Jun 25, 2012

Three Hundred Sixty-Five Days of Deutschland {and a giveaway!} *CLOSED*

Well, folks. There you have it. One year of expat life for Team Coté is now in the books! I know. Shut the front door...how has it been ONE YEAR already?!? I keep asking myself that daily. Time has flown by. F-L-O-W-N BY. It seems like just yesterday that D and were packing our suitcases, saying our goodbyes, and hopping a plane to Germany. Life has changed so much in the last year that it's almost unrecognizable from our life back in the states. Imagine having everything you've ever known, from laws and rules of your country, to simple everyday things like navigating a grocery store become warped into something unfamiliar and, quite frankly, scary.

Moving to a foreign country causes you to have to start over from scratch, like you're an infant learning how to walk or talk or eat or interact with the world around you. It's quite a strange feeling, walking with baby steps and re-learning life. Yet among all the brain rewiring, you still carry on as a family. You still cook dinner and talk about your day. You still go grocery shopping (albeit a bit differently now) and take out the trash. And you still keep up with little traditions and fold the laundry together. Big things change, but the at the heart of it all, you're still you. We're still us. 

I'll be the first one to tell you, this whole moving to Europe thing hasn't been a cake walk. We've had our fair share of embarrassments...like the time we were throwing away our food scraps in the wrong trashcan for 7 MONTHS before our landlord kindly told us which one we're supposed to use...and we've dealt with all the stresses of living out of a suitcase for 3 months straight. We've also found out who our true friends are and those who...well, weren't even friends at all. Funny how distance can reveal these things. But I can honestly say, I wouldn't change a darn thing. Through change comes strength, and with strength comes growth. It seems to be the circle of life for our little military family. Besides, among all the changes and trials this move has brought us, we've also gotten to do some pretty wicked cool stuff. I'm talkin' visiting 7 different countries over the course of 12 months kind of cool stuff. Yeah...pinching myself has become obsolete.

While I'm feeling a little nostalgic reliving the past 365 days of Germany in my head, I thought it would be fun to go all David Letterman and make a Top 10 List recounting our favorite memories during our first year living in Germany! 

{Oh, and make sure you stick around 'till the end of this post for a little surprise!!}


41 days of uninterrupted hotel living can really start to make a person go crazy. Case and point...hotel room planking. During this time we made a lot of important decisions, like where we were going to live, what we were going to drive, and who was going to the nut house first. David won, contrary to photographic evidence. Boy doesn't do well cooped up in one 12' x 14' room. Precisely why we made it a point to GET OUT and start traveling ASAP!


Celebrating 4 years of wedded bliss in what is, quite possibly, the cutest little German town in the entire world was a breath of fresh air. We finally got to see the rich history and Old-World charm that our new home was so famous for. This was the beginning of our love affair with Germany!


We fell in love with this 1,400 sq ft. slice of German real estate the moment we laid eyes on it. It oozes character (including our German toilet with poop shelf) and has been the perfect fit for our little family since the day we moved in. The apartment gods were smiling upon us, that's for sure! As fun as living in a hotel can be, we were so ready and very thankful to finally have all of our belongings back and put in their own place. Suitcase living complete.



I don't know what we did to deserve such an amazing group of Christian people to call our friends, but I'm thankful for them just the same! They've made our transition to life in Germany much easier, and so much more fun!



We've visited so many fabulous places over the last 12 months, but this still remains to be true...London is my absolute favorite city in the world! No place has yet to compare. The sights, the sounds, the Royal ambiance...I'm getting heart palpitations just thinking about it. Trip of a lifetime, and I can't wait to go back in August!
 {You can read more about our trip here, here, and here.}


From the Christmas Markets and Glühwein to decking our halls and making new traditions, our first Christmas in Germany was nothing short of magical. Although we were away from our family and friends for the first time at Christmas, we managed to make the best of it. We even managed to stuff a 7.5 foot Christmas tree into the trunk of our 2-door BMW. How's that for a Christmas miracle?


Hands down one of the coolest things we've ever done. The Alps are insanely beautiful and getting skiing in them was just icing on the cake! We're looking forward to tearing up the slopes again next winter!
{Read more about our ski adventure here, here, and here.}


Seriously, did you think I'd forget about all the fabulous wine? Not possible. Living in what I like to call "Riesling Country" has proved to be more rewarding than not. Drinking our way through the miles and miles of vineyards (or Weinguts) situated along the Rhine River has become one of our favorite past times, not to mention attending the many wine festivals held in our region during various times of the year. Germans never need a reason to throw a party, but wine is an excellent one. We'll be there with bells on.

I realize this doesn't have much to do with Germany, per se, but we were living here while it happened, so it made the list! Although this never got blogged (maybe I'll get around to it one day), it was a very momentous and long awaited occasion for the both of us. After 4 years of serving our country, D was rewarded for his hard work and dedication with a promotion to Captain! I absolutely couldn't be a more proud Air Force wife! He's the bee's knees, that man!

AND FINALLY...

This is kind of a big deal. 10 of my crazy close family members, 3 countries, 2 weeks. Fun and insanity all wrapped up in the same whirlwind vacation. We. Are. Rockstars. Be looking out for multiple blog posts recapping this unbelievable family feat soon!!

THE END.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Whew.
Since you've stuck around to the end of this insanely long blog post, I've got a little reward for you! In honor of making it ONE YEAR living in Germany, I've decided to do my first blog giveaway{YAY YAY YAY!!}

Guys, in all seriousness, THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the kind words and prayers each of you laid on us during this exciting chapter of our lives. This little blog of mine has been a nice way to keep family and friends up to speed with our new life in Deutschland, but little did I know it would grow to have a following {100+ and growing!!} of such supportive and uplifting individuals who I've never even met in real life! The blogging community has completely embraced me and made all the picture taking and story-telling of our adventures abroad even more worth while! Thank you, each of you, for clicking on 'We Took the Road Less Traveled' everyday and leaving love. You guys seriously rock my face off! 

Now, for the swag! One lucky winner will receive a gift box straight from Deutschland FULL of my favorite products & goodies made in Germany including:

A jar of Nutella (I swear it tastes better here!)
3 bags of German gummie bears (I PROMISE they taste better here!)
Scarf from my favorite accessories store 
One nail color, lip gloss, and face mask packet from my favorite beauty kiosk
Mini bottle of blueberry schnapps made by monks in Bavaria (shhh, don't tell customs)
Bottle of Currysauce made in Wiesbaden 
One jar of Joghurt Dressing (the traditional salad dressing of Germany)
A bag of Eranuss Piccos (spicy corn chip covered peanuts), my favorite airplane snack
One box of German Spätzle (traditional German egg noodles) with sauce packet
A postcard from Wiesbaden, our current city of residence
A bag of my favorite German butter cookies
Variety of German chocolate bars
Jägerschnitzel sauce packet
AND
A mini 'Das Boot' from Bavaria

{A few items are missing from the photos. Someone...ahem...left them in the car.}

Follow the prompts in the Rafflecopter widget to enter!
{You must be a follower of this blog through Google Friend Connect to enter. Not a follower? It's easy to become one! You don't have to have a blogger account to follow. Just look over in the sidebar on the right under the 'Followers' tab (where all the tiny picture are). Click "Join this site" and follow the instructions in the pop-up window.  Then you can begin entering the giveaway below. Simple as that!}
Giveaway closes on July 2nd at 12:01am. 
Winner will be announced on Monday, July 3rd!
Good luck, everyone!!
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

22 comments:

  1. LOVE this post!! The top 10 angle is just so smartly done :) It's honestly hard to pick a place to live that tops Italy. This is my dream location. My second spot would have to be home in Albuquerque, NM. I would LOVE to move back home sooner rather than later.

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  2. Casey, I love reading you blog. I am a sucker for Mormon mommy blogs (random, I know) and travel blogs. Yours is one of my favorites. I knew I had to enter the giveaway when I saw nail polish, but everything looks amazing. Best of luck on year two!

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  3. I love all of your pictures and reading about your experiences. My husband has family from Germany although I have never got to go there I get to see how beautiful it is through your blog. You guys have made awesome memories! Hopefully one day I will get to see it in person and travel to England! Maybe when my kids are grown lol.

    Cassie Burchette

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  4. How fun is this! I have loved following all of your travels, and can't wait to read more! I've never been, but I believe I'd love to live in England, although you have almost convinced me of Germany!

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  5. Love the recap! I was just thinking about how a year ago I was stressing over no phone/Internet in Montecatini, Italy, while you were flying.

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  6. Love reading about all of your adventures!!

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  7. Time flies, right?! So glad you're enjoying life over there. Keep it up! With all the traveling I did in Japan I never felt like it was enough, I can't imagine what I'd be like if we got stationed in Europe!

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  8. I had a slight panic attack while reading your blog. I thought the surprise at the end was going to be you revealing that you were pregnant or something. I'm glad that it was a giveaway of delicious things instead :) I'm going to enter to win if I can figure this blog stuff out. Miss you!

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  9. Jonathan wants to know of he can win a living space in your house. Yep, he wants to move in with you guys and frankly I do too! Lol and I loooove haribo gummi bears and Jonathan loves nutella! I hope we win!

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  10. Happy 1 year living abroad! After living in Italy for almost 2.5 years I think I'd move back to Northern CA! I didn't realize how much I loved it/missed it there until I went back this month.

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  11. I'd move to Italy in a heartbeat! I'm crossing my fingers for orders there when I'm done at A-school

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  12. Well originally I would have said Ireland...but after reading this AWESOME post, now I say Germany!

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  13. I want to go to Europe so bad! Congrats on your husbands promotion! Those houses or stores or whatever they are look like they're from a book or movie! Fellow milspouse! New follower!

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  14. I live in Asia at the moment. I went to German a decade ago and would love to go back to Europe. The Marine Corps won't move us there though, so I'm more than happy to stay where I am!

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  15. Omg best giveaway everrrrrrr! I wont enter since I get this stuff all the time, but it totally gave me the idea to send this stuff to my mom and sister!!

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  16. It is cool you are giving away all this stuff. I might choose Paris to move to, hard to say since i have been no where yet.

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  17. Love all the stuff you do girl. It's so neat to see the things you are seeing & doing. I hope I entered the right way. It would be so neat to win the giveaway.

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  18. I am also on a year of living abroad and I love hearing how others are doing it and surviving!

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  19. This is so nice to read. I am from germany and its funny to read how someone is new to germany and experiences it for the first time. I hope you had a nice time here and enjoyed. But as I can see from the pictures I can assume so :)

    Love Storm

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  20. I clearly signed up for this in the wrong way during my first attempt. Hopefully, I've done it correctly now! Love following your blog. I enjoyed this post as much as I've enjoyed all the other ones you've written. I would really love to visit Germany at some point in my life--I've heard nothing but good things! I'd like to have the opportunity to go to Europe and live each day without any sort of schedule. I know I'd be poor, but I'd also be happy. I am so interested in being immersed in different cultures that I hope I'm fortunate enough to go experience the world sometime in the near future! :) Thanks for sharing your memories!

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  21. so fun! i love reading about your travels! just found you blog and couldn't be happier. germany is such a great country - although i've only spent a few weeks there and all those months of studying german is gone - completely gone - but ..what can you do?
    excited to be your newest follower!
    love,
    elisabeth

    http://lavitaebella-elisabeth.blogspot.com/

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  22. Such a fun giveaway - being a German, I have smiled about the products you have picked! Following your adventures through Germany and Europe is really interesting. Of course, I'm not going to enter your giveaway so that I won't spoil anyone's chance at all those German goodies ;-) If you need some Germany tips, just mail me!

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I appreciate your feedback, friends! I read every comment and try my hardest to respond to each one, but if your email address isn't attached to your blogger profile, you might find my response in the comment thread instead. As always, thanks for reading!

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