August 30, 2010

The Pferdeturm

On Friday I witnessed my first game in the Pferdeturm. Holy moly it was totally one of those "you have to see it to believe it" kind of things. The place was packed, sparklers were sparking, the fans never stopped chanting - the arenas energy 100% exceeded any rink I've ever been in and TJs ever played in - and most importantly, the guys looked GREAT! I've turned to TJ in the past after preseason games and told him the team looks worse than summer league. I was so impressed with the guys, and I'm really genuinely excited for the season to start. 

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the FOG! Unbelievable, but I guess I better get use to it.
Warm Ups
The view from my seat 2 minutes into the first period.
I had to stand the entire game for a better view.
TJ SCORES!!!
TJ (84) and Kevin (32)
Annnnd they WIN!!
The team is sponsored by a hotel who provides us with a sauna, pool and TANNING! Yahoo for some vitamin D!! TJ has every Monday off (fingers crossed), so we were able to go relax for a couple of hours today. The sun felt so good! It has been continually raining here nonstop for the past week. Good thing I packed 3 pairs of summer heels. NOT - I need some rain boots ASAP!
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August 25, 2010

Just Another Update

Who knew that the basic color spectrum had so many sisters, brothers, cousins, and great grandmothers-aunts-fathers-mother colors, too? Playing with color pallets and researching and messaging photographers and DJs consumed a large part of my day today. TJ has been a great sport listening to all of my ideas and "well what about..."s, and bouncing back what he thinks too in between practices.

Funny how things change in the course of 24 hours. We are basically set with our venue, the Log Cabin, and are just waiting on my mom and meme to go check the place out for us. I admit it is terrible not being able to check it out ourselves being that TJ and I are here in Germany, but I trust the both of them. Plus, Teej and I think it would be much worse to lose the venue and the date we want, which is 7/7/2012 by waiting until April to look ourselves. I have been talking to a wonderful coordinator there (over email, obviously), who has been incredibly helpful, understanding of our situation, and is already making planning a breeze. Yay!

In other news, ANOTHER one of TJs college teammates is coming to Hannover tomorrow on a try-out. Union College represent!! I think it is really neat that he will now have 3 former teammates here. Even being all the way over here in Germany, this "hockey world" is still so small. Last week for instance when I went to TJs tournament I bumped into one of his former teammates from Worcester. Craziness.

My brother started the third grade today. The little man is growing up! I had a twinge in my heart and was homesick because I wished I was there to see him off. I know he's going to grow up a lot in the next 6 months while we are away and it makes me sad. I know it is inevitable, and don't get me wrong, I am so proud of the healthy, funny, and active boy that he is, but it literally feels like only a few months ago that I was changing his poopy diapers :) TJ and I were discussing how old all of the "kids" will be at our wedding, and besides baby Muroski (who will be 1.5!), even Ethan will be 6.5 and Ant will be 10. Yikes we're getting old.

Gute Nacht!
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August 24, 2010

It's official. I'm lame.

I haven't written in a week because I haven't (thought) that I've been doing much of anything to talk about. It took a swift kick from my friend Trish to wake up and realize HELLO, I AM LIVING IN GERMANY, GET WRITING AND SHARE THIS EXPERIENCE WITH OUR FAMILY BACK HOME! That was the whole point in creating this thing anyways, right?

I guess since I am use to traveling and finding different things to occupy my time it hasn't felt any different than being "home". It doesn't even seem like we are 4,000 miles away to be honest with you. But we are, and I see all daily hits to this site and the messages in my inbox asking whats up, so hopefully I will get better about writing and keeping everyone informed about the day-to-day over here in Deutschland.

I think so far the main change that we have to adjust to is the food. TJ and I love to eat, but it is hard to indulge here when we don't know what we are buying. I went to the market last week to pick up a few things because we literally only had eggs, rice cakes, cereal with no milk, and pasta, and I was hungry!! I grabbed a few items that looked healthy, crossed my fingers, bought them, and brought them directly to my computer to translate. I prepared for the worst that I had bought ground up fish tail and cow testicles, but I did pretty good!!
Basically flat chicken burgers with carrots and corn.
Grilled Turkey Breast Strips. These were yummy.
Dinner! Tiny bottle of terrible salad dressing, and of course BBQ sauce.
 As you can see, portions are so tiny! That is something we have to get use to for sure. I also was mistaken with the fact that I thought everything was so much cheaper here than back in the states. Everything is also half the size so I am thankful it doesn't cost as much as back home!
This was TJs
But I crushed the whole thing - look how tiny it is!
TJs tiny box of Oreos
16 Oreos were almost 2 euros!
I admit it, I was wrong about the clothing too. The prices I saw the first day I went shopping obviously reflected summer sales. I bought a plain long sleeve t-shirt, a mid-sleeve shirt/dress, a light sweater, a mid-sleeve sweater jacket, an oversized sweater dress, a long fleece jacket and 3 scarves for 195.20 euros, which currently equals $246.33 American. I will admit that the quality of the material is way better than the stores I shop in back home, but I am not quite sure I would have spent that kind of money in the states on the 9 items I bought. It's a toss up, but I justify it that I need warm clothes for games in the pferdeturm this winter! Plus for all the packing I did, I really didn't bring anything warm, and I should apparently be preparing for a bone cold winter.

Haha funny side note that I immediately knew I had to blog about the second it happened - TJ AND KEVIN GOT CAT CALLED! Ahaha I could laugh about this for hours. We took a walk downtown yesterday and I was obviously paying attention to everything that was going on around us. We were walking towards a food stand and I couldn't help but keep glancing at the transvestite inappropriately devouring a bratwurst. All of a sudden he/she? let out a long "MEEEOOOWWWWW"  and I started cracking up. TJ looked confused because the only animal that was near us was a tiny yorkie! Ohh I will remember that moment for the rest of my life. Ahahahahahaha.

For anyone whose been wondering what else I've been doing, wedding planning has completely taken over my life, and I love it! We are about 99% set on a location, but we obviously can't put down a deposit or set a definite date until we go to see the venue when we are back in the states. End of March? April? Only the play-off Gods can tell. I know for sure that I am interested in a lot of DIY projects. Not only will we save an incredible amount of money in the end, but I am one of those self-sufficient "do-it-all" kind of girls, and I know that it will be so much fun. I'm looking forward to making close to everything.  

What I really need to do is a set a schedule for myself. It has been so hectic and unpredictable, as you can imagine, getting things and our lives situated. BUT!, I do have so much more to be doing than tweaking our budget and researching wedding favors and cakes. Its so much fun though and I've thoroughly been enjoying myself :) I'm keeping this week open to relax, explore and kick up my feet on this little "vacation", but next week I am back on schedule with school work and maintaining vintageisvogue.com. That's a promise to myself.

Oh, I forgot. I met a few of the wives. Yay for some female interaction, finally!! Such sweethearts, too. We took a drive up to watch one of the guys pre-season games. TJ obviously didn't score until the following day when I wasn't there (I'm convinced that I am bad luck), but I managed to take a few photos.  Tschüss :D
Warm Ups
#32 - Kevin, TJ played with him in WV, too.
# 9 - Mike, TJ played with him at Union College, too.
Taking the ice
Strange to see him in #84, #13 was already taken ;(
Face off!
I think he might be a top contender for leading the team in penalty minutes this year..
Pre season tournament VS a pro Austrian team, the Black Wings Linz
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August 17, 2010

One Week Down.

I love that we can be so far away and yet so close to our families at the same time due to skype and facebook.

TJ is gone this entire week for preseason games. Brutus has been driving me nuts. The past two days have been raining so he has only been outside about an hour and a half each day. He has been crying all day and all night and was actually barking in my face last night. He hardly ever barks. He's out to get me, too. If he can get his little jibbers on anything of mine, he's stealing my hair clips, ponytail holders, flip flops, anything. I thankfully grabbed my purse out of his mouth in time or he would've been in BIG trouble. I do feel bad for the poor pup though - the entire summer he was outside all day, playing with my parents dogs and my brother who is his best friend. He stares outside a lot; it makes me sad but hopefully he will adjust to living in an apartment again soon.

 TJ and I went into the city on Sunday morning. We figured out the correct stops to get to certain places, took some pictures of the city hall and different statues and found a PIZZA HUT with both a German and an American menu! Yay! Our first day here we went to a German pizza place for dinner which didn't have a lick of English. I told TJ we couldn't mess up by ordering the "Parmaschinken" pizza. Oh boy was I wrong. Chinken here is ham, so we basically had prosciutto all over our pizza. It wasn't terrible, but it was a huge disappointment after looking forward to a chicken parm pizza.
PIZZA HUT!!!
City Hall
Hannovers Red Light District
Gänseliesel-Brunnen
Ernest Augustus I Statue
Polizei
TJs German is coming along great, he is getting the accent down and everything. I am so proud of him. It is obviously much easier for him to catch on to the language because he is around it and practicing it with the guys on the team, but I am learning. He is also much more open to trying different and new foods. My stomach has been acting up since we've been here so starting today I am cutting out dairy and seeing if my horrible stomach pains go away. 

I can't read food labels here (fat, protein, carbs, etc.,) I should probably educate myself on that soon though. The food is a big change for me. Shopping is difficult because everything is obviously in German. I feel like a goof ball investigating all of the labels trying to recognize something or anything that looks close to English, but I guess that is part of the learning experience. It's funny, quick snack foods like Pringles, KitKats, Coke, Red Bull etc. all have the familiar look and logo, but any food with substance is completely German and I hesitate to buy it because I have no idea what it is! Lettuce is lettuce and peppers are still peppers here, so at least my favorite foods are available and if all else fails, they do have Subway and Twix bars :)
TJs German Milka Bar
My "German" Twix Bar :)
This move has already made me a much stronger person and I'm learning to stand on my own two feet.  Every season and every move has been exciting, fun, rewarding, challenging and stressful. This one for sure will be the most memorable. It can be terrible at times to only have Brutus to talk to, but I am keeping a positive attitude here. I have been doing a lot of reflecting and working on being the best me that I can be. It has been refreshing, actually. When was the last time you spent some quality time with yourself? This experience is allowing me to discover who I am, find myself, and know myself. I think everyone needs to be alone in order to develop a true sense of self.
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August 15, 2010

Pferd=horse and Turm=tower.

Last night was my first time inside the Pferdeturm. 

Quick lesson: Pferd=horse and turm=tower. The horse tower is a late medieval watchtower of the city of Hannover. The rink was built right behind it. 

We attended the "Saisoneröffnungsparty 2010" which translates into the "Season Opening Party" which was a meet the team and signing event held inside where the ice will be laid. I had my first German Bratwürste and it was pretty tasty. They are normally served alongside fries or "Pomme Frittes" COVERED in mayo, but I decided to skip that option. I did however have my first taste of German beer and I had a "Radler" as well, which is beer mixed with Sprite. It was different - I guess beer based mixed drinks are popular here.

The fans here are very nice - they are die hard and the atmosphere is amazing - I am sure it's going to be an unbelievable experience for TJ to take the ice with a packed house every game. The arena itself is MUCH different than what we have played in back in the states, it certainly has character ;) - take a look!
Both ends of the arena are exposed to the outdoors!
This calls for one COLD hockey rink!
The guys on the team all get along great. The Germans are so helpful to TJ and I with the language and getting around the city; we have been really blessed that they are so kind and welcoming. There are also two guys here that TJ played with in the states, one from last year in West Virginia, and another that he played with in college. It is really awesome to get to go through this experience with guys we know from home, it somehow makes being in a new country not so scary and overwhelming.

Here are a few pics of TJ signing, being introduced to the fans, and a really great video of the guys at the closure of their event. Enjoy.
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August 14, 2010

Isn't technology amazing?

While it took us a few days to get up and running, I think it is so cool that I can talk to and see my family back in the US for free via skype. I have a feeling that I will be talking to my loved ones more now than when I was even home!

Everyone I've talked to so far has asked the obvious questions - "How was the flight?", "How is it over there?", and "How are YOU?" Off the top of my head :

Flight:
  • We left Boston at 10pm via Lufthansa. Squished and nearly full, I lucked out and had an open spot between me and the man to my left. I didn't sleep a wink.
  • Did you see our yummy food in the pictures below? I was impressed, obviously haha. Shrimp and romaine salad, pesto and marinara pasta, a delicious roll and butter, chocolate mousse with strawberries and shaved white chocolate, unlimited open bar, and a cheese stick for Brutus when he got off the plane :)YUM!
  • Lufthansa is the way to go if you want good grub, but if you want friendly customer service forget about it. I had to call 4 or 5 different times to go over random things that needed clarification since the team booked our flight, and the people that answered the phones were NOT nice or even remotely helpful. They weren't friendly at Logan either. For example, after we checked our luggage we were told by two people that someone would be over to help us move forward so the dog crate could be inspected. After waiting a good 15 minutes I asked TJ to go see what was up and a man flatly and rudely said "Well you need to speak up if you need assistance." Uh hello, two people said they were already taking care of it. Ignorant.
  • On a positive note - Brutus made it! When we went through customs and finally picked him up he was physically exhausted and it looked as though they had sprayed him with a hose of water - but he made it, he's healthy, and he's happy. I was nervous traveling with him because our vet made a somewhat deserved stink over the fact that he is a snub nosed dog, but our boy is a champion :) I was assured that the airline kept its separate cabin for animals at 62 degrees which is a perfect sleeping temperature for him.
  • Getting through customs was a breeze. I was slightly worried because I packed all of my 100+ vintage jewelry pieces in my purse and carry on. I was anticipating a bunch of questions, but they just checked out our passports and we went right through. No wonder terrorists and felons escape right into other countries.
  • We had a 3 hour ride from the airport in Frankfurt into Hannover. It was 6am in MA, and I slept the entire way.
Germany:
  • Hannover is CLEAN! There isn't even dirt on the side of the roads. We leave our windows open at night, no mosquitoes or little annoying bugs come in. Flies are only around the enclosed garbage drops outside. 
  • The architecture of the houses, apartments, and buildings is literally an art! Every building is so incredibly beautiful and I can't wait to share pictures.
  • Our city is hustling and bustling. There are hundreds of little shops in the downtown area. Above ground, under ground, a 3 story mall. A shopping girls paradise! 
  • We live about a 10 minute car/train ride to the rink, and a 15 minute car/train ride to downtown. Our location is perfect because it is quiet, we have a huge grassy back yard for Brutus, and two other guys live in our building for TJ.
  • Our neighbors don't care for Brutus. Apparently a few years ago English bulldogs were attacking children? I don't believe it and I think he is being mistaken for a pitbull or a boxer. Anyone who knows Brutus Baxter knows that our Bully is no bully!
  • Our apartment is wonderful. Brand new washer (no dryer), fridge, stove top, oven, sink, kitchen cabinets, wood floor, a huge closet, and all kitchenware from IKEA. I will take some photos when we finally get the place situated. TJ will be gone all next week for pre-season games so I am looking forward to arranging and finally finding a place for everything.
  • On that note, to any girl who is coming here, don't bother bringing your hair dryer, hair straightener, or clothes iron. I brought all three as well as a plug converter; my straightener plates over heated and melted into the plastic, and fire shot out of my hair dryer before sounding like a 747 and shutting off. Trial and error, I found that bringing all three of these items just took up space in my suitcase and I would have been better off just buying them here. Example - I bought a European hair dryer for $4.99 today.
  • Same goes with clothes. TJ and I paid $400 to send over two over weight bags. We would have been much better off leaving clothes at home and buying here because the clothes and SHOES! are so much cheaper than in the US.
Me:
  • A lot of people have questioned what I will be doing in Germany. Some of these people have also turned up their noses and verbalized that they don't understand why I would "drop my life" to travel with TJ for hockey. It is quite annoying, and while I don't have the gall to say it to their faces, hopefully they will read this blog entry and realize 1. It's none of their business and 2. This is my life whether they understand it or not. I may not be working a regular job, but what I will be doing is keeping me plenty busy! Finishing my wedding/event planning course, planning our wedding, I signed up for a German language course today, thrifting for new items and listing on VINTAGEISVOGUE, I start dance classes next week, meeting interesting people, learning about a new culture, exploring Europe and enjoying every single opportunity that comes our way. I probably never would have had the chance to come to Germany if it wasn't for TJs career. While it isn't always easy having his contract dictate when, where, and why we have to do certain things, I wouldn't change anything about it because it keeps our life interesting and fun! 
  • I am feeling much better now than I did earlier this week - I slept for three days. I was seriously jet lagged and couldn't stay awake for more than a couple of hours at a time.
  • My eating patterns are still a little shifted, I do not eat until 3 or 4pm here, which is 9/10am back home.
  • None of the other girls are here yet, but good news is that quite a few are coming. I can't wait. AND, there is going to be an English Bulldog named Buster for Brutus to play with. Yay for doggy play dates.
  • Speaking of Bruts - himandiarelikethis! TJ has been gone from 9-3 every day for practice and getting himself situated with the team/visa/etc. Bru and I have been out exploring our neighborhood everyday. I take him for 15-30 minute walks every two hours, and he plops down for a nap as soon as I wipe his 4 inch long slob off his lips :) We're in a routine and he knows when two hours have passed because he's waiting for me at the door.
  • I put on my big girl panties today and went on the train and into town by myself. woop woop, making strides!! I know, I know, the little American girl shouldn't be out running around by herself, but I do feel completely safe here. Everyone minds their business and trust me, I've googled the crime rate here :) We are safe.
Tonight TJ has a player introduction to the fans event at the rink, or the "pferdeturm" as they call it here. Then we are going out with the team which should be a fun time. I'm charging my camera now so hopefully there will be some good pictures to share tomorrow.

Ciao
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August 13, 2010

Photos

4 suit cases, 4 carry ons, 2 sticks, 1 hockey bag, and 1 Brutus crate!
Boots enjoying the view.
Boston, MA to Frankfurt, DE
5846 km = 3632 miles
TJ made fun of me for taking this picture, but I had to - YUM!
I finally got to watch Alice in Wonderland.
Good morning! Again, TJ made fun of me for taking this.
All the way across the Atlantic.
We can't wait to travel.
TOUCH DOWN!!
Either he found a comfy spot or he's telling me to pack him back up and send him to Ant and Thea! =)
Brutus helping me unpack.
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