Monday, July 29, 2013

Spain and an update

Oh heeeeeey.

It's been a little quiet around here recently because, well, we're boring.

But we just got back from a week in Spain and I have pictures for you! And pictures of Olive (for those that don't follow me on Instagram). And a general "State of the Union". Let's do that first.

So, at the beginning of July I dropped down to a part-time work schedule. 20 hours a week, also known as Monday, Tuesday and half of Wednesday. It is both awesome and an adjustment. I am really enjoying my free time and the ability to have a life outside of my job (read: take afternoon naps). But it is weird to take a step back and move into a more supportive role...waiting to be given tasks rather than having a really involved and proactive role. I still think it was a good decision. I'm certainly a lot less stressed. And I've read 3 books. 

Z continues to be very busy at work, so this vacation couldn't have come at a better time. We spent most of the week in Spain just laying by the pool reading and I kept saying "do you want go explore?" or "should we go do something?" but the truth was that we both wanted nothing more than to sit in the sun and have NOTHING to do but sip cold beverages and flip pages of our books. It was heavenly. 

Summer in Germany has been wonderful...reminding me again why I love this country (oh how quickly I forget the pain of winter). It's been sunny and hot...just perfect, except on those days when the temperature climbs into the 90s and we remember that we do not have air conditioning. Even then, I try not to complain...snow is so much worse.

So that is the update from us. Oh, except also, BIG NEWS. I'm growing out my hair. It's been short for about a year and I've loved it. But I'm ready for a change. I have already tried to mentally and emotionally prepare myself for the inevitable grow-out stage best known as "the mullet"...but I'm not sure I'm strong enough to stick it out. I feel like I just might cave and chop it all off again. We'll see how it goes. I will keep you posted, as I know this change makes you as anxious as it does me. We'll get through this together. 

And now. Spain. We were on the southeastern coast, Costa Blanca. Specifically, Alicante. More specifically, Moraira. Cumbre del Sol, if you want to get down to the real specifics. If you guys ever find yourself planning a Spanish vacation, allow me to give you the link to the villa we rented. Just look...

Our view in one direction

Our view in the other direction. Mediterranean sea. Ahhhh.

Our villa for the week 

Balcony off the master bedroom

From our patio. *sigh*

Our pool. I laid there all day, every day. 

Eating area...the whole room opened up to the patio for a fabulous indoor/outdoor experience.

Happy camper

Sunset over the mountains

I can't help myself

We grilled out one night...Can't get over the views.

Another sunset

We ventured into Moraira for dinner one night.

The harbor at Moraira

Little trip to Altea



I want to live here forever

Our dinner spot in town one evening. Right across from the beach.

One final shot from our hard to leave.

And now, Olive...

Big ol' pup

This is her "waiting for dinner" face.

Tangle of legs

She sleeps like this more often than not. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

The 4th of July in a foreign country

Turns out the 4th of July in Germany is kind of a downer. 

I don't think I wrote about this last year, and that's understandable because last year at this time the novelty of living in Germany hadn't yet worn off and we were still settling and adjusting and exploring and easily excited.

This year, I found myself feeling a profound sadness about being outside of the USA for one of my favorite holidays. And that sadness hasn't really worn off yet, four days later. Writing about it will certainly help me sort this feeling out, so here I am.

Here's what I love about the 4th of July celebration:

1. everyone gets into it. there is so much pride and patriotism. there's a sense of community and camaraderie. so much red, white and blue. 

2. it's a summer holiday. And in the South, it's usually ridiculously hot and sunny and perfectly SUMMER (although I hear that wasn't the case this year...sorry, Atlanta)

3. cookouts. days on the lake. fireworks. friends. family. I mean, what could be better?

In Germany, you just don't have that same "feeling". Yes, the military community obviously celebrates the holiday. But for me, it just wasn't the same.

We went to a cookout slash birthday party with some friends, and that was so fun. But I wasn't feeling well, so I couldn't really get into it and ended up leaving early, watching movies on the couch for most of the day (which was annoying because it was beautifully warm and sunny and we know how much those days should be cherished). We opted out of the fireworks display on post that evening...I still wasn't feeling well. And of course, none of the Germans celebrate this US holiday so there weren't fireworks anywhere else. It felt like the day just slipped by, unnoticed and unappreciated. And that was sad for me. 

I really missed the excitement of having a day off of work in the middle of the week. I missed seeing everyone dressed up in their festive red, white and blue outfits. I missed all the cookouts. I missed celebrating with friends. I missed being with my family. I missed being on the lake and watching the golf cart parade and seeing fireworks over the water. I missed sparklers and being nervous about all of the adventurous souls who wanted to have their own fireworks show in the comfort of their front yard. 

I just really missed being in my country. 

I still really love and appreciate the experience we're having in Germany. I'm still very thankful for this time we have overseas. But I have been missing "home" a lot recently. I miss the little things. I miss good Mexican food (and cheese dip). I miss Chili's. (I know, right? Who knew). I miss being able to read signs and menus and labels. I miss Target. I miss meeting up with friends for dinner. I miss our families. While Germany has become our home for a time and we feel we've settled in well, I still find myself really missing and craving those old familiar comforts.

I'm trying not to be too hard on myself for feeling like this, because I tend to think I need to suck it up and get over it. I often feel wrong or guilty for feeling this way when I know how amazing it is that we have this opportunity and I know that when we do get back to the states, I'll miss Germany fiercely. And I'm sure this feeling will be a distant memory in a few weeks when we are sitting in the sun on the coast of Spain...but for now... I miss "home." I miss my friends and my family. I miss the comfort of familiar things. And I'm letting myself feel this way, because right now I can label it as patriotic rather than whiny.

I miss you, USA.