34 steps to a new home…

Literally, 34 steps downstairs from our old flat to our new one! When the bigger flat downstairs became available, we decided to pack up and take advantage of the quick and easy move that would give us more space, a balcony, and a fresh start. Norman had lived in his flat for a few years and while I loved being there with him and seeing where he sat during our many hours of skype dates or where he slept while I had been dreaming about him from the other side of the world, we decided that as newlyweds, we would make a new home for ourselves. I moved to Germany with very little (ok, 4 suitcases full of clothes, but nothing else) we didn’t necessarily NEED more space now that there were two of us (as I have said before, we practically share the same sofa cushion) but in the end we figured this was a good choice to make.

Our new flat has a reversed layout, so our bedroom is actually facing the Basilica (a pretty awesome view to wake up to) and our living room and balcony are on the back of the building away from the street (much more quiet). Our back windows are nice and big and face West, so we get a lot of evening sun while making dinner. Quick sidenote…. because we are living so much further North it stays light until 10:30 pm during Summers. I am a big fan!

We are not quite unpacked and settled, but I thought I would share some before pictures of the new flat, some after pictures of the old and empty flat upstairs, and a few in the process pictures. We are having so much fun unpacking together, reorganizing, decorating, and making this new flat a home together. Ooh, and we get to use all the Ikea gift cards we got as presents from our German Wedding, I cant wait for our big shopping trip on Friday!

Old flats living room on moving day

Old flats empty living room

Old flats empty living room, office, kitchen space

Old flats empty bedroom

Painting bedroom walls cream

Painting the bedroom wall blue

Painting the living room

New flats living room and balcony

New flats Kitchen and eating area

New flats bedroom full of boxes

New flats living room full of boxes

New Kitchen

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Posted in A-HOME LIFE, E- WEDDING PLANS | 1 Comment

Prince

My boss gave me two tickets to see Prince live in Luxembourg! He was fantastic and played a whole medly of his top songs! I sang along and loved every minute of it 🙂

The beginning of his show

"Purple rain, purple rain..."

Are we gonna let the elevator bring us down? Oh no, let's go!"

"She wore a Raspberry beret The kind u find in a second hand store..."

"Tonight we're donna party like its 1999!"

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America Week in Germany

Every few months, the local supermarkets celebrate “America Week” and put out a random assortment of foods, supposedly consumed in the USA. The packaging is covered in stars and stripes and the selection is both familiar and surprising. For example, I have never drank blueberry juice nor have I had blueberry cookies, but Germany seems to think we really enjoy this patriotic berry. However, I do love when I can easily find peanut butter, which the rest of the world really does associate as “typical American”… kind of like Vegemite in Australia… it’s what we are known for. Who knew that all children around the world weren’t raised on PB&J?!?!?

Sadly, I missed out another 4th of July, but thanks to Aldi and Lidl, I couldn’t go far without being bombarded with the American flag as a reminder of what a beautiful place I still get to call home. Happy America week everyone!

Hot dog sauce=Ketchup, Sandwich sauce=?, and Barbecue Ketchup=BBQ Sauce

Americans eat a lot of apples, I guess?!?!

Specifially for Barbecues 🙂 I have also seen "toasting marshmellows" sold. Well Norman did have his first ´smore this year, so I guess we might be the only ones doing this

Apple Pie - Yes, I guess that's pretty American... "American Pie" right?!?!

Ketchup and Mayo in one, they come out stripey just like our flag!

I thought popcorn was universal... the extra big super size is pretty American though

I do love pickels!!!!!

Never had it, but I bet it's yummy

Puffed french fries... ketchup flavor = interesting

Posted in B- CULTURE | 1 Comment

Altstadt Festival

Every Summer during the last week of June, the city of Trier is transformed. Food and drink stalls line the pedestrian streets in the main downtown area, multiple stages are constructed, and hundreds of people make their way into the city to take part in the weekend celebrations. The Altstadt (old city) festival was something that I was looking forward to experiencing and it turned out to be a very fun-filled weekend!

 

We joined a group of good friends on Friday evening for drinks as we slowly made our way through the city. We started in the Viehmarkt (the square with the Roman bath in the large glass building for the few of you Coloradoans that have been in Trier – my family, Becky, Whisper, and Mary). There was  a bungy jump, a dj on stage, and lots of tables to stand around while drinking local specialties. Unfortunately, I had to work all day Saturday, so we went home around midnight and attempted to sleep. I love living in the middle of the city, however the bands played at the numerous stages around our flat for many hours past my bedtime… I hope I wasn’t a grouchy dance teacher the next day!

 

After eight long hours of working with children under the age of 9, I came home for a long nap while Norman set up for the Funky LA party. Together, we set out into the city around 11:30, listened to a few bands, zig zagged our way through the crowd, and ended up at Funky LA before the doors opened. Andy B. Jones (the dj who puts on the Funky LA parties) converts a restaurant that is basically located in a dungeon into an awesome club every few months. We stayed at the party for a few hours, then went out in search of dinner (at 2:00 am).

 

 

 

 

The city festival lasts for 3 nights (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) but the days are much more relaxed. I enjoyed the gorgeous sun we had and walked around the city taking pictures for a few hours. Norman and I retreated to Sky Lounge to soak our feet in the pool and escape the crowds on the street below. We went back to the Viehmarkt to watch the performance of Guildo Horn. He looks absolutely rediculous, sings a lot of cover songs as well as his own music, and has become very popular all over Germany.

 

 

 

 

We tried all kids of yummy food during the weekend. Norman would barely finish one dish, before the next food stall caught his attention! Funny guy!

Bratwurst Stall

Plum filled dumping with sweet cream sauce and berry jam

Cheese filled brat wrapped in bacon - ALWAYS served with these small buns! It makes me laugh 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, it was an awesome weekend! I loved seeing the city transform and being smack dab in the middle of one of the busiest weekends of the year!

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Polterabend Celebration

After being engaged (ok, I will be honest… many months before I was engaged) I began researching German wedding traditions. One event that I came across seemed so fun and unlike anything we do in the states.

“Polterabend” comes from German verb poltern (to make a racket) + noun Abend (evening). Historically, “Shards bring luck” (German: Scherben bringen Glück). The expression is derived from a time when the word “shard” referred to the unbroken clay pots of pottery makers, and not just the broken pieces. It was said that a full jar was a lucky thing to have, therefore the expression “shards bring luck”.

The night before a couple is married they have a large celebration party and guests bring porcelain dishes – porcelain is meant to bring luck to the couple. During the course of the evening the dishes are  THROWN onto the ground, which results in a lot of noise and a very big mess. Flowerpots, ceramics tiles, sinks and toilet bowls are also “happily-thrown” items. Glass is forbidden as glass stands for happiness that should not be broken and especially not mirrors (as a broken mirror will bring seven years of bad luck). The couple must clean up the pile of shards (similar to the sweeping up of rose petals that Norman and I did after our ceremony).  This is supposed to remind the couple  that they will have to work together throughout their marriage.

We were invited to the Polterabend of Chris and Miriam (two of Norman’s friends) and it was pretty close to being exactly what I had pictured this crazy tradition would look like. There were large tents set up around the outside of the house, a band was playing, bratwurst were being grilled, and beer and wine were in abundance. The couple had on  funny matching shirts that were paired with extra big smiles on their faces. The party was held at Chris’s parents house in a village that is practically connected to the city of Trier, but has a small town feel. Basically the entire village was there, along with a ton of family and friends. We left around 12:30am (it was a Wednesday night btw), but Norman said the party would go until the sun came up. The neighbors wouldn’t be bothered, because well, they were the ones partying and making all the noise. It was fun and crazy celebration.

I wonder if there is a way we can somehow tie this tradition into our wedding celebrations? Usually it would be done before the first civil ceremony, but hey, we are combining both cultures into something that works for us so maybe this can be squeezed in as well. I will keep everyone informed if we decide to request porcelian as part of your packing list for Mexico!

 

*Thank you wikipedia for your quick and easy explanation of a Polterabend… what did we do before the internet?!?!?

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Our German Wedding- 06.09.2011

Two hearts, two traditions, two weddings… One life together

Combining our two cultures, we were legally married in Germany on June 9th, 2011 and are having an additional celebration ceremony on October 15th, 2011 in the Mayan Riviera, Mexico. I had the most amazing day at our first wedding and feel like the luckiest girl in the world because I get to do it all over again in a few months 🙂

Two weddings are very common in Germany, as they separate church and state. Every couple must marry in the Standesamt – town hall. If the couple decides to have an additional celebration ceremony then their legal ceremony is small and intimate, but many modern day couples do not celebrate in a church, therefore their legal ceremony is much bigger. We got a little of both…

Norman and I said “see you later” around 9:00 in the morning as I left to get my hair done. My mom and Ethan sat with me as my hairdresser spent 90 minutes creating my hair style that somewhat resembled the picture I brought in. We used my translator app (very helpful!) to better understand one another and I was very happy with the final result. The boys spent the day getting ready at Tolga’s flat and by getting ready I mean spending hours in the garden drinking beers and then minutes actually getting dressed, haha. I was very relaxed as my mom, Lisa, and I drank champagne and snacked, while I slowly got ready. I hadn’t tried on my ‘June dress’ as I call it in a few months and became a bit nervous when we realized how open the top seemed to be, ie you could see straight down my chest! Our quick solution, maybe not the best solution, was to super glue the dress to my skin! It worked for few hours, but I ran back to the flat and added a lace tube bra before our pictures and dinner.  Norman’s family came here for last minute touch ups and I helped with the girlies hair. When it was finally time,  we all set out towards the town hall. Walking through the city was surreal and it was finally starting to hit me… I was getting married! People starred and took pictures, as I desperately tried not to trip while walking in heels down the cobblestone streets… not fun. I was very anxious to see Norman, knowing that all my nervous jitters would disappear once I was in his arms.

The boys met the rest of us in the courtyard and seeing Norman on our wedding day brought tears to my eyes. Seeing my dad and brothers helped in those tears making their way down my cheeks. There was a lot of hugging, a lot of smiles, and a lot of kissing! I was surprised by how relaxed I felt, but I guess when every part of your body knows that a situation is right, there is no reason to feel anything other than joy. But I also think a big reason for my calm feelings were that I was with Norman before the ceremony, I can’t imagine the “american tradition” of waiting and walking down the aisle towards him. Now that would make me nervous… I guess I will see what that feels like in October. Even though we will have been married for a few months, I still know that the second half of our wedding celebrations are going to be exciting and they will still feel ‘real.’ We waited a few minutes before walking up the stairs and through the doorway, which we would soon walk out of as husband and wife.

Our parents –Cyndi, Richard, Ramona, and Klaus, our siblings – Kai, Ethan, Nadine, Kathrina, and Calvin, our witnesses – Tolga and Lisa, Norman’s very good friend – Marko, and our friend and photographer – Frank joined us in celebrating our first wedding ceremony. We sat at a table facing Herr Görgen and Herr Kann – the translator sat beside me. The two men took turns speaking – one paragraph in German, then translated into English. Mr. Kann made us laugh with his personal connection to my home when stating “Chelsea… born… in THE MILE HIGH, Colorado USA” Good man!

We were given our ‘Stammbuch der Familie’, which is a ‘family book’ given to every couple on their wedding day and is used as a legal keeping of important documents relating to the new family. I signed our marriage certificate with my new name – a bit awkward, as I realized I hadn’t practiced it yet. Since then I have spent time playing with my new name and trying to decide what my new signature could look like though… a very fun game! Norman kissed the bride, we were introduced as Ehemann und Ehefrau Treinen – husband and wife, and we turned to see smiles on our family’s faces and tears in their eyes. It was a wonderful and intimate celebration of the love Norman and I have for each other.

Lisa brought rose petals from her garden that everyone threw into the air while cheering as we walked back into the courtyard together. We celebrated with champagne and took part in another German tradition, which I thought was very fun and a bit silly. The new couple must show how they will work together on their marriage… together we swept up all the rose petals. An alternative option would be sawing a tree trunk in half using a two-man saw… THANK YOU Lisa for bringing flowers and not lumber.

We had originally planned to visit a wine garden after the ceremony, but were having such a wonderful time that we ended up staying and spending a few hours in the courtyard. Frank Martini did an amazing job of capturing the whole day and everyone that celebrated with us, but he also did a fantastic job working on our posed pictures, which were taken in the Palace Gardens across the street from our flat. Ethan and Kai helped with the process and were named our “prop boys” holding my bouquet, shawl, and Frank’s equipment. The results are gorgeous and will be cherished forever!

The celebrating continued at the Romikulum Restaurant where we were joined by more of Norman’s close friends. The food was delicious, the atmosphere was romantic and classy, and the laughter that filled the room made us very happy. Norman’s family and friends are so amazing and I feel really blessed to have such wonderful people around me out here. Of course I miss everyone at home (a lot), but I couldn’t be happier with the group of people surrounding us on this side of the world.

The day was perfect and everything I could have hoped for. I really think our solution of two weddings is perfect because after all is said and done; nearly everyone that we love will have celebrated with us in at least one location. I thought of my family and friends that were not physically with us on this day but who support and care about the two of us no matter how far away we may be. I love having Norman as my husband and I feel so lucky to have found such a wonderful man, even if it meant traveling halfway around the world to find him! I still can’t believe that I married the ‘cute guy from the restaurant in Cambodia’… wow LIFE REALLY IS AN ADVENTURE!

Click here to see more of our wedding pictures on facebook… https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.750168878812.2254031.42104254&l=c409088522

Posted in A-HOME LIFE, E- WEDDING PLANS | 3 Comments

Family Visit

It had already been decided many months ago that my family would come to visit us in Germany during the summer. We hoped it would make my move easier if my family could picture where I was, walk the streets we walk, and get to know the people we care about. I knew my parents would love it here and it was great for them to see Norman in his home country. After Norman’s proposal in Mexico, we knew that the timing was perfect and we would also celebrate our first wedding in Germany while my family was here. We had two amazing weeks together and of course, a day that I will remember forever!

My mom, dad, and Ethan arrived on June 2nd and we spent the week showing them around the area where Norman grew up. We visited many Roman ruins and a number of beautiful castles in nearby villages. They stayed the first 5 nights with Norman’s family in an attached flat at their home in Riol. Of course we hoped our families would get along, but I think everyone was happy to see how easy it was. Within no time, it felt as though our families had always been connected and everyone was laughing and enjoying one another. Our siblings got along great and Ethan even had the chance to go to school with the Kathrina and Nadine one day. We learned that while the English language doesn’t have a name for it, the Germans call the relationship between my siblings and Norman’s siblings “Schwippschwager”… it became the kids new favorite word!

We spent nearly every evening together enjoying dinner or just talking at his parents house in Riol. I am so grateful for Norman’s family, they do so well with speaking English and learn more and more everyday! If it wasn’t for them, the connection between the two families would have been much more difficult!

Kai arrived on Wednesday evening and because his luggage was still in Paris, we quickly ran out and bought him an outfit to wear for the wedding on Thursday. Our wedding was perfect and it was everything I hoped our first ceremony would be!!!! (More to come on our special day soon!)

We had one final day in Trier to rest up and recover from the wedding celebrations before catching a flight to Barcelona for a family filled Honeymoon! haha. I had been to Barcelona two summers ago during my World Tour with Jayme, so it was cool to be back in a city that was somewhat familiar. We visited the Park Güell, La Rambla, La Sagrada Familia, Montjuic Castle, the Magic Fountains, and relaxed on the beach in Barceloneta. My parents rented an apartment with amazing views of the ocean and it was a great way to end our Europe trip together.

It was hard saying goodbye and knowing that I won’t see them for four months, but I know it will go quickly. Thank god for skype and emails! Norman and I are so in love and it made our hearts even happier to see how much our families love each other. I know that we are creating a life for ourselves that will be filled with years of laughter and happiness that will spread between our two countries.

Posted in D- TRAVELING EUROPE AND BEYOND | 2 Comments