Hallo!  Yes, yes, it’s been a while and I’m terrible at updating, yadda yadda yadda.  See, this is why I could never write a book.  I’m great at starting projects, it’s just the follow-through that gets me every time (as I glance over to see the half-knit cowl that I haven’t touched in weeks).

Aside from my lack of dedication to arts, crafts, and blogging, I’ve also come to tell you about some things that have happened in the past month or so. Jeez!  It really has been too long.

Munich was a crazy-fun time and our first hostel experience; Elizabeth, Logan, Stephanie and I went all spur-of-the-moment and trained it up there a few weekends ago.  We mostly shopped during the day and saw Europe’s love of H&M in full force (3 H&Ms on one street, srsly).  Of course we made it to the Hofbräuhaus where we truly felt the German spirit.  We had to walk around for about 20 minutes before we could snatch a seat.  Basically it is a giant room with long, skinny tables where everyone comes in and just takes a seat wherever they can find one!  There was a polka band, lots of chanting and prosting going on.  The lowlight of the night was having our first being-scared-by-a-rat-in-an-underground-tunnel moment.  The highlight was when Elizabeth’s German suitor sent her a heart-shaped cookie from across the room!

The next weekend we traveled to Poland with Charmaine and Shellie (another teacher at our school).  Oh, it was beautiful.  We stayed at the Blue Beetroot hotel and had a marvelous time.  The owner of the hotel gave us a nine-page map of all the best places to buy pottery– our #1 reason for going to Poland.  The Polish zloty is much weaker than the dollar and much much weaker than the euro.  For all the prices listed, we could divide the number by 3 and that would give us the price in dollars.  I did a whole lot of souvenir shopping and I think I picked out some pretty good gifts… Elizabeth and I are heading back to Poland in early May; our school is collecting food to give to an orphanage in Poland, so we’re going to help out when they deliver the food.

We finally traveled to a concentration camp in Dachau last weekend– oh, I don’t even think I can talk about it. It was incredibly moving and terrible and just crazy actually being there.  One awesome thing that our tour guide told us is that 40% of the people that go to visit the camp are students.  I remember going to the Holocaust museum in middle school and learning so much– I can’t imagine having the opportunity to go to an actual camp to learn about it.

That evening we traveled to Bamberg to meet up with the girls and Dr. Miner.  Dr. Miner knows a German family that lives in Bamberg so they showed us around town during the day!  We explored a castle and a fortress and saw beautiful German countryside from above.  We also got to see a German school and learn a lot about how the school systems work here.  Sepp and his family took us to their house in the afternoon where his wife had prepared three different cakes for us!  (Obviously I tried all three.)  Three coffees and a lot of cake later, we headed back to the train station.

This is where things get weird.  Elizabeth and I had some sort of bug bite/rash/bumps on our hands, arms and legs that we have named “Europox” (trademarked by Riley).  Long story short, we had to visit a German doctor off post, twice, and got two separate medicinal treatments.  We stayed home from school for three days (one of which Dr. Miner was here; it was pretty funny to play hooky with her) and were finally un-quarantined on Friday.  Whew!  After all that nonsense, I was welcomed back to school with a lot of hugs from my second-graders and a stack full of “get well soon” letters. My kids (and my mentor, for thinking of the idea) are the sweetest.  Here are some snippets from the adorable letters:

I hope you fill deter soon.  ms mcgraw your fun we wont you back now we miss you. youv ben absent for three days!

Dear Ms. McGraw, I hope you fell better because we have love tord you!!  You are my favorite teacher.

Dear Ms. McGraw, How are you doing? Get better soon! Take your mediesen every day.

Hi Ms. McGraw How are you doing? I’m doing good.  I like Dragons do you? And I love to draw. Mrs. Cruz is been teaching us Math. Hard math.  And we learned algrorimth. Just means steps.

Ms. McGraw you can feel better if you het you up some ciken-nooldl soup.

Okay, okay, I’ll stop. But seriously, so cute, right?

Just yesterday we went to Amberg to celebrate St. Patrick’s day!  We went back to Kate’s Pub and found a picture of Elizabeth and I framed on the wall!  The bar owner took our picture randomly when we were there a few weeks ago and I guess he liked it so he put it on the wall, haha.  We got to the bar early because we knew it was going to be packed; we decided to get a bite to eat there first and ended up making friends with the owner of the bar!  He chatted with us for a long time and told us that all Irishmen are alcoholics–I believe it.  We got free t-shirts and a free guinness headband that you can write on with chalk! It was a ton of fun, and lots of the teachers from our school were there.  Just another reason to add to the list of why I’ll be applying for DoDDS… 🙂

We’re thinking of hiking in the Black Forest next weekend, depending on the weather.  I’ve been itching to do some outdoor activities now that it’s not freezing outside, so hiking is next on our list of adventures.  Elizabeth and I are also getting belay certified with ODR in about 2 weeks!  There’s a ton of climbing rocks just outside of Vilseck, but we don’t have the means to get there ourselves, not to mention the gear.  We decided to go ahead and get certified through ODR so we can go on trips with them!  Every other Thursday evening they go out and climb until dark–and you can rent gear from them, so it works out perfectly.

I’ll try to update this bad boy more often.  Life is a lot more fun to just live, though, yeah?  Although now it’s harder to remember all the funny little things that happened along the way since I haven’t been posting immediately after my trips… Conundrum.  Anyway, I’m pretty good at posting pictures right away, so check out the facebook for more current updates on travels.


P.S. Shout out to Lisa for sending Elizabeth and me some killer St. Louis pride!  Love you, lady.

P.P.S. I’m super duper jealous of all you Hunger Games nerds that get to see the movie in a few days!  We have to wait til April…



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3 responses to “Sláinte!

  1. what’s ODR? i want to go climbing with you!

    • it stands for OutDoor Recreation. It’s an organization on post that plans trips and things for the military folks here, and we’re lucky enough to have access to the trips as well! Sometimes they’re cheaper, sometimes they’re not, so we’ve been pretty picky. I’m not sure if you could climb with them because you have to get belay certified with them (not hard, but a formality that has to be done). hopefully i’ll spot some good bouldering rocks and we can just boulder (that way we won’t need gear!). 🙂 can’t wait to see you, seester, you da best dey is.

  2. Suzanne McGraw

    Please be careful in the Black Forest — bring some strapping young soldiers with you and do not stray from the trail. And if you bring a dog, make sure he has his own water!


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