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In: Travel

June 3, 2012

Germany and Back

You would figure that by now we are quite the experts in visiting my hometown Schweinfurt in Germany. Considering that I have spent 2/3 of my life there it should be nothing but a home-run for me. Usually we go there almost every year – although with adding more and more paying customers to the flight bill, we might end up with a more biyearly rhythm in the future.

In a small conservative town like Schweinfurt a lot of things stay the same forever, but apparently I myself change just enough to make every trip different and surprising. Also the contrast between the two countries brings a lot of things into perspective that you don’t realize anymore after living in one of them for a while. Without this trip I would never have known how used I have gotten to having a microwave as standard in every kitchen or being able to grocery-shop late evenings and Sundays. On the other hand I really appreciated how solidly built German houses are. You can totally sneak up on sleeping Milo when there is no floorboard squeaking and the interior walls and doors actually block sounds so well that I was not woken up every morning by a little voice calling “mama”, but was able to sleep in almost every day.

It was pretty great tohave so many people around us who wanted to play with Milo and he really enjoyed all the extra attention. Especially from his uncle Marc. My parents unpacked all our old toys from millions of years ago and even got a sand box just for Milo’s visit. He loved playing in there with his girlfriend Wilma. On other days we took him to the little animal / play park next to our house where he passionately fed the rabbits and pointed out all the baby animals. Milo learned a bunch of new German words like rein (in), raus (out), hoch (up), aussteigen (get out) – but we were unsuccessfull at training him to say cars or water in German.

Overall Linc and I had a lot of free time to ourselves since Milo was so well entertained by others. We attended our friend’s Tim’s wedding without having to worry about getting a tried boy to bed. In the second week we even left Milo for entire 3 days to meet friends in Hamburg and discover a new city.

Jetlag and flight were not too bad by the way. Milo adjusted pretty well within 3 days and even though he did not sleep much during the flights, he stayed calm thanks to many videos and observing the sky. If you don’t care about how many videos your kid watches for one day, any flight is manageable. Although we were lucky to score an extra seat on the way to Germany. Just on the way back it was getting pretty tight with two seats for 3 and a half people.

Somehow this trip back home turned out to be one of the best I have had so far. It was very well balanced with extended family time, friends time, parents only time, and small family time, free time and fun things to do. Surprisingly it was also one of the easiest going back to the US – without the usual homesickness for two weeks. Maybe because I had to go right back to work, and we came back to our own little house, and I now have a small circle of really good friends that I was looking forward to go back to. If only I could do this more often.

See here a photo gallery of our adventures:

December 11, 2011


This weekend Lincoln and I had our first ever parents getaway with an overnight stay. So Milo had to stay with his grandparents for two days and one night and while I had no doubt that everything would go well and that we had to go on this trip, I was still nervous about it. This was the longest time I have been away from my little boy and of course I made sure to call and check in a few times. Needless to say that Milo didn’t miss us a bit, had a great time, and so did we.

My good old friend Johanna from Germany and her boyfriend Matthias had booked a spontaneous trip to New York and since we only see each other once a year or less it was pretty clear that we had to go up and see them. It was so weird being without Milo, not at work, and not in my own house, that at first I wasn’t really sure what to do myself. Noone to take care of, no work to get done, no house projects. What to do on a 4 hour bus ride? Do something that I haven’t had the time for since Milo was born. Crocheting a hat. Reading a book would have been another idea, but reading while in motion usually just gets me nauseous. Staring at a needle and yarn for hours doesn’t for some reason. And it’s sooo relaxing.

When we got to New York Johanna and Matthias picked us up at the bus stop and gave us an overview of what was planned for the next two days. Dude, when they travel it’s no joke. They do everything there is to do. But hey, that’s what you travel for, right? After lunch at Macy’s maze (you can get lost at that place) we headed over to Rockefeller Center where we spent most of our day. We were thinking about ice skating under the tree, but first the rink was rented out to a marriage proposal, then they had to refresh the ice and the lines were huge. So that didn’t work out. Instead we went up to the top of the rock for some nice Manhattan views. Afterwards we strolled up 5th Avenue to gaze at the famously decorated shop displays. It reminded me of the times of Mad Men, the TV show that I am watching right now.

Then off to visit Chinatown, and have an amazing dinner at L’ecole – the restaurant of the french culinary art institute. They serve a four course meal for $47, so not the cheapest we have ever eaten, but the very best. Every single dish was just perfect and worth every penny. At that point we had pretty much thrown our pennysaver attitude out the window. Usually when we travel we manage to save up just enough money for the trip itself and then don’t have any cash to do cool things at the location. But this time we just went with the flow and didn’t watch our dollars too closely. After all it’s a three paycheck month this month! What the heck, you gotta splurge on two days out of 365, right?

During a quick stop at Rockefeller we were invited to join a raffle at the newly opened Brookstone. While waiting for the drawing of the prize, I volunteered to test their full service massage chair and had my legs adjusted back to full functionality after this long day of walking. Then Matthias won the grand prize and us tired fellows were back in the game. So we did some more walking and picked up a toy for Milo at FAO Schwartz.

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and then headed back to Manhattan to go to the MOMA. We had planned to meet my friend Fati there, but unfortunately the poor girl got sick. Usually the hotel has a shuttle bus to the metro station, but not on Saturdays, so we had to call a cab. Instead we were picked up by a run down limo for the same price. Not a bad way to start the day.

And definitely a motivator to get some more walking done. On Broadway past Times Square and up to MOMA we went. At that point we had only 1.5 hours before we had to get to our bus, but it was just enough to see some of my favorite pieces of art in real. I loove Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

By the way, Boltbus is the way to go to New York. Not the crappy Chinatown busses. Boltbus just takes their customers a little more seriously, provides good service, Wi-Fi, power plugs, and supposedly you can even get fares for $1 if you book far enough in advance.

On the way back I made another hat, and got really antsy on my butt, ready to see my little Milo again. As much as we enjoyed ourselves and didn’t think about him all the time, all of a sudden there was no holding me back anymore. Milo just acted like on any other day when we pick him up from his grandparent’s house. Happy as always, but definitely not dropping whatever he is playing with at the moment. Jeez, it’s just my parents!

Later he performed this happy dance for us and all of us went to bed happy and content to be back together as a family.

This morning, I escaped a huge storm that hit South Vietnam and fled to the north to Hangzhou, China where I will be staying two nights to attend the Keqiao International Textile Expo. The flight took off at about 8am this morning under some heavy rainfall. There was one 3 layover in Guangzhou where I got a chance to stretch my legs. (more…)

October 24, 2008

Days 6-9: Work Exhaustion

Its been awhile since I last posted a blog, thats because I’ve been super super busy in the last 4 days. As of my last blog post, I’ve worked overtime just about everyday from 8am till about 8pm. Nothing much to report work-wise except that I’m ready to go HOME! (more…)

Finally, its Sunday and I finally get a day off. What better to do on a day off then to go drink coffee at a outdoor coffee bar. This place served all kinds of beverages from the famous vietnamese iced coffee to all kinds of smoothies, which I took the liberty of ordering a mango smoothie. (100x better than a Mango Lassi). Following our coffee bar experience, we ate at a restaurant  that fed all six of us for under 40 bucks. Excellent! (more…)

Nothing to report friends. Just two days of work and two nights of sleep. The only thing extra was eating meals. But it was a good chance to reflect on what is cool and what is not about Vietnam. One thing that is definately cool is the over abundance of scooters and vespas. Here, two wheeled vehicles totally overwhelm four wheel vehicles to the point where it sucks to drive. It takes about twice as long to reach closeby destinations here in Vietnam if you travel by car (which we do since we have a driver) and therefore tasks are much more efficient on Vespas. The only catch is that there is no air conditioning on a vespa.

Today began with a three dollar breakfast buffet that included all kinds of good foods like fried egg, various meats, soups, fresh coffee and fresh pressed soy milk. All for three bucks! I really think eating is the best part about this country, although it really requires a leap of faith, so many places to eat are literally holes in the wall with a vinyl sign in the front. (more…)