Tag Archives: Germany

The manys faces of Mimi

Throughout the course of a day, I usually go through a variety of emotions. Therefore, I also go through a variety of faces.

Here’s a sampling of today’s display.

My "Ugh, sometimes it's annoying just how crazy I am" face.

By 6:20 this morning, I was out the door and ready to meet Rebecca for a run. As could be predicted, since yesterday was a good run, today was pretty bad.

Why does it always seem to go like that?

Fortunately, Rebecca seemed to share my pain. We both opted to cut the run down and do an extended Pilates session.

I felt good for having done something, but still wished it was a little better.

Fortunately, there is nothing like a good breakfast to cheer me up.

My "Banana split for breakfast? Don't mind if I do..." face.

Even though I broke the rule twice this week, it was still a “chocolate for breakfast Friday.” Apparently I was so excited about my creation that I couldn’t keep the camera still…

I topped my banana with three little scoops of plain oatmeal, then covered that with spoonfuls of peanut butter, jelly and Nutella. I used a sprinkling of chocolate muesli to top it all off.

After breakfast, my day took a little downhill dive, by way of school.

My "Classes during the summer is really a bad idea" face.

Fortunately, I only had to make it through three-hours of class this morning until I was free for the weekend.

I went along for the traditional Friday lunch at “La Tosta,” a local Italian restaurant. I ordered the same veggie pizza as last week, but to my delight, this one came with even more veggies.

I guess the plus side of a lot of veggies comes with the downside of a soggy center. I ended up eating all the veggies off and the picking at some of the outside crust. Not the best ever, but enough to fill me up.

Really though, it would have taken quite a bit to upset me by that point, because…

My "I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it" face.

I’m going to Switzerland!

I have my bags packed and a sack-dinner set aside, because tonight Rebecca and I are catching a train to Switzerland. It’s going to be a whirlwind weekend, but when an opportunity like “swinging through Switzerland” comes along, I’m not going to pass it up.

I’ll be away from the Internet for a few days, but be sure to check back tomorrow for the highlights of food in Germany.

Question: What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done on the weekend?


Save beer, drink water

I don’t know whether it was more natural curiosity or greediness (I beg curiosity), but I always wanted to try my parents food and drinks when I was growing up.

Generally they were pretty accommodating, particularly since I was a picky eater and my mom was always looking for new foods to add to my “OK’d” list.

One day, when I was six or seven, my dad was sipping on a cold drink. I didn’t know what it was, but if he liked it, then I wanted to try it

To my surprise, my dad said I couldn’t drink any. He explained that it was a bottle of beer and contained alcohol.

I still struggling to see the problem with this, so my dad offered to let me dip my finger in and have a small taste.

“Eww,” I thought, as my face surely scrunched up. From that moment on, I never had any desire to drink beer.

Fast forward to now. Over the course of the last six weeks, I’ve gone on both wine-tasting and schnapps-tastings field trips. I’ve also been to innumerable “Biergartens.”

Although I would rather spend my days hiking in the Alps or shopping around Munich, I’ve still made an attempt to appreciate the alcohol lessons.

Last night was the final of our guide-led tours, with a visit to “Brauerei Aying.”

Even with a limited interest in beer, I was still interested to learn the process behind making it.

Our guide was a fifth-generation brewer, so it was nice to see someone with as strong of a passion for drink as I have for food.

Near the end of our tour through the factory, we all got to sample some unfiltered beer, fresh off the line.

For the sake of jumping on the bandwagon, I had three-or-so sips.

After that, we wrapped up the tour with a trippy 3D movie and then progressed on to the main event: Beer sampling.

I was feeling pretty content with the three sips I had earlier, so I was pleased to learn that Ayinger also bottles lemonade drinks. Now that is more my style.

While most of the other students “tested out” all the different varieties of beer, I was content to sip on my “Orangen Limonade.”

Plus, my “main event” still waited: Dinner at “Liebhard’s,” the official Biergarten of Aringer.

I’ve heard the logic that beer is simply “liquid bread.” If that’s the case, I’ll gladly bypass it for the real, chewy edible kind of bread.

Since I hear that living solely on pretzels isn’t a socially appropriate thing to do, I opted to get a veggie omelette with a side-salad.

After the two-hour tour of the factory, it was nice to sit down, relax and sip on an Apfelschorle.

All in all, I think I will go back to America with a greater appreciation for the art of beer making. But, I’ll also be glad to get back to my plain ol’ tap water.

Question: What is your drink of choice?

I really like the sugar-free lemonade or tea packets that can be added to bottled water. I’ve found that’s the best way for me to actually stay hydrated.

School-lunch phobia

I wasn’t really a smart little girl when it came to a lot of things.

  • I was convinced my dad could turn me into a mermaid.
  • I believed that I could foil an attempted midnight kidnapping simply by staying still in my bed.
  • I even thought that I would become a real boy if I was stuck playing one during a game of house.

Maybe I was just a little gullible and a little paranoid. But, when it came to school lunches, I was actually pretty smart: I just outright refused to eat them.

While the other kids were getting dishes with plates loaded with mac ‘n’ cheese and mystery meat, I was content with my (crustless) peanut butter sandwich.

There were a few downsides to my “absolute homemade lunch policy,” such as sitting alone at the tables while my friends waited in line for their 12 inch Coney Dogs.

There were also upsides, such as when the entire school district received a bad batch of chicken patty sandwiches. I never appreciated peanut butter more than when my classmates were home with food poisoning.

By sticking to my guns, I made it through twelve years of public education without a school lunch.

Then came Germany. There went my options.

Without my own kitchen and with a little cabinet-raid shyness, it was virtually impossible for me to pack my own lunch.

At the ripe ol’ age of 19, I found myself standing in the lunch line.

What I found, though, was unlike any of the revolting dishes I remembered from childhood.

Instead, the jello cups were replaced with yogurt. The cookies with apples. And the sloppy joes with an amazing salad bar.

An edible school lunch? They do exist!

I’m still glad that I didn’t eat school lunches while growing up. Otherwise I don’t think I could ever hear the words “chicken patty” without feeling a little queasy.

But, I’m also glad that I overcame my fear of school lunch… even if it’s the last time I ever have the occasion to eat them.

Question: Were you a school-luncher or a packer?

No summer school blues

There may be a few crazy people in this world for whom “summer school” can actually be productive.

I am not one of these people.

As soon as the sun starts shining, the temperatures start rising and the water gets warm, schoolwork is the last thing on my mind.

With this knowledge, it was with a bit of hesitation that I signed up for study abroad.

Sure, I’d be spending my summer in Germany. But school is still school, no matter the continent.

Even still, I bit the bullet, packed my pencils and crossed the pond for a summer of school.

Immediately upon arriving, I realized that this wasn’t going to be any ordinary type of school.

Wine tasting with my professors? Check.

Cruises along the Spree in Berlin? Check.

Hiking in the Alps? Soon to be checked.

Field trip to Bonn to watch the World Cup in a bar.

Basically, this is a lot less “school” and a lot more fun. Best of all is that I’ve been learning more German throughout these past two weeks than I ever did in six whole years of structured classes.

Wandering for distraction, traveling for fulfillment.

Two weeks in Germany (almost) down, and I’ve noticed a few differences between America and Germany.

Of course, any amateur Sherlock Holmes would pick up on the contrast in language, landscape and lifestyle.

But me?

I pride myself on (beyond my great modesty) my sharp powers of observation.

Here is just a brief list of my discoveries:

  1. It is ever-so important to make the distinction between mineral water and tap water. The alternative is to learn to appreciate the taste of beer–it is almost always the cheapest beverage option.
  2. Always use the restroom before leaving the house. Public restrooms are either blocked off with a gate, requiring 50 cents to access, or are guarded by an sweet looking old lady, who courtesy also requires you pay 50 cents to.
  3. There will be somethings lost in translation. For example, when I was explaining to my host family that I like to cook, it came out as “I like cake.” We figured it out and had a good laugh. Still, it is always more appreciated to try and speak the other language than to submit to frustration.
  4. Finally, everything costs money. The bathrooms are just the beginning of it. The “complimentary” bread on the table? Don’t touch it, unless you are hungry for an extra charge. Down the non-mineral water before the food arrives? Be willing to dish out another couple Euro for another drink. Have a blog and want to update the world on your on-goings? The two Euro per hour at Dunkin Doughnut’s Internet cafe only goes so far.

The good news, however, is that I am settled into my host family’s house. That means free restrooms, unlimited water and, best of all, wireless Internet.

More updates to come, but here are a few pictures to whet your appetite:

Die Kolner Dom.

Marketplatz in Bonn.

Marketplatz in Bonn.


Die Berlin Holocaust Memorial.

Question: What do you find to be the most difficult part about traveling?

A taste of home

A funny thing happened: After a two hour delay, a nine hour flight and a few quick-rail connections, I had convinced myself that I was pretty far from home.

"I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto..." Yeah, I said it.

I heard a lot of German, saw a lot of unfamiliar buildings and felt a cool European breeze.

First view of Holzkirchen, my home for the next seven weeks.

Then I bit into lunch on my first day, and it was like I was right back home all over again! Corn cakes, in Germany? Not the first thing I think of, but tasty nonetheless.

In fact, every single meal here has been absolutely amazing. I haven’t had many options as far as meal choices, but I have enjoyed everything I’ve been served.

I’m glad to report that there is also much more to Germany than good eats.

Thanks to the dangerous combination of jet lag and adrenaline, I was unable to sleep. Rather than stay restless in my bed, I went out for a 5 a.m. run.

The temperature was perfect, the breeze was cool and the hills were just challenging enough.

After returning to my hotel, I was able to get a little bit of rest before eating the best breakfast ever.

The remaineder of the day offered no rest for the weary, as my group was shuttled through orientation, my corny lunch, a village-wide scavenger hunt and then dinner.

Finally back at the hotel, I crashed onto my bed like a tree in the forest. Wanting to adjust a little to my new timezone, I made myself stay up a bit longer.

Tomorrow I take off for a whirlwind eight day tour of Germany with my group.


*Disclaimer: I apologize for any incoherencies in my writing these next few weeks. Aforementioned sleep deprivation has strange, uncontrollable effects…

Hallo, von Deutschland!

After a two hour delay, a little jog to my international flight and eight hours of my poor rowmate suffering from food poisoning, I made it to Germany!

Throughout my life, I’ve traveled to the majority of states in good ol’ America. But, aside from a few jumps over to Canada, I’ve never been to another country. My travels through the states have kept the light of desire to explore burning fervent; there simply has never been the right time and right place to travel abroad before.

In addition to food and health, one of my other major passions is history (ask me anything about the presidents, I dare you!). With an Austrian heritage, I figured the best way I would be able to experience my own family’s history would be by immersing myself in it.

Enter studying German. I began taking German in eighth grade and continued through my junior year of high school, picking it back up in college.

Even with a good amount of knowledge of what I’m getting myself into, these first few hours have passed by as if in a dream. I feel myself walking the streets, but I hardly comprehend that I’m not looking through the screen of a TV… I’m actually here!

For the next seven weeks, this blog will take a slightly different course. Naturally, I will still attempt to live healthfully while I’m here. In doing so, I know I’ll be met with challenges, but also with new opportunities.

The blog will also feature a lot more details about travel. It’s OK, you can live vicariously through me!

Auf Weidersehen!