Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thursday Catch Up

Have you ever driven near the Canadian border and searched for music on the radio? You inevitably find a good song and then they switch to the DJ and it turns out the station's in French. Welcome to Germany. Except, it's in German. But you figured that out right? Right.

Every morning I get in the car and listen to my local "pop" channel on the twenty minute drive to work. From what I gather, they tell you the big news stories, about the stop-and-go traffic, and they make prank calls. The best part of my mornings? The random assortment of music. They've played "Lose Yourself" by Eminem and "Sometimes" by Britney Spears. Those brought me riiiggghhhttt back to high school. Thanks, but no thanks.

Anyway. One of the songs on the radio is John Newman's latest single with Charlie Wilson. Have you heard it? I've only heard it about a dozen times and today is the first day I know what he's saying. Tyrant? Tiring?


You know, in case you were confused too. I cannot be the only one who wasn't sure if it was tyrant or tiring. I know "tyrant game" doesn't really make much sense, but music these days can be very questionable.

In other news, Ryan joined instagram (@rclabarge). He posts daily pictures of the beer he's trying and screenshots of his runs. He's a quick learner, adding about half a dozen #hashtags to every post. His new obsession, besides ogling all the food and craft beer pages, has become seeing how many likes he gets. He's like a needy teenage girl. It's kind of funny. Endearing almost?

When we're not running together or going to the store, our weeknights are pretty relaxed. I finally have time to catch up on my horrendously large inbox and all the unread posts in my RSS feed. The downside? I'm pinning everything. I just looked and I have almost five thousand pins.


How does that even happen?! Clearly, I've had too much down time. But now I'm thinking about organizing and weeding through them all. Does that make me crazy? I don't even know how I would start attacking a monster like that. Would you do it? Have you done it? Please tell me your secrets. Pretty please?

"Our love is just a tiring game. I'll never give it up, I'll never give it up."

Friday, September 18, 2015

Germany: Cologne Cathedral

Do you know how many 533 stairs is?

Because I know. Oh, I know.

And it's a lot. It's a wholllllleeeeee lot.

It's 332' a lot. It's 30-minutes-of-climbing-the-smallest-set-of-spiral-stairs a lot. It's needing-a-new-pair-of-sneakers-after-climbing-that-many-steps a lot. It's huffing-and-puffing-up-533-goddamn-stairs a lot.

You get the picture, right?

We definitely earned our beer that day.

Once we got up there, the views were pretty fantastic. The cathedral, also known as the Dom, is basically the tallest structure in Cologne. At the top, you can see for miles. Or do I say kilometers?

It's well worth the €4 to climb up to the top. Not only do you get the views, you also get to see the largest free-swinging bell in the world. Even the smallest bell in the menagerie was bigger than us. I don't even want to imagine being in the tower when that sucker rings. You wouldn't be able to hear for a week afterwards.

After sightseeing, we walked back down every. single. step. With this gigantic smile on our faces, laughing a little at the other poor souls who paid for the privilege of walking up the tower.

Because you realize that you just climbed all those goddamn steps. And now those other people are walking up the same steps, complaining just like you were, taking breaks, and wondering where the last freaking step is.

But you know that the freaking climb is so worth it.

Oh, and did you know? You can get dizzy walking down stairs.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Germany: Cologne Botanical Gardens

The Flora in Cologne has got to be my favorite place in the whole city.

Annnndddd, it's practically my backyard. A five minute walk and I'm surrounded by the most gorgeous garden ever. It's like the garden a garden dreams of being. It's like the garden that mansions have out front. AND out back.

It's exactly the type of garden I'm going to make Ryan build me when we buy a house. Poor guy. I've got BIG plans. Big plans.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Germany: Five Realizations, Five Weeks In

It's hard to believe that I've been living in Cologne for five weeks. I know everyone always says time flies. BUT SERIOUSLY. Why do days get shorter the older you get?!

Of course, some days felt like an eternity (you DID NOT want to be around when there was no internet) but overall it's been relatively smooth. Or I've had an aneurysm and forgotten all the truly horrible experiences.

I kid! I kid. Or maybe not. Hey, I wouldn't know, right?

Living in the US my entire life, it's hard not to compare these last few weeks to what I've always known. So here are some realizations I've had these past few weeks.


The first two weeks I was here, I searched for anything and everything that reminded me of home. I wanted these snippets of flavors to tell me I didn't leave the US behind completely. But when I would eat breakfast or dinner I was constantly left disappointed.

And it was frustrating.

Then I drew a line in the sand. I cooked my favorite recipes. I gave them a chance without immediately writing them off because they tasted different. I embraced these new flavors and the food turned out pretty good!

At restaurants I ordered meals I would never dream about choosing. Most restaurants in Innenstadt (or the city central) have English/German menus. But for those that didn't, I used my limited knowledge of German to figure out what was on the menu. I joked with my boss that I knew enough German to order something I was familiar with, but not enough to discredit a meal entirely. 


If, after five weeks, I've learned nothing else, exercising and being active helps ground you. Running through my neighborhood makes me so so happy. I get to see my beautiful neighborhood and all those endorphins make me feel great.

With a little over a million people in 156 square miles, walking all around Cologne has made it just a little bit smaller. Most weekends I clock in with 15-20 miles and it's fantastic! Not only do I feel accomplished after clocking so many but I love the sights and sounds. I also love that I've never felt unsafe.

There's always something going on in Cologne and whether I'm running or walking around I always catch something.


In the US, everyone rushes and everything is available at the click of a button. Here, things run on their own timeline.

The first time I used my washing machine, I woke up form a nap to huge splashes coming form the machine. It turns out that a tube coming from the back of the machine disconnected and the water from the inside of the machine was now on the inside of my bathroom. At 7:00pm I had no one I could call.

The only thing I could do was soak up all the water (which was conveniently located behind and under the machine) the best I could. Did I mention the machine is located in a space six inches wider than it? That was fun. And let's just say those machines are built to last (read: heavy as shit).

By the next day, I sent out emails and was reassured it would be fixed by the following morning. And as promised, by the time I got home the next day, the woman who owned the apartment had brought in a repairman, watched him work, and then locked the apartment back up.


I know that some people fly by the seat of their pants. I am NOT one of those people. I live and die by a routine.

For the first four weeks here, I was alone so creating my routine was really easy. I didn't have to consult anyone, I just did whatever felt right. My weekdays looked something like:

06:30     Wake up and catch up on instagram
06:45     Get ready
07:00     Eat breakfast/Make lunch
07:15     Leave for work
07:40     Start work
17:00     Leave for home
17:30     Go for a run or go to the store
18:30     Start dinner
19:30     Eat dinner (seriously, I hate electric)
19:50     Wash the dishes
20:00     Take a bath and get ready for bed

Added in there when possible was talking with Ryan, watching documentaries, and passing the time as quickly as possible.

Weekends were a little more liberal. I ran and explored on one day and then did laundry and household stuff on the other.

This first week with Ryan here has been challenging. Those first few days were actually really hard because he completely upset my well planned out routine. Ass. Buttttt, now we've settled into something that works for both of us. Let's just say he's pretty lucky.


When moving to another country you undoubtedly feel overwhelmed. You want to cling to anything and everything of what you left behind. But after those initials days (or weeks) you want to just be another one of the locals.

And when in Rome...

No matter how daunting moving might be, it's bound to be fun and exciting. It will be the best experience of your life. There's always ups and downs, you just have to embrace it all on the ride. Eventually you forget the bad (or laugh about it later) and those good times will be cherished forever.

I can't wait to keep making these memories.