Sonntag, 21. August 2011

Still Alive... :)

Yes hi there!

I just quickly stopped by to say hi and tell you all that I'm still alive and well. The new job is taking its tolls and in addition to single mommyhood, 60-70h work per week don't really leave time for anything else. The branch has been open for over 2 months now and it's going really well. I actually took a very well deserved 2-day weekend this weekend to spend with Elaine, who is almost 8 months now, crawls around like mad and will start to walk soon. She is still the best baby ever! :)

Last night I celebrated into my "hump year day". 21. August 2011 means, I've been here for exactly 2,5 years now - halfway through to my goal of 5 years and citizenship... It's been an interesting ride and I'm sure it will stay that way. With the new company being a Start-Up in the USA, there are lots of possibilities and at this point, I have no clue if next month I will not suddenly be asked to move.... Anything is possible.

By the way, we also have a tropical storm named Irene out there in the Atlantic right now, whose predicted paths bring it very likely to us. Something to keep my eye on... I did not manage to get hurricane prepared this year, so if it comes, I'll be on the road up North!

Hope all of you are doing great as well! I'll get some back-up for the next couple of weeks in regards to lil E, so maybe I'll be able to post a little more again. Right now, the computer sees me about every 2-3 weeks. All else is done over the phone and for some reason, I haven't found a good blogger app yet... If anybody knows of one, let me know!

Sunny greetings from SoFla! - Jen

Mittwoch, 15. Juni 2011

A month later...

... and I officially opened MY branch today. Without a big bang, but still very exciting when the booking channels open up and people can actually rent cars in Fort Lauderdale with our company now.

So how did the last month go? Well, although this company is well known and big in Europe, over here it is a start-up business and things are being handled accordingly = sink or swim! I started with 3 days of training in the computer systems and some general knowledge, rented some cars and one week after I signed my contract, I was brought to the property in Fort Lauderdale, got a walk through which looked like -> Boss: "This needs to be done, and this, and this and this and this, and here we need this and you need to check for this and get me this and need need need..." and Jenny: "!" (writing as fast as possible to get everything that was being said).

From there on I was basically left TO DO! With a building from the 40's which interior did not look anything like someone could move a business in soon and a time frame of 3 weeks until opening, I decided to swim although I must say the length of To Do List and time frame to get things done looked veeeery crazy in comparison!

Well, 3 weeks later, I opened the branch today and it looks very nice. In 3 weeks I met more people than in the past 2.5 years I've been here since I had to talk to a million and one contractors. I was basically the construction site supervisor and while not having a clue about what I was doing in the beginning, it was very interesting and fun and I've learned a lot. I worked loooong hours, but I'm able to get Elaine in the evening hours and bring her to work, so that is great.

I'm amazed that I was hired and just thrown into the job that I had no clue off. Tomorrow my bosses leave on a 3-day trip and leave me on my own which tells me I must have done something right as they trust me to be able to run the show without them. One great thing: My employees have been trained very well, as they started, when I started and got all their training in the Miami branch. That makes things a lot easier.

I now can't wait to start my "real" job and to get into the analytical and management things instead of organizing a granite floor to be laid 2 days before opening after everything else was done and boss decided to change his plans... Telling the flooring guys to remove their dirty fingerprints of my freshly painted walls was definitely fun though. The wagon was way ahead of the horses when plans all of a sudden changed. Luckily that was not my fault as I said from the beginning to put a new floor in.....

In Deutsch mal kurz: Nachdem ich nun vor 4 Wochen angestellt wurde, Schwimmen lernte und mich als Baustellenleiter vergnuegte, habe ich heute MEINE Station eroeffne!

Wer haette das vor nem Monat wohl gedacht...

Montag, 16. Mai 2011

Wind of Change!

It is official!!!

Today I signed my new job contract and I'm now an official employee of Germany's well known car rental company with 4 letters and the colors orange and black! :) In case you didn't know it, this company has not been in the USA before, but is now on expansion into the new world in their 99th year of existence. Since each State over here is like a single country in Europe, the company chose Florida to start with and opened their first location at Miami International Airport about 2 months ago. Now I did apply for an office position with them, but since my new boss (30 years old and one of Germany's top young managers) believes my profile fits their branch manager program better, but I'm restricted from travel due to baby, I might become something in between. I did already attend two interviews for "my future employees" today and we're starting training tomorrow. I'm so excited! I'll be training in Miami, but will be based at the new location in Fort Lauderdale once it opens in June.

I've been waiting for a position like this for quite some time now and after things in the restaurant were getting slightly frustrating - felt insulted by my new General Manager who offered me a $11-12/h position, less than I make serving tables - and quite a few customers just wanting everything for free - I was definitely ready for a change!

The greatest thing is, I'll even get a company car again! This couldn't have come at a better timing as I was wanting to buy or lease a new car this year and was trying to up my credit some more.

Well, wish me luck on my new job journey and come visit me at the rental car station in FLL one of these days :)

Nur eine kurze Uebersetzung heute, da ich ins Bettchen muss, weil sich mein Arbeitsrhythmus einiges veraendern wird :) :

Ich habe heute meinen Arbeitsvertrag mit einer sehr bekannten deutschen Autovermietung mit 4 Buchstaben und orange/schwarzen Farben unterschrieben!!! Ich freue mich ja so, da ich schon eine Weile auf so eine Stelle gewartet habe. Diese Autovermietung expandiert gerade in die USA und hat sich Florida als ersten Staat ausgesucht und in Miami vor ca. 2 Monaten die erste Location aufgemacht. Ich werde vorerst in Miami lernen und dann im Juni in die neue Location in Fort Lauderdale umziehen.

Alles ganz spannend!!! Falls von euch deutschen Greencard-Gewinnern jemand an diesem Gewerbe interessiert ist, wie gesagt, die sind auf Expansion und dementsprechend wird es da jetzt in den naechsten Monaten einige Jobs geben... Augen auf und Koffer gepackt! ;)

Drueckt mir die Daumen, dass ich mich gut schlage. Heute habe ich mich auf jeden Fall schon gut gemacht!

Donnerstag, 28. April 2011

Tornado Desaster

The USA was hit by the 2nd deadliest tornado outbreak since 1950 yesterday and as a lot of you probably know already, Alabama was hit the strongest. Luckily I can say that none of my family and friends up there was hurt. Lauderdale County, the county where I know most people, was spared, whereas all the counties around them had tornadoes touch ground and tore up whole neighborhoods. The pictures are devastating. My American cousin's boyfriends house was ripped apart but no one was hurt there as well. Some people I went to high school with, but that were in grades below me, are studying in Tuscaloosa right now (the location of the University of Alabama). This city was hit the hardest and it sure enough scared everything out of them. One had a tornado go through her apartment complex but it didn't touch the building where she was living in and hiding in her bathtub. Friends from high school that served in the US military and are now in the reserve were activated today. They didn't quite know for what reason yet, but since AL and several other states are in a state of emergency, they will probably be used to help clean up etc.

If you pray, please pray for everybody up there that has lost family, friends & property!

Neighborhood by 10th Ave., Tuscaloosa, AL
picture from FB group Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Die USA wurden gestern von der 2. staerksten Tornado-Serie seit 1950 ueberrollt. Wie viele von euch wohl schon wissen, wurde Alabama dabei am schlimmsten getroffen. Gluecklicherweise kann ich sagen, dass keiner meiner Freunde und Familie dort verletzt wurde. Lauderdale County, der Landkreis in dem ich die meisten Leute kenne, wurde komplett verschont, waehrend in allen Landkreisen drum herum, dutzende Tornados aufsetzten und zich Wohngebiete dem Boden gleich machten. Das Haus des Freundes meiner amerikanischen Cousine wurde zerstoert, aber auch da zum Glueck niemand verletzt. Einige Leute mit denen ich an der High School war, die aber ein paar Klassenstufen unter mir waren, studieren momentan in Tuscaloosa (dem Standort der University of Alabama). Diese Stadt wurde am schlimmsten zerstoert und das hat natuerlich alle in Angst und Schrecken versetzt. Ein Maedel das ich kenne, hatte einen Tornado der durch ihre Apartment-Anlage zog. Zum Glueck ging er knapp an ihrem Gebaeude vorbei, wo sie sich in der Badewanne verkrochen hatte. Einige Freunde, die im US Militaer gedient haben und nun Reservisten sind, wurden heute aktiviert. Der genaue Grund wurde noch nicht genannt, aber da neben Alabama auch in einigen anderen Staaten der Notstand ausgerufen wurde, werden sie wohl dort zum Aufraeumen etc. eingesetzt.

Falls ihr betet, sendet doch bitte ein paar Gebete fuer die Menschen in den betroffenen Gegenden nach oben. Es haben ja etliche Menschen ihr Leben und Eingentum verloren.

Obiges Foto zeigt ein Wohngebiet in Tuscaloosa was quasi ausradiert wurde. :(

Montag, 25. April 2011

1. MLB Game while getting paid...

Today I was part of what they call the "Fun Patrol" team at work. It's basically a marketing effort and when working this position, I get to go to all sorts of events to promote my employer. I never signed up for it, but as I was only scheduled 4 days this week, but like to work 5, I asked a co-worker if I could pick up his shift and he said yes. When I asked him, I didn't know what the event would be, I just cared about the extra shift.

Come to find out, I got to attend the Florida Marlins vs. L.A. Dodgers baseball game at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami. I've never went to a baseball game, so I was all thrilled that my 1st baseball game would actually be one of the Major Baseball League and the best part of it: I didn't have to pay a cent AND got paid for being there!!!

The game was awesome! The Marlins made the 1st run, but then the Dodgers took over the lead and we couldn't reverse it and after 8 innings, the Dodgers were one run ahead of us, so the final inning was very exciting. However, in the final stretch, the Marlins were able to score two runs and we won the game! From a home-run to an "exploding bat" (the ball hits the bat in such an angle and speed that the bat will break, no wonder at ball speeds of 95mph)... I saw it all and it is to say that it's a great game to watch and not that hard to understand for a newbie like me.

We were able to sit wherever we wanted if there was no one sitting there and the actual work time was just 10 minutes, but we were paid for 5.5h. :) We were told a "Lucky Section" by a sales coordinator of the Marlins, it was announced on the big screen inside of the stadium and we handed out coupons in that section after the 3rd inning. Easy!

Heute war ich Teil der sogenannten "Fun Patrol" auf Arbeit. Dabei handelt es sich um eine Marketing Massnahme und wenn man in dieser Position arbeitet, macht man auf allen moeglichen Veranstaltung Werbung fuer unseren Arbeitgeber. Ich schrieb mich nie dafuer ein, aber da ich diese Woche nur fuer 4 Tage eingeplant war, ich aber gerne 5 Tage die Woche arbeite, fragte ich einen Kollegen ob ich dessen Schicht uebernehmen koennte und der sagte ja. Als ich ihn fragte, wusste ich nicht um welche Veranstaltung es sich handeln wuerde, mir ging es nur um die extra Schicht.

Wie sich dann herausstellte, durfte ich dem Baseballspiel Florida Marlins gegen L.A. Dodgers im Sun Life Stadium in Miami
beiwohnen. Ich war noch nie auf einem Baseballspiel und so war ich super erfreut, dass mein 1. Baseballspiel eins der Major Baseball League (quasi 1. Bundesliga des Baseball) wurde und das Beste: Ich musste keinen Cent dafuer bezahlen sondern wurde dafuer bezahlt mir das anzuschauen!!! Das Spiel war super!!! Die Marlins gingen in Fuehrung, jedoch uebernahmen die Dodgers schnell die Fuehrung und wir konnten es bis zum 8. Inning (eine Spielrunde im Baseball) nicht wieder umkehren und so fuehrten die Dodgers bis dahin mit einem Run Vorsprung. Somit wurde das letzte, 9. Inning, super spannend. Die Dodgers waren zuerst das offensive Team, erzielten aber keinen weiteren Run. Das war unsere Chance! Und wir nutzten sie und konnten noch 2 Runs machen, bevor die Spielrunde zu Ende war und gewannen somit das Spiel!!! Vom Home-Run bis zum "explodierenden" Schlaeger (der Ball trifft dabei in solch einem Winkel und mit einer Geschwindigkeit auf den Schlaeger, so dass dieser zerbricht... kein Wunder bei Ballgeschwindigkeiten von knapp 160km/h), sah ich alles und ich muss sagen, dass Baseball ein tolles Spiel zum Anschauen ist und es auch nicht so schwer verstaendlich fuer einen Neuling wie mich ist.

Wir konnten uebrigens sitzen wo wir wollten, solange keiner diese Sitzplaetze gebucht hatte und die eigentliche Arbeitszeit betraf 10 Minuten. Wir wurden aber fuer 5.5h bezahlt! :) Ein Vertriebsmensch der Marlins teilte uns die "Lucky Section" mit, diese wurde gross auf einem Bildschirm bekannt gegeben und dort verteilten wir dann nach dem 3. Inning Coupons fuer meinen Arbeitgeber. Einfach!

The Marlin - Team Mascot

A player of the L.A. Dodgers
A player of the Florida Marlins
Me & my co-worker after we took our Fun Patrol shirts off, who happened to get my hair in his face... Stupid wind! ;)
9.Inning Offense for the Marlins at 4:3 for the Dodgers
Marlins WIN!!!!

Easter Sunday Pic

Elaine is 4 months old now and despite me having to work, I decided to dress her up for her 1st Easter and take a couple of pictures. She wasn't that excited, but oh well! :) I hope you all had a relaxing time off!

Mittwoch, 20. April 2011

Happy Easter Holidays!

I know it's been ages again, since you've last heard from me, but this mommy here is one busy bee and apart from working and raising my beautiful daughter, there's really not that much going on. I have a few informative things on my mind that I'd really like to post, since it's more about life in the USA and not just my life, but I seem to not find the time right now. It will eventually happen though!

After trips to the Vital Statistics and Social Security Administration offices, I finally also made the trip to the post office to apply for Elaine's passport. I expedited it and almost $200.- poorer and 1 week later, I had this beautiful piece in the mail on Monday. Yes, the US passport is pretty - prettier than the German one (sorry!!!) and yes, I still work towards getting mine one day... Anyhow, it was one of these proud mommy moment... My little chubster has her very first passport! :) Bahamas here we come!!!

I hope all of you have a great and relaxing Easter weekend! I'm going to be working as usual, so while on an outing to West Palm Beach today with some German girls, I decided to take Elaine for her 1st visit with the Easter Bunny!

Happy Easter Holidays everyone!!!

Elaine during our self-made Easter home photo shoot! She's too funny!

Ja ich weiss, ewig ist es schon wieder her, dass ihr von mir gehoert habt, aber ich bin eben eifrig am Arbeiten und Kind erziehen und so passiert nicht wirklich viel Neues. Ich habe einige informative Sachen die mehr mit dem Leben in den USA als mit meinem Leben zu tun haben, schon seit geraumer Zeit im Kopf, aber irgendwie bin ich noch nicht zum posten gekommen. Vielleicht schaffe ich es ja bald!

Nachdem es in der ersten Monaten nach der Geburt bereits zum Einwohnermeldeamt und der Social Security Behoerde ging, schaffte ich es letzte Woche auch endlich mal zur Post um Elaine's Reisepass zu beantragen. Ich lies das Verfahren beschleunigen und so war ich knapp $200.- aermer und eine Woche spaeter, am Montag, im Besitz dieses wundervollen Papierchens. Ja, der US-Reisepass ist huebsch! Viel huebscher als der Deutsche (sorry!!!) und ja, ich arbeite weiterhin daraufhin eines Tages meinen in der Hand zu halten. Jedenfalls war das einer dieser "Super Stolze Mami" Momente: Meine Kurze hat ihren allerersten Reisepass!!! :) Bahamas, wir kommen!

Ich hoffe, dass ihr alle ein schoenes und entspanntes Osterwochenende geniessen werdet. Ich muss wie immer arbeiten und so entschied ich mich bei einem Ausflug mit ein paar deutschen Maedels nach West Palm Beach heute, beim Osterhasen anzuhalten. Da ist dann auch obiges Foto entstanden. Das 2. gehoert zu einer Serie die ich zu Hause fuer meine Osterkarten schoss. Elaine hatte viel Spass!

Ein Frohes Osterfest wuensche ich!

Donnerstag, 17. März 2011

Gator Land

Last week my friends Aline & Michael from Germany finally came to visit me. They dropped me off at the airport in Frankfurt over two years ago when I started my US-journey and it was about time to see them again. They're also the first friends who made it over here.

It was a short visit, since last year when they booked flights, I didn't know where I'd be living and so they squeezed me into their NY to LA and Vegas travel plans at last minute. The good thing with my job is that I can just take a couple of days off when I feel like it and so I did to be able to spend time with my friends.

The outcome of this visit: After two years I finally made it to the Everglades, saw some gators and went on an air-boat ride. The drive from Hollywood to the Miccosukee Indian village (planted there for tourist of course) was about 1.5h. Since we went on a Wednesday it was pretty dead. We saw a little gator entertainment show, held a mini gator and then headed over to one of the air-boat tour places. It was nice, but we somehow had imagined to speed through the Everglades from what it looks like on TV, but in reality we were in a boat that fit 42 people and went pretty slowly. We did see air-boats that fit only 2-4 people and those probably go faster, but are probably also a lot pricier.

The alligators were pretty lazy. One thing that was new to me was that they hiss to warn you when they feel threatened.... Just like a kitty cat... ;) The demonstration of how fast their mouth closes on contact made me want to keep my distance though!

I didn't take Elaine with us for this trip btw. I found a registered and licensed home day care and so she spent the day there.

In der letzten Woche kamen mich endliche meine Freunde Aline & Michael aus Deutschland besuchen. Die beiden hatten mich vor ueber 2 Jahren zum Frankfurter Flughafen gebracht als ich mein USA-Abenteuer begann und es war an der Zeit sie wieder zu sehen. Sie sind dann auch meine ersten Freunde die es geschafft haben mich hier zu besuchen.

Der Aufenthalt war relativ kurz, da ich letztes Jahr als sie die Fluege buchten noch nicht wusste, wo ich leben wuerde und so wurde ich noch kurzfristig in die NYC nach LA und Vegas Reiseplanung integriert. Das Gute an meinem Job ist, dass ich mir immer mal ein paar Tage frei nehmen kann wenn mir danach ist und so tat ich dies auch um mich voll und ganz meinem Besuch zu widmen.

Nach 2 Jahren hier unten in SoFla bin ich nun auch endlich in den Everglades gewesen, habe ein paar Alligatoren gesehen und bin auf einem Luftkissenboot mitgefahren. Die Fahrt von Hollywood bis zum Miccosukee Indianer Dorf (natuerlich fuer Touristen dahin gebaut) dauerte 1.5h. Da wir an einem Mittwoch da waren, war es ziemlich leer. Wir sahen uns eine kleine Alligatoren Show an, hielten einen Mini-Alligator und fuhren dann weiter zu einem der Luftkissenboot-Touren Anbieter. Es war recht nett, aber wir hatten uns irgendwie vorgestellt, dass wir viel schneller durch die Everglades rauschen wuerden, so wie man das immer im TV sieht. Das lag aber wohl daran, dass wir in einem Boot fuhren, was Platz fuer 42 Gaeste hatte und somit war das recht langsam unterwegs. Wir sahen auch eine paar Boote, die nur Platz fuer 2-4 Personen hatten und die wohl schneller fahren, aber die kosten dann wohl auch dementsprechend mehr.

Die Alligatoren waren alle ziemlich faul. Was ich dazu gelernt habe ist, dass Alligatoren fauchen wenn sie sich bedroht fuehlen... wie ne kleine Kitty Cat ;) Als uns dann aber gezeigt wurde, wie schnell die ihr Maul schliessen wenn da irgendwas mit in Beruehrung kommt, wollte ich denen doch lieber nicht begegnen.

Elaine habe ich uebrigens zu diesem Ausflug nicht mitgenommen. Ich hab eine registrierte und lizensierte Tagesmutter gefunden und so verbrachte sie den Tag dort.

Montag, 7. März 2011

Goodbye Cocaine Cowboys!

Hello Hillbilly Heroin!

It comes as no surprise to me (see one of my latest blog entries) that Florida has topped all other States and took 1st place in the distribution of the pain killer, not only used by medical patients but also by a large number of drug addicts, OXYCODONE.

Story about Florida being No. 1 in Oxycodone distribution.

At least this wave of drug usage does not come with the violence the cocaine cowboy years brought with them. I think it is interesting to see how these things always seem to generate down here though....

Donnerstag, 3. März 2011

Schaut mal, Oma & Opa...

Ich kann jetzt schon suuuper laecheln und mich freuen und endlich hat Mutti mal die Kamera rechtzeitig abgedrueckt um mich dabei zu "erwischen" :)

Ich bin dann heute auch schon ganze 10 Wochen alt und wie die Mutti findet, auch immer noch ein wunderbar liebes Baby!

Yes, Elaine can smile already and I finally caught it on camera. She's 10 weeks old today and still a very fantastic baby!

Montag, 21. Februar 2011

2 years...

have passed today since me, my 2 suitcases and the dream of a life in the USA set foot on Florida ground. It's been an adventure with ups and downs, but I feel very blessed to have made it this far ON MY OWN and to have a beautiful baby girl as one of the results of this adventure. I don't know where the road will take me in the near future, but the plan of 5 years USA to hopefully gain dual citizenship stays strong.

I sometimes wonder what it would have been like if I had emigrated with another person to share this dream with, but I guess I'll never find out. I do admit that the biggest struggle within these past two years for me was loneliness. Yes, I am surrounded by millions of people, but building friendships has proven to be like the Himalaya. Very hard to conquer!

The two main obstacles:

1) I feel like a lot of people down here are very self-centered. It's not like I didn't meet people, but the people I did meet always wanted something out of me. It was always about "who do you know?" or "what do you have?" to bring them further ahead in life. Well, coming to the States with 2 suitcases, driving a '95 car and the black Amex being far, far away, I had nothing more too offer than my personality and that didn't seem enough. I do feel that this is different in other parts of the country as I didn't have the problem in AL for example

2) Drug Usage! I've never known/seen this many people "on something" in my whole life. Xanax, Oxycodone, Methadone, Klonopin, Trazodone... words I had never heard before coming to SoFlo, but quickly finding out what they meant. In Germany I knew a couple of people that were smoked weed and I had heard of cocaine and heroin and ecstasy and LSD etc., but I never knew where I'd go to get some of these drugs. Here this has totally changed and it feels to me like almost everybody is on something. We joked about why they do not drug test at my work the other day and came to the conclusion that they'd probably only have about 5 of 140 employees left. Well, since I belong to the small group of people that can say they have never even tried weed before, I'm the oddball and it proves to be another obstacle in building friendships. I just don't fit into this scene and I don't have the urge to, as I do not surround myself with drug abusers.

I did manage to establish friendships with two German girls and I guess it is better to have a few select & reliable friends than a bunch of random ones that are high all the time.

Since today was President's Day and my day care was closed, I was off and Elaine and I spent the day by shopping for her as she is starting to outgrow her 0-3. After the shopping trip, Tanja and us two went to an Irish Pub in Fort Lauderdale where we ate and I had my first proper drink after pregnancy and baby. It was called a Bikini Martini & was very delicious! :) We had a great day and it was quickly over.

Now after 2 years and last weeks craziness I can still say that my car has been very good. I got it back on Saturday and the total bill for servicing, tow, & car rental came up to $1150.-. Needless to say that I was very happy to have gotten my tax refund on Friday, so I was able to pay this bill.

Okay, time for bed now! If you find any errors, keep them ;) I'm almost falling over on this chair as I'm sooo sleepy, but wanted to have a blog entry on my anniversary!

Good night from beautiful, sunny South Florida with temps in the '80s!

Mittwoch, 16. Februar 2011

Well Hello Roller Coaster...

... long time no see!

Although this isn't really true, as my life has been a steady roller coaster ride for the past 6 years, I went down the vertical loop with high speed once again.

On Monday, I win a trip to the Bahamas...

On Tuesday, my car breaks down in the middle of 5-lane I-95, 6 days short of it's 2 year anniversary with me and up to now, I was soooo proud that it was well worth it's money... hmm. Of course I had my baby on board, but luckily also a German friend loaded as we were on our way to visit another friend in Pompano Beach. If I would've been on my own I would've probably panicked and gotten another cry-episode as this seems to be quite normal lately... Maybe some left over hormones from the pregnancy or just the fact that it can be quite hard at times if you have to figure everything out on your own and don't have a massive support system around you.

So what happened!? As I was driving in the beautiful sunshine, we were coming up to a traffic jam caused by a 2-lane closure about 3 miles ahead of us. There was no way out. After about 15 minutes of a very slow stop and go, I noticed some "smoke". I thought it was a truck next to us, but upon paying closer attention, I realized that it came from underneath MY hood and that it was more steam than smoke. Okay, now trying to move over from lane 4 to lane 5 before the engine would blow up (you know, crazy thoughts when this is the 1st time that happens to you...), was the goal. I did manage and had enough brain left to head for the bridge ahead of us. Hello!??? Baby on board! You definitely don't want to be in the sunshine that heats up cars in no time down here. So I found myself a shady place right next to the median and 5 lanes away from what I would have considered the "safer (right hand) side". Luckily for us, due to the traffic jam, cars were not speeding by as quickly as usual and we were able to put the thoughts of being hit by a car going 70+mph aside. Now I believe we all know by now that when your car breaks down on the highway, you're safest by climbing over the guardrails and waiting for help behind them. It does get a little difficult though, when you have an infant with you and the median behind the guardrails where you stopped is covered by bushes, small palms and other shrubs and you have no blind faith that there is no poisonous snake or other wild animal hiding, waiting to bite you.

Okay, okay, I do realize this seems very unlikely, because why should this wild, mean creature wait just for me in the bushes of a very loud 10-lane highway median!? However, my education in regards to Florida's dangerous wildlife could be a lot better and so all I was thinking was "alligators, Burmanese pythons, teeth, bite, bite, bite...". We stayed in the car! I did take a look underneath the hood though, where some fluid container was shaking due to the boiling fluid inside. Impressive! Never seen that before, but it was very clear that this engine had completely overheated. Back inside of the car, I was very happy about the little sticker Pepboys (like ATU in Germany) had attached to my windshield after my last oil change and it read "Need a tow? Call..."

I needed a tow. I called (didn't know who else to call). 50 minutes later the tow truck arrived! At the sight of my baby, I noticed that the driver started thinking and thinking and thinking, but didn't say anything. I somehow figured out that he was worrying about how he was going to get us off the highway. Luckily, I had arranged for our Pompano Beach friends to come pick us up and when I mentioned that, he was VERY relieved. The reason why: Apparently tow truck drivers down here are forbidden by law to take infants on board. He said if caught, it would mean a $1.000 fine and he didn't want to risk that of course.

Well, my friends came and picked us up. Interesting picture, seeing a highly pregnant woman (she's 38.5 weeks) with her very tall husband rescue two chicks carrying a baby... :)

I ended up having to get a rental car and have no news yet on what is wrong with my car, but I guess it is safe to say: There goes my tax refund! :-/

This much about "My life is a roller coaster" and another 1st in the USA... actually another 1st ever! Always wondered what it would be like to be one of these broken down cars stranded alongside the highways of this world... now I know and I prefer not to have a rerun.

To be continued.... :)

Montag, 14. Februar 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

My Valentine (Elaine) & I went to the beach today for her first time. It was such a lovely day outside and Hollywood Beach was full of snow birds. It is so weird going to a beach and all you see is tanned people of the age group 60+ lying in the sun or playing cards or board games... Makes you feel as if this is a retirement community, although it is a public place. Well, them snow birds just looove Hollywood and I can't blame them, as I do too!

Hope you girls got some flowers or chocolates or big kisses today! I didn't, but hey, I won a trip to the Bahamas, so there couldn't have been a better Valentine's gift.

Lots of love, Jen & Elaine

Elaine und ich sind heute zum ersten Mal in ihrem Leben an den Strand. Es war so ein schoener Tag draussen und Hollywood Beach war proppen voll mit Snow Birds (die Ueberwinterer aus Kanada oder den Nord-USA-Staaten). Es ist schon seltsam an den Strand zu gehen und nichts ausser braun gebrannte Menschen der Altersgruppe 60+ zu sehen, die in der Sonne liegen oder Karten- oder Brettspiele spielen... Da kommt man sich ein wenig wie in einer Rentnerkommune vor, obwohl es sich um oeffentliches Gebiet handelt. Nun ja, die Snow Birds sind einfach verliebt in Hollywood und ich kann es ihnen ja nicht verdenken, ich bin's ja auch!

Ich hoffe ihr Maedels habt heute schoene Blumen oder Pralinen oder wenigstens ein paar ganz dicke Schmatzer bekommen! Ich hab's nicht, aber hey, dafuer hab ich einen Trip auf die Bahamas gewonnen und ein besseres Valentinstagsgeschenk gibt es doch gar nicht!

Ganz viel Liebe

Jen & Elaine

The Duck Drop at the 2011 Duck Fest Derby

In case you were ever wondering what it looks like when 15.000 rubber ducks are being put to race each other... :)

See my winning duckieeeeee???? No!? It's right there... the yellow one, with the sun glasses... :p

Sonntag, 13. Februar 2011


So I was just getting ready to write about my first outing on my first day off after 10 days of working... which was to the Fort Lauderdale Duck Fest Derby that I had also attended last year.... Remember all the rubber duckies that were thrown into the New River to race for a good cause, Kids in Distress!?

The race was yesterday and like last year I had adopted a quack pack - 5 rubber ducks - and as I was starting to write this post, I thought, hey, let's have a look on their website and see if the winners have already been announced!

And this is where the WAAAAAAAAAAAAH comes in...

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!??? Bahamas, get ready for me!!! Wow! I had a chance of 5 : 15.000 and just as I was getting ready to be depressed over having to be single on Valentine's Day, I win something! Life is great!!!

I would say that was the best outing I had so far. Wonderful day out with Elaine, spending $20.- for a good cause and getting a trip to Atlantis on the Bahamas as bonus. Yeeehaw!

Die Kurzfassung des kurzen Beitrags hier in Deutsch: :)

Gestern war wieder Duck Fest Derby in Fort Lauderdale. Nachdem ich 10 Tage hintereinander weg gearbeitet hatte, mein 1. Tag frei. Also Elaine eingepackt und auf gings um schon wie im letzten Jahr 15.000 Gummi-Enten dabei zu zuschauen, wie sie in den Fluss gekippt werden und gegeneinander um den Sieg kaempfen. Wie im letzten Jahr, hatte ich auch wieder ein Quack-Pack am Start. 5 Enten fuer $20.- "Adoptionsgebuehr", die an eine gemeinnuetzige Einrichtung gehen. Als ich gerade diesen Beitrag mit ein paar Fotos von gestern schreiben wollte, dachte ich mir grad so, schauste mal auf deren Webseite vorbei, ob die Sieger schon aufgelistet sind...

Und was ist??? MEIN NAME!!! Als Gewinner eines Trips auf die Bahamas zum Atlantis Resort!!! Meine Chance 5 : 15.000... one lucky duck!!! :)

Dienstag, 18. Januar 2011

Now I know that I'm biased, but I do believe that we created quite a pretty baby here :). This is from today, after we had a great bath time. She loved it and I think I finally got the water temperature right (as she didn't scream... haha). First 4 days of work have been okay, although I felt like a Zombie at times due to lack of sleep. I just miss her very, very much and my work makes it harder, as soooo many people come in with their babies. So I get to see all these cute little babies all shift long and can't have mine with me. Hmpf! She's a great baby though and the lack of sleep is really not because of her, as she sleeps just fine, but because I have to get up to express every couple of hours to keep my milk supply up and stay away from the formula (and save money). Would be so convenient, but I'm determined to take the harder path as long as possible to give her the best start.

Well, off to work it is again... money, money, money!

Nun weiss ich ja, dass ich ein wenig voreingenommen bin, aber ich glaube schon, dass wir da ein ganz huebsches Baby kreiert haben. :) Die Bilder sind von heute, nachdem wir eine tolle Badezeit hatten. Sie hat es geliebt und ich glaube, ich habe endlich die richtige Wassertemperatur gefunden (da sie nicht geschrien hat... haha). Die ersten 4 Tage Arbeit waren okay, auch wenn ich mich teils wie ein Zombie gefuehlt habe aufgrund des Schlafmangels. Ich vermisse die Kurze nur ganz arg und meine Arbeit macht es einiges schwieriger, da so viele Kunden mit ihren Babies kommen. Somit sehe ich also die ganze Schicht lang all diese suessen Babies und kann meins nicht bei mir haben. Hmpf! Sie ist aber ein super Baby und der Schlafmangel ist nicht durch sie ausgeloest. Sie schlaeft echt gut, aber ich muss alle paar Stunden aufstehen um abzupumpen, damit die Quelle nicht versiegt ;) und ich nicht dem Milchpulver klein beigebe (und Geld spare). So bequem wie das auch waere, ich bin fest entschlossen den haerteren Weg so lang wie moeglich zu gehen um ihr den besten Start zu geben.

Jetzt wieder auf zur Arbeit... Geld, Geld, Geld!

Donnerstag, 13. Januar 2011

Happy 3 weeks Elaine!

3 weeks old she is already... And mommy's gotta go back to work tomorrow. Boooo! But I have to do what I have to do :-/

Here's my cutie yesterday, rocking her pink suit and weighing 9 lbs 15 oz already!

Sonntag, 9. Januar 2011

Only state without snow!

It is official! Although it was slightly chilly this morning again in South Florida, all of Florida is the only state without snow in the entire USA today. Even Hawaii has snow on its mountain tops. Brrr!

Being able to follow friend's snow fun on Facebook, I got a good picture of what it looks like in many other states. Especially Alabama has impressed me. The latest snow system from Sunday night/Monday brought over a foot of new snow to the counties were I spent my high school exchange student year. In the 8 years I've been in close contact with people in that area, I haven't heard or seen more than a couple of snow flakes and even my former host family being in their late 50's/early 60's said they have never seen snow like that in Northern Alabama. Needless to say, schools have been out all week up there and people didn't go to work for days, as pretty much no one knows how to drive in snow and does not trust their cars and tires (good thing!).

This is a picture of the local grocery store's empty bread aisle in Rogersville, AL from Sunday, taken by a friend of mine. Stores were pretty much sold out. Even Walmart was apparently very, very empty.

Rogersville, AL, Foodland 01/09/11

I would actually trade in a day of sun fun for snow fun, but since ONE DAY is usually not an option other than when on holidays, I rather stay down here. It's official by the way, that it's going to be at least another year here in SoFlo for me!

Oooooh, and by the way, since I've been quite busy with other things (being a mommy that is!):

A BELATED VERY HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU! May you be able to fulfill your resolutions and enjoy 2011! One resolution that was NOT on my list this year: weight loss! I'm 13 lbs lighter than pre-pregnancy and I think more will shed since I start working again tomorrow, so nothing to worry about! :)