Thursday, June 12, 2014
I could get used to this. No worries of missing garbage day and being stuck with your garbage until the next time. Brilliant!
However, let's talk about waste management here a bit. It's complicated and not so magical all the time. Garbage day is not the same day every week. It's not every week for that matter. It is every two weeks and on random days each month.
Also, garbage is not just garbage. There is sorting to be done, which I am actually totally fine with. Back home I already had a sorting system going with my garbage, paper and plastic/glass/aluminum.
Here is the breakdown:
yellow = packaging = plastic, just to confuse us, milk cartons (I think because they have the plastic spout?), aluminum
blue = paper and cardboard
Yellow and blue are picked up ONCE A MONTH! This kills me. The yellow bin is usually overflowing by the time it's picked up. It's kind of eye opening how much packaging waste we have.
bio = food scraps = not cooked food = veggie peels, egg shells, etc. oh and garden trimmings
black = true garbage, including leftover cooked food because there are no garbage disposals here
Bio and garbage are picked up every two weeks on totally random days.
Oh, and there's spermull. That's a very special garbage day that happens a few times a year. This is the day when you can put out all your big stuff like furniture pieces you don't want anymore. In the two days before this happens, white vans will drive up and down your street at least 25 times a day. I'm really not exaggerating. These are professional garbage pickers. I've done some roadside rescues a few times myself, but these guys do it seriously and they scout the streets until spermull is over and they move on to the next village. It is literally their job.
I know you're dying to find out how I sort my garbage...you're on the edge of your seat, right? I figure, just in case there's someone out there looking for info about life in Germany, maybe it will help them transition to this new world. When I found out we were moving to Germany, I scoured the web for blogs on living here.
So here you go...
I used one of my ice buckets for my food waste. At first it was under the counter, but I've found it much easier to have it out on the counter so when I'm chopping, I can easily throw it in the bin. This usually gets emptied every day or every other, otherwise it can get stinky and fruit flies may start to invade. Another trick a friend of mine does is she stores hers in the freezer, but I can use all the freezer space I can get. Did I mention fridge/freezers are much smaller here? This bio bucket concept reminds me of Rachael Ray's garbage bowl. Same concept really.
Under the sink.
Yellow & Blue (aka: packaging and paper)
Cute IKEA garbage cans. They hold a lot and I don't have to change them so often.
Returnables & Glass
It's funny, back home returnables were pop/soda/beer cans and bottles, but here, it is water bottles. I'm not even sure about soda cans to be honest. Oh and I forgot to tell you, you'll have to take your glass to a separate drop off bin. They don't pick up those.
I just used IKEA bins for these.
There are only garbage fairies, not bio or yellow and blue fairies. Those you have to remember to take to the curb all on your own. And if you miss bio day, that is not a good thing. And if you miss yellow and blue day, that's not good either because most likely your cans will be overflowing since it's only once a month.
Well, I hope this helps someone out there!
Happy garbage sorting!
Saturday, May 31, 2014
My little guy and I were looking for patterns for his math assignment and ended up on a snail hunt.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Lucky for us, my husband's company has a warehouse of kitchens and they fit it to suit the house. Of course I asked if I could pick out the cabinet colors, but alas, no. Hey, it was worth a shot. Anyhow, the kitchen turned out much better than I anticipated. I was nervously expecting outdated cabinets from the 80s. But thankfully, they are fairly up to date and basic. However, the cabinets have an orange-ish tone I could live without. But in the grand scheme, they work and there's always the art of distraction to tone down the orange undertones. My plan is to add a lot of white and pops of black to distract the eye. We have a great set up, but it could use a little tweaking.
There was a blank wall between the refrigerator and bank of upper cabinets. So much wasted space. This was the perfect opportunity for open shelving.
Since this is a short term gig, I went for the cheapest shelving I could fine at the local hardware store. I think it was 2 euro per bracket and 8 euro per shelf.
These shelves make me a happy woman! Seriously, giddy!
I missed my chalkboard from my kitchen at home, so I remedied that with some chalkboard contact paper. An easy and inexpensive tweak that makes this rental more like home. I've since added washi tape to frame the chalkboard and it feels much better to me. I was too lazy to take an updated picture, but it will be in a future post I'm sure.
Monday, May 19, 2014
I am in love with these yellow roses. When they are buds, they have a vibrant orange color, then they blossom into to pale yellow with pink edges. And they smell like no other rose I've ever smelt. In fact, they don't even smell like roses at all. They are fruity, sweet, almost like candy. I can't help but smell them over and over.
As you may already know, ice is not really a popular thing in European countries. If you want it, you must ask for it. I love my drinks iced up and stumbled upon these disposable ice baggies at the store. Again, the little things that can make you happy go a long way.
Friday, May 2, 2014
Can you believe it is already May?! Yesterday was a treat here in Germany. May 1st is May Day (similar to Labor Day), so no school and no work. It was the perfect chill out day. The weather was sunny, we rode our bikes along the river, had lunch and grabbed some ice cream before we jumped on the ferry. It reminded of what a wonderful opportunity we have to be here and experience a new culture and traditions. I've been waiting for May Day because it is also the day young men deliver trees to the one they love/like. They actually deliver it the night before so it's there when his special gal wakes up. I was hoping to catch some guys on bikes carrying trees, but I missed that part of the fun. However, I was delighted to see decorated trees in front of many homes around my village. Such a sweet gesture that actually takes some true effort. I love it!
|This guy must like her a lot. It's a pretty big tree!|
Our family is also enjoying trying new foods and drinks. Our favorite so far is apfel schorle. They sell it everywhere here. Before we moved, my husband shared it with us after one of his business trips. Since they don't sell it back home, we made our own version and so can you.
All you need is sparkling water and apple juice. You can decide on the ratio you like best. If you like it a bit sweeter, add more apple juice. Not so sweet, add more sparkling water. Personally, I do about half and half and maybe a bit more sparkling water. It's so refreshing and perfect for spring and summer!
Apple seems to be the most popular flavor, but I just discovered at lunch yesterday that they also do it with wine...weinschorle. Quite tasty. I'm sure you could use the same method, half wine, half sparkling water...maybe some fruit. YUM!
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
The moment you step foot on the cobble stone of Bruges, Belgium, you are wooed by its charm. It stole my heart as we wandered the streets. It's a place I never knew I wanted to visit and quite frankly, didn't know existed. And now, it ranks high on my list of favorite places. I'm not sure if it's because I didn't know what I was in for and surprised and delighted at every turn in the road and winding canal. But I can tell you, it is magical. I almost felt as if we were walking around a movie set. It was just one of those places you see in pictures, but doesn't seem real.
Bruges has a rich history and its city has been left untouched to take you back in time. The streets smell of chocolate and waffles and if you're a beer drinker, you may just need to sit a spell to enjoy.
|The Old Chocolate Shoppe on Maria Straat - the BEST hot chocolate I've ever had!|
|This place stopped my husband in his tracks. Wish I'd written down the name of it.|
I know I sound like a travel brochure, but it truly captured my heart. There is more to learn about this wonderful place than I will go into here. I'm just here to share that it's definitely worth a stop if you're ever in the neighborhood. We actually only stayed for one night. It was a last minute plan. Our first trip after being here for just three weeks. There's a funny sense of urgency to travel any time we get the chance so we can fit in as much as we can while we're here. And I'm so glad that sense of urgency took us to Bruges.
|From the top of the Belfry.|
Monday, April 28, 2014
|This is the picture that did it.|
It's not that it was some kind of revelation that I wasn't aware of, it just hit me at that moment. We've been in Germany for about two months now and it's been hectic, challenging and exciting all rolled into one. I'm not sure where to begin, but blogging is the closest to home I can get right now. It was one my favorite things to do back home, so I thought, I'd jump on for a few minutes for a little therapeutic writing.
I've started blog posts in my head a million times since we've been here and I'm not quite sure where to take this little ole blog. There's such a mixed bag of stuff I want to share...life as an expat, tips, travel, living as a renter and retraining my brain to live differently. And of course, the love of making a home a home. So I guess, I'll start with a little post I wrote on my thoughts the day our stuff arrived...
today was the day. the big green truck containing all of our belongings finally arrived. there was a feeling of excitement to start making a home here and getting settled into a regular routine. as i unpacked the boxes, there were things that made me giddy to see again, then there were things that just simply made me cringe. the stuff that weighed me down. it's funny how when given the chance to start with a blank slate, how good it feels to be rid of stuff. the more I unpacked, the less I wanted to unpack. once i had all the necessities and all the things I really loved, i didn't want to put out the rest of the "stuff". So instead of trying to make it work, I've decide to take the stuff that made me cringe and put it on a shelf in the basement. then once i've finished organizing and tweaking, I'll peek back at it...I take that back, I think I'll just get rid of it.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Over the summer, my sister-in-law and I joked that after I ripped out all the carpets, painted the floors and redid another room, I would probably find out we had to move. Fast forward a few months, and BOOM, those words became a reality.
I have been waiting to write this post for what seems like an eternity. Suddenly things are happening at the speed of light and I kind of feel like I have to throw up on a daily basis. We are moving February 13th to the biggest adventure our family will probably ever have together. It will be the chance of a lifetime to see so many wonderful things within a train ride or short car ride or even a city hopper plane ride away.
You might be wondering, do the kids see it this way? And the answer is, umm, no and yes. As you can imagine a middle schooler’s reaction to leaving his buddies was not a pretty sight, my daughter was mixed, sad and interested in our new adventure and our big wild card surprise came from the little guy – completely excited. What the what? Didn’t expect that.
I know we’re in for a rough few months (or more) of transitions with the kids missing friends and me driving the wrong way on a one way, but in the end, I know the opportunities and adventures will outweigh all that.
Am I excited? Yes! Am I nervous? Yes! Am I sad to leave my friends and family? Of course. I am so grateful for my family’s encouragement and support to take this chance. Without it, I don’t think I’d have the heart to leave. Mom, especially to you, thank you for telling me to go for it without blinking an eye.
Oh, and when I said my word for the year was DISCOVERY, that was kind of cheating. How can I help but discover and stretch myself while living in a new world? So yeah, I sort of set myself up for success on my word for the year. Just getting on the plane to go, I’ve already reached my goal of DISCOVERY.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Hello and happy new year! It’s been a while. I’ve missed the old blogosphere. Thought I’d pop in for a moment for a quick post to set the tone for the year. My word for 2014: DISCOVERY.
DISCOVERING NEW THINGS ABOUT MY FAMILY, MYSELF, MY SURROUNDINGS
OUR STRENGTHS, OUR WEAKNESSES
GETTING OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE
STRETCHING MYSELF AND CHALLENGING MYSELF
That’s what 2014 is all about for me. I tend to get into a routine and end up limiting myself. I become complacent and forget to try new things and push myself out of my comfort zone. This year is the year to DISCOVER. It should be interesting, challenging and exciting. I look forward to seeing what happens.
How about you? Do you have a word for the year? A mantra? A good old new year’s resolution? I’d love to hear about it. Do share in the comments.