Sunday, November 14, 2010

Here Come the Holidays!

This is definitely my favorite time of year. After the craziness of moving, mom visiting, my sister's accident, works trips across the country, October trip to Germany, etc. it's nice to have a little time to kick back with a lazy schedule and a lot of good food.....I mean...good people. Soeren will be here for both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, making it even more special. (Although he may see it as terrifying, we'll see about that.)

October was a good month too. I had about 36 hours with my Mom up in Pittsburgh, and we wined and dined and went to the Opera. I'll have you know that there were two points where I thought to myself, "Whoa, I have one hot mama!" First, she turned ALL of the heads at this little bar near my house called the Seashell. Then, when I saw her in the little black dress, silk and heels getting ready to go out to the Opera, I thought that I should go and change because no one would even notice me next to her!
Unfortunately, little sisters have a way of demanding attention, and mom had to rush back to South Carolina to take care of her in the hospital. (Don't get your feathers ruffled people, I'm kidding.) In all seriousness, Kelsey is doing a lot better now and will probably be away from the crutches by Christmas. Word on the street has it that she can bend her knee 60 degrees now. Keep up the good work at PT!

But back to me :) You've all seen the pictures on FB of a quick trip to Bonn to see Soeren at the end of October. (Really quick=only 3 nights) The favorite is below. He's so darn good at taking pictures by sticking his hand out with the camera. And why don't I ever do my hair on the good picture days? I actually went over there to celebrate a year of being together...or putting up with each other...however you want to call it. The walk along the Rhein and snacking on Currywurst was a good memory from October 2009, so we repeated ourselves. Yummy as ever! (The scenery, the man, and the currywurst...of course)

Well it's time to light a fire in the fireplace (yes, I have one of those this year, yippee!) and make hot chocolate because FALL IS HERE! More babbling and pictures to come soon, probably right after Turkey day! I hope you all enjoy the time and are safe in your travels!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Hodge-Podge of August & September

I was gently reminded to keep up my blog, as I lost track during a busy transition time. There's no where to start, so I can only throw stuff out there and hope it makes sense!

During the last days of my year in an Aerospace Supply Chain rotation, I led a trip to Singapore and Japan to develop supplier relationships in those countries. Of course, I had to slip in a long weekend in my beloved Beijing! Check out these great red lanterns on Ghost Street in Dongzhimen...they are a clear sign that you can get out of the car and find an amazing restaurant on every block.

Then we "had" to drive through 3 hours of this Japanese countryside to arrive at an electronics manufacturer:

And one shot of a few coworkers in Singapore...sipping on Tiger Beer and coconut juice, while trying to get down the extreme quantity of food, (always over-ordered, as a good Asian host should):

Of course I began missing Asia the minute I was on a plane back over the ocean. BUT, I had an apartment-finding trip in Pittsburgh, a wedding in Philadelphia, and a weekend with the family in South Carolina...all before the movers arrived in Grand Rapids to move me over to Pennsylvania at the end of August. Whew! But the best part about the drive from Michigan over to Pittsburgh, was that my favorite German landed there the same day, for the "transition week"...i.e. seeing Pittsburgh, Niagara and Toronto before I started my new rotation. This is us up on Duquesne Incline, overlooking my new city:

On the way to Toronto we stopped in Niagara to be touristy.

The most touristy part of Niagara: Bright PONCHOS! But you gotta go underneath the falls :)

And finally, one of my favorite pictures of Toronto, from our lazy day peddling around the Toronto Islands:

It was certainly a lovely welcome to my new city. Now it's time to get down to work, in a new marketing rotation! More to come on that...

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Week in Denmark with the Germans

Well, just got back from doing two crazy things. 1) Meeting Soeren's parents, and 2) Going on a "beach" vacation in Scandinavia, (which is actually too cold for the beach, but driving distance from Hamburg). But after a crazy June at work, I welcomed the time to sit in one place for a week and do close to nothing.

I enjoyed all of the wind turbines on the drive from Germany to Denmark. Inspiring for my next Pittsburgh assignment in our Alternative Energies group. :) Then we arrived at the house on a Saturday, which was both Soeren's birthday and a German world cup game. Made for a nice afternoon of cake and football!

We spent some days walking around the area, exploring beaches, lighthouses, little shops, etc...and a couple of days driving to nearby towns. We built a real sand castle, climbed a lighthouse, played board games, soccer in the yard, wine and conversation at night...all the stuff good vacations are made of. All in all, it went well...Everyone was very nice and accepting, with lots of good stories to tell. Thanks again to Anke and Karl-Heinz for being generous hosts!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Family in Strange Places

Well, maybe Brussels isn't one of the strangest places I've been, but it's certainly not the usual place for a small-scale family reunion! I was fortunate enough to be able to meet up with my cousin Laura & her husband David, as well as Kelsey and her beau. The three of us gals met in Brussels with the significant others from three other nationalities, and it was a hoot :)

First, we met an MBA friend, Alex, for lunch:

Then we had dinner with Laura and David at a yummy local restaurant:

Walking through downtown after dinner:

Then we chilled at one of Laura & David's favorite digs...a comfy couch bar:

THEN, on Sunday Soeren ran the Brussels 20k with some of his friends! That's a half marathon. Crazy, right?

We all parted ways on Sunday evening, and Soeren and I went back to Germany. But on a Thursday, that was a German holiday, we drove 90 minutes next-door to Maastrict, Netherlands for a little day trip. The nicest part was downtown, and the climb up the church to the tower:

That's all! It was a LOVELY week. Some work, some play, and some people we love!...what more could you ask for?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Plans for Pittsburgh

I'm getting excited about my next rotation...moving from Grand Rapids, MI to Pittsburgh, PA in August. If you don't know what I'm doing for work these days, I'm doing a 2-year leadership development program at a large industrial manufacturing company. My first rotation was in our Aerospace division working to enhance their global supply chain. In my second rotation in Pittsburgh, I will be working as a marketing analyst for the Director of Renewable Energies, i.e. our Solar & Wind power products.

So I am in for another cold winter, but I'm looking forward to being in a headquarters location as opposed to my current manufacturing plant location. I'll have more younger employees around me, as well as being in the same location as my manager. That will all be a huge change for me. So I have one busy summer planned with work trips to California and Singapore, as well as summer vacation with the Beau, then a move to PA in August. Whew. It makes for a busy schedule, but what's life without crazy plans for the future? :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Slight Disruption in Plans due to Volcano in Iceland.....REALLY?

What's this world coming to? A major earthquake every week, and now a gridlocked air system due to a continuous volcanic eruption underneath a massive glacier in Iceland. It's almost unbelievable at times!

I was scheduled to fly over to Germany to see the beau on Friday night, but all flights to Northern Europe were canceled. After two hours and three transfers on the phone with Delta, I learned that the earliest I could reschedule for was Monday. At this point, I'm thinking that even that is wishful thinking. But that's where the schedule sits now, we'll see what happens Monday! After reading that the volcanic ash in the air causes airplane engine failure, I'm thinking that it's still better safe than sorry!...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

First Trip Back to Asia

I left China hoping to try to make it back once a year. It would be impossible to keep up relationships and language ability without some sort of commitment. I'm so thankful that the first chance...10 months after leaving in May 09...came from my company. I have been working closely with our Aerospace Electronics Commodity Manager to find new Asian suppliers for key programs, quote them, review them, and (Ta-Da!) visit them to make a selection! We will now begin the complex technical reviews, awards and transfer of components as a result of the trip.

We were admittedly only going to SE Asia and Shenzhen, China, but I took a few vacation days and ran up to Beijing, since I was already in the area! I got to see a lot of old friends, visit a lot of my favorite places, and enjoy some of the local food that I hadn't had in 10 months. At the same time, I saw a couple more classmates in Singapore, as I was there for a weekend before we started work. It all really lifted my spirits. When you move away from a leave promising your friends that you will be back to see them. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. But over the last few months, I've seen a lot of my China and IMBA friends that I wasn't expecting to see again so soon...just because our paths are crossing in various places of the world. Thank goodness that the world is sometimes "flat." And now I can't wait until the next time I see you all again!

Here's a lot of people around the "Hot Pot" Table...Sichuan style!

Then with some of the foreign friends:

And then adjusting to the hot in Singapore:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A New (But Familiar) Blog

There was a bit of begging and pleading by my family, (OK- so only my father), to reinstate the blog. My old blog's web address used to be "Experiencing China" so I thought I had to end it when I moved out of China in May 2009. As it turns out, you can import all your old entries when you start a new blog. Your new life can start, still fully connected to the old one.

As you already know, the new web address is "WatchOrLive." I'll admit that there were a few months where I thought I would fall into a more sedentary 'watching' role as I moved to Michigan to be a grown-up, start a job, take on the responsibilities of paying back student loans and saving for retirement. I didn't feel like I was going to be experiencing all the world has to offer, and wouldn't have anything interesting left to say in a blog. But I was wrong,thank goodness! I should give credit here to Aunt Cindy...who told me last summer during the transition that the things I was truly passionate about would still find me, and I would find them...and if anything, I would have better means to experience them now that I was employed and not a student. She was right. I didn't spend more than 2 months in Grand Rapids before I was flying over an ocean again, and I haven't sat still since.

I look forward to sharing with you the new perspectives from new personal and professional roles in my life. At the same time, writing about it reminds me to continue to Live it...not Watch it go by. I'm 6 months in to this new Phase...and am finally looking forward to it and not fearing it. I hope you enjoy the little tid-bits I may share along the way.