I’ve decided that November in Düsseldorf is not so bad – three parts wonderful, one part yuck. These are pretty good odds based on my 16 months of research. While the temperatures are dropping, the sun shines more days than not and is always accompanied by clear, blue skies. Back are the thick jackets, scarves, and beanies. The trees in the Hofgarten have lost nearly all their leaves, and the sun now shines straight into our living room.

Despite the inevitable start to winter, the timbre of the city takes on a decidedly livelier note with the approach of the accompanying holiday season. Store windows present their best holiday wares, and the Christmas markets that have been under construction are finally open. Their friendly lights, delightful food smells (Nutella crêpes anyone?), and Glühwein bring people out to celebrate friendship and good times.

The fact that I find myself liking this time is an astounding transformation in and of itself. This past weekend I had the very German urge to go for a Spaziergang (a walk, merely for the sake of walking) despite, or maybe because of, the crisp air. Why let a little winter stop me when I can cuddle into my down jacket, wrap a scarf around my neck, and go out for a bit of fresh air?

Did I just say that?!

It’s all relative

I’ve been sitting on this for a while but absolutely had to share. Check out the email my sister got at her work as a perfect example of relativity at its finest. Remember, she lives and works in Phoenix.

“Effective Monday, October 8: All associates will be switching to “winter appearance” as our Valley temperatures are now consistently below 100°F.”

Okey dokey.


What’s the best way to avoid impending doom, i.e. winter? Escape to warmer climes! Which is what Toby and I did, and why you haven’t heard a peep from me until now. First we spent ten days playing in my beautiful home state. Then we had a few weeks to catch up on laundry and repack for some adventures in Thailand. Ah, life is good when you bank all your vacation until the end of the year….

Arizona was wonderful. We hung out with A every day. We celebrated Daddy’s 70th birthday and swam in his pool. We took Mom out for coffee and margaritas (not on the same day). We ate Mexican food and our one-year anniversary cake top. We went out with friends and shopped. We visited the Phoenix Oktoberfest and hiked in our favorite Phoenix-area mountains. We had a Grand Canyon adventure.

Thailand was an adventure of epic proportions and perfect for our long overdue honeymoon. There were temples, jungles, and beaches; mosquitoes, elephants, and monkeys; bicycles, rickshaws, and longboats; and lots of rice. It was a different world for us, and we had fun creating so many new memories together.

But, by definition, all good vacations must come to an end, and so now we’re back home. While it is definitely cold (gloves, beanie, and scarf are a must for bike riding now), at least the sun is shining. The piles of laundry are done, Toby is back at work, and I’m back to getting my fitness career up and running. Right before Christmas I take my test for my personal trainer certification; it’s time to take The Christina to the next level. And in January I start my very own Zumba class; I finally will be paid to shake my booty in front of a room of people.

Now, if that won’t keep the winter doldrums away…