Life as an Expat has been quite busy this month. As in super busy. April is not even over yet but I have done loads, it was full of big things to be grateful for. One thing about moving abroad is that you get visitors. You also get more excited to travel, even if to the town next door. I remember my parents (mainly my dad's ideas) surprising us with day trips when we were small and teens. Obviously as a small child I had no say and as a teen I had a say, but I still had to go... I was not always excited to be stuck in the car with my parents and brother, but hey, these are the memories that I have now and I am truly grateful that we've had those bonding moments.
When I lived in Arizona we got visitors, but not as many as I think we will be getting in Frankfurt. First of all, Arizona is not as bad as Australia, but let's be honest, it's far from everything and it's not California. Although, I do think at some point in the future, it might become California... Ever seen the movie San Andreas? Yes, really bad, but it proves my point. And I'm not complaining, it's a fact of life. It's not as expensive to come to Europe as it is going to places, such as Arizona, even if they do have the amazing Grand Canyon.
April Big Things started at the End of March
Let's begin there because we had some illustrious guests. My bestie from work in London came all the way from Hong Kong. She had a trip planned to run the 1/2 marathon in Amsterdam (yeap, that's Jodie, when I grow up I want to be just like her) and when she heard we were moving to Germany, she booked a ticket and brought a friend, who was just as nice and sweet as Jodie.
This photo summarizes how we spent the 2 1/2 days that they were here, laughing non-stop, and I it made me realize how super lucky I am. If I had never left Brazil, I'd probably had never met Jodie and many of the people that I now call friends.
Visits & Visitors
Warning: Every time I travel somewhere in Germany I fall in love with it. The towns as so picturesque, I can't help but loving all of them and repeating over and over again: "awwww", "how gorgeous", "how amazing", "no way"... as in, how can this be so beautiful...
Victoria was off school so I took her to visit another friend of mine who lives near Cologne for a couple of days. Cologne is a big city, with a beautiful cathedral and I bet it gets very busy in the summer. I will do a separate post on it, below are a couple of photos:
It was time to visit Paul's dad in London so we took the train and headed North. The 4-day trip to London was great, I saw almost all of my friends and had so much fun! As I mentioned we went by train. And yes, there is a channel in between main land and the small island of England, but there is the super cool train called EuroStar that makes that trip possible. We took the fast train from Frankfurt to Brussels, then the Eurostar to London.
My cousin Cristina is always the first one of the family to visit. She loves traveling and is very independent, she will do her own thing, spend time with us, there is no bad weather.
Before you ask , we saw nothing of the city. We actually only went there for a day, to visit the Stuttgart Spring Festival, which according to their site is the biggest spring festival in the country. It's comparable to the Oktoberfest, minus the thousands of tourists. It was so much fun because first of all, we went with my cousin and friends, but we were clearly the minority, meaning, we were surrounded by locals all dressed in their dirndls and lederhosen. After that I looked over my old photos from when I went to the Oktoberfest in Munich and it was exact the opposite. Nothing against one or another, but nothing like learning about a country when you immerse yourself in the local culture... well, even if that means a beer festival...
Night at the Museum
Once a year, all the museums in Frankfurt and Offenbach will be opened after hours, from 7pm-2am. You pay 14 euros and are allowed in any participating museum (over 30 options). It does get crowded in some places, so it's a good thing to plan in advance. It was fun and I'd probably do it again.
On Cristina's last 2 days visiting I took her to see a little of the country. We visited the capital of Hessen (the state where I live in). Most people, including me, think (thought) Frankfurt is (was) the capital, but we would be wrong. Wiesbaden is the capital. Once again, another place to go back in the summer, but it was nice. We walked around for a few hours, had pastry in a patisserie and saw some pretty things.
Another day trip with my cousin and a friend. So, amazing and beautiful and totally deserves another visit in the summer for the fireworks, in the fall to see the leaves changing and in the winter to see the mountain and homes covered in snow.
So, if you live abroad or not, get the family, dogs and parrots in the car, train or bus and fill your days with memories. Enjoy the visitors, the friends, and families and the little things will become big things, ha!