2015

week 39/40 Cali/New York

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It’s been 2 crazy weeks a´with a whole lot of new impressions and a lot of lovely people around me.☺️

Monday morning, I needed to say goodbye to Lydia, who had been staying with me for almost a week, who’s journey went on towards Philadelphia and Chicago. But it didn’t take too long (just the normal working day), until we had another guest in the house. one of my best friends, Hanna, (most of you may know her), had come to visit me for a little more than 2 weeks (yes, she is still here☺️). We had planned to go on a little vacation together, so Wednesday night, we got into our plane and flew all the way across the country, where we landed in LA, in beautiful California. We stayed with a couch surfing host in San Pedro, about an hour away from downtown, who was really nice and flexible.

The first 3 days we spent exploring in LA. We went downtown, to Hollywood, took a walk up towards the Griffith Observatory, drove to Beverly Hills, walked through the pretty (and REALLY expensive) shopping streets, saw the famous Santa Monica Pier, walked down to Venice Beach with it’s cute little stores, had some In’n’out Burger (not as good as everyone says!), went to Long Beach, got really sunburned, ate a lot of food, and took even more pictures ☺️

Saturday night we caught a bus to San Francisco, drove the whole night, arrived there without any sleep early in the morning and went for a good breakfast first. We walked around the town, saw the fisherman’s wharves, walked up to Lombardi street, took the famous cable car, climbed all the way up to the Coit tower (but didn’t go up, the line was huge!), took a bus to the painted ladies, went on to the beach, got back to downtown, because the beach was too cold and windy, grabbed dinner at California Pizza Kitchen (Not as good as at the east coast!) and met with our couch surfer there, to just go to bed and sleep after a long and exhausting day. The next morning, we grabbed some coffee and a little snack, before we went to the one spot that no one in San Francisco should ever miss! The Golden Gate Bridge!

Standing in front of it seems a little unreal, because we’ve seen it in pictures and drawings and books, but going in all these cities in the US and visiting all their famous sights, sometimes seems to be surreal and you can’t really believe it.

We took a lot of pictures, and decided, to walk all the way to the other side, to also get a great view of the bridge and the San Francisco skyline. From there we took an Uber to go to a place called ‘Hippie Tree’. I had only seen pictures and we didn’t really know, what to expect, but arriving at the top of the hill, we found a huge tree with a swing on it and an incredible view over the bridge and the city. From there we took a ferry back to downtown and went a little shopping because we still had time until our bus back to LA left again.

After a long and restless night in the bus, we arrived in LA super early and made our way to Inglewood, where we met Louisa and Magda, friends from back home, in their hostel. We took a cab to Venice Beach again, had breakfast and caught up about our adventures from the last year. we spent the day walking up towards Santa Monica, doing some shopping, watching the sunset at the beach and having a nice dinner there.

Back in San Pedro, we spent the last time with our couch surfer John, who was an amazing host! ☺️

And then it was Wednesday already, our last day in the sunny state. We brought all of our stuff to Louisa’s and Magda’s hostel, because it was close to the airport, drove all together to Hollywood, where we had dinner and walked down part of the Walk of Fame, before we drove downtown again, where we found some great spots to take pictures and also a really cute store. As the time went by, we headed back to the hostel, ordered some pizza and off we went to the airport, to fly back, across the country to DC.

We arrived at home around 7, had a typically crazy morning with my host family, did some laundry, unpacked our bags, packed again, and left around 10 to get to DC for our Bus to New York.

Arriving there, Lydia was already awaiting us at the Bus Terminal. Because we couldn’t go to our couch surfer right away, we went to Times Square (What else to do in New York? 🙈)

We had some struggles with our couch surfer, but had a roof over our heads during the night. So the next morning, we packed all of our stuff again, arranged some other place to sleep, stored our luggage at the train station and went on with our touristy sightseeing trip. We visited the 9/11 Memorial, which is always beautifully sad. I think they did a good job with putting up the two pools with all the names on the edges and the water falling down at the exact same place where the twin towers had been standing.

We went on to the Brooklyn Bridge and even crossed it (first time for me!), had some coffee in Brooklyn and took the subway back uptown. We had dinner, walked a little through midtown, picked up our stuff and made our way to our new host. Who kicked us out the next day again (We got really lucky with shitty hosts in ny.🙈). But before we got his message around 7pm, we had breakfast, went to central park, met Marie and her friend, took pictures, got some coffee and went shopping.

Then it took us another 2 hours to find another host for the night, we found one while we were trying to get food, so we just took the pizza out, met with our new and final host, had dinner on his rooftop with a beautiful view of the city and finally went to bed.

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We spent our last day having some delicious Sunday’s brunch, saying goodbye to Lydia, doing some last minute shopping and finally getting into the bus to make it all the way to Ashburn again, which took us about 7 hours today.

Here we are now, totally exhausted from all the impressions we got and things we saw, so we’re just gonna sleep and not think about all the work that needs to be done tomorrow and pretty much every day after that.

Have a good start in your week!

Love, Kathi ❤️

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week 30 / Toronto / Niagara Falls

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SUMMER IS BACK! 😍

The Friday before, it was snowing. SNOWING! And then the new week came in and suddenly it got really warm. And that’s great!

 

But, because I’m good at that, when it’s best, I leave.

So on Friday afternoon, when I was done working, Alex dropped me and Marie off at the airport and there we went, to the cold again.

Our destination: TORONTO.

Where we met with Hanna and Chris again. We went out for some drinks on Friday night which was really nice.

Saturday morning, after we had breakfast in our hostel, we walked through Toronto, to see something of the city.

It was really nice and since the sun was shining it didn’t feel too cold.:)

 

For the afternoon there was another thing on our schedule. It was time to finally check some more things on my bucket list.

So we drove all the way to the Niagara Falls!

The falls are stunning and I am so glad we got to watch them from the Canadian side!

 

Afterwards we went to have some fancy dinner, which was really delicious (and expensive.)🙈

Before we drove back to Toronto, to get some more drinks, we went back to the falls one more time, to also see them when they are illuminated at night.:)

 

Back in Toronto, we endet our time together in a small pub, enjoying the legal alcohol one more time. (Yes, we miss it. A LOT!)

After breakfast on Sunday, it was time to leave again, so Hanna and Chris dropped us off at the airport and home we went.

I am glad I got to meet my sister again, so far away from our home and we all had a good time 🙂

I spent my afternoon in my bed (that’s what Sunday’s are for, right?) and talked to some of my favorite people back home. (okay, not exactly back home. Ukrainian home.)

I hope you’re all fine and since Summertime already started last night, I hope everyone has a great summer!

 

Love, Kathi ❤️

week 29

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It’s been a busy week.

While I was working my normal hours, my sister wanted to get active, we came up with some things to do 😊

Monday we picked up Marie and went to the Arlington Cemetery, which is a huge Army National Military Cemetery.

 

Afterwards we went to Alexandria, a sweet little town south of DC, where we spent a couple hours, visited the harbor and had some Italian lunch. (TIP: never eat Italian in the US.)

 

On Tuesday, the boys had no school, because of the pre elections, and my host mum stayed home to give me the day off. I’m finally 20 now! It was my birthday, but since it was a Tuesday and all of my friends needed to work, we just skyped with our parents and went shopping afterwards. My host mum took us all out for dinner at a Hibachi place and  Daleen and Marie stopped by in the evening for a couple minutes and that was that.

 

Wednesday we stayed home and in bed until the boys got home from school and I worked my normal hours again.

On Thursday, things got a little stressy.

We went to Great Falls Park in the morning to do a little hike (or maybe more like a long walk), got lunch and picked up the boys afterwards. When we got home, I dropped them all up and made sure they started their homework, before I got in the car again to go and pick up Chris, Hanna’s boyfriend. When we got home late, I had forgotten to make dinner and it was all a little messy, but we all managed to go through everything and put the boys to bed, before we all went to bed ourselves.😃

On Friday, Hanna and Chris went to DC alone, because I didn’t have the time while the boys were in school and in the evening we had some delicious cheesecake, that my host mum made for my birthday 🙂

On Saturday we went to DC again. I had a Museum class and since both of them are interested in different things, they also went to museums.

After lunch at Vapiano, we drove to a mall, did a little shopping and had dinner at the Cheescake factory 😊

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On Sunday, we finally made it to Baltimore! I tried a couple times to go there before, but it never really worked out, but now it did.

We took an early bus to be there before noon, walked around a little bit, saw the inner Harbor and Little Italy, had some fantastic BBQ for lunch, met Daleen and one of her friends for a bit, spent some times in Barnes and Nobles and went for coffee, before we made our way home again 😊

 

All in all it has been a great week! 😊

 

Love, Kathi ❤️

19th week / christmas / New York

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Merry Christmas, everyone!

The boys have been out of school the whole week because of Christmas break, so we spent a lot of time on the playgrounds around and cleaning up the house.

During the week, we saw, that the weather in Virginia Beach would be really good on Christmas Eve, so on the 24th, we got up really early and drove all the way down to the beach, where we spent an amazing day and even got to go into the water, while so many people where already celebrating Christmas. We spent the whole afternoon at the beach, had some pizza afterwards and some Ben and Jerry’s and then took a drive on the boardwalk to see the lights on the beach.😊 It was an incredible day.😍

On Christmas Day, the boys were awake super early, because Santa had decided to stop by and left some presents under the Christmas Tree. Or maybe more than some.😉

It was a huge mess while they all unwrapped the thousands of presents that they got. I guess, they didn’t really get to appreciate everything they got because it was just so much. So when they got my presents, for them it was more like ‘just another present’, which was a little disappointing. But I guess that’s just another cultural thing. Or maybe it’s even a generation thing. Who knows.

The boy’s grandparents came over for dinner (or more like a late lunch) and we had some delicious food and of course, some more presents. (even I got a pretty bracelet from them 😊 )

In the evening, I packed my things for the weekend, picked up Marie and we went off to New York, where we arrived around 4:30am, which was not the best time, but we’re Au Pairs. We choose the cheapest ways.😉

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So we were in this huge city, in the night after Christmas Day and there is nothing to do. NOTHING. And no one. I’ve never seen the Times Square so empty. So we went to get a coffee, took a walk to Central Park, left it again, because there were too many dogs without lieges and Marie had to protect me too many times already. We made a little stop at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, to sit on the steps just like Blair Waldorf would do it, went on to Nate Archibald’s house and walked down Madison Avenue.😊

We crossed Central Park again to get to the Hotel Empire, where we had a longer break for breakfast and coffee and charging our phones.😊

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me in my new christmas sweater 😀

We talked to a few people there, but they also didn’t know what we could do, so we just walked down the streets, stopped at a few stores without buying anything and made our way towards our hostel where we were able to check in at 3pm. We stopped on our way to get a quick meal at McDonalds (yes, we’re poor, we eat fast food) and managed to be at our hostel around 3:15. Our phones reported 30.000 steps. We were super tired, so we went to our rooms and took a nap (or at least I took one 😃). We only left the room to get some drinks and dinner, before we really went to bed and slept until the next morning. It was loud outside the whole night, but we stayed in 30th street/ 3rd Ave, so there was nothing to complain about 😃

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pretty much our view from the front of our hostel.:) 

The next day, we decided to take the subway down to the Brooklyn bridge, where we couldn’t see much because of some heavy fog that was hanging all over the city. So we just took a quick picture and headed towards the 9/11 Memorial, which is a really impressive and emotional place.

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Afterwards we had some more Starbucks with our breakfast and took the subway uptown again. We did a little shopping, went to the Rockefeller Center to look at the Christmas tree, which wasn’t as big as we expected and made our way back towards Times Square, which was way too full now.🙉

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We stopped at a Diner to get some lunch and then it was already time to go  back to the Bus Terminal, to take our bus back home again.

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We didn’t do much in the city this weekend, but I still had an amazing time 😊

 

I hope you all had happy holidays!

Love, Kathi ❤️

18th week.

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I feel like I should talk about cool stuff that I am experiencing here, but to be honest, I don’t right now, my life is as boring as everybody else’s. No big travels, no adventures, just hanging around with friends. That’ll change again soon, hopefully, but by now I am perfectly fine with this 🙂

Friday night we went to Rebounderz again, which was exhausting as always, but the pizza is totally worth it.😃

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we went to Rabea’s afterwards, just to stay there until Sunday (as always). We spent Saturday with sleeping, Target, Chick Fil A, watching movies and eating. In the evening Rabea needed to babysit a little bit because her host parents went out for a movie, so we fed her kid and went with it on a walk to watch some crazy houses in the neighborhood, before Rabea brought him to bed and we spend some time playing Phase 10. Which is fun. Until you lose. But we will probably do that again.🙉

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Sunday we slept in, had some delicious Quiche for breakfast, picked up Vicci, went shoe shopping, went out for dinner, drove home. I lost my phone and my debit card during the day, got everything back, but things like that make me thing how I can be responsible for 3 kids every single day if I can’t even keep track of a phone. I guess when it comes to clumsyness, I have not changed a single bit since I am here.🙉😂

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Oh, and we also had tickets for the Star Wars premiere on Thursday night, so we went to watch that, which was great! I am not a huge fan of the Star Wars movies, but this one is definitely worth watching 🙂

 

On Friday, the boys also had  christmas parties in their classes where my host mum and I went to, of course not without accessories.☺️

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And that was pretty much it for this week.😃

Hope everyone is doing fine and no one goes crazy about late christmas shopping. Take your time guys, we still have 4 days.😃

Love, Kathi ❤️

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16th week

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Normal week, not much to tell..

We spent the weekend at Rabea’s (once again) and we I had a great time with the people I can call my friends here 😊

On Friday, Marie, Vicci and I met up to grab some dinner in a little Italian space, which was really nice 🙂

We got some Bruschetta, I also had a Minestrone and a nice Lasagna 😊

It was not the best, but totally okay and a nice dinner 😊

Since Rabea wasn’t home yet when we showed up at her house, her host dad took us on a little ride in their new TESLA  S ! I need to admit, I am totally in love with this car, so I was thrilled about it 🙈😍

We didn’t do much afterwards than going to bed because we were too tired from working the whole week…

Saturday morning we went to DC, to see the christmas market, which was different than a German one, but it was okay. We found a nice German couple who had some ‘Glühwein’, of course without alcohol, because you’re not allowed to drink in public. So we looked at all the little huts (or tents in that case) and had a nice time 😊

Before we went to the mall to get some food and watch Mockingly part 2 (again), we found out that Rabea’s host parents came to DC, too and were at her host mum’s office, which gives you a great view over the city. So we went there and got on top of the building and it was really amazing! we had a great view over to the Washington Monument, the White House (we even spottet the snipers on top of it🙉) and the whole city 😊

 

We spent the afternoon shopping in Target and the Tysons Corner Center (even though we didn’t really buy much, we’re all too broke), we got some dinner at California Pizza Kitchen (which is always delicious!😍)

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Gib eine Beschriftung ein

and went to the movies once again because Rabea hadn’t seen it yet and we didn’t have quite the best places the first time.

 

When we came back, we had a little chat with Rabea’s host parents and went upstairs, just to sit there for another 3 hours and talk about our lives. and everything else that came to our minds 🙈

After only a short night we were wide awake the next morning (haha just kidding, we were not, even though we had the possibility to sleep in). After getting all ready, we had some Potato Pancakes with Apple Sauce for breakfast (or lunch) and went off to go to Tysons’ again. We took some pictures in a photo booth and got some food, before Rabea and Vicci said goodbye and Marie and I enjoyed our new love to fake fur coats in some of the many stores they have. Even though we didn’t have any money to spent, we had a great time! 😊

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Around 5 we left to go to my cluster meeting in Reston, not without getting a froyo 🙂 🙈

We met with a few girls, that are going to join my group and had a nice time ice skating 😊

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Afterwards I picked up Alex, who just came home from New York, I dropped her off at her home, went home myself, put my boys in bed and was finally able to fall in my own bed again.😍

I do love spending weekends with my friends and I love them for being here 🙂 And I also love to be able to have a place called my home here, where I am happy to come after the weekend, to start in a new week.😊

 

Love, Kathi ❤️

15th week / Thanksgiving / Philly

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(week 15 again, because I missed 13 and I won’t change that.🙈)

I’m sorry to be late, but here they are, last week’s adventures!

Another week that didn’t go as usual ones. The boys had school on Monday and Tuesday, but were off on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday because of Thanksgiving break.

So Thursday we stayed home, spent 4 hours in the play room, to get it cleaned up, which seemed impossible, but we did it!☺️

After lunch we got everything else to not look like a huge mess anymore and we already started cooking for the next day. My host mum and I spent about 6 hours in the kitchen, tried to get all the meals prepared, made a big mess, cleaned it up again. Made another mess, cleaned it up again, went to bed. Then we got up again at 8am to get everything ready. We were in a good mood, listened to music, sang along, cooked and cooked, went to the store to do some last minute grocery shopping for the things we were out of, set the tables, cooked some more and made it to be done just in time!

The boys’ aunt came with her husband and 4 of their kids and their au pair, they brought some appetizers and pies and we all had a great dinner together 😊

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all the meals 🙂
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all the meals 🙂

 

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all the meals 🙂
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all done 🙂
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all the meals 🙂

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Afterwards, we cleaned up, the kids were playing (and making a new mess in the play room), and Julia (the other au pair) and I relaxed in my room. She will come to the cruise with us, which makes me really happy! (even though she will be working, I think we will have a great time 😊 )

On Friday I worked. Yes, it was Black Friday and the whole country was going crazy about some huge shopping deals, but the boys needed to be entertained, so we spent the day on the playground, had some left over lunch, went outside again, played some games and I was off at 5.

As my German friend Nora was in town and we had made some plans, I went to pick her up at the Metro station, we did a little shopping (but not too much, we both were too broke). We drove home, had some pizza, and tried to get a little sleep (which didn’t work out so well) and headed out again around 1am, to drive to DC, where we walked towards the Union Station, where our bus to Philadelphia departed at 3:50am. So we spend 3.5 hours in that bus, whose uncomfortable seats made it nearly impossible to sleep and we arrived with a beatiful sunrise in Philadelphia at 7:30.☺️

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We went to the reading terminal market, where we had a great breakfast and some coffee to wake up.😊

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French toast 🙂

Then we decided (just like on my first trip to Philly), to rent bikes, which makes sightseeing way easier than walking around everywhere 😃

So we spent about 2.5 hours riding from one end of the town to the other, stopping at some sightseeing spots, seeing beautiful places and getting a lot of exercise 😃

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We gave the bikes back, went to the Rocky Steps and accidentally went to the Museum of Arts (We just wanted to use the bathrooms, but they were inside the museum and we didn’t realize that until we were there, so we took a little round in there, too)

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Afterwards we went to a cute little sandwich store, where we had a little snack.

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To protect our feet, we took an Uber to the magic Gardens, which were really cool (even though they were smaller than expected).

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Afterwards we pretty much ran out of things to do…

Someone told us, the lightshow at Macy’s would be really good, so we went there, waited almost an hour for the show (it’s Macy’s. waiting there doesn’t get too boring). The show was 10 minutes long and all they did was lighting some characters and played some music along. Not what we expected, but okay.😊

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As it was dark already, we went to our last spot, the Christmas Market, where we found many nice huts, just like on German ones. There were even some German people selling their things.:) We got really excited about how neat everything looks (even though they also had huts with phone cases and other stuff that doesn’t belong on christmas markets). We may have been a little too excited, because when we ordered some food (Currywurst and German Homemade Potato Pancakes🙈), we got deeply disappointed. That was definitely not German food and it took us back to reality. We do miss German food. And you don’t get that anywhere else than in Germany itself.

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guess, how much I payed for ‘Currywurst’ and ‘Potato Pancakes’ 😀

After that experience, it was already after 7 and we made our way back to the bus station, where we were happy to be able to sit down and take a little nap in the bus. We arrived in DC around 11, said goodbye to each other and I was home in my bed around 1:30, just to sleep about 12 hours and be in bed the whole Sunday (with a little Skype session to Ukraine!)

Thank you so much for that fun day, Nora! I hope we’ll see each other again during our year here 😊 ❤️

And we also already started with the decoration of the house (Well, the stockings are up and the Elf on the Shelf is wandering around to watch the boys to report to Santa if they deserve their presents or not😉)

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There are crazy people out there who are already set up for Christmas and decorated every piece of their property 🙈

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Also a huge thanks to my mum and my host mum, I got 2 advents calendars this year, even though the one from back home might me slightly better 😉

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All in all I had another amazing week and I am already excited about what’s gonna happen next 😊

 

Love, Kathi ❤️