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!!! :)