Saturday, March 27, 2010

We are here!!

Just FYI we have made it to the States. After a long day of traveling and being up 24 hours I can truly say I am exhausted. The trip was an adventure and remind me never to fly through Paris again. I did manage to buy one of those travel pillows that goes around your neck and it was a lifesaver. As you might know we are mainly here because one of Justin's best friends is getting married tomorrow. We are totally pumped for Bubba and Kimberly and I am just hoping to be fully rested for the big day. I will keep this short and sweet for now because the letters are starting to blur together. Can't wait to see some of you on this trip!

Monday, March 22, 2010

What's in a name?

So, we’ve been contributing to this blog since August 2009 and it’s about time we explain what “Rockin’ it Out” is all about…
                  It all goes back to a conversation I was having with one of my good friends/philosophers, Matt Davis.  I honestly don’t remember the details of the conversation, but we were discussing life in general and Davis said to me, “You act like you’ve got more than one life to live……..I’ve only got one and I’m gonna rock this one out!”  I really don’t know why, but that one phrase has stuck with me for years and when thinking about our blog title it quickly came to mind. 
                  It’s not that we think we’re doing something that is SO extreme and unique and crazy with our lives, but we often think about life and how we want to live it (as many people do).  We don’t really have regret with how we’ve lived life thus far, but we knew that we wanted to do something a little less predictable.  I could easily stay and teach physics in the high school that I went to and live in and around Atlanta, where I’ve always lived, but I know that I would be disappointed if I didn’t take a chance to step outside my comfort zone and do something that not everybody does.
                  We recently read the latest book from one of our favorite authors, Donald Miller, entitled A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I learned while editing my life.  This book is a non-fiction tale about the interesting conversations and thoughts that came up when a young director approached Miller about making one of his previous books (Blue Like Jazz) into a movie, where the central character would be based on Miller himself.  Here’s an excerpt from the introduction to give you an idea:
     "If you watch a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for a year to get it, you wouldn'y cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers. You wouldn't tell you friends you saw a beautiful movie or go home and put a record on to think about the story you'd seen. The truth is, you wouldn't remember that movie a week later, except you'd feel robbed and want your money back. Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo.
     But we spend years actually living those stories, and expect our lives to feel meaningful. The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won't make a story meaningful, it won't make a life meaningful either. Here's what I mean by that.................."
                  A central idea of the book is that God has designed us to live good stories that change us.  However, the problem is that we typically resist change from the norm, even if we know that it is needed.  To quote Miller, “Humans are designed to seek comfort and order, and so if they have comfort and order, they tend to plant themselves, even if their comfort is not all that comfortable.  And even if they secretly want for something better.”  As soon as we identify an ambition in life, our story gets more interesting and there is more of a reason to get up in the morning – all at a cost of additional fear in our lives.  Miller argues that our lives seem muddled when we walk around day to day and have no clear idea of what we want.  He also mentions that there will always be resistance to us as we try to live better stories, which is a sure sign that we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.  Lastly, he hits on the truth that we are “trees in a story about a forest, and that it is arrogant to think anything differently”.  Furthermore, the “story of the forest is better than the story of the tree.”  I highly recommend this book to anyone, as I believe we all share similar feelings as humans.  I can easily admit that it was really difficult to make the choice to leave all that was comfortable in life in the States to come to the unknown here in Germany.  I had tons of anxiety and fear resisting the move, but at the same time I had a much stronger pull from the Holy Spirit that compelled me to go through with it.  I knew that I would not regret it, and while life still has its challenges here and we greatly miss family and friends back home, we have had a peace about living here that lets us know that we’re doing the right thing.  After all, our story is a small part of the bigger story and we are excited to see where it goes.
                  So, “Rockin’ it Out……’til rockin’ it out goes wrong” is sort of a life statement that we want to try to do the best with what we have in this life and, to use the old sports adage “leave it all on the field”.  As Davis mentioned, we’ve only got one life to live and we want to enjoy it.  By that we certainly don’t mean the shallow sense of partying hard and living without responsibility, but in a sense that God has made us for a purpose and we want to be constantly striving to be used by Him for that purpose and follow His greatest commandments:  “love God and love people”.
                  At the moment, we both have a passion for education and we think that we would like to work with an organization that builds schools in countries that don’t have them.  This desire largely came from the story of Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, whom we heard speak at the Carter Center in Atlanta back in 2005.  He has committed his life to building schools in rural regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan with the mission of “fighting terrorism one school at a time”.  We’ve also been inspired by John Woods’ Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, which is the story of another non-profit organization, Room to Read, which also builds schools, libraries, and computer labs in developing countries such as Nepal and Vietnam.  We’re not sure where our story will actually take us, but keeping an ambition like that in the back of our minds definitely helps to keep us going.  One of the main reasons that we decided to seek out international work was to see how we would handle living abroad and to network and meet other people who may also have similar ambitions.  I know that Germany is a far cry from a place that is in need of schools being built, but we had to start somewhere.  God may end up doing something totally different with us, but we at least feel that we’re on the path.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Outlet Shopping

In an attempt to find a dress for a wedding and already exhausting all my options in Frankfurt, we decided to head to the Outlets.  This was also a chance to go on our first event with the Newcomers Network, an organization for expats in certain areas of Germany. They have a social gathering every first Monday of the month with networking and usually a speaker, I hope to make it to one soon. They also have wine and whiskey tastings and other events to help you meet people.
On Saturday morning we headed out at 10 am and got to the Outlets at about a 11. This free bus ride also included free lunch and a 10% off coupon, not a bad deal for FREE! 
We wondered around for an hour and realized there wasn't many stores that we knew the names of so we would just wonder in, only to find a sign that says 20% off purchases of 300 euros or more and this is when we would turn right back around. After a few hours of browsing we loaded up and headed out around four.

I will say that these were the best looking outlets I have seen. They are brand new, but they built them in a way that has an old european flare.

The most predictable store at the Outlets. Anyone in the market for house slippers at low low prices?

In the end it was a good day to get out of the house, but not the best shopping day. I did manage to get a really cute sun-dress and Justin picked up a pair of trendy Converse sneakers. In conclusion, I definitely like our American outlets better and I am sorry to say that, but I just can't afford Versace and Escada even at outlet prices.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

And the winner is......

The winner of our first giveaway is 

Joanna Tatum

Congratulations girls! I hope you get to use it during the tail-end of winter.

Email me your address at marisa(dot)aston(at)gmail(dot)com and I will send it to you.

Don't forget to check out ThingMadeSimple's Etsy store and order your headband today!

I want to have more of a German twist to these giveaways. What are some German things you might like to see?

Friday, March 12, 2010

German Products

Achtung boys and girls!  Don't miss the hottest card game to hit the shelves at your local toy store! 

Do you have what it takes to take on your favorite formula one stars such as Michael Schumacher and Danica Patrick to become "Top Ass"?  There can be only one!

If you like Top Ass Formula 1, then you'll love our other Top Ass products - also available at your local toy store.  

Saturday, March 6, 2010

German Marketing Translation

Thanks for all of the laughs from your "translations" of this advertisement.  Thanks for your patience in waiting for the real translation of this post.

So, Ansley was most correct in that this is an advertisement for "Die Zeit" (The Times) newspaper.  And yes, they do want you to buy their newspaper because of a special section for parents.  The question in bold basically says:  "What are you going to do now, dear parents?"  Underneath, in smaller writing it says:  "You can find the answers to 55 questions on raising children - in Elternknigge", which is a separate section for parenting tips.  

So what the heck is "Elternknigge"?  Well, Eltern means parents and "knigge" isn't so much a German word, as it is a reference to Adolph Freiherr Knigge.  Knigge was a German writer that lived in the late 18th century and is most famous for his work Ueber den Umgang mit Menschen (On Human Relations).    Wikipedia describes this work as "a treatise on the fundamental principles of human relations that has the reputation of being the authoritative guide to behavior, politeness, and etiquette.  The work is in fact more of a sociological and philosophical treatise on the basis of human relations than a how-to-guide on etiquette."  Apparently this is a book that continues to be updated with new editions coming out periodically.  

So "knigge" basically means "good manners" or refers to books on etiquette.  In this case, Elternknigge means "parenting etiquette".  I was trying to think of possible English/American equivalents to something like Knigge, and so far I was able to come up with Darwin expressions (Darwin Awards) and the Freudian slip. If you can think of more of these I'd love to hear them.

I would say that this advertisement was most effective, since I've spent so much time looking into what it means.  Thanks for playing along.

Friday, March 5, 2010

My first Etsy purchase and my first giveaway

If you have not heard about Etsy you need to. It is a website that buys/sells lots of handmade items. I have been fascinated with this site for a while but did not purchase anything until now. I purchased this awesome hunter green headband from ThingsMadeSimple. I had been wanting something like this because you don't always want to wear a hat in the cold weather and the headband is perfect when you are rocking a ponytail. I have been sporting this all around town and have to say I am fully satisfied with my purchase. ThingsMadeSimple has these headbands in tons of colors and I would love for you to check them out. They were awesome to work with and I even requested this color and they were happy to fulfill my request.

It's as warm as it looks!

I wanted to jump on the bandwagon of giveaways like some of my other blog friends, Keight and Jodi, and seeing I have something worth giving away, I will give it a try. It turns out that I have two of these headbands and I would love to give it away to one of our loyal followers.

How to enter my first giveaway:

1.) Become a Follower. Just click on the button that says Follow and you are in. If you are already a follower we appreciate you more than you know.

2.) Leave a comment telling us what keeps you warm in the winter time.

3.) Link this giveaway to your blog and you will get an extra chance to win. Please leave a comment letting us know you have linked over to your blog.

We will pick a random winner on Friday, March 12th.

Spring is coming...or at least I thought it was.

To not get depressed by the weather forecast for this weekend I am going to look back on happier weather forecasts. They are predicting snow on Saturday and I can't believe it since we have had so much sunshine lately. I am so bummed about it because last Saturday was such a tease then. It was sunny and warm and it was starting to look like spring was just around the corner. I am going to stay positive and just hope the weatherman is wrong.
Last Saturday we stayed in town (which we will be doing until we head back to the States on the 26th) and  explored more of our town. It started with an apple/strawberry strudel followed by a walk through our farmers market and stopping to get a brat and pommes. From there we hopped on the StrassenBahn, which Justin loves to do since you can see more above ground, and headed to a new music store. We walked all over the city just to be out in the sun and among all the people who also came out of hibernation. We had a two for one coupon to one of the art museums and they were having an exhibit on Georges Seurat. I am a huge impressionist fan and I was pumped to see this exhibit. It had over 60 pieces in the collection and we really enjoyed it. Seurat was really talented and he got better the older he got and it is sad that he died so young at the age of 31 unexpectedly.

We bought a poster that looks just like this and it will be hanging in our apartment.

We are so happy! The sun is out and the world is right.

We finished the day by cooking dinner and watching a movie...a great relaxing Saturday. It was such an enjoyable day and I was hoping to repeat it again this weekend by going to the flea market and finding myself a bike. Here's hoping! 

Monday, March 1, 2010

German Marketing

So, while commuting on the subway last week we both came across this interesting advertisement all over the place.  We could give you the translation and tell you what the purpose of the ad is, but what would be the fun in that?  We'd rather hear what you think this advertisement means and what it's for...... and don't go using a translator.  By the way, this particular hand gesture is universal in this case.

Just as soon as the old people turn their backs.....

We'll post the translation and meaning in a week or so, after we've heard some of your entries.
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