…of Journeys and Roots

Spring awakening

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It is finally officially spring and we even went through our last (fingers crossed) freeze! If all goes well, I will be able to plant my veggie-garden this Easter Sunday! Getting excited!

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Mike has managed to repair the lawn-mower and our chickens are enjoying their free range of garden. They were however pretty angry with me when I didn’t notice it had started to rain and they were huddled together in the poring rain – bad chicken momma!

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Kentucky Springs are gorgeous! And the abundance of flowering trees this time of year is lovely! Our peach trees, apple trees and Easter bushes are in full bloom and ringing in Easter in the most amazing spring colors!

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Aren’t you happy it’s Friday?!Happy Good-Friday everyone!

Enjoy your Easter weekend loved-ones,  and don’t forget…Life is a journey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunbaked and smoked

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It was particularly hard to get back to reality today after the weekend of bliss Mike and I have had. It involved a sky full of Blue Angels and fireworks, dirt under our fingernails, happy chickens, the first sunburn of the season, shorts, a drive out to the countryside, a goat, 8 dogs, a cat, good food and a fire pit and shared laughs. Yes, all that and more!

This Saturday was the kick-off weekend of Pre-Derby madness and the Derby Festival here in Louisville – the so called Thunder over Louisville. For those of you that do not know what Derby is – you clearly have no clue – but I forgive you. Derby is the worlds best known horse race which takes place on the first week end in May. The two weeks prior to this event Louisville climaxes into madness one ball, charity event, party at a time. The beginning to this madness is marked by the so called Thunder over Louisville – which is, if you ask my environmentally friendly heart, absolute madness in itself! It consists of an ecologically speaking disastrous 6 hour flight show of military airplanes – led by the well known Blue Angels. And if this was not enough to exponentially multiply Louisville’s ecological footprint by a gazillion, it is followed by North Americas largest firework show that sends up 60 tones of fireworks into our atmosphere within a time frame of 28 minutes! I must admit it was impressive – (I really enjoyed it! Honestly!) but the overall frenzy and talks over 3 hour street-chaos stuck in your car on the way to and back from the event, convinced us to watch it from the comfort of our home on a live internet stream. Instead we spent our day digging up dirt in our garden and prepping the soil of our first ever vegetable garden! I am super excited! I will share more as soon as I begin planting!

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The weather was a dream and we had about 27 degree (Celsius that is), a lovely breeze and the strenuous chore in the garden made us sweat and get our first sunburned noses.

Sunday was equal parts get-it-done-day around the house as well as relaxing and taking naps out on our deck. We were also invited out to Shelbyville KY to a pot-luck (get together, eat together) at our friend Joanna’s house out in the country.

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She is a seamstress and cafe cook and lives on an acre of land that she shares with her three children, 8 dogs, cat, approximately 20 chickens, 3 guineas, a pig named Kevin Bacon and a goat named Agnes.

sunbacked_smoked_animals sunbacked_smoked_fire1sunbacked_smoked_KevinBacon_allWe were 11 adults and 2 kids to share food and the soothing presence of a crackling fire as the night filled with fun stories and laughs.

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We left wanting a goat, having a crush on the Kentucky countryside, smelling like smoked bacon and happiness in our hearts.

We are truly spoiled!

Have  great week loved ones – and don’t forget, life is a journey!

 

 

Grateful!

Grateful!

Today I am grateful. Grateful for first whiskey sours out in the sun and skulls painted on wood tables.

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Gratefull for my new Canon 60D to play with!

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Grateful for great memories of Eurotrip adventures and a short and fun stay with my husbands family.

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Gratefull for chickens that generously gift me with eggs and gardens that offer an abundance of fresh chives to freeze for the winter.

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For amazing Kentucky Wedding Weekends out at Red River Gorge and the most lovely friends to spend it with!

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And for a handsom husband that makes me smile!

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Have a great week end loved-ones!

And don’t forget….Life is a journey!

Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are

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While family is extremely important to me, I have grown to appreciate my friends for what they are: a chosen family. I truly believe that my friends and the people I surround myself with make up my true wealth and define my happiness in a great part. Visiting my family and friends in Austria and Germany reminded me of the importance of cultivating my relationships and being thankful for all the wonderful people (new and old) who keep me in their hearts even when an ocean lies between us. I thank you for being there for me through laughs and tears, through parties and dark holes. Thank you for taking time out of your busy lives to share good moments! You are truly loved.

Friends4The issue of friendship and its advantages but also the pain that can resolve from bad or uncultivated friendships has been something I have been reflecting on lately and I have been doing quite some reading on this matter. I have come to realize quite some things and it has been an inner process of growth. I would like to share some of my insights with you.

“Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.” As this Greek saying states, our friends form us. We are a product of the people we surround ourselves with. As much as our families shape who we are, friends are responsible for a big portion of who we have become and who we will be. The author Carlin Flora discussed this in her book “Friendfluence” (2013).Friendfluence is the powerful and often unappreciated role that friends (…) play in determining our sense of self and the direction of our lives” (Flora, p. 6).

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While parents are our guides, our childhood friends help teach us important life skills, socialize us so to say. Our teen friends help shape our later romantic bonds and  “are a training ground for the later long-term bonds that will evolve through adulthood.”(S. Kraus Whitbourne in Fulfillment at any Age in Psychology Today March 2013)

Entering adulthood, friends continue to form your vital life skills.  You probably know that enlightening feeling after a good conversation with a close friend, when you realize that the conversation has just brought you closer to understanding yourself. As Flora points out: “friends are better at describing our behavioral traits than we are” (Flora, p. 132). Because friends know us so well, they are able to see things that we can’t, and aren’t afraid to share their dose of reality with you. Such a reality check might sometimes be hurtful at first, but accepted, such insights will help us grow! Don’t be hurt and fast with cutting off dear friends because they told you something you did not want to hear – reflect on yourself and be thankful for having honest friends. Such friends will help sharpen your mind, help you know yourself better, even inspire you to reach your goals and might even help you meet romantic partners. Thank you Laura! 🙂

Close friends will help you through thick and thin, and yes it sounds kind of old, but when it comes to friends, quality is more important than quantity. I am not saying that you should not meet new people – absolutely! Be open and communicative – but put your main effort into your close friends. You do not need hundreds of so-so-friends to get you through life!my friends

Because of their influence upon us, friends can also make us miserable – and I have had my fair share of that as well! “The people who know you the best are also the ones who have the most power to betray you” (S. Kraus Whitbourne) and that can hit you like a rocket through the heart. The pain can be excruciating and healing will take its time. You might second doubt yourself, asking yourself what you did wrong, how you could have misunderstood or simply how you could have been so wrong about that person in the first place. But don’t be afraid to say no to friends who disappoint, betray, or stress you. Sometimes you may have to prune your friendship tree as S. Kraus Whitbourne puts it. I am not saying you should be opportunistic – the closest friends like each other for who they are in themselves, not for what they deliver. But if the balance between making you feel good versus making you feel bad is out of wack, it is time to move on. Friends should help you grow. Support you. Cheer you on. If they stifle you and put you down – they are not a true friend. As Oscar Wild put it “anybody can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend’s succes” And those are the people you want to have around you. As for all paths to happiness, it is good to focus on what makes us feel good, not what brings us sorrow and makes us feel bad about ourselves!

JolyneWe all get caught up in a rut once and a while. And we all sometimes have that feeling of being all alone and unloved. This feeling is deeply human and we most of us have experienced it at some point or another in our lives. In such times, it is important to remind ourselves that we all feel that way sometimes, but that no matter how lonely life may seem, there are always people out there that love us – just the way we are! By focusing on the relationships we are gifted with, we are able to “lift some of the burden from our apparently unhappy, isolated selves” as the British writer Mark Vernon states in his book The Philosophy of Friendship. friends5In moments of despair we tend to look inward and forget about our blessings. Friends are a blessing, and need to be cultivated. The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.” Friendships are vital for wellbeing, but they take time to develop. Like in all relationships, love requires time. Paradoxically being a good friend also includes asking them for help when you need it. “Giving someone the gift of being influential can be one of the greatest joys you pass on to your friends.” (S. Kraus Whitbourne)

So go out there, cherish your friends, meet new people, widen your perspective and cultivate your friends. “Being a friend is a great honor and responsibility, so treat your friends carefully” (Flora, p. 235) But don’t be afraid to say goodbye to people that keep you from growing. It will set you on your path towards happiness! Trust me.

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Wow – that was a long post. Hope you enjoyed it nevertheless.

Have a great week loved-ones! And as usual, don’t forget – life is a journey! Choose your companions carefully.

Love, Ulm

Love, Ulm

I had the opportunity of visiting my aunt in Ulm and spend a day there. What a beautiful little city! I had no expectation what so ever, and was thrilled to discover this jewel! It has the feel of a German Venice – romantic, picturesque and was already in the mids of spring!

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Ulm

Ulm is a very old city and was first mentioned in manuscripts around 854! I unfortunately did not have enough time to see all it has to offer, but really fell in love with the “Fischer Viertel” (the old fish quarter) I was shown. Make sure to take a walk on the 600 year old city wall, surrounding the old town and offering great views of the river! And if you do visit the fish quarter, make sure to stop by “Zur Forelle” to have a glass of white wine and freshly caught trout.

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Zur Forelle

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Gloria

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I had a lovely time in Ulm, and it was such a pleasure seeing my aunt Gloria again after 2 years! Feeling thankful.

Lately it has been hard to find inspiration and I have been feeling disorientated. I guess I am still fighting jet-lag and travel-hangover. What do you do to keep your energy flowing?

Have a great start to your week loved ones!

 And don’t forget, life is a journey!

 

One year Blogaversary!

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Of Journeys and Roots turned ONE! I started this blog one year ago to document my move to the USA and to write about my personal journeys – may they be as small as a cooking adventure or a new room design – or big, like a trip home to Europe after 10 months in the US. I am so happy this small space on the internet has given me the opportunity to share my view of the world through my photography and the written word. Thanks for staying tuned! And Happy Birthday Of Journeys and Roots!!

Life is a journey – thanks for sharing the road with me!

Vienna Lovestory

A Vienna Lovestory

The past one and a half weeks have gone by in a whirlwind of travel-craze, people-visiting and fun – and blogging time was scarce. So here goes  – catch-up!

After spending a fine week of family bliss in Germany, I headed back to Vienna for some extra friends-time. I Have an absolute love-affair with the city of Vienna! If I would have to choose my number one city to live in, I would choose Vienna for sure! This is the first city I have lived in that made me feel like home, and I associate a lot of fun times and self-development with this city. I though I would share some love-affair impressions, kind of like a photo-lovestory of Vienna!

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The old majestic University of Vienna – where I had the pleasure to study.

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The Opera – Oh how I love to get cheap standing tickets on the night of the performance and breath in culture!

Stepahns Dome and Haas House

The Stephan’s Cathedral and the super modern Haas Haus are an unlikely match in heaven. I love how the Dome reflects in the monochrome windows of the Haas Haus.

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Vienna public transportation is the best! Really!

During my study days, I must have spent days riding the Nr. 5 tram.

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Shopping the Mariahilfer Strasse and enjoying Austrian Cuisine! I would always recommend the Steman or 10er Marie for a traditional food fix!

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During my visit in Vienna, I was lucky to witness the budding of spring and enjoyed days warm enough to sit outside in the lawn at the Stadt Park.

Sacher Torte and Melange - the perfect Viennese Duo

Never a visit without Sacher Torte and Melange at my favorite Cafe Restaurant Palmenhaus.

Cafe Restaurant Palmenhaus

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Strolling along the Donaukanal – yeesss, Vienna is the Father of Fun!

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Finishing off my days with romantic walks with friends in the Prater was always a good idea. Vienna I have with no doubt a crush on you! Oh how I will miss you!

Have a great week-end loved ones! And don’t forget: Life is a journey!

 

 

 

Munich Impressions

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I have a love/hate relationship with my home town Munich. There is no doubt that, with the Alps as a back-drop, beautiful old architecture and surrounding lakes and hills this city is beautiful!  Even the upside-down-trash-can-art (see picture above) are somewhat cool in front of a classic blue Bavarian sky! And yes, it is my home town (next to Detroit), and I have learned to love and laugh here, had educational success stories and found friends for life. But Munich is also marked with sorrow and memories of hard times and loss, and each visit here also means reliving these feelings. It is only when I came to say goodbye last year, before moving to the US, that I made peace with the city and can even enjoy it. This time around I stayed a short week while enjoying the simple pleasures of being back! (more…)

Surprising Grandma – a family visit in Germany

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It was my grandmothers birthday – and can you believe it – she turned 89 years old! My grandmother never was your typical granny. Until this day she will be wearing bright colors, African necklaces and never be boring or conservative. She will surprise you with stories of free love in the 50s, wild artist parties in Ghana and never judge you and your life path. Needless to say, I love her! And some might say I inherited her fiery temperament. (more…)