have 90 days to find a house. In the meantime, it will be very similar to our normal travel in that work will pay for a hotel, apartment, etc. Which is good because it will take some time for our furniture and household stuff to arrive.

Work will pack and ship our stuff- furniture, clothes, toys, decorations…However, like I mentioned in an earlier post, we are going to leave our Summerville house furnished and rent it for short term executive rentals through AirBnB. This is at least our goal, so fingers crossed that we get guests! We’re taking it as a sign that we got our first reservation request this morning, just two hours after we posted our listing! We were like giddy schoolgirls! (Yes, I’m counting John in that.) That being said, we’re now in the process of deciding what to take, what to leave and what to buy new here and in Germany…This is proving to be one of the biggest challenges (ie. major pains in the ass) of this process. Also figuring out how to actually do the said rental and manage the property…Lord.

We will sell both of our cars before we go. John has a truck that would impractical overseas, so he will just buy a little used car to get him to and from work. My Jeep (ie. my favorite one out of 4 that I’ve ever owned) is not 4 wheel drive, nor is it large enough to accommodate when we have guests come to visit, so we are in the process of researching larger SUVs that will act as our primary vehicle while we’re there. Although work will ship one car, it’s looking like we will buy both over there. We will see.


We’ve talked at length to our families and closest friends and the support has been wonderful. It sounds as though we can expect alot of visitors and that everyone is looking forward to some European vacations :) The best news for me was that my parents and grandmother have decided that they’re OK with spending more time with us in Germany than they’d originally planned, so that has definitely been a weight lifted. (I’ve never been more thankful for retirement! Ha!) Luckily, it looks as though our housing allowance will make it possible for us to get a large enough house and yard to accommodate all- some of them even have indoor pools and saunas in the basements! Yes, please!

Neve is actually very excited and doing amazingly well as continue to discuss everything and starting putting plans into action. I’m constantly amazed at how much she hears, but moreso how much she understands. She spent Monday with Ms. Lori, for example, and explained to her all about how men would be coming to pack our things, but not all of our things because some would be staying here for when visitors stay in our house while we’re gone. WHAT?! She’s only 3 and we’ve never even really talked about those details with her directly! That being said, we’re doing our best to keep her in the loop, to talk about things often, to ask questions, to look at pictures, etc. as we think it’s so important for her to feel heard and understood.

So there you have it! All of the above- and more- to be done in practically no time! Yes, it’s daunting. This whole post is falling into that ‘maybe overdoing it’ category for today! Ha! But now that the decision has been made and we’ll be full steam ahead trying to get all of our ducks in a row (did I mention we’re talking like 5 weeks?!), I wanted to share the news with all of you so you’d hear it right from the horses mouth. As we learn more and get things more set in stone over the coming weeks, I’ll definitely post again to keep you in the loop. We’ve even talked about throwing into the mix a little casual get together just to see everybody before we go. We’ll see- that may be a bit of crazy talk. Regardless, I can’t tell you how much we’ve appreciated all of you for coming along on this journey with us. Hope you know how much we love you guys!

Updates to come as we know them!

Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe…

6 Jul

Y’all. How have we been home nearly a month now?! How are we already into July?! Sheesh. And to show how long I’ve been working on this post- in between all the other fun summertime stuff we’ve had going on- here’s how I started it…weeks ago! Ha! So let’s just pretend we’ve hit the rewind button so I don’t have to write another intro :)

Happy Father’s Day to all the Daddies out there! I like to think John’s day in on track to being pretty much perfect- homemade breakfast of hot cinnamon rolls and spicy Cajun sausage (wonder who’s choice that was?), gifts, tinkering in the yard, a six-pack of one of his favorite beers, and a fresh-grilled steak-and-potato dinner coming up tonight. What do you think? :) In all seriousness, though, there’s no man on this planet that could be a more perfect Dad for our girl and we are so, so, so truly blessed and thankful and grateful to have John as our ‘Third Amigo.’ And speaking of blessed, I had already won the lottery many, many years before I won it the second time with John. Getting to be my Dad’s one and only…I’m definitely the lucky one.

John and Neve's first picture.

John and Neve’s first picture.


So the two questions we’ve gotten asked the most since we got back last week: 1. Are you going back for the long stint? and 2. Which place was your favorite? Well, I’ll tackle the first one in the next day or two, but for the second one, here we go!

I always hate when people answer a question with,’Oh, I could never choose just one!’ Seems like such a cop out and that they just don’t want to really spend the time thinking about it. But y’all. That’s really the best answer I can give this time- and it’s not for lack of trying! I think it comes down to semantics, honestly.  ‘Favorite’ can be interpreted in so many ways: prettiest, best to live, most unique…So that’s how I’m going to approach it! Think of it like the Emmys: Best Comedy, Best Drama, etc…Heehee.

Best to Live

Hands down, Amsterdam. It’s always been one of our top destinations and this time- getting to do it with a child in tow- just solidified that. It’s like the perfect mix of everything we love about Europe. It’s old, yet modern-feeling. The architecture is beautiful, the canals add whimsy, and the people are friendly, welcoming and diverse. The economy is strong. The city is large, but still has a smaller feel to it, much like Charleston. Oh, and the food is delicious.


Best Scenery

Another easy one, Switzerland. I swear there isn’t a place on this Earth as breathtakingly beautiful as this country. And now that we’ve seen it both covered in snow (in 2010) and in the summer, we’re pretty confident that we’ll be hard pressed to find somewhere to knock it out of first place!


Closest Thing to Home (in a good way!)

Not a big surprise, London. But I mean this for more than just the language. From the moment we arrived in London, we compared it to NYC, which is a city that we both love and could return to many, many times and still have more discover. That’s how London felt to us. There are so many boroughs- each with its own flavor. There’s something- and somewhere- for everyone. There’s also that big city grit that you grow to expect from the ‘big boy cities,’ if that makes sense. You’re like a cog in the wheel- everyone hustling past you, going on about their lives just like you are. Yes, you’re just a number (if that), but there’s something really comforting to me about that feeling of anonymity.  I’m sure the fact that they speak English helps, but London felt like a perfect ‘gateway to Europe’ for Americans- the European feel and flair without quite as many of the cultural differences (and shocks) that come as you move further into the continent. That being said, if it weren’t for the exorbitant (ie. absolutely ridiculous) cost of living (Sandy, I don’t know how you do it!), it definitely could be a front runner for places to live.


Best Food

This is a tie, another thing I hate, but there’s just two that really stand out. Surprisingly, London- a city that, historically, hasn’t been known for its cuisine- maybe we just lucked up with good research and luck, but we loved every meal we had here! Bangers and mash, fish and chips, sticky toffee pudding (which I’ve now made myself and it’s SPOT ON!)…The other is Bruges. Maybe I should make a separate category for Best Carbs? Belgium in general had the best fries, waffles and croquettes we’ve ever had! They’re known for seafood, though, and maybe since we’re from a city that already does awesome seafood our expectations were a bit too high, but we found the seafood to be just good, not great.

Erin's Sticky Toffee Pudding

Erin’s Sticky Toffee Pudding

Most Charming

Another easy one- Bruges. This little city takes everything that you picture when you think of Europe and condenses it down into a picturesque, historic, colorful, friendly bubble to get lost in. We loved it.


So what do you think of our awards? I’m sure some of them were totally obvious, but maybe some of the others were a little more obscure? Humor me. :) And I didn’t even include some of our other all-time favorites (Venice, Grindelwald, Prague…) that we didn’t make it to this time! That would just add a whole ‘nother can of worms! Ha! And for those of you who will say that I didn’t actually answer the question, I would say that Amsterdam would win for our overall favorite this go around. It just has so much of everything we love in a city- history, beauty, charm, friendly people, modernization…

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July this weekend! We’ll talk again soon!

We made it!

16 Jun

Hello from the South Carolina Lowcountry! We made it! So sorry it’s taken me longer than I’d planned to post this little update, but the weekend got away from me between enjoying our family, enjoying our sweet pups, enjoying our house…


Saturday in her own backyard…Someone’s not glad to be home or anything!

Oh, and dealing with the damn jet lag again! Luckily, like I said in one of my first posts from Germany, coming this direction is always easier on me, and it’s holding true- knock on wood! I’d much rather wake up early than not be able to fall asleep for hours. We can always force ourselves to stay awake later to help nudge that natural alarm clock. :) John’s and my body seem to be on identical schedules, too, as we’ve awakened within 10 minutes of each other every morning since we got home- 445a, then 530a, then 650a today! Woohoo! Neve hasn’t missed a single beat. Seriously, she went to bed at 9p the night we got home, got up at 730a the next morning, took her regular nap that afternoon…To be a kid again.


Friday was a long day for sure. John’s flight left an hour before ours, which meant that we had to get to the airport way earlier than we would’ve normally (745a), which made for lots of sitting around before we even got on the plane. Then, we had a one hour delay on the runway that put us arriving in Newark just 40 min before our next flight. Not fun. At all. Remember in a previous post when I said how much I loathed Newark? Yeah, well, just consider that written in stone. Their whole Customs operation is absurd. You get off the plane, go through Customs with your passports (after standing in line for 20 minutes), then you have to go to regular Baggage Claim and get your bags once they pop up on the conveyor belt. Then you get back in another line at least 3 miles long to then go through Customs a second time, now with your passports AND bags. Recheck your bags, catch the train over to your next concourse and seriously hoof it to your gate. Seriously?! Neve was such a trooper- she helped push our carry on so I could manage the two HUMONGOUS suitcases until we could get them rechecked, then she ran her little heart out with me as we did our best to make it to our gate in time. By the time we got there, we looked like sweaty, huffing and puffing rats. And the door was closed. Poor gate check-in girl. She didn’t know what was coming when she told me that they’d already detached the walkway and that I’d need to consult customer service to book a new flight. Yeah….Riiiiight. Long story short: the walkway was reattached, the plane door was reopened and I waved like a freakin’ beauty queen as Neve and I made our way down the aisle to our seats. The air was thick with stuffy plane smell- and contempt. Needless to say, I made ZERO friends in Newark that day. Shoot.


My sweaty rat, finally on our last leg HOME!

Sixteen hours after we started, we were finally back in Charleston. My parents were there to pick us up, so the taxi ride in off the runway was seriously one of the longest in history. John arrived an hour ahead of us, so he was waiting with them, too. Reunions are so grand. This one was no exception. Oh, how I missed them…How Neve missed them.

And just to prove what an awesome family we have…They threw us a little ‘Welcome Home’ family celebration in their backyard Saturday night. It was perfect and included just about everything we’d been missing in Germany- those we love the most, great conversation, sitting around a patio in the summertime, laughter, a blow up pool for the kids, yummy REAL desserts…and deep dish pizza, my request. :)



thumb_IMG_4457_1024 thumb_IMG_4458_1024


Other than that, we’ve just been enjoying being home. We’ve had leisurely mornings, strolls in the park, trips to the grocery store (once at 930p! Gasp!)…


Oh, and even a date night- our first in over two months. :) We purposely chose to sit facing away from the harbor, and toward our city bathed in sunset. OUR city. It’s a sight that will never, ever get old. HOME.


And don’t worry- I haven’t forgotten about my ‘Which Place Did You Like the Best?’ post. Stay tuned!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 69 other followers

%d bloggers like this: