A snowy New Year’s in Finland, without snow

Sauna by the lake

Happy New Year! Where did you ring in 2014? We seem to start out each year somewhere different (in our five years in Munich, I think we were only there for its warzone-like Sylvester once). This year we had the pleasure of being invited to join some friends at their log cabin on a lake in a remote part of Finland. We’d lapped up their stories of snowy snowy New Year’s Eves past and could not wait to experience it ourselves.  Continue reading

Settling into Edinburgh

Edinburgh Dean Village

About time for a wee blog update, isn’t it? Let’s fast forward from my month in Tokyo (we’ll come back to it, I promise) and jump all the way up to present day, where Scott and I are just your typical, everyday serial expats settling in after yet another international move. We’ve been in Edinburgh for about five weeks now, long enough to have most of the new-country administrata out of the way. The first few weeks of a new expat gig feel the same pretty much anywhere, even if the details are different. Register this, paperwork that. Sign up for a cell phone, figure out where all the various kinds of recycling go before the growing tower of vodka bottles in the kitchen falls over, that kind of thing. Continue reading

Edinburgh: the apartment hunt

Edinburgh Royal Mile at night

We’re more than a week into the hunt for a flat in Edinburgh, and it’s been quite the rollercoaster. We’ve seen some horrible places, and some less-horrible ones, but nothing that we’ve fallen in love with yet.

The main problem is our stuff. It’s always the stuff. When we moved from the US to Italy nine years ago, the agent had a hard time finding apartments for us to view because we were adamant about not wanting to buy a kitchen. In Milan (and Munich), the vast majority of rental flats come completely empty – no light fixtures, no window coverings; the kitchen is usually just an empty room with a water pipe coming out of the floor where the sink should be.

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Oktoberfest tips for introverts and agoraphobes

Oktoberfest tips

Heading into our fifth (and final) Oktoberfest as locals, I’m starting to feel like quite the reluctant expert. Although I’ve had tons of fun at the festival each year, I’ve also had a couple of panic attacks (and more than a couple near-panic-attacks) at the wiesn. I absolutely hate crowds. With more than 7 million people attending Oktoberfest each year, it can be kind of tricky to avoid them. Over time I’ve learned how avoid the parts I hate, and enjoy the parts I like.  Continue reading