summer

Semester break / March/April

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We’re traveling to get out of our daily routines. To find happiness in adventurous places we’ve never seen before. Many people do so. And even if I’m happy with my life, traveling will always make it better. It doesn’t matter how far we go and for how long. It only matters that you go somewhere new and either take people you love or meet people you never would’ve talked to if you’d crossed paths somewhere else. Sometimes even both.  😊

So after the weekend we were in the Netherlands at the beach, I drove up to Paderborn, just to spend a few days home, since I can’t handle living with my parents for too long. I enjoyed the days in my own apartment and I once again was positively surprised that this city really feels like home, even after I’ve only lived there for about half a year.  I met some of my friends and we enjoyed the spring weather outside 😊

On Sunday, I drove back and brought Eva and Lennart to Trier with me, so they could get a picture of the beautiful city I always talk about.

We spent a whole day exploring Trier, walked from one Roman building to another and grilled for the first time this season! On Tuesday we drove to Luxembourg and spend the day exploring. On Wednesday they took the train home again, not without promising me to be back!  😊

 

And since that wasn’t enough adventure and exploring, My sister, my mom, my mom’s best friend and I packed our stuff, took a train and ended up in Dresden, where we spent 3 days of sightseeing and a day of hiking in the area of the Elbe Sandstone Highlands (Nationalpark in Saxony and the North Bohemian region). It’s been a great time and I’m glad I’ve finally made it to the eastern part of Germany. It was a shame I’ve traveled that much last year but I haven’t even seen all these beautiful regions of my own country. 😊

We got back yesterday and I’ll spend a few more days and the Easter weekend in Trier before uni starts again next week and we’ll be trying to get smarter once again.🙈

Until then,

Love, Kathi ❤️

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I’m back home!

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I spent my last days in the US with the people I was closest to the whole year. My hostfamily and my girls 🙂

We went for last dinners, last shopping, last visits and last conversations before we’re gonna see us again. Some in a couple weeks, some in a year, my hostfamily hopefully in 2 years when I go back to visit.

Monday, July 11th, was the day. I had my suitcases packed, cleaned my room out, had thrown away junks full of trash and was ready to go home. My hostfamily dropped me off at the airport, I checked in, got through security and was on my own. Exactly like year before. Waiting for 3 hours until the flight is gonna go. Drinking a last Java Chip Frappuccino. Finding out the flight is gonna be half an hour late. Having another Starbucks Coffee. Finally getting into the plane, where everyone already speaks German and everyone is excited. I’m excited, but also confused and not really realizing, that my year is now officially over. I am looking forward to going back and seeing my family again, my friends, my hometown.. But I also know that I am gonna miss this. Living with people that became my family during the year, the people I trust and the people I was able to talk about everything and everyone. We went on vacations together, had our crisis, worked together and simply lived together. It is weird giving this up.

But here I am, in the plane, still answering in English when people talk to me.

I’m landing at 5 in the morning and am out of the exit with my suitcases about 20 minutes later, where Hanna is already waiting for me ☺️ She got up at 3am just to come and pick me up. 🙈☺️

It’s good to be back.

Back in my hometown we do some sightseeing (haha🙈) and have some brunch. Meet another one of my friends for a couple minutes, stroll through the city, pick up my brother after school, surprise my daddy at work and are at my house right before my mom gets home. She is surprised, but happy, of course, when she sees me.:)

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Since then, the weeks have been flying by.

I went to see my sister in Ludwigsburg and we visited Stuttgart together, I visited my friend David in Karlsruhe and met Luzi, the girl I met at my Rocky Mountain Tour, again.

I went out with friends, enjoyed beeing able to drink beer and wine again, got back together with my boyfriend Jonas, and spent some qualitytime with my family.

Right now I am waiting for feedback from Universities, hoping that someone takes me. If not, I will probably staying in Trier for at least the next year, to start studying here.

I guess that’s it. My au pair adventure is officially over now. Life goes on and what stays are memories of an amazing year, where I got to travel, live with an amazing family and made some really good friends!

Even though it also was a tough year, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!

 

Love, Kathi ❤️

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47 Yellowstone Nationalpark 

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My hostfamily left Friday morning to go to their grandparents’ house for the weekend, so I started packing, hung out with Marie for a bit, emptied out half of my room already, packed my bag for the next week and went to bed pretty early, to get up early and catch my flight at 7 in the morning.

Destination: SALT LAKE CITY.

Layover: Denver, 4 hours.

It took me 14 hours to get from my house to the hotel in SLC I was gonna stay in for that night. After some trouble with my shuttle to the hotel, I finally made it and got to know the tour guide of the tour I had booked (Not Chinese, thanks god!🙈) He was, besides to other man who were there with their Chinese families, the only white person in the bus. Everybody else was Chinese or Taiwanese. But I knew this was gonna happen, so it didn’t surprise me ✌️

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The next morning, we took off at 6am (or more 6:15, since Chinese people are apparently not good with punctuality 😫)
Our first day we drove north out of Utah and all the way towards the north of Wyoming where we spent our time visiting  Jackson hole, where we had dinner, Grand Teton National Park, the most regular geyser in the US Old Faithful, where we got on time to see it’s eruption,  Grand Prismatic (more geysers 🙈), Fountain Paint Pots and we stayed the night in a Hotel in West Yellowstone, Montana.

Antlers Arch in Jackson Hole


On Monday, which was also Independence Day in the US, we went to another geyser basin called Norris, then went on to Artist Point, which is a overlook over beautiful waterfalls within yellow stones (which is why the Nationalpark is called Yellowstone). Afterwards we went to a Mud Volcano, which is exactly what it’s called. A geyser that erupts all the time and covers its surroundings with mud.

From there we drove to Steamboat Point, where you have a great look over Lake Yellowstone, the biggest lake in the Nationalpark, followed by Wyoming Overlook, where you could see many many miles of Wyoming’s beautiful countryside. Monday night we stayed in Gillette, where we stayed in a beautiful little hotel ☺️

Norris 
Artist Point in Yellowstone

Lake Yellowstone 

Wyoming Overlook
Arbuckle Lodge Gillette

 

On day 3 we went to the most famous sights of the tour: Devil’s Tower, Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.

Devil’s Tower was America’s first National Monument and is a laccolithic butte composed of igneous rock in the Bear Lodge Mountains.

 

Devil’s Tower


Mount Rushmore is a massive sculpture carved into the mountain showing the 4 presidents and founding fathers Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Theodore Rosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

 


Crazy Horse is another sculpture that is being carved in stone (since almost 70 years) which will show the Oglala Lakota warrior Crazy Horse, when it is finished.

 

Crazy Horse in Construction
Scale Model of Crazy Horse


Day 4 and the last day of our tour we climbed Independence Rock, a rock where Mormons, when they were on their way to find new land for themselves, stopped at Independence Day to celebrate and carved their names into it.

 

 

Independence Rock

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On our way back to Salt Lake City we stopped at the Olympic Park in Park City, where the Winter Olympics happened in 2002. It is a great recreation center now where you can do all kinds of sports and activities.

 


In Salt Lake City we visited the Capitol building, saw the Mormon Temple on Temple Square and saw the Great Salt Lake, the reason why the city got its name. We ended our tour at the hotel we stayed in the first night and a shuttle took me back at the airport, where I got on my plane to Denver, hung out there for about 2 hours and took one last plane back home, where the baby girl in front of me cried for about 2 hours, so when I arrived at 5:15am, I had not slept a minute 😫 But my boys are not home so I got plenty of time to just fall in my bed and stay there for a couple hours ☺️

 

Capitol Building of Utah

Great Salt Lake

Sunset on my way to Denver


It’s been an amazing couple days and I am so glad I got to experience it! ☺️

 

I’ll be home for another 5 days now before I will have to say goodbye to the US and hop on to a plane back to Germany again.

See you soon! 🙂

Love, Kathi ❤️

week 43/44/45

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Summer has started and everything and nothing is happening.😊

We went indoor skydiving, watched me before you, had my oldest’s birthday party (2 weeks early), went to the pride festival in DC, saw Melanie Martinez, Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor live.

Celebrated my oldest’s graduation from elementary school and the beginning of summer, went to the pool a lot, had a girls’ night, watched me before you, watched now you see me, went to see Finding Dory.

Had day camp where I helped out, shot some arrows with bows, shot some BB’s, learned something about medicine, tried not to die in all the thunder storms and tornado warning (don’t worry, we all made it), played some soccer, watched some soccer, went to the pool, went out for brunch, tried to not spend money, met for ice cream, watched another movie, went to parks, went out for dinner, spent time resting, went for walks, and again to the pool.

Days are long but with not so much stress. 4 days until my next vacation and 14 to the last plane that I’m gonna take in this adventure. 15 days until I’m landing in Germany and need to go back to my old life. 15 days that couldn’t be any slower and a whole year that is over and went flying away. It’s a weird stage and it’s gonna be hard to leave, but good to be home 😊

Love, Kathi ❤️

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week 41/42 / Virginia beach

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The week that Hanna was still here, we spent with shopping, picnics, planes starting over our heads and finally some sleeping, after we hadn’t had slept in during our whole vacation.🙈

We had some nice last couple days and I am really glad she got to come here and spent time with me 🙂

We also needed to say goodbye to our beloved friend Rabea, whose year (or 2)  as an au pair is finished here and she’s going back to Germany. We already miss her and we’re glad that we spent so much time together and will definitely see her again as soon as possible!

After I had dropped her off at the airport and spent the first time alone in my bed again since over a month(!) (since Lydia and Hanna were here right after each other), we packed our stuff on Friday again and went off to go on another vacation (or more like a weekend trip🙈).

My host mum and me picked up the boys right after school and hit the road towards Virginia Beach! We had planned to go camping for the next three days. Let’s see how that turned out:

We got there late at night and needed to set up the tent in the dark, which wasn’t that easy, since American people, whenever they go camping, they don’t just bring air mattresses and a tent. We have a 8-person tent (for the 5 of us) and brought bunkbeds. (yes, you heard right: BUNKBEDS.) Since we got not really lucky with our neighbors, the campground service people moved us somewhere else while we spent the day at the beach, ate pizza and spend the evening at the pool on the campground.

For Sunday there was a tropical storm predicted, so we packed up our stuff, booked a hotel for the night, spend the morning at the beach, the afternoon at the Virginia Aquarium and headed to Newport News that night, where we finally had a comfortable bed again.🙈

When we woke up on Monday morning, Memorial Day, we went for breakfast, spent some time at the Virginia Living Museum and had dinner with my host mum’s sister and her family in Richmond.

We got home late, after a fun, but really exhausting weekend.

Since it was Memorial weekend, the pool season has officially started! We spent a few afternoons this weeks there, since the boys don’t have a lot of homework anymore.

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Summer is finally here! 

We didn’t do much this weekend, though. I was sick on Friday and spent the whole day in bed. On Saturday I had one last cluster meeting and spent about 7 hours a mall with Marie, before we went (once again) to Rabea’s host family’s house, to get to know the new au pair better and see her little host kid again and talk to her host parents, and make sure, that we are still welcome there 🙈

I worked Sunday (the disadvantages of being an au pair) and skyped with some of my loves at home (or in Ukraine).

I guess the next few weeks are not gonna be too exciting, even though they are my last ones. The days that I have left are counted and I can’t wait to finally be back in Germany!

37 more days and I will leave my home here to return to my actual life and home and need to worry about where to go and what to do with my future 😃

But until then, there’s a pool waiting for me and a lot of sunny days here in Virginia 🙂

Love, Kathi ❤️

week 36/37 / New Orleans

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Another weekend I spent at home!

But I also finally got to finish my classes on Saturday when Marie and I went to the Air and Space Museum. Last class! 😊

The rest of the day we went hiking with Rabea and Damien in great falls, which was kinda nice and had dinner at Clare and Don’s 🙂

Sunday I met Mina for lunch (after we went to a flea market that pretty much didn’t exist 😃), and had a cluster meeting afterwards. We went to a weird Museum and had some coffee afterwards.

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And then, finally, Monday came and Tuesday came and after I had worked the morning, Marie picked me up, we had lunch and she dropped me off at the Metro station and there I went into a new adventure!

My flight should’ve left at 7:15pm, but we actually started a couple hours later…😫

So it was past midnight, when I finally got to New Orleans where my dear friend Lydia was already waiting for me.

We met our couch surfer in town and went back to his house where he wrote down everything we should definitely do during our stay, before we all went to sleep.

Wednesday morning, we walked to a cute cafe to have breakfast (yes, you can actually walk places down there!🙈)

We walked through the Garden District, visited one of the famous cemeteries, took the St Charles Street Car and ended up in the French Quarter with its beautiful houses and stores and all the crazy stores and bars and live music everywhere! It was really nice, at least until it started pouring rain and we were kinda forced to sit in a café for a little over an hour. Afterwards we went by the Mississippi a little bit and made our way back to the house, which was uptown.

When Robert (the couch surf guy) came home from work, we went out for dinner with him and his friend to a really good sea food restaurant (what else would we eat in New Orleans) and we went to the famous Cafe du Mond afterwards. We had a really nice time! 😊

On Thursday, we went to whole foods to buy some breakfast and found some really good bread! Then we didn’t really have a plan and because it was rainy and kinda cold, we went to the french quarter again, sat in a cafe, went through a couple stores, and went shopping afterwards, because we were so wet. In new shoes and jackets we went home and cooked some dinner ourselves to save some money and hung out with Robert again.😊

On Friday, our last day, we went to the Jazz and Heritage Festival, which is one of the big festivals in New Orleans, that everyone said we shouldn’t miss!

It was a lot different than the Festivals where I have been before and the music was kinda different than we had expected, but we had a great day! It was warm and sunny the whole day (I got really sunburned😫) and there were people everywhere and the food was good and in the end we got to see Paul Simon, who was really good 😊 (and pretty much the only person we had heard of before)

We spent the rest of the evening (jazz fest ended at 7🙈)  at home, watching movies, eating and packing our stuff and that was already the end of our vacation! 😔

On Saturday morning I got up around 5 and it was time to say goodbye already. My Uber driver (who was really funny and really southern) dropped me off at the airport and back I flew to Virginia again.

I was back around 2 and went out for lunch and some shopping with Daleen, before I really had the chance to get in my bed and sleep. Which I also did pretty much the whole Sunday.🙈

New Orleans has been a great city and everybody who ever gets the chance, should definitely go there!

And I can’t wait to have Lydia over at my house for the next week ☺️

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Love, Kathi ❤️

4th week, daily routine

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Mornings are always stressy. ‘Brush your teeth!’ ‘Put on your shoes!’ ‘Don’t forget your bottles!’ ‘Go and brush your teeth!’ (Yes, it’s twice. Yes, I need to say everything twice. Or three times. Sometimes 5 times.)

‘How was school, did you learn anything?’ ‘It was okay. We didn’t learn anything.’ Same conversation everyday. Then the talks about poisonous animals and pet lizards they want to have. (No, I don’t know who came up with that idea. I needed to google lizards, to find out, what it is.)

‘Come on, do your homework!’ ‘Sit at the table and do your homework!’ ‘Why are you in the kitchen? Start doing your homework!’

‘ I don’t eat that.’ ‘Why did you put this in it?’ ‘Can’t we just have Mac n Cheese?’ ‘Do I need to eat the vegetables?’ ‘Can I go and watch TV now?’

Things that happen everyday. Always.

Daily routine is coming. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I don’t know. On some days it’s good, I know exactly what to do, nothing really changes during the week, except when I get a call to take one of the boys to the ER, because his stomach hurts so bad, he can’t stay in school. Don’t worry, it was not as bad as it seemed, first thing he did in the hospital was turning on the TV.

But sometimes I’m afraid it could get boring. Everyday the same. Every day the same fights about the same meaningless things. Everyday the same problems with doing their homework. Every day the same comments about the food, what they had in their lunch boxes, what they don’t like…

But when they come at night, just before they go to bed, hug me and tell me, that they love me, then I know, that this year is gonna be exhausting as sh***, but it’s gonna be totally worth it. Because no matter how hard or boring or exhausting it can be, at the end of the day, my boys love me and I love them.❤️

And thanks god, we don’t only have weekdays! There are two and a half days a week, that I have free time. That doesn’t mean, that i will be on my own, because I obviously live with my host family and having three boys next door to your room, will always wake you up at 7 in the morning. But that’s okay. I can live with that. Because I know, it’s not my business at the weekend. I have my plans and I let them do whatever they want to do (mostly watching TV and playing IPad. What else?!)

This friday I met with Daleen, an au pair from South Africa, who lives here since August 2014. We went to Rebounderz, which is a big Trampoline – Centre. We had a great time, although it is really exhausting, just jumping around. After half an hour we were so tired! But we kept on jumping, because we payed for a whole hour and it was too expensive to just stay one hour…

yes, we're sweaty, no, we don't care. :D
yes, we’re sweaty, no, we don’t care. 😃
cause everyone's a little craycray :D
cause everyone’s a little craycray 😃

Saturday, all of my plans got cancelled. And it was raining. So I decided to stay the whole day in bed with my friend Netflix 🙂 This worked pretty well, until Daleen convinced me to grab some dinner in the evening. So I got myself out of bed, and we went to this Italian restaurants (The blue ridge grill was full, we should’ve waited until they had a table). It all looked really fancy and the people there were more than nice and the food was not too expensive. That all sounds pretty good. But instead of the Italian Insalata Cesare with Grilled Chicken that we ordered, we got something that tasted like the salad mixes you can get in every supermarket. Definitely not worth the money. It wasn’t even worth a picture. It was just not what we expected and we won’t go there again.

On sunday I made some nice breakfast, just because we had strawberries and I wanted to have them right after I woke up. So everyone got a few strawberry pancakes and we had some more strawberries, it was delicious.😊

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After I went back to bed and had a nice after – breakfast – nap, I did my exercise (yes, it really said exercise. I’m getting fat and I don’t want to stop eating.) and I got ready for my first au pair meeting ever.:D Although I’ve been here for three month now, I never had one of the meetings you should have every month. (I didn’t have a Community Counselor back in West Virginia, and there weren’t any au pairs to meet up with) So we went bowling and had some coffee afterwards and it was really nice😊

We are three German girls and one French girl and we all live really close to each other, so we will probably do some things together in the future 😊

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German girls :)
German girls 😊

And that’s already it for this week! Tomorrow we will start all over again with school and discussions and fights and homework and dinner and everything else we’re doing all day every day.😊

Love, Kathi.❤️