Soup days

It’s that time of year again, when warm liquid food starts sounding really good. Our neighbor keeps saying what a nice November it’s been, and I can only inwardly sigh and feel sorry for the Germans, who have a very strange sense of what ‘good’ weather constitutes. We’ve been having lots of cold and fog. So much fog that the skyscrapers of Frankfurt can’t be seen for days on end. Add to that a few sprinkles of rain, and you can understand why I dream of an escape to Arizona.

'Good' November weather

‘Good’ November weather

Instead, and in preparation of Roo’s coming, I decided to mass produce several liters of soup for our freezer. We now have potato soup, carrot soup, and creamy pea soup ready to go!

soup days

Ingredients for a warm winter

Winter, do your worst! Roo, please be gentle :)


Hitchhiking to Spring

A call home usually consists of my mother telling me how warm and sunny it is in Phoenix, and me answering with, “I don’t want to hear it.” I’m not being mean, I really just don’t want to know what I’m missing while I’m sitting here desperately waiting for the sun to shine for longer than 10% of my waking hours. Every morning I wake up, full of hope that Spring has finally arrived, only to open the drapes to another day of gray and rain. Do you know how many times I’ve gotten wet while riding my bike to work (yes, my new work!) in the last week? It’s certainly more than this Arizona girl is used to.

In the hopes of enticing Spring to come out and show a little thigh, we spent the last few weekends giving our apartment balcony a makeover. Not only did the mother-in-law and I buy brightly colored flowers last time she visited that make me smile every time I see them, but Toby and I also added some shrubbery to the window box – one that looks nice and was not too expensive (good for you if you got the movie reference!).

Funny – in Arizona I used to do rain dances in the street when I was a kid. Now I’m turning to my green thumb to get Spring’s attention and chase away the rain. I hope I’m better with balcony plants than I am with basil….

Wherever you are, I hope you’re enjoying a wonderful Spring!

This old house

While on the hunt for our apartment, we carefully weighed things like location, floor plan, and features. There was of course not one apartment that met all of our criteria, and we were forced to prioritize what we really wanted. At the top of the list – open kitchen, two bedrooms, elevator, and great location. We now have all this, and more. Our new kitchen has space for everything we use, and both of us can easily work in it together. We have a fabulous office/guest room. The elevator, while small, carries us quickly to the 4th floor. You can walk to great bars, coffee houses, shopping opportunities, and the grocery store.

The biggest thing we gave up was slightly more modern accommodations. Our apartment is in a building that was built in the late 60’s. There are definitely not enough electrical outlets in convenient places. Note to self – buy more power strips. We had fewer options for internet/cable providers. The windows could probably be better insulated. The wooden floors glow with the patina of past households.

But, we traded these modern niceties in for a sunken living room complete with a fabulous window seat and view of the Hofgarten (kind of like the Central Park of Düsseldorf) through our huge front windows. The three balconies allow for an actual weather-check no matter where you are. Our bathrooms have…character. How many people can say they have marble floors and walls in their master bathroom? Or a guest bathroom whose color scheme and lighting make you look beautiful any time of day?

Every day this place feels more and more like home. We’ve already enjoyed Sunday nights with homemade pizza and a movie, gin and tonics on the bar with friends, and sunny weekend afternoons on the window seat. Not bad!