Thursday, March 28, 2013

Throwback Thursday: College memories

So, Z and I didn't meet until after college. This means that a large chunk of "who we are" needs to be explained to each other...blanks need to be filled in. 

I suppose that it would be natural to think that this would also apply to things like "high school" and "childhood" but I have the special (and unusual) privilege of being really good friends with a group of girls that Z went to high school I'm pretty clear on high school Zach. This is one of my favorite things, to get a peek at my husband as a 17 year old through the eyes of some of my favorite girlfriends. They were his prom dates and his swimming teammates and his hang-out buddies...and somehow my life intersected with theirs and they adopted me into their "group" and now I get to hear hilarious stories about my husband as a high schooler. I almost feel like I went to high school with them now. (Thankfully, that is not the case. I'm not sure Z and I would have ended up together had we experienced each other in high school.)

I digress. What I'm trying to say is, we both have all of these college memories and experiences that are completely separate and mostly unknown to each other. This makes me sad in some ways, but in other ways it is FABULOUS. There are some things I'm glad he didn't experience with me, and vice versa. The fun part is when a certain memory bubbles up or a story is told and suddenly an explanation is required. So we get to pull out and dust off this fragmented unknown part of our lives and put a few more pieces of this puzzle together. The Katie/Zach-In-College Puzzle.

What normally ends up happening is this: if it's a story I'm telling, I typically end up laughing a little and shaking my head at the end of it. If it's a story Z is telling, I usually end up shaking my head and saying something like "I'm glad I didn't know you in college" or "Seriously? Did that happen? For real?" Our college experiences could not be more different.

So tonight, somehow we had a conversation about eating habits, which led me to explain my college diet to Z. It went something like this: Lucky Charms for breakfast. Dining hall burrito for lunch (lots of queso). Lucky Charms for after-class snack. Dining hall waffle with peanut butter, chocolate syrup, and ice cream for dinner (I still think about this. It was so good. I mean, SO GOOD). Lucky Charms for pre-bed snack. Coke with all meals. Repeat daily. Zach is fascinated by this. He was served well-balanced meals daily and rarely left to his own devices when it came to food. Even then, he probably would have made better dietary decisions.

This is what happens when you grow up in a house with no junk food (looking at you, Mom) and then you're suddenly released into the wild with no parameters. The freedom is intoxicating...oh I can buy this? I can eat this WHENEVER I WANT? TRY ALL THE POP-TART FLAVORS!

I'd like to laugh and shake my head and say something like "oh thank goodness I grew out of THAT" and chalk it up to another college memory to share with Z and leave in the past... but the truth is, I still have trouble shopping like a responsible adult. Yes, I do it. I stick to the perimeter and buy things like spinach and brussel sprouts. I read labels and plan healthy meals. But I still fight the urge to pick up a box of Lucky Charms when I hit the cereal aisle. And when Z was gone for three weeks, I bought a box of Frosted Pop Tarts. And ate them all. 

And they were amazing. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Georgia on my mind


I just noticed the date. And realized that in exactly one month, I will be (trying to get) on a plane bound for the states. 

This is great news. 

Some things to look forward to (in no particular order):

1. Chick-fil-a. Waffle House. Mexican food. Sushi. 

2. Target

3. FRIENDS! So many necks to squeeze and meals to enjoy and laughs to share.

4. Babies. I'll be meeting my niece and nephew for the first time and my heart just might explode.

5. Family. Both sides. Parents. In laws. Brothers. Sisters. Aforementioned babies. Oooooh I am excited.

6. Wedding festivities. My dear friend Cameron, the one who introduced me and Z, is getting married. I am the silver-medal friend scripture reader and cannot wait to watch her get married to the perfect man for her. Also, it's like a friend reunion and that is the best.

7. 60th Birthday Bash/35th Wedding Anniversary Fam Jam. It's a big year for my parents. They both turn 60 and they are celebrating their 35th year of marriage. I want to be just like them when I grow up. We (the children) are celebrating them. I do love a good Wirth fam jam.

Unfortunately, Z is not making the trip with me and that is the only sad part. I hate traveling without him and I am really tired of being away from him after a recent 2 months apart. I will miss him and Olive a lot. 

Also, note how I said I'll be TRYING to get on a plane. My real flight doesn't leave until April 25th. I'm trying to get home a week earlier by hopping on a military flight. But that's basically like flying standby...I could get on right away, I could be waiting for days for an open seat. But I'm taking the risk. It's worth the extra time at home, even if it's only a few days.

It will be 10 months since I've been in the states. 10 months since I've seen my brothers and my friends. 6 months since I've seen my parents. 10 months since I've felt sweet Southern humidity (and I cannot wait for that, for real). 10 months since I've seen the Atlanta skyline (my favorite).

10 months feels and sounds like a long time in some ways, but in other ways it has passed really quickly. One of those weird time-warp things. We have no idea when the next time we will get to the states while we're living over here, so this trip is a huge deal and I am really, really, REALLY excited about it.

Georgia on my mind...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Five Thirty One

Days married: 531
Days in Germany: 277

Dear Z,

We have spent more of our marriage in Germany than anywhere else. We finally have some semblance of stability in our lives. As I was falling asleep last night, I was remembering how those months leading up to our move to Germany (and even the first weeks here), I had to mentally remind myself to un-clench my jaw...and then tell myself again five minutes later. I remember how badly my jaw and head hurt from being so tight for so long. I remember how badly my back hurt from holding so much stress. And then I realized that I haven't had a true anxiety attack in a while...a really big accomplishment that I think we should probably celebrate. Actually, I celebrated by eating a sleeve of Thin Mints. But I'm open to further celebration. There's still two more boxes in the freezer.

The point is...I realized that I am not quite so stressed or anxious anymore. We aren't going anywhere anytime soon (Lord willing. Army willing). This can be our home and we can finally settle down (for a few years at least). Everything that was so overwhelming and foreign is now pretty routine. This is good.

What amazes me is that you are not like me. What I'm saying really haven't changed that much since we've been here. And I mean that in the best way possible. You are so consistent...there isn't a stressed out version of you and a well-adjusted version of you. You are you. And you treat me (and all of my versions) the same whether my jaw is clenched and my back is in knots or I'm starting to hit my stride and find my rhythm in our "new normal". I'm not saying you don't notice when things are rough for me...I'm saying you don't let it affect everything else. This is a great trick. It's like how parents tell a child "you're ok!" in that really upbeat voice in the split second after the kid falls, while they're still contemplating if they should do that scary scream-cry meltdown or just get up, brush it off and resume playing. 

Maybe that's not a very flattering parallel to make...but whatever. We're going to go with it.

You are my perky-parent voice. And sometimes it drives me crazy because I would really love to pitch a fit or maybe I just want some serious sympathy along the lines of: "I really is the hardest/worst/most stressful/awful/impossible situation and there really is nothing else you should do right now but completely freak out."

But that's not how you roll. It's always more along the lines of the "you're ok!" approach. So frustrating. But probably exactly what I need. 

The past few months, due to our work situations, we've spent more time apart than together. And this has not been fun. I have to do things like take out the trash. And buy milk. And wipe the drool off Olive's jowls. Things that you usually do when you're home. But mostly I just miss hanging out with you. (also, Olive's's super gross)

What I'm trying to say is...even when you're gone and I'm home alone and it's snowing and Olive is drooling on things (where does it all come from?!) and the trash needs to go out and my car battery dies and you don't have your phone so I can't even text you...I would still rather be here in Germany, building a life and memories with you, than anywhere else with anyone else.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Things I Love: Living in Germany edition

It's no secret that I hate don't love the winter in Germany. But let's talk about what I DO love about living in Germany. Because we need to think positive thoughts as the snow CONTINUES to fall outside right now. Hmph.

1. The food. Butterbrezel. Kรคsebrezel mit schinken. Any kind of brezel. German bakeries make THE BEST soft pretzels. And I will never say no to one. That's just the start. German food is delicious. It is comfort is meats swimming in sauces with some form of delicious carb on the side. It is fresh salads pulled right from the garden out back. OH it is good. 

2. The autobahn. At first, the autobahn is terrifying. Too much, too fast. But then, you get used to it and you're like "What is this joker doing going 130kph?! MOVE IT!" and you're in the "slow" lane. That's 80mph, y'all. 

3. The location. Germany is pretty central to a lot of great European destinations. We can road-trip to places like Italy, France, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, you get the idea. This amazes me. 

4. The area. Bavaria. I specifically love our little slice of Germany. I love that I can hear the train swoosh by at night. I love that the tractors wake me up at the crack of dawn. I love hearing the cows and the church bells. I love that we can walk everywhere in our town. I love that the waitresses at our restaurant know us and the check-out ladies at the grocery store are always the same. I've never lived "the country life" before now and I'm pretty surprised at how much I've enjoyed it. 

5. The puppy. Ok ok, I realize our dog is a weird thing to put in this list of things I love about living in here, but Germany is where we got our sweet Olive, our "baby" and so Olive will always be an integral part of our Germany experience and our memories of life in Germany. Plus, I love how Germany is so dog-friendly. So many people stop to talk to us (or just Olive if they only speak German) when we take her out on walks and this just warms my heart.

SPEAKING OF WHICH, Olive's sweet face hasn't been on this blog much lately. Allow me to remedy this.

Remember this post where we introduced Olive? I look at those pictures now and cannot believe how much she has already grown in just over 2 months...she's going to be a monster when it's all said and done (and we are thrilled about this). 

And this is how our trucker puppy  little lady sleeps (you'll want your sound on to hear her sweet symphony):

Come visit us and fall in love with Germany like we have! (Olive sleeps in your room, though)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Let's laugh a little bit

Ok. Maybe it was a rough week. Maybe we lost all our Paris pictures. Maybe we need to giggle about some things.

So let's share the laughter. Maybe you need to giggle too. 

I love people. I love that people do funny things like this video. It gives me faith in humanity after all. 

If you haven't listened to the original version of this song, maybe it won't be as funny to you. Or maybe it's still hilarious. I just know that I laugh a LOT whenever I see it. 

So then I got lost in a YouTube rabbit hole and came across this next video. Let me preface it by telling this story: when I was 13, my dad took me to San Francisco for a few days. It was awesome. We saw Marcel Marceau (unforgettable), we toured around the city, hit up the hot was a great weekend. When we went to Pier 39, I remember rounding the corner and seeing all the seals stacked up and hearing them barking and wailing and for some reason it tickled me SO MUCH and I cracked up. I could not stop laughing about those stupid seals...

This is like that. I don't know why, but these types of things are just funny to me.

I'm aware most of the videos I've shared on here feature goats. That's just the way it shakes out. No special reason.

Happy Saturday. Happy March. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Paris for Valentine's Day

There's just nothing that cures the winter blues like a romantic getaway to Paris, amIright?

The fact that the above sentence is a reality for me is still just a little bit mind-blowing. My husband took me to Paris for Valentine's Day. (swoon)

This definitely makes my top three list of Valentine's Days. First prize goes to the Valentine's Day when Z proposed. Second prize to this year. Third prize to my junior year of college where my roommates and I ordered pizza (with pepperoni arranged in a heart shape) and watched movies together. 
But really, all Valentine's Days are my favorite, so it seems unfair to rank them.

ANYWAYS, before you roll your eyes at how spoiled rotten I am or feel pangs of jealousy or twinges of slight annoyance, let's remember that I do live in another country, far far away from friends and family and almost everything familiar. I haven't had Chickfila or good Mexican food in over 8 months. My husband is gone for long periods of time for training exercises with very little opportunity for communication. I'm struggling to navigate in foreign business culture at a challenging job that leaves me exhausted more often than not. So let's erase pictures in your mind of me lounging around, sipping wine over leisurely lunches in outdoor cafes, laughing with all my (imaginary) European friends while our toy poodles sit on cushions next to us, then being whisked off to Paris for a weekend of magical romance and shopping sprees. 

What I'm trying to say is, you should be feeling sorry for me and my trip to Paris.

I kid, I kid. But seriously. It was a much needed break from reality and a really wonderful chance to reconnect with Z and spend some quality time together between his extended absences and my frequent business trips. 

Let me just say this. I LOVE Paris. I fell in love with Paris in 2007 when I visited whilst studying abroad in college. I wandered around the city with a fellow study-abroad student and we both fell under the Parisian spell. We talked a lot about how one day we would come back with our husbands and it would magical and romantic and perfect. Sigh.

Fast forward 6 years and it was happening. Z and I were in Paris together. And it was magical and romantic and perfect. 

The best part about the trip was that Z and I had both been to Paris before, so we had already done the "turbo tourist" thing. This allowed our experience to be much more laid back and relaxing. We wandered around the city, walking down any interesting street we came across, with no real urgency or agenda. Yes, we hit up the "main spots" but we skipped out on things like the Louvre and going up the Eiffel Tower. We had a long lunch in the park, enjoying the sun and amazing French sandwiches and pastries. We had coffee at curbside cafes. We had late dinners at amazing restaurants. We enjoyed a LOT of pastries. But it was ok, because we also walked 6 to 8 miles each day. Breaking even, people. The food and wine was phenomenal. I would go to Paris just for the food scene. Mmmm.

We also enjoyed amazing weather while we were there (40s and sunny, never thought I would consider THAT to be amazing weather). It was wonderful to get a break from snow and frigid temperatures.

Oh how I loved it. Take me back!

I could go on and on, but I'll just stop it there and leave you with some pictures from our trip.

**Important update** I wrote this and got my camera card and transferred the pictures from my camera to my computer. Then I plugged in my iPhone to transfer the MAJORITY of the pictures from our trip (like 100 pictures)...we take most of our pictures on the iPhone because it's easier to get arm-shots with the reverse camera view and it's just more convenient to carry around the phone. I think you can see where this is headed... I plugged in my phone, it doesn't recognize the phone and iTunes asks if I would like to set up the phone. Sure, yes. I restore from a backup, a backup I assume was recent. False. All of my Paris pictures are gone from that phone. I feel physically ill. I sat there in shock for a little while. Then I googled a lot of things about reversing a backup or how to restore or ANYTHING to fix this cruel, cruel joke. Nothing. So then I cried. I texted Zach in distress. It is truly a terrible feeling. And nothing can be done. So. there's that.

Sigh. I am SO annoyed and distressed over this. It's not even the Paris part, it's the pictures of me and Z together...I HATE losing those. Oh I hate it. STOP IT WORLD, you're really ruining my life. I am ill over this.

Here are the pictures I still have...from my camera and the few I posted to Instagram.

View from our hotel balcony

Squinty Seine River picture

Other view from our balcony

The Louvre

This weather! Everyone was soaking up the "warm" sun

View of the Eiffel Tower from afar...

The Arc de Triomphe

Notre Dame
Pastries. Stop it. 

View from the Arc

This is what I love about Paris...turn the corner and BAM! This.

Our picnic in the park

Cafe with a view

I guess this means we will have to go ahead and plan a return trip and recreate all the pictures we lost. Trying REALLY HARD to find the bright side in this...