Alright, so my blog has been pretty vacant but I promise big things are coming. Obviously, by the name of this post, you might have a slight hint as to what is coming but shhhh.. it’s not official and the title of this is merely a perk of what I will really be doing. If you do not know what these are, perhaps you won’t be able to help me. But I think a lot of the traffic involved in this blog will be of some help.I have spent hours researching and I can’t seem to get a clear answer, so I figured someone knows someone who knows someone with one of these Certifications and can help me. In advance, thanks guys :)

So, my question to you is this TEFL, TESOL, TESL or CELTA.

My understanding is follows:

TEFL– Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Applies where English is not the primary language, supposedly the highest degree of worldwide compatibility. Cheapest Course and Cheapest Certification from what I can see. Available both online and in course form.

TESL- Teaching English as a Second Language. Applies in areas which English is considered a primary language. Example, Teach English to foreign students within the United States. To qualify, educators must speak English as their native language. 

TESOL- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. In Canadian and American terminology, a TESOL certificate may apply as either a TESL or TEFL certificate; however, the designation is subject to restrictions based on country. No uniform designation exists across different areas. Outside of North America, TESOL often replaces the term TEFL. (That is from this website, which has been the clearest answers I have found thus far.)

CELTA– Certificate in Teaching English Language to Adults run by Cambridge University. 4 intensive weeks and $3000-$4000. Yeah, that is not happening, however it is one of the available options and seems to only be the very best in the UK. (Again, this is from my research, if that is wrong please let me know.) 

This website has broken down the TESOL vs CELTA. 

TEFL and TESL are both intriguing to me because the TEFL seems most widely recognized next to the CELTA, however the TESL seems better in the US, ya know.. after my adventures. 

It seems to me that all of the courses are offered both online and in person. TEFL seems to be the cheapest, but why? Does anyone have any idea if anyone with only a TEFL has had issues or successes in finding employment with that certification alone? Or have they gotten the TESOL, since apparently TESOL sometimes replaces the TEFL. This is where it gets confusing. I would hate to waste money on one cert, to find out I need another. 

So, now I need your help. Pleaaaaaasseeeeee :) 

comments and concerns and advice and jokes are all welcome.


Back in the Saddle again..

It’s been a year
It’s crazy to think how time changes. Even crazier to think I haven’t wrote in almost a year. I think about writing all the time, I come up with what to say and usually write it in my head before I go to bed but then I end up busy and can never put it back into words. WOOPS! Today I was inspired. Today is 1 year since my accident.

The last year has been crazy. Really, that’s the only word for it. After flying home and abruptly realizing how much I loved Germany, life was officially in the fast lane. I went back to my full time job, had custody of three kids, bought a new car, started and ended friendships, lost 25 pounds, lost my grandmother, gained faith and strength.

But I always missed Germany.

I have come to realize just how lucky I was, how absolutely amazing the entire experience and even though I had a few hiccups, I would recommend it to every single young female (or male) to do the same thing. It really is life changing. The world is huge, go see it and I promise you won’t return the same person you left as.

Finally, my traveling has sparked back up. Since December, I have been in Florida for 10 days, Sanibel Island and it was beautiffffuull! We rented JetSkiis and found wild dolphins, spent days on end laying on white sandy beaches and breathed in all the salt water air I could. I’m totally and will forever be a beach girl.

I took a quick unexpected trip to see my best friend in North Carolina when my flights all got cancelled which worked out to be a blessing in disguise. Ash and I haven’t been together in way too many years and though it was a quick visit, it was so perfect.

Last but definitely not least, I finally went and stayed in New York City which TOTALLY stole my heart, I can’t wait to go back.

All three trips were perfect.

I hope to get back to my blog and write. I can’t promise that it will all be travel based, Au pair based or Germany based.. Although I can’t wait to get back to all three of those things.

A quick post for now, but I’ll be back, I promise!





2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,500 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

13 things I will surely miss

1. Thomy mustard and Stratialla Yogurt and Kase Spatzle

Why these three inventions don’t exist in the US is beyond me, but they don’t. Thomy mustard, is a spicy mustard used for, if you are me, everything. I put it on Bretzen, bread, sandwiches  pizza.. you name it.

Straitialla Yogurt, but not just any stratialla yogurt. It has to be the organic kind that isn’t loaded with sugar. Think vanilla yogurt with flakes of chocolate in it. Or the Dairy Queen Chocolate Chip Shake, and make it healthy. Mixed with Musuli it beats any milkshake. FREAKING, YUM.

Kase Spatzle. Eva  makes this homemade and I already know that no matter what, it will never be the same. I won’t have the true mountain cheeses, or the Swiss cheese from Austria. But I’ll try. Eva is so sweet and got me the Spatzle Hobel to make it. Here I come, Paula Dean.

2. History talks with Eva

I have never been a history buff. I think I slept through more history classes than I was awake for in high school and the only reason I know about German history is because I like to read and read the diary of Anne Frank. Okay, so I am not that bad, but close. Eva is a history teacher and she is just filled with knowledge about this country. Everything from the kings and queens to the holocaust and reform. We just sit for hours and I soak in all the knowledge she has. I’ll miss that. I will miss learning every single day. I love to learn. And even when its not with Eva, there is no way that you can live as an expat and not learn something literally every single day. Why? Because nothing is normal. Nothing is what you know. Everything is different and your brain is constantly challenged. I am going to miss that challenge.

3. Good Beer

Before arriving in Germany, I could go an entire night drinking Bud Light and be a completely happy camper. 

I am dreading going back to budlight. The watered down, low volume and bitter taste of Budlight. Oh how I loved it. But have you ever had a snake bite? Because its Guniess and Cider and it is  liquid euphoria. I never, ever want to drink anything but a snake bite and I am 90% sure it just won’t be the same at home. …sigh.

Local beer everywhere you go. Dorfen actually brews its own beer. So does Erding. Passing. Munich. and every other town, city and village here. And most of them are pretty damn good. 

4. The Bayern Ticket

IE: The best invention ever for someone living in Bavaria. The Bayern Ticket is a train pass, good for a full day for all travel within the state of Bavaria. It includes Regional trains, all S and U Bahns and most buses  The best part? You can add people onto it. It costs 22 Euros for the first person and 4 additional for each person, up to five. Taylor, Helena and I split it and it’s 10 Euros each. That makes seeing a ton of stuff in Germany super cheap. Neuschweinstein Castle (which I still haven’t put on here, sorry…), Salzburg, Austria and pretty much anything you want to see regarding an awesome castle or awesome landscape. I love Bavaria. I will always, always, always love Bavaria.

5. Castles and Churches

As stated above, Germany is known for its castles and churches. No words can describe the pure beauty and childhood happiness that can emerge from staring up at Neuschweinstein. No words can even explain the intricate design of the Salzburg Cathedral. Simply, no words. Complete and utter beauty.

6. Green Rolling Hills

The landscape. Here is Germany, the hills roll and roll and then turn to snow covered mountains  The buildings and houses are painted every shade of pastel with curved roofs and perfect story book fronts. I will miss that. I will miss every bit of the beauty here.

7. The language barrier

I know, I never thought I would say this and as much of a pain in the ass as it was, it can also be intriging and fun. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing fun about the dispatcher for the medics I called not understand a word of English. But it can be fun, when you are eating a meal or walking around and you pick up on a conversation and actually understand it. I came here not knowing a single word of German, and I’m leaving able to pick up on 85% of conversations. It happens with Emilia all the time, she will say something in German, I respond and then realize that I fully understood her. But what I think is even better, is her knowledge of English. Emilia was 3 when I arrived and didn’t know a single word of English. Just the other night, she came down to inform me dinner was ready and said “Hand-lay, Abend essen ist fertig.” Which means, “Hanley, dinner is ready.” So I looked at her and I said Emilia, how do you say this in English? She stopped, thought and said… essen is READY! The look on both of our faces just lights up and I hug her so tight. Teaching such a small child another language has been so rewarding. And THAT IS COOL.

8. Taylor and Helena

While here, I have met two of the funnest, loving, outgoing and crazy females. Taylor and Helena have made this experience everything it is. The girls nights, getting stuck in a city with no way home, laughing at a language mess up, feeling awkward all the time, missing home, being in the same place, in the same state of mind, together. Leaving Taylor and Helena is going to be the worst, worst feeling of this whole thing. See you ladies again soon, promise!

9. Being economical

Here is the thing, point blank. Americans are wasteful. We throw away garbage without a second though, leave the water running and the lights on. And while I realize that not all Americans do this 90% do without a second thought about it. Heck, I did it! But in Germany, I have sorted all trash, recycled, saved, and been completely economical. I will miss that. I will miss having to do that and it being a habit. 

10. Insurance and crazy German organization

Insurance. I am prone to accidents… I’ll admit it, whatever. And here in Germany I had insurance. The burn incident cost well over 10k Euros. Without insurance I would be utterly screwed. 

The German origination actually makes sense. The mandated insurances and the way they run things makes sense. 

11. Chocolate, and I don’t even LIKE chocolate

Oh, my gosh. My entire life I have hated chocolate. About the farthest stretch I would take was chocolate milk. But let me tell you something, the chocolate we have is not chocolate. It’s cocoa and water. The chocolate here is chocolate. My gosh, Americans are deprived.

12. Choco Croissants

This goes right along with the above statement. Creamy, fudge goodness tucked in a buttery croissant is just heaven in your mouth. Nothing, nothing, nothing better. (Also the reason I completely failed at the whole lose weight plan….oops!)

13. This family. 

Last, but not least. In fact, this family is the number one thing I will miss come Monday. 

Eva and Alex have been the most loving, caring, open minded, understanding and welcoming couple I have ever met. They have taught me the value of marriage, the value of a true relationship. They are the definition of true love and they way they support each other in everything is absolutely inspiring. 

The girls. My sweet, little Germany girls. Emilia and I have bonded so much in the last few months, and her giggle is irreplaceable. The way she repeats English and walks around the house “speaking English” can bring a smile to anyones face. It’s complete jabber and doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense, but to her it does. When she tells her friends “This is Hand-lay and she is from Amer-ee-ka” you can see her eyes light up with Pride. 

My Sophia. My sweet, sweet girl. Sophias first birthday is next week and watching her grow and develope the last five months has been such a rewarding expierence. She learned to crawl, hold her bottle, eat real food, sleep through the night, say her first words, pull herself up, take her first steps, giggle her first real giggle…. Between waking her up with the biggest smile I have ever seen, her giggle when you throw her in the air, the way she crawls as fast as a cheetah when I walk in the room…. Gosh, I am going to miss that little girl.

And finally, Antonia. Only one month old and still so tiny and innocent. Even in just a few mere weeks.. and watching her learn to see things, focus and then smile is just heart melting.


Germany, as much as I have bitched and complained about the things I miss.. Nothing, nothing will compare to the time I have spent here. I absolutely loved this place. I loved the country, the history, the people and the culture. I left my family at home for a job. And now I am leaving my family here. 

Germany, Eva, Alex, Emilia, Sophia, and Antonia… I will love you forever. See you soon. 

The big news…

Alrighty, so here comes the big news. The shocker. The “WHATT?!”

I’m going home. I am leaving Germany and in just twelve short days will be on a plane to Chicago. Why? Because I need to. I have things to attend to. And trust me, I’m right in my decision. I know I am. Sorry, bloggy friends, this one isn’t quite appropriate for your eyes. There is just something that I need to do, that I can’t do from 4600 miles away.

I love Germany. I love Germany in all its beer, pretzel and ridiculous no sunny weather goodness. The people I have met, the food I have ate, the (one too many) beers I have tried, and the land I have discovered will stay with me forever. This thing has been the best, most enlightening and memorable experience in my life, though I do hope to somehow beat it someday, because.. well, that would just mean and even MORE awesome experience! The people I have met, the discussions I have had with so many different people, from different places… ahhh, I will miss you all.

Just the other day, my friend Dace left Germany after 7 years to return to her home country of Latvia. While sitting at the table in Augstiner’s Taylor and I came to this whole life changing “ah ha” moment that I think every person needs to expierence just once. About thirty people turned out to say goodbye to our beloved Dace.. and the coolest thing happened. At just one table, just one single table, in the middle of a resturant sat…

A Latvian

Three Americans

An Australian

A few Germans

Two Spaniards

Two Brazilians

A Russian

Two Italians

The list goes on and on. That’s just what I can remember from the people I talked to most. So many different cultures, different languages and different personalities all smashed together in one big table. Thrown into the abiss hoping a language barrier doesn’t stand in the way, and guess what? It didn’t. Somebody knows German, who knows Spanish, who can communicate in Russian and then translate it back. It works. It always, always works.

I guess this is a part of being “globalized” Realizing there is more to this world than automatic cars and the USA. More than Jimmy Johns, Chili’s and Chiplote. (But dear heavens, you can guarantee they are my first stops once I arrive in Chitown) There is more than your routine. There is more your everyday. There is a whole lot more. More language. More culture  More food to be tried. More beer to be drank. Cheap wine exists. The German stereotype exists. Spanish people in fact speak English. Brazilians can fool you into being Italian. Australians have some of the funniest jokes. Americans are spoiled ass rotten. Europe is awesome. People are awesome. Expats are awesome.

So, this is it. This is the end of my aupair journey.. here in Germany at least. Will I be back? Absolutely. My time here has been cut short. There is more I want to see. Next summer, I will defiantly be back in Europe and will make my way into good old Munich. New Town Hall, oh how I will miss you. And Kennedy’s. And my friends. Family. Walking around aimesly and being amazed…..   sighhhh

But ya know what? It’s okay. Because..

This world is a big place, and even though this chapter is coming to a close, I am no where near done exploring it. 


Mirror, mirror on the wall

I am my mother afterall!

As I have talked about for the last, well.. forever. My mom finally arrived on the 12th. First let me start out by saying that knock on the hospital room door was an instant start to a flood of tears and emotions and a huge relief of the week I had just faced in the hospital all alone. Don’t get me wrong, my friends here in Germany were just plain awesome when it came to support. Almost all of them came to visit at some point or another, some of them twice. They provided endless chocolate, headphones, naked men pictures and laughs. They chased the nurses down for me and kept me sane for the remaining days of my stay. But, with that said, nothing compares to mom. Well, my mom at least.

The first two days of my mom and grandmothers stay were, in fact, spend in Klinikum Bogenhausem Hospital in Munich (Sorry, MOM!).. but on my birthday, after much begging and pleading the doctors, I was released and we were on our way out the door! After a long two weeks spent immobile, just the feeling of fresh air felt awesome!

The next week.. well just start laughing. My mom had to push me in a wheel chair for the first three days, carry her and my grandmothers luggage through trains, taxis and long walks. My grandmother fell in the guest haus in Garmisch, thus leading to another emergency medical call and her spending the night in the local hospital, we got lost and stuck in Austria, missed the tour for the castle… well, you can see where this is going. At some point, you just start laughing at all the crap being dished to you and have a good time with it.

We did, however; make it to Zugpitze which was absolutely beautiful and worth every bit of craziness leading up to it. Saturday was just absolutely beautiful in Germany. Without a cloud in the sky, and finally able to somewhat navigate without the wheelchair, we made it to the top.

(Note: 40 Euros for the train ride up is just insane. Pay it. It’s worth every last dime…er, Euro.)


Okay, so right here, right now you  have to stop hating on the fact I resemble a zombie in the above picture. I was being released from a burn unit and was immobile for a week and slouching because I couldn’t stand up straight.. you little hater, you. 



The human body is an amazing thing. The amount of damage and recoil our bodies endure from birth to death is so extensive, yet the human body somehow manages to spring back in time for us to mess it up all over again. Some people, like me, more than others! As some of you know, when I was 16 I was in a terrible car accident that left me with a shattered arm, car and a long road of recovery. After four surgeries, 10 screws, a metal plate, 2 wires, a carpal tunnel release, 2 scar tissue releases and almost three years of physical therapy… My body has sprung back, although with scars both inside and out, and restored itself to an everyday livable state. I did, in fact survive through the pain and recovery. I was released from my doctors at the University of Chicago in 2011. The time between then and now has been minimally painful and I have been quite healthy. That is, until I messed it all up over again! Haha

As I said in my last post, over a week ago I was airlifted to a burn unit in downtown Munich after spilling boiling water all over myself and I promised an update.

If I had a dollar, for every tear I shed and every FaceTime call made home over the last week, I would have enough money to go home and back five times over. It’s a good thing I have been immobile until just yesterday. I probably would have walked to the airport and borded the first plane home.

Medical care here in Europe is a totally different system. The first five days of my stay we spent in the intensive care unit (also known as prison). Visitors were only allowed to be in the room for fifteen minutes, from 4-6 pm, with a max of one per day. Anymore and I was restricted to talking to them through a glass window with a phone. Like I said…. (Prison.) Friday I was transferred to the regular hospital where my 24 hour care came to a screaching halt. I wasn’t monitored. All my IVs were still in but not hooked up. I was in pain, emotional and rock bottom. But then something happened.

I prayed. I have prayed more in this last week than I ever have, and I can say every single one has been answered thus far. I prayed for no infection, the strength to carry on and the patience in recovery. This has, by far been the worst, most painful, and most terrifying experience of my life but ya know what? I made it.

It’s now Tuesday. I have been in the hospital a total of 9 days, and I’m making it. Yesterday, I finally got the clear to get up and try to walk. (OUCH) I actually got to wash and dry my own hair, wear clothes and sit up to eat. Simple things.. But when you can’t do them and lie helpless for a week, they are big things. All my IVs are out and yesterday was my second bandage change (which compared to be first one in which I cried for 6 hours and thus delayed my release from ICU a day). Let me say this again. the human body is an amazing thing Yet again, my body has sprang back into recovery mode. The burns look SO much better than they did only a few short days ago and I’m now on the road to recovery.

Once I’m completely healed, I can say I made it.. But I have some ways to go before I can. But what I can say is, I have almost made it. I didn’t board a plane and don’t have as much of a desire to as I did a few short days ago. I’m happy. I’m getting back to healthy. I can have as many real life hospital visitors as I want and Hopefully, by Thursday, this hospital will no longer be home and I will be released. My birthday is tomorrow and GUESS WHAT?!

Mom arrives in about two hours.

( I’ve only waited forever!)


I rode in a helicopter

Monday, I got the chance to ride in a helicopter and I have debated weather to share this story with you all or not, but I figure its a part of my journey (a big part at that) and most of you are my Facebook friends or family anyways so here it is.

Monday morning started out like any other. Woke up in the morning with a sinus headache, Sophia was her usual smiley self and still no baby for Eva. Isn’t it funny how days can change? Since I had a sinus infection, I decided to boil a potato per Eva’s recommendation to hold onto my sinuses to draw out the pressure. Per the second recommendation, I was going to breathe the steam from the boiling water to help open up my sinuses as well. Notice the past tense in the sentence.

Here’s how it happened.

I put the boiling water in a large mixing bowl, added salt and lemon and sat down in front of it. Sophia was happily playing across the living room. When I looked up, she had ahold of a picture. I got up to remove it from her tiny hands and spilt the boiling water all over myself. That was it. That fast. Boiling water.

Let me first start off by saying I am no hero for keeping Sophia calm. It was instinct that you just don’t leave a baby unattended because you are hurt. After ripping off my clothes as fast as I could, I scooped her up and ran to the bathtub to get cold water. My skin was literally melting. I screamed. Sophia screamed. There is no way a worse possible pain exists in this world. I’ve crushed bones. I’ve had surgeries. I’ve went days with a shattered arm and no pain killers. Again, no pain compares to the feeling of large amounts of skin burning.

After Sophia and I made it upstairs and into cold water, I made the decision to call my host parents, and shorty thereafter the medics. You reach this point, where you realize not enough convincing in the world is going to make an injury “not bad” and give in. 112 is the medical “911” here in Germany. How I remembered that I have no clue, but I did. They couldn’t understand me and in my panicking state of pain there was no way in hell I could manage some German. After a good five minutes of screaming, “ich keine spreche Deutsch, I NEED AN AMBULANCE” I was finally transferred to an English speaking dispatcher who assured (after much reputation) medics were in route.

Eva gets home. Medics arrive. Lots of them. I think ten, and at this point I am screaming for something for pain, when I find out that this again, isn’t the US. When medics show up, that’s just what they are, medics….. Not doctors and thus can not provide any sort of relief. Fan freakin’ tactic. Wait five more minutes under water until the doc finally arrives by helicopter, provides loads of morphine and makes the call to transport to an intensive care burn center in Munich by helicopter.

This is where I sit today. Monday was terrifying. I was knocked out as soon as we arrived in Munich, and woke up in the ICU completely wrapped up and immobile. Single handedly, this has been the most terrifying and downright worst experience I have been through. The doctors say I am lucky, and most of my burns are superficial and will heal without graphing or surgery, but I’ll know more Friday when they change the bandages and remove the dressing.

Until then, I beg daily for my release to be on time for mom to arrive. ( I NEED to take them to the castle,) and hit on the hot surgeon while trying to hook him up with Taylor. (Welcome, Tay!)

Even if it was an emergency, and medical, and I was miserable and screaming…. I still rode in a helicopter and I guess that’s pretty cool. Best friend Katie says it still counts. CHECK that off the bucket list. (Okay, really, nothing about this experience has been funny. But you sit locked up in isolation in the ICU for three days, if you don’t laugh.. you cry and momma isn’t here yet so crying just isn’t an option right now)

Oh……and Eva had the baby!
7 lbs 4 oz
20 inches long
March 5, 2013



This aint Trip Advisor

Okay, so here is the thing.

I watch a few expatty/ aupair now living the German life/ funny girl making life laugh/ home decor genius / nice bloggy friend/ girl making her way the same way as me .. bla bla bla.. You get the hint, BLOGS, I frequently try to keep up with a few. Pretty much all of these blogs have some sort of “disclaimer” stating that they are, in fact, their own opinions and views how they see life day to day, and are not meant to be taken with any kind of serious thought or offense. (Who would have thought?) Now, the time has come where I am going to post that same little disclaimer. With that being said, I am sure this post will make a blogger or two giggle, because I am sure they have had the same thing happen a time or two. Or maybe it’ll make a few mad. But frankly I don’t care, because this is my blog and my opinion. ha!

So, here is the thing. When I tell you that Germans drive like idiots, it is because I think so. And when I told you that Bretzen is disgusting, it was also because I didn’t like it. When I say you can’t find chocolate covered pretzels in Germany, it’s because I asked three local, born and raised German families that had absolutely no clue what they were, and I have yet to find them, THUS I took the idea that they are not an everyday treat to the German culture. When I say the skies are grey but the winter isn’t that cold, it’s because to me.. it isn’t. (It’s rather freaking mild, to be honest ya sissies) See what I did there?

This ain’t Trip Advisor. I’m not here to tell you the ins and outs of German culture, people, weather, food, accommodations or the best way to make the jump across the big ol’ pond. I’m only here to tell you a thing or two about the things that I do, from day to day and life as I see it. I am from Chicago.. my view of a cold winter is going to be different than a person from Arizona. I’m not a bread fan.. my view of what “good” bread should taste like is different than a person that is obsessed with the carb overload. Here in Germany, I live in an itty bitty town just north of Munich. I live in Bavaria. My views of German culture are going to be SO much different than someone staying in Berlin, or even in downtown Munich. I learn Bayerisch, not just Deutsch/ German. I say words with a Chicago accent and I think that, (GASP!) the Germans drive like maniacs. Do they drive like maniacs in Berlin or in the alps? I don’t know. I don’t live there. I don’t see it.

(Deep breath.) SO, basically, what I’m ranting and raving about it, don’t take this blog to seriously. If I say I am living without a favorite snack from home and it can in fact be found at a store here in Germany, that’s great. But from my point of view and the stores I shop at, it can’t. From my point of view this winter is nothing. And from my point of view the drivers are crazy. If you want real, true to the bone info on this place go here. They’re experts on where you can find chocolate covered pretzels.

Don’t take this, life, or anything for that matter too seriously.