Handling Home Sickness

 

95% of the time I am extremely happy, content and full of life. But then there’s that other 5% when I don’t feel my best and since moving abroad, that means I am feeling home sick.

I’ve written about being home sick before but the feeling has been something fierce the last few weeks. I haven’t been back to America since May. That’s almost 7 months since I have stepped foot on American soil. I realize that I am very lucky to be able to travel all around Europe and that I get to spend my birthday in France and my wedding anniversary in Tuscany, but there’s something about being home that can’t be matched.

The home sickness feeling is different now than it was when I went to college. In college, I could easily call my mom and talk to her on my way to class and talk about my day and her day, plans for the weekend, etc. Now, we’re in completely different time zones, 6 hours apart, and it’s not as easy to call while walking around. One, it’s expensive to make direct phone calls (we do FaceTime when I’m on WiFi) and walking around speaking English, usually brings about lots of stares. Text messages happen all throughout the day but it’s not the best substitute for sitting in a coffee shop and chatting.

There’s also something to be said about all the conveniences of America. Like having my own car and having big parking lots at the grocery store. On the days when I’m not working, I don’t have the car (we only have one) but want to run errands, like the grocery store, and have to be super strategic about what I buy because I have to carry it home. And on the days when it’s raining, like today, all I wish is that I had a car so I could drive to Kroger! And, of course, there’s missing Target. I miss Target on a daily basis.

These may seem like trivial things but when buying cheese at the cheese counter requires a 15 minute pep talk to yourself just to make sure you say the right amount is extremely draining. There’s the gearing up to speak German, which is not an easy language, and on top of that, there’s trying to remember grams vs. pounds! Seriously, if I had one wish, it would be that the entire world would be on the same number scales, like temperature, weight, length. Why is America the only country with the metric system?! I digress.

The past few weeks I have felt sad because I’m missing the births of several of my best friends’ babies, I’m missing the building of my parent’s new house, I’m missing the housewarming parties, the baby showers, the spontaneous dinners, the engagement parties. It’s not easy and I feel like a bad friend, daughter and sister.

I’ve tried to pull myself out this funk in several ways because I don’t like being this dreary, sad, depressed person. I like to always turn a negative into a positive. That the glass is half full, not empty. But it’s not necessarily easy. Everyone experiences something negative in life. Life’s tough. And moving abroad has been the single most growing experience of my life. Here are some tips and tricks that I’ve been incorporating into how to handle that home sick feeling.

Get out of the house // It’s so easy to sit at home and watch Real Housewives when I’m missing home and wanting to feel more like myself. And admittedly, I do this quite often. But if I fall too far down the binge watching abyss, I start to go stir crazy. I take Copley for a quick walk, grab a cup of coffee with a friend or run to to drugstore to get a new nail polish. Even if it’s just for 20 minutes, I feel so much better by getting some fresh air.

Hit the gym // I love to work out because I love to feel strong but I also love it because it makes me feel mentally at peace, too. Plus, who doesn’t need as many endorphins as possible? Like Elle Woods said, “Endorphins make you happy. And happy people just don’t kill their husbands.”

Meet a friend // I do miss my friends back home but I am so grateful for my friends I’ve made in Germany. Going through the expat life is so specific and unique that it’s so nice to chat with other people going through the same thing. After a cappuccino or a glass of Processo and gabbing about how strange it is to not understand how the mail system works or where does the aluminum foil go in the recycling. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my feelings.

Shop // Ok, Ok, I know many psychologist will have a problem with this answer, but retail therapy works. I don’t go crazy, sometimes it’s just a nail polish like I said above, sometimes it’s a new mug, sometimes it’s an extra sleeve of Nespresso coffee. And I like to buy online because it’s then two fold. I get the rush of ordering something and then having it arrive!

Open a bottle of wine // Or your cocktail/drink of choice. When I’m feeling extra sad, I like to open a semi-special bottle of wine at the end of the day. I don’t drown my sorrows in the glass but I like to have something to look forward to when the day is rough. Plus, there’s nothing quite like a glass of dry, red wine to heal you.

Plan a trip // When I’m feeling home sick, planning our next vacation is so helpful! It’s the biggest perk and the biggest reason we wanted to move abroad, so looking into our next destination always perks me up!

Feeling home sick is totally normal and something that I go through probably about twice a year and by focusing the positives and having things to look forward to definitely gets me through.

I’d love to know, how do you handle a difficult situation? Have you ever felt home sick? How do you handle it?

How to handle that home sick feeling when you live abroad, tips to get through it

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Gift Guide for Babies

 

This past year, 6 of my friends have had babies. Five friends from home, my three best friends from high school and two from college and then one friend here in Germany. Needless to say, I have been buying my fair share of congratulatory baby gifts and gifts for baby showers.

I love looking and buying gifts for babies, especially because I’m have yet to experience having a baby of my own and because everything is just so darn cute! It’s actually pretty difficult to buy baby gifts if you haven’t had a baby, so I thought I’d share some of the gifts I’ve purchased for my friends and other top ideas if you’re stuck on what to get and want to get something that isn’t on the registry.

*This post contains some affiliate links.*

Baby Gift Guide, Holiday or Baby Shower Gift Ideas

Freshly Picked Moccasins // Everyone I know that has a baby is obsessed with these cute little booties. Freshly Picked moccasins come in so many colors and designs that it’s hard to choose, actually! I’ve heard that these are great for babies and toddlers because they stay on the baby’s feet.

Honest Bundles // For several friends, I’ve given the starter bundle from The Honest Company. They offer a monthly supply of diapers and wipes with the cutest design ever! Who knew baby diapers could be cute? The bundles come in a variety of prices and monthly basis, ranging from one month to a year. I’ve only done the one month bundle, but how awesome would it be to give a gift of one year of diapers?!

Pretzel Rattle // Toys are difficult to buy because they are usually bulky and you never know what the mama-to-be has already received. I usually error on the side of caution and get a small toy like a rattle. I bought a friend a pretzel rattle because it’s cute and it can serve as a reminder of the baby’s aunt & uncle in Germany!! I bought it at a little boutique in Stuttgart but found this one online and think it is just darling.

Bibs // These are an incredibly easy gift and make a great addition to a larger gift and these will get daily use. These on Amazon have great reviews and are dishwasher friendly.

Stuffed Animals //  My sister and I had so many stuffed animals growing up and I still remember many of them! I especially love this blue bunny. <— If you’re a Housewives fan, you might recognize it!

Hooded Towel // I mean is there anything cuter than a post-bath baby wearing an animal hooded towel? The answer, no. I am obsessed with this little lamb towel.

If you’re a mom, what’s the best gift you’ve received? If you’re not, what are your go-to places to shop?

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Nuremberg Christmas Market

 

After our relaxing Saturday spent at home on the couch, we drove about two hours to Nuremberg for the Christmas market or Christkindlmarkt! We wanted to visit Nuremberg’s Christmas Market because it is undoubtedly the most famous in Germany and gets about 2 million visitors per year. Historians also believe that this is the oldest market that started in the 1600’s.

We arrived around 2 PM, checked into our hotel and immediately headed off to the market. It was snowing like crazy and poor Copley was not feeling it. She was wearing a Christmas sweater but she will not wear little booties, even though we’ve tried. So, after about an hour, we headed back to the hotel and dropped her off so she could be warm & snooze.

Nuremberg, Germany

The city is on the water and has beautiful bridges everywhere. I love that in this photo you can see the snowflakes and the Christmas decorations across the way. There’s just something about Christmas that is so peaceful and perfect.

Going to the Nuremberg Christmas Market

Despite the weather, it was quite crowded with people all bundled up and using umbrellas against the snow. But that’s nothing a little warm, mulled wine (or glühwein, as it’s called in German) can’t fix. I’m actually not a huge fan of the drink because why mess up delicious wine, but I can always manage to find some Bailey’s and hot chocolate.

Nuremberg is known for lebkuchen or gingerbread cookies and Nuremberger Wurst, which are three small sausages in one roll. And, oh man, are both absolutely delicious! I have to say that the wurst sandwiches were the best I’ve ever had and would want to go back just to eat those again. And there are stands and stands and stands full of cookies and decorated hearts and just as many serving wurst. It is a sight to see and one that I absolutely love.

The market itself is mostly in the main square and then also on the surrounding streets. If you have small children, Nuremberg would make a fantastic choice because there is a children’s specific Christmas market with rides, stands selling toys and delicious treats!

Cute dog goes to the Nuremberg Christmas Market

One of my favorite parts was going to the top of Church of Our Lady, which you see in the background. The church is Catholic and was built in the 14th Century. I love the Gothic structure, as well.  The top of the church has two small platforms for people and you just have the most magical view of the market.

View of the Nuremberg Christmas Market

I mean, isn’t that view amazing?! Look at all the stands, all the lights, all the snow. In the middle of everything there’s a manager on display to add even more greatness to the market. Germans certainly know how to celebrate Christmas!

Top of the Nuremberg Church at the Christmas Market

Drinking Gluhwein at a Christmas Market is a German Tradition

A fun portion of the market is a small area dedicated to the sister cities of Nuremberg, included Atlanta, Georgia! The cities have stands and sell items specific to them. The Atlanta stand had Swiss Miss hot chocolate, Reese’s, Hershey’s and Coca-Cola ornaments. There were stands from Cordoba, Glasglow and Venice. It was neat to see all those cities in one place with their famous food and goods.

And while you’re enjoying the Nuremberg Christmas Market, you should definitely make your way to the Nuremberg Castle. It’s a 6 minute walk and offers you a spectacular view of the city. The castle itself isn’t too exciting but climbing to the top during the snow is just spectacular.

View of Nuremberg from the Castle

And they even had a Christmas tree up!

Nuremberg Castle at Christmas is beautiful

Snow in Nuremberg

All in all, our time spent in Nuremberg was just wonderful. It definitely made it feel like Christmas with all the snow and the market. It is a beautiful city with a spectacular Christmas Market. We heard a lot of English, actually, and would make a great destination during a tour of Germany and should not be missed around the holidays.

Christmas Markets are a German tradition and Nuremberg offers the most famous and oldest in the country!

 

What It's Like to Visit the Nuremberg Christmas Market

What’s your favorite way to celebrate the holiday season?

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A Relaxing Saturday

 

Happy Monday and Happy December! It’s probably my favorite month of the year because I absolutely love Christmas and I can’t wait to go home and spend time with family and friends.

And this past weekend was the most wonderful start to December. On Friday, we went to sushi with friends and then to Cirque du Solei. The performance was incredible and super impressive! The strength the acrobats have is enviable and just insane. We had a nice time and came home relatively early to watch 30 Rock and snuggle with Copley.

Saturday was an epic example of relaxation. Copley woke up at 7:30 and I took her for a nice walk in the freezing cold. By the time we came back, I was starving and Vinn made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, we finished season 3 of How to Get Away with Murder, I took a nap and then headed to the gym.

Going to the gym was the only productive thing, besides starting this blog post and doing some laundry, I did all day. And I don’t feel guilty about it at all. Sometimes you just need a day to do nothing and not suffer from FOMO, fear of missing out. I really needed a day with nothing on my mind and to just chill.

Napping on the coach with the cutest puppy in the world was exactly what I needed. I loved turning on the Christmas tree and then binge watching Big Bang Theory. <— Did you see that Kaley Cuoco is engaged? So cute!

Saturday Relaxation

I made some homemade Alfredo sauce  for dinner that was quite delicious, if I do say so myself.

I wanted to write this post because I wanted to share a glimpse of real life. I talk a lot about travel, which is awesome, but my life is not just gallivanting around Europe. There are days that are hard and days that are lazy. And laziness is sometimes exactly what you need!

Vinn and I both fell asleep on the couch and headed to bed around 11:30 because we are party animals! Actually, it was a perfect Saturday and one that we needed because we headed to Nuremberg to see a new Christmas market on Sunday. Recap of that coming at ya on Wednesday.

How was your Saturday?

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November 2017 Favs

 

The end of November can only mean one thing: Christmas is right around the corner! Christmas is my favorite holiday by far and I am especially excited this year because we are going to Atlanta to celebrate for the inaugural Christmas in my parents’ new house. It has been a labor of love for them, it took over a year to build, and I just can’t wait to lounge in the screened-in porch and cook in the kitchen.

But before I get too excited, I want to share some of the things that made November fabulous, too, in this month’s favs post.

*This post contains some affiliate links.*

The Morning Breath

(Source)

So I am late to the game with this live, daily Facebook feed / podcast between sisters Claudia & Jackie Oshay where they talk about the top 5 entertainment news stories of the day, reality tv and sometimes have guests. You might know Claudia because she is girlwithnojob on Instagram and is absolutely hilarious. I love the banter these two sisters have, it reminds me of me and my sister actually. I have literally laughed out loud in each episode I’ve listened to.

I listen to the recorded podcast because I don’t like the idea of sitting and watching the Facebook feed. The girls are so quick witted and amazing at coming up with a movie or show reference without the drop of a hat.

Books I’ve Read

I’ve been really into reading lately and I’m officially a convert from watching TV to fall asleep to reading before bed, much to my husband’s chagrin. This past month I’ve read The Sunshine Sisters and Small Hours. Small Hours I will say was predictable and not that great. I was entertained but don’t think I would recommend it. But The Sunshine Sisters, I really liked. This book is about three sisters who have lost touch but come together after their mother reveals an illness. I could definitely tell what was going to happen next but was pleased with everything. I hope it becomes a movie.

I’m currently reading Crazy Rich Asians, which is the first of a triology. I shared the third book on my 7 books to read this summer only to realize that it was the third book when I went to read it! So far I really like it because it’s a story about very wealthy families from Singapore and how they are all intertwined. It’s fascinating to learn about how important image is in this culture and I’m excited to see where the story goes.

The Mentalist

(Source)

I shared my love for this show in last month’s favorites but it is worth sharing again! We actually ended up finishing the series this month and I must say that if you haven’t watched it, stop what you’re doing and start! It’s a little bit like Law & Order: SVU in that it tells stories of crimes and you try desperately to find the right suspect but there’s more of a concrete story line. Season 6 is especially amazing! Each episode builds and builds and builds to the climax of the series and literally kept me on the edge of my seat. The final season wasn’t my favorite but it definitely ties up all the loose ends and makes you feel happy for all the characters you’ve grown to love while watching.

Apple TV

This may seem like a strange thing to mention but I absolutely love our Apple TV. Not only does it allow me to watch my beloved housewives thanks to iTunes but I also love that we can stream our photos as a screensaver. I love seeing our pictures from our travels as a slideshow and even let our Apple TV “sleep” just so I can see them. I also love that we are able to rent movies from iTunes. In fact, we just rented Wonder Woman this weekend and it was fantastic.

I am really looking forward to December and know that my favs next month will be filled with family time, holiday gifts and Christmas markets.

Moving my vitamins to my bedside table

This is super random, but I thought I would share this small tip because I truly believe it has made an impact on my health. I moved my vitamins from the kitchen to my bedside table. When my vitamins were in the kitchen some days I would forget to take them! Now, they are right in front of my face before I go to bed and since I’ve moved them, I haven’t missed a day!

Expat Blog Interview

I was recently featured on ExpatBlog.com for an interview about life in Germany. I’d love for you to check it out! And, if you’re an expat or thinking of being an expat, ExpatBlog.com is an excellent resource!

What are you loving this month?

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