Like a kid in the Candy Store

Last week I hit my eighth month here. Summer is officially over and autumn/fall has crept its way into this year. The wind is colder, the leaves are turning, and you can buy everything with pumpkin flavour. This Sunday I had a couple of eye opening experiences. Paired with our usual plans, I will sum up our 4-C Sunday.

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From the right: Maria, Marisel and Me 🙂

First C – Church: As for usual, Marisel and I go to church together. We attend River Valley Church in Woodbury and we absolutely love it. At the moment we are in a series called Family30, which talks about God’s purpose for family. Lead Pastor Rob is talking about mended, blended and extended family. You can listen to the sermons online here. Usually we will go to brunch with friends from our life group. Today, we decided to join our friends Jeff and Maria for a fun mini road trip.

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Second C – Minnesota’s largest candy store: Although it doesn’t look as big as expected, the inside is HUGE. There are so many sweets to choose from; and not just that… puzzles, puzzles, and more puzzles. It’s packed with international treats, old fashioned soda, apples from the orchard, pumpkins, home made goodies like apple pies and strudel… the list goes on. The highlight though, was not like many of you may assume, the German sweets I found, but the life sized Doctor Who T.A.R.D.I.S. with sound effects and everything. AMAZING! I made a complete but of myself getting Maria and Marisel to capture the perfect shot of me returning from an adventure in time and space. In case you haven’t noticed already, I have a hidden nerd personality. The pictures didn’t come out as well as I’d thought, so you will have to leave those images entirely up to your imagination.

Third C – The Cheesecake Factory: to my German friends who enjoy watching The Big Bang Theory, yes, this restaurant does in fact exist for real. Although I knew about it, I had never had the opportunity to stop by and have some food; so we did on the way home from the candy store. Oh my GOODNESS…. where has this been all my life?!?! The food is to die for. I had the Chicken with Lemon Couscous. I don’t really know what else to say other than that it was an eye opening experience. If you ever come across this restaurant when you are visiting the US, you must go. No excuses!

Fourth C – The Couch: after a long day out and about, we all crashed at Maria and Jeff’s house, ate some strudel and enjoyed more of each other’s company. Thank you, for letting me hang out and do nothing with you. Those kind of weekends are the best. Maria corrected (technically a fifth C) some papers (she is also a teacher, yay 🙂 ), we watched football on TV (definitely not as interesting as it is live), and then Marisel and I headed home, ready for a new week to begin.

Some things on my list for this season are road trips to Iowa (I just want to be able to say that I’ve been there), a road trip to New Ulm (the town the movie New in Town is set in), and maybe visiting a corn maze. Keep your eye out for some small adventures to come.

Love, Sophie x

New News

Hello everyone!

Some weeks ago I hinted that there would be some upcoming news as to what the future may hold for me. Since then, emails have been sent, references have been filled out and contracts have been signed. I can’t answer the question 100% accurately, but I will say with some certainty, that I am planning on extending the Au Pair program for another 12 months. Yep, one whole year. Although some of you may be shocked, others will not be surprised at all. Truth be told: I feel like ging back to Germany and starting my teacher training would be a step motivated by obligation, rather than conviction. Right now, I want to follow what God has placed on my heart, and that is staying in the US for another year. Here are some details you may have been wondering about:

  1. No, I will not be staying with the same family. They have chosen to take advantage of other childcare opportunities within their family, and I strongly agree with that decision.
  2. Will I be staying in Minnesota? To be honest, I’d love to experience another state. Minnesota has been really enjoyable so far (the winter is yet to come), but there are so many other places to see. If I find a great host family here, then yes, I would stay, but I am most certainly open to other locations.
  3. When will I have more details? I have no idea. It could be next week, it could be next month or the month after that. My profile has been successfully uploaded to the Go Au Pair website and sent to other Au Pair representatives in different states. Now all I can do is wait. Wait for my phone to ring or my email notification to chime. I have signed the contract with the agency and have until 6 weeks before my visa expires to find a new family.

I’m really excited for this new development and for the opportunities that will come up. If you pray, please consider praying for me. For peace, wisdom discernment and patience. I’d really appreciate it. I’ll keep you posted on any news. Thank you for supporting me, where ever you are, by reading this blog, praying, contacting me or just sending over a positive thought.

Lots of love, Sophie x

The Most American Day Ever

This past Friday I think I experienced the most American day ever. I’m not really sure what could have topped it. Part one covered the number one attraction in Minnesota and the second covered the number one sport in the Unites States. Can you guess what they are? Well, if you don’t know, read on:

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Eating a Corndog

The Minnesotans pride themselves with their annual state fair: The Great Minnesota Get Together.
It really is spectacular. The food ranges from deep fried pickles, deep fried cheesecake and deep fried anythings to corndogs, hot dogs, Sweet Martha’s famous cookies, funnel cakes, Wisconsin cheese curds, fresh milk, lemonade and German root beer (apparently it’s the same as the regular which I don’t actually like). There are rides and games and animal shows and butterfly houses and rodeos and the lottery and and and. I could go on. IMG_2019Anything extravagant, you name it, it can probably be found at the Minnesota State Fair. I was lucky enough to go with my host family who invited me to come along and enjoy the amazing weather and quality time. We ate way too much food and spent way too much money, but it was well worth it. I even tried some Oktoberfest beer at a saloon bar. What a combination. Cheers! The boys were so tired, they both fell asleep in their strollers (buggies) on the way to the car. You’d think that was enough for one day, but I was invited to join Jeff and Maria to go to an (American) football game with, of course, Marisel.

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Halftime Performance

My first Friday Night Lights experience: We watched the local high school team play and enjoyed some more American food i.e. a hotdog. Sadly, our team wasn’t doing so well, but that didn’t matter. You go for the atmosphere and the solidarity. I must admit I did feel a small hint of pride when the Woodbury team scored. What I enjoyed most about the football game as a European or as my official title states: a non-resident alien, is the realisation that all the movies you watched growing up (aka High School Musical, Cinderella Story) are actually based on true life. The coaches and their headsets, the marching band, the cheerleaders, the huge amounts of people supporting a high school sports team and even the guy dressed as the mascot are all real. If you grew up in Europe this was just a fantasy. Now I got to live it. Marisel is considering going back to high school just for the sake of the American experience. Just kidding, but wouldn’t that be fun. I now understand the most basic rules of the game and even caught a t-shirt the cheerleaders were shooting to the crowd. Success! It did come in handy. When it starts getting chilly in the evening, you know summer is coming to an end and autumn is just around the corner. I can’t wait for this next season. Although I love summer, I am ready for the leaves to change and the days to get cosier. That, my friends, concludes my most American day ever. You’ll hear from me soon.

Love, Sophie x

Halftime.

I can’t believe I have been here for 6 months. What an adventure it has been so far. I am pleased to say that I have added a few things to my list of experiences here in MN and out of state. I went to go see the Lynx Basketball game in June, went golfing for the first time in 10 years, enjoyed a Broadway musical in NYC, and caught my first ever fish. I celebrated my birthday a few weeks ago and have been keeping busy with the kids and my wonderful friends from life group and of course helping Lilly and Wes plan their wedding.

IMG_1741The Lynx game: Minnesota’s most successful sports team, and yes, it’s the women. I even gave some of the players a high five. Who’s house? Our house! We smoked the other team which made for quite an enjoyable game. I went with Marisel and our friends Jeff and Maria from life group. We have become quite the squad. Although the game was awesome and the atmosphere was amazing, my favourite part of the evening was the Faith and Family night that followed. IMG_1747This post-game event included a short testimony from some of the players and worship. I loved praising Jesus with lots of people from many different churches around the twin cities area. What a blessing this happened to be the night we got tickets.
For my birthday I was given an afternoon golfing with another friend from life group and Au Pair host mom, IMG-20160731-WA0001Kristin. We both haven’t had much experience, so loosing the odd ball or two didn’t feel too bad. I hit a few good balls, but what I was most excited about was the weather and the great company. A perfect day. Who knows, you might see me out there again in the future. And by out there I mean between the shrubs… looking for lost balls.

A couple weekends ago I was able to fly to NYC for a few days to enjoy the city and friends’ company. My two college friends from Germany planned their summer vacation so they could see me. How blessed am I. I was able to introduce them to Times Square, walking across the street even though the little man is red (yeah, we always wait in Germany), show them Lady Liberty and visit a Broadway musical.
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At Times Square with Sabrina and Miriam

We got Fiddler on the Roof tickets for only $35. That’s pretty hard to beat. I vaguely remember seeing this show as a school production many years ago. It was definitely worth seeing again. We managed to find the bar that inspired the TV series How I met your Mother, McGee’s, we found the oldest pub in the city, McSorely’s, and no, we didn’t spend all weekend drinking. Just a beer here and there to cool down. it was super hot and super humid. I was so grateful when we made it out to Brooklyn and got some much needed air. Also, I took my first Uber ride. A cheaper alternative to Taxis. I probably saved about $35 or more driving from the airport to our airbnb in Harlem. I can highly recommend it!

And finally, I reeled in the biggest catch of the day (only a sunfish) last weekend when I got to spend Maria’s birthday weekend with her family at the lake.  A true Minnesota experience. I had to get my MN fishing license and even did all the dirty work, sticking the worms on the hook and taking the fish off once I’d caught them. I loved it. Jeff’s dating advice for the weekend: don’t date anyone who doesn’t like fishing. I don’t think we ever got behind the reason of why, but thanks anyway 🙂 we topped off the day with tubing and a failed attempt at waterskiing. My arms hurt nonetheless. Believe me.IMG_1990

In other news: my youngest sister Amy got engaged. Congratulations to you and Tim. Love you both and excited for your future.

Love, Sophie x

PS Sorry I haven’t been blogging much, the site needed some updates and repairs (Thanks, Dad!). There will be more, I promise. Also, in the next couple of months I will be revealing what next year may have in store for me, so keep reading 🙂