Heidelberg

Will update: Will crushed his final test for his language course this week. And of course “crushed” is his word because that’s what Will does. He doesn’t just pass a test or beat the competition… he CRUSHES it! AND, we’re in the single digits of days left until Will comes home. SINGLE. DIGITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With Will coming home in eight days (eight days!!!!) I have a blog goal of getting caught up and to start writing in more present-tense. That means I need to blog about the rest of Germany (which is this post), Bristol, a couple of cafes, Venice (<– which was awesome!), and develop the roll of film in my Minolta. So, let’s start with Heidelberg.

Right after New Year’s, Will and I took a day trip up to Heidelberg. It’s just north of Stuttgart (which is north of Tübingen) and described as a “larger version of Tübingen”. I wanted to go there because my dad was stationed there about 40+ years ago and every time he talks about it a huge smile comes across his face as he remembers his time there. So, being this close to a city that means so much to my dad, I had to go.

Nutella crepes will forever make me the happiest little tourist ever!!

I looked up a place to eat before going to Heidelberg and number one on Trip Advisor was Schnitzelbank. You guys, this place did not fail to deliver. It was absolutely amazing! We were told to book a reservation because it’s small and fills up fast, but luckily we got there early enough to get the last table. It has a really cozy and friendly atmosphere and the staff are so kind. But, the star of the show was the food. Will and I got the schnitzel (duh!) and the spaetzle. Both were the best we had ever had. Every bite was fantastic! If I lived in Heidelberg I would have a standing reservation for dinner there every night. No joke, that food was amazing.

The best part (after the food) was being able to Skype with my dad the next day and actually know what he was talking about when he mentioned going to the castle or hanging out at the river or walking along the streets in the Alstadt! I didn’t feel like we were an ocean apart. I felt like he was right next to us telling us about buying french fries off of a street vendor or how everyone would go to this certain part of the river on sunny days. I loved it.

I’m so glad Will and I took the opportunity to go :)

Auf Wiedersehen Twenty Thirteen

You guys, less than two weeks until Will comes home.

Less. Than. Two. Weeks. I may be freakin’ out a little bit on the inside!

So, about our time in Germany and New Year’s Eve.

Will and I aren’t big planners but when we travel we like to have an idea of what we should see and do in a place and have a “top 3” list. But for Germany there was no plan; we were both just so happy to be together that we didn’t care that we didn’t make any plans.

I will admit that before leading up to Christmas I was a little frustrated that Will wasn’t coming to Edinburgh and I was the one who had to make the trek. It would have been so much easier if he came to me and it would have been nice to have him home for Christmas. But, honestly, I don’t think I could have let him leave again: not that it’s been any easier for me to be the one leaving! Saying goodbye either way has been hard for both of us. As soon as I got there I instantly knew we made the right call with me going to him. If he had come to Edinburgh there would have been so much to do and people to see that we would have spent waaaaay too much time and money trying to fit everything in. It would have been packed. Packed with good things like seeing friends, but packed none the less. With me in Tübingen we were able to have a nice lazy holiday! Something I know I was really craving.

Since Tübingen is so small, and I pretty much saw everything when I visited in November, there wasn’t much left to do. We cooked together a lot, I read all three Hunger Games books, we stayed up late, slept in late, went to a couple of pubs, watched movies, baked sugar cookies, took walks, and went on a day trip to Heidelberg (that’s for another post). It was a supremely lazy holiday!

For New Year’s Eve we met up with one of his friends at a local pub then went to another friend’s for dinner and fireworks. Now, my picture’s for fireworks don’t really do the whole experience justice because there were a ton of trees around, but hopefully the video will give you an idea as to how crazy the fireworks were! Seriously, there were fireworks going off all over the place! It was amazing!

Pretty cool, right?!

I’m such a fan of New Year’s Eve. I really do love it. And as I’m getting older I’m feeling more and more sentimental towards it. Maybe it was our being apart this year that has intensified these feelings but it feels like the one of the more important things Will and I do in our marriage. It’s simple, and almost implied that we’re together on this holiday (much like we should be for every holiday), but it means so much to me to make sure we’re together specifically for those last and first minutes.

It felt a little easier to breathe on this trip than on the last because we had so much time together. So much time to hold hands, tell stories, make future plans, and talk about the year we’ve just been through and plan for the year ahead.

I don’t know about you, but 2013 was pretty good. Will passed his 1 year review boards for his PhD, I took on a new role at work, we started going to a new church, we both started to feel settled in Edinburgh, we officially have lived in our flat for longer than anywhere else we lived in together, we saw more of Scotland (and England), we saw more of Europe, we got to play host to our awesome friends and family who came to visit, we celebrated four wonderful years of marriage, Will got several reviews published (!!), I started a new decade (hello 30!), and we made new friends all while strengthening old friends here! Great, eh?!

And now, looking ahead onto 2014, there’s so much to look forward to!

Auf wiedersehen twenty thirteen! Hallo twenty fourteen!!

A Delayed Christmas

So, some of you know from my Facebook that I didn’t get to see Will on Christmas Eve (a lot of tears were shed). My first flight was delayed twice leaving me with a 5 minute layover. As soon as I could I ran to find my flight only to find out it had already left (more tears were shed). Then, KLM put me up in a hotel and gave me some flight vouchers (Merry Christmas to me!). While Will had to ride the train back to Tübingen alone that night.

So, Will and I both woke up alone Christmas morning (even more tears were shed). Not what we were both hoping for this Christmas.

But, we got up Christmas morning with a countdown in our heads: T minus 4 hours! We had a quick skype in the morning over breakfast and we both made our way to our respective airports (me to the Amsterdam aiport and him to Stuttgart’s airport). I picked up some Stroopwafels (Will LOVES these things!) and little ornament to remind ourselves of this Christmas. 

Seeing his face at the airport was pure beauty! I had missed him so much!

We had some time before the next Tübingen bus would arrive so we grabbed a snack and told each other what we got for Christmas. It was a bit anti-climactic (which is good for me because I’m not a gifts person) but we knew that going into this. I was only taking carry-on luggage and whatever I got him he’d have to bring it back six weeks later (just six more weeks!!!!!). But because Will IS a gifts person there were wrapped up chocolates he got from a chocolate festival waiting for me in his room. Yeah, I’m spoiled!

20131228-121412.jpgYesterday’s walk along the Neckar River in Tübingen, Germany

We had our big Christmas breakfast and our Christmas dinner the following day (Boxing Day) and enjoyed a wonderful walk throughout the city a the day after that (when the sun decided to come out).

Even though we lost a day I’m grateful that this happened on a trip where we had 11 days together and not one that we had just three days: that would have been absolutely horrible. And even though our Christmas was delayed a bit I’m grateful that we both have this chunk of time to spend together; which happens to feel both special and normal at the same time (??). I don’t know, this long distance thing is weird.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

All I Want For Christmas…

I have a confession: I haven’t  been feeling the Christmas Spirit this year. This whole long distance thing has put a real damper on this festive season and I’m just not into it. There’s no tree up in our flat, no lights, minimal baking, and no Christmas music. If you walked into our flat you would not think it was Christmas. I did think about putting things up but I knew that the more “Christmas-y” it felt the more alone I’d feel and that I’d also have to put it all away by myself… unless I decide to leave it up for when Will comes back home in February ;) But seriously, I’ve been feeling very homesick and I just wanted to lessen all of that.

BUT, all of that is about to change! Today, after work, I’m flying out to Germany to go spend Christmas with the love of my life! It’s the only thing I want for Christmas: 11 days with Will to hold his hand, laugh together, cuddle up to him in the middle of the night, walk side by side down tiny German streets, escape the cold together in a cozy pub with some gluhwein, and wake up next to him every morning! It’s all I want: to be part of a couple again, with Will (… and a leather jacket… and a subscription to Birchbox ;) ).

These pictures are from my Minolta when I went out there in November for two and a half days. It was too short but it was worth it. He’s worth 6am tube rides and overnight buses.

I’m really looking forward to having more time in Tubingen. It’s not a large city but it’s charming and quaint and bustling and cozy. And the German language… beautiful! It’s a very impressive and underrated language. I enjoyed hearing it all around me.

So, since it’s Christmas Eve, and in Germany they celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, I thought I would wish you all a FROHE WEIHNACHTEN!!

“Whoa, We’re Halfway There…”

“… Whoa oh! We’re livin’ on a prayer!”

Yes, and now you have that song in your head too. You have Jon Bon Jovi to thank for that.

So, this is the halfway mark of mine and Will’s time apart and I’m feeling pretty good about it. Well, as good as good can get when you’ve been apart from your best friend and life partner for 10 weeks and realize you still have 10 more to go. But I’m a glass is half full type of gal so we’re gonna go with a more positive twist.

Actually, I’m going to be really honest and say it’s been difficult to be positive about this. There are days where the whole countdown just seems so daunting and overwhelming to me. Yes, I’ve gotten through so many days and now the days left to go are finally less than the days gotten through but man, this is hard: really hard. How do people do long distance relationships? How do army wives say goodbye to their husbands like this and keep going? I don’t know.

There are days when the days left are just streaming through my head like the stock exchange. And then there are days when I’m walking to the store, or cleaning up the kitchen, or peeing in the middle of the night and the weight of how much I miss him just overwhelms me. Why is it the little things that seem to break me? The moral of this story is that life is much better with my husband and February can’t come soon enough.

Ok, on a more positive note: Will has gotten along so well with his hall mates that they’ve gone out to clubs and Will has been dubbed the “cool American guy with the awesome beard”! AND he organized a whole Thanksgiving feast with his hall mates! Seriously, check out the pictures his hall mate took and see for yourself!

I know, right?!?! They had a feast and Will organized it all by himself! That’s my man :) He’s also been busy with school and impressing people with his German and going to chocolate festivals and checking out pubs and everything!

I have been crazy busy. There have been brunches (the greatest meal of the day), tea dates, trips to Ikea, seeing friends in St. Andrews, checking out Glasgow for the first time (post to come later this week!), watching the Great British Bake Off with friends (with a GBBO party to suit!), dinners with friends, Birchbox, going to the gym, baking, shopping, and Netflix.

I had my very first eggs benedict @ Montpelier’s Brasserie for this girl’s birthday (aka: the best gym buddy in edinburgh!)

Birchbox sent me their October box to check out… um, I would gladly accept a subscription to this for Christmas!

My faves are the Staniac and the Dr. Lipp lip balm; but everything was really good stuff.

The Great British Bake Off (feast above and friends below)

Pumpkin cinnamon rolls!

Thanksgiving!!

It’s been a crazy two and half months; and with Christmas coming it’s just going to get crazier! But, come Christmas Eve I will be on a plane to Germany to spend 11 glorious days with my Love! Oh I can’t wait!

Peaches & Herb

20131110-151548.jpg

I’m visiting Will, in Tubingen, for a long weekend and we’ve been having the most perfect lazy Sunday!

I hope all of you are able to love on your loved ones this weekend too :)

The Big 3-0

Will update: Will got a tour of the library in Tübingen last week and hasn’t left! He literally told me that all he needed was me and then he’d be in Heaven! So, I’m glad to know I still beat out library mecca. But, seriously, Will has started his classes and so it’s helped to provide a little more structure and socializing.  And thank you, Will’s friends, for keeping in touch with him. You guys are awesome!

 

I’ve done it. I’ve stepped into a new decade… my thirties.

You know, I’ve never thought about my thirties. I had always imagined I’d go straight from 29 to 40 and be this wise and patient woman. Um, yeah, this is going to be a looooooong decade.

I will say that Will helped me to welcome my thirties the right way… with breakfast in bed and my happy birthday songs! And can I say that those hash browns were the freakin’ best hash browns I had ever had!

After breakfast there was second breakfast! My friend Olivia hosted me and some of my friends for a birthday brunch! And yes, this is the Olivia of “Olivia and James” and she is back from Africa! And I love love love having her back! And, yes, her and James are still dating! Go Team James!!!!!!

After the tea it was time for this year’s New College Women’s Tea.

After the tea, I met up with Will and we walked home together. Then, we got ready for dinner. A fancy dinner! We went to Kyloe where we had the best steaks we had ever had in our lives. Seriously, the. best. And those flowers in the back are sunflowers Will had arranged with the staff to put out for us. They’re my favorite: sunflowers.

It was such a wonderful day! It really was!

Ok, now down to some business… my 29 year old to-do list.

1. Run a race in the UK. I ran a 10k down in London for a company charity event.

2. Read some books. Let’s be honest, I’m not a reader. I’d rather watch it than read it #sorrynotsorry . But I did get through Anne Frank’s Diary and enjoyed it.

3. Learn how to use my sewing machine. Nope. No sewing was learned on my sewing machine that is now back with its rightful owner (it was on loan).

4. Better cooking and meal-planning. I think that’s up for Will to decide but I’m actually pretty happy with where I’m at in my culinary skills. And I’ve done a pretty good job of staying in budget but having decent meals to eat. Go me!

5. Be a pet owner. I don’t want to talk about it.

6. Get to know our neighbors and have them over. Well, I’ve met 3 out of 7 neighbors and when I offered to have them come over for Thanksgiving, uh, they didn’t. But I baked them all cookies and shortbread last year so I think they like me.

7. Improve my photography. I think I’m getting better but now I have a lot more learning to do. What do you guys think? Have I gotten better?

8. Learn how to surf. November is not the ideal time to do this, but that’s when we did it… and it was awesome! I’d love to go again. But maybe during a warmer time.

9. Make the flat more like how Will and I want it. I love our flat! I need to do a post on some of the things I love about it.

10. Knit something complicated. I made this ear warmer… twice!

So, there you have it. It was a productive final year of my 20’s. Bring it on 30!

Never. Again.

Mark my words. Will and I are never going to do this long distance thing again.

And this time I mean it. Two months is one thing, but five? FIVE?!

Never. Again.

This goodbye sucked. It was worse than when he left for Edinburgh. I didn’t want him to go. Hell, he didn’t want to go!

But it had to be done. And it has to be done this way.

Our last day together was perfect. We made pancakes, enjoyed our respective hot beverages (me: tea, him: coffee), then went out into the city to run a couple of errands and hang out in a couple of cafes. The weather was crisp and the sun was out. We talked and laughed and we held hands the whole time.

The airport was a different story. We cried the whole time we were there. I mean, not to say we hadn’t cried before then, because we did. But this was it. This was what we were both dreading. So, we hugged and cried one last time. He walked to security and I walked to the buses.

Never. Again.

(Pseudo) Single Again

Re-united in Edinburgh after seven weeks apart (2010)

So, remember that time Will left for Edinburgh 2 months ahead of me?

And remember that time I said I never wanted to do that again?

Well, I do. Very vividly. As a matter of fact, I remembered it at the exact moment I told Will he should go for the Germany exchange. Yep, I remembered it then and have been remembering it every day since he got accepted.

German is one of the languages Will needs to know for his studies and New College offers an exchange program for its students. So, of course, Will had to go. No questions about it. Except, this time I’m not going with him.

He’s only going for one semester. Five months. So, because I have a permanent job (in a city where jobs are hard to come by… it took me 6 months before I got my first job… and that’s fast compared to other spouses who have been on the job hunt) and we have a wonderful home here, I thought it would be best if I stayed here. Yes, “I thought”. It was my idea for me to not go (what is wrong with me??). But, I stand by it. I know it’s the right decision for us.

Now, here we are, a week out from D-Day (SO.SOON.) and I may, or may not, be freakin’ out. So, while I’m here, I’ve made a bit of a pseudo-single-girl-to-do-list:

  • Quiet times: I really need to be more consistent with my time with God
  • Bubble baths: I have no logical answer as to why these stopped.
  • Weekend morning cafe time: I love spending time in cafes and getting stuff done (i.e. blog, edit photos, manage bills, read, etc.) amidst a hot cuppa and cakes and cozy couches.
  • Manage money better: You guys, I turned into that wife that has turned a blind eye to finances… not. any. more. I’m taking control of them while Will is gone and I’m actually really looking forward to this.
  • Gym time: I am going to get ripped! Well, really it’s to get those “happy hormones” (i.e. endorphins) and use the gym’s steam room. Bliss.
  • Cook: I want to abuse my cookbooks and really learn them.
  • Travel: I have friends to visit in Oxford, Cambridge, and St. Andrews!
  • Socialize: I need to make sure I balance my hermit-like tendencies with friend-time and not become a recluse.
  • Movies: Will and I have opposite tastes in movies so I’m going to take advantage of the lack of resistance that typically comes from Will.
  • The flat: There are a few changes I’ve wanted to do to the flat so I’m going to take this opportunity to make it happen.

All of these things are small but I know they will help make this time just a little more bearable. My goal is not just to get through these next five months, it’s to get through them well. To be strong for my husband as he tries to learn a whole new language in a whole new country with no friends or family near him. It’s going to be hard enough as it is for him; he shouldn’t have to worry about me any more than he normally would.

We’ve got our first trip planned for 6 weeks after he leaves. Last time was seven weeks… this’ll be a walk in the park!

What are some things you do when your spouse is gone? Anything you’d like to try to bring back?

4 Years!!

Today Will and I are celebrating four years of marriage!

4 YEARS!!

How did that happen? I swear that just the other day I looked up and noticed this long-haired, bearded man-boy packing up his guitar and thought, good Lord I need to date him! No joke. It happened in an instant. And if you ask anyone in Richmond, so did our relationship. We went on our first date and got married all in under 9 months! I’m pretty sure our parents are still feeling the whip-lash!

I love you, Will Kelly!! And I love life with you!!

Us. 2009.