Thursday, June 18, 2015

Croatia! (and wrecking our rental car)

Ok. I've rallied. Slightly. Enough to finally post about our trip. Let's not get carried away though. I don't think I've accomplished anything else this week.

Our last European adventure was a road trip from Germany to Croatia, where we rented a BEAUTIFUL house on the Makarska Riviera. The goal of this trip was ultimate relaxation and sun-soaking and I think we accomplished that. Although I would not be adverse to going back to beautiful Croatia and doing a lot more sight-seeing and exploring different cities, etc. I almost wrote "adventuring", but then I remembered how I feel about adventures. "Adventure" is just a fancy word Z uses when he knows I will be stressed or overwhelmed (or both!) with whatever is happening. I'm on to you, Zachary. I'm on to you.

This trip did fulfill its adventure quota though. We wrecked our rental car. Real bad. There was a thick metal post (formally a gate post) that was just below bumper level, which means it was just below eye-level and just below rear-view camera level and just below reverse sensors level. And Zach just backed right over it as we were turning around after looking for parking down a side street. And there was a sickening crunch and jolt as the post hit the fuel tank. The car stalled out and would not move. Zoe was screaming so I jumped out to calm her down...and that's when I saw and heard the fuel GUSHING out of the very full tank. 50 liters gushing out and down the hill towards the beach. And I'm all "SHE'S GONNA BLOW!" because I watch movies and that's how it works. So I grabbed Zoe and said to Zach "I'm just going to be right over here" and quickly walked away from the scene. The whole experience was just sickening (my stomach was not ok the rest of the day)...I've never seen Zach like that before...that mixture of stress and frustration. To his credit he did not even curse or yell or lash out. He is truly a man of character. But the look on his face scared me, for sure. I thought "Ok, he's freaking out, so I really need to NOT freak out" and I took a deep breath, decided not to vomit, and said to him "Ok. This is ok. We need to call the rental company and we need to call the fire department." And within a few minutes the initial shock wore off and Zach found an English-speaking local that called the authorities and got things moving forward. The police came. The city authorities came. The fire truck came. It was super stressful. And then there was the whole "So now we have no car in this foreign country..." But even amidst all of that, there were so many ways that we were protected and provided for, and we are so thankful for God's provision. No one was hurt. We had damaged a rental car, not our own car (which we were supposed to take on the trip, some last minute repairs prevented this). We can't even imagine the nightmare it would have been to try to get our Honda fixed in time to drive it back. We had the accident on the first day of our vacation, giving us a full week to make arrangements for getting back home (and it turned out we needed every single bit of that full week as it was a NIGHTMARE getting a replacement car. The rental couldn't be fixed in time). Zoe had just been fed and was happy to wander around a nearby park for the few hours it took to get everything settled. I had my phone with us (Z had left his at the house). And the family we rented the house from was AMAZING. They came and picked us up, offered us one of their cars, checked on us daily...we were so fortunate!

So. Adventure.

Anyways, we adjusted our expectations and were happy to be "stranded" in such a lovely home in beautiful Croatia. It was a great way to say "farewell" to our life and travels in Europe.

 Here are pictures from our trip, including a stop at Plitvice National Park (amazing!) 

It was so bizarre to see water just rushing through the forest seemingly out of nowhere

Some of the clearest water I've ever seen

Hike through the woods, come to a lake. Repeat.

The lack of guard rails made me very nervous. How American am I?

Beautiful falls and crystal clear water

Those trees are completely submerged. Couldn't get over it.

Waterfalls out of the trees.

Every night after we put Zoe down for bed, Zach and I sat out here with a glass of wine and watched the sunset and talked. It was my favorite part about the trip.

Water baby

Tippy toes and leg rolls and ruffles. Absolutely.

Makarska harbour

Who is this big kid?

I wish you could smell this market. I wanted to buy everything.

My favorite picture ever (those matching hats kill me)

Sunday, June 14, 2015


I've sat down at my computer about 100 times to write something, anything. But as with every task these days, I find myself a little bit paralyzed. So I stare. I browse. I research. I Google. I may even do a little online shopping (PS, Mom a, 5...packages are going to show up at your house. Sorry, I needed a mailing address in the interim. Thanks. Love you). I basically waste all of nap time and then I hear Zoe wake up and I close the computer and go squeeze that sweet baby. She is an excellent stress reliever/distraction. But then nothing actually gets done (including real, productive tasks, in addition to blog posts), so...I'll need to figure something out. Because Zach gave me a calendar with daily tasks to help keep us organized and stress-free as we navigate the myriad of logistics involved in moving overseas.

He emailed it to me with a very polite and business-like "Please note items in bold". To which I wanted to respond with "Am I getting paid overtime for this? What about 401k matching?"

I would definitely be fired by now if this was a business arrangement. Because my productivity is down. And my Netflix watching is way, way up. And my attitude is sub-par. Team player? Not me. I just feel like getting things done is too hard right now. Do you know what I mean?

I've been meaning to do a Zoe update, because she's precious and funny and I want to record her recent quirks because I don't want to forget the funny little things she's been doing and saying. I've been meaning to whine write about my traumatic wisdom teeth removal surgery ("No no, you don't need to be put to sleep" says the German oral surgeon. PS, 3 weeks later and I'm still on pain meds. That's normal, right?). I've been meaning to write about our trip to Croatia (our last hurrah *sob*). I've been meaning to post pictures. I've been meaning to tell the story of how Zach wrecked our rental car (everyone is ok. The stress took years off of our life, but otherwise, we're good). I've been meaning to write about our final days in Germany and our excitement about moving back amidst our sadness of leaving Europe. But when I start to delve into those things, I find my stomach starts to get a little bit queasy in that nervous, about-to-get-on-a-roller-coaster feeling. Either that, or I involuntarily tear up...and I'm not ready to go there, so that's an automatic close-the-computer cue.

Really, it's hard to pin down a certain feeling or thought right now. Zoe and I walked to the grocery store today (and got some goodies from the bakery, because our time to do that is limited) and I found myself thinking about how much I would miss that walk to and from the store multiple times each week. And then I got home and thought about how badly I wanted MooseTracks ice cream and how excited I was to get some when we get stateside. And that pretty much sums it minute I am fully immersed in a very European aspect of life and find myself grieving the impending end of those unique things that we've come to love about living in Germany...and the next minute I am giddy at the prospect of going back to so many things we've missed about living in the States (CHICK-FIL-A). It's emotional whiplash. It makes me hungry and tired.

Mostly it makes me unable to function in a normal, adult-y way. Normal adults would look at everything that needs to get done and say "Ok. Let's start doing them" I look at it and immediately implode into some weird, deer-in-headlights space where I am incapacitated and absolutely incapable of doing even the smallest task. Thank goodness Netflix autoplays the next episode, you know? Z will come home and I'll look at him and sigh deeply and say "I didn't get anything done today" to which he will respond "Hey! You did things today! You did so much! You returned that bathing suit. You got yogurt at the store!" and I feel equal parts suspicious of his upbeat encouragement and absolutely in love with his unyielding support.

So that's where we're at over here. In this weird transition purgatory that is equal parts calm and anxiety-ridden, excitement and dread.