exploring

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 38

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It’s been a rainy week. I think there was not one day without rain except today. Which would be okay with my normal working schedule, but I had a visitor staying at my house: Lydia! After we spent our days in New Orleans together, she went to visit our friend Nora in North Carolina, before she came up to Virginia on Tuesday.😊

Despite the weather, we had a really nice time, that we spent shopping, eating and taking pictures. (Yes, that’s pretty much all we did.) We had brunch with Marie on Tuesday, went shopping on Thursday, had Cheesecake on Friday and watched Mothersday Friday night. Saturday we slept in, went to my twins’ birthday party and continued to party (or more like eating cake and pizza) at Mina’s house, who finally turned 19 (why do I feel old, even though I’m just a year older?)

Only today (Sunday) that it was warmer again, we could finally go outside and make a little sightseeing tour in DC. We were joined by Vicci and we all had a lot of fun walking through the city and exploring things even we had not seen before.🙈

 

 

Also, on Thursday we got to see Captain America: Civil War, which was really good.😊

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Love, Kathi ❤️

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 ❤️

week 28

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The week started out with my host mum leaving for a work trip, which made me work pretty much the whole day. The boy’s grandfather came, to help, so it wasn’t as bad, but I like it better with my host mum home. (It is not fun to live with 5 men in a house.)

But Wednesday she was back and it all worked out perfectly fine.:)

As always the week wasn’t too exciting and we needed to wait 5 long days for the weekend to finally come.

Friday I was off early and instead of cleaning up my room and doing some organizing, I accidentally took a 3 hour nap and when I got up again, it was already time to go to the airport.

Not to catch a flight this time, though. This time it was to pick someone up. One of the people I haven’t seen in 9 months!

MY SISTER.❤️

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I was so excited and happy to finally have her here again.:)

As she arrived very late, we just went to bed pretty soon, to be able to get up early in the morning.

Saturday morning, we packed the car and drove down to the Virginia Aquarium. We spent a couple hours there before we went to check in in our hotel.

We had a oceanfront room and it was all really neat.

In the evening we went for a little walk on the waterfront, before we had dinner at the attached restaurant of the hotel. where we got fancy food and Jamie even bought me a piece of cake, that was brought by someone singing happy birthday to me. It is not really my birthday yet, but no one really cares about that. As soon as it is only a couple days away.

Afterwards we enjoyed the hot water in the inside and outside pool (yes, we got to swim outside at 3 degrees!)

It powered everyone out, so when we got to bed this night, we were really happy and really tired.:)IMG_3503

 

So we went to bed right away, just to wake up this morning to a beautiful sunrise! It was so beautiful to see the sun rise over the ocean.

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When everyone was ready to go, we went to get breakfast and drove to the boat afterwards, that would be our tour vehicle today.

We drove out for about an hour before we got to see the first whale!

There were a couple Humpback whales swimming around looking for food, so we watched them a  little bit 🙂

 

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Afterwards we went to the Virginia Living Museum, which is a really neat place with only indigenous animals. The kids had a really good time there and it was very interesting 🙂

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We had dinner at my host mum’s sister’s house, where we got to know the new au pair who is a really nice danish girl 🙂

When we finally got home again, we were super tired but also very happy to got to experience another amazing weekend!

I’m so happy my sister is here and I hope the next weekends will be as good as this one was 🙂

 

Love, Kathi ❤️

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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 ❤️