Week in Review: Catching up

Hello! It’s been a while [after how many times does that saying get too old?]. I could go into a lengthy explanation of the why but nobody really wants to read that. Long story short: Life is never short of surprises; both of the good and bad kind which can throw you off. There’s are a lot of things I need to work on both physically and mentally. Vague-blogging isn’t cool so I’ll leave it at this and make an effort to get back into the blogging game for real now. Because I miss it.

Right now, my mind is filled with a lot of unsorted thoughts that led to me rewriting this intro about five times until deciding to keep it short. Life has been a whirlwind, an up-and-down of good and bad days lately.  A lot I’m processing and need to work through but rather than delve into all of that so I’ll focus on the past weeks’ – mostly the one week that just passed but two mention-worthy happenings from a previous one –  positives. Because even in the hard times there’s some sunshine. Quite literally around these parts lately and I’m not complaining.  Sunshine can make tough times a little more bearable, agreed?

Linking up with Meg whose amazing time management and mum skills I’m even more impressed by these days [you’ll know why in a minute].

Week in review

In the past seven days I …

Worked the same schedule as always. We’ve been getting a lot of new clients lately which has been keeping me busy.

Tested the waters of finding a new job.  As you might know, I’m not happy in my current job – or better yet since I’m not hating it: unsatisfied by it. That’s why I keep looking for others yet opportunities are rare in my field. Long story short: I found a job offer, applied and was invited for not only an interview but a mini assessment center of sorts [which in this field meant spending a day at the editorial office writing a few articles]. Geesh did I not expect that kind of anxiety leading up to the day. We’re talking loss of appetite, panicking about whatever might go wrong – the whole bandwidth of nervousness. And in the end? A major train delay aside – thanks for nothing, Deutsche Bahn – things went pretty well and I got a good feedback on my work.  While I found out I didn’t get the job the next week [a local candidate did] – which, while a little bummer, was probably just right as the day there showed me this wasn’t what I could see myself doing for years – I still gained something from it. Confidence. In presenting myself and my writing skills [self-doubt is a huge constant issue for me].

Sunshine

Soaked up the sunshine we’ve finally been getting more of whenever I could. It’s a surefire happiness booster and hey there, Vitamin D!

Babysat P.. I’d say it was good. Not amazing – hey, first time – but good. Does anybody else find that babysitting a toddler for the first time is a lot like first dates? There’s the “I hope he likes me” and “what if we run out of things to talk about [or in the toddler case: play]?” Luckily, P. truly seems to like me 😉 and while we did run out of activities – couldn’t colouring have been interesting for longer than five minutes, dear?? – I had an emergency backup plan. More specifically: P.’s hot new ride. When nothing helped distract him anymore into the Croozer – luckily, P.’s a huge fan of it –  it was and out for a walk. He fell asleep soon and didn’t wake up until about 1 1/2 hours later when we snuggled for a bit and played in his little sand pit. I think I’m not meant to be a mum [just yet or ever], though. How do you amazing ladies do this every single day, never run out of ideas and carry a smile all throughout?

Spring-cleaned for the second time. Just how many nooks and crannies can a single apartment have?? I’m slowly, ever so slowly, getting better at this keeping things neat thing. If you excuse me for a second right here – I need to find some wood to knock on.

Finally exchanged the dust bag in my vacuum cleaner. One of those “takes too much time right now – I’ll do it later [or never]” tasks that actually takes no time at all and makes a true difference.

Prepared multiple batches of peanut butter – going through copious amounts lately – and one of healthy vegan “Nutella” without sacrificing any fingers. Win! If you haven’t tried that recipe yet, you really should. Just sayin’.

Wrote a few post drafts to share the next few weeks so I won’t just disappear again. Coming up next, though, are more good good links on Sunday.

Lindt chili

Treated myself to several bars of Lindt – they’re having a special offer at the moment – and a new sudoku booklet. The latter actually excited me the most because they’re part of my dinner routine but I had come to the final page of my previous book. Any other sudoku fans?

That’s it from me for now so:

Happy Monday!

Happiness-inducing today:  Taking a walk and getting most of my to-do list for the day crossed off. Oh those lists …

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21

Pinterest: MissPolkadot21

Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!

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Good good links #185

Confession: I was super late in assembling today’s post. With family around and my mind pondering many things lately, I’ve been neglecting the blog and blog world as a whole lately. Sorry for just disappearing at times. I’m not going to give up blogging, only need some time to figure things out here and there. Ah well, no more vague-rambling but some great posts for your reading pleasure. As always feel free to drop links to posts that made you think or feel inspired lately in the comments.

Happy reading!

How to Attract a Man … via Ally in Blunderland

Newsflash [for the males out there]: Women aren’t constantly trying to be eye candy for male gazes and definitely don’t need anybody’s stamp of approval for any choices they make [clothes, make-up or whichever else ones].

You Will Regret These Choices in 10 Years via Huffington Post

True. Powerful. Some might be a little hard to swallow if you already made them [raising my hand]  but also provide the chance to better yourself in the future. Not too late yet.

 

Good good [advice and inspiration]

It’s Time to Embrace Slow Technology via Cait Flanders

When social media does more harm than good – hi, anxiety and stress- we might need to rethink our relationship with it.

What To Do When Your Friend Loses a Baby via Pinch of Yum

An important and in-depth post on how to be a good friend in one of the hardest situations a couple can experience. As much as I hope as few mums/dads as possible have to experience this, having a support squad would be so needed.

Things I want every to Tell Every College-Aged Woman via Clean-Eating Veggie Girl

Wise beyond her years, Hannah shares some lessons many of us will find relieving to hear.

6 Ways to Calm Digital Overwhelm via hello glow

#1 has been key in my life for the past months and the others listed here are really good, too [who else needs to work on the tab situation??].

Why Authenticity Is So Important In Social Media via Coffee with Summer

So much yes! Authenticity is a core value and what draws me to other accounts on social media.

If You’re Still Doing These 10 Things At Age 25, It’s Totally Freaking Okay via The Financial Diet

Don’t tell me I was the only one feeling relieved reading through this list!

 

Food

5 Major Health Benefits Of Gluten (This Is Not A Drill) via Mind Body Green

Finally some research proving gluten is by far not the evil its made up to be.

 

Recovery

Having a structure of spontaneity with movement. via Yeah … Imma Eat That

Getting to the [mental] place where working out and moving in general are gentle and in line with what we need that exact day [= intuitive] can be hard but is so worth working on.

How to Not Stress Over Exercise On Vacation via Healthy Hits the Spot

A great addition to the above post, this one helps figure out if working out on vacation is what you truly need [i.e. enhancing the experience] or forced.

A Thank You to My ED via Katalyst Health

As horrible as they are, EDs can also have [major] positive impacts on some people’s lives. Kat’s story is a beautiful example of one such case.

 

Good good [Instagram account]

Jennifer Rollin

Body-positivity, recovery inspiration and guaranteed to make you feel at least a little more at peace with yourself.

 

Good good

Are You Normal? Via ASAP Science

Well, after watching this I’d say I’m semi-normal ;).

7 of the Best Mood-Boosting Websites We Could Find via Hubspot

Because who doesn’t ever need some happiness-inducers in their life?!

 

Good good [food]

30 Super Chocolatey Vegan Chocolate Desserts via It doesn’t taste like chicken

Don’t click over if hungry. Or just get ready for what vegan chocolate-filled dreams are made of.

Creamy Millet Porridge with Roasted Strawberries via Naturally Ella

Millet usually isn’t my favourite grain but this looks so dreamily creamy.

Easy Paleo and Vegan Chocolate Pudding via Paleo Running Momma

Sometimes it’s the simple things and this looks incredibly luscious while being made from natural ingredients and without refined sugar.

Nut-free Satay Sauce via Five Beans Food

A really creative alternative for those with pesky peanut or nut allergies.

Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing via Well Plated by Erin

Neither a fan of salads in general nor quinoa the fact this really appeals to me says a lot.

Quinoa Taco Bowls with Guacamole via Plantings and Pairings

These might just be one the easiest to prepare taco bowls out there –and still so flavor- and beautiful.

How to Make Marbled Rainbow Toast via A Beautiful Mess

Now I might not be a bread person but this? You eat with your eyes after all.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Babysitting P. No more aunt gushing here but damn, that little guy stole my heart.

 

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

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My kitchen must-have and acknowledging food privileges

Bloggers, raise your hand if you’ve been in a writing rut lately. Well, that’s been me these days and I’m not enjoying it. Some weeks thoughts and ideas are flowing through my brain faster than I can grab a pen – or access my phone – to write them down and others nothing goes. Ironically, just when I had mentally decided to give in and simply do some random Thinking out loud, one of the points I initially noted got my mind churning again. So I’ll reserve that one for another day but share some other randomness today to avoid falling out of the blogging loop completely.  Let’s get going!

Tell me: how do you – especially those of you in the US – prepare your tea? Or more specifically: how do you heat the water needed for it? A little birdy told me electric kettles aren’t really popular which stumped me because I’d never used anything else. Until now because – cue the tragical music – my kettle just quit its services [read: it broke]. On Sunday of all possible times obviously = no chance to get a new one right then and there .  Thrifty as I am I wasn’t ready to invest in a new one yet so have been relying on cooking water on the stove. I won’t lie in saying it first felt – okay, still feels – like a huge inconvience. But at that it also made me appreciate the daily convience I’m blessed to have every single day; hardly ever acknowledging the whole of it. If it’s between me and you, though, I do feel so priviled every time I just have a glass of tap water without worrying about germs and simply looking at the fact it’s so readily available to me.

Another thing in my kitchen I couldn’t don’t want to live without? Hands down my dishwasher. While I do a few dishes by hand if I want to reuse them again that day, just putting everything into the dishwasher at the end of the day and waking up to clean and dried dishes is amazing. A privilege I’m thankful for every single day.

Speaking of privilege: I stumbled upon this article the other day. It’s about the British chef Ruby Tandoh pointing out that the healthy lifestyle many people – particularly those striving for high protein intake and low-carb – live these days simply isn’t affordable for some. Now I know there are many posts out there sharing great advice on how to eat healthy on a budget and it’s definitely not impossible [but might require more time, knowledge and careful planning than some people have or can bring up]. I encourage you to read the full post to see the points Tandoh makes, though. What I agree with and have noticed myself is – through my own experience as somebody eating lots of fruit and vegetables – that fresh produce can easily make up a good chunk of your grocery bills. For families with multiple children – like Tandoh’s and many of those living on the brink of or in poverty – getting adequate amounts of food in on a budget doesn’t allow for such luxuries. So shaming any foods (think potatoes, white rice, grains in general) is plain wrong and I wish society as a whole did less of it [if at all]. We’re all just trying our best in this world and don’t all have the same chances. Just some food for thought.

Just like the privilege to buy almond butter. Thanks to Jen for the advice of keeping the unopened jar upside down for a day – it makes stirring so much easier. No huge oil spillage like on past occasions here and just a few clumps to smoothen out. Easy.

Something more light-hearted on my currently very heavy/deeper thought-filled mind is seeing my sister and P. again on the weekend. It’s been a few [too many] weeks since the previous time and will be my first time babysitting P. all by myself. I won’t lie in saying I’m a little nervous [and hoping for no necessary diaper changes in those few hours ;)]. Coming up for you on the weekend: more good good links!

For once not turning this into an endlessly wordy post – you’ve had a lot of these coming from me lately – I’ll end this here. Happy Thursday! We’re –this- close to the weekend!

Happiness-inducing today:  My current book and an unexpected smile.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

Share your thoughts on any or all of the above points with me!

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Good good links #184

Way overused statement but so true: the struggle is real. Which struggle, you ask? Well, mine when compiling these lists of good good links. At first, I have too few to share a post and once I dig into my notes and browse a few more blogs: way. too. Many. How about all of you out there try to schedule your most amazing posts a little further apart ;)?  As this doesn’t happen I’ve once again had to make hard decisions save some of the truly great posts I’ve come across for a next episode of the good links. Not that I was complaining or anything. I hope you find something that inspires you, makes you think or just gets your stomach rumbling.

Happy reading!

Good good [food for thought]

I Drank Unicorn Frappuccinos For a Week and Here’s What Happened via Hummusapien

Preach! Food shaming isn’t cool + has to stop and nothing is off limits or going to kill you in a balanced diet.

What if you only tried to be 10 % happier? via Cait Flanders

No matter what we’re struggling with [mentally no different from physically]: it takes time to heal and we should try to appreciate even just a seemingly small progress. Instead of seeking immediate but not lasting 100 % “cures”/bandaids.

 

Good good [advice and inspiration]

We Need To Be Kinder To Our Flaky Friends via Medium

Anybody with a mental illness will [likely] be able to relate to this, everybody else should read it to understand why we behave the way we behave at times.

It’s not the body I asked for, it’s the body I have via In It 4 the Long Run

We might not love everything about ourselves but appreciating the gift of being blessed with an able body* is so important. Georgie’s story is one I’m sure many of us can relate to.

*not a fan of separating body and mind in general but rolling with it for the ease of writing here

For the Intuitive Eating Haters via Yeah … Imma Eat That

Or maybe not even haters but those skeptical of IE and not daring to take the first step of the journey. Kylie clears up the most common misconceptions/worries people have regarding IE.

Can You Love Your Body and Want to Change It? Via The Balanced Berry

Answer: yes but examine your reasons for wanting to do it.

How to support your friends struggling with mental illnesses via love me, feed me

Friends as a steady support system can be so very vital in recover y and Leah listed some great ways to help.

Yes, Yogis Can Get Cancer Too. Via Mind Body Green

An important one in an online world where many [self-proclaimed] experts are trying to tell us that exercising and eating right could cure or prevent these kind of major illnesses.

 

Blogging

How to Tell People About Your Blog (and deal with their reactions) via Forever Amber

If you’ve been feeling awkward when doing this (hi!): a) you’re not alone and b) here are some good ways to say it.

How to Build a Mommy Blog While Your Little One Sleeps via Bloguettes

For any mum wanting to start/maintain a blog while juggling crazy busy mum life. Or those of us wondering how in the world she does it.

 

Food and cooking

How to Interpret Expiration Dates Based on the 5 Food Groups via Spoon University

A really helpful and important one to reduce food waste – and hey, it’ll save you a few bucks, too.

3  Principles of Vegan Baking for Beginners via The Kitchn

Not just for vegans but handy to know for anybody when running out of eggs or dairy products.

 

Good good [food]

Peanut Butter Swirled Chocolate Fudge Popsicles.[vegan] via Half-Baked Harvest

There are no words for how good these look. I mean:  peanut butter. Chocolate. Fudge. Popsicles! Fruit-sweetened, too.

Twix Chocolate Caramel Spread  [vegan] via Full of Plants

There are no words to describe how amazing this looks [and there also don’t have to be any as you’ve already clicked over, right ;)?!]

Vegan Tiramisu via It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

One of the few desserts that a) make me actually like coffee and b) are well worth the effort of preparing them.

Vegan French Onion Dip from Scratch via One Ingredient Chef

There can never be enough healthy dips and I’m intrigued by the secret ingredient here [have had it before but never in dips].

 

Happiness-inducing today: An encouraging conversation with + hug by my mum. I’m a bundle of nerves right now but that helped a little.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

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Mental challenges and the only detox I’ll ever do.

Following my gut feeling aka intuition I decided to change my planned posting schedule yet again. An out-of-schedule week probably just lends itself to this so it’s all good again  (for my order-prefering mind). If you’ve been waiting for the good good links: they’ll be up on Wednesday as I didn’t spend as much time online lately so found myself with only a handful of links by Saturday night. I hope you’re okay with my spontaneous decision [hear hear, Miss Unspontaneous is mixing things up 😉 ]
If you caught my previous post you’ll know the reason for my absence. My paternal grandma left us the previous Saturday and I traveled to the other end of the country to attend her funeral. I won’t write any more about this here as there are no words. Whenever I try to write about this the words sound hollow; not reflecting the feelings behind them.
Initially, I wasn’t going to join the Week in Review this Monday as I assumed traveling most of the week meant hardly any accomplishments. And it’s true in that I don’t really have any visible ones to show. Yet I did see mental improvements that mean just as much or more to me.
So without further ado we’ll dive into an unusual Week in Review. Are mine ever normal, though? I’m glad Meg is forgiving about whichever way I let my thoughts flow.

Week in review

In the past week I …

Worked only three days as we left home on Thursday to attend the funeral.

Published a post about the German attitude towards nudity, why parents are very well off here and our aversion to small talk. Since the feedback was quite well I’m going to share more of these posts in the future.

Got my hair cut. Majorly. I’m still in the confused phase of indecision about whether or not I’m okay with it. 30 centimetres are a LOT. Why did I do this???

Accepted mental challenges I was faced with and noticed that a) my worst case expectations didn’t come true and b) that everything can still be okay. Being thrown off schedule completely when I’ve been living on my own for some time again always provides a little obstacle but this past week proved that everything’s not always as anxiety-provoking as my mind makes it look like beforehand.

Suitcase and shoes

Hardly exercised [which exercised my brain]. Some weeks or for some people this might be fail rather than accomplishment. For me, though, it meant tuning into my intuition on days I spent at home and going with the flow/situation at hand while at my relatives’. Oh, wait, I got serious arm and leg workouts carrying my suitcase up and down many stairs and walking up steep hills ;). Speaking of suitcases …

Unpacked my suitcase the day after my return home. Don’t tell me I’m the only one who tends to procrastinate big time on this!

Talked to strangers on the train journey back once again. – it’s just what I do though I’ve heard this is rather un-German ;).  Sharing a train compartment for [at least initially intended] four hours I figured why not find out a little more about my fellow passengers and take away from the strangeness. Long story short: I wasn’t phased much by the fact they were butchers – hey, I try to not judge you for what you eat – but with the fish baguettes issue [gross] and the man being an annoying know-it-all I may or may not have excused myself to look for an empty seat elsewhere after two hours.

Went on a walk with my grandma’s tenant and aunt’s dog. Major oops regarding the fact we got scolded by a man a little for not carrying those – what’s the proper English term? – dog poop bags with us. This aside I liked getting to know an as of yet unknown person to me a little better. These things are what makes me happy.

Went on a walk with my [maternal] grandma the same night, heading out after 9 PM. Another walk that allowed for a good conversation and strengthening of our bond.

Learned to truly embrace flight mode. Hello, battery-saving amazingness. Embarrassing but true: I hadn’t known how efficient exactly it was but now I’m a huge fan.

Speaking of phones I also took a mini social media detox from Thursday morning to Saturday night. Despite having speedy Wifi at my aunt’s place I just didn’t feel drawn to blogs or any app.

Ate really good potato leek soup prepared by my cousin. It’s worth mentioning because it was some truly good food. Granted, this opinion might have been influenced by the fact coming in after an 11-hour journey makes all kinds of food taste better.

Writing this on Sunday evening I’m looking back at a day of more anxiety and unwelcome feelings than the past few days that I had expected to elicit the latter. Which is both ironic and a lesson in finding that pushing outside our comfort zones can in fact be better than staying within. Probably obvious to some of you yet a necessary reminder for people like me.
Another reminder from the week was noticing how much better I slept and how much less anxiety and restlessness I felt without the constant social media influence. Cora just wrote about the connection between screen time and anxiety which I could relate to before but even more so after this week of my mini social media detox. Throwing myself right into it after I returned not only raised my anxiety but decreased my productivity a lot. Now to regularly schedule social media detox days …
This is – what’s new? – getting lengthy again so I’ll end the post here. Tell me what’s been happening in your lives lately!

Happy Monday!

Happiness-inducing today:  Sunshine. The weather’s been ugly lately and today was – while a little stormy – really nice.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21

Pinterest: MissPolkadot21

Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!

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Of nudity, happy mums and small talk aversion

Hi!

Has it really been almost a week since we talked macros? It’s been somewhat of a rough time since. My family experienced a huge loss on the weekend and writing a Week in Review just didn’t happen. I do not want to talk about our loss any more but also couldn’t pretend nothing had happened. Rather than talk about myself, I decided to finally share another post in what I’d planned to be a little series on German life. There are a lot of differences between life here and in the US– we’re talking some juicy facts today ;).

A final note on my posting schedule for the week: As I’ll be traveling and attending the funeral on the other end of the country and won’t be back until – at the earliest – late on Saturday night I’ll try but might not be able to share the good good links on Sunday, either. In that case, be back on Monday for some of my latest favourites.

[As I have yet to figure out the whole technology issue – hoping to get to it soon, though – the pictures in this post aren’t entirely fitting but I had fun bringing back some  older favourites]

Thinking-Out-Loud

We don’t beat around the bush. Or: small talk wasn’t invented in Germany

Truth is: we like to cut right to the chase. Mailing somebody with business inquiries? There’s no need to ask how they are first. Just let them know what you need in a polite way and that’s it.

When you call somebody, don’t be surprised when they pick up the phone saying just their last name [say, “Maier”]. It’s unusual to say “hello?” upon picking up. If you read my previous post on differences between Germany and the US you might remember how “friendly” – cue the irony – cashiers often are. In that case you won’t be surprised to hear they’re not exactly going to chat you up for a short conversation. Because they want you to leave the store –fast–.  Okay, so we don’t all hate small talk. We’re just unlikely to be the ones initiating it.

Let’s get naked.

Or: Germans aren’t as afraid of nudity. Bare breasts on magazine covers at the supermarket? Check. Beaches that explicitly invite you to show off what you’ve got 😉 [German term: FKK-Strand]? Check. And if your doctor needs you to undress certain body parts for examination there’s neither a paravent nor will he usually leave the room as you strip off your clothes or hand you a paper gown. Ready for an even more ‘shocking’ fact?
 
Work and such

Prostitution is a legal business

Now this one I certainly don’t know from personal experience – I prefer keeping my clothes on at work ;). However, the fact is true. While you won’t exaxctly see prostitutes walking down the streets of your average small town neighbourhood there is in fact a certain ‘house’ – colloquially referred to as a “Puff” – smack dab in the middle of a neighbouring village. And if you’re in a larger city like Hamburg you absolutely can see the ladies strutting down Reeperbahn, waiting for business. Speaking of businesses and work …

Mum’s staying home – and dad might as well

This refers to one of the blessings new parents have over here. An expecting woman can legally – with very few exceptions – not be fired from the moment she gets pregnant until a minimum of two months postpartum. The mum-to-be is also legally granted “Mutterschutz” (pregnancy leave) from six weeks pre-birth until up to three years after birth if she decides to stay home with the baby. Her employer can’t fire her during this time, either, and parents receive “Elterngeld” [think – very simplified- the state paying a compensation for the usual income depending on the latter; at least 300 €/per month, max 1.800 €]. Additionally, the baby’s dad can apply for “Elternzeit”, too. My sister’s husband did this and was on parental leave from his main job [starting his second side business on the leave – with the approval of his boss] for some time, too.

 

Money, money, money

The one topic all Germans can agree on: GEZ

GEZ, short for “Gebühreneinzugszentrale” has to be one of every German’s most disliked institutions. They’re the friendly people who decided that every household has to pay a set monthly fee of €17.98 for TV, radio and New Media and – that’s the clue – regardless of whether you use those or not. Sounds great, right? Not.

Pay now, use later.

If you live in an apartment/house/whatever else and use electricity and the likes this is true for you. Yes, that’s right. You’re paying for the so-called “Nebenkosten” like electricity and gas in advance. If you end up using less than the providing companies assumed you’ll get money back at the end of the year.

Sunday, silent Sunday

Feel like your lawn is more than ready for a cut again? You’d better not plan on mowing it on a Sunday in Germany unless you want to get in contact with the authorites. Yes, mowing your lawn on Sunday is legally prohibited. As you might remember you can’t do your regular weekend shopping on this day, either.

That’s it for now though there are plenty more differences to share another time.

Happy Thursday!

Happiness-inducing today: The brightest sunshine in between all the rain we’ve been getting lately.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

Share your random thoughts with me!

If you’ve ever been to Germany: What’s something else you’ve found odd or was different?

If you’ve never been to Germany but noticed differences between your country and another one you’ve visited: share those! It’s amazing how different cultures are.

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