Saturday, November 24, 2012

Packing, packing and more packing!

So on Saturday Sept. 29th, I tearfully left Michigan and headed home for a few days before flying to Germany.
I arrived around 10 on Saturday and went straight to get my hair cut. And guess what I did?!?
 I chopped it off! I took at least 8 inches off. I'm sad to see my long hair go, but this will be easier to deal with. My hair was really stinking long!
Then my new do, my family and myself went to our favorite restaurant with our favorite people! (We went to Il Sogno in Wheaton with our friends the Erdelyi's)! It was a nice first day back at home.
Then on Sunday we had our pictures taken by a girl I went to high school with Cassie. My cousin Matt is currently editing them but here is one as a sneak peek.
We look decent right? These were the first family pictures we've taken since I was an infant. Ha. My family sucks :)
So that was Sunday. Well the most exciting part of Sunday really.
Monday I started pulling out clothes to pack. Ugh. Sadly Dad had to head to Michigan on Monday for work. So I said good-bye to him a few days early. He didn't think they would make it back in time to see me off. But that's okay. I'll see him in about a month when he comes to visit Oma!
The good thing about my dad being gone, I actually had somewhere to sleep. My bed was somewhere under a huge pile of clothes... So my dad's side of the bed was mine for the next couple of nights.
Tuesday was about the same. Going through my clothes to decide what to pack. Going through all of the stuff I brought home from Michigan. Trying to figure life out.
Wednesday I got myself all packed in just a few hours. Mom was quite amazed. The only thing I needed was a few space bags, to pick up some pictures I ordered, and lunch! We got the space bags and pictures. In the process of packing I found a photos gift card so we headed there for lunch. Sadly they had lost power so mom and I had to resort to something else. I think we just went back home, but I honestly can't remember.
Anyway... I finished packing. I tidied up my packing mess a little bit. I skyped Alycia, Little Miss and Tipter. And I did some last minute crafting :)
I ate a quick dinner, and then we were off to the airport. We found the kiosk and checked all 3 of my bags.
And then we said good-bye. By taking pictures :)

Yes, I am very much aware that my mother is a diva :)
From there I headed back through security (where I was stopped because some the big ziploc of pictures looked funny on the x-ray), and then on to my gate. I grabbed a bottle of water and a little snack on the way. I called my daddy, and then boarded my flight. They checked my carry-on bag, which was totally fine with me. One less thing to haul around.
The flight was fine. I slept through 80% of it. I only woke up for meals and landing. My tv didn't work, which helped the sleeping situation. It was pretty relaxing.
I landed in London and headed towards my connecting flight. It wasn't nearly as bad as I remembered. I have flown through Heathrow a few times now and it was absolutely awful. But it was fine. The only issues I had was I couldn't buy anything because they have a different currency, and I wasn't going to exchange money for just the one lay-over. So I sat there and read my book. The other issue was they don't post where you gate is until 20 minutes before boarding. That just seems weird to me. But it worked out just fine.
The plane ride was uneventful, which is a good thing. I read my book and listened to music. We landed in Stuttgart and I started getting butterflies in my stomach (from excitement of course). I went through passport check and found my bags. I wheeled the cart through the doors and was tackled by Sabrina :)
We hugged for about a minute, and her dad took my cart for me. They led me to the car, and we somehow got all my bags in. And we were off. I was officially in Germany. I was going back to one of my many homes in this world :)

Lots of love from Germany!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The rest of my summer!

What did I do with the rest of my time this summer you ask?
Welllll since you asked....
I came home on the 4th of July. I know, how patriotic. I spent the next week at home with my family. I went to the dentist, the doctor, and other general maintenance things.
While I was still in Germany and had decided I wanted to come back in the fall, I had gotten the ball rolling in finding a subleaser for my room in the townhouse. I found this girl Carly, who seemed to be a perfect fit for the townhouse. I wanted to try and meet her when she went stopped by GV for the day on the 13th, plus I figured I could start unloading my storage room! So on the 12th I headed up Hudsonville where Alycia once again took me in. Girl has the heart of an angel. Earlier in the week she actually offered to let me stay with her, her boyfriend Chase, and Little Miss while I was in Michigan for the rest of the summer. She's a saint. Really.
So on Thursday I drove to Hudsonville, with a car full of luggage. Not any luggage, but luggage filled with gifts. Not exactly filled, but you get the point. I kind of spoiled Alycia and family. I headed up the stairs and knocked on the door. The shrieck I heard come from inside made my heart melt. Oh Little Miss, how I missed you. Alycia opened the door and Little Miss exclaims "KAAAATYYYYYY!!!!!!". Be still my heart. She remembers me. I pretty much died.
After lots of hugs all around (and a little belly rub for Baby Tipter) it was time for presents! Little Miss didn't quite understand that the things I gave her were her's to keep. She kept trying to give them back to me. Silly goose. We had dinner that night, put Little Miss to bed, and Alycia and I chatted. It was sooooo nice to catch up with her.
The next morning she had a doctor's appointment and I wanted to go to Appletree to say hi to the girls, and meet my new babies I would be working with on Monday. It felt so good to walk back into that building. Ohhhh how I missed it. I ended up staying wayyyy longer than I should have. They almost had me clock in and start working right then and there! But then Alycia called that she was done at the doctor and ready to run errands. We headed to Party city to get decorations for Little Miss's second birthday party and to look at decorations for Alycia's baby shower! We found some good deals and saw some super cute baby shower stuff. Little Miss was being bossy and a stink so we high tailed it out of there quick. From there we went to Applebee's for lunch. While we were there Little Miss was talking up a storm and turning on the charm to all who passed. Wow had she grown over the past two months. Her hair was long, she was talking in sentences, and she was a ham, more now than ever. Too stinking adorable.
I never did make it to my storage room that day. I had to drive down to Fort Wayne for my cousin's wedding. Oh and I never met Carly. She was only in the area for about a half hour, and at that point I was out to lunch with Alycia. Oh well.
So on Friday, we (as a family... in 2 cars.... coming from different directions) headed to Fort Wayne, IN for the third and final Kartholl wedding! Hurray! It's been so much fun seeing all of my cousins get married in the past 13 months. I have loved each wedding so much. I get to see their personailities shine through. Well this wedding was no different than the other two, gorgeous, fun, and just all around wonderful. Congrats to Kristina and Chris! Their reception was at the Courtyard in downtown Ft. Wayne, right next to the baseball stadium, where they happened to have fireworks that night! How cool is that?!?! My cousin pretty much had fireworks at her wedding!
My mom and Uncle Steve had a pretty great time dancing too. What goofs.

From there I drove back to Michigan where I started work early Monday morning. I was nervous to be back, but super excited at the same time. I didn't realize how much I really missed my babies! And my oh my how they have all grown. It was nice to see how excited parents seemed to see me! They asked how my trip was and everything.
For the first month back at Appletree, I was just a breaker, aka going in for people so they could go on break. I didn't mind it at all. I got to see all the little kiddos every day. But then they needed me in infant room, full time! I was over the moon. I loved being in infant room every day with Heidi and our babies. We had so much fun this summer. We are both super sassy and sarcastic, so that worked out really well. Plus we had some fantatstic babies :)

Life at home with Little Miss, Alycia and Chase was fun. Baby Tipter was stubborn. Little guy just did not want to leave his momma's tummy! She had a couple scares along the way, but in the end she went into labor on her own the night before she was scheduled for an induction!
Tipter was over 9 lbs and 21 inches long! Big boy for sure! And what an angel. We were all amazed by how chill he was after he was born. He just slept and slept and slept. He would barely even wake up to eat! Compared to the constant kicking, punching, hiccup routine he had a few weeks earlier, this was a huge difference!
Little Miss loves loves loves her baby brother. For her birthday she got a baby doll, which I think was perfectly. She carried her baby around allllll day. Plus she had tons of new toys to explore to distract her from the fact that she was no longer the constant center of attention.
Oh Little Miss. How you make us laugh. Honestly. This little girl lights up so many peoples lives. She brightens the day. Her smile warms a room. Yes she can be sassy, bossy, and down right awful sometimes. But she is 2. Everyone is like that at 2.
Some of the best things I heard her say this summer:
  • booonana
  • get to the choppa (when Dora say get to the gym, Little Miss responded with GETTOTHECHOPPA!)
  • boom-shacka-lacka (right into monkey's face)
  •  when asked what her monkey's name is she would reply "MUN-KEEEEY" in a very deep voice
  • the same would go for her baby doll when asked what her name was Little Miss would reply "BayBay" in the same deep voice
  • the way she says Tipter :)
  • when you ask Little Miss she will say her whole name, quiet, quick, and as one loooong word
  • If you say, "Little Miss, guess what?!?" she replies "I love your face!"
  • she would grab my phone, say it was hers, then Alycia's, then Chase's, then Tipter's, and eventually finally get to my name with a big foolish grin on her face
  • pank you
  • the way she yells at herself in time out
  • One day, Little Miss put monkey and baby into Tipter's car seat. She walked in with Alycia's shoes on her feet and a purse in her hand. When we asked her what she was doing she said "I go bye-bye!" We asked where she was going and Little Miss responds with "I go Meijer."
  • begging for yogurt like it's candy
  • "Little Miss what do you want to eat?" the response is almost always "Cereal" or "a sammich" no matter the time of day
  •  hearing her count right before we spin
  • when I would leave for work she would always say "Katy go apptwee." "Yes, Little Miss, I am going back to work at appletree." "Katy play wit babies." "Yes Little Miss, I'm going to go play with the babies."
  • singing "Slippery Fish"
  • "I runnin. With my cheeks." (translation: I'm running with my feet)
  • "I pissed it"  (I kissed it)
Oh Little Miss. There is so much more I could share, but it would take forever!
Here are some of my favorite moments from my summer in Michigan.
(Pause the music at the bottom of the page so you can hear the video :) )

I also got to spend a little bit of time with Ali, Hannah, Carly and Sarah. I was supposed to be living in a townhouse with them, but with my second trip to Germany I had to give up my spot. Cue Carly and her need for housing and it was a perfect match! I love those girls so much! We spent a few nights together and had lots of laughs. Man I miss them!

I think that about wraps up my summer. I spent my time in Michigan with babies (and toddlers) and I wouldn't change a minute of it!

Lots of love from Germany!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My bad....

So I really failed at keeping up on this blog up and running, especially in my last few weeks in Germany this summer. You could let me use the excuse that I had a lot going on, which I totally did, but I don't like excuses. So in the end, I just suck.
But I am determined to catch up. Be ready for a long and painful post. My apologies already.

Friday 15.06

On our last Friday together, the school hosted a Grill-fest for us Americans and our host families. Anderson told us we each had to bring an "American dish", so I chose brownies :)
Friday then became a crazy busy day for me, and I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything done and on time! Plus my brownies weren't very good. But in my defense, they were from a box. I didn't have the time or resources for the real things.
I got myself ready and headed to the Grill-fest to meet up with Sabrina. I helped finish setting up and Anderson got the grill going.
Trying to open the champagne

still trying to open the champagne

Krzyzstof and his apron

We had SO MUCH FOOD! There were sausages, salads, chips, desserts. It was delicious.
It was really nice to finally meet some of the other hosts too. They all seemed so nice.
After we finished eating, we had some thank you speeches and then squeezed together for a group (aka family) picture :) Sadly Sara and Evan weren't there so someone eventually will have to photoshop them in. It was a hoot trying to get one good picture of all of us. Well actually it is an impossible task because we are all crazy.

From there the night just got funnier. Must have been all of the sugar :)

Nick was showing us his kung-fu moves, which somehow turned into dancing, and then playing tag with his host siblings. By the end of it, all of the boys had taken turns running around like crazy playing tag. All the girls just watched because none of us had appropriate footwear. :P

People started leaving. I started saying goodbye. It was rough.

After everything was cleaned up only Jason, Kyle, Angela, Sabrina and myself remained along with a whole case of beer (so like 20 bottles of beer) and a couple bags of chips. So we hauled it all over to Angela's place, sat around drinking a couple beers, talking, relaxing and having a great last night together.
Around 1 am Jason and Kyle realized they wouldn't be able to take a bus home until the morning so I texted Janine making sure it would be okay for them to spend the night. When we got home, there were beds made up for us and even little chocolates on our pillows :) (Thank you Janine!)
We fell asleep quickly. When we woke up there were rolls for breakfast which we ate on Anja's patio. We stared at the gorgeous view, just taking it all in. Our last moments together. It was weird. Crazy. 6 weeks ago we barely even knew each other. Now all 15 of us were like family.
Writing this post makes me miss that so much.

Saturday 16.06

Once the boys left, I started packing all of my stuff. Sabrina and I were going to the opera that night and then spending the weekend at her parent's house, meaning I wasn't coming back to the apartment. I quickly packed, said goodbye to Janine (Anja wasn't there) and headed to Adelberg with Sabrina.
We caught the train to Stuttgart with the rest of the internationals. Once in Stuttgart we grabbed some food, and waited for the opera to start.

The opera itself was... interesting. It was in Russian and then there were German subtitles, making it all around difficult for me to understand what in the world was going on. Every once in a while Sabrina would see the completely confused look on my face and explain what was going on. But all in all it was a good show.
We headed to the train station, grabbed some ice cream, and headed home.

Monday 18.06-Thursday 21.06

I spent the week at Sabrina's apartment in SG. Her roommate had an extra mattress that we put on the floor in Sabrina's room. It worked out nicely, except for the fact that her small room was NOT meant for 2 people. But, we made it work.
I either went to class with Sabrina or stayed at her apartment, watching movies/tv or working on my paper for Anderson.
It was a weird feeling to be on campus at the PH without having all the Americans with me. I went to our "Let's get together and talk" course. It was odd without them, but all the Germans were excited to still have me in the class, even if it was just one more day. Everyone had to give a short presentation that day. Kornetta kept asking me grammar questions, which I had no clue how to answer, of course. He just likes to pick on me. But hey, I can handle it. He's a pretty nice guy.
I also went to Sabrina's New York class, also taught by Kornetta :) He gave me crap for being there and not knowing any of the answers. They really have to know a lot for that class. It's crazy.

Friday 22.06

Friday morning Sabrina and I got up really early to spend 2 and a half hours in the car. Where were we going you ask? EUROPA-PARK!!! It's pretty much just the European version of six flags. But it was so much fun! We got there shortly after the park opened so the lines were fairly short for the big coasters. We had devised a plan to go on all of the big coasters first and then do the smaller stuff, hoping to miss the big long lines. The lines really weren't that bad. And the coasters were pretty awesome :) I had lot of fun and could have done that allllllllll dayyyyyyyyyyy. But Sabrina couldn't handle it. What a wimp ;)
On a coaster going up up up!
From the big coasters we moved to some smaller and tamer rides, like the carousel.

We had a fun time. It was a blast. One of my favorite days here so far :)

Saturday 23.06 - Monday 25.06

I spent another few days at home with Sabrina before heading to Munich. It was nice to just relax and spend time with my friend :)

Tuesday 26.06 - Thursday 28.06

On Tuesday I headed to Munich to visit my Uncle Carlheinz and Aunt Do. Sabrina had class that day so I was the crazy looking person on campus hauling around a suitcase. And then I may or may not of forgotten to give her her keys back... Oops. Thankfully the nice people at the train station held onto them for her :)
I was so proud of myself for finding my way through all of the trains and streets. I safely and fairly easily got to Charlie and Do's place. I felt accomplished.
I love their house. Maybe one day I'll take pictures of it. It's beautiful and cozy and just wonderful. I had a room and bathroom all to myself. I really had the whole basement to myself. I had internet and food and everything I needed.
When I arrived we sat around and talked a little and then headed out for dinner. Do and I walked the whole way there and Carlheinz drove. I had some sausages and mashed potatoes and of course a beer. For dessert (which I was pressured into ordering...) I had these pieces of apple that were dipped into some kind of batter and then fried or something. But they were warm and cinnamony and served with vanilla ice cream and just perfect. Tasted kind of like an apple doughnut. YUM.
I let Carlheinz drive me home. :)
The next day we had a nice BIG breakfast with just about everything you can think of, oh and some AMAZING orange juice. To. die. for.
Then we headed into town for some shopping. Do needed a few things before they went to a wedding the next day. We found a new apron for her dirndl and some new stockings. Then we met up with a family friend (whose daughter is the bride in the wedding they are going to) and had some lunch. Carlheinz ordered some Lebekäse and potato salad for me. I had never had it before so I was a little worried, but nope. It was delicious. I even tried it with some mustard. Nope. That wasn't to my liking. But the meat was soooooo good. He was pretty proud of himself for that find :)
After lunch Do went to look for some new shoes and Charlie and I went to find a place to exchange some money for me. After lots of hunting (and 2 new pairs of shoes for Do) we headed home. We just relaxed the rest of the day. For dinner we had some little pizzas. And then Carlheinz made me a big bowl of strawberries with some vanilla ice cream he found in the freezer. He takes such good care of me :)
Thursday morning Carlheinz had to go to work and Do had to stop by later. The two of us ladies had a quick breakfast and then Do dropped me off at the train station. I headed back to SG and spent the night at Sabrina's. As usual :)
I really really really enjoyed my time in Munich. I loved seeing my family and being so well fed! I will be sure to come back the next time I'm in the country!
 Thursday night was a sad night. It was my last night Sabrina. We watched tv and movies and tried to not think about the good bye we would have to say in the morning.

Friday 29.06

Today I left SG for the last time this summer. It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Sabrina drove me to the train station. We didn't say good bye, just see you later. I think it helped that I was (hopefully) coming back in the fall and I knew we would skype every night I was in Bad Nauheim. So it's not like I would never see her again.
I hate hate hate hate hate traveling by train with two suitcases. It is awful. But I survived. Plus it was really stinking hot.
I finally made it to Oma's and we sat and talked for a while, ate a little bit, and I ended my night by skyping Sabrina and watching some tv shows on my laptop. 

Saturday 30.06

Oma and I had breakfast together and then I waited for my brother Mark to come pick me up for the day! I was so excited to see him, my sister in law Nadine, and my niece, Cutie Pie.
Cutie Pie was actually sleep in the back seat. Toooooo precious!
It's amazing how much she has grown since I saw her in December! She's such a little ham!
Mark had to get some grocery shopping done, so I got to join in on the fun and keep Cutie Pie entertained. She was fascinated with the camera on m iPhone. I have lots of adorable pictures of her from that shopping trip.
Mark kept asking if I needed anything to eat, knowing how empty Oma's fridge is. I picked up some cream cheese and salami. I didn't want to hurt Oma's feelings by buying a whole bunch of food.
From there we went back to Mark's house, unloaded the groceries and just played with Cutie Pie. I got to chat with Mark and Nadine, something I don't get to do very often.
Gah! How this little girl has grown. It makes me sad because I have missed so much of her life. I wish I could be a super involved aunt. I'm her only aunt. My little brother John is her only uncle. We are all this little girl has! It drives me insane.

Cutie Pie had to go down for a nap so Mark and I walked into downtown Friedberg. We did a little shopping, some talking and got ice cream to cool off. It was really stinking hot that day.
We headed back and everyone at home was awake and ready to play again :)
After a few more hours, Mark and Nadine decided it was time for me to head back to Oma's. But Mark being Mark, he packed me a whoooooooole ton of food so I didn't starve :) I mean there was orange juice, rolls, chips, chocolate, cookies, just about everything.
Mark dropped me off at Oma's, I ate some dinner and headed to bed excited to see my brother and SIL and niece again the next day!

Sunday 01.07

I spent time with Oma in the morning until Mark came to pick me up for lunch/dinner. We had tappas. One of Mark and Nadine's friends came over to join us for the meal. Good thing cause there was SO much food! Mark out did himself for reals. It was all really good. I couldn't tell you what was my favorite.
My time with my brother and sister in law and cutie pie didn't last too long. I left before cutie pie even went down for a nap. But that's okay.
I headed back to Oma's for some quality time with her.
I cherish the time I had with my niece these past few days. I don't get to see her often so it was very special to me.

Monday 02.07

My last full day in Bad Nauheim. Oma and I went into the city fairly early in the day. I had a whole list of places to go, things to buy, people to see, and things to eat/drink.
We started off by getting a cappuccino for Oma. I just had some water. No coffee for this kid.

After being lectured another million times about how to get back via the bus, which stop to get off at, and how much it costs, we went our separate ways. I tried to say hello to one of my dad's friends, Dr. Michael Rahn, but his office was closed. From there I went to a few different stores. I bought a coat for Little Miss. I bought presents for everyone at home. I bought Cutie Pie's birthday present. I bought some beer and cookies and candy.
I stopped by the Apotheke (pharmacy) that my dad's friend Till owns. He stopped everything he was doing to spend an hour of his time chatting with me. I felt really special. I got to go in the back, and even downstairs to the office. It was nice to talk with him. To feel like I had someone to go to when I'm alone in the city. 
For dinner I stopped at one of my favorite restaurants, Kuckuck. As soon as I mentioned who I was, one of the waitresses got excited. Pretty much anyone who came through those doors from that point on was told who I was. It's like my dad is a superstar here or something. I love it :) I had some good food and great beer.
While waiting for the bus I called Oma to let her know I was on my way back. She was apparently very worried about me. Miscommunication is all. And I didn't leave her my cell phone number... oops.
I skyped with Sabrina, like I did every night and then went to bed.

Tuesday 03.07

This morning Oma took me to the train station. I took a train from Bad Nauheim to Frankfurt. Got delayed in Frankfurt. From Frankfurt to Köln. Got confused and delayed in Köln. And finally Köln to Düsseldorf. It was a loooooong trip. Way longer than it was supposed to be. Then finding my hotel was not as easy as it should have been. According to the directions the website gave me, it should have been right by the tram stop. But alas, it was not. I ended up walking in circles for a while, until I mustered up the courage to go ask for directions. It was just a few blocks (which at that point felt like miles) from where I was. I got to my hotel, which was really nice and comfortable, and first thing I did was flop on the bed. Second thing I did was get internet.
I spent the night watching tv and talking to Sabrina and my mom.
I was hungry beyond the point of hungry. When you are so hungry you don't feel like you are so hungry anymore. Plus I was cranky and didn't feel like moving after all the crazy traveling I had done that day. But with both Sabrina and my mother threatening, I decided to get up off my butt and find some food. Luckily there was not one, but TWO grocery like stores practically connected  to the hotel. So I walked all of 1,000 feet, got some awful for you junk junk and more junk food nutritious food and headed back to my lovely room. I watched more tv, spent more time on the computer and eventually fell asleep.

Wednesday 04.07

I woke up this morning, got ready, packed up all my stuff, and flew out the door in search of the post office. I had two things to mail, the phone I had borrowed from Janine for the past 2 months, and then the gift and letter I had for Sabrina and her parents.
I went to the front desk and asked. All they could do was point me in the right direction. So in that direction I went, and I decided to keep going that way no matter how unpromising it looked. Soon I started seeing mail deliverers on bikes. I saw more and more. I followed the trail of bright yellow bikes all the way to the post office! Hurray!
I mailed my packages (for quite a low price!) and headed back to the hotel. I grabbed my bags, got on the shuttle bus to the airport and was gone.
The airport wasn't too difficult to navigate. The first time I really cried was right as the plane was taking off. I was sad to leave my family, my friends, and Sabrina (who at this point was somewhere between friend and family).
After a nice long 7 hour plane ride I was finally back on American soil! Then the long long long long long long (and did I mention long?) customs line. I honestly think I waited for over an hour. My poor parents had to stand and wait anxiously for me to come through those doors too. Ugh. Made for a very long day, and a very unhappy Katy.
I went home, gave gifts to the family, and unpacked. Hurray for America.

Well for those of you who just read that whole thing, thanks for sticking it out.
I hope to get back up to date on this blog. It's my goal.
Next post will be covering the rest of my summer, which I spent in Michigan working and living with one of my closest friends. I honestly can say this was THE best summer of my life.

Grüße aus Deutschland!!!!