When you go, you go! Driving and All.

When you go, you go: I am finally here. My suitcases are unpacked (bearing in mind that items in my can come box all stayed at home due to the fact that I went with half a kilo more than allowed and my carry-on was bursting at its seams), I have an American phone number, an American bank account, American toiletries and a whole bunch of other American stuff. The only thing I am lacking is the American style of driving.

Oh yes, you heard me. Sure I thought that driving would take some time getting used to, but I never thought that I’d be as cautious as I was driving through the town I know live in. Crossing larger intersection is an adventure on its own. Don’t waste any time because oncoming traffic just kind of sneaks up on you. If you decide to go, you go! And fast.

This is kind of what my trip feels like so far. I made the decision to come here about four months ago. Now that I’m here, I am learning to embrace all these new things and call this home. If I don’t go all in, I’ll crash. Ok, that sounds a little dramatic, but in some ways it’s the truth. You get what I mean. Anyway, I’ll let you know how it goes driving by myself for the first time, when I take one of the boys to school on Tuesday. Your prayers are greatly appreciated. πŸ˜‰

Love, Sophie x

P.S.: Here is a list of things that I realised are also big in the US:

-everything except Nutella jars

 

To pack or not to pack, that is the question.

With just under a week left before I leave behind this very rainy and cold country to go to an even colder place, I am faced with the struggles I’m sure everyone has when packing their suitcase(s). I have become quite efficient at packing for short trips and holidays; I can pack a carry-on for a seven-day trip, but I have never had to decide which things I don’t need, want or can live without for at least a year. I have been warned that taking too much is not going to do me any good when coming back. Oh, the torment of leaving behind that pair of shoes that I may wear, but usually just enjoy looking at here at home. The pain of saying goodbye to that bag I have been using for years, but just doesn’t seem as handy as the other three I’m packing (two of which are really small, I promise). The anguish of storing away those books that I kept on my desk and the affliction of choosing only one backpack to come along with me. The decisions are tough, but must be made.

So here’s what I’ve done: All the things I really won’t need like picture frames, decor, stationary items, my books and magazines, most of my shoes and a whole bunch of other bits and bobs are already in big plastic boxes ready to greet me when I get back. Things I use daily or weekly are upstairs in my room. I’ve put them in boxes: must come, can come and can stay. The things that can stay here will go in the last plastic box, the things that must come are the first to go in my suitcase and the things that can come have been put on a two week probation period leading up to my flight. If I get them out of the box to use them and if there is still room in the suitcase they are coming, if I don’t use them or there isn’t any room in my suitcase, then they are staying. Toiletries are staying; no question. Only travel sizes are allowed on board (literally). I’m only taking two books (my bible and a devotional) and only one pair of not so warm boots in the hope of buying a really good pair when I’m in the US. As I cut down on my clothes when I moved back to my parents after uni, this is one struggle I thankfully won’t have to face. The Au Pair Agency recommends taking clothes to last you two weeks. I probably don’t even have that many πŸ˜€

I am very grateful to my parents who are letting me keep my stuff in their house. This makes leaving things behind a lot easier. My sister already has her eye on the bag that’s not coming, so I know it will be in good hands while I’m gone. I have learned that it’s not just hard saying goodbye to family and friends, but also to your belongings you won’t see or use or wear in a long, long time. At least I am comforted by the hot water bottle I am taking, including its crocheted covered my mom made me. Yes indeed, priorities must be set.

Thank you, Mama!!! For more of my mom’s wonderful creations check out her instagram account here.

 

“Would you like custard with your spotted dick, love?”

CultureShockTo all my American friends: Sorry if you are offended. What you are experiencing is culture shock.

To all my British friends: Sorry for making your mouth water at the sound of this lovely dessert.

This blog post is an attempt to show you that even things that may seem like something harmless (to Brits) may be something extremely rude to people on the other side of the world. Two countries not just separated by very different cultures and ways of life but also divided by a “common” language.

This week I flew to England for a couple of days to say goodbye to my grandparents and spend some time with my family in Essex. Although we speak English at home, I noticed that Britons’ way of life is totally different to our lifestyles here at home in Germany. I’ve been to England many times. I should be accustomed to the culture, yet I experienced what I can only describe as a mini culture shock. The small houses, carpet in the bathroom, tea, people walking outside wearing shorts in the freezing cold, women I have never met calling me “love” or “darling”, more tea, and desserts (or puddings, as we Brits call it) with rather “rude” names. It was up on the specials menu, so I decided to try something new. And… I loved it! Those of you who don’t believe me can check out thisΒ Spotted Dick Recipe.

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My Spotted Dick with custard

Even though I have vacationed in the US, I am sure I will experience a few moments of culture shock. There are endless books (e.g. Divided by a Common Language) describing what to look out for and how to deal with certain situations, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing. It’s like you don’t actually believe some things are true until you see them and experience them for yourself. Things like drive-thru banks, the extra-large portions, the extra-large ‘everything elses’ including fridges, cars, houses or peanut butter jars. The ones here in Germany are about the size of a cup πŸ˜€ Our refrigerator only has one door and our car only fits 4 people (sorry no room for any luggage, perhaps an additional backpack or bag may fit into the boot/trunk). I’ll let you know about any other things I come across when settling in to my new home in the U.S. I’m sure there will be many.

With just about 10 days to go it has started to sink in that I will have to say goodbye to my lovely friends and amazing family here and that life is going to change a lot very soon. My bags are starting to fill up and I am more than ready to embrace this new season in life and all it has to offer. πŸ™‚

Love, Sophie x