Advent! Huh?

Advent season is upon us: yesterday (Nov 30th) was the first Sunday of advent. Time to bring out the advent-candle-thingie, light a candle, eat some cookies, and visit a Weihnachtsmarkt.

Huh?

Here in Germany, the Christmas season begins with advent. There are advent calenders, advent-candle-wreaths and delicious cookies. Everyone seems to celebrate Advent, and the marketing for it seems to be everywhere. There are even special Weihnachtsmärkte (Christmas markets) that happen only on the first weekend of Advent.

All this advent-related stuff got me to thinking: what is advent exactly? Where does it come from? What does it mean? How does one celebrate it?

Honestly, I don’t know the answer to these questions.

Though I am Christian, I admit I know very little about Advent and the advent season. I had a friend in grade school whose family celebrated it with weekly dinners, and the candle lighting. My family did not celebrate advent though, and neither did anyone else that I knew. Largely, this means that I never gave advent a second thought – until I moved to Germany and became surrounded by it.

I hope to spend time in the weeks to come learning more about this tradition, and sharing that knowledge with you. Stay tuned!

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Thanksgiving: Deliciousness

It’s Sunday now, and our celebration of Thanksgiving was yesterday. Can I just say, that this year we had possibly the best collection of food that I have ever had on Thanksgiving? Everything was homemade, very American, and very delicious. My husband and I spent the better part of Friday evening and Saturday morning doing all the cooking and cleaning, but the food was worth every second of our hard work.

After we stuffed our faces to the point of explosion, and cleaned up the kitchen area, my husband, mother-in-law and I relaxed for a movie evening with three great films: Atlas Shrugged, Despicable Me, and Edge of Tomorrow. We took a break only to eat the best pumpkin pie, in the history of pumpkin pies, and to Skype my family in celebration of my niece’s 3rd birthday.

The pumpkin pie, was really, the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had. It was perfect, with each bite tasting a little bit better than the last. We mostly followed the recipe we found here, with a special thanks to No Apathy Allowed for posting such an amazing recipe.

Now that thanksgiving has come and gone, I am super excited to start celebrating Christmas. First up is visiting the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) here in town tonight, and celebrating the 1st Sunday of Advent!

Happy holidays!

Happy Thanksgiving!

That’s right – it’s Thanksgiving! Happy Turkey Day!

Thanksgiving in Germany is, of course, not a holiday. That means that today is just a day – like any other. We get up, go to work, run errands, etc. just like every other day of the week.

Have no fear though: Thanksgiving in our home will be celebrated this Saturday instead! Thanksgiving is one of my all-time-favorite holidays, and I can’t survive without celebrating it.

Our goal is to have an amazingly, delicious, mostly traditional, American Thanksgiving dinner, even though we are abroad. That means our 14 lb turkey is thawing already in preparation and I’m super excited for the rest of our line up: mashed sweet potatoes, turkey gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, homemade stuffing, green beans (or some sort of green veggie), salad (possibly), and homemade (from scratch!) pumpkin pie!

This year our thanksgiving celebration will be small – those we’ve invited are mostly busy and being new here, we don’t know too many people – but hopefully in years to come we can share the amazingness of turkey day with more friends.

In the mean time though, sit back, relax, hold your family close – and stuff your faces till you explode.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m Here – Now What?

As you might have noticed from my last post – I am here. I have made it into the 2nd official week of life in the big Ger-Many, and the question that keeps plaguing me is:

Now What?

I’m here. I’ve made it. All the planning that we’ve gone through in the last years has been successful. We have a roof over our heads (living with the MIL still counts, and our own place is in the works), we have food to eat, and we are financially okay. My husband is working, so we have income coming in, and my official visa should be available for pick up in the next few weeks.

In all the planning that we’ve done, one thing has remained unanswered: what – oh what – do I want to do career-wise? What do I want to be professionally? Do I even want to work professionally? Do I want to try to continue on in my career that I went to college for or do I want to start something new? Do I want to work for someone else again? Do I want to try to start my own business?

And of course let’s not forget probably the biggest question to plague any woman who is hoping to have kids in the next few years – how will my desires career-wise interact with our family life? How will I balance kids and work? Should I even balance kids and work? Should I already plan on being a stay-at-home or a work-at-home mom? Will staying home with my (future) kids drive me insane? Will working and letting someone else care for my kids daily tear-me-apart? Is it even worth starting a career (or continuing one) if I know I am hoping to have babies in a couple years and if I want to stay home with them? And what about after they are school aged? Will I feel like a failure, if I don’t have some sort of professional/career goals that I’m working towards? And – how do I balance desires career-wise with following God’s plan for my role in our marriage and our home?

Okay, okay. Let’s take a step back. I know, logically, that most of these questions do not need to be answered right at this moment in my life. I know, logically, that many of these questions don’t actually have a right answer, and that some of them may never have an answer. Most importantly, I know, logically, that I need God, and conversation(s) with my husband, in order to see what is best for our family and our future. There’s a hierarchy that comes into play here and it was put there for a reason: God first, husband second. They are the leaders in our family (in that order) and I trust the both of them. They will help me to see what it is that I am meant to do with this time in my life.

But, I mean, let’s be honest. I know all of those facts, logically and I believe them wholeheartedly, but my brain is very often anything but logical, and there is often a disconnect between my heart and my brain. Instead of resting quietly in God’s plan (even if I have no IDEA what that is), it wants an answer NOW. It wants to have my whole life planned out – right NOW! It wants plans and goals and dreams – NOW! Not next week or next month or next year – NOW!

Have you ever felt that way? Lost and scared and majorly overwhelmed by a life change or new career or joblessness? Let me know in the comments. And in the mean time – let’s all be thankful to a God who promises:

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.” ~ Ecclesiastes 3 ~

 

Week One

I’ve reached the end of my official first week* of “normal” life In Germany! Looking back at all of the planning, origanizing, and waiting we went through for this chapter of our lives to begin – it’s hard to believe that we are actually here!

The first official week went off without too many hitches. We managed to head over to the Ausländerbehörde (Immigration Authority) and successfully applied for my visa to live in Germany. Unlike in America, if you come from certain countries, and have a valid, legal reason to stay in Germany, you don’t have to apply for a visa prior to arrival. This makes the arrival and preparation portion of the trip easier in some respects, and more difficult in others.

Since I am married to a German citizen, applying for my visa was simple and straight forward. In a future post I will explain some more details of the application process, but essentially after answering a few questions, they approved me. My 3-year residence card will be ready to be picked up in about 3 weeks!

During the rest of the week my husband began his new job, and I started to try to get some sort of routine going at home. Admittedly this is a relatively new area to me, and I am not very good at it yet. Making the situation a bit more complicated is the fact that we are also staying with my mother-in-law.  I love her dearly, but three adults in a one bedroom apartment is not always so ideal.

Mostly though, I am just enjoying the time with my husband and the beginning of our new chapter. I am trustIng God and His perfect timing for all the unknowns still in our lives, and doing my best to just be content and present in every moment that we have right now. Oh, and I am trying not to waste too much time on Pinterest.

That’s all from our world for this Sunday. I have some exciting ideas for posts coming up in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for more!

* Okay, so I actually met up with my husband in Germany well over a month ago. We spent a few days here, then spent an amazing month celebrating our new beginning on an awesome vacation together elsewhere. This week was our first back from that trip and our first week of his new job.

Welcome!

Hello! Welcome to The Journey to 31! I am an almost 30 year old Christian wife living in Germany with my (German!) husband. I haven’t been in our new place of residence for very long, but I am already loving every moment. This blog is intended to be my small corner of the Web to discuss faith & expatriate life while documenting my journey towards becoming the type of woman that is talked about in Proverbs, Chapter 31. So come on in, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and stay awhile!