14 years in the making

When I was 21, I did what every sane 21 year old does: quit their steady job and move to a new city in a new state to start from scratch. Totally normal.

Also normal, and something I recommend no one do is believe the only way to leave a company that loves you is to say you’re moving to another state…take out a loan for $2,000 to pay for the move…move without any job prospects…and rent a room from a complete stranger *who happens to be a heavy smoker that owns a constantly puking cat.

That was my favorite.

I chuckle now thinking that a company would actually be heartbroken to have me quit. I’m great to work with and all, but to think they’d only accept me leaving by saying I was moving is pure craziness.

But, it got me out of my comfort zone, and threw me into adulthood. I might not have been ready per se, but who is? When I moved from Las Vegas, NV to Los Angeles, CA, I did everything possible to make it work. I worked two jobs, barely making ends meet, and learned what it meant to be a grownup.

I could tell countless stories of roommates stealing my mail, food, and toiletries; playing extras in tv shows, and watching film crews out the window while I worked, and maybe I’ll share those one day, but it was in one of those jobs fourteen years ago, I never thought would connect me to Germany today.

I got a job at a physical therapy office that catered to those in the movie industry. Most days it was fairly slow in the office, so my coworker, who was from Germany, and I had a lot of time on our hands.

She took to teaching me German while I took to helping her with her English. It was a perfect match.

Unfortunately (or fortunately in my case) I could only tolerate Los Angeles for eight months (that city, I’m tellin’ ya!and ended up moving away; but that time was enough to forge a lifelong friendship. We stayed in touch, and I oddly remembered all the German she taught me, which sure came in handy when we upped and moved to Germany in 2016.

I never thought though, that I’d ever get the chance to meet her mom, her Mutti, who lived all the way in Eastern Germany. She talked about her a lot and was always someone I wished I could meet.

Mutti lived through WWII as her dad fought for the Germans. He got captured by the Americans, shipped to the states, and worked for two years running a cotton farm. After the war ended he got sent back to Germany where he learned he had four kids, not three (his wife was unknowingly pregnant when he left for the war!), and got back to farming like before.

Crazy story, isn’t it?!

Now, 14 years later, I’m living in Germany and my friend (who is now an American citizen still living in Los Angeles) is visiting her Mutti. We planned it all out and I hopped on a train – several, actually – and seven hours later, was in a little village outside Leipzig!

It was my first time in Eastern Germany, so I was excited to see just how different it was from the West. Her Mutti (and Tanta..her aunt) ended up being as delightful as I imagined, and though communication was rough with them only speaking German and me very little, we still managed to have a sweet connection.

What I found most interesting was their house. A 300 year old farm house fitted with a 300 year old toilet! A toilet that was still being used up to 25 years ago!! Apparently the house was the first in the village to have an “indoor toilet”. I can only imagine how excited everyone was.

Can you imagine using this every day for your toilet??!

The tiny entrance into my room.

I slept in that little bed in this little room. It was cozy with a sweet view of horses grazing in the field across the road.

Their grandparents.

There were only short people apparently 300 years ago. I had to duck every time I walked in with the ceiling only 2 inches from my head!
Sweet flowers on the 300 year old staircase. I think I like this idea!

Everything about the house and the village was like being transported in time. People still drove old DDR cars. Wifi and cell service are still fairly non-existent. And tractors still dominated the roadways.

My friend walked me around and showed where she lived when the Berlin wall was up. Sharing stories of 3in. thick ice on her bedroom walls, no heat, once-a-week baths (poor Mutti being the third and last in line for the same bath water), sharing one toilet for the whole apt. complex outside on the balcony, and tasting Nutella for the first time once the wall came down.

Stories I can’t even imagine experiencing.

It was a lot of fun to see everything through her eyes, and despite being constantly covered in bugs that were floating in the air – I’m not a bug person – it was a trip I’ll not soon forget.

I never imagined making that rather irrational decision to move to Los Angeles at 21 would lead to a trip in Germany where I would stay in a 300 year old farm house and sleep on an 80 year old bed in a tiny little spare room, but it did.

It goes to show that sometimes, irrational decisions lead to the best adventures.

Views from the top

Time surprises me. Just yesterday it was the weekend; a couple days prior I was visiting a friend in Leipzig, and a week before that it was the new year. But in reality: the weekend was three days ago, my visit over a week ago and the new year, seven months! How oh how does this happen?!

In just eleven days I’ll be 36. 36!! My mind is blown.

I hear parents always say, “time slow down!” as they watch their kids grow too fast, and despite no kids, I feel like shouting the same thing.


Though it’s practically almost the new weekend, I still want to share last weekend’s fun. If not for you, for me so I can remember it all.

In the little village I live in, every Saturday, I get to choose between two farmers markets. One is the main one that’s in a big church parking lot, downtown. They have meat, flowers, produce, cheese, eggs. You name it, they have it. The other is smaller and right by the train station with only fresh produce and eggs to choose from. This one is a two minute walk vs ten minute, so its typically the one I go to most.

just call me lazy!

The women there are really nice and mainly speak German and after going there for almost a year, they have a good understanding that I’m American. They let me speak German and they speak it right back, but fast! I understand a good 20-30% of what they’re saying and sometimes after a blank stare, they either repeat what they said or revert to broken English. They’re all quite friendly, and though the prices are steep, I like to stop in each Saturday to get my eggs.

Though, I’ve noticed if I make it to the bigger market, they’re always generously throwing in extra vegetables for free for me. So, it’s a toss-up on which location is better overall.

This is just one of the things I love about my little village I live in. Plus, the train station being so close makes travel so convenient. Trains here are nothing like in America. They’re clean, safe, reliable, and overall very easy to use. Any American coming from the states who rides them think they’re the best ever. But if you experience Japan and their rail system, then you’ll realize real fast they don’t hold a candle to Japan’s, but are still far superior to America’s subways.

(for the record, I’ve ridden plenty of American subway, too.)

Other things I find neat about living here is all the WWII history. Granted it’s the other’s side of history, but history nonetheless. We took a short drive to Birkenkopf, aka “Rubble Hill.” Because Stuttgart was a major hub for the nazis and had 45% of the city destroyed by allied bombs during WWII, there was considerable amount of debris.

Over four years, they took 1.5 million cubic meters of rubble and piled it on top of this little hill as a dumpster of sorts, raising it by 40.2 meters. Pretty remarkable. In the sixty years it’s been there, it’s had a lot of vegetation growth, covering up the majority of rubble. Some areas, though, have the more decorative stones visible for those who pass by, and I found it quite interesting walking up the hill to see it all.

Leading to the top of the hill.

“This hill, after the second world war, built up from the ruins of the city, stands in memory of the victims and as a warning to the living.”

Kind of chilling, don’t you think?

Beautiful views of Stuttgart.

Heading back down the hill.

Some of the more decorative stones on display.

Hiking up Rubble Hill was definitely worth it. To see the history, have the reminder, and enjoy the beautiful views of the city. It’s just short and “easy” enough that anyone can do it and not feel like they’re going to die, so, add it to your list of places to see if you happen to be in Stuttgart.

That was our main attraction for the weekend, taking it fairly easy, and I’m glad we did it. The hubs isn’t too much into hiking, so it was a refreshingly different way to spend the weekend together. One can only guess what next weekend will bring. Here’s hoping you had a memorable weekend…all those days ago, yourself!

What nobody told me growing up

I’ve seen a lot of people claim they weren’t told about this and they weren’t told about that over the years. How they had no clue they had to brush their teeth every day, or that eating 6,000 calories of junk food and soda daily would lead them to get fat.. (yes, that’s actually been said). And it leaves me scratching my head saying, “huh?” because how does a person not know that, right?!

Some things are meant for common sense, some to be found out on our own, and some just aren’t thought of to share until after someone else asks, “why didn’t you tell me?!” At which point, the poor unsuspecting person says they thought you knew.

But this. I honestly didn’t see coming, didn’t hear anyone talk about it growing up, and certainly didn’t know it was a “thing.”

The older you get the less you’re able to jump.

(random photo of an olympic ski jump in Garmisch, Germany..it fits, promise. 😉

Yes! Its a crazy thought, isn’t it?

Maybe your’e sitting there thinking I’m what’s crazy, but let me break it down and prove how true (and sadly painful) this is! Now, let me first exclude the obvious: adult athletes who jump, because this only applies to us normal folk. The everyday workers, worker-outers, those living life in a normal way.

As a kid, you run, jump, skip, bound. You do it all. Your legs and knees have no problem moving and taking you to greater heights. It’s like they were born to do that! (sarcasm) They don’t think twice about the way they move, they just do it freely and effortlessly.

Fast forward to adult life and what do you do? Sit, walk, ride a bike, maybe, and perhaps even run. But you have this set routine where all your body does is go straight. It stays in this linear pattern and never has the need to jump or move in a different way other than forward, backward, up and down. Am I right?

You’re not jumping anymore like you did when you were a kid. There’s really no need for it. So, when you’re walking the high school track for your exercise and you see those hurdles set up for their track practice, and you have a flashback to the “good ol’ days” you think you can jump over it.

But then you approach that hurdle, and the second you’re meant to bound over it like you did at sixteen, fear takes hold. The prospect of getting your body more than two inches off the ground all of a sudden is terrifying, and you stop just before slamming into the hurdle. You attempt it again and again and finally after the 5th pass-thru make it over in a far less graceful way than your sixteen-year-old self did. And you stand there hunched over reeling over the fact that the landing completely wrecked your body.

This. This is what nobody told me would happen.

I realized this at 30. How I had completely stopped any movement that wasn’t a forward/backward kind. How up to that point it never occurred to me that I did stop. So, on the day I saw those hurdles, it took me by complete surprise that I had to overcome an overwhelming fear to jump over them.

Now at 35, I make the effort to workout doing a lot of fast side-to-side motions, and even get myself to jump. Not crazy hurdles jump but jumping nonetheless; my knees don’t like it and often ache…yes, I’ve become one of those adults that complain about their knee pains. I’m only mildly sorry.

This is a topic “old people” talk about. It’s inevitable. Prepare yourself.

I know I’m not alone in this, because I’ve had discussions with other adults who feel the same. They too didn’t see it coming and they too hesitate to jump. It’s odd and sad, but darn if I’m not going to do everything in my {knees’} power to fight this crazy thing.

Maybe there’s far more things I’m unaware of that my forties will (no doubt) painfully enlighten me to, but I’ll gladly remain blissfully ignorant until that day comes. Unless of course you know things I don’t and you want to divulge them so I won’t have to feel like I’m getting smacked in the face with another shocker.

In that case, divulge away!