Sunday, November 09, 2008

i am here...

hi!! i have not been very good at updating my blog at all. or adding pictures. i just have been too busy with sorting through boxes, organizing home and classroom (things from VA/Hawaii/new). It is just about as fun as it sounds, but feels good to be getting rid of stuff i don't need and organizing the stuff i do. i have been having some fun here and there. i'm playing indoor tennis near my school on a fun surface. it's like little bits of erasers. Looks kind of like clay but not slow like clay. anyway, i have met a few people to play with. so far the challenge has been to find someone on my level to play with. i have some headaches at work (paperwork, b.s. that comes with working for a federal govt agency) and home (a new house, work not completed, had to visit the military attorney) but i am keeping my head straight about it all for the most part. thankfully skype is keeping me in contact with my family and a few friends all over the world so my sanity is intact. today i am doing laundry (a much longer process than it needs to be, thanks to german energy conservation), and going on a hash run. i never knew about the hash house harriers until i moved here. apparently it is worldwide and hawaii hashing is pretty intense. it is basically a running club with a drinking problem. i stay away from drinking to much at these events though b/c 1)i can hardly keep up sober and 2)i have to drive home!!. i have been offered a ride today, but i'm not sure if i should take olaf up on it b/c that means no excuse to drink less! (i am such a lightweight.. especially regarding german beer!)

anyway, my mom goes in for surgery on tuesday and my thoughts are with her. i know that it will go well and she will be fine, but it is hard not being able to be there. please send her lots of good energy in Virginia.. not that she needs it!! she has the best attitude. MY MOM ROCKS.

I am going to Italy for Thanksgiving with my friend John from work (he is from there). I am looking forward to it. Jack even gets to go! I have one good friend at work who LOVES Jack and watches him for me when I travel usually. I am very lucky to have her. Her name is Heidi and she is also an excellent support for me. Kind, fun, happy, and has lived in Germany most of her life (this helps at restaurants...).

i will try to get pics up soon. i have so much to do that somehow it keeps taking the back burner. I miss my people and my maui sunshine. it is a tougher transition than i imagined. i will have to write a "the things that suck about germany" email sometime, but i'm just not in the mood to gripe right now.

Keep in touch and take care!! Love and miss you. :) Susie

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hump Day

Just in from dinner at a little French restaurant near post with Marlene and John (who else?). Today was rainy but not too cool. Tomorrow is going to be 80!! :) I had to buy a big umbrella the other day.. I haven't had an umbrella for over 3 years!

I posted pix of the house I will be renting on my flickr site : ( I haven't been very good at taking pictures lately..I didn't even take many of Gavin and Katie when I was in VA. Much of what we have been doing is working, eating, looking for apartments, getting cellphones, etc. Haven't done much sightseeing yet. More pictures will come soon!!

John (my coworker who is my new best bud) found a sweet apartment in the city which is super for me. :) Now "we" have a big house right outside of town and a nice apartment in town. We are joking that we will put each other's names on our mailboxes. It's a good thing that he can cook because now my nice kitchen won't go to waste!

Jack is enjoying the dog park near the hotel. He is getting along nicely with all of the dogs, which of course I love. He will have a fenced in yard when we move in the house later this month. It is small, but fenced in, which is nice.

My students are learning the routine more and more each day. I am limited on supplies right now due to funding, but I will be able to put in an order on Friday for many things. I can't wait for my teaching materials to get here from Hawaii. I feel like I am not doing my job very well considering my limitations in that area.
I am having to practice some major patience...

Keep in touch when you can and thanks for taking the time to keep up with me...

Susie :)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Easy Like Sunday Morning

It's Sunday morning and I am enjoying some down time. I went with John and Marlene (my new friends) all around downtown Stuttgart yesterday looking at apartments. I am hoping I made the right decision to rent a house right outside of town (it's 9 miles from my school) after seeing some pretty incredible apartments right in the city yesterday. Actually, I met a immobilien (real estate agent) at a party last night and when he asked where I'll be living I had to stop him mid-sentence when he responded. It seems everyone thinks my little town is soooo far away. It's 9 miles!! Anyway, we went to my house and took pictures yesterday also. I will post them later today.

School is interesting. Everyone is super nice and my kids are super cute of course, but there is no funding until the end of september and i have been instructed not to communicate with the only other preschool teacher in the area. I was really frustrated Tuesday afternoon and poor mom got a tearful phone call about it. I am letting it go basically but I will say that it is hard!! I have a nice assistant (she was just subbing last week and we talked her into taking the position full time!) named Michelle who has 4 kids who attend our school (it's elementary and middle school). I think that will work out well.

I have tons of things to buy for my new house. I don't have a bed for starters. And I have to buy approximately 10 light fixtures. Thankfully there is an IKEA closeby. German houses typically don't have kitchens built in (you bring your own), but mine does. It is super modern and nice. As far as the light fixtures, apparently they are a very personal choice, so landlords have their tenants provide their own. Thankfully I can use a VAT form (a form that allows me to get 18 percent off.. we don't have to pay German taxes while we are here...) for most items (even a car!). Speaking of cars, mine will be here in late October most likely. Right now I am sharing a rental car with John and Marlene. We are together all of the time anyway, so it is saving us money.

Better get up and take Jack out. I look forward to having a yard when I move into my house later this month!!!


:) Susie

Friday, August 29, 2008

Two weeks in...

Hi friends and family!! Just an update about my new adventure. In the hotel on post until my house is ready on September 20th. And a saweet house it is. Wait till
you see pictures. Of course, for 2000 Euros (3000 dollars) a month, it better be sweet! Thankfully it is paid for by my work.

The weather has been decent since I've been here. High 70s most of the day and even reaching 80 here and there. Finally have my classroom set up (a work in progress.... but a HUGE improvement). Spend most of my time when I'm not working with my new best friend John (very Italian) and another coworker, Marlene. I am the only one who has found housing of the three of us, so I'm pretty sure at least John will be staying with me for a while once I move in. He's a super cook, so I might not let him move out. Been drinking good German beer and eating lots. Jack is allowed to go EVERYWHERE with me (except school). I still can't get over it. Even shopping malls, nicer restaurants, the train... it's unbelievable how dog friendly everyone is. There is a dog park right by the hotel so we have been getting over there most days. So far, no bickering with other dogs. :)

I just have to tell you more about John. He's 48, but says he's 38 in "club years." Ha. He keeps me in stitches. Anyway, his mama is 90 yrs old and calls him at least 3 times a day. He's actually visiting her this weekend in Italy. He has invited us (me and Marlene) to go to Italy with him in October. I am really looking forward to that!

We go to Oktoberfest towards the end of September (I know, ironic. It's not even in October). I will have a camera solution by then for sure.

There are vineyards all around in the area where I work. There is a city center about 15 minutes away and the trains are very efficient. Lots of yummy food to eat, but somehow we keep ending up in Italian restaurants! My diet is not improving with meat and cheese and bread and beer everywhere I go.

Anyway, I have rambled enough. Would love to hear about your world. Keep in touch!!

Lots of love, Susie :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Getting my feet on the ground....I found a brand new house!

It has been a whirlwind since I landed in Stuttgart 8 days ago. I have met two teachers from my school who are single, new to DODDs (dept of defense dependents schools) and they are making my transition here so much easier. John is a fun guy who grew up in Italy and has taught for the past 10 years in Denver. Marlene is from D.C., and taught in Turkey on a Fullbright Scholarship last year. I am thrilled to have them as my new support system here in Germany!! Anyway, Jack is doing great. We are moving to the hotel on post today (they haven't had availability) to be closer to school. John will pick us (and all of my stuff up) around 11 am this morning and after making the move, we will work in our classrooms for several hours. With all of the running around with housing, taking driver's license tests, etc., we didn't get nearly enough time to work in our classrooms this week. My students don't start until 9/2, and for that I am grateful. I could not be ready for tomorrow which is the first day of school for everyone else.

Sooo... I found a fabulous house!! Typically finding housing here is a nightmare but I got really lucky and got the first house I looked at. I will post pics when I can take some (my camera is broken) but here are the basics:

4 bedrooms, all tile and marble, new construction, rooftop patio, balcony, heated floors, fireplace, garden, garage, furnished kitchen..... it's unbelievable. It is about a 20 minute drive from work (which by maui standards is really far away!), and 25 minutes from the city. The trains here are fabulous, so that will help with the distance issue.

I have to get packing (again) here in my hotel room. More to come soon. Sorry for not responding to emails individually, but everyone is asking the same questions and I have so much to do!! Love and miss you.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Arrived in Stuttart today!

jack and i made it to stuttgart in great shape. less eventful than trip to d.c. from maui. a nice man from my school picked us up at the airport.. i am soo glad i didn't have to find the hotel myself. i may still be looking for it now!! had my first german beer with dinner at a little diner by my hotel. pretty much everywhere lets you bring your dog in so that's nice. going to work monday a.m. apparently a preschool classroom closed at another elementary school so i hope to have most of what i need to get started... probably a little wishful thinking, but hopefully close to the truth. it was so good to see my family in va.. and my close friends. i will write more soon!!

guten tag!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

hawaii favorites

sunrise la perouse kam III mulligans akp hana bamboo boogie thousand peaks windmills keawekapu matteos haleakala mango pineapple mahina dog and duck trivia night secrets banyan tree rainbow bird of paradise waterfall seven sacred pools bicycle smoothie ocean turtle pidgeon paula fuga haleiwa hanalei kaulalau trail wailua falls kailua kokua fest lychee avocado star fruit ukulele kaenae peninsula humpback WHALES kayak upcountry sunday at cassanovas cafe marc aurel beauty bar tennis at kalama nakalele blowhole black rock paia town ono gelato

hana hou

i am enjoying my little sister and hillary's visit. we have been all over this island! i am coordinating many things while playing tour far so good. having a bit of a time renting out my ohana (apartment) and trying to be patient with waiting for my orders to go to germany. i am really hoping that i get at least a week with my family in va before i go. poor jack is not going to know what hit him with the long flights ahead. hell, i'm not going to know what hit me either!

trying to balance my love for maui and being okay with leaving and my excitement for the european adventures that lie ahead. i know much more about what i'm leaving than where i'm going at this point! i have been to the thrift store for warm clothing and will be able to send my winter clothing from va. i am going to be in major climate shock! my body is pretty used to 85 degrees all of the time. i'm most definately going to miss the weather here in paradise. and the people. such great people.

i'm going to write a separate post of all of the things i love about maui.

aloha. suz

Saturday, July 12, 2008

aloha saturday

jill and i are just in from an early kayaking trip courtesy of phil the super tour guide. i didn't get phil's message that he had space on his kayak tour until 6 am this morning, and we had to be there at 7 am. we RALLIED and made it there on time. we saw several turtles and fish, a few rays, and i held a sea urchin in my hand. hope to get the pic of that from phil took to post it here. jill is slightly sunburnt today after several hours on the beach yesterday in lahaina and a paddle boarding trip the day before. there hasn't been much time for couch surfing around here lately.

my maui classroom is packed up and on my lanai in large plastic containers awaiting shipment. i have emailed my new principal in stuttgart and am waiting for her reply. here is the website for my new school

i am contemplating what to do about my car and my place here. the car can go with me or i can sell it and buy a newer one in va to take with me. my ohana- apartment- is super sweet, but so far i haven't found anyone that i know that can take it. just posted it on craigslist which i didn't want to have to do, but my options are limited. just need to get coverage for aug and sept. my landlords are back in october and are working with me on covering my lease. if i know you and you want to visit maui in august, there is a possibility that it will be open for the month. i will not charge you too much, but want help covering my rent.

more to come later...

;0 suz

Saturday, June 28, 2008


aloha everyone,

i have accepted a teaching position in stuttgart, germany.

i will be leaving maui at the end of july and plan a visit/packing trip to va on the way to germany. i accepted the job on 6/28 and my landlords were leaving the next day for 2 months in australia, so the timing made things interesting. i was not supposed to be notified about whether the job was mine or not until 7/1 which would have made things much more difficult to arrange with them. anyway, they have agreed to let me sublet it, so i am busy trying to make that happen. running all over preparing everything for the big move to the other side of the world- i think it's 10,000 miles from where i sit right now.

my dad was nice enough to inform me that they don't have beaches in germany. while i was aware of that sad fact, he brings up a good point. i'm leaving my lovely maui for cold weather. what am i thinking//// well, for starters, teaching overseas with the department of defense has been a goal of mine for years. i will be teaching preschool special ed. on an american army base in central germany, and report to work on august 20. hoping to use mass transit primarily as i have been told that traffic is a nightmare in stuttgart and i'm a little scared of the autobahn at this point.

my little sister- jill- will be arriving on maui tomorrow and leaves 7/22. great timing, and not pre-arranged. her trip will be now be super sweet for both of us. i plan to follow her to va not long after she leaves. still waiting on confirmation on a few things before booking that flight.

i have found out that i am able to have a 'split shipment'of my things, which means that they will ship my stuff from hi and from va. i am excited about this b/c i have several things that i didn't pay to ship here that i will now have in stuttgart. i put my notice in at work today and called the parents of my students. the second was the harder to do by far. i packed up most of my things from my classroom today and will finish that in the morning.

i am entitled to 90 days of temporary housing in a hotel while i find housing. my shipped belongings will be held until i have permanent housing. this is in stark contrast to my move to maui 3 years ago when it was all on me. my housing and utlities will be payed for the duration of the 2 year contract which i am seriously looking forward to - especially after paying most of paycheck in rent and food here on maui.

a point of contention right now is my sweet jack. i just don't think it's fair to him to put him through the move. 25 hours under an airplane is just brutal. he didn't eat for 2 weeks when i moved him here and i swore i'd never put him through that again. i am considering options regarding him staying here. i cannot wrap my brain around leaving him right now, but i am trying to put his needs ahead of mine.

i will try to update this a little more often- haven't written since April i just noticed. always love to hear from friends and family and of course love to have them visit. consider a trip to Germany anytime after September if you please.

much aloha, susie

Monday, April 21, 2008

The last of the whales, pics from all of my company...

Aloha! It's been a while since I've written! I have finally downloaded pics from all of the company that I've had since January, so here are a few of my favorites. I love having the people I care about the most come to visit me! However, it has been nice having my place all to my self for the past several weeks. First came Ashley and Bennett in January. Then Kurt came for several weeks to work and stayed with me most of the time. After Kurt left, I had a week to recooperate and then Aimee came for a very busy, fun week. A week later, my mom arrived and was here for 3 weeks. My mom is an pro at visiting maui at this point! She helped me improve my living space (like she always does!), and after trips to the thrift store, garage sale, and every kmart like store on the island, i have so many home improvements! she even left projects for me to do that we didn't get to, but i haven't touched them yet (sorry, mom!). she is such a worker bee! anyway, now i am typing to you with my laptop on my nice oak desk, sitting on a new chair from the thrift store, and i have more plants than the four seasons maui (they are all still alive at press time). anyway, i have been off island all weekend visiting some friends, charlie and Jim, and it was a nice "get away." I met up with an old high school friend (Brent) while we were there (honolulu) who i haven't seen since 1991. Brent and I each got "most talkative" as our senior superlatives. Needless to say, no one could keep up with us at lunch yesterday!! We got to see Jack Johnson and friends play at Jack's earth day festival on Saturday (The Kokua Fest). It was a great experience! Anyway, I hope you are doing well in your corner of the world.

:) Peace. Susie

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

spring cleaning, spring break

i love spring break. not b/c i don't love my job. i do. but because i get to do whatever i want whenever i want to do it. and here is a shocker: i went into work today! my mom left last night after a really great visit :), and today was the first day that i could have done ANYTHING that i wanted. and i went to work... what?! so unlike me! but i have so much to do in my classroom and my house looks so awesome right now (thanks, mom) that it just made the most sense.

after working, i came home and watched this week's webcast of the book i'm reading (again) called A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's True Purpose. and then i set up a last minute book club meeting at the beach park by my house. i just had to discuss this week's chapter and couldn't wait until sunday, our regular meeting day. four of us ended up meeting and as always, it was totally inspiring. as i was leaving i noticed my friend jenn had text me and i went to her house to see her new baby boy, liam. he's sooooo sweet. i think i'm in love!

the only thing i have planned for the rest of the week is tennis practice on hursday and a match this weekend. that's it. and i love it!

jack has arthritis. :( it comes and goes and is worst in the morning. we are experimenting with supplements now. it's hard to believe that my baby jack is 9 years old!

i sign off by saying that i have the best mom in the whole world. i already knew this before she came to visit, of course, but i am just more positive it's true now. such a giving, awesome woman, my mama! thanks mom for being you, for putting so much hard work into my place, and for testing my strength in resisting shopping by having us go into every store from lahaina to paia. i loved the time we got to spend together!

Aloha, Susie

Monday, March 03, 2008

Happy Aloha Monday

Greetings from the Valley Isle. I wanted to write to say that I had a most wonderful visit with my good friend Aimee over this past week. She had never been to Maui before and it was a great adventure! The second day she was here, we went on a kayak tour (thanks for the freebee, Peter!) and saw several humpback whales, 3 seaturtles, and a black and white mantaray right beside or boats! WOW. I had never seen a mantaray in it's natural setting and I will never tire of seeing whales and turtles. What an awesome experience. We went to a luau that I had never been to before called the Feast at Lele. That was the best laua I had ever been to and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to go to a classy luau here. Aimee explored the island while I worked much of the week. I would get home from work and off we'd go on a next excursion. We went to Oahu on Thursday and had the opportunity to go to the north shore. Stopped in Haleiwa and had huli huli chicken at a church stand on the side of the road. Got to go to my favorite store in that town, and then headed to Sunset Beach, hoping to be able to feed the sea turtles. The beach was beautiful and the surf was huge, but no turtles. It was not so much of a disappointment as you will see when I get a chance to post some of the pics we took there. We got back to Maui Friday night and went to see my friend's band, A Kettle Prime, play. Aimee loved them as much as I do! Saturday we went to the beach by my house and then to a bbq at a beach park on the way to lahaina. I took her to the airport Saturday night (we stopped to get her pineapples to go and I bought her another lei) and I got a message that she made it home to Michigan. I am sure it was a shocker when she got off the plane! Anyway, work calls so I must sign off for now. Have a super happy aloha Monday.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Watchin fireworks in my hammock

I just had to post that I just finished watching fireworks that one of the big hotel puts on from the comfort of my hammock on my lanai. How cool is that? Well, Jack didn't appreciate it, but I did!!

Super tired after long day and work and nanny job this evening. Looking forward to the long weekend! Also looking forward to Aimee coming to visit on the 23rd. After Aimee leaves, my mom gets here!! I am loving it.

Aloha from the valley isle...

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Feb 2

Hi! It's been tooo long! Just in from ping pong at the Peitscher's. Kurt is visiting from Michigan until the 8th. Planning a birthday party for myself and two friends who share my birthday for next Saturday, the 9th. Looking forward to it! I hope the weather improves soon. It's been overcast, raining, and windy on and off all week! I know you mainlanders don't want to hear me complain, but I need my sunshine soon or someone might get hurt! Anyway, not much to report... just wanted to write a bit.

Be in touch!

Aloha, Susie