Monday, January 27, 2014

Pray for Ukraine!

In the past week I have given two formal presentations on the situation in Ukraine.  I have talked about it with at least one person (but more often than not with many people) each and every day. I check the internet for news updates every couple of hours and touch base with friends in Kiev as well as in other parts of Ukraine.

The purpose of this post is not to regurgitate my presentations - they were completely in Russian, anyhow.  If you don't know about what is happening in Ukraine, please open a new tab right now and type "Ukraine" or "Euromaidan" into a search engine of your choice.  The purpose of this post isn't to tell you who is right and who is wrong, nor is it to offer some unheard-of enlightening analysis of the situation.  I'm not going to offer my prediction of what awaits Ukraine and I certainly don't have a solution to offer that will bring peace and contentment to all of Ukraine.

..........

But I am praying for Ukraine.  Sending well wishes and words of encouragement.  Waiting fervently for a piece of good news or a spark of hope or a glimpse of peace.  I don't know what the future holds for Ukraine and there are scenarios that I don't even want to imagine.  So all I can do is pray...and I will. Because I love Ukraine and seeing the country broken and divided makes my heart just ache with sadness.  





















Боже, я молюсь за Україну,
Боже, молю Тебе за людей.
Ти їх прости, Ти їх спаси
І милість Свою нам яви.
Боже, я знаю, що Ти будеш з нами
В Храмі Своему під небесами.
Радість і мир Ти дарував
Життя за людей віддав
В книгу життя нас записав.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

It's a Boy!!!

Tomorrow afternoon just before 5 PM we will be congratulating little David James on 1 week out in this big ol' world!

His day of birth was quite the event.  After coming home Friday night and anxiously hoping that the little man would make his appearance before the end of the long weekend, I was definitely relieved and excited when my mama poked her head into my room in the wee hours of Sunday morning to tell me that today would be the day.

The wait at the hospital was long, but with an assignment to finish, little Logan who wanted someone to play with, and making a couple of food runs with my brother, we passed the time until baby arrived.

Just minutes after he was born I got to hold that healthy, happy little blessing! He was wide-eyed and alert in the hours just after he was born and just so darn adorable!
Proud Uncle Joseph!

I love his face in this one!

Earlier in the day when all she could have was ice chips, my sister had told us that she really wanted a big cheesy pizza, so she was promised that after the birth she would get her pizza.  The promise was kept and later that night David had his very first pizza party! 
David, however, didn't seem to be too interested in eating pizza ;)

Earlier in the day when all she could have was ice chips, my sister had told us that she really wanted a big cheesy pizza, so she was promised that after the Monday morning we were back at the hospital.  When we got there David had come from the nursery in just a blanket, so I got to dress him in a cute little dinosaur onesie and have lots of cuddle time with the munchkin before heading back down to Btown.  


                                                        
                                                        
                                                        

This week David has been home with his mommy and daddy and is doing well, but probably not letting his parents sleep too much.  Mackenzie finally got to meet her nephew this weekend and help my sister out a bit.  I'm sure Oma has been spending lots of time cuddling her new grandson as well.  It's definitely a blessing for my sister to have so much family around to help out with the big transition. 






Having a new baby in the family is just so much fun!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Birthday!

I'm 22!!! My 22nd birthday was certainly one to remember and I already have a feeling that 22 is going to be a fantastic year!

My birthday celebrations started Saturday night by going out with friends to ring in my birthday. Everywhere was super crowded because it was a Saturday night, but we at around 11:30 we found a table at a small cafe/bar called "Vanilla Lounge" and ordered a round of fruity cocktails.  At midnight we toasted to my birthday and the boys gave a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday!"

:)

Birthday dress


After leaving that bar the boys each bought a doner and we headed to a cocktail bar that had been overcrowded earlier and were able to find a seat this time.  We each ordered a second cocktail and sat around talking and laughing until just after 2 am.  Our late night out meant that the U-bahn was no longer running and waiting for a night bus would have taken longer than just walking home - so walk home we did! It was quite the long walk and we didn't get in until almost 3:30, but all in all it was a great start to my birthday!

That late night out meant some sleeping in the next morning.  But when we finally got our sleepy selves out of bed Mario quickly disappeared from the room and came back carrying flowers and a cake!



It's still very much a mystery how he managed to get the cake and flowers home without me seeing them.  It made sense last year when I was working during winter break and he sometimes came home before me.  This year, however, I was always home before him and always let him in/saw him as soon he got home.  So I guess I'll just have to stick with his explanation which was simply "I'm a wizard" lol! 

In addition to the flowers and cake I had a pretty little present to unwrap - a box of various specialty teas! Then it was time to do what everyone should do on the birthday - eat cake for breakfast! I have to say, the cake tasted as good as it looked! :)



In the evening we were invited to dinner with Mario's brother and his girlfriend.  When we arrived they serenaded me with "Happy Birthday" and presented me with a cake and a present! It was a present enough that they invited us over for dinner, so it was sooo sweet of them to have made a cake and gotten me a present as well! The dinner still had a little bit of time left to cook, so we had some pre-dinner cake and sparkling wine.  The dinner itself was wonderful and oh so tasty! We followed dinner with a little more wine and conversation until I unintentionally brought the hangout to an abrupt end.  Although I have been feeling a lot better than a few days ago, I still have a bit of a pesky cough.  Unfortunately a coughing attack decided to happen and before I knew it coughing turned to watering eyes to gasping, choking, and, well, throwing up a bit of that delicious dinner right in the living room.  Talk about embarrassing!  Anyhow, after that little incident we decided it was time to go home where I almost immediately went to bed.

Today I woke up feeling better than yesterday and coughing a little bit less (everyday a little bit better!).  I did laundry in the morning and met Mario for lunch at the mensa (student cafeteria). I had a phone interview in the early afternoon and then headed back to the city center for a while to enjoy downtown Munich for the last time until March.  Tomorrow morning I fly back to the US and then Wednesday it's back to the books for one final semester - let's go!!!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Curly Hair!

Yesterday was the first day that I actually felt better instead of worse.  Ever since we got back to Munich on the 2nd I have been fighting what started off as what seemed to be a harmless little cold to an entire day spent in bed with hot tea and tissues.
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Note on the white board when I woke up one morning
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sick, sick, sick

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Milka hearts from the Mario to "make me feel better" :)
In the morning I was still feeling pretty bad when I woke up, but decided that I would "make" myself get better.  I put on real clothes for the first time in probably 36 hours and left the apartment in the early afternoon.  I went to Rossman, which is basically Germany's version of CVS, accept you can't actually get a prescription filled there.  My main goal was to by some more Heisse Zitrone, but I couldn't resist taking a peak at the hair accessories section to see if there just so happened to be a curling over there that I might be interested in purchasing.  You see, I realized recently that in my almost 22 years of life I have never once actually owned a curling iron. I suppose I credit that to growing up with a mama who curled her own hair every single day and a sister and multiple friends in show choirs.  There was just always someone else's curling iron around to use. On top of that, my stick-straight hair requires an awful lot of attention to do anything that even slightly resembles curls.  Well, to my surprise and delight there just so happened to be a curling iron on the shelf with the attractive low price of just 9.99! The last time I had a look at curling irons in the US I'm pretty sure they were more expensive than that. Plus this one had the barrel size I was looking for and came with a heat resistant storage bag.  So on an impulse I bought it! I grabbed a bottle of hairspray before heading to the check out and left the store happy with my purchases.  I was even more happy with my purchases a little while later at home when I sat down in front of the mirror and curled my hair for the first time in ages! They weren't my best curls, but they turned out not too bad and, more importantly, curling my hair put me in a good mood.
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My new curling iron :)

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The other pictures were too blurry, but here's at least one side of the curls
In the evening I met Mario at uni and a group of us ordered pizza for (almost) free - it would have been completely free if we hadn't made a small mistake - thanks to a university friend who works as a promoter for an online pizza ordering company.  Get paid to order free pizza for people? Sounds like a pretty sweet gig to me! Mario was surprised by my curly hair and I think he liked it :) After pizza dinner he studied at the university for a little while longer and then we spent the rest of the night together at home watching episodes of The Daily Show and just hanging out.

Unfortunately I don't feel any better than yesterday today, but at least I don't feel any worse.  I'll probably spend most of the day relaxing - maybe go into the city center a bit - but I really want to get back to full health to 1) celebrate my birthday this weekend!! and 2) be back in good health for the flight home/beginning of the semester.

Happy Friday everyone! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Year's Eve in Prague!




On the morning of the 31st we woke up to an early alarm. We drank coffee and ate cereal and then I prepared some food to take on the road while Mario got the car ready to go. After promising his Mom that I would make Mario drive slowly and carefully we left the house, picked up two friends, and were on our way to Prague! Although it was barely 9 in the morning, no "open container" laws in Europe meant beers in the car on the way to Prague (except for the driver, of course!).
Minion comes with to Prague!
Where we would park the car all day and most of thr night had been a point of discussion on the drive to Prague. Once we got to Prague, however, we scored the ultimate free street parking! It did take us a while to find anyone who spoke English (or German or Russian or ANYTHING but Czech) to confirm that we were actually free to park there, but when we happened to ask a nice woman who works at the American Embassy in Prague, she assured us that we were free to park there and that we were super lucky to have found that parking spot.

On our little walk from the parking to the center, an older gentleman heard the boys speaking German and struck up a conversation.  It turns out that he had worked as a cameraman based in Germany for 30 years and gave us some information and advice about Prague.

Our new friend in Prague
Once we were in the center we bought our tickets for the club (Central Europe's largest club!) for that night and went to find the other two friends who had come by train to Prague.  By this point we were all getting pretty hungry, so we went into a restaurant in the center for some lunch. The rest of the day and evening was spent sightseeing around Prague and just enjoying the city and being together with friends.  By later in the evening we wanted to find somewhere to go inside and have a drink, but nearly everywhere was "reservation only" and "special NYE programs" so it took us a while to actually find even one single place where we could actually get a table.  Having warmed up and relaxed a bit, we headed to Charles Bridge to meet the New Year! There were more people than I could have possibly imagined on that bridge and things got a little crazy when rockets were let off and champagne bottles were popped open right in the middle of the crowd. The fireworks at midnight, however, were extremely impressive and went on for quite some time. We hardly knew were to look, as fireworks were going off in all directions.  When the fireworks had ended it took a while for all of us to get off the bridge and find each other again.  When we did all finally regroup, we went to join in on another unbelievably crowded experience - the club! To begin with, the line just to enter the club was nothing short of ridiculous.  I have never been in such a chaotic, pushy, shoving line in all of my life.  A French guy tried to start a fight with our friend Thomas, a creepy drunk German guy was hitting on me, and at least a dozen times I was certain that I was going to get trampled and killed.  But trampled and killed I was not and we finally made our way into the club where we were each given a bottle of champagne with our entrance and hit the hot, crowded dance floors.  In the spirit of it being New Year's Eve and also a spontaneous, wild day, I had a good time despite the nearly unbearable temperatures and crowding in the club.  I think I would like to go back to that club someday on a normal Friday or Saturday night.  I'm pretty sure it would be even more fun and wayyy more chilled out!

Finally found a place with a free table!!!
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I think some of the guys would have liked to shut down the club at 8 AM, but by a little after 5 at least some of us, myself included, were ready to be done. It was around 6 AM when we left Prague and kudos to Mario for getting us all safely home, despite the fact that he hadn't slept in 24 hours.  When we got home to Hilpoltstein we showered and then immediately crashed until the afternoon.

Despite our sleepiness, we still managed to make something out of New Year's Day.  In the late afternoon we drove over to Mario's grandparents' house to wish them a Happy New Year and visit for a bit with them and some other relatives. For some reason I was really nervous on the drive over there. Mostly just about being the awkward foreign girlfriend.  I didn't want to do anything to embarrass myself and I guess I'm just the type of person who really wants others to like me.  I didn't have anything to worry about though, because Mario's whole family is super nice and I was actually really proud of myself for understanding more German than the last time I met them and being able to participate in the conversations a bit. Before we left I got to see their dairy cows and barn cats and we all know kitties make everything better :)

In the evening Mario studied a little bit and I finished my cross stitch of a cute little hedgehog holding a balloon before finishing off the night by watching dart championships on TV.

Yet again we managed to pull off one heck of a New Year's Eve, number three as the super duper Mario-Chelsea team! Happy 2014 everybody!