Quite a Beauty

Yesterday was a full day of Royal Wedding goodness and celebrations...complete with British friends, British BBC TV and BBQ.  I left dreaming in bloodies and blimeys, and I was just chuffed to bits about it all. (I learned 'chuffed to bits' yesterday thanks to my friend Shyla...a former Canadian gone Brit now Grazer who had enough spunk and excitement for this wedding for us all...and I quite love the term, natürlich!)

So, let's get down to important business.

Kate's dress.  

Ah, so beautiful.  I loved it.



Sister Pippa's dress was really pretty too.



not so lovely.

used to be cuter:
But, that's ok.

I mean, she makes a pretty princess.

And then getting a little more comfy and mod later in her same dress and with the lace sleeves, train and lace skirt removed and a belt and angora sweater added.


Congratulations Royals and thanks for giving us reason to celebrate with lots of food, friends and Union Jack decor.


A Good Easter

We had a very nice Easter this year at our friends' house a little bit outside of Graz.  Too bad we didn't get a pic of mom and dad, but their three daughters, Hannah, Stella and Eva are always down for some shots.

They requested that we bring Elsie and do a way better job of wearing her out than we ever do.
{Their family alone keeps the Graz Crocs store running.}

They filled us up with food, drinks and sweets.  The typical Austrian Easter cuisine is ham, sausages, spreads, kren (freshly grated horseradish), cheeses and other cold cuts similar to what you find at a Buschenschank.

And the flowers are coming out in staggered times, so we have a new one to enjoy every week or so. Right now, the lilac is busting out everywhere, and its smell and beauty is quite wondey when walking around.


These are some of my favey trees (Japanese Saucer Magnolia).  The petals fall all over the sidewalk and they are slippery...like pink banana peels, k.


And, that's all.  I hope you had a Frohe Ostern too.


The Expat Inquiries: Kim in Australia

I'm doing a little series here on the blog where I'll ask some of my fellow expat friends questions about life in another country.  Of course, I find this interesting, but I hope you do too.  Surely you'd like other perspectives about life abroad other than mine.  :)

Next up is Kimberly, originally from Houston, Texas (yes, again), currently residing in Perth, Australia with her husband, Marc, and cutie daughter, Chloe.

 Kim is actually a long-time friend of my older sister's.  She moved to Australia around the same time we moved to Graz and my sister sent me her blog to follow...also as an example of what I needed to do...blog!  Yes, this all began the madness.  It's been so fun to keep up with each other through our blogs, especially since we are in such different places.  People often confuse Austria with Australia, so much so that they sell shirts here that say "NO Kangaroos in Austria".



Where do you live?
- I live in Perth, Western Australia

How long have you lived there? And is this your first home away from the States?
- We have lived here for 2 years and it is my first time away from the US.

Where are you originally from?
- Houston, Texas

What brought you to Perth?
- My hubby had an opportunity with his job on a big project in Perth.

What do you do for a living?
- I'm a domestic engineer

What are the people like?
- Laid back, friendly, with a no worries attitude
 
How long did it take until you felt mostly adjusted?
- Probably about 6 months

What were some of the hardest things/aspects to adjust to?
- Driving on the left side of the road, getting used to different brands and foods at the grocery store, lack of good service at restaurants

(Her first taste of Vegemite here.)

What are some things/aspects you don't miss back home?
- Horrid freeways and traffic, overconsuming 
What are your top three faves about your current city or country?
- Perth's amazing beaches, parks abound, a slower pace of life

Fave places you've traveled in Australia?
- Sydney, Broome, Margaret River wine region...hopefully more soon!  
 (Kim's blog causes much jealous during our winter months when I all is see is glorious sunny beach photos such as these...
Christmas in summer!)

  In what areas do you think moving abroad has helped you to grow?
- I think being away from home has made our little family tighter in that we rely on each other more, friendships are more intense because they become your family in a way, and you really know that you can do something so big and new that many people have never experienced.

I hear ya, mate!  Thanks so much for participating, Kim!  

And, of course, I must leave you with a good old-fashioned kangaroo (and Chloe!).
 


A New Series: The Expat Inquiries

I'm doing a little series here on the blog where I'll ask some of my fellow expat friends questions about life in another country.  Of course, I find this interesting, but I hope you do too.  Surely you'd like other perspectives about life abroad other than mine.  :)


First up is:
{Julie with her cute fam}

Julie is a fellow Houstonian whom I met via blogland.  We both crave our Tex-Mex and I love how she often blogs about and posts pictures of the small details of German living. A Houstonian and detail-noticer is a friend of mine indeed.  Würzburg seems to be a bit like Graz... Bavaria (southern Germany) is similar to Austria in tradition, landscape and culture..ja?


Where do you live?
-Würzburg/Bavaria
How long have you lived there?  And is this your first home away from the States?
-Since 1996; it's my first home away from the US.


Where are you originally from?
-Houston, Texas 

What brought you to Germany?
-A guy that I assumed would take me to California (I mistook the blond hair, blue eyes, and hot pink shirt for a surfer boy)...

What do you do for a living?
-I raise our two wild and crazy (but amazing) boys, teach English at local firms, do a bit of correction work, and help organize the film festival here in town.

Do you speak German fluently?  If so, how long did it take you to learn?  Do you find it to be an easy language?
-Hmmm...fluent is relative...I am still learning (have been since 1996), but oddly enough, can't imagine my life any more without German. It is not an easy language to learn, but very rewarding once you realize you're making your world work with it!
What are the people like?
-In the beginning, I always thought people in Germany were different than folks in the States. Now, I'm not really sure anymore. I never really agreed with the stereotypes and have often seen them challenged. The people I run with are open, funny, warm, and thoughtful.

How long did it take until you felt mostly adjusted?
-"Mostly adjusted" is good. I'd have to say the day I caught myself saying, "In Germany, they..." while visiting the States.
What were some of the hardest things/aspects to adjust to?
-I'm still trying to get used to wanting spontaneous family visits, craving Tex-Mex, the lack of sassy hardware at local stores (seriously, the lamps at Target are amazing!), and being a foreigner.

What are some things/aspects you don't miss back home?
-The shop 'til you drop and 'super-size me' mentality

What are your top three faves about your current city or country?
-The views, the fests, that I can bike/walk most everywhere I need to go

In what areas do you think moving abroad has helped you to grow?
-I have learned to be where I'm at and that I alone control how happy or unhappy I am.

Fave places you've traveled in Europe?
-The pizza joints in Naples, the little beaches surrounding Sorrento, the pubs in Dublin, the shops in Madrid, the wineries in Franconia.

Thanks so much for participating, Julie! Wanna open up our own Mexican food restaurant on the border of Austria and Germany?  We'll be Mama Ninfas in Europa!

Color Combo Inspiration

it's out there.

I can never stay away from the pink/red family!  Coral's my #1.

WWII Reminder

We weren't informed of this until this past weekend from our dinner guests, since we live in non-local-news-reading-or-listening-land here most of the time, and we felt kinda dumb for living under a rock, but...

{source}
They've been doing construction on our main train station for months and just two Fridays ago, workers uncovered a bomb from WWII while digging...dropped by British fighter jets in the mid-40's.  They had to evacuate a kilometer radius around the train station and detonate it! Nobody was hurt, but windows shattered, the train station clock lost a hand and some fragments flew several hundred meters.  Dang. Art now remembers hearing it that Friday evening and thinking it was thunder...which rarely occurs here and was not followed by any rain or storm. {Article here.}

Of course I'm kind of an idiot when it comes to this stuff and asked Art how in the heck that thing could still function, picturing it to look like a black ball with one rope wick.  Think coyote and the roadrunner style. 

I mean...kinda crazy.  And, while on this topic, I have to recommend this book:

I read this book in two days.  It's over 400 pages and if you knew my tendency to read a book here and there over the course of months and then maybe never finish it, you'd be impressed.  It's testament to how good it is and how in need of a substantial and well-written story (instead of another crap rom-com movie from the internet) I was.  

I don't read enough real books these days...don't make the time for it and instead most reading takes place on the internet or in magazines in short form where nothing requires too much thought or goes too deep.  I had sort of forgotten how wonderful it is to get lost in a book and what a great use of leisure time reading is.  It's good for the soul.  And it's not bad for the brain either.  

My friend, Lindsey, gave me this book after devouring it during our down time in the hotel in Prague almost two years ago.  I just now picked it up.  I recommend it.   It hits closer to home when you are living over here (or when you are traveling through Germany like she was when she read it).  I understood all of the German vocab scattered throughout.  I had a better feel for the culture she describes even though it was almost 70 years ago and obviously different.  

The book's a bit different since it's told from the German perspective and how everyday German women and families were impacted.  Not to compare to what the Jews suffered, but life for the German civilians wasn't so great either.  This story shows the sacrifices a German mother made for her daughter..and for prisoners of the camp

It made me grateful for the wonderful life we have and ashamed that sometimes I complain that we don't have a car or haven't gotten to travel much.  It wasn't so long ago that people right in this very spot were starving to death..or worse.  
 
It's not something people like to talk about, but it really wasn't that long ago and it's important to remember.  You can get much more of a reminder than a bomb.


Spring!


The forsythia tree outside of our window literally busted out overnight.

I promise I did not saturate this pic.

What a nice way to liven up the inside too.

We had some friends over for dinner on Saturday and I like people to think my house always has fresh flowers sprinkled throughout.  ha.

We headed out on Sunday to our new favorite neighborhood with a great view:
see the Schlossberg and clocktower straight in view

happy spring peeps

there's also a great area for the pups to roam

and then just rub her just-yesterday-bathed-self in some manure plumps.  awesome.

Cute restaurant/gasthaus complete with loud chickens, goats, cows and sheep in the area.

more manure rolling.

Everyone's happy it's spring.