Happy birthday USA (& Ich liebe Deutschland)

July 06, 2010

Fireworks in Wiesbaden (courtesy of US military base)

Could last week have been any hotter?! With temps in the 30s (90s for you Fahrenheit folks) and sticky humidity, I've been ending my days properly drenched in sweat and with searing headaches. As a former California girl, I'm just not used to this. I'm thanking my lucky stars that this week has brought overcast skies and a light breeze to make things more bearable. 

The highlights last week were some killer shopping deals (found my new favorite store - Peek & Cloppenburg - who knew long-sleeve tees existed that are nearly too long for a sasquatch like me!), a lovely lunch prepared for me at a friend's equally lovely flat, and of course, the big Fourth of July BBQ in Mainz. 

The BBQ spread

It was nice to have a traditional BBQ to celebrate an American holiday - burgers, potato- and macaroni-salads, beans, watermelon... and of course a couple batches of my cupcakes (PB/Banana & Key Lime). I wasn't sure how these would go over since the whole cupcake thing is fairly new to Germany, but everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy them, so I was happy.

Bailey struggles with being close to the cooking meat and the resulting heat stroke

The lovely rooftop terrace where we enjoyed the BBQ

Our new friends and hosts for the day were amazing with their hospitality and everything they had prepared for us - and for putting up with Bailey's drool and shedding problem (I have extended the offer of my personal maid services as a result). They even mixed up Caipirinhas with Cachaça from a recent trip to Brazil!

Our party enjoying a sunset walk

After dinner, and a significant drop in temperature, everyone decided a walk would be the best way to end the evening. We walked along the river and stumbled upon a Biergarten that looked too good to pass up. Once the sky turned an ugly shade of brown though, we decided to head home just as the rain started to fall. 
Ahh...Biergarten ambiance

As the party wound down, it was nice to discover we could see the fireworks of the Wiesbaden U.S. military base from the terrace. It was the perfect reminder of what the holiday is in the states, but enjoying it in the country I love living in now.

All this visiting of other apartments has made me second guess how much I love our place. The things I had once seen as benefits - old detailing, a finished kitchen - now just look shabby when compared with newer apartments, ones with a little more TLC and the opportunity to build your own brand-new kitchen. And don't even get me started about tree-lined streets and balconies!

So I've been dog-earing the kitchen pages of the Ikea catalog in the hopes we can upgrade once our visas are renewed for at least a few years and make it worth the investment (oh, what I wouldn't give for a working dishwasher, an oven that cooks evenly and cabinets that actually match!). While we can't do anything about not having a balcony, I'm focusing on our amazing location - two blocks from a beautiful park and a five-minute walk from the Stadtmitte - and the last few projects I have to finish up to settle in.

A friend who is coming to stay a few days with us on an extended layover from Israel back to the states after nearly a month away, anxious to be gone for so long, recently asked how I could move so far away from home. This concept of home has come up a lot when talking about our decision to relocate overseas and while I do catch myself referring to "back home" on occasion, I have started to consider Germany our home. It helps to have a family with me (albeit one very furry, drooly family member) and very thankfully some new friends, but home really is where you make it.

Why does home have to be one, unchanging location? I love the idea of bouncing around Europe for the rest of our lives - and why not? There's so much more here that appeals to us than the lifestyle we left and the unsustainable "American Dream." I only hope the people we've left behind get the opportunity to see where we live now and understand why we made the choice we did.

Ana - It all starts with you. We can't wait to show you around!

*Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische