Posted in Europe, Travel

Hintersee-Germany

“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.”

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Posted in Europe, Travel

Alpine Bliss – Day 2

The first day in the Alps brought some much needed change of scenery. Getting out and hiking to Eis Kapelle helped refocus my mind and offer a little escape, although I knew that it was temporary. Still, the break was welcome and just what I needed. Mom was with me (in my mind), always, but I knew that she couldn’t be in better hands and knowing that provided some relief. The little penthouse (that’s what we called anything if it was bigger than just one room) was fabulous and we stayed until the last minute. With not an extra moment to spare before running the risk of being kicked out, we made our way to pay for our stay. It’s a point of difference in Germany (Europe) compared to the states, and you pay for your hotel after you spent the night, vs. paying in advance). There is no credit card information that exchanges hands prior. Someone shows you the room and if you are happy and you agree, such said person hands you the keys while informing you about breakfast and a few other need to know items. Gas purchase are handled the same way, as you pump first and then go to pay. I can’t even imagine that here in the states, and somehow I picture that people would take advantage of it and bail without paying. Not that I’m saying more dishonest people live here, but somehow I can picture a possible outcome if it was this way. I’m sure it has to happen in Germany too, but I’m not sure as to what extend? I have no clue, but it can’t be too big of a problem because it has always been this way forever and nothing has changed in all the years. 

Today we would explore the “Hintersee” another alpine lake close to the Bodensee. It was only a short drive from the penthouse, but the scenery was breathtaking on this sunny morning. I sighed a few times at the feel of vacation and my heart was full of gratefulness to see this beautiful place covered in the golden hues of fall. It was still early as we strolled around the banks of Hintersee and watched the little boat “Annerl” run between the shores. Taking a few passengers to the other side of the lake, it was passing by a man dressed in waiters, fishing in the shallows of the lake. Perhaps a cook, fishing for today’s catch fresh out of the lake, or a local looking for a tasty lunch. Life seemed tranquil and unaffected by the hectic of today’s hustle and bustle. This was a place to slow down and indulge in the local customs and culture. We wandered over to a little restaurant/cafe and enjoyed a cup of coffee with a delicious little pastry. Yep, you guessed it, I could have sat there for a very, very long time, soaking in the warmth of the sun and life in general. It was all about that and life was good. It always is, but it was even more so in these moments that will forever stay with me. It was time to move on and capture a few moments on film to compliment the memories already living in my head. God knows if I hit my head yet again on another clothing fixtures, there was no telling of what could happen to my memory. I needed the physical proof of the beauty laid out in front of me and those special moments that would pass without ever returning. Before we knew it a couple of hours had passed. We watched people come and go, just passing through, while snapping a few pics and off they were to the next location. It was not as extreme as it is here in the states, but still it felt like we were the only ones that stayed. In all the years I noticed that few people can hang out and be still for hours, let alone spend a whole day in one place. It would get boring for most, although I feel that things are getting worse with the rising demands and expectations of a busy work life. We have to do what we have to do to survive but I believe that balance is key. 

Eventually our stay came to an end, although we didn’t want to go. It would be a few hours to make our way back to Mom and we knew that it would be some time to see this place again. One last glance, one last sigh and we were on our way. A beautiful chapter came to a bittersweet end as we waved our goodbyes to Hintersee. I’m reminded of an old favorite quote that puts things into perspective and that reads like this…..

Don’t be sad that it is over, be happy that it happened. 💙

Posted in Travel

Back to reality 

As I am traveling back, I have been going non stop for 16 hours and there are still many more hours ahead until my head will finally sink into my pillow. Vacation and my time away is coming to an end and reality is setting in with picking up my car from the mechanic, first thing in the morning, (hopefully it is fixed with no added surprises) and then it is back to work and life as usual. Life as usual, has a strange sound this time around and life as usual has no place in my future. I’m certain of this, as I notice a feeling of knowing creep up from deep inside. A familiarity as if it was always meant to be. I’m sure…
Slowly but surely I will catch up, back track to fill in my time and the rest of the trip, read your comments and visit your own blogs. Thank you for all the love over the past weeks, your loyalty, support and understanding. I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to do, and I missed meeting a few special people while I was home. Time never seems long enough. This morning I left a sleepy Frankfurt and a beautiful sunrise. My heart is changed once more and filled with hurt, as it breaks into a thousand tiny little pieces. 

Posted in Inspiration, Travel

Above the clouds


On the way to Charlotte North Carolina and high above the puffy clouds. It was amazing to fly through the cloud formations and definitely my favorite ever. I felt as if I flew through a magical land of puffy cotton candy. No extensive imagination required.

Posted in Travel

Travel Day

It’s travel day and hopefully finally time to kick back. Vacation officially started yesterday, but it hardly felt like the start of it and the day was filled with last minute errands. It’s always the same marathon and it always comes down to the wire, no matter how early I start preparing. I have a new joke about this that originated at work. I made a statement 4 or 5 weeks out that I had to hurry up and pack to my boss. He obviously couldn’t understand the rush having so much time left and he finally just looked at me, shaking his head and said “I don’t understand, what do you do, put two pieces in the suitcase each day?” I will always remember this and smile back whenever it is that packing needs to be done. With all that behind me now, it seems like all I have left is to kick back and enjoy the ride, and I will try my hardest to rest up. It is 4:40AM and it looks like boarding will start in 46 minutes. I managed maybe two hours of sleep at the most and got up just before midnight. The two and a half hour ride to Sacramento was smooth with minimal traffic and it helped that it is the weekend and in the wee hours. 

At the airport, the heavy weight contender (the suitcase) ended up weighing in at 49.5 pounds on a weight limit of 50 pounds. I’m glad that went smooth as well and nothing had to be left behind. I even made it through security without being pulled out of line. I usually do get stopped and perhaps I’m beginning to look more harmless as I get up there in age. Maybe it’s the silver hair and people know better than to mess with the silver foxes. 😉 I’m just kidding but I have had some bad experiences with airports in all these years, so it’s natural for me to have a bit of anxiety. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and might have a little surprise waiting for me at my connecting flight from Charlotte to Frankfurt. I changed my seat to a window seat yesterday and noticed the seat next to mine on that two seat row is available as well. If I could ever be so lucky and have both seats to myself, I wouldn’t complain. Hopefully nobody booked last minute. Fingers crossed and with the lack of sleep I might even manage a good nap on the plane. That would be nice and for sure a first. I know I’m asking a lot but I will arrive in Germany on Monday morning 7:30AM and will have the whole day ahead of me. To combat Jetlag, I will have to manage some sleep somewhere. 

Before I close out here, I wanted to mention that I’m not sure if and how often I can update this blog due to no Wifi while I’m gone. So if you leave a comment or even be a new follower, please be patient and know that your input means a lot. I will get back to you once I return and catch up on posting and responding. 

Xoxoxo 💙🦋

Posted in Photography, Travel

The long haul 

Soon, it will be travel day for the long haul towards the homeland. Germany is around the corner and before I know it, I will find myself sitting in the airport just like I was as I took this picture. I’m governed by mixed emotions for various reasons and wish that like a Jeannie in a bottle, I could wink my eyes and nod my head, while transporting myself in record time to where I need to be. Or for once fall asleep and let time pass while waking up well rested. That sounds pretty awesome too and after all, I do believe that miracles happen around us all the time. So why not this time….anything could happen. We shall see….

Posted in Europe, Travel

In the nick of time

Germany here I come. The ticket is purchased and a rental is reserved. I leave on the 17th of September at the wee hours from Sacramento to Charlotte, and then Charlotte to Frankfurt. I arrive the next day at 7AM and the journey from getting up, driving to the airport over a mountain pass etc. will elapse 22 hours with the whole day in Germany ahead of me. I, hopefully will find some sleep during my journey of getting to Germany, otherwise I will be in serious trouble. Not to mention that it takes another 3 hour drive after getting there just to get to my Mom’s house. It almost seems unreal to have gotten the ticket for only $499. The universe was definitely aligned, sending me a sign that it was time to go and I’m grateful that I didn’t miss the opportunity. In a short five days later after the purchase was made, the tickets jumped all the way back up to $1400 round-trip. It would have been out of the question to go, had I not already made the purchase. I have almost 2 months until I leave, and the other day, on my way to work I thought that I need to start packing soon. I’ve never been one to pack lightly and it becomes a stressful thing as I can’t decide what to leave behind. I pack too much and I will try hard to turn over a new leaf this time. Mainly because of the RA and simply not wanting to put that much stress on my joints. And perhaps a little doubt being able to tackle it.

The other day, I received a little surprise package from my cousin in Germany for my birthday. In the package I found two books from Adam Fletcher a person from England, who took a job in Germany and lived there for several years. The books are split into sections of half English and half German and are called how to be German and how to become German. It’s a funny take on the very unusual corky customs we have in Germany and it will be a lot of fun to re-introduce myself with some of those that I might have forgotten in all the years living here. I’m thinking of sharing some of those customs with you and if someone could appreciate a good laugh at our quirky customs, it would be my friend linda at mainepaperpusher.wordpress.com.

In the package I found a tiny little red envelope from my little niece Emily. She sent me a little starting fund for when I move back to Germany. She must have thought that I could use some money starting out in a new country and in all honesty, who wouldn’t. What a smart little sweetheart. Opening the little red envelope, I found a tiny hand written note from her and one Euro of which I’m sure she must have taken from her allowance as her personal birthday gift to me. How sweet and I hope that many years from now I can show her the little note and the Euro she sent to me of which I will never be able to spend.

Emily (on the left) with her sister Leni. 💙 I will see you soon girls. 

Posted in Inspiration, Travel

Mama, I’m coming home 

My Mom’s birthday was on the 19th of July and with a nine hour time difference to Germany it’s not always easy to plan a call. I stayed up the night of the 18th into the 19th and it was already passed midnight as I attempted my first call to reach her. Call after call, all I received was a busy signal and for a moment I contemplated if she might had taken the phone of the hook so she could sleep in. Mom sleeps later these days and like me tinkers around late at night. Close to 1 AM, I was ready to give up but told myself to try one more time. I’m glad I did, because low and behold there was actually a ring tone this time and the line wasn’t busy. Shortly afterwards she answered and right away I felt that she was in good spirits. She was bubbly, laughed and didn’t stop talking. I listened as she seemingly had much to say and informed me proudly that she arranged a get together with some of her cousins and her sister at Colmberg Castle. It’s an old fortress near my home that is privately owned and has been turned into a hotel and guesthouse (restaurant). I spent a night there last year and it is a regular place of interest when I’m home. She was beyond excited of going and my heart was truly happy for her. I wanted something memorable for her special day and she managed to arrange it all on her own. She wouldn’t be sitting in the house all alone today and I was relieved and happy for her. My mind and my heart was at peace, knowing that she was taken care of. But there was also a lesson, and the awareness that my feelings are always in turmoil when it comes to the issue of my mom and the things that remain unresolved about the future.

A few weeks ago my girlfriend in Germany suggested to me to come home and assess the situation. My mom shouldn’t be alone anymore and a transition for me to Germany is time consuming and very complicated. It’s tough to work full time while trying to dissolve the majority of my adult life, including a household. Talking to Angie, I decided then and there that it was wise to follow her advice and try to come home. I cleared all the details for time off, timeframes and responsibilities for taking a partial unpaid leave and all that was left was to cross my fingers tight to find a somewhat reasonable flight with good connections, minimum time left wasted and one that would be financially affordable. A lot of boxes to be checked off and perhaps another challenge.

Mom continued to chatter away as I was trying to tell her that she would have to wait for her birthday present a little longer this year, and that I was going to hand deliver it. She never let me finish in her excitement and after the third attempt, I finally I told her that she had to listen up while I slightly raised my voice. She still talked while I, now for the fourth time, try to tell her that I’m coming home to visit. Somewhere along the line she must have heard something, and all of a sudden even though granted for only a brief second there was silence. Silence that was followed with the word “When?”. I laughed and so did she once I made mention that she finally, finally must have heard me. Geez what’s a girl to do, to finally be heard haha. Since I didn’t have the ticket yet or the exact date, she continued talking, business as usual, no word about my upcoming visit. Maybe I ran her over in surprise, maybe it’s just a typical response and feelings are mostly hidden and seldom shared from my mom’s side. It will take a few days of adjusting again once I’m home to cox her out, as everything about me is always about feelings and not holding anything back.

A short while later mom told me that she had to go get ready as the nurse would show up soon to tend to her feet. Mom receives daily care through house visits, plus she had a date with a castle in the afternoon. For today this was her priority and I was more than ok with it. We wished each other a happy birthday and I will talk to her next week when my own medical procedure will keep me housebound and away from the trail.

Throughout the day, thoughts from our conversation found their way back into my mind and I could feel a smile dancing across my face. It would be a great birthday celebration for both of us and for that time, however long it might have lastet, a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I celebrated this special woman that gave birth to me and had such a tough life. Even across the miles and being far, far away, I felt closer to her then I have for many years and all I wanted was to be there and share that beautiful day with her. Any day and perhaps every day. Soon, hopefully I will. Later that day, a $499 round trip ticket found it’s way into my life, or I should say into the life of my best friend and the best planner and researcher there is. Unheard of and I don’t even remember ever flying that cheap. Perhaps once, 20 some years ago, and to top it off, it’s a great flight. Sacramento to Charlotte, Charlotte to Frankfurt Germany without long layovers and extra baggage fees. $499 all inclusive and almost too good to be true. The universe definitely aligned itself to make this possible and all there is left to say now, is….
Happy birthday…Mama, I’m coming home 💙

 

 

This song has accompanied me on every trip to Germany. It remains tradition, but I am happy that the meaning of the lyrics have somewhat changed for me and while some things still ring true, my relationship with my Mom is closer than it has ever been.