December 21, 2012

Came home yesterday evening. Woke up in my bed today. Hi

Monday, December 17, 2012

I had a pretty busy weekend, and it still feels strange to have busy weekends when I’m not traveling. What do you mean, I have an actual life here?

Friday night a bunch of us went to Paola’s, we made tons of food and stayed up really late. I slept there, and in the morning Paola, Nathan and I went to the Lörrach Christmas market. I bought what I hope are the final gifts I need to bring home, as well as a bunch of knitting supplies. We had some lunch and then parted ways, and I went home to relax a bit and get ready for the Christmas party Britni and her boyfriend Simon were throwing at his apartment in Basel. Kyla and I went together, so it was 3 aupairs and a couple of Simon’s friends from work. Lots of fun, and great food! I didn’t stay too late since the last train leaves at midnight, but it ended up being okay since I am an old lady at heart and was feeling a bit tired from the night before.

Sunday morning 6 of us met at the train station in Lörrach to drive to Mulhouse and Colmar for the day to see the Christmas markets. Apparently they’re a couple of the most famous/popular in this area of Germany/France/Switzerland, and lots of people travel far to see them.

We went to Mulhouse first, and though it was not too big, it was very cute. I also noticed that there were a lot more “quality” things at these ones compared to Lörrach, but that was also reflected in the price (and snobbiness).

Creepy Weihnachtsmann

Mulhouse

We got coffees at a cafe before heading off to Colmar, which was absolutely beautiful. The market there was really nice, but the city itself was gorgeous. I will definitely go back at least once more, maybe when the weather warms up again.

Aupairs in Colmar

Colmar Weihnachtsmarkt

Today I’m finally starting to seriously pack! Coming home on Thursday, and feeling awesome. Can’t wait.

Monday, December 10, 2012

In three days, it will officially be my 5 month mark of being in Germany. It’ll also be the 1 week mark until I am heading home for Christmas. I wonder if when I finally move home again next summer, I’ll be able to break out of this lifestyle of ticking off the days and tracking every single moment and how each day relates to how far into something I am, or how close I am to being done something. “2 more months until I can legally rent a car.” “12 years ago today, I dressed as a Beanie Baby for Halloween.”

This weekend was incredibly snowy and beautiful, I spent Saturday in Freiburg getting some Christmas gifts with Britni, Simon, and Paola. I am in love with the Christmas markets and how all-out Germany goes for this season. I also love how little stress they put on the religious aspects of the holiday, so it becomes accessible for everyone to participate. I got a good deal of my shopping done, but I will still need to go this week and on the weekend to finish up.

A lot of the snow has melted today. It looks like throughout the winter I’ll be able to enjoy a nice mash up of walks through a winter wonderland and bike rides (as long as I’m bundled up) based on the coming and going of snow and coldness. I hope so badly that we have snow in Canada when I’m there, at least for some of it.

Just like seeing Mary and then Erik in the airport, coming home doesn’t seem real. I wonder if I’ll spend the entire visit in a fog of “this doesn’t exist, don’t blink, don’t blink” or if it will feel normal being home. I’m nervous and excited and happy.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I’ve been so low energy this past little while for some reason, I don’t know why. Feeling really tired and unproductive and unmotivated to leave the house during the day and, y’know, breathe real air and move my body. In an attempt to combat this, Melanie and I made plans to go for a walk/have tea this morning. It was a bit grey out, but not too cold, and it felt really good to get some fresh air. I don’t want to make a big plan to do a million things every day and then fail miserably, so I’ll come up with a little list of small, doable things I’d like to achieve that will likely make me feel less like a slug (no offense to slugs):

-Go outside more. At least a little walk every day
-Don’t feel guilty for napping, but make sure I’m taking an actual nap and not laying down spooning my laptop for hours
-Work on my german
-Drink more water! Eat more veggies! Combat this bread induced depression in my belly!

I’m happy with that. Any bigger “improvements” can come after my Christmas holidays, when I’ll need actual things in my life other than just being able to ride out the days on the pure excitement of going home.

Tonight a few of us are meeting in Lorrach to draw names for a gift exchange, which will take place next week. Britni and I are going to Freiburg this Saturday to do some Christmas shopping, and I’m hoping to get it all done then. I’m writing out my list today, it’s difficult to think of cool local things to bring people! …black forest ham? …cuckoo clocks? I’m hoping that some perfect gifts will magically appear and be within my budget. We shall see, a lot of you MIGHT be getting some cheap Milka chocolate from the factory in Lorrach as a last resort. I wonder if Milka has any vegan chocolate.

Britni’s 24th birthday party!

Köln, November 23-25

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I’ve been ordered by my mom over skype to post here again, and it’s really about time! So I think I will put up from pictures from last weekend and this one.

I’m coming home in 17 days. I CANNOT WAIT.

This past week in pictures.

Sunday, November 11, 2012 (Part 2)

Sorry that I am the laziest blogger of all time. Paris Part 2:

Friday:Went for breakfast at the same great cafe as the previous morning. Then we headed to the Eiffel Tower and got in line to go to the top. It was about an hour waiting on the ground, and maybe 30 minutes from the middle level to get to the top? Anyways, it was cool and well worth it (even though waiting to get to the top almost killed us, as it was freezing up there and we were exposed to the elements). Once we were on land again, we got on a bus and headed to Notre Dame, had a cozy and yummy lunch at a restaurant nearby. The line for Notre Dame took no more than 5 or 10 minutes, which ruled. It was really cool to see, especially the gargoyles on the side of the cathedral. When I’m home for Christmas I am definitely watching The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Afterwards, we got back on the bus and rode it around for a little bit, which actually turned out to be a really neat way of seeing the city (and also a good way of getting away from the cold and rain. Friday was definitely the worst weather day. We didn’t care!) Eventually we ended up at the Arc de Triomphe, where we climbed to the top. This was one of my favourite “sights”. The view from the top was neat, because you could see a ton of Paris, and the skyline included the Eiffel Tower.

Notre Dame

From the Top of the Arc de Triomphe

We headed back to the hotel and were both freezing, so we each had a nice hot bath and got ready for dinner. We went down and had drinks in the hotel bar, and then went to a restaurant my Pops had read about called “Le Procope”. It was cool to go to, the atmosphere was really neat! After supper we went back to the hotel (had a bit of a detour around the city due to a confused taxi driver) and crashed.

Saturday:We slept in a little bit (mostly for my sake I think, Mary was the one who’s sleep should have been all screwed up from jet lag, but I think she saw that I was fairly sleep deprived and acted accordingly!) and had breakfast at that same cafe. Loved that place! After breakfast we decided to hit up the Louvre, where we literally just walked right in with no line. We opted to go for a tour, and ended up with a wacky tour guide. He was about 10 minutes late for the tour, so he basically RAN in between stops and would get mad at us if we all weren’t RIGHT on his tail. It was difficult keeping up in a group, it’s one thing to be a little speedy man leading the way dodging between people and heading for a known destination point, but I was actually jogging through some of the rooms to keep up and I still made him mad. Then he would get mad if we weren’t standing in the exact spot he saw fit for us to stand. Bossy man! It was a good tour though, it it was so amazing being in the Louvre.

Goon at the Mona Lisa

After the Louvre, we walked through the Tuillerie Gardens on our way to L’Orangerie, it was absolutely beautiful and sunny out, and we sat by the fountains for a little bit. After Musee L’Orangerie we took a cab to Les Invalides, which I really enjoyed (especially the cavalry stuff. And they had one of Napoleon’s actual horses stuffed there. Little bit freaky but so cool. He was a skinny little thing!)

We went back to the Eiffel tower that evening to see it lit up. I got a cotton candy, and we hung out by the river and waited for it to get dark.

We then grabbed the bus back to our hotel and got ready for dinner, we went to a snooty place near out hotel and had tiny little appetizers and roasted potatoes. It was delicious though, and we pretended we were rich (pretty much the whole trip we did this, actually!) It was a lot of fun.

Sunday:On our last day, we opted for the expensive buffet breakfast in our hotel, and I made it my absolute mission to get our money’s worth out of it. We stayed for a long time and I ate until I couldn’t fit one more bite in. Then we went back and relaxed in the hotel a bit and got packed up (I had one more bath before going without for 2 months) (god I love baths so much and miss them) and got a cab to the Rodin Museum. This was hands down my favourite museum/gallery of the trip. Incredible sculpture, and in the same mansion/gardens Rodin actually lived. After we went to Jeu de Paume, followed by some beers, followed by one last dinner before getting a cab to the airport. Our flight was delayed by an hour, but was otherwise completely smooth. We got a cab back to Fischingen from the airport, and I felt good about being back in a country where I could practice my german and didn’t feel totally useless (I thought I knew waaaaaayyy more french than I do). I gave the driver directions in german the whole way home, felt pretty clever, but then when we went to pay I realized he only spoke french. GAH.

Sad to leave Paris but it was good to be back. On Mary’s remaining days I took her to Basel for a tour and for lunch (at an awesome vegetarian buffet that I will definitely go back to!) and we spent her last day going for a hike at the fort ruins in Lorrach, and then eating and sleeping. I dropped her at the airport Wednesday morning, and it was tough to say goodbye.

It was an incredible trip, one that we’d been talking about since I was a little girl, and I’m so happy to have gone on it and spent that time with Mary! It was so (so so so so so so) sad saying goodbye, but I feel refreshed and ready to keep experiencing and make the most of things until I come home.

Had a nice weekend with some of the pals, today is the first Sunday where I’ve purposely planned nothing concrete and I’m looking forward to it. I usually get bummed on days like these but I feel good about talking to nobody, watching movies, reading, and going for a walk in the forest. Turning into a true hermit.

Wednesday November 7, 2012 (Part 1)

It is the most strange thing to be in my routine again and spend the day alone, even though it was only a (wonderful!) week that I strayed from that. Dropping Mary at the airport this morning after having one last chat over coffees was a little emotional, but it was such a fantastic week and I’m so grateful that she made the trip and that we went to Paris. Another great thing is that I’ll see her and the rest of the family in only 6 weeks when I’m back in Canada for Christmas!

It was such a whirlwind of a week, but I’ll do my best to recount things day by day:

Tuesday: Raja and Linus were off school this week, so the three of us went to the airport to pick Mary up in the morning. I had the kids make some welcome signs, and I could barely sit still when we waited for her at the arrivals gate. We drove back to Fischingen, and went out for lunch at Fünfschilling (Fischingen’s restaurant). After lunch we took a walk up into the vineyards, and then gave Mary a quick tour of Lörrach before I went and picked up Jasper. Mary and I had dinner at a pizza place in Lörrach that evening, and then had a nice chat back at her hotel in Fischingen.

The kids and their signs!

Wednesday: The four of us drove to Freiburg for the day to show Mary around. We got lunch at a Chinese place (Raja recommended it since they’d gone with their grandma previously. She kept saying things like “My grandma really likes this place” “Yeah, my grandma liked the spring rolls” “My grandma liked the decorations too” and it wasn’t until we got a bit shocked by the bill that she said “Yeah, my grandma didn’t like the price either.” THANKS FOR THE WARNING. Too funny.) Wednesday night Mary and I had a surprisingly good dinner at the hotel restaurant (actually, the entire hotel experience was a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t sure how nice it would be since it’s fairly small and old, but the rooms were spacious for European standards and they were really nice rooms). I slept at the hotel with her since we had an early wakeup the next morning.

Thursday: Up at 4:30am to catch a cab to the airport. It was actually not so bad, and when I think of it, I really usually only sleep an hour and a half later than that on weekdays anyways. Everything went smoothly, we made it to the airport in good time and had an easy flight to Orly! We got a cab from the airport to our AWESOME hotel, checked in, dropped out stuff, and went for breakfast at a cafe around the corner. After breakfast we went on a walk around the area to orient ourselves a bit while our room was being prepared, and we soon realized that we were incredibly close to several different museums and attractions.


Once our room was prepared, we both showered and took a little rest and planned out what we’d do that day. We walked towards the Eiffel Tower (“THE FOOT OF THE EIFFEL TOWER!” was the only thing we were told again and again while trying to figure out where we would be able to get to the river tour docks) and it started to hail, so we ducked into this cool restaurant that was actually a boat and had a delicious lunch Then we finally made it to the boats. The tour was great, it was a really cool start to the trip and a good way to figure out where everything was. After the tour, we got coffees and hung out by the Eiffel Tower for a little while. Then we walked back in the direction of out hotel, and stopped in at the
Musée d’Orsay which was awesome! We finished off the night by getting dinner (salads, to combat all the carbs) at a neat little restaurant down the street from our hotel. 

Our hotel lobby

View from the window of our room

I’m going to split this into two posts and cover the rest of the week after this!