Experiencing Germany for the First Time

Tuesday, 29 April 2014
Stuttgart, Germany is famous for being the home of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, as well as hosting a number of beautiful historic buildings and landmarks.

City view of Stuttgart, Germany
via bastian_r

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to experience any of that as I was travelling to Stuttgart for work. A lot of people think travelling for your job is just a laugh, but more often then not it is a lot of hard work. The reason for being in Stuttgart in the beginning of April was to assist with a conference being arranged by one of my company’s top consultants. The hours were long but the end result was worth it.

This was my first time in Germany and I was not exactly sure what to expect. I had visions of mountain taverns filled with steins of beer and people dressed in lederhosen.  Okay, I realise a complete stereotype but I still remained hopeful.

German Man with Lederhosen and Beer Stein
via Christian Senger

While I didn't find any people dressed in lederhosen, I did have several uniquely German experiences which I am pleased to share with you.

  1. Getting ditched for being 1 minute late. I know the Germans are all about punctuality but I would hope that 1 minute might be excused, especially when I called and said I was lost. Granted when I say lost I mean I couldn't find the lobby from my hotel room. It appears anything other than 5 minutes early is late to some of my German colleagues.
  2. Ich spreche kein Deutsch. Never have I felt so hopeless on a trip. I know I don't speak German, but man did I learn how much I didn't speak German on this trip! I hated not being able to ask for directions or being confused when someone at the event asked me something. You try explaining to a German that they have to leave their credit card or passport in order to receive a headset when you have a massive language barrier! I could just about manage ordering with the aid of my little phrase book.
  3. Filling up on German food.  Besides bratwurst and sauerkraut, I didn't have much experience in German cuisine. During the course of the weekend I filled up on pretzels, spätzle, schnitzel and loads of beer! I think in fact I still might be full. 

German Food - currywurst and schnitzel
Schnitzel and currywurst

Erin x

6 Things I Love About England

Thursday, 10 April 2014
As I was looking through my archive of previous posts I came across last year's post for the Fourth of July about the five things I miss about America. It made me think that I should really do a list of things I love about England. As an expat you will always love your home country, but usually you find reasons to love your new home just as much. Here are the six things that sprang to mind when thinking about what I love about England.

6. Royal Family. Say what you want, I love the royal family and think they do a great deal of good for this country. I just love the Queen, she is the ultimate legend. But it's not just the Queen, I love them all,  even Prince Charles! I mean Prince Charles reported the weather for the BBC, how cool is that?!

5. Elderflower Cordial. It might not be to everyone's taste, but for me, nothing is better than elderflower cordial in sparkling water. Cordials are basically flavoured syrups, which are quite popular here in the England. Elderflower is the flower of the elderberry, quite delicious and something I had never experienced in America.

Homemade Elderflower Cordial

Afternoon Tea
Enjoying Afternoon Tea in Stratford-upon-Avon
4. Tea. I have never been a coffee girl and it is so nice to be in a country that appreciates/loves tea as much as I do. Whether it's just having a cuppa in the evening or going all out with an afternoon tea, England certainly does right by tea. Even the largest of problems can be solved with a cup of tea. Boyfriend dumped you? Family member died? The first thing any English person will do is dash off to the kettle and fix you a brew!

3. History. In Las Vegas a building from the 1950s is considered old and anything before that, practically pre-historic but it's a whole different kettle of fish over here. In fact they have so much history it's practically bursting at the seems. Take the 2,000 year old Roman mosaic in Spoonley Wood for example. There are no maps to it and the only thing protecting it is a bit of tarpaulin! Every where you go, even the smallest of villages, there are buildings and and stories of some significance. If you love history, England is definitely the place to be!

Roman Mosiac in Spoonley Wood
Roman Mosiac in Spoonley Wood

2. The Beatles. The Rolling Stones. Pink Floyd. Led Zeppelin. My top four favourite bands of all time are from England. I take it as a sign that I was destined to live here, and also perhaps in the 60s or 70s. These men are all rock gods!

The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin

1. English Literature. This small island has given the world some of the greatest masterpieces and authors. You have my personal favourites Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass or J.K.Rowling's Harry Potter series, but don't forget J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, C.S.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, the Brontë sisters. Do I really need to go on?

Map of English Literature

Q: What do you love most about England?

Erin x
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