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Day 7 – Your dream wedding

I don’t ever remember dreaming about and plotting the perfect wedding when I was younger or even before I was married.  Call me odd I guess, but apparently my mind doesn’t work the same way as other females.

My wedding planning began once I had a ring on my finger.  I’d been to a few wedding before I got engaged, so I knew what I liked and didn’t like, but that’s where my thoughts ended.

When T and I got married in August 2008, I would have to say we had my dream wedding.   We tied the knot in a very modern space that was beautifully decorated, and T and I felt like it fit our styles and personalities perfectly.  We had a big party where all of our friends and family could celebrate with us.  The food was amazing, and everyone had a great time.  The best compliment that I received was people telling me it was the best wedding they’d ever been to.  That meant the most to me.

If I could go back and change a few things about that nearly perfect day, it would be that our grandparents who felt they were too old to travel so far (my German grandparents and his grandparents from New York) would have been able to be there to celebrate, our other German and northern family members that couldn’t come for one reason or another could have made it, and that it hadn’t poured rain all day.   If all those three things were changed, the day would have been absolutely perfect.

And now for your enjoyment, some wedding photos:

One of my favorite pictures

Our awesome venue - Lambert Place

My flowers were amazing

My hot husband and me

Day 5 – A photo of yourself two years ago.

On my wedding day

This is one of my favorite pictures from the wedding.  We were all “behind the scenes,” getting ready to walk out.  I’m pretty sure it was taken by one of my bridesmaids (JD or CMc) as we were all giddy with nervous excitement about heading out to begin the walk down the aisle.

I was happy, nervous, scared, but mostly excited, and I think this picture truly captures that emotion.  Plus, not to toot my own horn, but I think I look pretty damn good here!  🙂

Day 4 – Your favorite photograph of your best friend

Well, I accidentally missed some days in this 30 days challenge.  I completely spaced on posting over the weekend and meant to post last night, but I made quiche and then started reading Water for Elephants and couldn’t put it down.  (Hello holy run-on sentence)

I guess I will just post 30 different times, and they may not all be consecutive!

JD's Birthday Dinner - CGN, JD, Me

This is one of my favorite photos because we all look great and are genuinely happy.  We were out for JD’s birthday in 2010 and the waiter brought over a free a dessert and champagne so we could all toast to the birthday girl!

This was also about the halfway point of the birthday extravaganza.  We started with brunch, then got our nails done, went to dinner, met up with more friends for drinks, and ended the night in CGN’s bro’s hot tub.  All in all, I’d have to say it was a pretty successful birthday shindig.

 

I know that I was quite the slacker with blogging during 2010.  I’m not sure what was up with me, but I just wasn’t being inspired to write as much as I had in the past.  This year, I really want to be better about blogging on a more regular basis, i.e. at least once a week if not more.  I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy scrolling back through old posts to see what happened and reminiscing about the good times.

So, without further ado, here is my 2010 in review!

What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

I went whitewater rafting, took an aerial acrobatics class, went on a Snuggie pub crawl, spent a romantic weekend in a B&B with T, and  saw a number of comedy shows (Chelsea Handler, Heather McDonald, Conan O’Brien, and Daniel Tosh.

On less positive notes, I got my first speeding ticket and got mauled by multiple jelly fish on our beach vacation, which resulted in me having to get a tetanus and steroid shot.

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for this year?

No, I am horrible at resolutions.  I always choose the same things – stop smoking, workout more, save more money.  This year, I will behave, be healthier, and build up my bank account.   I already haven’t smoke since the early hours of Jan. 2. I think that’s a good start.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

None of my immediate friends did, but plenty of  acquaintances did.  Everywhere I looked, it seemed like someone was having a baby or announcing a pregnancy. 

Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully no.

What countries did you visit?.

Sadly, none.  We didn’t get out of the U.S of A this year.  I’m hoping in 2011 we’ll expand our travels a little more.

What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

More money in our savings account, a bigger house, maybe a cute new car.

What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

August 22 – the date Little S and JT got engaged. 

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I obtained some great publicity clips for my clients, including lots of TV spots.  I didn’t break anything playing softball.

What was your biggest failure?

Being lazy and not sticking to a workout routine.  Not getting a raise at work (not my fault, but still…) 

Did you suffer any illness or injury?

No major illnesses or injuries, but I did cut my finger pretty badly before my birthday.

What was the best thing you bought?

I can’t say I made any out of the ordinary, super special purchases in 2010.  We bought a Wii.  Our beach vacation was nice, despite all the pitfalls.

Whose behavior merited celebration?

No one in particular, but the people who go above and beyond to help and care for others, without expecting anything from anyone else.  Those people should be celebrated more.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Trashy celebrities that get money for doing nothing and being pure trash (Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan).  Shady politicians who don’t care for the greater good of the people (Sarah Palin).

Where did most of your money go?

T’s Lasik surgery, car repairs (there were a lot of them this year), taxes, going out with friends for drinks or dinner.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Going whitewater rafting, Little S and JT getting engaged, the Christmas weekend blizzard in NY, our New Year’s Eve cabin weekend.

What song will always remind you of 2010?

Thievery Corporation – Shadows Of Ourselves Lyrics.  T and I saw them in concert and they were amazing.  Plus this song offers good advice.

Je n’ai pas le temps de perdre la tête
Pour nous sauver de nous-même

(I don’t have time to lose my head to save us from ourselves.)

Compared to this time last year, are you:

(a) happier or sadder– the same

(b) thinner or fatter – the same, maybe a little fatter

(c) richer or poorer? – about the same

What do you wish you’d done more of?

I tried new activities this year, but I wish I’d gone to more festivals and branched out to try new restaurants.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Veg around on my days off, sleep super late, stay up all night (even though it’s fun while it’s happening).

How did you spend Christmas?

We had Christmas with my family on Dec. 18-19.  We ate duck and cornish game hens, drank lots of wine, and opened a ton of presents.

On actual Christmas, we were in NY with T’s family.  We opened presents and had dinner with his family,  grammy, uncle and uncle’s girlfriend.  Then we went to his aunt’s annual Christmas night party for drinks and laughs with the family.  Then we got snowed in the next day, resulting in lots of vegging in front of the TV, Wii playing, eating and drinking.

Did you fall in love in 2010?

No, I’m already in love.

What was your favorite TV program?

The same olds – Law & Order SVU, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, Outsourced, Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious, Intervention, No Reservations….

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I’m a pretty easy going person, so I haven’t hated anyone in a while.

What was the best book you read?

I really liked the Time Traveler’s Wife.  I blew through it and was hooked from the first few pages.  A Reliable Wife was also really good.  I enjoyed The Help, but it had a slow start.  Chelsea Handler’s books are great easy reads and always had me cracking up.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

Seeing Thievery Corporation and Massive Attack and Chromeo live were amazing and made me love their music even more.

My end of 2010 addictions were:

FLORENCE & THE MACHINE – Dog Days Are Over

MUMFORD & SONS – Little Lion Man

MUSE – Undisclosed Desires

SHAWN MULLINS – LIGHT YOU UP

BROKEN BELLS – The High Road

RAY LAMONTAGNE – Beg Steal or Borrow

SARA BAREILLES – King of Anything

I’m sure there are more that I can’t think of at the moment.

What did you want and get?

I received some amazing gifts this year: Awesome rain boots, pretty cognac colored boots, shoe rack, new winter white pea coat, Donkey Kong Country Revisited for Wii, a cute octopus necklace, a Chi straightener, fuzzy sheep fur and suede boots, cute scarves, a trip to Asheville, and tickets to Cirque du Soleil.

What did you want and not get?

I kept asking for this cute owl ring for my birthday and Christmas, but it was impossible to find.  Sadness.  I also wanted a seltzer maker, but didn’t get that either.

I also wanted to sell our condo and buy a house, but that wasn’t successful.  That’s what 2011 is for!

A raise.

What was your favorite film of this year?

I really liked Black Swan a lot.  It was so twisted and eerie, but so well-made.  I totally recommend it if you haven’t seen it yet.

I’m blanking on other movies I really liked at the moment.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 28 on my last birthday, and of course turned it into quite the extravaganza.  I did one night with family and close friends where we went out to a nice dinner, T and I spent a weekend in Asheville, I did a group birthday outing with November birthday friends, and we went to see Ovo with the family.  It was a great and memorable birthday! 

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Getting a raise or if that isn’t an option, additional weeks of vacation.  I work hard at what I do and have had a successful publicity year for all four of my clients.  It would be nice to receive some type of reward for my efforts.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

Warm weather – sundress, skirts, tanks, jeans, and flops or sandles

Cold weather – sweaters, jeans, jeggings, leggings, tall boots, flannel, and scarves

What kept you sane?

My family, friends, cats, booze, vegging on the couch

What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

My 2010 crush was definitely Alexander Skarsgård from True Blood. (Hello hot stuff!)

What political issue stirred you the most?

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  We are a country that pledges equality and freedom for all, but often times we don’t follow through.  It’s good to see people trying to change the narrow mindedness that has plagued so many people for so long.

Who did you miss?

My friends who don’t live in Georgia and I rarely see.  T’s family because they are awesome.

Who was the best new person you met?

Hmm, I can’t think of anyone at the moment.  I pretty much like everyone, as long as they aren’t assholes.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

Don’t let stupid people or stupid things ruffle your feathers.  If you are strong and confident, you can overcome any drama that comes your way.  Don’t let the Man hold you down.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Who cares if you disagree?/You are not me/Who made you king of anything?/So you dare tell me who to be?/Who died and made you king of anything?  – Sara Bareilles,  King Of Anything

Can you believe that summer is officially over?  I don’t know about the rest of you, but this summer was hot, hot, hot.  In August and September alone, Atlanta reached 90+ degrees for 38 out of  59 days. That is just ridiculous.  I don’t even know what the numbers in June and July was.   Don’t get me wrong, I love hot summers, but I am really digging this crisp fall weather that has arrived apparently out of nowhere.  Cool mornings turn into warm afternoons and chilly evenings.  We can sleep with the windows open and turn off the AC.  It’s awesome!

As I say goodbye to summer until 2011, I’ve begun reflecting on some of the cool things I’ve done this summer that I’ve never tried before.

Flying High

The first really cool thing I did was participate in an aerial silks class.  If you’re not sure what that is, it’s basically the cool acrobatic stuff you see in Cirque du Soleil where the girls are wrapped in bright-colored silks and flip and twirl through the air.

CGN, JD and I all signed up for this really cool introductory class in Atlanta at Sky Gym. The class was small and we broke into three teams of three or four, and we all learned the basic moves that eventually are woven into the advanced tricks and routines.  Watching the instructor made everything look so simple and elegant, when in reality it took some serious core and upper body strength to master the moves.  CGN was the best out of the three of us.  Apparently JD and I need to work on our core strength just a little.  If you do pilates or yoga and have ever done dance, you will love it.  Even if you haven’t, like me, it was still a lot of fun!

Dirt in the Skirt

Growing up, we always played softball.  I only played one year on an organized team, but constantly played with the neighborhood kids or Little S.  This summer, we joined a co-ed adult rec league, and I had so much fun!

I played second base (which scared me at first) and could actually still hit – during one game I actually got 4 RBIs, making me the MVP of the game! 🙂 It’s fun to run around at night playing a game from your childhood with friends, followed by drinks with friends.  We weren’t the best, but we enjoyed it so much that we are playing again in the fall.  Tonight is our third game, and hopefully we will win!

The best part about playing is coming up with a team name.  Ours is pretty ridiculous – Avoid the Clap – which comes from a quote from one of Little S’s and my favorite movies.  Do you know what it is?

Floating On

Late in the summer, a group of us decided to rent some floats and spend the afternoon floating down Atlanta’s Chattahoochee River.   It’s really chill and so much fun, even though the water is freezing.  It’s probably only in the low 60s, even in the summer.

Everyone rents some floats for themselves and their coolers, you string yourself up, and hit the water for a few hours.  The first time we went, there were only 6 of us, so we floated in a flower-like formation with our cooler being the center.  We drank beers and cider,  snacked on chips and grapes, and had an amazing afternoon floating for two hours.

Since it was so much fun the first time around, we decided to go again on Labor Day.  That time we had 18 people and probably about 22 floats (including the ones for the coolers), and we opted for the four-hour trip.  Since we had so many people, we were able to get a shuttle to take us to and from Little S’s place, so no one had to worry about driving, which was a really good thing because we were all a little tipsy from drinking in the sun all afternoon.  I wish we could have taken a picture of our giant formation because I’m sure it was pretty impressive!

Rough Rafting

Sticking to my theme of new water adventures, a group of us went whitewater rafting in early September. Thanks to Groupon (I love that site) we were able to get a really sweet deal on rafting tickets, so a bunch of us decided to buy them.  Since the rafting place was in Tennessee, we opted to make a weekend out of it and rent a cabin.  We ended up finding the most amazing cabin in Blue Ridge, GA, about an hour from the rafting spot, and 10 of us headed north for the weekend.  It was a random amalgamation of kids (we’re in our 20s and early 30s) and grown ups (the 45+ crowd), but we had a great time.

Our cabin had an amazing view of the mountains, numerous patios (and we all know how much I LOVE patios),  and a hot tub.  What more could you want?

The morning of the trip, I was pretty nervous.  I was convinced that I would fly out of the raft and be washed down the river in the class three and four rapids never to be seen again.   Luckily, I stayed in the boat, and I managed to have a ton of fun.  It was a little scary because we started and dove right into class four rapids, but after getting rid of the initial nerves and fear, it was such a blast.  If you’ve never been before, I totally recommend it.  And, the water was a lot warmer than the Hooch!

Smiling while the rapids aren’t too rough

It got a little crazier

The view from our awesome cabin

So, did you go out there and try anything new this summer?  Are you planning on getting into something cool in the fall?

My next adventure…belly dancing lessons!

Dear T,

Two years ago today, I remember waking up with butterflies in my stomach and looking over to watch you sleep a few more minutes.  This was our last morning as two separate people, fiancés.  Later that day, we would be united and become a family, forever and always.

It’s sort of weird when I think about how much time has passed since we got married.  It feels like it was just yesterday when we were sitting in our dining room enjoying a romantic meal, and you dropped down on one knee to propose.  We were both so happy and crying tears of joy.  Now it has been two years since we exchanged our vows.

We’ve been through good times and bad.  We’ve fought hard, but loved harder still.  Everyday I think about how lucky I am to have you in my life, and I am so glad my family moved to New York 11 years ago so we could meet.

We’ve known each other for so long and been through so many milestones, and I can’t wait to see where the next steps take us.

Happy anniversary babe!  Love you!

Our little five-day trip to New York was a blast.  We managed to do some fun things with both family and friends and got to see everyone we wanted to at least a couple of times.  I always like going up when it’s not Christmas because everyone is so busy doing the family thing that it’s hard to spend time with all of our friends.  Plus the weather is so much nicer in May, especially this year.

We got to T’s parents’ house right at midnight on Wednesday/Thursday, which wasn’t too bad.  Of course right when we walked through the door, we were greeted with an array of wine, which we sat up drinking with the family until 4 a.m.  It was fun to chat up with his parents and little brothers and catch up.

Thursday morning we woke up and decided to go eat lunch at the Culinary Institute of America, which has such a beautiful campus.  If only I’d known how much I’d love cooking when I had lived up there, maybe I would have considered attending school there.  We went to Al Forno, the casual Italian restaurant for pizza.  Since there was an open kitchen, we could watch the chef preparing our gourmet pies.  I opted for the Parma-Tomato, Mozzarella, Prosciutto and Arugula pizza, and it was delicious!  The crust was so light and airy and the toppings offered the perfect combination of savory and spicy.

After lunch, we decided to hit up the Walkway over the Hudson, which T’s dad has been trying to get us on since it opened.  We really didn’t want to go when we up there in the winter because we figured it would be cold and miserable.  It was a niceish day when we went, but of course when we were halfway across, a storm started blowing in so it got really dark and windy.  Since the weather was looking kind of sketchy, we decided to only go halfway across.  It was really cool to be up there and be able to see for miles in both directions.  I’d definitely go there to walk if I lived up there – the breeze is refreshing and the view is amazing.

Notice my hair from the wind?

On Friday, we went to the Yankees game.  We rented a van and gathered 13 of our friends and family and piled in for the two-hour trek to the city.  When we first got on the road, the van started sputtering and bucking, then the check engine light came on.  Everyone was worried we wouldn’t make it down to the city, so we ended up having to switch out the van.  An hour after our planned departure time, we were on the road.  Unfortunately, the AC didn’t really work too well, so we had to make the whole trip with the windows down.  Luckily we had some drinkies to make the ride a little smoother.

We tailgated for a little while before heading into the game.  Since there were so many of us, we’d gotten seats in the bleacher section.  We were all laughing and having a good time when one of T’s bros stepped on a ketchup packet and it sprayed about 30 people (one ketchup package did quite some damage).  People were pissed, there was almost a brawl, and the whole section was chanting “throw out the asshole.”  Yeah, it was awesome – of course I missed all of the drama because I was in the bathroom and only returned to see the aftermath.  Since people were pissy, and we weren’t 100% invested in the game, I took Ketchup Bro to the car where we had a couple of beers and bonded while we waited for everyone to get out of the game.

Happy at the game before the ketchup explosion

Saturday was T’s dad’s birthday, so we hung out on the patio with some cocktails.  At one point T’s dad brought out his guitar and played for a while.  This inspired T to bust out his old sax and try to play a little too.  Unfortunately neither one of us really remembered how to read music, so he wasn’t too successful, but we had a great time.

Later that night we tried a new place for dinner – Stephano’s Ristorante.  It was this teeny, tiny little restaurant and it was pretty crammed with people.  The food was good, but the portions were gigantic.  I almost had a heart attack when they brought out my single serving of zuppa de pesce that looked like it could feed a family of four!  They had to box my leftovers in a catering foil pan, that’s how much was left!

My leftovers seriously weighed like 10 pounds

Sunday was pretty chill.  We went to brunch at this place we’d never been to – Shadows on the Hudson – for T’s uncle’s birthday.  We sat on the patio and had a nice view of the Hudson while we stuffed our faces.  Then we spent the afternoon visiting with his mom’s parents and brother and sister.  Later that night, we had our friends over for a goodbye barbecue, where T and I prepared the food.  Not to toot my own horn, but people were raving about our food.

Sadly on Monday we had to fly back to head back to work.  We had a late afternoon flight, so we were hoping that we’d be able to get back to Atlanta at a decent time and hang out with friends.  That was wishful thinking…apparently there were crazy thunderstorms all up and down the east coast, so we were severely delayed.  We sat on the plane for about 2 hours before we were able to take off.  It was a really annoying way to end an otherwise amazing trip.

And in honor of such a New Yorkie post, I wanted to share a picture that I took this weekend during a party that JD hosted – I’m totally channeling my inner guidette!

Check out our big hair, fake nails, and smoky eyes!

I don’t know if you are like me, but I love Halloween!  There is something so exciting about coming up with a fun costume idea, going to buy it or making it yourself.  Throughout the years, I’ve had some pretty creative costumes that I really loved.  Others years, I was grasping to come up with something clever.

I do remember some of my costumes that I had as a kid that I completely loved.

When I lived in Germany, I didn’t celebrate Halloween with my German friends because they just don’t do that over there.  When I wanted to get into the spirit of ghosts and goblins, we had to trick-or-treat on the area army bases where many of the American families lived.  One year I dressed up as Pippi Longstocking, my favorite childhood character. My dad and I went to my school’s Halloween carnival where I sported my striped men’s t-shit as a dress, red and white striped socks, and sprayed orange pigtails with pipe cleaners helping them stick straight out.  I loved that costume so much, especially my fake freckles my mom drew on with her brown eyeliner.

Another year I dressed up as a cat.  In my black leotard, white tights, white tail and black cat mask, I felt like a real feline.  When we moved to America, I dressed up as a witch with a pointy hat that never quite stayed up and a long tattered gown.

One of my favorite family costumes was the year that my dad, Little S and I dressed up as the Addam’s Family.  I was Morticia, my dad Gomez, and Little S Wednesday, complete with a constant frown on her face.  My mom stayed behind that year and handed out candy while my dad traipsed through the neighborhood with us.  We sang the theme song as we walked up to each house.

I continued to dress up in middle school and high school, even though I don’t remember all of the things I dressed up as.  One year, ASP and I went as Thelma and Louise.  Unfortunately, I don’t think many people got that… In high school one year, I went as Courtney Love.  I sported a tiny red baby doll dress, white T, and black combat boots.  I had crazy hair and make up – people thought I was an angry, dead prom queen…not quite.

I don’t think I dressed up much in college.  But I do remember going trick-or-treating with Little S and her friends my freshman year.  I decided to go as Kelly Osbourne, eighties style.  I had blue and orange eye shadow, punky hair, a mini-skirt with white fold over ankle socks (like you wore when you were little) and high heels.  I guess my standby costume in college was always the eighties look – big hair, crazy eye make up, cut off tights, white lace ankle socks and heels.

The past few years I’ve actually worn real costumes.  In 2007, I wore my German dirndle and was a real beer wench.  T wore a keg costume, the perfect accompaniment.  Last year I was Chun Li, the best female video game character of all time.  Guys and girls loved my outfit.  We reminisced about our favorite video game while we ordered beers at the bar.  I even ran into another Chun Li.  I really wanted T to go as Ryu, but we couldn’t find a costume that wasn’t super expensive.  Instead he went as a redneck Gator fan – which got us tons of laughs at the bar.

This year, I have finally gotten T on board with a couples costume – we are going as Bill and Sookie from True Blood.  I can’t wait!  I am making myself a Merlotte’s waitress outfit.  I recreated the logo in photoshop, which I will iron onto a white T-shirt.  I’ve got black shorts, a green apron, and a long blonde wig.  I will definitely have some bloody bite marks on my neck.  Going as Bill won’t be too hard for T – he’s going to wear a black button up and jeans.  We’ll paint him all pasty pale, give him fangs, and a fluffy brown wig.  If I feel enterprising enough, I’ll even make a bottle of TruBlood.

For the third year in a row, JD and I are hosting our awesome Spooktacular.  It started as a joint birthday party for both of us, but has now turned into a pretty crazy Halloween tradition.  It seems to get crazier and crazier every year.

So, what are you going to be for Halloween this year?  What was your favorite costume that you’ve ever worn?  Got any special plans?

So, I know it’s been a minute since I got back from my German adventure, but I wanted to share some of the pictures we took with you.  Since my computer at home isn’t in tip top shape, I wanted to wait until I got my external hard drive back from my parents (they were going to work on assembling our wedding album – yes, we’ve been married more than a year and still haven’t made our photo album) before loading the images up.

We are also going out of town this weekend on a work retreat to the mountains, so I want to be able to take cute pictures.  So I brought the camera to work to upload the pictures here as well for back up – you can never be too safe.  Since it’s Friday, I uploaded my pictures to my blog.

Now for your viewing pleasure, Deutschland Adventure – 2009, part 1

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Having dinner with the family at the pizza place (Opa, T, Me, Oma, JT, Little S, Finni)

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Gearing up for the real Oktoberfest by practicing at the Mini-Oktoberfest.  Prost!

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Berlin skyline at night

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About to start the walking tour of Berlin – Brandenburg Gate

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The Holocaust Memorial

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Bebel Platz where the book burnings occurred.  Translation:  This is foreshadowing. Where one burns books one will also burn men.

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Berlin’s Museum Island.  The Gates of Babylon are here.

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Night out on the town for JT’s birthday!

Happy weekend! 🙂

So, after 13 glorious days of exploring Germany and not working, I am back – well, I actually got back last Wednesday but haven’t really had a chance to write yet.  The trip was amazing.  The time flew by way too fast, as vacation always seems to do.

We spent 4 days hanging out with my grandparents and great aunts and uncles, then we hopped a train to Berlin.  Let me tell you, if you’ve never been to Berlin, it is such a cool city.  There is this eclectic vibe to it –  you have brand new, old, East and West German architecture all mixed together, which is something you rarely find here in the states.  Unfortunately, we were only there about 2 days, so we didn’t get to explore all of the museums and historical sites in any real depth.  We did take a city tour, which led us through the East and West portions of the city and over to Museum Island.  We would have loved to actually go inside the museums, but there just wasn’t enough time.  Next time we head that way, I want to set aside so time to really explore the city and all it has to offer.

After Berlin, we headed to Erlangen and Nuremberg for a few days to visit with Little S’s host family.  We had a pretty chill visit because we wanted to save our energy for Munich and Oktoberfest.  After 2.5 days with the host family, we hopped another train to Munich.

Munich is also a very cool city that I would like to explore a little more.  We only had 3 days there and a majority of the time was taken up by Oktoberfest.  T and I went 3 days in a row, basically closing down the tents around 11 p.m. each night (Little S and JT stayed late night one, the other times they left early).  Day 3 was rough because we got to bed a little after midnight, but had to be up by 5 a.m. to get to the airport.

Oktoberfest is really quite an amazing thing to see and experience.  It’s basically this extra large fair with crazy rides, food, souvenirs and beer.  But I’ve never experienced anything like it in the US.  There are no entry fees; you just come in and out of the Weis’n as you please.  And the beer tents aren’t really tents at all.  They are large wooden structures, about the size of an airplane hangar, that can fit thousands of people inside.

What really impresses me about the whole thing is that no matter which tent you go into, you are served beer in a glass mass (mug) and food on real plates with silverware.  And the food is really food, not crappy hot dogs and nachos like you find at fairs over here.  You can get a half of a roasted chicken, roulade with dumplings, goulash with spetzle, and the list goes on.  If you’re in the mood for something more snacky, you can find bratwurst or leberkaese on hard rolls with mustard.

People are also so friendly.  You end up just cramming into tables with total strangers from all over the world, and at the end of the night you have a new friend.  Everyone dances and sings while jumping up and down on the benches (which is kind of hard to do while holding a liter of beer in a giant glass mug, but oh so much fun).  And with all the inebriated people in the area, there is very little violence.  I feel like if something like this existed in America, drunk people would be starting fights all over the place and beating the crap out of each other.  The entire time we were there, I never saw any major incidents even though there were thousands and thousands of people there.

This trip really got me thinking.  I like being in America, but sometimes I think I like the European way of life so much more.  Everyone is so much more relaxed.  If you want to buy a beer at the store and drink it while you walk through the city, no one thinks twice.  Over here you’ll get in trouble for an open container.  I also love how amazing public transportation is, no matter how big or small the city is.  My grandparents live in a tiny town, but they still have access to buses and trains with very little hassle.  In Atlanta, I can’t even get to a train station without taking a bus for 20+ minutes or driving for 10, and by that time I could be at my destination.

I am also super impressed with how environmentally friendly everyone is in Germany.  Toilet flushes can be started and stopped to conserve water.  People practically recycle everything because it’s so easy to get it to the appropriate place to turn it in.  Recycling trucks don’t come into my neighborhood, and there isn’t a sorting facility anywhere near by me – so what do I end up doing?  Throwing it all away.  People also don’t drive gigantic cars.  All cars are small and way more fuel efficient than the monster trucks and SUVs people in the states insist on driving.  No one really needs a car that big, especially in a city!

So, that was my mini trip recap and rant.  The whole thing would have been even cooler if I had the pictures to insert into the post, but my laptop is not really working again so I haven’t loaded the pictures up yet.  I guess it’s time to buy a new laptop…As soon as I get some pictures onto a computer, I will post them for your viewing pleasure!

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