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Mar 21, 2012

That Time I Basically Ate My Way Through North Carolina

If you've ever lived abroad or even have vacationed abroad for a long period of time (like months people, not a week or two) then you know the cravings and heart pangs that incessantly plague you during your time away from the USA. Some days, you revel in the beauty that is your new home, your new adventure in a far away land. But some days you can't stand the sight of the Autobahn, the lack of eye contact when you pass a stranger on the sidewalk, or trying to order a flippin' muffin at the corner bakery, but the cashier doesn't seem to understand the translation of the word "muffin" you found in your pocket translator. Daily frustrations can build up and have you daydreaming about home.

It's in those very moments, you long for a simpler life. The life where Targets and Starbucks were on every corner and the only worry you had was which one was closest to your house. The life where Chick-Fil-A is considered a food group and you're quite sure they've given you your own personal parking spot, know your order by heart, and making it for you would be their "pleasure." The life where you can go to the bathroom, anywhere, without having to make sure you've got pocket change to secure yourself a stall. Right then folks, that's when you yearn for the life you left in America.

I'm convinced life's only simpler in America because it's what we're used to...what I'm used to. If I had grown up here in Germany, the 27 different recycling receptacles and paying for a glass of water at restaurants would be totally normal to me. Alas, my life didn't begin here in Germany, so I spend my days working through a intricate web of cultural rules that govern my new home just so I can keep my head above water. It's only in the times when I put my feet back on American soil, no matter how brief or fleeting, the comfort of familiar things returns and life's made simple again.

That's also the time when I become a ravenous pig and raging 
shop-a-holic. It's the American dream, no?

On my recent trip back to the states, there were no holds barred. I ate what I wanted, I drank what I wanted, and I bought what I wanted. I had 2 weeks to do what I needed to do to hold me over for 10 straight months of European isolation. Although this trip home felt like a vacation, there was hardly time for relaxing.

Contrary to the list, the first order of business was loving on this guy:

Be still my heart! I miss my baby Tucker dog more than words could ever describe. I mean, c'mon! Who wouldn't miss that ADORABLE bow-tied cutie! It's ridiculous (and completely necessary) the number of photos I took of him while I was home. I'm melting into the floor just thinking about him now. Sigh. Ahem, moving on...

After I got my bearings and a couple thousand Tucker kisses, it was time to acclimate myself back to the plethora of food choices the states has to offer. "Eat myself back into my fat pants" should have been on the top of my list because that's practically all I did. Calories, shmalories, right? I was on vacation, baby! 

 I have a laundry list of food conquests...no judging allowed!!

See, I told you I literally ate my way through North Carolina (and a little of Baltimore)...and I am not ashamed! That last conquest there...yeah, there's a story about that. 1,000 points to anyone who knows what's special about the Captain Crunch French Toast at Blue Moon Cafe in Baltimore!? No googling, cheaters! 

Oh yeah, one other insane thing happened. 
I shipped a small grocery store back to Germany. 
No biggie.

Let's get serious for a second...
Truth be told, I hate Walmart...with a fiery passion, but after spending an hour there with my mom just combing through the aisles helping her grocery shop for the week, I found myself a bit teary eyed. I know, I'm crazy, but I just couldn't control the flood of emotions that came over me right there in the cereal aisle. I guess seeing the endless options for cooking combined with spending time with my mom doing plain old everyday things really got me thinking about how complicated living abroad can be. Little things like being able to cook a meal and bring it over to my parent's house for an impromptu dinner on a Tuesday night is something I've never had the opportunity to do since marrying the military almost 4 years ago. Most days it doesn't phase me, but in that moment picking out corn flakes, I realized how much I really miss home. Even though I was home, I can't always be home. Something I took for granted before moving so far away. Living in Europe is awesome and I feel very blessed, don't get me wrong, but for those of you who live a hop, skip, and a block away from your loved ones, count yourselves blessed as well. Some days I'd kill to trade places. Only I could have a major revelation in the aisles of Walmart, people. Thanks for listening. 

SO, after shopping and eating my way through the Piedmont with my family and friends, it was almost time to make my way back to Baltimore to catch another Space-A flight to Deutschland. But, not before I got one last chance to squeeze some cheeks! My adorable nephew, Logan...he's the sweetest little 2 year old I've ever laid eyes on. We spent 15 minutes in front of my iPhone taking silly pictures one night at my MIL's house. He kept saying, "Again, again!" every time I tried to move on to another activity. Guess the fascination with technology really does start at a young age! Watch out Aims, he'll be calling you from his own iPhone someday soon. Gosh, they grow up fast. Love that little booger!

Truly, the quality time spent with family and friends made the hours I spent on an airplane totally worthwhile, even if I hadn't gotten to eat a bite of Chick-Fil-A (blasphemy, I know!). I have one last post regarding my visit back to America {think Baltimore, girls trip, and a few televised hot spots}, then I promise I'll be done making my fellow expats jealous. :) When is my next visit to the USA? Well...not till Christmas...and we're still crossing our fingers that trip will happen. Until then, it's back to daily life as I know it here in Germany. 

We've got lots and lots of trips coming up this spring and summer {Amsterdam, Berlin, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Innsbruck, Tuscany, Rome, Florence, Prague, Lake Constance, Paris, London, and the Black Forest}. Ack! My head is spinning just thinking about it all. SO MUCH TO LOOK FORWARD TO! Hope you'll be along for the ride!


  1. Looks like you had an awesome time! Home sweet NC!

  2. Don't feel guilty about the food. When my son was about 5 months old I made a trip home from Japan. All the baby weight I lost? Yeah, I gained it all back in the nearly 2 months I was home. There is just this feeling of "I Gatta go eat there because we don't have that restaurant or even that kind of food in [insert country name here]!" it was worth it though!

  3. What are you going to do with Papaw's europe photos?

  4. just found you...and friggin' loved how you wrote this post. i get it. i totally, totally get it.

    in a different way (as i stil live in the U.S.) but i've been there. hiking for months in the woods at a time. craving a soda so bad i'd kill someone. wanting a greasy slice of pizza so bad i'd run 30 miles. nightmares of a "hot and ready" sign from krispy kreme filled my head at night, and i'd wake up screaming for mercy.

    ah...so, how are you doing now? has your supply sustained any life expectancy?

  5. We have the best food in NC don't we?? Glad you let yourself indulge! :)

  6. I love eating out, especially at new and/or off-the-wall places! I took a long trip to see some family, and LOVED eating at Steak 'n Shake; if only they would put one in my area! If you're living overseas, you deserve to indulge during a trip Stateside; I'd miss American food terribly if I was completely removed from it for even a short period of time!
    -- SiOBHaN

  7. Make sure you hit up Trier sometime in the next 4 weeks. The cloth of Jesus will be on display again, and the pilgrimage and all that. It hasn't been on display since 1996. I can't wait to go :D Thats not something you see every day :D

    Glad you guys got to see all the Tulips. We were going this Saturday, but husband has to work and I've got a softball tourney in Sembach. Next year we will hit up the Tulip festival.


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