Goodbye Germany – Hello Los Angeles!

Goodbye Germany – Hello Los Angeles!

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Sunset over Regensburg

Hello Everyone!

Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog. That was mostly due to the fact that I finally got back to Los Angeles.

We left Germany in the early hours of the morning last Saturday and boarded a plane to LAX. The flight was pretty uneventful and somehow, I always like flying towards the west more than I like going east.

It feels easier flying all through daylight instead of having to fall asleep in a crammed, hot and smelly cabin with crying babies.

As soon as we touched down, we drove ourselves to Las Vegas, simply because we didn’t want our vacation to be over yet.

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The Rocky Mountains

2014 will be the year for change! The To-Do-List

2014 will be the year for change! The To-Do-List

I know I’m super late on this but I don’t believe in making a New Year’s resolution list simply because I won’t know what I want to change until the New Year rolls around.

Now that 2014 is already almost one year old, I have found a couple of things that I will be working on this year. I hope everything works out for the better but I will make sure you will be kept up to date!

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Our renovations

1) Renovating our apartment! 

Justin and I live in a pretty small studio apartment. The carpet is old, dirty and incredibly green, so it’s got to go. It will be replaced by some nice laminate in light birch.  We already picked out a new kitchen from Ikea, which we are putting in. The bathroom will be totally remodeled; new shower, new vanity and some more storage cabinets.

My father-in-law is also building me a shoe cabinet/closet which I’m extremely excited about!

We are sleeping on a murphy bed and if we have time, we might even take that out too! So many exciting changes in this apartment that are definitely necessary!

2) Weight loss!

2014 is finally the year when I’ll get into losing a couple of pounds. Let’s face it, I should probably lose more than a couple of pounds. Anyhow, I’m pretty motivated. One of the reasons is a friend of mine, who told me her success story. She really only diets during the semesters and lost a lot of weight doing that.

I’ve thought about which program I’d like to do. And I’ve decided I’m going with Weight Watchers. The apps for both iPad and iPhone make it really easy to track the points and the point system itself is super simple to follow.

3) Career change.

After many years of looking for what I want to do in my life, I have decided that I’d like to get into writing. Besides this blog, I’m starting to write a novel that I would like to finish by the end of this year and maybe see published some day. Unfortunately, I can’t give you any info on the story yet but maybe I’ll write a post about it some time.

I hope I will find a way of getting an internship in summer semester to further my career in Public Relations as well.

4) Wardrobe change.

This seems like a no-brainer together with the weight loss. However, I don’t just want to buy smaller clothes but I also want to wear more dresses. I feel like I’ve found which cuts fit me well and now I would like to buy more of them.

5) Travel more.

I have been traveling a lot in the last year but I’ve never gone anywhere outside of California and Nevada. My goal this year is to go see New York City and Washington D.C.

New York City is a fabulous city and I’d like to go back. Also, Washington D.C. has been a dream destination of mine for a while now. Let’s see if we can make this happen.

 

Some time next month I might put up a list of things I want to do that specifies it a little more.

I’m sure this year will be great and I’m looking forward to it with these changes along the way.

An American in Germany – Berlin Edition

An American in Germany – Berlin Edition

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Alexanderplatz

As we were stuck at home during the holidays, I thought about how boring the small city life must be for my husband Justin. Seeing that he is from Los Angeles, I decided to show him more than just a small Bavarian town and booked a two day trip to Berlin. In my opinion, if you fly across the Atlantic to come and visit Germany, you should not miss our capital. Right after New Year’s Eve, we packed our bags into our rental car and drove the approx. 5 hours up to Berlin. We checked into the Park Inn at Alexanderplatz, which is the second largest hotel in Berlin. It was indeed quite large and our hotel room was located on the 19th floor. The interior design of our hotel room was quite interesting as it included a bathroom that was only divided from the room by a glass wall. The perfect shower for exhibitionists. We got there early but we were so tired from driving that we didn’t really go out; instead we went to sleep at 7 pm. Not a good idea. The next day we woke up at 6 a.m. and got tickets to a “hop on, hop off” city tours bus first thing in the morning. We decided to go with the bus that had a real guide instead of headphones to explain the city to us. I’ll share some photos with you at the end of this post. We saw almost all the sights that you’d want to see in Berlin: the Reichstag, some parts of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Siegessäule and the Brandenburg Gate. The latter was quite the sight and obviously flooded with all kinds of tourists and costumed performers harassing said tourists.

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The Brandenburg Gate

 Due to the cold, we stopped at the famous and quite expensive Hotel Adlon.  I don’t usually mind luxurious things but when I have to pay $20 for a cup of chamomile tea, I draw the line. But all kidding aside, the hotel is really nicely decorated and they make you feel really important. You better include some pampering with that price!

As we continued on, Justin also insisted on visiting the main train station in Berlin. He is a big train enthusiast (hint: I’m not!) and Berlin’s train hub is one of the largest in Europe. The day went by quickly and the next day we left for Regensburg after taking a tour of the Berlin Zoo. This concludes my first part of our Berlin trip. I’ll write another post about the KaDeWe and the food specialties we enjoyed on our trip soon.

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Reichstag

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Main Train Station

 

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Hotel Adlon right next to the Brandenburg Gate

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Our room at the Park Inn Alexanderplatz

Sweet and savory German treats

Sweet and savory German treats

German Snacks

A variety of sweet and savory snacks.

A good way to find out what flavors make up a cuisine is by looking at it’s snacks. When you look into Japan’s grocery stores you find a lot of our favorite treats like KitKat or Oreos in a green tea edition.

When you come to Germany, however, sweets usually contain either nuts or chocolate. With hazelnuts being the dominant nuts used. We love everything that remotely resembles the taste of Nutella.

Also, when it comes to salty snacks, the flavors know no boundaries. A very famous party favorite is the “Erdnuss-Flips”, a peanut-flavored potato chip that comes close to cheetos consistency-wise. Some other salty snacks I’ve found include flavors such as ketchup and mayonnaise, Bacon or Currywurst, a traditional Berlin dish.

Milka Tender

One last item, I’d like to talk to you about is a processed cake called “Milka Tender”. It’s essentially a biscuit roll with a milk cream covered in milk chocolate by one of Germany’s most famous chocolate brand Milka.

New Year’s Eve in Germany –  “Silvester Traditions”

New Year’s Eve in Germany – “Silvester Traditions”

2014_SnapseedNow, 2013 is gone and past. I hope all of you made it safely into the new year. While some of you are still nursing your hangovers, I thought I’d give you a little heads up on how we spent our New Year’s Eve or “Silvester” as we call it over here in Germany.

Honestly, as an immigrated Angeleno, I’ve already adjusted to it being warm out so we decided to stay in. Nevertheless, we did take some time between all the drinking to celebrate some very German New Year’s Eve traditions.

We started our evening out by a traditional German family-style meal – “Raclette“. Some of you might already know what that is, for people who don’t, I’ll give you a quick explanation. Every participant gets one or two little pans that are put under a small table grill. You can fill your little pan to your liking with mushrooms, meat or other vegetables and cook it au gratin it with a special Raclette cheese.

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Vegetables we used: Green bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions.

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Our raclette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After dinner we decided to try our luck in another, admittedly weird, tradition. We Germans like to call it “Bleigießen”. You can buy pre-made sets of spoon and small lead figurines. The lead figurines are then melted on said spoon over

a small candle or flame. Once they are liquified, we poor the hot lead into cold water. The lead, cooled into weird shapes, is taken out and interpreted according to a small booklet that accompanies set.  A stork could mean fertility, a tree means stability; you get the drill.

As the clock struck midnight, we went outside to watch the fireworks. Unfortunately, the fog prohibited us from seeing the city’s fireworks. However, as everyone can shoot rockets, we got to see all our

neighbors blow up the one’s they had bought.

All in all, our New Year’s Eve was pretty normal and uneventful but I guess that’s some of the charm of Germany. At least according to my husband. He had a blast.