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Archive for April, 2011

I’ve been busy all night working on a project for the blog and trying to get ready for the new school term which starts on Monday.

Before going to bed, I wanted to share a few photos from the time we spent in Berlin.

Sebastian and I carpooled from Bonn to Berlin on Friday morning. The traffic was so bad that the driver decided to get off the autobahn and take country roads instead for part of the way.

It was wonderful to drive with the windows down as we passed farms and fields of canola.

P4225872 P4225873 We arrived in Berlin around 6. We sat around talking with Sebastian’s dad and brother for a few hours then went to a party at the house of one of Sebastian’s friends.

Saturday, we spent the day with Pierre. He is one of the most genuinely nice people I know.

P4235878 We walked around all day, had an ice cream and stopped for a beer a the beer garden.

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Later Saturday night, we went to a BBQ with a group of friends. P4235879

This was the first trip that I was able to speak with everyone in German the whole time. I understood almost everything and was able to confidently say what I wanted to say. Although my speaking is certainly not correct, I am finally able to be understood in German. Hip, hip, hooray!

Easter Sunday was a little strange for me this year.

I knew that we were going to the baptism of Sebastian’s baby cousin, but assumed that the service would be a part of the Easter Sunday service.

Sadly, it was only the baptism.

So, although I went to church on Easter Sunday, I didn’t go to an Easter service. First time in 25 years.

Although this made me feel sad, there was plenty of happiness surrounding the baptism that I tried to focus on that.

P4245882 The gorgeous church is right next door to Sebastian’s grandparents’ house.

P4245881 Here’s the proud Papa and his adorable son, Nico.

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Nico was really well tempered throughout the service and didn’t even cry when the holy water was poured on his head.

P4245916 One difference between baptisms that I’ve been to in the US and in Germany is that in Germany the baptismal gown isn’t put on the baby until after the baptism is complete.

After the baptism, the whole day was spent celebrating family.

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Naturally, coffee and cake were included.

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Sunday was a gorgeous, warm day. Perfect for spending time outside.

I spent most of the day with my favorite little girl, Nathalie, Sebastian’s cousin’s daughter.

P4245922 Even though I only see her 1-2 times a year, she remembers me and is always super excited to play with me.

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I feel the same way about her.

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The 6 cousins.

I find it funny that two of Sebastian’s cousins have children older than the youngest cousin.

All guests were expected to be photographed with Nico.

P4245967 Although it didn’t start so well…

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we eventually got a decent photo with the baptismal boy.

For the next few days, my camera barely saw sunlight.

We spent a lot of time just relaxing with friends.

On Wednesday, we took the train back to Bonn and arrived safely at home.

Although I was really missing my family and was constantly thinking about my trip back home last Easter, I still had a wonderful time in Berlin.

Alright, time for bed. Tomorrow is a pre-work work day so wish me concentration, focus, creativity and luck!

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Even though I can see online what vegetables will be delivered each week with my box, I am still so excited to pull back the plastic and see what lovely veggies are waiting inside.

Here are the vegetables that are currently in season in Germany.

P4296000 Arugula- my favorite salad green

P4296001 Fennel bulbs

P4296002a huge head of pak choi

P4296003  Cherry tomatoes

P4296004 Broccoli

P4296006 Beets- I love beets, juiced, cooked, warm or cold

P4296008Carrots

Sebastian and I had plans to make tofu tacos for dinner tonight so the only veg box addition came from the tomatoes.

What sweet, juicy tomatoes they were too!

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Last night we went to dinner at my friend Prachi’s house. Her mother and father are visiting from India and her mom wanted to cook for us.

Yes please!

We were stuffed to the brim, unable to refuse her flavorful snacks, curries, rice and desserts. 

Every time we would clear our plates, another serving was dished up. I felt like royalty. Very pleasantly stuffed royalty.

We stayed late into the night telling stories, hearing about life in India, laughing and enjoying the company of a wonderful family.

It was a great night indeed.

P4285996 As a gift, I made a flower pot for Prachi and her husband, Jigar. I drew the outline of Germany on a white flower pot with a black permanent marker. Where Bonn is, I drew a heart then wrote, “Jigar and Prachi Grow love, grow.”

They are the kind of couple that you see and instantly know their love for one another is insurmountable. They are perfect for each other.

It was lovely to be in the company of their love and her parents’ love with my love. Really, a lovely night.

 

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Two weeks ago, my friend Kim and I got up extra early, found our way to a gas station on an autobahn outside of Cologne, hopped on a bus and drove to the Netherlands.

P4165572 We were on our way to the Keukenhof tulip festival.

After a 5 hour drive, the view from the bus began to change.

P4165573 Fields after fields of brightly colored flowers greeted us around the town of Lisse.

P4165576 You know you’re in the Netherlands when the bike park takes up a quarter of the car park.

P4165589 The Keukenhof is a large, gorgeously maintained garden. Open for only April and May, tourists flock from all ends of the earth to see and smell the fragrant tulips, hyacinth and other spring bulbs.

P4165600 Unfortunately, the swarm of people greatly distracted from the beauty of the grounds. We were led through the tiny footpaths like packed sardines.

That part wasn’t fun.

P4165606 P4165619 It was really difficult to get photos without people’s legs and bottoms in the shot.

P4165636 Whereas Kim tried to avoid photographing anyone but the two of us, I found it so ironic that there were more faces than flowers, I found myself photographing the unbelievable crowds.

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One thing is for sure, the gardens are beautiful.

Spring is my new favorite season.P4165605 P4165620 P4165649 P4165650 P4165651 P4165671 P4165676 The color combinations were so inspiring.

I had planned to pack a lunch for our day trip but the 5:30 wake-up call was early enough- we bought our lunches at the Keukenhof.

P4165610 The most expensive cheese sandwich I have ever eaten.

Later on in the day, we also bought a Dutch sweet.

P4165711 Although these waffles looked delicious, they were too Belgian and we wanted something very Dutch.

P4165713 Our noses found the way to the Dutch caramel waffles.

P4165714 Yummy! Sticky, gooey, hot, sweet waffles!

Although the Keukenhof gardens were beautiful, after a couple of hours we were both feeling a bit irritated by the crowds and needed some space to move.

P4165704 P4165709 We needed to get out of the gardens and into the fields.

P4165729 My friend Kim is a beautiful person, both inside and out. She really has a way to make everyone feel calm, comfortable and beautiful. Even a photo-shy person like me was able to relax while Kim took flower photos.

P4165745 “You need to have photos of you too,” she said. “20 years from now a bunch of photos of flowers won’t matter, but the way you looked as a 25 year old who lived in Germany and travelled to Dutch tulip fields will matter.

P4165625P4165752  P4165756 How right she is.

P4165732 All day, I had my family strongly on my mind.

When I was in 8th grade, my mom and I went to Whidbey Island, Washington to visit my Aunt Bev.

While there, on the same Palm Sunday weekend only 11 years earlier, my mom, aunt and I went to the tulip fields of Skagit Valley.

Seeing the tulip fields in Washington is still one of my favorite memories, and sorry to say it Keukenhof, but the Skagit fields have you beat.

In honor of family ties, here are a few photos from the day that reminded me of my family back home.

P4165660 This one’s for you, Mom, the Jan Bos hyacinth.

P4165726 Ben, if anyone can spin a joke on a long Dutch word, I know you can.

P4165641 Whenever I see bleeding hearts, I think of you, Christopher. Are they still your favorite flower?

P4165767 Here’s a flower-covered airplane float that I knew you would like dad, especially since you didn’t have to sit through a parade to see it.

P4165727 Patrick, you would totally do this. You can’t see from the angle of the photo, but the suited man is also enjoying a beer from atop the street sign.

So, there you have it. Although the Keukenhof tulip festival was a sight to be seen, it was hard to enjoy the sights due to the hordes of people.

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Regardless, I still had a wonderful day with a fantastic friend, and that’s all that really matters.

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After 5 days in Berlin, we made it back to Bonn safely this evening.

This time around, the Berlin trip was full of Bs.

Baptism

BBQs

Beer

Not necessarily in that order.

More on Berlin to come later, for now, I’m off to do a couple more Bs.

Bath

Bed

Enjoy this previously planned post on a delicious bread that came easily be added to any BBQ this grilling season.

Although this may seem too simple to deserve a recipe, this half-homemade garlic bread is too good not to share.

P4095306 Simple, herby garlic bread- what could be better?

P4095258  I used an olive baguette, chives and parsley along with the standard soy butter, salt, garlic and spring onion.

P4095260 Juicy chunks of olives really added to the taste.

P4095265Slice the bread diagonally without going all the way through.

P4095267  See? Still together although cut apart.

P4095270My food processor is on the fritz so I used a hand-held submersion blender to mix together the garlic herb butter.

P4095272  Spread the slices apart and generously smear the butter inside.

P4095273 Lookin’ good.

P4095277 Place the loaf on aluminum foil and wrap it up.

P4095278 This can be cooked in the oven or even on the grill.

P4095300 Such a lovely reward.

Ingredients

1 loaf French or Italian bread

4 Tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 small shallot or 1 spring onion

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup fresh herbs such as parsley, chives or rosemary

salt to taste

Method

  1. Cut the bread diagonally into 1.5 inch slices being careful not to cut all the way through.
  2. Add the butter, shallot, garlic, herbs and salt in a food process and combine until well mixed.
  3. Spread the butter mixture between the bread slices, wrap the loaf in aluminum foil and bake at 500 F for 5-7 minutes.

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Easter Break

Our bags are packed, the cat sitter is organized and we’re off to Berlin today .

I’ve decided not to take my computer with us so don’t be surprised to find things extra quiet around here the next few days.

To everyone back home, have a fun and safe Easter! I love you and miss you!

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Ouch!

Well, I spent the first official day of my Easter holiday in doctors’ offices and waiting rooms.

I’m feeling a bit like the chocolate bunny.

P4175822 Only rather than feeling pain in my ears, I’m feeling pain under my butt.

Last night I went round to my friend Kate’s house for dinner and board games.

P4175828 I brought roasted mushrooms and homemade Italian bread.

What I brought is irrelevant to the story.

Back to the pain in my butt.

Long story short, we played a game that involved coordination.

I have no coordination, and I slipped and fell into the splits.

I fell hard and fast from two feet to none.

Right away, I knew I’d hurt something. I heard a ripping sound and felt the rip just below my left butt cheek.

(I can’t believe I’m writing about my butt cheek.)

I put ice on it and took it easy the rest of the night but when I woke up this morning I could barely walk and was in excruciating pain when I bent over or sat with pressure on the left side.

Right away, I went to the doctor who then immediately referred me to an orthopedic specialist.

The orthopedic specialist thinks I may have ripped my tendon.

The plan for recovery?

10 days rest.

Rest in bed.

Walking and moving as little as possible.

Crap.

P4175824 Well, here’s to hoping I recover more quickly! He said once the pain is away, I still need to rest for 3 days more.

There goes my Easter holiday.

Note to self, know your boundaries and don’t push them.

I promise to post more pictures from the tulip festival soon but need to get back to bed. I’ve sat long enough already.

Wish me well!

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Tulip Teaser

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Today my friend, Kim, and I went on a very special day trip.

P4165589 I’ll give you a few clues today then come back tomorrow to share all the lovely photos.

P4165649 P4165674 P4165691 P4165700Now can you tell where we were?

P4165760This one should be a dead give-away.

After an awesome but exhausting day, it’s time to head to bed. Be back tomorrow!

Hope your weekend is also off to a good start.

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