You brighten my day..

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sundays in my City

Hello everybody, Welcome to my favorite day of the week. Yup, it's Sunday's in my City along with Unknown Mami.
Is there anyone who has gotten impatient waiting for Spring?? Well, I have!! The branches all around are still bare, but we have begun to notice teeny tiny bursts of new life. And also, the ice cream parlors in our village have now begun business. They were closed for winter. So, not wanting to wait till it got warm, we went out on a little walk down the village to have our first cone for the year!!!!

 Let me show you, how a typical German village looks like during the weekend??  Bare!!! Yes, everything is closed, except for the restaurants. Shops, banks, business establishments, everybody are closed. You have the entire cobbled streets all to yourself. On top, is the picture of the Altes Rathaus or Old Townhall. Here we have small concerts or talks happening. We have a NewTownhall for the official affairs and gatherings.

On days like these, it is nice to window shop. Shops here are pretty and quaint. During the week, you can go in and just have a look around without actually having to buy something. I am also surprised by the fact that you need not leave your belongings locked outside in lockers, unlike in India. People trust each other here and are pretty honest.

Buildings here are typical German with the timbered houses thus giving a medieval look. Towards Spring and whole of Summer, you will see pretty geraniums hanging out from every window sill. A sight to behold.

We did have our first ice cream cone for the year. And guess what? In all the excitement, I forgot to capture a pic...:D Will save that for another Sunday. A picture of all our Eis(Ice) parlors along with the delightful creams they offer.

So, here's a shot of the first signs of Spring...:) Do not forget to visit Unknown Mami and see what the rest of the world has to offer.

Unknown Mami

Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The week with Scavenger Hunt Sunday.

Remember a few weeks ago I wrote about my fascination. Well, see who picked up new life?? It's the plant in my bottle. It is growing new roots and will blossom into a healthy plant.....:)

Blue skies, a rare phenomenon in Deutschland. And when it happens, it lifts your spirits high and makes you appreciate the sunshine it has to offer. 

I begin my day with 2 cups of hot tea, everyday. Without the piping hot cup, I just cannot begin my day. It is like fuel to my body, to charge and prepare it for the grind.

 Well, we have no furry pets. Wish we could have one. But the responsibility that comes along with it is enormous. For now, my daughter is content with these furry friends of hers. As you can see, each one has a name. It doesn't take long to christen them. Just a matter of minutes after buying, she comes up with a name. 

Not one of my best shots. With spring round the corner, all the water fountains in our village are back in action...:)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Servietten Technique.

For those of you visiting my blog, you must be pretty familiar by now about my interest in art and craft. This is not a sudden interest which developed here. Back home in India too, I loved reading housekeeping magazines, dabbling with decor ideas and sprucing up my home every now and then. On moving to Lohr, I pretty soon realized that Germany is every craft worker's haven. Every village or town is filled with hobby stores and the material available is mind blowing.  Right after we moved, I found myself in one of these stores picking up glitter paints which intrigued me, and rushing home to paint my first pinecones which we had picked up from the forest. In a years time, I have become friends with the ladies at the store...:D who are ever so willing to help me out. They are pretty much used to seeing me dropping every now and then with either a query or simply to see what's new. I hope that someday, I will be able to carry my camera to the store and show you all my favorite nook in Lohr.

The next thing which will drive you insane are the numerous craft magazines available at every supermarket in town. From paper cutting to painting, gift wrapping to egg painting, pottery to crochet, name it....there's a magazine for everything. But with a hitch. Every thing is written in German. I did end up buying a few, but they are pretty expensive. So, it was with surprise I noticed in our library that it had an entire section devoted to art and craft. It didn't matter that they were German books as I didn't need to buy them. After going through a lot of them, I promptly picked up the Servietten Technique. I have been interested in this art from a pretty long time, but could not find a proper source on the net to guide me. So that night, with book in hand and the google translator by my side, I finally learnt the details into this beautiful art.

Since I completed these two pieces, I did find an interesting post which explains this art in a simple and effective way. 

You can transform terracota pots, glass bottles, wooden boxes, trays or any piece of furniture into a work of art.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A visit to the Doctor..

Being sick in a foreign land is an experience in itself all together...:) And when you do, you need to visit a Praxis(doctor's office) or a clinic( term used in India). Foremost you need to take an appointment. Often, the visiting time is given by the office to you.
   Here are a few things you need to know:
1.  In Deutschland, everybody work in the Deutsch language!!! Banks, Schools, Industries, Hospitals...everybody!!! If they happen to know the English language, they first apologize about not being good at the language and then start speaking or they simply do not know or do not want to speak!! Somehow Germans do feel they need to be perfect about the English language and hence hesitate. But honestly, broken English is better than no English to me...:D So what do you do when you do not know the language? Initially, the first few months, whenever the kids needed a shot at the doctor's I took my husband along. Over a period of time, it helped knowing a few german words. So now when I go to the doctors, here's what I say "Hallo, I have a termine at elf uhr". So there you go, two german words, termine means appointment and elf uhr means eleven a'clock!! I think numbers and how to tell the time must be learnt..:) Faces do light up when they know there are german words in between...:D After all the required documentation and billing are done you are asked to be seated in a waiting room. Then comes the fun part!!!!

Source of pic:
2. Since you wear coats throughout the year, you are expected to remove your coat and hang it in the assigned place. Then say a HALLO or GRUß GOTT to everybody seated, sort of greeting all those who are present. Everybody greet you back in unison with a hallo!!! Initially, I found it funny and was shy, but then it is considered rude to not greet. Generally, a waiting room is pretty quiet, there will be hardly any conversation happening between people. You can pass your time leafing through the Deutsch magazines, admiring the indoor plants or simply staring at the white walls...:D  Waiting period is short, though I am told by fellow expats that they have waited for more than an hour to meet the doctor.
3. Once your name is called, you are escorted to the doctor's room. After a handshake and greeting, it's time to inform the doc that you do not speak German. Some show displeasure that you do not know the language and some proceed to give you advise as to begin taking classes or attend an adult school...:D At times, doctors find it hard when they are unable to explain the problem in English. It then is frustrating . So it helps to also learn the parts of the body along with the terms for pain and ache in Deutsch...:D What I love about the doctors here is that medication is given only when absolutely necessary and by that I mean, you need to be seriously very sick. So, if you are a person who is fond of popping pills for the slightest reason, then it is gonna be tough!! Sometimes, medication is provided by the doctor, else you are given a prescription to go to the Apotheke(pharmacist) and buy it yourself. Medicines which you are able to buy over the counter in  your country need a prescription ( not the paracetamol and headache medicines).
4. Once you are done, you bid goodbye to the doctor by shaking hands once again you collect your coat you say TSCHÜS or WIEDERSEHEN which means bye to everybody in the waiting room!!!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The week with Scavenger Hunt Sunday.

I have been a follower of Ashley's blog for a few months now. The Scavenger Hunt Sunday has always fascinated me. Bloggers post some of the best pictures and I cannot help but be in awe of the talent that is out there. So, I decided to give it a shot this week and I must say it was one of the best challenges. My mind was constantly thinking of what to capture. 


This is from an archive. A few weeks ago, I baked Cherry Rum pudding which called for dark chocolate. The chocolate we get in Deutschland is to die for, also one of the major factors for my constant weight gain..;) Well, nobody told me how hard it is to cut a thick slab of chocolate. Half way through, the broken pieces looked good, so here is what I captured.

This was the most challenging one. Honestly, I did not know what to capture,but when my daughter walked in from school on Friday with her half yearly report, I knew I had my numbers. Schools here have a strange way of grading the students. They use numbers. They are not ranks but tell you how your child has fared. 1 stands for Excellent, 2 for Very Good, 3 for Good. Its strange how children here get obsessed with these numbers. I see it in my children and all they want is a 1 or 2. Our girlie has got a good mix and we are very pleased.

Its strange how expat life leads you to eat some of your favorite fruit in the canned form. Mangos, Litchis, Pineapple....In Germany, they taste better from the can than fresh. In India, we would never dream of eating canned fruit. Some of these fruits grow in our back yard...:D This week, for breakfast, we opened this tin of pineapple. This last piece was waiting for me, when suddenly I remembered the challenge...:)

This piece of music is my hausafgabe or homework for the week. I am beginning to learn positions where I need to move my hand to the extreme end of the violin. I always used to wonder how violinists would sway their head and hands as they moved their fingers on the entire length of the violin. They make it look easy, but believe me, it is very difficult. When my hand moves, my brain refuses to think what to do next and when the brain understands the hand refuses to move!!!!

We are slowly beginning to see books in the German language in our home. It is amazing how the kids have picked up a new language. When we enrolled them to the library last year, all they wanted was to go to the English section. They never even glanced towards the Deutsch books. Without any force, they have begun to slowly bring books which interest them and are reading at a slow pace. This makes me very proud.

Unknown Mami

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Straight from the heart!!

Valentine flowers: 10 Euro

A poem from your beloved, straight from the heart: PRICELESS!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Tag

Happy Valentine's Day People!!!!!!

To me, everyday is Valentine's day.....;-) I personally feel you need not wait for a particular day to express your love to dear ones.  Around this time in India, there is a lot of hype surrounding Valentine's day. Sights of red hearts greet you everywhere, vendors selling valentines paraphernalia, restaurants having special menus, flowers sold at rocket high prices. The mood is infectious and you cannot help but revel in this excitement.
     Many a memorable valentine's day have I had. The year we had our son, around Valentines he had developed a fever. He was about 3 months old. The day before was especially a tiring one, what with the little one refusing to sleep and making me carry him around and soothing him. By late evening, I was a very cranky mom who hardly had a bite to eat, let alone sit awhile for a moment. So it was with joy my heart leapt when I saw hubby dearest at the door with a big bouquet of flowers and dinner from one of our favorite restaurants. I thought to myself, what an adorable husband I have, who gets me flowers to cheer me up when sonny is sick. When the dinner was done, I mentioned that the next day was valentine's day!!! I can never forget the look of surprise on my beloved's face when he began fumbling as to what the date was....:D And then sheepishly he asks whether he has to do it all over again....:)

Unknown Mami

Three years ago, along with flowers for me, DH(darling hubby) brings some water plants for our pet fish. I fail to recall the little fellow's name, but he was one of a kind. He was one of the smartest fish  I knew. And to top it, hubby loved him dearly. Initially I resented having a fish bowl at home. I detested the cleaning job and felt that I already had enough on my hands. Over a period of time, I too slowly fell in love with him. Every morning when I would enter the kitchen to make a cup of tea, he would immediately come swimming to face me and wiggle that little tail of his. He would swim around frantically with excitement and make tiny somersaults of glee. It was sheer delight to watch him. He sensed when we were around him and knew while we were away.
     Placing my flowers in a vase and the plants for him in his bowl, we thought the little guy would be happy with the new decor in his bowl. Late evening, I went to have a peek to see how the little guy was faring. Imagine my shock when I saw him lying on his belly on the bed of pebbles in the bowl. Instantly, I knew it was the plants that killed him. We had no idea how long he must have been dead. DH tried placing him in fresh water, hoping that he would swim again and do his somersaults, but I was over.
It took me a very long time to get over this. For a whole month I felt that there was movement in the bowl, that he was there to greet me in the mornings. I even called my husband a FISH KILLER..:D What was he to know that his act of love would kill the poor guy. Over a period of time, I put the bowl away., waiting for the right time to bring a new pet. That never happened cause then we moved.
So you see, quite some memorable valentine day's have I had.

This year, I have spruced up our home with handmade roses. I got the idea from the tutorial here. For almost 2 weeks, I have been surprised by the so many bloggers who have been decorating their homes with valentine deco. When I stumbled upon these roses, I knew that they would bring cheer and color to my home. I am still waiting for the fresh flowers though...;-)

Linking to the February Carnival at The Key Bunch, Macro Monday at Lisa's Chaos, and Weekly Winners at I am Lotus

Friday, February 11, 2011

Finally, I am Sick!!

     I took pride in the fact that I had not fallen sick in a foreign land...:D Now, I have got to swallow my pride. Being sick sucks!! Big time!!
      Nothing major. A bad cold, accompanied with a nasty cough, throbbing ache all over the body and a mild temperature...that's all..:D But enough to cripple me from doing all the normal chores, bar blogging. Hubby dearest has been of great help. I can count on him to make hot meals for me and the kids. Otherwise, I have been lying in bed in a developed country, remembering all the simple luxuries a developing country has to offer, especially when sick. For example, the house being cleaned and tidied, laundry being done, shiny bathrooms, all thanks to the efficient house maids we have back home.
   Till then, I got to continue lying in bed, oblivious to all the chores waiting to be done by me!!!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Auf Wiedersehn Frau M.

I have something for you says Frau M, my children's Deutsch tutor handing me these beautiful pot of flowers. I am surprised. "But why??" I ask. She replies "Today is my last class with the kids and I want to thank you for the lovely cakes and the cup of hot tea you so warmly served me with always". I cannot believe it. How could I have overlooked this. "There must be two more classes" I say. "And I have not baked a cake for you today". She laughs saying "Oh, thats okay".

     As they begin their last class, I think to myself. I should be giving you flowers Frau M. You were a god sent angel to me. All those times when I was at the lowest phase of my life, it was you who gave me the encouragement, not only for me, but also for my children. When I felt so hopeless and lost with all things new, be it the language, weather,the people, was you who lent your ear to all my woes. I could speak to you about anything. Many a doubt of mine did you clear, taking the time to explain, waiting for me to understand or go that extra length to note things down. Even when I gave up on my children, it was you who told me to wait and watch and see them bloom. 

You were so right about everything. All we needed was time, support and a patient heart. Yes, I have never met a person so patient as you. Many a conversation did I have with you. About travel, food, religion, relationships and love, clothes, decor...... I enjoyed narrating stories about my life and my country to you. I am so gonna miss you. 
   I know I can call you whenever I need to talk. But am gonna miss our little chats over a cup of hot tea and cakes. 

Auf Wiedersehn Frau M, till we meet again!!!
Wordish Wednesday

Sweet Shot Day

Monday, February 7, 2011


I have a fascination....for liquor, not for the drink( okay, a little for the drink..:D), more for the bottle. 

I love the different shapes and patterns they come in. Some round, some oblong, and many of them oval. The moment hubby gets a bottle home, I tell him whether I would like to keep the empty bottle or not. I then wait patiently for the drink in them to be over. Meanwhile mentally planning what to do with them.

Some look good with dry twigs in them ( I have something up my sleeve for these twigs for Valentines day..:)) And some have abstract art on them...:)

I had been eyeing this one for quite some time now. It comes with two nozzles so when you pour the drink, it has two different flavors and colors!!! Thanks to the innovative design, I already had pictured this bottle with different flowers, or maybe water plants. If only I knew how hard it would be to get the stubborn nozzles off!!! Whoever invented this, should have thought of the ladies like me who have a crazy fascination towards bottles and designed the nozzles in such a way that they could be pulled out easily!!!

After a fifteen minute struggle and a broken knife, not wanting to give up, I successfully pulled them out, washed the bottle and promptly placed my greens until I would bring fresh flowers!!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sundays in my City

After experiencing a week of bitter cold weather, it helped to have a gorgeous warm Sunday. On such Sundays, you do not see Germans inside their homes. All of them are outside........

Some fishing...

Some skating...

Some, walking their pets..

and some, simply spending time with their loved ones....

and some, taking their bikes out( yes, those are Indians, not Germans..:))

Feeding the ducks.....

and some, making the best of the sunny weather, snapping away!!!

I hope you all have had a gorgeous weekend too. Wishing everybody a HAPPY WEEK!!

Unknown Mami