Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Now, my question for you is... would it be socially unacceptable if we took a box with us to Church to keep her busy - or even better, on the airplane when we fly back to SLC in August? ... No, I didn't think it would be either.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Our day started at a salt mine. We put on miner clothing and took a train into the mine. The best part of the tour was riding down slides in the mine to get to a new level. Andrew held Eliza close as we zoomed down 40 meters.All aboard! Eliza enjoys the beautiful scenery from her view on the boat.
Beautiful. Wunderbar. Genau.
Yes, we had a great time!
Friday, May 25, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I know you probably want to hear more about Andrew and what he's doing at BMW. I will make a concerted effort to get him on here to blog about it. In the meantime - thanks for listening or I guess reading my rambling. I hope you American's enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
The challenge isn’t what to sing but WHERE to sing/perform. As a youth, I could lock myself in the bathroom and belt it out while I was getting ready for school. I remember when Beauty and the Beast was released, I had the soundtrack on a cassette tape. (Eliza will never know what a cassette tape even is) and I remember rewinding over and over the song where Belle sings, “…Here’s where she meets prince charming, but she won’t discover that it’s him ‘till chapter threeeeeeeeeeeeeeee”
And then, in high school, I was in the singing group, Highlights. That gave me the opportunity to perform in front of live audiences. Unfortunately, that’s when I realized that the “talent fairy” had skipped me the day she was handing out the ability to dance. Hmmm, while we’re on the subject of the “talent fairy” I’d like to note that she did freely bestow upon me the gift to “Never make whatever it is your trying out or running for…(cheerleader, SBO, Ensemble, Dance company – to name a few!) I guess I needed to learn the virtue of resilience.
But even those disappointments didn’t kill my inner rock star. Living in an apartment, with neighbors in close quarters, made it difficult to perform at home. So… for me, I’ve been rocking out in my car ever since. Eliza is so used to hearing me squeal and screech when trying to belt out notes I was born never to sing. She is my number one fan. Anyway. Here I am in Germany without a car.
Singing in the shower is not an option because that is usually Eliza’s nap time…Singing in our big house doesn’t work either because the echo’s from the big empty rooms frighten me. So the place that I belt out Bon Jovi, Avril, Kelly Clarkson or High School Musical is on my morning walks with Eliza. I am all set with the IPOD I gave Andrew for his birthday. And so far, I’ve only encountered one really confused, and slightly “concerned” man while I was singing and frolicking down by the river as sweet Eliza sat in her stroller, tapping her toes!
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Since arriving in Germany, I have developed a great love and admiration for the Elder's in our area. Last week was "transfers" and one of our Elder's left Landshut and a new greenie arrived and took his place. I was surprised by the feelings of sadness that I had knowing that I wouldn't be able to formally say "Goodbye" to Elder Taylor. After all, he was one of the four guests that helped us celebrate Eliza's first birthday a little over a week ago.
This past Sunday, we attended Stake Conference. Again I was surprised that I was truly happy to see Elder Taylor at the meeting. He is from Pleasant Grove and his older brother actually served in a district with Andrew during his mission to Frankfurt. I had to laugh (he knows perfectly well that my German is terrible) when Elder Taylor approached me, because he rambled off in German thinking that I knew what he was saying. After a minute or two, I kindly reminded him that I don't speak German and if he could please tell me why he was so full of enthusiasm in English - I'd appreciate it.Oh, and then! (*Gasp for air) Following Stake Conference, I bumped into an Elder from my home Stake in SLC - Go Canyon Rim!! Small world...
So, tonight I made dinner for the Elders: Lasagne, Broccoli, Strawberries/Grapes, Baguette & Ice Cream!! As we left the grocery store yesterday we saw them walking on the street and I exclaimed just like my friend I mentioned at the beginning, "HURRAH FOR ISRAEL" - and do you know what?? I meant every word. These missionaries are apart of God's army on this earth and I feel that whenever I am in their presence.
I am going to be making dinner for them weeklly. I can't do much here and so feeding the missionaries gives me an opportunity to give back a little after we've been blessed so much. I hope that somewhere out in Cleveland, Ohio - someone feels the same way I do when they see an Elder Mays walking down the street (Oh great, here come the tears!) It feels good.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Let me tell you about myself before you forget!
My name is Eliza and I am one!
I love to play out in the sun
Trying new foods is something I like
I enjoy riding on my dada's bike
I have pretty blue eyes and long brown hair
And two big front teeth with room to spare
My face is a bit burnt so my mom feels bad
She forgot to give me sunscreen & so did dad
Right now I'm not interested in learning to walk
But baby sign language and German, I will talk
I think I'm smart, at least my mom thinks so
But she's only 23 - what does she know?
So, today on a tractor I went for a ride
With my daddy and friends, at my side I love Germany, oh yes, I do
But to my family and friends, I love & miss youLove,
Saturday, May 19, 2007
We found a kid's bike that will work better for me than the one that we've been using to carry Eliza. I feel safer being lower to the ground, I suppose.
Bubba, he had you in mind when he picked it out so act excited if he ends up giving it to you !
After walking the bike (Eliza was riding in the baby seat) for three minutes, Andrew ordered me onto the bike seat. I was reluctant but soon caved in out of curiosity. Eliza was wearing her helmet and he promised he'd go slow... so, Andrew rode the three of us out to BMW.
As for an update on Andrew's job: his first two days at work were somewhat disappointing. He spent his time putting U-joints on O-rings by hand. It wasn't challenging him intellectually. He was told that the manual work was temporary and lucky for him, it was. Yesterday was a lot better. He assembled sixty drive lines for Rolls Royce. I think his assignments will vary as time goes on but he was very positive on Friday when he got home.
Tonight was the first night I left Eliza with a babysitter that wasn’t a Grandmother. Our neighbors arranged for a ward girl and her friend to come watch both of our kids. I won’t go into all the details, but the fact that I felt good leaving Eliza for the evening was a personal milestone.
We ate dinner at an Italian restaurant on top of a hill that overlooks the city of Landshut. It was great having Andrew there to help me read the menu. Things were going really well up until I turned around and noticed the large, nude male statue directly behind my head. Michael and Andrew noticed the statue the same time I did and we burst out laughing. Following dinner, we went to a castle. I enjoyed walking around. We took pictures and were simply enjoying one another's company. We laugh a lot when we are with Michael and Johanna and up until this point I would suggest that our first “date” as couples was going perfect… That is until we reached the doorstep… the dreaded doorstep scene.
Something I ate for dinner made my stomach somewhat “unsettled” and as the conversation began to lull I let out a loud (I can’t believe I’m about to type this word…) TOOT. I passed gas and Andrew failed to obey Flegal Family rule #22 which states: If Ali publicly passes gas, Andrew is to either blame the noise on a duck or fully take the blame for himself.” All he could do was laugh and say, “I can’t believe you just did that”
Thursday, May 17, 2007
This cute girl skipped on over to me with a giant snail in her hand. Without any hesitation, she gave the snail a big kiss. She then said, "Ein bissen schleimig aber vitaminsreich." Andrew burst out laughing. And when I asked him for the translation he said, "A bit slimey... but rich in vitamins!"
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I feel like I have a homework assignment due within the next ten minutes and the stress is weirding me out because this blog is totally optional and supposed to be fun, right?! For the sake of our sanity in the morning and my personal patience level with my sweet baby, I will be brief (too late) in describing what we did today...
- Rode our bikes downtown
- Window shopped
- Ate a pretzel and a crescent from a German Bakery (of course it was a German bakery - you are IN Germany)
- Went grocery shopping
- Had over our two best German friends, Michael and Johanna over for ice cream.
- We showed them where we live on Google Earth (*insert "oooh's" and "aaahs")
That about wraps it up... oh wait, one more thing! The "open door policy" that I mentioned in a previous post applies to cats too. I was in the restroom when suddenly, a cat walked in. That caught me off guard completely. It was one of those moments where you wish someone was there to experience the randomness of it with you. Do you know what I'm talking about?
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Here's a toast to a week of firsts:
- Eliza turned one this past week!
- Andrew started his job at BMW.
- As for me, I started a blog.
Monday, May 14, 2007
You can imagine my surprise when four year old Jacob (pronounced YAH-KOPE) boldly walked into my bedroom (totally uninvited) this afternoon. He was looking for his new friend, Liza. Apparently, an open front door is a world wide invitation to, "Come, on in! Use our bathroom! Have a dum dum sucker!"
Andrew informed me of the "open door policy" when we moved in but I didn't think much about it until he blamed me for the pee on a toilet seat on a toilet that I hadn't even used yet!
Jacob is one of the four year old twins that lives next door. Jacob and Simmon are the final members of the Von Trapp household ... oops, I mean the Auras family. Did I mention how much I love this family? I never thought I'd say that I can't wait to have little boys, but it's so true.
This past weekend, the twins couldn't wait to show me a dead hedge hog they had found that was covered in maggots. I learned the German word for "Yucky" that day. Their enthusiasm helped calm the gagging reflex that is brought on by the smell of rotting hedge hog.
Their older brothers are obsessed with soccer and they think nothing is funnier than watching me play goalie. My flinch reflex is "hyper-sensitive" and they score a lot of goals when I'm in that position. I've used the analogy of never-ending recess when describing a typical afternoon in our front yards. It's mass chaos but highly entertaining. It isn't long before one of the Von Trapp's whisk Eliza away to show her a pile of dirt to play in or help her find a bug to squish.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Hans works for BMW and offered to take Andrew for a bike ride to show him how to get to work in the morning and where to meet him, etc. I teasingly said to Andrew before he left, "Andrew, it's Sunday - we don't participate in 'work' activities on the Sabbath." Andrew's reply was, "Well, consider this missionary work!" And he was off!
While on the ride, Hans informed Andrew that 5,000 German students applied for internships at BMW in Landshut and only 30 were accepted. He also offered to meet Andrew at the door and introduce him to his managers, show him around, etc. All in all, he is a great guy.
On their ride home, Hans brought up that he had attended two LDS church activities and that began a positive discussion regarding Hans' feelings and good impression of the Church and it's members. Andrew came in the door beaming from this conversation and we hope that we will know how we can continue to spark his interest and invite him to various activities. So, please stay tuned.
Alright... suddenly, what I came on to blog about no longer seems important. However, let me explain why I can relate to Squibs. Five dollars goes to anyone who knows what one is before I have to define it for you. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
In the Harry Potter encyclopedia, a squib is defined as being:
– a person who had no magical powers although born into a Wizarding family; Squibs were quite rare; Argus Filch and Arabella Figg were Squibs (CS9, OP2)
German is a magical language. Let me state the obvious: I am a human that lives in Germany. My husband is fluent in this magical language and most likely our daughter will be too.
I attended Church today at this beautiful building (aka Hogwarts) and all around me were wizards and witches who were able to interact and magically communicate through German. I had to ask for help via translation and found myself feeling left out. My "wand" a.k.a. my German Lessons on CD were accidentally (TOTALLY ANDREW'S FAULT) left at home.
I empathize with Squibs worldwide. However, I still felt the Spirit at Church despite the fact I didn't understand 83.9% of what was said (*side note: did you know that 92% of all statistics are made up on the spot? It's true.).
This afternoon, we went with the Auras Family on a walk in the country side. Andrew kept saying that he felt like he was living out his Sound of Music fantasy. After all, we had seven children in our midst...frolicking in the hills....that were alive...with the sound of music.
Last night I was introduced to my new bath tub. It is very big and white. My mom gave me toys to play with in the water. I also discovered that I could use my hands to splash my mom in the face.
While I was getting nice and clean for church in the morning, my dad noticed that my mom had a tic on her leg. She freaked out while my dad went to the neighbors house to get a tool to dig it out. She was sure brave as it was removed.
Bath time ended way to soon for me, so I hollered and whined and screamed for them to let me stay in the water. My daddy didn't listen to me so as he was drying me off, I decided that I had no choice but to go pee pee on him. I soaked him and myself which earned me an automatic ticket back into the bath tub! Hip, hip hooray!
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Yesterday morning, Andrew went on missionary splits. When the Elder's dropped him off they asked if they could bring by a cake to celebrate Eliza's birthday with us. They had made one that morning for an investigator who ended up leaving for Munich before they could give it to her. So, that evening, we celebrated with our neighbors and the Elders. It turns out that Andrew served his mission with one of the Elder's older brother. Small world, right?
Earlier that day, we went to a "Sommerfest" to celebrate with our neighbors Kindergarten age children. All of the kids were dressed up in authentic Bavarian clothing. They sang for us and danced. It was a lot of fun. After their performance we enjoyed bratwurst. I'm struggling with the beverages a little bit. They lack the sugar that I'm used to (in punch, soda, etc) and when I order or buy water it's like it's carbonated - similar to club soda. I should save my food shopping blunders for another blog, but let's just say I hope to improve.
Friday, May 11, 2007
We went to an Italian restaurant so I was able to recognize a few words on the menu: lasagne, cal zone, pizza, etc... Well, it was "SPARGEL night." Spargel is the German word for asparagus. I thought I would go out of my comfort zone (even more than I was) and order one of the specials. I THOUGHT I was ordering Parmesan chicken with spargel, but when they brought out my plate, I stared at something that I knew was not chicken.
I was committed to finishing my plate even though I didn't like how it tasted, had no clue what type of meat I was eating and was coveting everyone else's dish. Hika asked me if I liked what I had ordered. She informed me that the mystery meat was ham. I'm still skeptical that it was even that.
After dinner our waiter brought out an alcoholic beverage for each of us. Johanna quickly handed our glasses to her friend. Following two hours of intense, Bavarian dialogue (I sat quietly in my chair and tried not to fall asleep because of the jet lag) we got up and went walking into the city. I loved all that I saw and am eager to take Andrew and Eliza to show them. When I was able to take part in the conversation, I really enjoyed myself. I'm grateful that they included a frau like me.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
For parents who have plans to travel with an infant, you may find the following list of ideas helpful:
1. Be sure to bring Dum-Dum suckers. It kept her occupied for a long time. The beautiful colors that her white onsie acquired from her colorful drool deserved to be hung on our fridge. It was a piece of art work.
2. Puffy stickers are great fun for sticking on unclothed body parts: Legs, face, arms... (band aids are another good option)
3. If you can afford it, bring a portable DVD player. Eliza is into baby Einstein... another great way to pass the time.
4. Benadryl helps with their ears and makes some children drowsy. I have no clue if this helped her sleep but her Pediatrician recommended it so we gave it to her so we did before each flight.
5. Bring books and small toys that they haven't played with in a long time. Make sure it's something you know they already like.
6. I had bottles of juice (3 oz or less), baby food, banana, string cheese, animal crackers, goldfish crackers and nutrigrain bars on hand for snacks.
7. Bring an extra change of clothing for both baby and you.
Landshut is beautiful - beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Pictures and more stories are to come for family and friends that are interested in what we're doing over here. We will be here for three months. Andrew will be doing an internship with BMW for mechanical engineering. As for me, I will be talking loudly in an attempt to communicate with my wonderful neighbors. For some reason, talking loudly makes me think they understand my poor German better...