Travel, as they say, is broadening ... especially for the hips! Especially when you're traveling around Germany, land of chocolate, Schnitzel and the world's best pastries. My husband Gerhardt and I love the country and the people. (He grew up there and we lived there when we were first married.) We try to get back every few years to see the wonderful friends we've made. On this latest trip not only did we enjoy catching up with old friends but we made some wonderful new ones as well.
Our time with Ursula Rudor was inspiring. She and her husband were pastors in the East for many years before the wall came down - not a cool time to be a Christian. But they were steadfast, and she has many stories to tell, stories that remind me how thankful I am to live in a free country.
We had a great time with our pals Sybille and Gundi, and Sybille's sweetie Fred, who made roulladen for a dinner party we were able to attend. Yum! (And thanks friend for the headache remedy. You're a doll!)
We spent several hours at the home of new friends Wilfred and Gabby. We enjoyed tea and sightseeing with Siegrid, and Christina, also a new friend, invited us to join her English class. One of the women there gifted me with a beautiful Schultuete (a cone filled with goodies that children receive on the first day of school). I thought this sounded like something fun to adopt over here - a good way to get kids excited about going to school. The women asked if we did anything for our kids the first day of school... "Do you have a little party?" they asked. I replied that no, the ones who party are the moms!
The food was spectacular, the architecture inspiring and the views breathtaking.
All in all, our visit to Germany was wonderful. It's almost a perfect country. The only things to complain about? German drivers. (Guys, seriously, do they teach you to pass on a curve on a hill in driving school?) And the pay toilets. (Even when I'm shopping you're going to make me pay for the privilege of using the potty? Seriously?)
Well, nobody's perfect. And I guess I can spare the change. Auf Wiedersehen Deutschland. Ich liebe dich.
And now, back to my diet.
Ladies night out - so many towns have them. It's a great way for women to explore their local downtown, get out with the girls, and have fun. And it's a good deal for the merchants also, helping to create visibility. In Bremerton, WA, that's especially good since many of our local businesses are owned by women.
When some of us first talked about doing this it seemed like a simple enough idea. It turned out to be a little more complicated than we'd originally envisioned and it was certainly more work. My committee of amazing women labored over this for months, signing up merchants, getting sponsors, bringing in special entertainment. And boy, we had it in spades last night: the Sweet Adelines sang barbershop for us, the symphony provided a quartet, we had salsa music from a great band. And we even had tap dancers. Something for everyone. Our merchants went all out, offering everything from free flowers to chocolate covered espresso beans and free lattes. Almost everyone offered appetizers and wine tasting. And chocolate - you can't have a women's event without lots of chocolate! And of course, our ladies got goody bags with some freebies in them to start them on their treasure finding adventure. Ladies, if you could have seen us stuffing all those goody bags you'd have given us medals... or at least chocolate.
When it comes to something like this you work so hard, try to cover all your bases and then... hope the weather will cooperate. It did! A lot praying kept the rain at bay until ten minutes after the event ended. Talk about perfect timing!
And a good time was had by all. This was only our second Ladies Night Out so maybe we're still in the honeymoon stage, but our team of women was pumped last night, high on success and good vibes. Yes, and chocolate.
One man heard me talking about it at the bank with my teller and chimed in with, "Why don't you have a men's night out?" Well, simply put, you guys don't have the shopping gene. (But hey, if someone wants to plan one, go for it!) Anyway, like the old Cyndi Lauper song says, "Girls Just Want to Have Fun."
So, a big, public thank you to my wonderful committee of local businesswomen and volunteers who worked so hard. A big thank you to all the women who turned out, too. We did, indeed, have fun!