Tag Archives: zee German

I Amsterdam and a little Berlin too

4 Jan

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s 2012 and my trip to Europe has come and gone. It was another wonderful trip though, and I’m already looking forward to the next one (fingers crossed for Oktoberfest this year).

We started our vacation in Amsterdam. I was flying there to save money, and we figured we might as well make the most of it. Sebastian had been to the city before, but it had been almost ten years, and we were both excited to explore. If you’ve never been, it really is a charming city with all the lovely canals and diversity among its residents. We spent the first day getting to know the city and the majority of time walking around. Our hotel was located in the Red Light District. The stories are true, and the girls really do stand in the windows – wearing nothing but lingerie. Once you get past that though, I have to say it is one of the nicer and more livelier areas. And home to a Burger Bar, where I had one of the best burgers and the most AMAZING Belgian Fries – freshly cut, cooked twice, fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, delicious.

{charming canals}

After spending the day exploring, we took a candlelight cruise through the canals. We sipped red wine, ate a variety of Dutch cheeses and watched the city float by. It was a very relaxing and romantic evening.

The following day we went to the several museums including the Rembrandt House and the Heineken brewery tour. The Rembrandt House was fantastic. It’s so cool to be in a building more than 500 years old and stand in rooms where Rembrandt lived and created art. The Heineken Experience, as they call it, was also a lot of fun. The tour is very interactive and of course there is drinking involved. We spent a lot of time laughing together (as we did for most of the trip).

{Basti enjoying the Heineken Experience}

We finished the second night by trying Lieve, a Belgian restaurant – after reading a review on another blog (thanks Glocal Girl) – and it didn’t disappoint.  We chose the Living Room style dining with three courses. During the dinner, we tried potato sushi, steak tartare, grilled steak of Boeuf Blonde, deer and wild boar stew, mini chestnut cakes and an apple cinnamon parfait – amazing.

The final day in Amsterdam we spent the morning at the Anne Frank House. I read The Diary of Anne Frank when I was a young girl, and it was incredible to be in the room where she actually wrote. I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like to experience what she did, and I’m thankful the museum was created so we don’t forget those times. After that we went to our favorite breakfast spot in the city, Bagels & Beans, and spent the rest of the day sightseeing. This included a stop at the famous I AMsterdam sign and of course another meal at the Burger Bar. That night we flew to Berlin for the next part of our trip.

{me and the I AMsterdam sign}

We spent four days in Berlin and it absolutely flew by. I had already visited Berlin before, and Sebastian is frequently there for work, so it was nice to relax and not feel pressure to see the city. We stayed at a hotel that offered apartment-style rooms, which means we had a kitchen. Almost every morning we  went to the grocery store, bought food for the day, and came back to our little kitchen to make breakfast together. I can’t express how nice it is to do day-to-day activities with Sebastian. These are rarities for us and it’s nice to enjoy them.

{the Brandenburg Gate – looking stunning as usual}

Of course we didn’t spend all the time relaxing. We ate at some great restaurants, visited with a friend and did some sightseeing, including the Checkpoint Charlie museum, Brandenburg Gate, the Museum Island and the Reichstag building. We returned to the Brandenburg Gate on New Year’s Eve (along with one million other people) and it was crazy. The Germans sure know how to party, and it’s definitely a night I won’t soon forget. New Year’s Day was our last day together and the following morning it was back to the States.

{Happy New Year!}

I already miss Sebastian, but it’s a new year, and I’m excited to see where it will take us. Cheers!

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What every girl wants

15 Nov

If you follow me on Twitter – or here, or Facebook – you know that I love talking about my boyfriend and how wonderful he is. My friends tell me I’m lucky, and I often tease and ask, “Want me to find you a cute, German boy?”

But the truth is, my boyfriend isn’t great because he’s German (or because he’s cute). He’s great because he’s thoughtful, caring, truthful and loves me no matter what. And that’s what every girl wants. We don’t need diamonds or presents (although those things are nice). We just need someone to be there, love us and treat us how we deserve to be treated.

So to all my single sisters out there, don’t get discouraged. Mr. Right is out there, and who knows, maybe he will be a cute, German boy.

P.S. Sebastian is here in three days! Can’t wait!

image via

Germany – part two

4 Aug

After the graduation weekend extravaganza, Sebastian and I woke up very early Monday morning to finish packing and drive to the Frankfurt airport. We were flying to Mallorca (Majorca) and I was beyond excited. This was my first visit to Spain, and although it wasn’t the mainland, I knew it was going to be an amazing trip.

It was nice leaving early because, after arriving, we still had the whole day ahead of us. We picked up our rental car and headed to Sebastian’s godmother’s house located in a little village called S’Arraco. We passed by the capital, Palma, and a few other towns and villages, before arriving at our private getaway. The house was fantastic. We entered through the back and my first views were of the  garden. Words won’t do it justice so check out the pictures below.

house entrance[house entrance]

the terrace[the terrace]

view from our room[view from our room]

Shortly after arriving, it hit me, I needed sleep. I crashed for about four hours and woke up feeling a lot better. Note to self: don’t stay up all night before a day of traveling. After the nap, we decided to head into Andratx (the bigger town nearby) to buy our groceries for the week. By the time we returned, we were starving. My boyfriend happens to be an excellent cook (thank God because I’m certainly not). He whipped up steak and potatoes for a late lunch/early dinner. It was awesome. And then we finally decided to head to the beach in Sant Elm. It’s a ten minute drive through the mountains, but totally worth it.

The views from Sant Elm are breathtaking. People who live there have no idea how lucky they are to wake up each morning and look out onto the Mediterranean. The beach there is small, but never very crowded, and I fell in love with it by the end of our trip.

heading to the beach[heading to the beach]

first view[first view]

I'm in love[I’m in love]

That night we made spaghetti and then went to bed early because we were both exhausted. The following morning, Sebastian made breakfast (seriously my bf rocks) and then we headed back to the beach. It was a wonderfully hot day, and I spent several hours soaking up the sun. Unfortunately, so did Sebastian without any sunscreen. By the time we finished dinner that night, he was in a lot of pain. His skin was so hot that we were putting ice packs all over him. But he eventually cooled off and managed to fall asleep.

I was worried that we wouldn’t go to the beach on Wednesday, because Sebastian couldn’t enjoy the sun, but he didn’t want me to miss out. He sat in one of the outdoor cafés and read the paper, while I swam in the bay and soaked up the sun. We didn’t stay at the beach too long because we were going to Palma for the evening. The capital city is old and beautiful. We walked around and sat outside to do some people watching. And then we went to a little side street restaurant for dinner, where we ate an absurd amount of tapas. Wikipedia it. They’re amazing.

Palma[Palma]

old statue[old statue]

side street[side street]

tapas[tapas]

After another delicious breakfast the following morning, and some more swimming at Sant Elm, our wonderful trip in Mallorca was almost over. We headed back to the house, cleaned up, packed up and left for the airport. We boarded the plane with all the other tan tourists and headed back to Germany.

My last two days with Sebastian went by way too fast. On Friday we relaxed all day and went into Frankfurt that evening to go to the movies.  We ate non-buttered popcorn (in Germany there is sweet popcorn or salted popcorn, but with no butter) and saw the new X-Men movie (which wasn’t half bad). It was a rainy evening, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying a beer outside afterwards and taking in the city atmosphere.

On Saturday, we went to Rüdesheim, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany. We drove to the Niederwalddenkmal monument and walked down Drosselgasse, a narrow cobblestone avenue in the western part of town. To end the day, we went back to the OW for a schnitzel dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. And then it was time to pack and head back to States.

pretty view[view from Niederwalddenkmal]

me and Basti[me and Basti]

goodbye[Auf Wiedersehen Germany]

The trip was amazing, and as usual, it was hard to leave. But Sebastian will visit this fall, and I’m sure I’ll be back before I know it.

Germany – part one

20 Jul

It’s still hard to believe that only five weeks ago, I jumped on a plane and headed to Germany. My trip was over in a flash, and now I’m back to the weekly grind. But the memories are still fresh, and I’ll hold onto them closely until I get to see Sebastian again. So here it is, a look back on my trip to Germany.

On June 9, I headed to the Pittsburgh Airport ready for a long day of travel. My flight to New York was delayed, which wasn’t a big deal because my flight out of JFK didn’t leave until 9 p.m. I arrived at JFK, had a new boarding pass issued, purchased some water (it was crazy hot in that airport) and sat on the cool floor to check my e-mail. The hours passed quickly, but unfortunately, a thunderstorm hit New York right around 8:30 p.m. We boarded the plane anyway and sat on the tarmac for another two hours. Singapore Airlines was amazing though and made sure everyone was comfortable. They came around with blankets, pillows, snacks and anything you wanted to drink. Needless to say, my seven hour flight ended up turning into a nine hour flight. By the time I landed in Frankfurt, I was so happy to be off that plane. I grabbed my carry-on and headed to customs and then on to baggage claim (but not before stopping  to freshen up – nine hours on a plane does nothing for one’s appearance).

The first picture we took together

Minutes seemed like hours waiting for my bags to come, and finally I saw my last one, grabbed it and headed through the doors. I scanned the crowds and found what I was looking for – my boyfriend, waiting for me. We both just smiled, walked toward each other and then he gave me the longest hug. (It’s weird how some of my favorite moments have taken place in airports). We stood there for another ten minutes and then decided we should probably leave the airport. First we exchanged some of my traveler’s checks for Euros and then went to Wiesbaden for some pasta from Vapiano, and a quick stop at the train station to pick up his roommate, Marc. Then we headed for his apartment in Oestrich-Winkel (which I lovingly refer to as the OW) to relax before the big Friday night dinner.

Around 6 p.m., Sebastian’s family (Mr. Blumenthal, Mrs. Blumenthal and his twin brother Thomas) arrived at his apartment. So did Max’s sister Amelie (Max is Sebastian’s other roommate). All of us headed to this lovely little winery to meet up with Marc’s family and Max’s parents. The rest of the night was a blur as the jet lag began to set in. But I had a nice time, and as far as I could tell, so did everyone else. However, after all the wine, and German conversations I couldn’t quite follow, I was definitely ready for bed.

We woke up early on Saturday to head back to Wiesbaden for the graduation weekend extravaganza. The day started with Mass. To be honest, I have no idea what denomination the church was, or if it was technically Mass, because the entire service was in German. I probably would have fallen asleep except Lukas, Sebastian’s good friend, was sitting next to me and kept “translating” the speech. According to him, it was a rant about the United States, which included phrases like “death to America” and “that Satan country” and “may they all burn in hell.” It made me laugh and kept me awake. There were also some nice musical intermissions from the EBS band (a student band named after the university: European Business School), and the songs were in English. My favorite song, however, came at the end of Mass when we all stood and sang “Oh Happy Day,” which the pastor mentioned was from the acclaimed movie “Sister Act.” Don’t get me wrong, they did a really nice job, but I just couldn’t stop myself from laughing.

Sebastian and Thomas after Mass in Wiesbaden

After Mass, we headed to the Kurhaus for the graduation ceremony (you can read about it’s history at the link). Straight from the Kurhaus website it says, “The Wiesbaden Kurhaus, a site of marvellous historical architecture combined with up-to-date conveniences is an experience by itself, a successful synthesis, a harmonious blend of beauty, functionalism, and recreation facilities.” And they aren’t lying – it’s gorgeous inside and out. I was happy to sit and take in the surroundings (especially since my heels were starting to kill me). I sat between Mr. Blumenthal and Thomas and waited for the ceremony to begin. All of a sudden loud music started playing and the graduates began walking in to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme song (and no, I’m not joking). It was dramatic and interesting and defintely different from the usual “Pomp and Circumstance.” However, shortly after the big entrance, my jet lag started kicking in again, and I almost fell asleep a few times. Luckily, Mr. Blumenthal decided to translate parts for me, so I was able to enjoy some of the ceremony. Thomas and I also had a nice time laughing about the music choice while the diplomas were being awarded (it was like carnival music from a merry go-round). And finally, Sebastian walked up on stage to receive his diploma. He looked really happy, and I was proud of him.

The traditional hat toss after graduating

So after 250-some students received their diplomas (which lasted a little longer than it should have), we were finally done and ready to enjoy the day. We headed out into the main room to eat pretzels, drink champagne and force Sebastian to take many photos (which my camera-shy boyfriend was not all too happy about). And then we went outside to the Biergarten (beer garden) to spend the afternoon in the sun.

The happy graduate - one of the nice pictures he took

Enjoying the biergarten

Around 2:30 p.m., I headed to my hair appointment. That evening we were attending the graduation ball, complete with tuxedos, evening gowns and a fancy dinner. I was not going to do my own hair. Sebastian’s friend Sonja was kind enough to make an appointment for me and even translate for the hairstylists how I wanted it done. It was a nice salon, and my hair looked great, but I was a little shocked by the price: 90 Euros! I didn’t understand why it was so expensive, but they simply told me it was because they had curled my hair. I politely cursed them out handed over the cash. It did look really great, so I got over it quickly. It even turned out to be a funny joke as the boys kept reminding me how much my hair was worth.

After my hair was done, we headed to the hotel to finish getting ready and then headed back to the Kurhaus for the graduation ball. It was spectacular. The evening began with more champagne and continued pleasantly from there. The food was great, the never-ending supply of wine was fantastic, the entertainment was entertaining, and I had a wonderful time. It almost made we wish I had gone to their school… almost. After the four-hour dinner, with entertainment intermissions, the real party began. Most of the parents left for the night, and the rest of us headed across the hall for the dance party/drink fest. I met many of Sebastian’s classmates, laughed a lot, drank too much and even danced a little (after Sonja and Amelie dragged me out on the floor). I honestly can’t remember the last time I had so much fun. We finally made our way back to the hotel around 3 a.m. and called it a night.

The three kings of the OW (Basti and his roommates Marc and Max)

Inside the Kurhaus ballroom

My favorite picture from the night

The next morning we awoke with slight headaches, but still in great moods from the previous evening. We checked out of the hotel and headed to the EBS campus for a graduation brunch (like I said – weekend extravaganza). I was a little sleepy, and out of it, but it was a beautiful afternoon outside and the brunch was nice. We stayed for about two hours and finally went back to the apartment to relax a little. But not for too long. Sebastian and I were flying out at 3:30 a.m. for Mallorca, Spain, and we still had to pack for our trip.

We did manage to squeeze in a coffee break with some of his friends and dinner that evening at a little Italian restuarant. There was even some excitement when Max realized he had left his passport in Munich… when he was flying to Morocco with Marc the next day. He sorted it out though and everyone went to bed. Sebastian, the smart one, went to sleep while I decided to stay up. I finished packing and finally crawled into bed shortly before my alarm would go off. I couldn’t sleep though. It was a wonderful weekend, and I was too excited for our vacation in Spain. (More to come in part two!)

Side Note: When you visit another country where you don’t know the language, it is extremely intimidating and even overwhelming at times. I want to say thank you to a few special people who have never treated me like an outsider and have always been so welcoming: Mr and Mrs. Blumenthal, Thomas, Lukas, Kathrin, Max, Marc, Sonja, Amelie, Tobias, Johannes and of course, Sebastian. You guys are the best!

Give Me a Ticket for an Aeroplane

27 Mar

Give me a ticket for an aeroplane
Ain’t got time to take a fast train
Lonely days are gone, I’ma goin’ home
My baby just wrote me a letter

I bought my ticket to Germany! On June 9, I will board a plane headed for Frankfurt to spend nine days with Sebastian. I am beyond excited. If anyone was ever curious, long-distance relationships are unbelievably difficult. Every week is a roller coaster filled with ups and downs.

This week, I was having a rougher time than usual. It’s been more than two months since Sebastian left for Germany, and it’s safe to say I miss my boyfriend.

So, this plane ticket couldn’t have come at a better time. Hitting the confirmation button definitely brought a smile to my face and reminded me that there is light at the end of the tunnel (or end of the plane terminal).

Let the countdown begin! Days until Germany: 74

In front of the Brandenburg Gate

Me and Sebastian at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.


Sleepy vs. Exhausted

10 Mar

You may have noticed in this post that I made several references to Germany.  My current obsession with the Deutschland mainly comes from my boyfriend, Sebastian, a.ka. zee German. Yup, I’m dating someone from Germany – no big deal. Except this relationship is starting to become a big part of my life.

Quick background: I met Sebastian while he was studying abroad at Kent State. We became friends and right before he left (I thought we were crazy) we decided to start a long-distance relationship. I’ve seen him twice (in person) since then. First, when I visited Germany last summer, and in January, when he visited the states. Skype has become a lifesaver for us, but we don’t want to date through the computer forever. Sebastian graduates in June (that’s the next time we’ll see each other), and we’re planning to live on the same continent this year. Hopefully the same country. Maybe the same state.

I could probably write an entire series on all the things that play into dating someone from another country (and maybe in the future I will). But for this post, I want to focus on language. Sebastian speaks near-perfect English, which has been very helpful for communication purposes. We usually have no problem understanding each other (now that I recognize his accent), except when I start using American slang. When I say things like, “I need to pull it together” or “I get a kick out of something,” he tends to give me a quizzical look. This always makes me laugh, and I then have to explain what I really mean.

We also have differences in word choice (and this brings me to my post title). There is a six-hour time difference between Germany and Ohio. When I get home from work it’s already after midnight there. Even though Sebastian is usually a little tired, this is when we’re both free to Skype. Near the end of our conversation, he’ll start nodding off, so I’ll ask, “Are you sleepy?” And he answers, “No, just a little exhausted.” And just with the quizzical look, I always laugh, because to me if you’re exhausted, you’re probably feeling a little sleepy.

But all language differences aside, he’s great. And despite the challenges of a long-distance relationship, I look forward to seeing where this will go.

Sleepy Sebastian

And He's Cute Too! (Sleepy Sebastian)