Monthly Archives: February 2010

Our Family News

Many of you know already, but we are expecting a baby at the end of September! We are just thrilled. For that reason, though, I have not been feeling too well and haven’t gone out a whole lot. I am now almost ten weeks pregnant and I’m finally starting to feel better. We have an appointment on Thursday, and we will get to see our baby and hear its heartbeat.

Our car arrived in Germany on February 15th, which first involved a lot of phone calls and gathering of paperwork in order to get the car released from customs.

We found out after the fact that we should have had the car shipped to us within a year’s time frame of our household goods arriving. The reason for this is because the German government could have technically taxed the car at 30% because it was no longer considered part of our household goods shipment. Furthermore, because we bought the car in October 2008 and then moved to Germany in January 2009, according to the government regulations the car had only been in our possession for four months, even though it was at our house in Indiana.

But through perseverance, a number of phone calls to customs agents and to the shipping company, we managed to get everything straightened out. The best news I got during this whole process was from the main customs office in Rosenheim, which allowed us to treat our car as part of the original household goods. This saved us 6000 Euro, which was definitely worthy of a celebration.

Then a week ago Tuesday, David traveled to the port of Bremerhaven to pick up the car. It went even smoother than we anticipated and he only had to pay 221 Euro to get the car released from customs. That is way better than 6000 Euro for sure. Then David drove about 900 km back home, with the help of a colleague who had visited family in that part of Germany, back the same day.

So now, we have our car, which is wonderful. The next part of the puzzle is getting the car up to German standards. The only modification needed on the car is to replace the headlight system with xenon lamps that can be angled and have their own wipers. It’s not a complicated modification, but it is a very expensive one. Each headlamp costs about 1000 Euro. But this is still much less than what we could have spent. And as one of my friends pointed out, xenon lamps are the best you can get so it’s like we’re making an investment in our car, albeit a very expensive one. But we don’t really have a choice, so of course we’ll do it.

Yesterday afternoon, Rosebud and I were able to visit our friends Veronika, Laurie and their daughter Lilly, who live very near the town of Murnau. We had a fantastic visit. I thoroughly enjoyed our walk around their town. And after our walk, we had a delicious apple-pear cake.

Veronika and David know each other through work and I am so glad she and her family are our friends. Her husband Laurie is a talented musician from the north of England (Yorkshire or New Castle?). Veronika herself speaks beautiful English. We speak in German, though, which I greatly appreciate! Often, Germans like to practice their English on me when I’d much rather practice my German. I live here, after all. 😉

Lilly, like Rosebud, is growing up bilingual so it’s great that our girls can play together. They’re just a few months apart, and my goodness are they ever cute together! I will have to remember to take photos next time of these two adorable girls.

Since we had our car this weekend, and since I have been feeling a lot better, David and I went out on a dinner date tonight! It was to celebrate his birthday which was on February 17th.

David took me to a local Bavarian restaurant called the Urthalerhof. It’s a Wirtshaus, which is an inn that is both a hotel and a restaurant. The Urthalerhof is basically down the road from Bad Heilbrunn, where we live, and it serves typical Bavarian fare. I can’t wait to bring my family members there!

You can order things like Käsespätzle (German noodles with cheese), Schweinehaxe (pork knuckle, often called ham hock in English) and Schnitzel. I had Pfefferrahmschnitzel – a lightly breaded pork schnitzel with a delicious cream-pepper sauce. It came with a mixed salad and buttered rice. Being pregnant, I’ve been craving sweet-sour flavors too, so I had to get the Apfelblaukraut, or apple-red cabbage. It’s called Apfelrotkohl in most other parts of Germany. It tasted like the best thing I had ever eaten. I do have a decent recipe for apple-red cabbage which I should post sometime. It’s not too difficult to make, although it takes some time and it surely is delicious!

David ordered a portion Schweinehaxe and Schweinebraten (roasted pork) with a Semmelknödel (a large semolina dumpling) and Krautsalat (a sauerkraut salad – not nearl as sour as what we are used to in the US, though).

Bavarian cuisine is definitely stick-to-your-ribs food, but it is oh-so-yummy. My friend Mia is an excellent cook, so gradually I have been collecting traditional Bavarian recipes from her so that I too can make all these wonderful dishes that we enjoy.