Monday, August 27, 2012

Just trying to sound more white...

A few summers back my sisters and I watched that one Youtube video "My Push Up Bra will Help Me Get My Man," and we actually found it funny in a stupid kind of way. In fact, we got most of the family thinking it was hilarious. We're still working on Dad, though... for some reason he doesn't find it very humorous--just completely stupid.

Anyways, so my friend Kavya wanted to take one of the Yoga classes that they offer at the gym here, and so I went with her after class. I'd never done it before, but figured I would give it a try. A ton of people around here seem to love them. It was interesting. I'm not really one to "connect with the Earth" or anything like that, but it was a good stretching and balancing class. Some people in there were really getting into their yoga and probably take it really seriously... in fact I'm probably some kind of disgrace or something in their eyes, but oh well :) It was relaxing at least.

I'm off to work on my warrior pose.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Downtown Frankfurt

One of the my favorite things I got to see over in Germany was downtown Frankfurt. After dinner one night the whole family walked over to the train (U-Bahn) station, and headed downtown. The train system was so confusing, partly because it was all in German; however, even if it was in English I think I'd still get lost. It took me forever to figure out the buses here in Richmond. Anyways, the trains were pretty neat--I've never done the Subway or Metro or anything here in the states, so it was all new to me. We got off at a stop underground, and the first thing I saw was a big KFC. We took the elevators up onto the street, and then we were downtown.

Our train stop (Dornbusch) is easy to remember because it is the only one that is above ground.

Train ticket: the honor system is pretty big over there, so you don't actually show or give your ticket to anybody. Everyone is just trusted to purchase their ticket and be honest. However, if you get caught riding without one, there is a 40 Euro fine :)

Once we were on the streets we walked through downtown. There was a lot of people, and one of the coolest things to me was that walking 5 feet you can hear people people speaking five different language. So many people over there knew German and English at least, and many times even more languages than that. The buildings were really neat, too. Some of them are very ornate and detailed, and then there was the Burger King, too :). Funny to see how countries can be so different, but also have so many similarities as well. There were a lot of bakeries and pretzel stands, and also flower stands. Both seem to be pretty common there!

Like in most busy places and cities around the world, there were a few street performers. These guys got a lot of people's attention.

This is actually a postcard of what Frankfurt looked like at the end of WWII. Almost everything was destroyed and burned and had to be rebuilt. The building (church?) in the middle of the card was one of the only things to be left standing.

Here is part of that same building from in the postcard. This is still the original structure, whereas most of the other buildings were rebuilt altogether.

I think Leslie said this series of buildings and shops is a pretty well-known spot downtown. The Christmas Market is set up around here, and apparently it gets crazy packed.

Cute wooden toys in one of the windows of a shop.

The detail in some of the buildings was just crazy! Very ornate and detailed.

One of the street signs: "Market"

The edge of the street intersects a river, and so we walked onto the bridge and hung around there for a little while. The river was really pretty, and with the wind blowing it was really peaceful. I suppose over there it is tradition to go to this particular bridge with your spouse or significant other on weddings, anniversaries, etc and place a lock with their names and dates engraved onto the bridge. Once the lock is on, the couple throws the key behind them into the water, showing that their love is everlasting. It was pretty cool, and looking at all of the locks was fun. A cute little tradition :)

Leslie and Landon on the bridge

View of the river

Here are all of the locks: the bridge looks like this all the way across and on both sides.

Close up of some of the names and engravings. Each lock had its own little personality, and the oldest one I spotted was from 1980.

While we were on the bridge a crew team started practicing--I thought it was funny so I snapped a few pictures :)

One of the buildings on the other side of the river--really pretty

After we were finished on the bridge we planned to get some gelato. I was pretty excited about it, because I had never had it before, and the kids were definitely excited about getting a treat. Jocelyn started complaining that her legs hurt from walking and was falling behind a little, and then next thing you know she was running right past me. Leslie told her that the faster she walks the faster she gets ice cream, or something like that. That statement sure made a sprinter out of Jocelyn! The gelato stand was really cute, and they had a ton of flavors to chose from. I could tell what almost all of the flavors were, just from the little bit of German I still remember. Plus, many German words are close enough to the English words that you can make a pretty good guess.

Jocelyn sprinting for that gelato!

Aubrey and her cone

I tried the pistachio flavor. I had heard it was pretty good, and I love pistachios, and it was actually really good!

We finished our cones as we walked around downtown making our way back to the train station. It was definitely one of my favorite nights in Germany, especially because I got to see a lot in just a short amount of time!

Frankfurt Temple

The family I visited in Frankfurt, Germany, only lived about 20 minutes away from the Frankfurt LDS Temple. One day we drove over to visit the temple, and it was definitely different than others I have been too. It was literally right in off some street with a lot of shops and apartments, and was pretty small. However, it was still extremely beautiful. I was definitely glad to see another temple--there are all unique in some way.


Missionaries on the temple grounds!

Leslie and I by the main entrance

Landon was pretty content hanging out in the stroller as we admired the temple!

The temple is small, and kind of oddly shaped, so it was really hard to get a picture of the whole thing at once. Also, Moroni is separate from the temple, which was interesting.

Temple: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Another side of the temple

Every temple always has beautiful landscaping. The temple in general is just a really beautiful and peaceful place.

All of the Shields' kids. Aubrey (the oldest) has actually gone to do baptisms with the youth in Frankfurt, which is really neat!

Back at home I live about an hour and a half away from the Washington D.C. temple, which is beautiful. As part of our church's General Conference every year, leaders announce new temples, and there are new ones being built all over the world. Hopefully I'll be able to see a few more of them throughout my life.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Deutsche Bundesbank

Right around the corner from Leslie's house is the Money Museum. We went last week with the kids for something fun to do and to see a little bit more of Frankfurt and Germany, and it was actually really interesting. The museum shows how money has changed all around Europe. I saw common bartering materials from the BC centuries, the first coins, the first paper money, etc. Thankfully, they had an exhibit on the Euro, too, because before I saw it I was a little bit confused!

The entrance to the museum

Just a few of the things that were on display: The first two pictures are cute little coin banks, the third (really small) picture is a salt bar that was used to barter with, and the fifth picture are also items used to barter with. The tray is made of coins, and there were also necklaces, boxes, and more to show off wealth. Lastly, Andrew is standing next to a piece of stone money--imagine lugging that to your next trade.

A cute strip from a comic about why countries should trade with one another... brought back memories of my economics classes senior year :)

Leslie and her little guys at the museum

Jocelyn looking through a magnifying glass at the money

Paper money from around the world... France, the Euro, the German Mark (before the Euro), and a paper bill from the Philippines (my cousin is serving his mission there, so it was only fitting I snap a picture :).

Me, Andrew, and Jocelyn by a big cow

Now on the way out of the money museum, Jocelyn got stuck in the big revolving door, one of those doors that you have to push through and it does around and around. It took off a nice chunk of her skin on her ankle, so she piggy-backed it home! She had fun up until that point! I feel like even if I stayed in that museum all day, I would still be confused... there was so much information it was crazy.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ein Sonntag in Deutschland

Sunday was pretty relaxing. After our long trip to France and the Black Forest on Saturday, most everyone slept in pretty late on Sunday morning. Once everyone woke up, we all ate some breakfast, and looked at the clock, realizing it was already 10:20. Leslie's church ward starts at 11, so we had just a little bit of time to get ready and out the door to be there on time. We decided for just the girls to go, and the boys hung home with Dad.

It was neat to see the church building and how the ward worked. Leslie's family goes to an international ward, and they have the service in English. However, people come from all over, and so there are many with accents and many that speak multiple languages. Every first Sunday of the month our church has a fast and testimony meeting, and I was really glad that I was here for church on Fast Sunday. It was neat to hear the testimonies of so many people, with so many different experiences. There was definitely a strong spirit in the room Sunday morning.

Aubrey, Me, and Jocelyn outside of the chapel building

The German Chapel--it was actually the ward's last Sunday meeting at this building. Starting this Sunday, the new building will be walking distance from the house :)

After we got home from church, we relaxed a little bit before heading out for a walk. I met a few of the other families living here, and then we headed to a little pond close by the house. The amount of parks in Germany, and I hear all over Europe, is crazy. There are so many walking paths and trails to enjoy, and the playgrounds are pretty neat, too. Along one of the trails we were walking on is a pond with ducks, and we stopped with the kids for a little bit. Instant entertainment :)

Ducks swimming in the pond

Andrew by the pond

Leslie and all of her kiddos over the bridge

This creepy looking bird sitting by the water

Aubrey is such a good big sister to those little guys.

Fountains in the park

This tower is right outside the windows at home, and you can see it from all around. It glows pink at night, too. We saw it on the way home from the park.

After we got home from walking around the park, we had a typical German dinner. We had Bratwurst, Brot, Salat, und Kartoffeln (some of the little bit of German I remember from high school... unfortunately it has slipped a little bit). It was so good, and I love spicy mustard and bratwurst, so I was perfectly happy :)

Sundays are usually a good one :)

Schwarzwald--The Black Forest

Saturday on our way home from France, we made a little detour and stopped by The Black Forest. The drive up was so pretty, and when we got out at one of the lookout sites you could see so much of the countryside.

There were these orchard/farms all over the hills. It looked really neat from above.

Some street signs of random German things.

When we parked and got out of the car, we were by a little gift shop and a hotel and restaurant. The shops were all closed, but there was a really nice wooden playground that the kids had a blast on. There was even a seesaw... hadn't been on one of those in a long time, but it was really fun. The playgrounds over here--and there are tons of them--seem to be really nice. Nice, smooth wood, at least the ones I've seen so far. It's really cool. Also there was a big lake that was really pretty. After hearing so much about The Black Forest, I'm really glad I got to see it while I was here. Definitely had a good time there.

Andrew on one of the motorcycles by the playground.

Jocelyn climbing up the slide

Some paddle boaters enjoying the lake

Neat trees of the Black Forest

There are so many flowers--everywhere! They really make everything so pretty.

Landon, Me, and Leslie

The kids and I by some Mummelsee Cow.