EXPAT LIFE: When Mama C came to stay.

Hello, I’m Rachel and it’s been a long time since I posted on this littler piece of blogworld that I call mine. And the reason why? I’ve been doing that thing we call life and blogging ended up being pushed onto the back-burner and instead I’ve been spending weekends tubing on the river, enjoying the summer sunshine, taking a trip to Europe, catching up with friends and generally enjoying life!

So much so that Mama C headed across the pond for her annual visit to the Richter Hotel back in June and I still haven’t blogged about it! So, here it is!

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Papa C dropped her off at the airport in the UK and I picked her up at the other side. One day Papa C will come to visit with her but he has just 4 conditions as to why (the man has a bad neck and says flying would leave him in pain for weeks) – 1. Either me or the German is ill or has an accident. 2. We have a baby. 3. We get him tickets to the Masters (he’s a  massive golf lover). 4. We buy a house that needs some work doing on it. One of them will hopefully come true at some point so he will eventually get on a plane over here!

The little one walked through the airport doors and was crying as soon as she saw me which made me a little emotional too so I ran towards her – it had been 6 months since we saw each other! After hauling her super heavy case into the car (in her defense it was mostly stuff she was bringing over for us like a new suit for the German and birthday presents for me!) we headed back home and she settled in.

The next 2 weeks were busy and fun-filled! Day one was spent by the pool one the German had made it back from his homeland:

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Day 2 was when the real fun began. When Mama C is in town there is only one place you should go on a Saturday afternoon between 2pm and 4pm and that is Monday Night Brewing. It’s no secret that Mama C likes a little tipple (although not too much, she isn’t an alcoholic or anything, she’d kill me if I insinuated that!) so, along with our friends Mandy and Carson, we headed to the brewery for a little tasting session. Of course, Mama C liked every single one that she tasted, along with the German who was encouraging her to drink faster. I was the designated driver:

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After the brewery we headed to Fox Bros. for some BBQ before going to Turner Field for a Braves game. Mama C is a big fan of baseball, especially the way the pitcher lifts his leg before pitching the ball:

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On Sunday we braved the unseasonably warm temperatures and headed to Tallulah Gorge. We’d already been here with the big bro and sis-in-law and thought it would be the perfect pretty place to take Mama C to. We also had to tell her to bring her trainers, something she was not happy about but glad she did was she realized they were needed! We trekked up and down 700 steps to the bottom of the gorge and took some fab pictures with the selfie stick (always comes in handy, no matter how many the German says its stupid). We were hot, sweaty messes by the time we were done – nice.

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Then we had to leave Mama C at home alone whilst we went to work for a couple of days but that was ok – we came home to a spotlessly clean house, the ironing done and dinner made! She even had time to take a little trip to the pool!

Next, Mama C and I were invited to lunch on Lake Lanier with Mandy and Carson’s mum Miss Donna. We took a boat ride on the lake and ended up at a beautiful seafood restaurant where we docked the boat and jumped off to have lunch. It was so hot on the water, especially with the reflection of the water but it was so pretty. Mama C loved it!

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Then, of course, we had to go to the outlet to do some shopping! Mama C was armed with a list of stuff for people back home as well as a wish list for herself. We blitzed that mall and fulfilled all the orders, along with a little extra for ourselves! I picked up a bright blue Michael Kors bag in the sale which was returned the following day because the German didn’t like the color of it! I went for a baby pink Kate Spade instead with Mama C taking home a tan Michael Kors bag!

Saturday rolled around again and that of course meant it was time for some more alcohol! This time, we moved from beer to wine and headed to Montaluce Winery in Dahlonega after a some more shopping and handbag swopping at the outlet. I’d previously been here for Mandy’s bachelorette party so knew Mama C was going to like it. It’s beautiful there with some stunning scenery. This time, the German was the designated driver so Mama C and I made the most of it!

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After wine tasting we had a little surprise up our sleeves for Mama C. We told her she was going out for dinner at 8pm but didn’t tell her where. She had no idea what was happening and only realized when we were in a lift and traveling to the 72nd floor of The Westin hotel in downtown Atlanta. Yep, we were dining at the Sundial Restaurant, a revolving restaurant with some of the best views of Atlanta. We started with a couple of cocktails in the bar before taking our seats in the restaurant. We picked the perfect time too – we got to see the city in both the daylight and at night. Mama C loved it – massive brownie points for the Richters!

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After another fun packed weekend it was time for Mama C to have a couple of days of cleaning the house, ironing, cooking dinner and catching some rays by the pool again whilst we went to work – hey, she’s got to pay her board somehow! That was obviously a joke, she says she enjoys doing it – we definitely don’t force her to!

Next we were invited to lunch in Decatur with one of my lovely colleagues, Liesl. Mama C got to see a new part of town, tuck into a lovely lunch and get to know Liesl a little more – perfect!

Sadly, the next day meant Mama C had to jump on that plane back home across the pond to Papa C. It was fab having her to stay again – she definitely entertained us for a couple of weeks! Of course, she cried at the airport – I however was a strong one and managed to hold back, probably because I knew I was going to see her just 2 short weeks later when I head back across the pond. When I lived in the UK I went longer without seeing her!

Thanks for being a fab visitor Mama C – come back soon, next time though make Papa C get into your suitcase, or even just sit next to you on the plane, yep, a seat on the plane will do!

EXPAT LIFE: Catching up on Life Vol.4

To say things have been pretty busy around here lately might just be an understatement! Between visitors, work and generally enjoying life, it’s been hard to find a spare minute!

As you all know, my best friend, her husband and my goddaughter came to stay and we had the best time ever which included pool time, exploring time and general catching up time! You can read more about that here.

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Then Mama C arrived for her annual visit. Whilst she was here we spent some time in a brewery, a winery, at the baseball, trekking a gorge and of course some shopping! More on that in another blog post, but for now, here’s a little pic from her stay:

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I think that picture definitely shows where my craziness comes from!

The 4th of July rolled around again and it was time to run another Peachtree Road Race! Team Couch Potato assembled again and we were all ready to pound the streets of Atlanta!

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After completing the 10k race in 1:17 minutes last year, I was determined to beat my time and thankfully, the weather was on my side! It rained. Like really rained. Like throughout the whole race rained.

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Just before our start wave was due to set off we had a weather delay because of lightning strikes which left us standing in the rain for another half an hour. When we finally set off the rain was a little lighter but still coming down. It did however, mean the temperatures were a little more favorable for this little Brit who struggles to run in 90 degree heat and high humidity meaning I finished the race in 1:06 hours shaving a whopping 11 minutes off my time and completing my fastest ever mile in 9:23 minutes! Go me! The German did well too, shaving 11 minutes off his time last year so he was also pretty pleased with himself!

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I was the wettest I’ve ever been in my entire life though – every single part of me was wet. My clothes must have been a couple of pounds heavier, my shoes squelched every time I walked and we all left wet patches on the Marta train back home! It was so nice to be able to jump in a nice warm shower when we got back! My phone got a little wet and had a mind of it’s own for the next few hours and took the delightfully blurry picture that you see above! Thankfully it dried out though and now works perfectly!

Then, of course, it was time for an afternoon at Carson’s parents houseboat on Lake Lanier – the perfect way to spend the rest of the 4th of July! Thankfully, by this time the weather had cleared up a lot and the sun came out to play! We chilled out in the sun, spent some time in the water, the boys had jumping off the boat splash competitions and we tucked into a BBQ before watching the fireworks! Perfect. Happy Birthday America!

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As usual, I’ve been cooking up some tasty treats in the kitchen too:

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  • Avocado Toasts with cream cheese and cherry tomatoes
  • Moroccan spiced chicken with roasted vegetable couscous and yoghurt
  • Slow cooked beef short ribs with roasted vegetables
  • Caprese salad

Oh an we can’t forget the fact that we finally discovered what it’s like to go tubing! So, for those of you who aren’t clued up on what this amazing discovery is, tubing, is when you sit in a rubber ring and float down the river on a sunny afternoon. Of course, there is also a spare rubbing ring which is holding a cooler of beer to sip on along the way!

We’ve been going to try this out along the Chattahoochee since we moved over here, 2 and a half years ago. Our apartment complex is on the river so we really had no excuses. However, it took us until a few weeks ago to actually do it. We bought some tubes (which of course, have beer holders and a handy back rest to make relaxing even more easier!) and enlisted our friends to come along and show us the ropes. We worked out a spot higher up the river and planned to get out at the dock at our apartment complex and walk back to the apartment.

We did it and it was AMAZING! The best way to spend an afternoon! The water keeps you cool in the heat, you get to relax, chat with friends and of course drink a few beers! Needless to say, it’s not become our favorite pastime – we went tubing on both Saturday and Sunday last weekend! We’re annoyed it took us so long to discover it! Sadly though, we don’t have any pictures from our adventures – just a pre-first trip excited trying out the tube on the dining room floor pic of me:

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I’m sure there will be many more afternoons spent floating down the river!

Next up is a trip back to Europe this weekend! It will be my first trip back home since Christmas and I am so excited to see everyone – especially Papa C! This girl is looking forward to a Dad hug – 7 months is a long time! Then I’ll be hopping on a plane to meet Toby in German for Mutter Richter’s birthday and to catch up with my German family! Exciting times incoming!

EXPAT LIFE: When the Bestie came to stay.

Well hello there! I bet you can’t quite believe what you’re seeing, a post from Me, Myself and Atlanta? I know, it’s been over a month since I appeared on this little piece of the internet I call my blog and I’m guessing you all thought I’d fallen off the edge of the earth or down a huge dark hole or something, right? Well, you’d be wrong! Life was just pretty hectic this last month and the blog took a back seat. One of the reasons life was a little mad was that my best friend in the whole wide world came to stay again!

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The excitement had obviously been building for weeks – we hadn’t seen each other since Christmas! Clare was heading Stateside with her husband Paul and the cutest little lady in the whole wide world Lily for a road trip through Florida and into Georgia to stay with us for a few days before heading back through Florida to fly home. Once we were in the same country and on the same time zone the excitement built even more!

Then, finally, late on a Wednesday evening, their car pulled into our car park and I sprinted from the house to meet her! Like usual, we were crying before we even got to each other and had the biggest hug ever! Then it was time to see the little beauty that is Lily and her daddy – more big hugs followed! It was so good seeing the little lady who had obviously changed massively since Christmas!

After all the hugs and tears were over we headed into the house and, with drinks in our hands, down to the play area for Lily to burn off some energy before bed – she’d been strapped in a car seat for most of the day! This year she could use the slide on her own without nearly falling out!

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The next few days passed way too quickly. Lily (and her mum!) are massive animal lovers so we went back to Zoo Atlanta and spent the day looking at the different animals. My favorites are the pandas, Clare loves the naked mole rats and Lily is a huge bug lover, especially spiders! Once again, I skipped out of the petting zoo, it’s just not my thing!

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In the evening, Clare and I got a pass out and went for some girly drinks whilst the boys babysat at home!

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We, of course, went shopping to the outlet and stocked up on all the cheap clothes that cost a fortune back home! We also came back with a dozen donuts that we powered our way through over the next 24 hours!

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Saturday saw us heading to Stone Mountain. The weather was beautiful so we thought it was the perfect spot to go to. We had a picnic at the top and practiced a little yoga! We rode the train around the mountain (one that I wouldn’t recommend doing and won’t be doing again, it wasn’t that exciting and all you could really see was stone and trees!) and did something I have been itching to do since we first went to Stone Mountain over 2 years ago – we rode the ducks!! Having a child with you gets you into the best places (you can do this without a child but it’s pretty much child based – I don’t think there was anyone on it without a child!) Ride the Ducks is when you take at trip in an all terrain vehicle and splash into the lake! It was fab! Lily even got to drive the vehicle – we all love the quackers too!

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But then Sunday rocked around all too quickly which mean the Holmes family were heading off on their travels again later in the afternoon. That didn’t stop us enjoying the day though – we headed down to the pool, caught some rays, had a dip in the water and had a BBQ prepared for us by the boys!

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Sadly though, 4pm rolled around and it was time for the bestie to leave. This is the part I hate the most about being an expat, the goodbyes and the thought that I’m not going to see these people for a long time. It comes with the territory of being an expat but it never gets any easier. The last few days had been amazing, and, as usual, neither of us wanted it to end. The tears were flowing long before we headed out to the car to wave goodbye, it was so sad as we watched them drive up the road and onto their next adventure.

It’s so good having people come to stay but so heartbreaking when they leave. We already had a countdown for the  next time we’d see each other – 8 weeks. Those 8 weeks are up in 7 days when I head back to England for a few days and I cannot wait to see the  bestie, the little lady and her daddy again! 

Exploring: Rosemary Beach, FL

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A few weeks ago, the German and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary (even though we’ve legally been married for 2 years!) and decided to head back to Florida where married life for us technically began, although Ma Cook refused to believe it until she saw me walk down the aisle a year later in Germany!

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Catching up on Life Vol.3

It’s time for another life update and man have we been busy! The visit from my big bro and sis-in-law kicked off the action and included cabin trips, wine tasting, baseball and lots of food! More on that here.

Then, as they left, we welcomed our second set of visitors for the weekend when Waschtl and Julia came to stay en-route from Germany to New York City to Florida and back to Germany again. We spent the weekend shopping (all our visitors love to go to the shopping outlet!), eating tacos (at Teela Taqueria) and BBQ (at Fox Bros. BBQ) and checking out local brewery Monday Night Brewing:

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When the Big Bro and Sis-In-Law came to stay.

As is tradition in these parts nowadays, the big bro and sister-in-law did their yearly duties of opening up the Richter Hotel for the visitor season at the beginning of April and I thought you might like to know what we got up to during their latest visit.

We packed so much into 2 weeks we didn’t have time to stop and think, let alone have time for a little blogging! We started with a trip to Wolf Mountain Vineyards (where the fresh off the plane Brits got a little bit sunburnt in the Georgia sun):

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Exploring: The Atlanta BeltLine, GA

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Last Saturday, after I’d finished work, the weather was beautiful so the German and I decided to take a walk along the Atlanta BeltLine. It was the perfect day for it, sunny but not too hot, spring really is the best time of the year in this city!

So, the BeltLine is a little bit like the HighLine in New York City. It’s an old railway line that has been turned into a public park. It’s currently a work in progress with only sections of the BeltLine completed but, once it’s done it will be 22 miles of trails, parks and transit options that will circle around Downtown Atlanta, connecting many neighborhoods and tourist spots, however, that won’t be until 2030 so there’s still quite a way to go.

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