02 September 2013

Long Break

Well this break I had to take from the blog ended up lasting a little longer than planned. Never though it would turn out this long, phew!

The last 6 months have been an emotional rollercoaster. We have been annoyed, in despair, relieved and angry as we had no intention to leave the US when we did and suddenly there were lots of things to take care of. Small things like notifying the landlord and breaking leases, larger things like organizing the actual move and finding somewhere to live in Cologne. And to plan for the new baby. Now looking back, I am not sure how we got through it, but after living at hotels, in furnished apartments or at friends´ for 6 weeks, we found a house to rent outside Cologne as of 1 June and our furniture arrived 2 days before Olivia was born on 14 June. Moving in Germany is never fun, on the contrary, it is really awkward and expensive. Never thought I would end up being homeless at my age but you live and learn,

Houses/flats generally come without kitchen in Germany, sometimes you have to paint before moving in, sometimes it is your obligation to do so when moving out. In our case, we had to paint just about all rooms before moving in. We also had to put down flooring in 4 rooms. Kitchen took 6 weeks to get delivered so we ended up using the grill in the garden. Without having the Weber I am not sure how we would have survived. Luckily weather was great this summer. But, all bad things come to an end, and now we are slowly accepting the fact we are back where we started and are trying to survive as parents of two little girls. Ha, this is the real challenge!

Blog will continue here Team Clarke and right now I am not sure in what language. Perhaps in Swedish with English once a week.

22 April 2013


So blog is being very quiet. We are in the process of moving so we will be back online soon!

01 April 2013

The Grove

Valet parking at its best...one of the best thing about the US

31 March 2013

Happy Easter

Apart from some old tulips there is no sign of Easter in this house. All Easter chocolate was eaten days ago and apart from eggs, I have no idea what you eat at Easter. We had jacket potatoes yesterday and a yummy Italian pizza today:)

Yesterday we spent noon at the Swedish school Easter picknick and egg hunt. Emily got her second egg - I quickly swopped it to one with no candy inside. There were also semlor being offered, yum yum, I had two.

Great weather meant pool time so that is where we spent the afternoon,

24 March 2013

Car Dealers

Took our Ford Edge to the Ford garage the other day for a service. We have a maintenance plan with them so every few months we get the oil changed and they check brakes etc. Whereas this garage was super friendly when we signed the two leases we have nearly two years ago, they are quite ignorant these days. I really dislike this about American customer service - it seems like it is becoming the standard. Once they have your money, they can´t care less about you. Don´t get me wrong, I find car dealers in all countries to be quite a pain, but at least they are nice before taking your money here. LOL

I booked the car in on Thursday and the guy on the phone said if I came in around 9am Friday morning they would have many technicians available and it wouldn´t take long, just over an hour. So at 8.55 I walked in and handed over my keys. The same lousy guy as last time asked me if I was going to come back later or if I was going to wait. Decided to wait since they seem to be a little quicker if you don´t bugger off. I also asked to speak to someone about buying the car. Lousy guy tells me he will let me know when Jim is free.
Hour later I walk up to lousy guy´s desk and he asks me if I have found Jim. Hrm."No, how can I do that if I don´t know who he is?" I realise I´ll probably wait forever for the car now, Americans don´t like sarcasm and if you are too direct. Hey ho. I get to sit down with Jim and tells him I want to buy the Edge when the lease runs out, $23K plus tax. Is it cheaper if I pay cash? What is the interest at the moment? Jim is not really interested. I get annoyed after 10 minutes and give him one of my best American smiles saying "I´ll think about it". Hell no. Had he been clever or a good sales man, he would have offered me a new lease, to buy a new car or had he just been friendly he would have looked he up in the system and taken out some paper work. Nada.  23k!!! Someone is making too much money!! I don´t ever, ever want to hear about the roaring car business again.

And the car? Well, After 2 hours I tell lousy guy I have to leave. He says they have very few technicians in that day, some other guy jumped the queue blah blah. The usual bullshit but so annoying. He reckons it is going to take another 2 hours at least. Yawn. Can't wait for the usual survey they send you after each visit.

23 March 2013

Date Night

Another date night! Headed to Irvine Spectrum last night for some food and cinema. We went to another Italian restaurant and were initially going to see the Wizard of Oz, however, we were surprised by getting a table straight away without the normal one hour wait on a Friday night so we finished our meal a lot earlier than expected and couldn´t be bothered to wait until it started. Instead we picked Olympus has fallen, an action packed film with Morgan Freeman and Gerald Butler. I assume most of the audience thought the movie was real and it wouldn´t surprise me if one or two people cried during the last ten minutes (God bless America, we will always stick together, blah blah). A little too much for my likings. The White House gets hijacked and you know the rest, one hero, crying women and so on. Yikes.

The food? It was ok. Better than the last place but come one, hummus? Not so Italian. I don´t understand why so many restaurants feel the need to do too much with their menues. Normal pizza is fine. I don´t need fennel sausage and fancy ingredients in my salads. Nor hummus. Just plain, nice food. I rather have oilve oil with my bread than horseradish with my salami. We shared some cheese and salami for a starter which was fine, had two small pizzas and shared a salad. It passed but only just. Nice venue where you can enjoy some starters and a glass of wine with friends, but not expect too much of the food.

Yum. Starter was nice.

I did spot a new Japanese restaurant last night, where we definitely will be going very soon. The Japanese food around here is excellent, we are getting really spoiled.

Decisions Decisions

Blog is being a little quite at the moment. A lot of things are going on at the moment, we are not sure if we will be here in a few weeks time so a lot of things to organise just in case we are heading back to Germany a little earlier than originally planned. Not our call so you can imagine everything is a little durcheinander. Especially since we are expecting a fourth family member (June!).