Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Adios 2008

2008 has been a good year for Shea and me. Though the markets have tumbled and like the rest of the world our accounts are taking a beating...more importantly, we still have all the health and happiness we could ask for. I started this post yesterday and was already probably 4 pages deep when I decided I was in over my head. At the rate, I was going and all the good things I had to recap, it wasn't going to be blog'd until 2010. So, I am going to nutshell this. These are some hightlights from 2008 that deserve special recognition for thankfulness:
Peyton's arrival/"scruntchy-face" smiles/"mommy" and "daddy"
Jonathan and Jen's wedding
Mom Keller's move
Dad Keller's continued good health
Jocelyn's new job
Stephan's awesome Daddying
Seth's rollercoaster for the best
Mom and Dad Smith enjoying life at the cabin/safe travels (at home and abroad)
BK and Lori's wedding
Jane and James' move and new jobs
Gonzales's new job/move/Practice opening/Jaxon's school/Bella's dancing
Mooney's welcome of Preston (aka. "little man-face")
BJ's hard work at school
Emily for putting up with BJ
Ryan and Allison's wedding plans and renting our house!
Kevin and Layla's big day/passing the bar/jobs in Dallas
Jessi and Todd welcome Eli
Kim and Eric welcome Maverick
Niki and Michael welcome Grace
Melissa and Brett welcome Asa
These are just a few of the things we wanted to take a minute to remember. 2008 was a great year and there are numerous other things we are thankful for. I would also like to thank Shea for an incredible year that has lead me to places I never thought I would be able to experience. We have taken some real chances this year, enjoying life like nothing I could have ever imagined and I am so privileged to get to share it with her.
Happy New Year Everyone! See you in 2009!!!!

Buon Giorno!

As you all know we spent Christmas this year in the land of the Pope, Caeser, Opera, Mussolini, and that director who stood on his chair at the, bring your red shoes and pointy hats and we will recap for you our trip to Rome.
After a few days practicing our sightseeing with the Smiths here in Frankfurt and visiting Heidelberg, we were all ready to take our show on the road. Step it up to the big leagues.
So, on Tuesday 12/23 we had a 12:00 flight from Frankfurt to Rome on Alitalia airlines. Yes, I said it...Alitalia. The only airline whose business plan is strategically focused on cornering the market in strikes, cancellations, and lost luggage. We all figured we would take one issue of potential problems away and packed only carry-on luggage. So, when the check-in attendant looked at us and said in her heavily Italian accented English "you are a 5 people group and you have NO check luggage?!?", we smiled and said-"ya, that's right" smugly. She would have the last laugh.
As we sat on the plane with the flight attendants just hanging out in the back, making no particular effort toward doing anything and already over an hour delayed with no explanation, Seth turned to me and said "what's an hour between friends!"...genius. Finally, after a little over an hour delay we departed- hey, not too bad.
We arrived in Rome around 3 and caught a 3:30 Leonardo Express- a direct train from the airport to Termini station in downtown Rome. We all enjoyed looking out the windows on the 30 minute ride and were caught off guard by the number of palm trees and beautiful mountains off in the distance.
We arrived and walked the few blocks to our centrally located hotel. A moderate hotel on the 4th piano (floor) of a older building with a tiny elevator. Of course we were able to overload it and cause it to freeze. Oops, lesson learned. The hotel was nice and the rooms were clean and comfortable and would serve quite nicely for our 3 night stay. We set down our bags and grabbed our cameras and headed back out the door. We were hungry and though we planned a nice dinner that night, we all wanted something to eat right then. We stopped in a pizza place across from our hotel and ordered quite a bit more pizza then we intended. Leftovers in Rome.
From there we took a Metro to the Spanish Steps. The steps were decorated with a nativity scene and a Christmas tree of neon lights (above). Very pretty and with St. Peters dominating the skyline in the distance from the top of the steps, it made for some very nice pictures. We walked from the Steps through the rolling streets lined with small shops of men’s suits, women’s dresses and clothing, handmade shoes/boots, and arts and crafts. Shea and Elaine peeked in probably every window. These ladies love their shopping. Shea and I ducked in a gelato shop and got some Nutella gelato...serving 1. We made our way over to Trevi fountain and all threw our coins over our shoulders. Sweet…that’s a free trip back right? We elbowed our way into the center and all posed for some photos in front of the famous landmark. From there we headed to dinner. Seth has been to Rome a handful of times and knows the city like the back of his hand. Give the guy a toga and he would fit right in. He had a restaurant picked out for us, so we headed there and were invited by our waiter, Mossimo, to our table. Elaine had the honor of tasting the wine, and was strictly instructed by Mossimo on the proper swerling technique. Thanks Mossimo...btw, do you sell swim trunks at Target...nevermind, back to our trip. We all enjoyed pasta with truffles, salad, chianti, and eggplant. Delicious! By the time we were finished it was around 10 and we were all ready to call it a night after such a full day.
On Wednesday, Christmas Eve, we woke up and ate some continental breakfast at the hotel. We left at 10 and headed via Metro to the Vatican. Let's just say that if you ever want to be a tourist in Rome, Christmas is the time to do it. Everything is decorated beautifully, and there is absolutely no wait anywhere. We walked directly through security, to the ticket booths, and into the Vatican museum. We started our tour with the hall of sculptures. Then we saw the map room, tapestries room, modern art hall. The art in each room just seemed to grow more beautiful. Also, the decoration of the ceilings throughout was incredible. We made our way through past Papal apartments and into the Raphael rooms. We saw the School of Athens (pic)and were amazed by the colors and details in his frescoes. We left there and headed for the room everyone will hopefully be able to see for himself or herself at some point... Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. It was awe-inspiring and to know the time and effort he spent in finishing the work makes it all the more special. We spent probably close to 45 minutes just walking around the Chapel and inspecting all the different pieces. Seth shared with us some additional history about the Chapel and how Popes are chosen there. It was incredible and something that I had always hoped to see and was elated to experience.
After leaving the Sistine Chapel, we left the Vatican museum and walked to have some lunch. We enjoyed a bottle of wine and some pizza and prosciutto before we ventured over to St. Peters. We took in St. Peters Square and the enormity of the place (above). The church is huge and unlike anything we had seen before, and this was just the outside. We went inside and the first thing we saw was Michelangelo's Pietà. It was one of the highlights of the trip. Simply breathtaking and to know he did it when he was only 23. We spent the next few hours walking around the interior and discovering the incredible detail throughout the arena sized church. The Basilica was abuzz with Christmas Mass preparations. TV cameras were being set up, chairs were in place, and lights and sound were being tested. Even with all this business being taken care of, there was still a certain air of solemness. Priests were everywhere offering the sacrament of confession in any language you can imagine. Seth was again an amazing tour guide giving us Catholic history lessons regarding Popes and church history the rest of us were unfamiliar with. It really made you appreciate it that much more.
We left St. Peters and saluted some Swiss Guards…nice uni’s boys. At 5 we were outside when the life-sized nativity scene was unveiled. There was a marching band and television crews there to cover the event. Adjacent to the nativity was a lighted Christmas tree from Austria, and what was a massive tree, was dwarfed by its surroundings. After another hour or so of soaking in the celebration, we left to make 7 o'clock Christmas Eve mass at the English speaking parish of Santa Susanna. (Of course on the way we passed another gelato shop and paid it a visit...serving 2.) Mass was a wonderful service with beautiful decorations and a choir that sung like angels. An incredible Christmas mass we were fortunate to experience to say the least. We walked back from church to our hotel taking in some other sites. After mass a good bit of Rome was closed for everyone to be able to enjoy the start of the holiday. Lucky enough for us we had planned ahead and enjoyed some of that left over pizza and a couple of Panini's. It was a memorable Christmas Eve.
We woke up on Christmas and headed to see some of the ancient landmarks. We saw the Colossium, the Roman Forum, Trajan's column, the National Monument to Vittorio Emanuele (above), Column of Marcus Aurelius, and Capitoline Hill. After walking our way through ancient Rome, we grabbed a taxi and headed to the North American College for Christmas lunch at 1:30. Seth was able to get us invitations from a Monsignor he is friends with who works at the school. We all enjoyed a wonderful meal and sitting in a room of soon to be priests you knew you didn't have to worry about any random lightening strikes. We had a great time and appreciated their hospitality. Once we were finished the Monsignor invited us all up to the top floor of the school to enjoy a view of Rome most tourists will never see. The school sits atop a hill adjacent to St. Peters and we had an awesome view of the entire city. Lucky for us it was a clear enough day and we were able to see all of the major landmarks from on high. Unbelievable.
After lunch we walked back by St. Peters and toured around Castel Sant'Angelo and Sant' Angelo bridge. We stopped in a restaurant and had some gelato (...serving 3) and some espresso. Everyone was pretty tired from the last couple days so we took a taxi back over to see the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. It was another huge church with a gelded ceiling and was once the Pope's church. After our tour, we headed back to the hotel and packed up for our early departure the next morning.
On Friday, we were originally supposed to have a late afternoon flight, but again we were flying Alitalia, so things change and you don’t ask questions. We caught a 6:22am train back to the airport the next morning for our now 9:10 flight. We didn’t take off til noon…and the check-in girl has her revenge. We took off and made it back to Frankfurt safe and sound. Along the way we had clear skies and enjoyed an incredible view of the razor-like peaks of the Alps. Made us think that maybe we need a ski trip next, to see them close up?!? All in all, Rome was a great time and wonderful place to celebrate Christmas. We enjoyed everything we saw there and would certainly return to see more. Ciao for now!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"The Castle of Aaaauuuggghhhh"

We start today’s blog with a challenge- can you name the movie today's title comes from? The first to respond with the correct answer gets some outlandish prize I haven't come up with yet. Maybe a herring or possibly a shrubbery.

What inspires our little game today- Our trip to Heidelberg, that's what. Heidelberg is a city about an hour south of Frankfurt and is famous for its castle, its old university dating back to the 1300's, the "Heidelberg man" (whose bones are some early evidence of human life in Europe dating back a million years), and for previously being the headquarters of the American forces in Europe.
The altstadt, or old town, resembles the images we have in our heads when we think of old European-Middle Ages era towns. With the castle looming above the city on the hill and the town churches dominating the city square, it is certainly a quaint and romantic city today.
We took the 9:00 am train from Frankfurt to Heidelberg and enjoyed the views along the hour-long trip. We saw numerous small towns nestled into the hills, with pasture and vineyards cut out of the dense forest. When we arrived, we walked the roughly 2 miles from the train station to the altstadt because we didn't want to miss anything. Lesson learned. There is nothing really to miss along that walk. Just some nondescript shops and office buildings like anywhere we will save you all the sore feet we enjoyed by the end of the day.
But once we got to the altstadt we were blown away by the views from the river valley floor up to the castle and homes built into the side of the hills. We toured the city and saw the old library. We walked through the weihnachtmarkt and toured a beautiful Jesuit church. We took a trolley up to the castle and enjoyed the views out over the city, down to the river, and across to the opposite hill. The castle was cool with its high stonewalls and palace. Parts of it have been destroyed over the years due to war, ordinance storage mishaps, lightening, and pillaging, but it is still a very awesome thing to see and inspires images of romantic eras goneby.
You will all be happy to know that I did storm the castle and lay claim...even though I was quickly led away by security, I still think it counts. So, you are all invited to MY castle, but you will still have to pay an entrance fee...sorry.
After the castle, we went back down to the city and enjoyed some warm beverages and a bite to eat. We made our way back to the train station and caught a 5:30 train back to Frankfurt.
I'd like to commend the Smiths for being gamers as we did a lot of walking that day. They power napped part of the train ride home, and that of course made for some pretty funny pictures. Also, Seth carried around a satchel full of beer that day, as we are never ones to go without. You're a good soldier Seth, you were critical to the mission and pulled through. Tomorrow- Rome recap. Until then...Tschuss.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Vacation

The Smiths arrived on Friday, December 19th ready to experience Christmas European style..."Look kids. Big Ben, Parliament!" As you can see, we were ready for them with the Apfelwein!
Don't worry; we saved some for when you get here.
So, the itinerary for their stay included eating and drinking as much as we could, going to the Frankfurt Weihnachtsmarkt, side trip to Heidelberg to see the castle, and experience Christmas in Rome.
Check...check...check...check...and, check.
First up the eating and drinking!
The first night the Smiths got here we took them to a traditional Frankfurt/German restaurant...weinersnitzel, potatoes, apfelwein. When the "bembel" of apfelwein arrived (seen above), everyone was poured a glass, and the look on their faces said "wow"...not exactly Juicy Juice we're dealing with here. They followed the Keller's guide to apfelwein, powered on to glass number two, then...well, you know what happens with glass three.
Everyone really enjoyed the food and atmosphere, and Rob (Shea's dad) made sure we had that place (or one like it) on tap for at least one more visit during their trip.
On to the Weihnachtmarkt for bratwurst! Seth (Shea's brother) was ready for a brat the second he got off the plane, but we kept him in suspense. Finally, on Saturday the 20th, we unleashed him and don't think he was disappointed. Later, while inspecting all sorts of foods and desserts at the Christmas market we came upon an interesting grill over an open fire (pic above). They were serving up steaks on a bun, and I think between Rob, Seth, and myself, we polished off at least 2 a piece. Yumm....meat.
We all enjoyed some German beer and warm gluhwein. I think we all concurred that the gluhwein with the melted sugar in it took first prize. We ate waffles covered in cream and dipped in chocolate, fruits covered in chocolate, chocolate covered in chocolate (not really, but probably a good idea), and maroni. Maroni was the only food mistake of the entire trip. It is a nut that is warmed and tastes like roast- not what you’re expecting and certainly odd- must be an acquired taste and not one I will work to acquire.

Then it was on to Rome and to try some different cuisine in a land where every word ends in a vowel. We arrived and were pretty hungry, so what else is there to do but to get some pizza. We quickly learned that when each of us ordered "one"...they took that as "one pizza" and as the pies piled up in front of us, we knew we were going to have some leftovers. We headed out for some sightseeing (Rome recap to come) and later that night we had a very nice dinner at a restaurant Seth was familiar with. It was very nice, we all enjoyed some authentic Italian food and Chianti. Shea and I continued our quest for the world's best ice cream and enjoyed gelato in its birthplace (see above). We had some espresso and did our best to eat our way through Rome. On Christmas day, Seth had gotten us an invitation to the North American College located next to St. Peters. They served us a wonderful 4-course dinner with flowing red and white wines. We had more food than we could eat including a nice prosciutto salad, manicotti, lamb, and a tasty fruitcake like dessert. Buon Appetito.

We returned back to the land of pork and potatoes and managed to cleanse our palettes of the Italian food with some good ol' German fried goodness. It is cold here, so some hardy food is appreciated.
All in all, we had some really good food and drink during our little trip and I will move on to our other experiences with the folks.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Frohe Weihnachten

Merry Christmas Everyone! Shea's parents and her brother Seth made it safely and we have been enjoying time together and some sightseeing around Frankfurt and Heidelberg. Today, we leave for Rome and will spend three days there celebrating Christmas. Pope called, said he set up some cots in St. Peters for us, so we are on our way.
We will fill you in on our experiences soon.
Have a wonderful Christmas and we wish you all the best!
Shea and Geoff

Saturday, December 13, 2008


For all the sports fans out there reading this blog, I felt it necessary to update you on all things athletic in Deutschland.

-Fußball (soccer) is king. Nothing else comes close here. There are two stations on tv dedicated to all things soccer 24 hours a day. In Germany the bundesliga (nation-wide league) is the premier soccer league and is basically like the NFL of Germany with each region, city, and some larger towns having its own professional team. People schedule their lives around the games (not unlike people back home scheduling weddings that don't conflict with football games or NCAA tournaments). Bars fill up and beers flow as fans belly up before all the games start. It's like an episode of Cheers when it comes to seats, with each regular having dibs on his familiar roost. Cover your ears when the home team's gonna get loud. (photo is of fans gathered outside a bar, huddled around a tv, during a game several weeks ago)
-Handball is a professional sport here and broadcast regularly. That's right Handball. Never seen it? It's like a mixture of basketball and soccer. Maybe waterpolo on land is a better description. Entertaining enough, but once you've seen one match-you've seen it all.
-Curling. I gotta admit, it's great. Like shuffleboard, bocce (some men playing in local park pictured above), or for all those 4th of July'ers out there, Cornhole, on ice. Great sport for those of us sweat averse.
-Cricket...I don't get it. If you can explain it to me in a comment using less than 1000 words, you can teach algebra to animals.
-Swimming, ya that's right. Since I've been here I've seen two meets broadcast on tv. Maybe, I need to make a comeback...the German Nicholas Cage of the swim circuit.
-Now, for those of you concerned that we will not get our fill of College Football bowl games, fear not. We have discovered . This site will likewise be able to publish a testimonial on how it alone was able to keep Shea from going insane from having to watch March Madness on ESPN gamecast.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


It's the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) season here in Deutschland and that means large crowds of people huddled together outside in the cold eating "wurst" and drinking "glühwein" (glühwein is a spiced warm wine, which explains the two mugs in my hands). It is a genius idea.
Frankfurt is home to a well-known Weihnachtsmarkt and it brings in people from all over the world. Shea and I ventured out to inspect it for ourselves over the last weekend. As we talked about it, I think we both agreed it seems somewhat similar to any State fair we have been to (the biggest difference being the lack of fried food on sticks and petting zoos). The city square is decorated in white lights and the small merchant stands are all selling their goods. There is a large merry-go-round for the kids and at some of the other large markts there are ferris wheels. The stands have items for sale that can be broken down into three categories, either...1) Handmade Crafts 2) Stuff covered in Chocolate 3) Liqueur. So, basically it is a one-stop shop for all your Christmas needs. We had a good time and will be going back again before the markt ends just before Christmas!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Random musings about the food we have encountered in our time here.
1. Nutella maybe some creamy form of hazelnut-chocolate-crack, seriously. Shea and I had never really heard of Nutella until we got here, but from here on out we will be Nutella disciples. Spreading its smoothie goodness around the world. Enjoy some today
2. Coffee is big here, anytime of day. Anytime between when you wake up and when you go to sleep is perfectly suitable for a 15-minute coffee break.
3. Pastries. There is a level of pride taken with the pastries and bread in Germany. "Brot" or as we know it "bread", is a big deal and something that Germans will always ask you to ensure you are enjoying. If one asks you just say, "yes, it is the best I've ever had", if you respond with anything different, they may ask you to leave. But seriously, any Germans reading this, it is very good.
4. Ice cream/Gelatto...awesome. Many of you know Shea and I hold ourselves out as connoisseurs on the topic. Europe is bringing a good game when it comes to the frozen treats. More analysis to be performed and we will keep you posted on our research.
5. Wine is cheap here and good.
6. Mayonnaise....on french fries. Yes, that's right, nothing quite like a huge blob of mayo on your mound of fried potatoes, but that's how they do it here. We will of course treat Adrian to a special order when he comes to visit.
7. The other white meat. Pork has a strong hold on the market here. It's a lot cheaper than chicken and beef. We have enjoyed it prepared in many forms, however, if Shea tries to convince you that pork loaf is ok for dinner, "because it looks like beef" tell her the "Brot" is terrible and hope to be asked to leave.


Oui Monsieurs and Madams, Shea and Geoff took their first visit to the French capital of Paris and though their Eiffel tower doesn't have a cowboy hat on top, I do have to admit theirs is quite a bit larger than the one in Paris, Texas. So, we left Frankfurt via direct train at 6:00am on Friday Nov. 21, and quickly discovered that the long distance direct trains are super nice. Unfortunately, however, our train had a technical problem so we were delayed an hour and arrived into Paris about 10:30. We ended up thankful for the delay though, as rain was in the forecast for Paris on Friday, and by the time we got off the train, the clouds had cleared, the sun was peaking through and all we had to do was avoid the puddles. We were immediately impressed with Paris and started a short walk to the Louvre. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed in. We saw all sorts of art we had forgotten about since our days of college art history class. We saw the Mona Lisa, Wedding Fest at Cana, Madonna of the Rocks, Venus de Milo, and countless other classics. It was amazing. You could spend a week in this place, we did all we could in 3 and a half hours. We left the Louvre and headed over to Notre Dame. Unbelievable. We toured the exterior, flying buttresses and all, and then went in and sat in a pew and took it in for a while. Saw the Rose windows and couldn't believe the detail. We left there and went and checked into our hotel. We set our bags down and freshened up and then set out for a delicious French dinner in a small bistro we found on a market street in the Latin quarter...très délicieux.After several hours of eating and wine drinking, we headed back to the hotel but quickly stopped into a wine shop and purchased a bottle for our picnic at the Eiffel tower on Saturday!After a morning breakfast of coffee and croissants at a french cafe, we stopped in a bakery and purchased a baguette and then some cheese from another shop on the market street. We bought our metro pass and took the 10 minute ride to the Eiffel tower. We had planned to tour it and take some photos before returning to enjoy our French lunch in the park area below. However, when the security guard told us we would have to throw our bottle of wine away before we would be able to go up, we decided to go ahead and eat first! No self respecting Keller will ever let a bottle of French wine go to waste.We enjoyed an early lunch and then headed up. Again, we were very lucky with the weather, as the skies were clear, though cold and windy. We took in the views and enjoyed Paris from on high. We left and walked the short distance to the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysees. We strolled down the street all the way back down to Notre Dame where we took in a French Mass at 6:15. Amazing. We headed back out to eat and had an even better meal then the night before in another small French Bistro! We laughed, ate, and drank for hours. Ask Shea how she liked the escargot.We then got a few hours sleep before our 9 am train back to Frankfurt on Sunday.All in all, we both loved Paris. The people were incredibly friendly and the sites were amazing. We truly hope to go back as two days isn't enough time (but somehow in such a short time we managed to take over 350 pics, so we will pick out some of the best and forward them on soon.)Next Stop on the Shea and Geoff tour- Rome for Christmas!

Visit to Mainz

So, we took a short day trip to a neighboring city called Mainz. Only about 40 mins away by train. Very nice city at the split of the Rhine and Main Rivers. It is where Gutenberg was from (typeset guy...not Steve), so they have a museum to him there. Its cathedral construction was started in the 970's and completed in 1200. Pretty old, I'd say. They are also unearthing a Roman Theater from a hillside there. Interesting stuff.

We happened to be there on a Saturday and there was a giant market going on. All sorts of great foods and wines. Adrian and Kelly, these Germans are all over our 'Holy Crepe' idea, so we better trademark the name and get our ducks in a row to get our first stand in A town up and running. Enjoy some shots...

Our Apartment

So, we live in a highrise (very un-German) in the Bornheim area of Frankfurt. Bornheim is a really nice area and we lucked out by ending up here. BergerStrasse is the main street that runs through Bornheim and it is lined with restaurants, bars/pubs, cafes, and shops. Wednesdays and Saturdays there are farmers markets from 8 til 3 when we can buy fresh veggies, meats, pastries, etc. on the BergerStrasse.

Our apartment is very nicely furnished and on the 16th floor. We have a very large kitchen by German standards and an office that can double as a second bedroom for company. The living room is large with a couch big enough to sleep two. The main selling point is the huge balcony with a great view of the surroundings and sunrises.
We are renting the apartment from a Canadian gentleman, who responded to an ad I placed on Craigslist. The stars aligned for us on that one, because we weren't nearly as excited about some of the other places we were considering. All in all, it is a nice apartment that will suit us just fine for our time here.

Frankfurt am Main

So, our new home city. What's it like? Well, honestly it is mostly like any large city back home. You name it and the city has it. Theater, Movies, Fairs, Restraurants, Opera Houses, Gyms, Parks, Traffic...all pretty familiar concepts coming from Dallas, and all similar events here.
The great thing about Frankfurt is that it is a very International city, so though it is in the heart of Germany, most people understand and at least speak some English. The people are extremely friendly and helpful. They say that at least a third of all Frankfurt residents is a foreigner, so at times it feels as though everyone is in it together trying to figure out the place and make it home with your familiar culture.
The one thing that Frankfurt is big on is its Apfelwein (applewine). So, as we all know Germany is supposed to be all about beer right?! Well, not here herrs and fraus. Here, Apfelwein is the drink of choice. We have to admit, it is pretty good. You drink one and you say "umm, that is okay, I guess, I guess I'll have another". You finish two and you say "wow, that stuff is pretty good, I think I like it." You finish a third and you say "WooHoo, hey, where did my pants go?"
So, yes, don't drink more than 2.
As for a little history of the city of Frankfurt itself, it was basically demolished after WWII. So the main city itself is all new construction. It is one of the only cities in Germany with skyscrapers so Germans are quite amazed by that and always comment about how marvelous it is. Coming from Dallas, we just play along and say "yeah, skyscrapers, great", but they are really a lot like what we are all used to. The cool parts for us are the areas just outside of the city that made it through the war. That is what we find interesting. For instance, we live in a highrise apartment building in the Bornheim area of Frankfurt. (It's like saying you live in East Dallas. Ya know, an area of town that has its own personality.) Here in Bornheim, there are homes that date back to the 1500's. That, to us, is what's pretty cool. I mean, you are walking by and looking at the homes with their construction dates posted on the outside and thinking "wow, that house is older than our country by a couple hundred years".
The major difference as we see it. Shea and I have talked about it a few times and we guess the one thing that really stands out most here is that during the Winter the sun is nowhere to be found. Most days are foggy and cold. Frankfurt sits down in the Main River valley surrounded by the Taunus mountains, so during the winter with only 7 hours of daylight, the sun has a tough time piercing the fog and providing much light. You don't really realize it while you're here, but after a brief trip back to Texas, you quickly realize that you haven't needed your sunglasses for the last few months like you need them immediately upon exiting the DFW terminal.

Took a while but...

we are trying to re-dedicate ourselves to updating the blog with information about our time in Germany.

So far we have been here just over two months and it has gone extremely quickly. We are still trying to get used to German life, language included, but spirits are high and we are enjoying everyday.
Shea is enjoying her new job and I hope to start work very soon (German work visas are a challenge to say the least).
So, being that we have two months of stuff to catch up on, I figure I will go through and make a blog entry for all the big stuff we have done since we arrived.