*Booked* – ‘The Grownup’ by Gillian Flynn

The GrownupThe Grownup by Gillian Flynn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve never really read “ghost stories” but this seemed intriguing. I ended up loving this “quickie” of a book. The writing style was entertaining me from first to last line and the protagonist seemed like an acquaintance you just knew and felt comfortable with immediately by the way she thought about people and life. All the little twists made this such an enjoyable read!

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Merken

*Booked* – ‘Lucky You’ by Erika Carter

Lucky You: A NovelLucky You: A Novel by Erika Carter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s a bit difficult for me to find the right words about this book & to explain why I gave it 3 stars (only). 3 stars is simply what I feel about this book, what I felt when reading it. While I do like Erika Carter’s writing style and the general idea for the story, I just don’t “feel” it. The characters seem a bit of a drag….being dragged through their often depressing lives, showing no development. There were only a few moments when I felt one or the other character would go through some kind of development, but in the end….they just didn’t. :/ I liked some of the interaction between them but overall, it felt like I was reading something dark & dirty (and not in the nice “dirty”-way) If this would have been a tv-series/movie I’d have it on just for the noise, doing something else on the side.

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*Booked* – ‘The sun is also a star’ by Nocola Yoon

The Sun is Also a StarThe Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ll give this book 3.5 stars.
First off, how beautiful is that cover art, I could just stare at it for a long time and feel content. Now on to the actualy story and my opinion. What I loved most about this book is the way the story is told. The POV-chapters switch from character to character (and each one gets their own little symbol on top of the page!) It just gives you that insight into each and everyone connected to the story, either by fate, coincidence or some other (dark) matter. Even the smallest characters on the side get their story told. It made me think and wonder about the people I encounter in my everyday life, made me want to look twice at each of them and learn their personal story (why are they happy or why are they angry today? Why is he/she in a hurry? Where does he/she need to go?). The scientific facts mixed with beautiful wording in special chapters matched both of the protagonists in such a wonderful way – it all fit perfectly together…….and THAT is where my problem with this book was in the end! I just found it all a bit “too perfect”, a fairytale that – for me – took this otherwise really cool story, about a day and fate of two people, out of the “real world” and into some fairy tale land where by countless coincidences everything magically falls into place. Don’t get me wrong, I can totally believe that through fate people are brought together in a special moment, but not several special moments and more, almost all in one single day. That bothered me in the end and so I 1.5 stars of the “perfect rating” 😉

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*Booked* – ‘The Tresspasser’ by Tana French

The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad, #6)The Trespasser by Tana French

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was my first read of a “Dublin Murder Squad” story by Tana French – so even it is numbered as #6, you can totally enjoy this without having read the previous ones, as the story is not really connected to the other ones, but stands for itself. A murder happened and the protagonist Detective Conway is searching for who’s done it and why together with her partner Detective Moran.

I’ve never read a true detective novel before, and am happy this was my first because it was that good in my opinion. The protagonist is a lady who kicks ass, not so much in the physical sense but with her attitude – for some reason she reminded me a whole lot of Annalise Keating from ‘How to get away with murder’….I couldn’t stop picturing her in my head during dialogues and inner thoughts of the protagonist of this book. Furthermore, I enjoyed that the slow pace of the story, while the whole thought process of the detectives, as well as interviews of suspects and witnesses, were so detailed…I felt like a fly on the wall of an actual investigation! Even when I learned “who’s done it”, the story still kept me turning page after page because I wanted to know how it all played out.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book – 4 stars alone for the protagonist – so 5/5 it is!

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Our Baby Boy is here!

img_6897

On September 26th, 2016 our little baby boy YOSHIO was born here in Michigan, and thus becoming the first US-citizen in our family. He’s not that little though, he completely skipped the newborn stage when it comes to (clothing) size. Having weighed 10lbs 9oz at birth you can imagine: he’s big! Usually they say: giving birth the second time, it goes much faster….not with this one…it took about as long (13h) as the first time I gave birth to our wonderful snowflake daughter Nanami.

I plan on writing another blog post talking a bit about the birth & how wonderful it was to have a doula with me, as well as my husband AND my 2-year-old daughter throughout the birth at the Alternative Birthing Center of St.John’s Providence Park in Southfield, Michigan. All of those components made this “event” exactly what we wished and hoped it would be.

I also want to say that I don’t plan on ever getting pregnant again. First of all because it is not really possible for me anyways due to my endometriosis based infertility. We just don’t have the money or strength to go through the process of IVF & frozen embryo transfer again, especially here in the US (where it’s 5 times as expensive as in Germany and it wasnt a bargain there either!). Secondly, I don’t feel like my body is able to go through fertility treatment as well as another pregnancy…to be honest, with this second pregnancy I already was afraid at times, that my body is giving up on me (especially during hyperemesis gravidarum & the hospital stay as well as the whole third trimester). I don’t want to risk anything and most importanly I want to be MOM to my two beautiful children, and with all the problems my body has had with fertility treatment and pregnancy, I wouldn’t be able to be that.

I don’t know what the future will hold, or how intense a wish for another child might be in the future, but all I know is:  I will not be pregnant ever again. And I’m content with that thought, especially looking at my wonderful snowflake children right now.

 

Social Security in Limbo >.<

If you come to the US as an expat, there is one document that seems to outweigh anything else in importance. It’s not your passport or foreign ID, not even your visa – of course they are important and you wouldn’t be granted entrance into the country without them, but I’m talking about a document that you need in order to start your life here:

The SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER (SSN)

Continue reading “Social Security in Limbo >.<“

House Hunting Happy End

WE HAVE A HOUSE *cue exciting grin on my face* !!

Yes, we finally have confirmation on “our house”….Last Saturday, our realtor went house hunting with us again, and we hoped it would turn out better than the 1st episode. We knew she had a really nice home reserved for a showing in a rather upscale housing estate right next to a lake, but the owner had the same agent who tried to play “price poker” with us during the last house hunting session when we fell in love with that one house described in my other update. So we were very skeptical. Seeing the house itself we were also a bit disappointed in how the previous renter took care of it. They could have cleaned up a little bit more after themselves and not ruined each wall with marks from furniture or scratches from whatever. They must have had kids who they let go wild with stickers, they were literally all over the house, doorframes, closets, even the bathroom sinks…I mean, it would have taken hourse to scratch off each one of those stupid stickers.

Anyhow, our realtor also reserved showing appointments for 4 other houses… Continue reading “House Hunting Happy End”

Sugar & Spice

Coming to the US, we knew that the food is a little different here – after all food is part of a country’s culture, and also personal taste & habits can differ a lot. We expected the food to be a little more fatty and sugary than what we are used to from Germany or our own individual style of cooking & eating.

Still, it can be pretty surprising to bite into certain foods and realize that they taste so much different to what you know or even expected. For us & our taste, the sugar seems almost overwhelming and in nearly every food you grab. I personally do like to eat cake & candy here and there, and that’s where you expect the sugar taste, obviously. However there are moments when I did not expect such a strong sugar flavour at all, for example when eating cole slaw (salad). Other Examples are bread/buns, scrambled eggs, mustard, beans, soup, chicken even…We mostly noticed this at the breakfast time in our Hotel but also when eating out, that nearly always there seems to be an underlying flavour of sugar.

In contrary to that, we’re missing the taste of salt and other spices a little – I’ve been adding salt and pepper regularly to my breakfast eggs, and our daughter seems to unconciously notice a little lack of salt in her system as well, because she was asking for sprinkles of salt on her hand to lick it off (which she’d never done before).

To be clear, I’m not complaining about the food itself, it is just my/our observation because we aren’t used to this style of more sugary food – and of course, once we get to move into a real house, our own “home”, we will be able to cook & prepare all meals by ourselves and that way, we can add sugar & spice in doses we personally prefer 🙂

 

House Hunting ● Episode 1

Finding a house to live in is the most important thing to us after arriving in Michigan – not only because our household & furniture is scheduled to arrive here by end of this month (June 2016), but also because it is important to have a “real” place to live and an adress to put in applications or contracts. Our cozy apartment style room here at Staybridge Suites Novi is very nice and comfortable, don’t get me wrong….but of course it’s not a real “home”-place. For peace of mind and the sake of our toddler having the chance of “settling down”, visiting a realtor’s office was one of the very first things we did on the second day here in the US.

Continue reading “House Hunting ● Episode 1”

Arriving in Michigan

We have arrived safely in Michigan on June 6th, 2016.

After a long day of getting up very early and the 2 flights that took us from Berlin to Frankfurt/Main and then to Detroit, Michigan, we were totally exhausted, very tired, but extremely happy to finally be here!
img_5358This is me on the evening of June 6th, only a few hours after we landed, sitting at the local Applebee’s in Novi (just around the corner of our Hotel, in which we’ll be residing for the next weeks until we find a place to move into)

We were positively surprised by the child friendy atmosphere in the restaurant (acutally almost any restaurant here), where they bring a high-chair, crayons and a kid’s menue to draw on without us as the customers even saying a word.

Same goes for kid’s drinks that comes with a lid & straw because every parent knows the fear of what a mess can be created when you give toddlers real glasses full of liquids.

It’s not just the staff of places like restaurants or the hotel, but the immediate & open friendliness with which people in general approach you. It’s so easy to start a conversation with random people in different places – especially if you have a toddler on your hand.

We got a rental car near the airport and checked into our hotel: Staybridge Suites Novi. Our Suite is perfect for us as a temporary home with living room area, kitchen space, a desk to sort out papers and a bedroom with 2 queensize beds – one of which our daughter likes to take every possible sleeping position in:
img_5359She enjoys the space she has in such a bed that seems huge to her. Falling asleep seems easy since we got her and she even sleeps through the night, which we weren’t used to until now. I think it’s safe to say that she has adjusted well to her new surrounding already – no jetlag, no uneasiness when encountering people.

If she runs into kids anywhere, she immediately engages with them, even without speaking the same language (yet): waving, and holding hands or a smile are universal!

Of course it is a bit straining for her to run around with us these first few days trying to get everything started & applying for all the documents and things like a bank account or meeting with the realtor to talk about what we are looking in for a home. It’s boring stuff for toddlers – I get that, but thanks to the aforementioned positivity & friendliness everywhere it’s a little less exhausting for her AND for us as well.

We have arrived – body & mind. And we intend to stay for a while 🙂