Thursday, December 29, 2011

An Eventful November

A Special Visitor
November came and went in a flurry of big events for the Jones family! My mom came to visit and was here from the 10th through the 15th. It was too short, but still such an awesome visit. She flew in on my sister-in-law Kaylee’s buddy passes through US Airways and flew from Denver to Philadelphia, where she boarded her plane only to be faced with mechanical difficulties and was delayed by 6 hours. She then flew from Philly to Frankfurt and took a train from there to Stuttgart.
I had only had my driver’s license for a few weeks and only driven alone a handful of times and was nervous to go pick her up in the heart of Stuttgart (big, busy city!) I missed the correct autobahn exit not once, but twice, so I was very late picking her up. It was so surreal and exciting to see her face! I then proceeded to get turned around by turning right when I should have turned left because our GPS can be hopelessly vague and late to the party. I needed a serious glass of wine by the time we made it home, but it was an adventure we conquered nonetheless, and it was so wonderful to have her here.
During her time here, we made a little trek to the Ikea that is about 5 minutes away…she’s never been to one. We were sucked in to buying a few household goods and so incredibly tickled by our lunch that cost €10 and we bought 3 entrees, 3 desserts, and 3 drinks. We also took a 25 minute walk to the nearby town of Maichingen, which is so charming and we got Döner Kebap (sort of like gyros), falafel, and pizza and then enjoyed Italian gelato on our way home. The weather was beautiful the whole time she was here…exactly how you’d imagine a perfect autumn, complete with colorful trees and fog-covered mornings giving way to bright and cheerful afternoons. We also showed her the base and went to dinner at a great place called the Römerhof in Vaihingen, where we got our first taste of spätzle…an amazing homemade German pasta.
                                               Enjoying some Turkish food

On her last day here, we had really wanted to do something special and show her a neat part of Germany.  The original plan was to go to Heidelberg, but our Land Rover was acting a little funny, so we were nervous taking it too far. My friend Friederike recommended we go see Tübingen, a town full of character and beauty that sits on the Neckar River that was only 30 minutes away. I am SO glad we went. The weather was crisp and gorgeous and immediately we were taken with its charm. We went to lunch at a place called the Neckarmüller that is a brewery. Mom was anxious to try some famed German beer. We ordered pretzels and potato and sausage soup and it was beyond delicious. We then walked to the Marktplatz (basically like town center/square), which was a maze of narrow, cobblestoned streets edged with shops and historic buildings. Mom desperately wanted to see a castle while she was here. As luck would have it there was one! Schloss Hohentübingen was originally a castle from the 2nd Century, that was rebuilt and added upon over the centuries and became a part of the university in 1816. It was closed for tours that day, but we were able to enjoy seeing the outer walls and take pictures from the amazing view as it overlooks the whole city. Overall, it was an amazing, most memorable day.
It was so difficult to see her get into the taxi the next morning and I spent most of the day moping, but Kane, my dear, sweet boy was intuitive to my sadness and kept giving me extra hugs, kisses and love. It was exactly what I needed!

We Have a Kindergartener!
The next day was a momentous occasion for us…Kane started Kindergarten. In Germany, the children attend Kindergarten from ages three through six. I was a little shocked at myself that I didn’t get more emotional at the thought, but we were in too big of a rush for it to hit me. It did a few days later! He was so excited and had zero apprehension. He walked right in the classroom and started playing with the fun new toys and other children. There are two groups, one I cannot attempt to say or spell, and the other is the Sonnenkinder (Sun children) which is the group he is in. He has one teacher that speaks fair English and the other two do not speak any. They all are lovely, wonderful ladies. He has had a bit of an adjustment…re-learning how to share and play well with others. The last year I was not working and he had little interaction with other children. This has been SO wonderful for him and he absolutely loves it. It also gives momma a nice break and the chance to have some special time with Lucy.

The end of the month was rounded off by us hosting our first ever Thanksgiving. It was kind of a big deal for us because this was the first time in our lives we’d ever not spent it with other family and the first time hosting. I was afraid to tackle a turkey in the oven I had not yet figured out, so we decided upon Mexican food…something hard to come by here and something we’d been craving. I made a big pot of green chile, homemade refried beans, a Mexican chicken casserole, dip (with chips), and a sourcream-based soup (that never even made it out to the stove because I forgot about it. So like me). Five of Chad’s work colleagues came and it was a really lovely time. It was fun to celebrate in the company of others and meet some new friends!

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