Tag: family

Thanksgiving in Arizona

Thanksgiving in Arizona

This year, the annual US trip was a bit slower than last time, only Arizona was on the agenda, so no crazy flying around between 3 states. We spent 7 full days with my host family, and had lots of fun and food.

Family fun

Games, charades, swimming in the pool, cooking, baking, eating together, snuggling (or yelling at) the 4 dogs, watching movies, and just hanging out talking – that’s how we spent the majority of our trip. I was lucky that I got to see 4 of my host siblings, plus my host sister’s super adorable twin girls, which let me practice my auntie skills a little ๐Ÿ™‚

Burgers & Shopping

In N Out deserves it’s own category! I managed to get 2 cheeseburger meals in, which we worked off with a day of outlet shopping. We also took a trip to Costco to give Thorben the full American experience ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was our second to last day and we spent the day before and half of Thanksgiving itself making lots and lots of yummy food. We had an awesome buffet with all the classics: a 15 pound turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes and a potato hash casserole (which I named heart attack potatoes), homemade rolls, green beans and roasted veggies. The desserts were an American-German collaboration: pumpkin pie, pecan pie bars, apricot bars and Apfel-Streusel-Kuchen plus the first round of Christmas cookies, which I’d finished just in time for our trip ๐Ÿ™‚

I’d say the 2019 US trip was a big success. As always, I wish it could have been longer and hopefully, I’ll manage to see the Utah part of the family on my next visit! Thanks to my awesome host family, it’s been 13 years now that they put up with me at least once a year ๐Ÿ™‚

A long weekend in Singapore

A long weekend in Singapore

Fourth time is the charm …or whatever the saying is ๐Ÿ™‚ Last Friday was a public holiday in Shanghai (Mid-autumn festival), so I took the opportunity to visit my sister and her husband in Singapore.

I arrived Thursday night and flew back Sunday night, which gave us 3 full days to eat, explore, chill, catch up and eat some more.

Friday – Afternoon Tea and Singapore After Dark

Sandra had Friday off while Timo had to work, so we had a fun sister day. We explored her area a little and had some breakfast, then lounged by the pool for a while. In the afternoon, we headed to the Ritz-Carlton to have afternoon tea, which was my birthday present ๐Ÿ™‚ The afternoon tea was really great, so much good food and it was all beautifully presented.

To walk it off, we headed to Chinatown in the evening because they had some lanterns for Mid-autumn festival. There wasnโ€™t too much to see, so we decided to walk around Marina Bay once and visit the Merlion. Sadly, he wasnโ€™t lit up, but it was still great to be back in my bay ๐Ÿ™‚ On the way home, we also stopped at Lau Pa Sat, an old hawker center in the middle of the CBD. Luckily, after 20,000 steps, I was able to fit in another snack.

Saturday – Food, Flowers, and Food

Saturday, the air was really bad due to forest fires in Indonesia. The worst haze in 3 years and you could really see and smell it. We still managed to go out for breakfast and then went to Gardens by the Bay. Since my last visit almost 2 years ago, another exhibit opened. Floral Fantasy lived up to its name. The flowers were really pretty and we were lucky it wasnโ€™t crowded, maybe because of the haze. Of course we took advantage of that and took many many pictures.

We spent the rest of the day indoors and my sister made us a really German dinner – Linsen mit Spรคtzle und Saitenwรผrstle ๐Ÿ™‚ It was amazing. Tasted just like home.

Sunday – Pool Time and Brunch

On my last day, the haze was a bit less, so we hung out by the pool again and tried to work up an appetite by swimming a few laps. Iโ€™m pretty jealous this is just an elevator ride away – just one more reason to come back really soon!

Our final food adventure was brunch at the W where Marlyn’s cousin Santy is the pastry chef. She is a true artist, I could not stop taking pictures of all the beautiful cakes and dessert. The rest of the brunch buffet was amazing as well – there were 20 different cheeses! Of course we ate way too much and moved very little for the rest of the day ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you very much to my awesome hosts for a great long weekend. Until next time, Singapore!

Good bye Germany โ€“ Hello again Shanghai!

Good bye Germany โ€“ Hello again Shanghai!

After 5 weeks in Germany, I got back to Shanghai on Saturday. It was a crazy mix of work, vacation, friends & family visits and more work.

Let’s start at the beginning: The day I landed, I hosted a mini bachelorette party for my sister, we attended her wedding the next day and then 5 days later Thorben’s sister got married. We visited 2 new babies, had the first snow of the season, went to the office for a week, had 2 birthdays in our families, met friends for dinner, at the Christmas Market or for brunch, got out of an Escape room (my team was a minute faster then Thorben’s … just saying), had awesome breakfasts and meals with our families, celebrated Christmas, went to see Bohemian Rhapsody and a musical โ€ฆ and that was only during the 2 weeks in December.

In January, Thorben drove up to the North Sea to visit family for a few days, while I went to the office and hung out more with friends and family in the evenings. After catching up with some work at the office, I started an 8 day training course. We escaped from a Harry Potter themed escape room, just in time for Thorben to catch his flight to Shanghai the next day. Actually, we escaped after only 37 minutes, like the amazing wizards and witches we are ๐Ÿ˜‰ LUMOS!

In the evenings, I took it a little easier in my final 2 weeks: My sister and I had a spa day and went to an ice hockey game (Mannheim won!), I met a few friends and former colleagues and finally had a good bye dinner with my family followed with a good bye Brezel breakfast with my mom.

And this is the trip in pictures. As always, I didnโ€™t take enough because I was too busy having fun … and eating … and somehow acquiring so much stuff I needed 3 suitcases to fit everything. Oops.

See you soon, Germany!

Golden Week Travels: USA

Golden Week Travels: USA

My Golden Week was quite different from Thorben’s. Instead of exploring a new part of the world, I flew to the US for the 18th time – I just counted ๐Ÿ™‚ My trip can be summed up with 3 words: family, food and shopping. In total, I spent over 30 hours on 5 different flights. It was definitely worth it because I managed to see all members of my American family within 8 days.

Fun Fact: My flight to L.A. arrived 3 hours earlier than it left Shanghai because there is a 15 hour time difference between China and the West Coast.

Utah

From L.A. I hopped straight on to a plane to Salt Lake City to see the Utah side of the family. I spent 3 nights at my American grandparents house and got to hang out with 2 of my host sisters, aunt and uncle, and my host sisters adorable kids. 2 of them got Feiyue shoes, which were promptly used at Show & Tell at school: “Look at my shoes! They’re from China!” ๐Ÿ™‚

We also had lunch at In N Out. Biting into their cheeseburger for the first time is always magical, as were the home cooked breakfast and dinners I got!

Arizona

The next stop was Arizona to see my host parents and my remaining 3 host siblings. All we had on the agenda for 3 days was eating – Hello Chipotle and Cold Stone! – shopping and hanging out. And we went on a mission to find cool cacti to take pictures of ๐Ÿ™‚

California

With 2 days left, my host mom and I flew back to California to see her mom, brother and his wife. The ocean view is so beautiful and the weather was perfect; it was hard to leave the balcony. The chocolate, almond and ham & cheese croissants we had for breakfast didn’t hurt either ๐Ÿ™‚ We did manage to do some more outlet shopping, got another In N Out cheeseburger and saw “A Star is Born”. After a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway back to L.A. it was sadly time to fly back to Shanghai.

Thanks so much to my awesome host family for yet another awesome trip. I can’t wait for my 2019 US visit!

5 Great Things About Visiting Germany

5 Great Things About Visiting Germany

With 2 Germany trips within a few weeks from each other I’ve neglected this blog quite a bit, sorry to the 3 people still reading! ๐Ÿ™‚

I got back on Monday so it’s time to get on with the blogging. Here is my Top 5 of why visiting Germany was awesome.

1. Seeing Family and Friends

Obviously the best part of visiting. I forgot to take pictures because I was having too much fun. So thanks to my sister for making us take that one ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes, that’s a castle in the background. When in Germany …

2. Butterbrezeln, Maultaschen und Kรคsespรคtzle

There are 2 Paulaner and a couple other German restaurants and I’ve never been to one of them (with the exception of the Christmas market and a cheese fondue event but that doesn’t really count as German food). I don’t really miss German food in Shanghai that much, there is a lot other great stuff to eat. So far I’ve really craved Maultaschen once, and then we just made them ourselves. However, when I’m home I love eating my way through all the delicious regional food we have and the goodies my mom makes.

3. Driving

Flying down the Autobahn at 100 mph is fun and somehow very relaxing. I wouldn’t want to drive in Shanghai but I love it in Germany. Unless you’re stuck in a massive traffic jam around Stuttgart of course ๐Ÿ™‚

4. Drinking the tap water

Back in Germany we almost never bought water, just drank it straight from the tap. It’s super easy, tastes good and is almost free (important for me as a Swabian ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). In Shanghai we don’t even use the tab water for cooking, so it’s just a nice change.

5. Long summer nights

The sun doesn’t set until 9:30, so I never noticed how late it was getting. These extra 2.5 hours of daylight are fantastic and something I miss here. Eating ice cream in the dark is also fine if there’s no other option ๐Ÿ™‚

And I guess views like this also don’t hurt:

Though my trip was great, I’m happy to be back in Shanghai now, especially since I was greeted with perfect blue skies and relatively mild temperatures (only 33ยฐ!) and low humidity. I’ll back in Germany again a couple more times this year so until then I’ll be eating dumplings, meeting Shanghai friends and enjoying this crazy city that has become our second home.