My trip home

I can’t believe it’s been four almost five weeks since I returned from my long-anticipated visit back home with my family. Time just won’t slow down and it’s been hard to get back into my blogging game (as you can tell).

I had an absolutely wonderful time and soaked up every minute. I can also say that I was able to almost check everything of my Germany Bucket List.


… spending time with my niece and nephew (and the rest of the family)


You know what was really, really nice about this trip? That I really enjoyed being at home at my parents’ house and that I was part of everyone’s daily routine. Since my sister and BIL were working and the kids were in school, we didn’t do a whole lot of “adventuring” or “vacation stuff”, but it was nice to pretend that I was always part of their daily routines for a while.

I took my niece to her riding lesson and we had a movie night at my sister’s house and various afternoons and dinners where we just hung out together.

… spending time with my best friend


I didn’t get to spend as much time with my friend as I had hoped to. Shortly after I arrived, she left for an almost two-week stay at a pain clinic (for chronic headaches) where a spot had just opened up. Of course, she had to take it. I wish I could have spent more time with her and build her up a bit more, but I am glad we got to see each other at all. Every hour is precious.

… attending one of my best friends’ wedding


I was stoked that I was able to attend one of my best friend’s wedding during my visit. We met many moons ago on the Internet, but have become really close over the years and to be able to be there for her (and her new husband) on their wedding day was such a treat (for me and for her!). (Separate recap to come.)

… my nephew’s first communion.


Last time I visited for my niece’s first communion, so of course I had to make sure that I am there for my nephew’s as well. So glad I could make this happen. (Separate recap to come.)

… eating all the food

My Mom went above and beyond to fulfill all my food cravings. Every day, I made a new request for lunch or dinner and she made it all.


Mettbrötchen (rolls with freshly minced meat, salt, pepper and onions – OMG!) – pork roast with crackling with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes – Schnibbelskuchen (baked potato wedges with eggs on whole grain bread with sugar beet syrup)


potato pancakes – green bean soup with sausages – herring in cream sauce with potatoes and bacon bits


meatballs with kohlrabi and potatoes – waffles with strawberries and ice cream – bratwurst with red cabbage and potatoes

Not pictured: goulash and dumplings, pizza, and  ALL THE FRESH BREAD + ROLLS all day, every day. 

… walking with my Mom


My Mom has been getting into a regular morning walk routine since I last visited and I did not only join her for one, but many walks (I think five!). It was so great to get out and walk with her, which also gave us the opportunity to talk and just spend time together. I ended up only running once, but the walks were far more important to me this time.

… going  for a run with my cousin (and maybe my sister?)

Unfortunately that didn’t happen and I blame two things: a) bad weather (it rained a lot while I was there!) and b) timing (my cousin and my sister had to work, so there wasn’t as much opportunity), but I still got out for a run around my hometown!

… working out with my Dad

Unfortunately, that also didn’t happen, because my Dad had issues with his shoulder and couldn’t go to the gym with me (and subsequently had surgery scheduled two weeks after I left).

… having  some quality time with my sister


I got to spend two nights at my sister’s house and I wish I could do that more often. It’s just so nice to hang out, sleep in the same bed and then have breakfast together the next morning (including fancy out-of-the-shower-towel-turbans, ha!) – as if we do that every Saturday. I mean, at least it felt like that… even if in reality, it’s such a rare event.

… seeing an old friend from high school

Timing was difficult because she had to work and my weekends were already filled up with family stuff, but I did get to see my high school friend for a few hours one evening during the week and I am so glad we both were able to make the time to reconnect.


… spending a day with a dear friend in Köln


I did get to meet up with one of my longest, dearest friends  in Cologne again and we got to spend some time in our favorite city.  (Separate recap to come.)

… seeing a few other dear (family) friends (BONUS!)

I was able to squeeze in a couple more friends (I got to have coffee with an old pen friend that I hadn’t seen in 20 years and I also  was able to reconnect with a dear friend, who lives in Hamburg now) and we saw two family friends for a few hours and I am so glad we were able to make it happen.



… shopping for items to bring back to my US home.

Of course, I did shop for some stuff to bring back home (I believe, every expat does!) and even though my must-get list has gotten shorter, there is definitely a few things I always bring back. Wanna know what these things are? I might write a separate post about it, if you’re interested. (Or you can hop on Instagram and Facebook to see the “Germany hauls” some people post, although I am not bringing half of that stuff that other people are bringing back. Just sayin’.)

My time back home was packed full of awesome people, awesome food and I returned to the US with a really full heart.

  1. OMG, I loved reading your recap, and that you had so much quality time with friends and family. What adorable photos <3 That you were able to attend your nephew's confirmation, a wedding, have walks with your mom, eat all the delicious food, feel as though you're a regular in your sister's house–what a treat :)

  2. Woohoo for quality family time – you made the best of it!

  3. What an awesome trip! You know I appreciate the food pics. Schnibbelskuchen and the waffles were my faves. you know, it was probably a blessing that your friend could see you before she went to the pain clinic. I’d imagine it was a nice boost for her!

  4. What a wonderful trip you had! All of that food looks delicious! I’m so glad you were able to attend so many events for friends and family and it looks like you really got a chance to see a lot of important people to you! I’m so happy you had a great time!

  5. I’m glad you had a great time and were able to spend quality time with friends and family. I can’t wait for your other recaps, and yes, I’d love to see what you brought back to the U.S.


  6. I can’t get over how grown-up your nephew is! He’s so adorable in his communion photo.

    I’m glad you got to have one of those low-key visits home where you just integrated yourself into your family’s daily life. There’s something so special about that!

  7. This was so fun to read! I am glad you had such an awesome trip home and were able to cross off most of the items on your bucket list. Your nephew is so handsome! Your niece and nephew have gotten so big, though! Crazy!

    I think those low key day-to-day moments are some of the best moments you can have on a trip home. It’s fun to travel with family and do something exciting but it’s also nice to do normal, every day things with your family!

  8. I love when trips are completely jam packed with fun! I’m glad you got to go and kind of recharge.

  9. Oh San this sounds so lovely and one can feel how full your heart is. Hope you don’t have too long until you see them again.

  10. Looks like you had a wonderful visit, San! So glad you were able to go and get in so many visits with friends and family.

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