auf Wiedersehen

Auf Wiedersehen is not goodbye, but rather a German saying used to express farewell. It literally translates: auf, until + Wiedersehen, seeing again. I couldn’t think of a more ‘perfekt’ title for our final Mustard + Bananas post.

We moved from Frankfurt on March 24th and I knew someday this post would come. I needed to allow the space to acclimate back to American living, and give some time to marinate on our experiences. This blog, with all 87 posts, has been incredible for capturing over two years of our lives. From figuring out how to navigate a new city, new culture, new language – to traveling more than we could have ever imagined, and all the while discovering how strong we are both individually and together as a couple – there is no better gift.

In the spirit of celebration, today we will share Thanksgiving with our loved ones in the States (this is the first since 2013). One thing this whole moving abroad experience taught me is time flies, and before you know it it’s over and you’re figuring out what’s next in your life ahead.

ye_eevr0kksczndunskdurix6rmv9bn0lr1vpoccajm

It’s been nearly 8 months since we Sachsons left Sachsenhausen, and I will always be fond of this place. At first, the experience abroad was challenging, and as hard as it was, I’m grateful. I’ve learned how to find a better balance in my life, to never give up, to persevere when times are tough, and above all to appreciate the present moment.

ffm38

Walhof’s – the place of our last dinner in Germany.

Coming home we moved back into the condo we left, and after the first night our place looked like a really bad episode of hoarders. It took us three full days to get everything back in place and what we found is we only really needed 2/3 of our belongings. I think living in 350 sq. ft. for two years taught us a very valuable lesson – to need less than what we think. We were more than happy to donate our 1/3 and settle into our familiar space.

clt6 dscn9285

In our home I LOVE incorporating the items from our travels and gifts from our friends abroad. It was important to not have the space look exactly the same as it did two years ago, so we made changes by arranging the furniture in a different way. We are not the same as we were two years ago, and our place should reflect it.

dscn9281

The Duke was a gift from our German neighbors and Aperol is for my favorite drink I discovered while abroad, an Aperol spritz.

The glass candle holder is from my favorite Frankfurt coffee shop, Oheim. The bike is from our first trip to Amsterdam.

The glass candle holder is from my favorite Frankfurt coffee shop, Oheim. The bike is from our first trip to Amsterdam.

dscn9270

A few days later we were reunited with our sweet girl, Natalie. She was well taken care of while we were gone, and it took no time at all to settle into a routine. I love seeing her wake up in the morning and be so excited to go outside, as she leaps off the bed with her tail wildly wagging. Eating her meals, taking naps, and playing with her ‘babies’ (a.k.a. toys) gives her great joy. It’s the simple things that make her happy, and being with her helps me keep things in perspective by not sweating the small stuff.

img_0634 fullsizerender-8

Shortly after moving back, I started teaching again at my home studio, Enlighten Yoga. It was a pretty amazing experience to go back to the place where my practice started. Not only have I changed in the two years I’ve been gone, but my teaching has also evolved. Everyone’s been so warm and welcoming, I truly am overwhelmed by their kindness. I’ve been told moving away helped me to “find my own voice” as a teacher. I suppose teaching yoga full-time for a couple of years will do that 😉

clt5

The studio has evolved since I left, and I think it’s better than ever. The teachers are amazing, and I’ve enjoyed taking their classes and learning from them. For my teaching, I have one permanent hot yoga class on Sunday’s at 10:45am. I also alternate three additional classes – yoga basics and yin. It was important for me to keep stepping out of my comfort zone, so this coming February I will be doing a 15-hour yin yoga training – a practice I fell in love with once I got abroad in Germany. I’m excited to keep sharing this love and passion for yoga, and it’s an incredible honor to come back ‘home’.

To get me out of the comfort zone even more, I decided to be open to trying new things. In April, I joined a friend at the bar method and admittedly, I did not like it. Something told me not to brush it off after one class, so I joined for a month, and after class five my opinion changed.

Photo credit: Bar Method Charlotte - Southpark

Photo credit: Bar Method Charlotte – Southpark

I find myself overcoming challenges in each class, and that’s why I keep coming back. You find out what you’re made of and continue to build strength. I started towards the end of April and I’m 16 classes away from hitting 100. This may not sound like a huge deal, but it is, ’cause at 100 you receive a pair of light blue ‘Century’ grip socks. My goal is to sport those socks by the end of the year!

In terms of a great (+ fun!) cardio workout, another friend shared a little secret. A $5 cardio dance funk class! This takes place every Sunday and when I can make it, I take it. For 60-minutes we dance with Lem Houston to hip-hop music with people of all shapes, ages, and sizes. Here’s the website if you’re interested in checking it out. A couple weeks ago, he offered a free 90-minute class at a local brewery, and two ladies from work came along. One of them described the class as “feeling like she was a Carolina Panthers’ cheerleader”, and I like that description. I can promise you this – you’ll sweat, laugh, have fun, and it will be the best $5 you’ll spend!

****

Speaking of work – I landed my dream job on June 1st. I worked nearly a decade for Charlotte’s local Coca-Cola bottler, and it was hard to leave. Shortly after the new year, I found out they were hiring a Marketing Brand Manager and the description was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted a job that had multiple facets with many moving parts – and I’m responsible for three main objectives:

  1. Event Planning – an internal 2-day sales rally for nearly 1,000 employees, twice a year.
  2. Media – as in radio/billboards and determining what makes sense for our territories.
  3. Grassroots Marketing – overseeing programs/budgets and bringing our brands to life.

14947972_10154038557357544_2266256649680682236_n 14192787_10153881448647544_2352247149402155372_n

It’s been almost 6 months, and it feels like I’ve never left. My boss lady was a previous supervisor and it is great to work for her again. She is super cool, smart, and highly respected in our organization – I’m the lucky one to have her as a boss.

Photo credit: Paige Winn

Currently, we’re working on an exciting Diet Coke campaign with a few local bloggers, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know them. The following four photos are from the amazing Paige Winn.

ec1a9899 ec1a0371 ec1a0338

In my cube, it was a priority to make it feel homey and create a mix of old and new. The upper shelves are items mostly from my past: pillow was a present from my father-in-law, the three glass bottles are projects I personally worked on, the clock was from my former boss, my last service award, and spirit fingers from a ‘back in the day’ college promo. The items below the shelves are mostly new. To the left is a piece of the tablecloth we had in our German home, most of the pictures were taken during our time abroad, and a few cards given to us before we left Germany made their way into frames. I love this mixture – and completed the space with a gold lamp and a mug from home.

dscn9302

As you can see the schedule is pretty packed, yet with a full-time job, part-time yoga teaching, and spending time with my family – I find my balance. One way Kevin and I share our limited time in a quality way is through cooking. We tried three of those home-delivery companies and landed on our favorite.

We receive our Green Chef delivery on Wednesday, and three nights a week we cook a meal together.

dscn9287

Inside the box is everything we need to make a fresh, organic dinner that’s perfectly portioned.

dscn9290

In general, the dinners take anywhere from 30-40 minutes to complete and each meal is relatively easy to make.

dscn9297

Voilà! Delicious, nutritious, and we did it together.

Cooking in our kitchen, we always smile when we think of the German kitchen we attempted to cook in and how it was a little problematic to not have an oven or microwave. Moving back to our home, we gained a new appreciation for all that we have – a completed kitchen! What’s even funnier is pre-Germany we would drive to the local grocery store and now we resort to our “German ways” and walk the five minute walk. We laugh that it probably took us longer to get in the car, drive there and find a spot, rather than just using our two legs.

kit1 kit2

The above kitchen pictures are from my original condo, just below our current home. A couple months ago we put it up for sale, and received an offer after only 15 days! We will close on Tuesday and hand over the keys to a newly married couple. They sent us a hand-written letter explaining as soon as the front door opened, they knew this place would be their home. The wild thing is that’s exactly how I felt the first time the front door opened, too.

Little did I know five days after moving in I would meet my neighbor Kevin, and a couple weeks later we would go on our first date. That night I knew this was my guy and I could not wait to call him forever mine. Next month we will celebrate three years of marriage.

ffm41

At the beginning of this year, I wrote a post on setting the intention for change and I said the follow statement:

“Change is coming, but that doesn’t mean life should stop. It’s quite the opposite. It’s a sign to slip on the cute shiny pumps, pop the good bottle of champagne, and keep moving forward. Our plan is to continue creating as many memories as possible and I know when we look back on our precious time abroad, we will have no regrets.”

Definitely no regrets and we did live it up.

Moving home we’ve had so much to celebrate – a couple of birthdays, births of friend’s babies, two weddings in California, and even a visit from a friend who still lives in Frankfurt.

I’ve even had my heart melt when my Frankfurt girls brought me out to dinner…

clt4

Seriously, I’m beyond lucky and every single day I find gratitude and thanks.

clt7

“Be where you are, not where you think you should be.”

We are living proof that you can move abroad and flourish. I think if you have a dream – do what you can to make it happen. If someone would have told me when I bought the condo that I would be living in Frankfurt less than two years later, teaching yoga full-time and traveling Europe with my love, I probably wouldn’t have believed it.

Like anything else in life, when you are handed certain cards, you learn to play the hand you’re given. For me, I found love and that love translated into an incredible husband, many fulfilling friendships, and countless memories I will cherish throughout this lifetime.

ffm49

This is not goodbye, but rather ‘until we see each other again’. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to those of you that took this journey with us. We loved German living and we love American living. One is not better than the other, it’s just different. No matter where life takes you, always remember to trust that it will work out exactly how it’s supposed to.

auf Wiedersehen,

Jess xx

The Six-Month Checkup

Today marks our six-month anniversary of exchanging vows and rings.

I mean…really, it feels like yesterday when we were sitting in a restaurant with Kevin’s parents, who were visiting Charlotte, where we decided to share our big news. Before doing so, we made sure they each had a glass of wine in front of them and enjoyed a couple of sips before dropping our bombs. I still remember their faces when we told them 1). we would get married by eloping to San Francisco and 2). we were moving to Germany, where Kevin would take a new position with his current company.

Without hesitation they immediately turned to me and with concern asked, “What are you going to do?”. In my best “go with the flow” attitude, I simply said “I will figure it out. More importantly since Kevin and I are a team, where ever he goes, I go”.

Flash forward to today, I now fully understand what they were asking. They knew to vacate your life and all things familiar is not an easy task. This is not a vacation, but rather still living life and doing so in a foreign country. There is laundry to handle, errands to run, making sure the fridge is stocked, and praying you get to the store in time before it closes (and if it’s Sunday, fuhgeddaboudit, ALL stores are flat out closed).

Speaking of laundry - this is the daily situation. We have a washer and this rack is our dryer. Not long after I arrived, I took the wet clothes out of the washer to be placed on the rack. Kevin decided to help and then informed me the clothes needed to go back in because they were still wet! Ohhh Kevin - I have a feeling he paid someone to handle the laundry before I arrive ;)

Speaking of laundry – this is the daily situation. We have a washer and this rack is our dryer. Which reminds me, a few weeks ago, with Kevin’s “help”, I took the wet clothes out of the washer to be placed on the rack. He then proceeds to inform me, “The clothes need to go back in because they are still wet”! Ohhh Kevin – I have a feeling he paid someone to handle the laundry before I arrived 😉

This major change, this slowing down, for me – a highly productive person, has been a hard pill to swallow. Sometimes in life you need to take a glance back at where you were to know where you are going.

jobs (2)

I had the privilege of pursuing two passions – both very different, yet each providing valuable lessons to learn.

Shortly after graduating college, I began my career working with a pretty recognizable brand, Coca-Cola and worked for over nine years with the local bottler. Those nine years provided tremendous growth and the ability to hone a few skills – planning, organizing, problem solving, managing accounts and developing relationships (to name a few). Some of those relationships have fostered into friendships I still have to this very day, and for that I am grateful.

With this experience came the greatest piece of advice I have received, which was given to me by my first boss. Early on he told me, “When it comes to your career, think of yourself as a duck swimming in a still lake. Looking on from above the water, the duck seems calm, cool and collected; however, under the surface the legs are kicking wildly, multi-tasking and making things happen getting from point A to B”.

Despite how much was going on under the surface, everyday my mantra was to maintain a positive outlook and be a sense of encouragement to others. The people I worked with are an unbelievable group of highly dedicated, hard-working individuals, who at the end of day were also my teachers….I miss them dearly.

As a sweet surprise, just the other day, I received an e-mail from a former co-worker. Before leaving the company, we had worked together on the “Share A Coke” campaign for our area of business, which has been rewarding to see here in Europe. He went to the vending machine at the office to get his favorite beverage and out came a bottle with my name on it! Before I left the company, I was lucky enough to score two bottles :).

Share.png

*****

Often I get asked, “How did you get into yoga”?

Before responding, I smile in appreciation and gratitude for this amazing journey which began nearly five years ago. Prior to this time, I had been pretty unhealthy… I was the girl going to McDonald´s at least three times a week, ordering a Big Mac with super sized fries. I had no idea what it meant to be “healthy”.

When I turned 25, I consciously decided to make changes in my life and learn what it means to be healthy.

During that time, I made the move to Charlotte, NC where I took a promotion with Coca-Cola. I had been living in Charlotte over a year and fortunately found the yoga studio YogaFlex, now known as Enlighten Yoga. I decided to check out the website, saw a class called “Hot Yoga”and thought it sounded interesting.

It was a random Thursday night in July 2009 when I first stepped foot on my mat. I was completely clueless in that first class because I had never taken yoga, let alone heard of Sanskrit. Yet, after those 75 (hot!) minutes, I was essentially hooked. My practice started out at three times a week and steadily increased until it became a daily practice.

At the beginning, the practice was difficult because it was opening the doorway to feeling many emotions… teaching me not to dwell in the past or anticipate the future, but to truly be in the present moment – moving, breathing, and enjoying life.

On the mat, I have cried, been frustrated, fallen on my face, laughed, and learned not to take myself to seriously.

So what if you fall out of a pose? It’s called life and we will all fall at some point, yet the key is to get right back up and try again.

With a full-time marketing career and part-time job teaching yoga, I was very good at always moving and using momemtum to propel me forward. Something had to give and my mentor/ dear friend Marilyn sat me down and said, “Give yourself the opportunity to be still, to fill up your cup and learn how to simplify your life by evaluating what you could let go of….”.

This is another valuable lesson I take with me, not only for my personal practice, but also when I teach. To be able to offer others the gift of peace, stillness, flexibility and strength, not only in the body, but also the mind… this is an amazing gift and I am truly blessed to be able to share it.

Take it from me, what ever you are searching for, be it a new job, life partner, the perfect pair of shoes… all things in this life with come and go.

Take a look at this very moment because this is the destination. Not the past, not the future, but here and now. If you just pause, what could you take away?

I ask myself this daily and was reminded of this very thing, when I was messaging with a friend. He was hoping Kevin and I were having a nice time in the “Mother Land” and I responded with, “Yes we were definitely enjoying our time over here and certainly miss home”. His response was exactly what I needed to hear. His amazing reply, “Home is always here. Absorb every moment you have as if you only have it once!!!! LIVE IT UP!”

And so for this beautiful present moment, I will “live it up” by embracing this pause to the life I had and fully embrace this new one abroad.

One day, I will be back to managing a jam-packed, every second is spoken for, type of schedule, but for now learning to slow down, pause and enjoy this rare experience… now that’s an invaluable life lesson.

*****

On this special anniversary, I would like to thank my sweet husband for loving me as much as you do, and always providing every need I ever wanted. Being the most giving, compassionate, selfless person I know, who always makes me smile and causes my belly to hurt from laughing so hard.

I am thrilled to share this joy with you and starting our marriage the same way we celebrated our wedding day, the unique bond of just you and I. Six months down and a blissful forever to go.

1922523_10151980184192544_837207002_n