Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pictures Say a THOUSAND words!!! (Finally!)

I've been slacking with my posts on here, I know. It's been a bit crazy this week because I haven't been feeling on my "a-game" this week... The boys are taking turns being sick, including a really bad cold and cough with Nico this week and scarlet fever with Finni last week. Thus, I am surrounded by it, and though I have been lucky and not gotten really sick, I'm feeling a little "blech" this week. Oh well! I'm still trudging onward and having a good time here!

I started my German class this week and AGAIN was not put into the beginners class - haha! Come to find out, there is no beginners class this semester, due to a lack of space at the Haus der Familie. They said to try out the second level class and I wasn't the only one in there as a beginner.. There is one more newbie, and another girl who can say minimal things. SO, we're going to bond together and do our best! I'll skip a level and just PRAY a lot more as I study. I seriously am realizing how hard this language is to learn. I mean, I'm picking up words easily enough through conversations and everything, but sentences...? It's a HARD language to learn, write, and speak! I'll get it in time, but the lady made it very clear that it would be more studying for the beginners to catch-on and keep up. She still teaches in half English and half German, so I'm doing alright... I think. Haha!

Anyway, I have other things to report... but I'm tried. Haha! I will say that "kissing wars" are my favorite part of the day! Haha... This is when the boys attack me with kisses and see who can give me the most in a a few moments... before I'm falling off the couch and laughing too hard. Haha! Also, the funny quotes from the boys just keep coming.

"I'm ten thousand times more proud of Finni than a mother rhinoceros is of protecting her young!" - Nico

"What did you draw? Tell me about it." - Linze
"This is a cannon! This an asteroid. This is a fire! This is a fire monster." -Finni

"You have to warm the hot cocoa to be as hot as the sun!" - Nico
"That would burn my face off though, and I have a cute face..." - Linze
"You do have a cute face... a really cute one actually." - Nico
(He continued to say that I should still probably heat up the cocoa really hot so I'd make funny faces... haha!)

Also, I finally have SOME pictures! Haha... There are more and better ones coming, but I stole some of the shots the grandma has taken on her camera, and they'll do JUST fine! Apparently, I have to prove to some people that I actually moved to Germany, and I'm not bluffin' it. Haha... Thus, here we go!!! FINALLY!

This is Nicolas - or Nico - my little six-year old boyfriend... Haha!
This is Phineas - or Finni/Finn - who just turned four last week! This is me, Koko, and Grandpa Jim doing a puzzle with the boys that Finni got for his birthday!
Nico has been learning to play violin for awhile now, and he's actually getting quite good! He's AMAZING with rhythum for his age, and can catch on the pitches really easily. He's very musically in-tune to his surroundings... He hears a songs once or twice and knows parts of it - soon he'll be able to listen one or twice and know all of it, just like me! Here is Grandpa Jim reading to the boys - Finni looks like such a little stud, all relaxing there. Haha! I really LOVE that Grandpa Jim and Grandma Jennie came to visit - they're still here actually. I am learning SO much from them and we always have good conversation. I truly love them! They're my adopted grandparents - haha! Really - two amazing, good and genuine people.


Song of the Day: I'm really diggin' on this song today... Her album was a bit of a flop, and I was hoping for SO much more because she was FABULOUS on Idol (which I have been watching over in Germany - haha! I'm excited for the Denver footage!). However, this song was used on this seasons Idol episode and it IS a good one... I don't know why they chose the single they did, cause some of the other songs are MUCH better. She sounds like Pink a lot, actually... So, here's Allison Iraheta's song, "Pieces" from her first album! Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Quips and Quotes

So, I have been missing SO many good quotes to write down from the boys and others here… I figured I would just post a little tid-bit of their comments and a little commentary on some of them. The boys say some pretty hilarious things… I am in love with keeping track of it all when I a lucky enough to remember...

“I think you’re just my girlfriend.” – Nico

“Oh… I’ve never had a boyfriend quite like you, Nico.” – Linze

“Do you have a boyfriend? You should get rid of him…” – Nico

Sidenote: All potential suitors, watch out! For now, I'm taken and in the future, you're competing with the cutest six year-old to ever exist - haha!

“You can stay for two Christmas’s!” - Nico

“I feel like I’ve been through a food processor.” – Nico after the end of a VERY long Friday... I felt the same way Bub!

"I love you all the way to Pluto." - Finni

"Bye! I'm going to Austrailia and never coming back!" - Nico - he made the kitchen in Austrailia and made Finni "drive" the train there, which Finni was happy to do with his train whistle... Ten minutes later he said, "Linze, come visit me here... it's only the kitchen really." Thirty minutes later Nico said, "I think it's time to go back to Bonn now."

“Sorry about the last translation.” – Mike (About Sacrament mtg. translations that he and the missionaries were doing for me)

“You weren’t translating the last one though…” – Linze

“I know.” – Mike, followed by a huge smile - haha!

“You’re really easy to live with. You can stay.” - Koko

“For another week…” - Patrick

“I still have to convince Patrick.” - Linze

This is just a little taste of my life in Bonn thus far... I also HAVE to share that the boys were working on a science experiment on Sunday and decided they needed goggles to continue. Well, we don't have science goggles, so they used their swimming ones! Haha... Funny enough, right? Nope. Then, they continued to eat with them on because Nico was convinced that the food would taste much better underwater. About fifteen minutes into the meal, Nico ripped his goggles off and said he needed to come up for air. Haha!

Voltaire said, "A witty quote proves nothing..." Perhaps this is true, but they sure bring a lot of laughter and smiles into my life. Actually, Voltaire... doesn't it prove that someone has wit? Hm - I could teach him a few things... :)

I hope that everyone out there in the states, etc. is doing fabulously! Love you!


Song of the Day: A friend here showed me this new artist... Her name is Marit Larsen and she was orginially in the group M2M as a teen, if anyone else remembers their hit Don't Say You Love Me. They say other songs of hers are even better, but I haven't listened to that many... Haha! I really do love this song though, and the video is fun! So, here is Marit Larsen's, If A Song Could Get Me You. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Letter to my Mother

I thought that I would post the most recent letter to my mother BECAUSE it's informative, somewhat witty, and has some definite potential for this blog's writing level. Haha! Plus, I don't have a lot of time to type new info in here. Haha...

"Hey Mom!

I'm sorry your class was so crazy yesterday... I would say maybe it's something in the air, but there's always stuff in there air there. No excuse. I had a dream that I was back there for the weekend and some of the teachers had changed, and the kids had moved grades... and you were a ROCKSTAR driver. You did all these crazy things with our, truck - the one we don't own. Anyway, just thought I'd let you know I was "dreaming of you!" Haha...

Funny tale to tell: I got to my German class a few minutes late and the teacher was already going on a bit in German... I thought, these guys all seem to know each other and she's probably refreshing some information from a class I missed before I got here. Well, after about ten minutes I was getting a little worried because the girl next to me had a German level 3 book next to her. The teacher then turned to me and started asking me questions... I had no idea what she was saying, so I did my best to answer (got a few right - like my name - haha!) and then finally I said, "Do you know Anya? I'm the new nanny." The light dawned on her and she asked me to come with her (in English) and took me down to the head of the place to switch me to BEGINNING German. Haha! They asked if I thought I could keep up in a higher level and with a resounding "NO!" they laughed and put me in a class that now meets on Wednesdays and Fridays starting NEXT week. I had to laugh - I mean, I must have looked like the biggest idiot.

I'm coming to realize that most people here DO speak a little English, but it's like I said... a LITTLE English. I ask questions and always have to re-word myself and speak like I am talking to a first grader. They just don't get the big words. In fact, Nico and Finni seem to be doing better grasping my vocabulary than anyone else. Haha! Okay, well maybe Mike is up there at the level, but he's from Denmark - I'm not sure he counts. Haha... :)

Anyway, I made a big adventure of finding my way to a little shop up from the boys kindergarten (ALDI), and buying more minutes for my cell phone here. I think that I was out... I'm not really certain, but I think so. It was flashing at me, and won't let texts come through... so, I'm assuming.

I also did all of this with my deductive reasoning of the public transportation system and my feet, as my bike STILL has a flat (yesterday I came out to find it was flat before I picked up the boys from kindergarten) and I could not figure out how to get the tire off the bike to change the inner tube. I'm fairly confident that I could do that part, but not without getting the bike tire off of the bike. I hope that Patrick isn't too upset that I'm going to need some help tonight with that... There is no WAY I am going to be able to do it by myself. Hm...

Well, I am off to tackle another thing: Prepping for dinner tonight. I am the cook again tonight, which I don't mind so much... but it really is hard when I don't know the things that they have. They might be getting an easy dish tonight... I need to get things ahead of time. The things that they don't have... well, I'll have to discuss what can be substitutes. It's going to be an interesting year for this cook. Haha!

Sidenote: I cooked last night and it was merely okay... I even tried cookies, and though they received approval from the family and missionaries (who were over for dinner - obviously), I still think they can be WAY better and taste more like mine... These tasted like a packaged deal - and were made from scratch? Haha! Oh well - next time! I've got plenty of time to try. Anyone who knows about cooking in Europe and has advice, PLEASE POST IDEAS AND SUGGESTIONS. I want to become good at cooking here too - not only for my sake, but for the mouths I feed. Haha!

I love you muchos and miss you, and hope today is an even better day for you. You know, I think I might use this letter as a blog entry (and I did) - haha! *muah*

- Linze Kate

P.S. Turell and Chance both got on last night after I talked to you just to check on me. I have good friends. Turell gave me some talks to read, "Hold on A Little Longer" by Dieter F. Uchtdorf in this month's Ensign and "Acquiring Spiritual Guidance" by Richard G. Scott in the Conference edition. I'm gonna do that for study tonight.

This was his comment: "Linze, let's be honest. This year for you is all about "New!" Now is the time to reinvent yourself and build the new you. These experiences are meant for YOU to learn and to grow and become who Heavenly Father wants you to be!

"Pray as though everything depends upon God. Work as though everything depends upon you." Linze you are an AMAZING person! Everybody loves you! I also like President Holland's advice on things that are bothering me. If it bothers me for 24 hours, then I will try to resolve it, if it's not that important, then it will take care of itself."

Isn't that wonderful? Love it."


Song of the Day: In honor of me missing and loving all of you wonderful people I have chosen the song, "Oh, How I Miss You," by Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band... I simply love it (the whole CD really) and it is jolly enough to get you through ANY tough time! This is just the music - nothing fancy - Enjoy!

P.S. Simon Cowell is leaving American Idol?! I guess last Season WAS my last shot with that - haha! I;m glad I had the chance to do it in case it doesn't last.... Sad day. He was/is my favorite part.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hoo-ray Beethoven, Hoo-ray!

What does the title have to do with anything besides the musical, Charlie Brown? Well, I AM living in Beethoven's birthplace... and we'll get there.

This morning I met Mike off the Hauptbahnhof u-bahn stop to see the city of Bonn. It was not until I was there that I realized I HAD indeed been through a portion of downtown Bonn already, and thought it had been Badgodesberg. Oopla! It was fine though, cause Mike took me by some new places and we were able to talk about his favorite places, etc. It was nice to see even more of the city and being back there was really good for me because I could get myself re-oriented in a way, and be more comfortable for when I venture down there by myself or with those who visit. Which, by the way, I think some more of your should do. I mean, when else are you going to have your own personal European tour guide free of charge, and a place to stay… Give it a few months and I’ll be riding the coat-tails of the language as well. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Haha!

Anyway, after a good 45 minutes-hour of walking around the area and seeing the sight of Bonn (Including Beethoven’s house… I’ll get to that!) we decided to warm up and grab a hot cocoa from the beloved Starbucks – his suggestion! Don’t harp on the American institution of awesomeness… Haha! It gave us a chance to sit and talk for about two and half hours about life, beliefs, likes & dislikes, family, etc. He and I see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, which is always nice. It was good! It’s really nice to have a friend here in Bonn for the time being… as he is heading home at the end of the month. He made the call last night, and unfortunately I (one) don’t know him enough to sway him from his decision, and (two) would never do that if someone feels it’s right to do something. Haha! Thus, I have a few weeks more with my new friend and then will have to force my way into someone else’s social circle. Haha!

After I realized the time, we headed to the metro station and parted ways. I headed to pick up the boys and started another adventure… Haha! I’m loving the “these are adventures” outlook because it keeps me positive. Not that I’m a negative person, but nonetheless… haha!

Anyway, I got both of the boys geared and up by 3:10ish and was quite proud of how quickly I was pulling them today. I must say, biking really, REALLY works those thighs… I’m gonna have awesome legs when I come home… watch out. Haha! So, we met Koko halfway through the park near our house and then headed over the river and through the woods (literally) to Nico’s violin lesson. I must say, I’m glad Koko went with me and didn’t just give me directions… I would have been LOST. We got there, I kept Finni busy with a puzzle and fruit to eat while the lesson was going on, and then we headed back over the river to home… and can I say, I was freezing?! I do NOT know how Koko and Patrick come home on bikes so late. During the day, it’s cold enough, but when the sun goes down it is piercing cold. I have no desire to go outside right now… If I want to be doing physical activity, I’ll head upstairs to their workout machine. You could not get me to set a toe out there at night right now… Haha! MAYBE I’ll go do stuff on the weekend evenings even when it’s cold, but we’ll see if I make friends that fast. Perhaps it will be more like March before I start venturing out in the evenings with people I meet. Perhaps, I won’t venture out much at all… and I’m prepared for that if it’s the case.

Koko suggested joining an acting group, but I’m not sure if I will have the time. I would actually LOVE that because there are troops that do some British and American pieces – in English – and I could meet people that way and ACT! We’ll see if it’s actually plausible as this job continues, but my bet is, NO. I just don’t see how it could be done when schedules are subject to change and I’m in charge of children. We’ll see though… maybe we can get the boys involved once spring rolls around! I think that Nico would LOVE it. I have been playing the Charlie Brown musical soundtrack for them while we play in the afternoon and Nico is already singing half of the words. He adores it, and thinks it is so funny! If I could find a copy of the script, I’d love to see if we could do a mini-version and do some of the scenes. We’ll see!

Sidenote: Mom, if you read this, the boys want to know the story of Peter Rabbit and I can only remember parts of it. Could you bring that book with you when you come to England? For all others, I am meeting my mom in London for two days in February!!! Happy Valentine’s Day to ME! Haha… I get to show her, Derek, and Cami around my second home, and go to Bath/Stonehenge with them = Heaven.

Oh, and relating back to Charlie Brown: The Musical… Nico loves the “Beethoven Day” song, which I find funny as Beethoven was born here in Bonn. There’s a part where Schroder says, “I don’t want to see Beethoven’s birthday commercialized… The next thing you know, they'll be wearing Beethoven sweatshirts!" Nico sings/says this part all the time and I say that obviously Charlie Brown and his friends are NOT from Bonn... where this already takes place on a regular basis. Haha! Nico and Finn have both taken a great liking to the song “Suppertime” too – a personal favorite of mine. They have sung, “Bring on the hamburger! Bring on the bun!,” before each dinner the last three nights. Haha! I love influencing young minds to love good theater and music – bravo, Linze! Haha…

Life here in Bonn, Germany is pretty good. Tomorrow is my mostly off day, and I just plan on hanging with the kids some and helping Koko with laundry a bit… and reading/watching some “Glee” re-runs – haha! It’s going to change with time… I’m sure I’ll find others to play in the cities with, but for now… I’m just gonna chill. If anyone wants to skype a bit, I’ll be around and weekends are the BEST time to catch me – maybe. I don’t know – I think it’s all about getting lucky with the time difference or scheduling a time. Eh!

Sidenote: I WILL post pictures of the boys ASAP, but my camera has to get fixed first. Sorry friends, family, and many/few admirers.


Song of the Day: Carrie Underwood’s song, Quitter. It’s a daily ritual for me to listen to it right now – Enjoy!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Little Victories!

I decided that I needed to take life here in little victories while I was overcoming homesickness. Well, it is working like a gem! Tuesday I took the boys to Kindergarten with Koko and remembered the way perfectly. Then, I picked them up that afternoon and everything went smoothly getting there and back. I had no problem remembering where to go, and the bike functioned fine… I pulled the chariot carriage with the boys inside for the first time, and didn’t knock it once… Yep, it was those little victories that made up the highlights of my day. Haha! They might seem small (and they are), but they made all the difference to my mental health/attitude.

Wednesday, it was the same thing. I realized how grateful I am that I haven’t biffed it on the bike yet – haha! I could have fallen a zillion times on the ice, but I haven’t. Now, you can say that this was pure luck or chance that I have stayed upright, and you’re probably half correct. However, I seriously believe that Heavenly Father knows what to give me in challenges, and knows that getting scrapped up on my bike in the first few days would have shot my moral. It also would have made me deathly afraid to get back on in the ice and snow, and I have to do that a LOT with my job here. You would see the divine hand in place too if you lived here and saw the sidewalks – haha!

Sidenote: The problem with snow here is that it is kind of rare, and thus some issues arise when it happens. People and businesses don’t know that they need to shovel their walks, so they just walk and ride on them, patting the snow down, and helping the ice to form. It’s an issue on back-roads as well.

Going back to the previous thought, I think Heavenly Father also knew to give me some issues to deal with in the beginning. For example, when I got lost on Monday on the U-bahn (that seems like forever ago!) it was really frustrating and emotional for me. However, because that happened I now pay more attention to where I am while riding, and listen more to the directions given to me. I also seem to be better with my deductive reasoning in figuring out for myself how to get to places when given a map and a name. I feel more confident that if that happened again, I could figure it out… and I think I needed that confidence early on. Again, you can call it chance, but I say nein! Haha…

Other victories: I started using Rosetta Stone more, and today I was able to repeat back from memory a list of verbs and words for tenses to a friend here. I rode the metro/u-bahn without getting lost, and found myself around after getting off without getting lost. I also looked really cute today – haha!

Tomorrow I’m heading out to the downtown city of Bonn where my new friend, Mike, is going to show me around. He came over this evening and had dinner here (he’s really close with the family) and we visited for a few hours – It’s nice to have a friend figure here! He is quite possibly returning to Denmark (where he’s from – he served his mission here) in a few weeks, but it’ll be nice while it lasts. Maybe I can talk him into hangin’ in there for a bit, but with finances it might not be possible. Anyway, he seems great and I’m happy to have a friend here for the time being. I’m sure I’ll meet others throughout my time here!


Song of the Day: I found this new artist that I love and adore – Thank you, Turell! Haha… His name is Mads Langer, and he’s from Denmark originally, but now resides in London, I believe. Anyway, he entire CD is fabulous… The way Turell put it was, you don’t have to skip any songs, which I think is true. It’s just a great vibe – chill and yet, original. I really like him! So, here’s Mads Langer’s song, Fact-Fiction. Enjoy!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Beginnings of Bonn!

So, these past three days have been rather eventful! I figure I had better record some of the moments for myself, posterity, and anyone who will listen… Haha!

Saturday we geared up around 10:00am to head out on our bikes for the inner city of Bonn. (Sidenote: If I stayed on the bike trail we were on, going to opposite direction, I would end up in Switzerland. AWESOME!) We got about two feet from home when I slipped on my bike (didn’t fall though) and caught my pants on the metal part of the seat, and ripped my pants. Yep, you read that right… Of course, as the luck continues I didn’t notice that I had ripped them until I got off the bike fifteen minutes later, in downtown Bonn. Basically, anyone could see my inner, upper thigh upon me removing my coat.

It actually wasn’t that big of a deal. I just kept the coat I had on – thank goodness it was a long one - and bought a new pair of jeans for only 19euro at the Galeria – AKA: Mall. I didn’t even change while I was out – haha! Nope, I just kept my coat on until we went for lunch and then set it on my lap while we ate. I put it on quickly upon standing up, and it covered me while I rode home, where I could finally change into basketball shorts. It was funny cause I didn’t even tell the family, and they didn’t even notice. I just told them it would probably be good to get another pair of jeans while in town - done and done. Haha!

Now, let me back up. We rode our bikes into town along the river, and around the hills in Bonn… WOW. It certainly is beautiful here! I mean, I will miss those Utah Mountains, but I have missed the green hills and trees of the East Coast for way too long. Also, I will NOT miss the trapped smog in the Utah valley… I’m glad to be done with that, and can I just say, my voice is so much clearer here! I have not felt as gross in my throat these past few days… It’s kind of incredible the difference three days makes. Three days… I can’t believe I have been here about four days.

Anyway, when we got into town they took me around the area and showed me where different stores were if I needed certain things while I was here. It was great! I thought I would feel more overwhelmed, but it wasn’t bad… There was TONS of stuff written in English (an H&M – aka: Heaven- on multiple streets) and the places we bought things, I was able to say “Spechen sie Englich?” and have them all understand me and be understanding that I was just learning. I felt very comforted in that, but still slightly awkward having to ask if they spoke English. It’s good though, cause it’ll be the motivation I need to learn the language. I started reading a book about translation to and from German today, but that’s a different story….

Sidenote: We shopped at this little mini-mart place in Bonn where the kids were being a bit crazy while the parents were working the photo machine… So, I took them to the animal food section and had them make up stories about the pictures of the animals. Haha! I felt creative…

For lunch, the boys got some crepes from a vendor on the street corner nearby and I will do that eventually – haha! Crepes with bananas and nutella, anyone? Um, yes please! Haha… I think that a crepe vendor would DO very well in the states, perhaps in NYC or DC. Have I finally found my calling in life?! Yea… No. Haha! We then found this cute little Japanese noodle place that they eat at often and I was in love with it. The servings are huge for not that many Euros, and it was VERY tasty – and original… Well, different from the Japanese I’ve had before. We talked politics, beliefs and such a lot and it was great because we’re very much on the same page in most ways. I think I am finding that I am more liberal than I realized – and no I don’t mean cause I’m over here in Germany. This realization began a few months ago and it has become more apparent that it’s the truth in these past few weeks. Eh! Anyway, it’s nice to have intelligent conversation and I really enjoy that Koko and Patrick like to do that a lot. It’s great!

Afterward, we rode home… Now, it’s been a few years since I’ve ridden a bike. Thus, my inner thighs were a BIT burning – haha! However, I felt good after the ride was through and I know I’m gonna be an amazing biker after this year – haha!

When we got home, Koko and Patrick (parents) had to go to the hardware store nearby, but they left me and the kiddos there. We played some legos and such – I built those amazing pictures from my previous entry… Still jealous this is my job? I know. Also, I discovered that Koko has a soft spot for hip-hop and R&B when she put some on that night – awesome. I’ll be JUST fine here. Today she told me her favorite song was by Black Eyed Peas, and I knew we’d be good – haha…

We ate a light dinner together and hung out playing games, and then I headed upstairs to try Skype with my parents. Now, my mom is pretty computer and technology savvy, but it was pretty funny to listen to her on the phone as she tried to install it. She knew what she was doing more than she thought she did, so her reactions were pretty classic. I love mi madre – haha!

We did get it to work, and so we chatted for a bit which was great… I think that Skype is what is going to get me set for being away from home. I mean, I’m pretty good being far away – I’ve done it before. However, being in a different country was hard for me last time at first and it’s a bit the same. I’m doing fine, but it still feels a bit overwhelming right now at times. They are easing me in just fine, but I still have a hard time knowing where I’m at and such.

Anyway, Sunday was good too! Koko took me via train to the church because that’s what the previous nanny, Anya, was more accustom too. I will most likely be the same because as great as biking is, biking in the snow is one thing; Biking in a skirt in another thing. If you put these two things together… not pleasant in my opinion. I figure that I’ll give it a shot in the spring at some point, but for now, I’m going to be taking the train. Haha!

Well, we were a tad bit late because of delays with the fresh snow, but when we got there I was immediately approached about transferring my records and put into Relief Society. RS was interesting because it was all in German… since I don’t speak German at all yet, I decided that I would take personal study time using some of the scriptures written on the board and continuing on in my own place in the Book of Mormon. It worked well, and after the meeting they did introduce me in German and English. One of the younger girls, about my age, came up after and introduced herself and asked me to come to the young single adults (YSA) Sunday school and said, “It’s in English!” I took her up on that offer immediately! Haha… THAT was great! The scriptures were read in German mostly, but the discussion was all in English with a great, small group of YSAs. I really like my Sunday school teacher too – she’s from Michigan, so we connect a bit.

Sacrament meeting wasn’t bad either because they had the missionaries translate into English and Spanish for people. I had to wear a little translator thing, but I was fine with it. It was a bit awkward being called out to the ward, but it works. Haha… The missionaries came and found me after and we chatted for a bit. They asked if a spoke Spanish at all and I said, “a little bit of it,” and they got really excited and said I would have to go tracting with them so they could see the Spanish sisters. There are fifteen Spanish speakers in the ward! What the random?! Haha… I would love that, but I’m not good at Spanish, which I expressed to them… though it fell on deaf ears. I realized that people in Germany take a lot if you give a little – perhaps that’s not tha best way to say it because not in a bad way, but here’s an example.

I was getting ready to leave and one sister came up and spoke broken English to me, asking if I played the piano at all. I said, “Yea, I play a bit… mostly chords, but I started teaching myself last year.” She replied, “Great, we need a pianist for ward choir today!” Haha… I explained that I’m not really able to sight read whole hymns, just chords. She was fine with that, which got me nervous. Then, the pianist said she was ok and could stay, so they turned and said, “Well, we hear you sing, right?” You can guess where this led… The lady grabbed my arm, led me to a chair on the stand and told me I was officially called into ward choir. She was serious too… “You will sing alto. You can do that right? That is what you are doing, so I hope so.” Haha! Thus, I was drafted into ward choir and am now the other alto…

This suits me just fine, cause I can deal with that since I like singing, and it’s right after church. It’ll be a good way for me to learn the language through my favorite language –music! At very least, I’ll go home knowing some songs from the German hymn book. Haha!

After church, we came back for “activity day,” meaning coloring, drawing (avocados, slugs, and bacteria to be exact – haha!), play-dough, and of course, legos. It was just a relaxing afternoon. We had dinner all together and guess what I ate for the first time ever... Turnips! I liked them too! I was eating them, not knowing what they were and when I asked and found they were turnips, was shocked I actually liked them! Haha… I have seriously eaten SO healthy these past days it’s amazing – I do miss my chocolate though. Soon I’ll just have to venture out and find some German goodies to try too… or wait for the Swiss Chocolate. Haha….

After dinner, I skyped with the whole family again and then read my book for a bit before the weekly family counsel for the adults. We went over expectations and such for the year and the weekly schedule, and again I felt really good about it. I feel like I’m on the same page with the parents, so that’s good. I’m sure it won’t always be like that cause we’re different people, but I think it’ll be pretty good. They’re also all about me traveling on time I can make it work, and really encouraging of me going out to see things. Honestly, I probably won’t do much sight-seeing until it warms up a bit. It’s just too cold for me to want to go outside without need right now, but once it’s a bit warmer – in like, March – I’ll love riding around all over town and the surrounding areas to see EVERYTHING!

Sorry, this entry is more travel-log than fun or interesting… It won’t always be like that, as you know from my past entries. There’s just a lot to record in my first few days here… So, sorry posterity… and friend/family reading now – tell my posterity I’m more exciting… please. Haha! I only have one more day to write about today, and this day contains some funny moments … promise.

I went with Koko this morning to take the boys to the doctors and to kindergarten, but the doctor’s appointment was actually for this afternoon… and kindergarten was closed today. So, we ran a bunch of errands around the cities surrounding us including getting my visa going, getting the boys hair-cuts, checking on my candle stuff and camera, fixing Koko’s glasses, going to the shopping market, checking on a bank account for me here, and going back to the doctor’s office for some pretty hefty appointments. They took forever with those two boys… I mean, I know it was an annual check-up, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t take two hours in the states. I was fine with it, but just surprised at how long it took. Does it take that long in the states? Maybe… I was just more aware of the time when I kept dozing off and woke up to Finni coming in and yelling, “Done! Okay, let’s play now!” and hitting my lap while I jolted upright, staring into the eyes of many stern Germany families. Haha!

Oh, story time! I had to run back to the house when we got to the place for the visa, because I forgot my passport – DUH, Linze! It’s kind of a necessity in that situation. Anyway, Koko had me run to the metro and hop on to head home. It should have been an easy task, but there were a few minor problems. One, the door at the house is hard to open sometimes and I could not get the key to work… blast. I literally started praying that I could have some divine help to open the door… Then it opened. It seems like coincidence, but those little things teach me someone’s looking out for me.

Two, in case you were unaware, I can’t read German. So, though I got back to the house alright, I got lost a bit on the way back. I got off a stop too early and went outside, realized I was in the wrong spot, and went back underground to try going backwards. Then, I got off on the right stop, but exited the wrong way and came out differently. Luckily, I noticed that was the case cause I recalled old surroundings, and made my way back to the ratshaus to register myself for a visa. WOW –It was a frustrating and trying experience for me, and a bit overwhelming because of the language… but I did it. That’s what counts- I did it!

When errands were done I came home and played with the boys for two hours before cleaning up for dinner, and then Patrick arrived home to cook Austrian pancakes. SO gut! I helped get Finni ready for bed while Nico practiced violin – he complains about it, but he really does seem to be improving and ends up enjoying the accomplishment. His little violin is so cute too! I don’t know what it is about girls and little things, but we all just think tiny things are tender, I suppose.

I came up after that and spent some internet down-time, wrote this blog, and skyped with my mom. We figured out a time that we can speak most days. At the beginning, especially, I am going to need mama chat time. I’m sure it’ll fade out a bit, but not completely… Face it, we’re close and I love mi madre.

I just realized that I have written in three languages at different times in this entry. I’m tri-lingual! Haha! Okay… not yet. Someday.

Alright kiddos – things in Germany are finally on a role. In all honesty, I did get a tad bit homesick today. It was really, REALLY cold today so I was a bit grouchy with that (though I was proud that I didn't let that show) and a lot of me having accidents finding myself around and such. It was just frustrating for the day... and I was homesick. I think I might turn on a cry movie for a bit - haha! Then, I'll be good! Haha...

This evening was actually really great! I have been reading a lot with the boys and playing with them, and they really are bonding with me. Koko said she was really impressed to see us gel so quickly. I really love the boys... and really like Koko too! We always have GREAT discussions, and she's so interesting. Plus, she's a lto like you which has helped ease the transition... Not as much sass, but still! :) Patrick's great too! He’s funny, but it's very subtle and sarcastic - He's very Austrian. Haha! I really love all of them, I think the hardest part is wanting to be good at my job right away and know everything. It’s not even just the language, but not knowing streets and how to get places. I don't have friends here yet to talk to about it or ask where to go. In London when I got lost, I was with someone or alone by choice. It'll come - I know I am suppose to be here, for many reasons I'm sure, and that I will LOVE it here! It was just a day; a day that went a bit crazy, but got back on track and ended great. I think I’ll have many of those days, and today… I proved that I can tackle them…

Sidenote: I need to blog about my spiritual reeling from my personal study regarding the comparison on the first vision and Moses experience - SO cool!

Favorite Quotes of the Days:

"Can you keep my lego castle company while I build a car?" - Finn

"When it's a salad, air bubbles cna't expand..." - Me (and numerous times repeated by Nico! I meant a "soild...")

“We have no pets, so I pretend I’m my own animal.”- Nico

"The white blood cells are munching on your germs... don't worry. They heal you!" - Nico


Song of the Day: I heard this song in the barber’s where the boys got their hair cut today and fell in love. If you don’t like the beginning, fine, but the chorus is exquisite… I really love the whole thing! Here’s October & April, by The Rasmus. Not a cool video, but eh... Enjoy!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day One: And We're Off!

I saw Bonn today! I also rode my bike in the snow - Yep. I as proud of myself. Haha!

So, remember how I was going to post some pictures today? I am sad to report that I don't have much to fulfill that promise... My camera lens won;'t retract and therefore, the whole camera has shut down for now. Sad day! I believe that we can solve this, but not today... or tomorrow. Come Monday, I will take some time to go where is needed and talk to whoever I can about fixing my poor Cannon Camera.

Sidenote: Apparently, this is a common issue with my camera design - suckage.

I can, however, tell you some things about what we did today! However, I think that I will wait until tomorrow for this. I'll simply leave you with the funniest moment of the day and a FEW cool pictures...

Funniest Moment
- Finn comes walking out of the bathroom, bare behind and all, and I asked, "Finn, where are your pants?" He replies, "Oh, I got tired of them. I decided it was best I took them off." So, I said to him, "Tell you what... You have to put on your underwear and your long johns at least, but you don't have to wear the pants if you don't want." He looked at his bare bum, sigh a huge sigh, and then stated, "Um... ok." Haha!

Perhaps this is not as funny to those who were not present, but it was HILARIOUS to me! He was so content. Keep in mind also, that Finn is three. Yeah - funnier now? That's what I thought.

To finish today - I will write more about the travel around Bonn tomorrow - I will show off my awesome and improving Lego-building skills. Haha! Nico handed me ONE lego and said, "Ok. Now you must build a fancy, sports car." I laughed and told him I didn't know how and he said, "Well, you should just start trying." Well, I DID and after a few attempts (he made me build three of them), I had a decent car and a nice boat! Sidenote: "I'm on a boat!" --> That was for Derek and Cami.

Yes, I just posted three pictures of amateur lego designs... don't pretend you aren't impressed. Praise is fine. I have a feeling I am going to get SO good at Legos while I am here and my own boys will LOVE me someday! Haha...


Song of the Day: This is a recent love of mine and I think everyone should partake of the fun - It's by Karl Wolf (yea, I had never heard of him either), and it's a remake of Toto's, Africa with some hip-hop beat. It raps a bit at the beginning, but then it's just R&B with a reggae feel. The video is rather scandalous, so... I posted the song with a picture of him that someone made on YouTube... Um, he has his shirt off, so avert your eyes if this offends you. Haha - Enjoy!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Landed in the Fatherland!

Well, I did it. I moved to Germany. I kind of can't believe that I went through with it... not cause I was ever doubting the decision. Once I had made up my mind to go, I was set and have felt good about it all ever since. However, I can't believe I made the decision to go. It was a good one... the right one.

It was a bit surreal all day as I landed in Dusseldorf and said, "Sprechen Sie English?" Haha! It was also surreal meeting the family finally, unpacking my bags, and even stepping off the plane...

This is going to be a great experience - I feel so good about it, and Germany is just SO dang beautiful! I love Europe. I really am floored by how GREEN it is - it reminds me of the East Coast a lot, which I am grateful for. I feel like it's a little piece of home for me. Along those lines, the house of the family is set up exactly like mine back home, and it's perfect... very sheik.

There will be pictures and more stories tomorrow, but tonight I am WAY too exhausted to stay up and blog more. I'll leave you with some quotes:

"I'm strong, but I'm not that strong. I mean, I'm six." - Nico

"Mom, you didn't make the best dinner, but you made a really good one." - Nico
"Thanks for the feedback." - Koko

*Phin asking if he could hold my hand after just meeting me... presh!*

And lastly, the boys words to me before bedtime... "It the first day of Linze! Goodnight - sleep tight!"

Oh, and thanks to all who sent your well-wishes today - It means a lot... I'm out.

Tomorrow = Pictures.


Song of the Day: I just really love this song... and I've needed an old-time goodie in here for awhile now. Here's today's song - get ready, cause it's a WAY good one! - Amos Lee's, Colors. This is a version with Norah Jones that I discovered today... um, yes please! Okay, she's only in the background barely, but it's still Mmm Mmm Good.... such a treat for the ears! Enjoy!