Recap | Time at home

I feel like I was gone from this space for a while. The longer I stay away, the harder it is to get writing again (not because of lack of writing material, just the sheer overwhelm of ‘where do I start?’).

I guess, I owe you a recap of my trip home. I left on Sunday, March 17, and was gone for 2.5 weeks. I know people think that is a long time and I feel grateful that I had the vacation time and the approval from my supervisor to make this happen but in all honestly, it didn’t feel long at all. This precious time always flies by.

Travel to Germany was uneventful. I had a great UA/LH connection from Sacramento through Denver and Munich to Cologne, with appropriately timed layovers. All flights were on time and it couldn’t have been better. On the long-haul flight from Denver to Munich, I had a window seat, the middle seat was empty and a fellow German living in Colorado Springs took the aisle seat. We had a very pleasant chat (but also gave each other space during the middle part of the flight, which I appreciated, because I watched a movie and tried to get some sleep during the overnight hours.

By the way, I watched the hyped-up “Barbie” movie, which was ok but overall fell flat for me. Have you seen it?

We arrived in Munich 30 minutes early the next day, which was great for me. The original layover time was only 45 minutes and I had to go through immigration (a breeze with a German passport though) and switch gates to catch my connecting flight. I think I would have made it, but now I had time to pick up a fresh Laugenbrezel before boarding the next flight and that was a special treat after a rather disappointing breakfast on the plane (a vacuum-heated egg McMuffin, which I simply refused to eat).

My parents and sister were waiting for me at the airport in Cologne and I was so happy to finally hug them again that I did not get a picture of my arrival. I usually remember to get everyone to pose for a minute but I guess I was too excited to tell them that I was able to track my luggage through the Apple AirTag that I had attached to it (remember?).

We took the train back to my hometown and then had dinner at my sister’s house. I requested a typical German dinner with fresh rolls, cold cuts, cheese, and of course, Mett (minced raw pork). My fellow Germans will understand the obsession.

I stayed the first three days and the last three days of my trip at my hometown at my parents’ house with our skiing vacation in the Dolomites wedged in between (separate recap to come). I am lucky to still have my childhood home to go back to and it always feels a little bit like time travel when I stay in my old bedroom.

The best part of my days was having breakfast with my parents every morning and my dad asking me what kind of rolls I wanted him to pick up for me at the local bakery. I miss this so much, you guys.

I got to see my aunt and uncle for Kaffee and Kuchen, I joined my dad at his gym a couple of times, and I spent some time with my best friend during these first few days.

I was also beyond happy that after we returned from our skiing trip, I was able to fit in a visit with Ingrid. It had been high on my priority list during my time at home. I had kept up regular Skype calls with her over the last year and I am happy to report that she just turned 93 in March and is in as good health and spirit as ever. We spent a whole morning and afternoon with her and I think it was the highlight of her week (and mine!).

During the remaining time at home, I spent time with my sister, niece and nephew, visited my cousin and his girlfriend at their new apartment, got to walk with my mom, and just hung out with my parents in the evenings (including the joys of watching some German TV). There wasn’t much time to see other people this time.

As always, I had some amazing food including my mom’s Goulash, Döner, and homemade Reibekuchen (potato pancakes) and – not pictured – barley soup, salad and pizza rolls from our local Italian restaurant, and a few German Brotzeit dinners (my favorite).


  1. What a great time you had with your family! On the contrary, 2.5 weeks doesn’t seem that long to me. I know how precious time is with your family, and it sounds like it was a great vacation!

    1. I completely understand the “Mettbrötchen” – so good…
      I think the time travel experience is something I am going to miss now that my childhood home is sold. Sounds like you had a good trip and the flights working out is alway a plus – I always dread that something might go wrong.
      I really did like the Barnie movie – maybe because I did jot expect much and I was pleasantly surpised?

  2. It’s amazing that you’re able to go back to your childhood home and spend time with your parents!!! It’s so nice, as an adult, to have someone take care of you again for a little while. Now I’m craving, a big soft pretzel. : ) Can’t wait to hear details about the ski trip!

    1. Yes, I really love going back and feeling a little bit like a kid again :)

  3. I’ve never taken a 2.5 week vacation, but if I did…I bet the time would pass by in a heartbeat. The food looks delicious.

    For whatever reason I found the whole Barbenheimer thing to be annoying and I’ve refused to watch either movie. I’m glad to hear that I wasn’t missing out on anything.

    1. You’ve never taken a 2.5-week vacation? You should, I recommend it.

  4. I am glad you had a wonderful visit home and had some days of normalcy. The ski trip was fun I am sure but it’s also nice to just have some normal days at home, enjoying breakfast and chatting with family and friends. I am sure it was so good to eat some of your favorite foods!

    I haven’t seen Barbie yet. I do want to watch it but haven’t had a chance to yet. I will probably watch it on an upcoming flight, like maybe my CA flight in May.

    1. Thank you, it really was a great time with my family. And yes, I think the flight to CA might be the perfect time to watch the Barbie movie… not worth setting time aside for otherwise. I am curious what you think.

  5. I love how home and special meals are tied together. Meals are such a rich emotional and cultural experience. Your trip sounds wonderful. I watched Barbie on a plane and I was glad that was where I saw it, i.e. not much else to do and free. It was good and parts were clever, but not a “must see” recommendation.

    1. Oh yes, home and meals are definitely tied together.

      I agree with you on the Barbie movie, there were a few good things and parts were clever, but definitely also not a “must-see” for me.

  6. Oh, how wonderful that you had that time at home… I missed seeing your updates but I think feedly was acting up a bit. I have not seen Barbie, not sure if I will. I dance to the rhythm of my own drum, if you know what I mean, and don’t really follow the hype unless I get sucked in by my friends.
    One day i want to bring the kids to Germany. I’ve been multiple times, and German and Russian culture has intersections because of, I guess… history. I have distant relatives in Essen, Bavaria, and other parts. i want to bring the kids to Southern Germany one day, but for now, it’s just a seed/an idea in my Google keep folder. :) One day.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Daria. Yes, Feedly has been acting up again (sigh)…

  7. 2.5 weeks sounds so long when you don’t usually get that much time, but you kind of lost 4 days of that to travel, right? Flight to and from Germany, and time to and from the mountains. I felt like I was going to have SO MUCH time when I spent 2.5 weeks in France a couple of years ago, but honestly, I could easily have spent another week in Paris. I’m greedy, it’s never enough.
    Time with your parents, though, is absolutely priceless. I’m so glad you had that time together. Both of my parents are gone, but while they were here, I didn’t live close for the last 15 years, and it’s HARD sometimes. Not as far as Germany, but always an effort to get to see them.
    Barbie movie. Meh. Maybe it helps to be a Barbie fan beforehand? I never played with them, didn’t like them as a kid. I did like the success it enjoyed, being directed by a woman and all, but otherwise, not really my thing.

    1. I am glad you can relate that 2.5 weeks are not long enough – haha. I mean there’s always more to do, amirite?

  8. Yay!!! I love hearing about how you and your family spent time together. It’s nice that you were able to be there long enough to get some examples of “normal” days.

    1. Thank you, Engie. I really cherish those normal days.

  9. Oh this sounds like such a wonderful vacation and lots of family time. 2,5 weeks can go by so fast if you enjoy the time. I bet your could have easily doubled it.
    I now am craving some mettbrötchen. it’s been a while since I had one.

    1. 2.5 weeks definitely always go by too fast for me. Haha.
      You should go and have a Mettbrötchen. So good.

  10. The food is making me hungry! You do such a great job of making the most of these visits and the picture with your dad at the gym highlights this. Love all of it – and three cheers for seeing Ingrid. I only hope I age half as well.
    I haven’t seen the Barbie movie yet. I really wanted to when it came home, but now feel a bit “Meh” about it, to be honest. And with your review, I’m even more Meh. My daughter watched it on a plane and she also was Meh (and she’s 13, so kinda the right age for loving this sort of thing; that said, she’s never owned a Barbie, so the nostalgia factor isn’t there for her…I also never owned a Barbie, so I guess we are just not the right audience – ha).

    Lovely to see you back in this space <3

    1. Right? I said the same thing… how did Ingrid age so well? She’s seen and been through so much in her life!

  11. Oh San, this sounds like SUCH a wonderful visit! I can imagine that the time flew by though. How nice that you have your old room to return to – time travel, indeed!

    My favorite part of the Barbie movie is the soundtrack. Lots of great songs! The movie was enjoyable but I don’t think I LOVED it as much as some other people.

    1. Thank you Suzanne. It really is nice to go back and feel a little like a kid again :)
      And I agree, the Barbie soundtrack is quite fun!

  12. I love this. Great photos. How great to go back to your childhood bedroom. That sounds so cozy. My parents have moved a few times since I moved out. I am in total agreement on the Barbie Movie. I didn’t get it. I saw it with Mini and Curly and people were laughing their butts off so much. Mini looked around and was like, Wait what’s so funny? Are they serious? I think we’re being punted.
    Then we WERE laughing that hard. Ha.

    Can’t wait to hear more. 2.5 weeks, well – I could see how that would go by fast if you are seeing all of your people.

  13. My heart just overflowed with happiness for you, my friend. So wonderful to have this heart- and soul-filling trip. All the hugs. <3

  14. time at home always fly by. So glad to see you’ve had a great time away and a lot of family time plus a fun ski trip.

  15. How wonderful you had time with family! Love the picture of your dad and you in the gym! Oh and goulash is my favorite- can your mom send some over to New Jersey? ;) YUM!

  16. I’m so glad you were able to spend 2.5 weeks with your family! What a gift. <3
    I saw Barbie twice in theaters and LOVED IT. I do not understand how people could not love it, especially with such an important message at the heart of the movie, but I guess we all have different tastes!

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