Saturday, January 30, 2010

Wir sind hier!

... (we are here) - Back in Munich that is.

I have to say it's really a bizarre feeling to be 'home' after 4 months on the go, but for some reason home has become relative and this also feels temporary. We've grown accustomed to being transient. I'm sure after the jet lag wears off and we are back to our old stomping grounds it will be a good dose of reality.

We have stacks of mail to go through, daily life to get back to, and favorite foods to devour.

I'm looking forward to:

- cooking
- eating mass quantities of delicious cheeses
- admiring how wonderful our subway system is
- seeing what's changed in Munich (we even have a new subway stop!)

I'm not looking forward to:
- freezing temperatures
- missing friends + family
- not having authentic {insert ethnic food dish here}
- not spending 23.75 hours a day with Stefan

Even though we've traveled to far away lands many times, this time is slightly different, because we were gone for so long. It's actually hard to remember what life was like before we left. We grew accustomed to changing scenery, languages, cultures, hotels, and living even smaller than normal. While I am really excited about getting back to the normalcy of daily life - (you really wouldn't imagine how difficult it can be wondering how you'll get your laundry done or missing the ability to cook meals for yourself) we also face the trip return let down.

The challenges through out the trip were more personal and often came from unlikely places. Being confronted with how others live can be sobering, humbling, and difficult.

We often vacillated between feeling as though we could help save the world and as though the world's problems are immensely larger than us. We would jot down notes, quotes, and striking sites as they happened, hoping to capture the feelings and emotions we went through. Traveling constantly and for such an extended time made us work at not becoming desensitized to what we were seeing and experiencing. It opened our eyes to the intricacies that are unique to each culture and having a best friend to share the experiences continues to give us many interesting conversations.

After being gone for so long the culture shock becomes somewhat normal and slowly it becomes even more difficult to figure out our place in the world. It's not so simple to return home and feel purposeful or as though what we are doing with our lives is meaningful. The lessons on the road are immeasurable.

As we reflect on things it's easy to forget the sweltering heat of Southeast Asia or the occasional difficulty of frustrating your spouse. We have a good laugh when thinking of one of the most stressful periods of the trip - driving on the opposite side of the road, and hearing each other say one too many times, 'Hon, - uh Hon... I think you're a bit close over here' or dealing with a renegade taxi driver. Thankfully for the most part those were our biggest hang ups.

While living abroad is a fantastic experience it's not always as romantic and exciting as you would expect. The most challenging part isn't necessarily the language or cultural differences, but never feeling completely at home. One of the biggest struggles is the more you open yourself to other cultures, foods, and people, the more you have to leave behind and miss. This trip has only reiterated that point.

Traveling seems to give more answers, but also plenty more questions.

That being said we usually just quelch missing everything with discovering something new and planning our next adventure to have something to look forward to. We already have a getaway booked for Easter weekend!

Plenty of recaps and photos to follow. We have over 30,000 photos to go through!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Here's to hoping you are one of the lucky few to get reservations this year - or next...

elBulli is going to close for 2012 + 2013!

We've submitted for any opening they have this year, so we are crossing our fingers / holding our thumbs (the German equivalent). I could certainly handle another trip to Spain and some amazing food at the #1 restaurant in the world! (Only 8,000 of the 1 million requests are granted reservations).

We also visited Gordon Ramsey's Maze in London whose head chef previously worked at elBulli... another outstanding meal.

I'll try to write soon about yet another molecular restaurant we visited during our travels. I have plenty to write about that!

To read more about molecular cooking check out the course we took here in Munich.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Max Wanger - Los Angeles

It's such a wonderful honor to be featured on 100 Layer Cake and Max Wanger's blog. Thank you Jillian + Max!

It was the perfect way to round out our trip and have some beautiful photos from such a special time in our lives.

Remember the subway dress that I fell in love with? Well, you can see it in some of the sneak peek photos.

Most of the photos were taken in Venice, California, while the roof top images were taken at the beautiful SLS hotel where we stayed during our fabulous time in Los Angeles.

Max and his lovely fiancée Margaux enjoy traveling too, so if you can't make it to LA they can always come your way. We're looking forward to crossing paths with them again - somewhere in the world!

(photos courtesy of the ultra talented Max Wanger)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Message Cookies

Remember my adorable cookies for my brother in law Uli's birthday?

It looks like Williams Sonoma now has a similar cookie cutter set that allows you to personalize your cookies, so they are now available stateside! I saw them in the stores, although it says they are unavailable online right now.

Evidently they also had a Christmas set. The only advantage to the German press is that it comes with a small stamp, so you can imprint any cut out as opposed to needing to be used with special cookie cutters to hold the ultra tiny letters.

If you stop by the store, you might want to check if they have my other favorites for animal crackers, which again I saw in stores but not online.

I just love them both!

As for a cooking tip - chill the dough before cutting it, so the letters / animals retain their shape.

(images Williams Sonoma)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Each year on the first we write a list of predictions. It's a fun tradition to see what comes true and what doesn't - as well as the surprises along the way.

If you asked me at the beginning of 2009 if I would have the chance to make a trip around the world I would have laughed. I thought there was a good chance we would move, and yet we are in the same apartment.

I love seeing how life plays out.

Some of the places I am really hoping to visit in 2010 are:
Istanbul, Turkey
Provence, France (especially during the lavender season!)
Dubrovnik, Croatia
(being ambitious I'll also add Greece)

I hope to do more creatively and really work on cooking, finding more delicious recipes, reading good books, and appreciating the simple things. 2009 will be tough to beat.

We wish you all a wonderful New Year!