Tag Archives: Life in California

My Wagging Year in Review

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MY WAGGING YEAR IN REVIEW

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had wonderful Holidays, no matter how you celebrated. In this past week of the new year, I have seen a lot of posts about people reviewing the past year on social media.  This inspired me to do a specific “year in review” post.

I have been working as a dog walker for over a year now, and let me tell you, there have been some situations that caused me to consider quitting. Luckily though, the positive experiences outweigh the negative ones, and my tremendous love for dogs keeps me going every day.

So today, I’d like to share with you my top five most memorable moments working as a dog walker in Orange County and Los Angeles.  Let’s dive right into it, shall we?

1)  I once accepted an on-demand walk in the Playa Del Rey area, and when I arrived at the house to get the dogs, an older man opened the door. I know this doesn’t sound very exciting yet, but did I mention that he was topless? I am by far no prude, and he could definitely afford to walk around without a shirt- he was in great shape.  I just didn’t expect it and was a little taken aback.

I tried to stay cool and to not glance at his chest, but I definitely got distracted. I couldn’t wait to leave with the dogs, and when we returned from our walk, he was fully clothed. I have only had one other walk booked with these two dogs, and the second time, his wife was home. The inside of me just thought “Thank God” when a completely dressed woman opened the door for me.

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2) I had this one regular client who was usually never home when I picked up his dogs. At one point back last year, he requested a walk for Sunday morning. As usual, I expected for him not to be home.  Once I had opened the front door to his house, I noticed a weird, unusual smell- it can be best described as a mixture of pot and alcohol, all throughout the house.

When I stepped further inside and looked into the living room to see if the dogs were there, I witnessed what looked like the aftermath of a pretty wild party. Pillows were scattered all over the floor; open and empty bottles of all sorts of alcohol were lying around and standing on tables; but no sign of either one of the dogs. I started to call out their names until I heard noises coming from upstairs.

I looked up but couldn’t see anything, until a male voice started speaking. He sounded very apologetic as well as a bit hung over. I figured that it was the owner, who was recovering from the previous night. I didn’t get to see him (Again, Thank God!), I just heard him gushing the dogs down the stairs, which then came walking towards me with wagging tails. I could swear they seemed relieved to get out of the marijuana infused house just as much as me.

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3)  The most serious incident that occurred during my dog walking days happened in November.  I was watching one of my private clients’ two dogs while she was on vacation.  As usual, I took the pups out on an afternoon stroll around the pretty quiet neighborhood.  Nothing out of the regular happened until we passed one particular house.

While the dogs were sniffing around, I suddenly heard a female voice from behind, calling “Excuse me.” I turned around and saw this older lady, holding a phone in her hand.  She looked at me desperately and asked if I could call 911 for her. I never had to dial these three digits before in my life, and I got very nervous and anxious when she asked me. Of course, I didn’t hesitate a second to call while the lady sat down in a chair on her porch.

The dispatcher on the other end of the line picked up in an instant. She asked me about the emergency, and since I didn’t know the situation, I turned to the lady and prayed that she would be able to answer. She told me that she had trouble breathing and that she was over 80 years old. My heart sank. While I was reporting this information through the phone to the dispatcher, a police car was already arriving.  I was astonished how quickly help came by.

The police officer looked after the lady while I was still on the phone.  The next moment, I could hear sirens from far. Again, I couldn’t believe how fast the first responders arrived. Once the dispatcher told me that everything was taken care of and I could hang up the phone, I quickly walked over to the police officer and the lady and asked him if he’d like me to stay.  He said that it was o.k. for me to leave.

I still kept looking back towards the house when I proceeded with the dogs just to see if the ambulance had arrived.  I felt really sad for this lady since she was living by herself and had to ask a complete stranger to help her out during such a scary situation. The following days, I kept being on the lookout for her whenever I passed this particular house. Luckily, one of these days she was standing on her porch together with another woman. I felt relieved to know that she seemed to be better.

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4) I had a “walk” once with a very energetic (this is an understatement) dog.  All I knew was that the dog was still a puppy, and so I was super excited before my arrival at the client’s house. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into until I got the dog.  It was a nice summer day, and the puppy was waiting for me in the backyard.  The owner, like so many of my clients, wasn’t home, but he had left notes of where to find the dog’s leash.

There were two pretty major problems that made it a little tricky to get the walk started. One, the dog was behaving totally out of control and kept jumping while playfully nipping me at the same time. Two, I couldn’t find the leash for God’s sake. I looked around and around but no sign of it anywhere.  I started texting the owner to ask him and he directed me to a couple spots where I should search.  Still no success.

After being at the house for about 30 minutes already and still not able to start the walk or find the leash, the owner suggested I should just take one of his belts from his closet and strap it around the dog’s harness.  I couldn’t believe what I read. The suggestion made me very uncomfortable, especially since the dog was so hyper and would probably break loose.

I told the owner my concerns and he was understanding. He then suggested I would just play with his dog and count it as walk time. Luckily shortly after, the owner’s roommate arrived and was able to find the leash for me in the garage.  The puppy and I quickly proceeded on our outing so that he could release some energy.

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5) One of my favorite memories from last year happened during the summer.  I was doing a house sitting up in LA and had a new walk client scheduled for one of the mornings I was up in the area.  All the information I received beforehand included the address and the breeds of the two dogs.

On the particular morning, I made sure to arrive at the client’s house a couple minutes before the scheduled time in case he would have any questions and so that the dogs could get used to me. I was standing in front of the owner’s apartment door and knocked.  I heard dogs barking and footsteps coming towards me.

I did not expect that I was about to be greeted by a particular person.  Once the front door was fully opened. I had to raise my head up to be able to see the guy’s face, he was that tall.  I don’t think I have ever seen such a tall person in my life before.  He measured at least 7 feet.

Right away I figured that he must be a Basketball player.  There was just no other way.  He was not the most talkative person, but he helped me get the dogs ready and gave me a key to the house since he was not going to be home upon our return.  I know it sounds silly, but I got a little star struck and became extra nervous to make a good impression.

The walk went fine, and throughout the entire hour I couldn’t stop thinking about my first “celebrity-walk-experience”.  As soon as I dropped the dogs back of at the house, I went to a coffee shop right across the street for Internet access.  I looked up the dog owner’s name and sure enough, he was an NBA player. Of course, I couldn’t hold back and had to share that experience with my friends, and it kept me smirking for days.

To many more wagging experiences to come in 2018 and to all of you a year full of happiness and health!

Images: Anne-Kathrin Schulte

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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes about her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany, she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

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#VegasStrong

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#VEGASSTRONG

I have been to Las Vegas countless times.  My first time was when I was 15 during a three week road trip with my family. I will never forget how I was asked to leave the bar my parents were having a drink at because I was under 21. I started crying because I didn’t understand why I wasn’t allowed to sit down, and so my first initial impression about Vegas wasn’t the most welcoming in my eyes.

But then I learned about the “casino for kids” at the Treasure Island hotel. From that moment on I would spent the majority of my time over there while the adults had their fun at the “real” casino, and I made amends with Vegas.

The next time I came to Sin City was when I was over 21 and able to join in all what the adult fun had to offer.  I have been to the major clubs, have danced to the music of incredible DJs playing on stage, and had the occasional “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” experience.  But this last time was very different from any other trip I took out there.

In my last post, I wrote about my friends coming to visit from Germany, who I met up with in San Francisco. When we were planning this trip way back in the beginning of 2017, we decided to fly down to Vegas for a couple of days, since my one friend had never been.  We had planned to leave on Thursday, October 7.  Even in our wildest dreams, none of us could have ever imagined what happened only five days before our trip to Las Vegas.

On Sunday, October 1st, the deadliest shooting massacre in modern U.S. history happened, where more than 50 people lost their lives.  I had watched the reports on TV news; I had seen the videos on social media, where you could hear the horrific gunshots the shooter fired on those innocent concert goers; I had read the stories about the victims. But nothing can prepare you for what you are going to see when you are at the actual place.

The first night of our arrival in San Francisco, we talked about what happened. We weren’t scared of going, but we were clearly in shock and unable to grasp such an event. Would it still be ok to visit a club and dance the night away? Would it be fine to have a couple drinks, celebrating our reunion after not seeing each other for two years? Would it be disrespectful to have fun at a place where such a tragedy took place only a few days before our arrival?

The morning of our flight to Las Vegas, I wasn’t able to function well; partly because I didn’t sleep the night before and we had a very early flight, and partly because I was nervous about what to expect.  The moment the plane touched down in Vegas, we could witness the aftermath of the tragedy: we spotted the broken windows of the hotel room. It felt surreal to actually see a crime scene in real life rather than on TV.

The view of the broken windows followed us along all the way from the airport to the hotel. The sight definitely impacted our moods, but we still wanted to make the best out of our time being in Las Vegas. Since our room wasn’t ready at the time we arrived, we decided on walking along the strip for a bit to find a breakfast place.

It was a nice warm day out, but the bulletins we saw along the strip made me chill.  Where tourists were usually being bombarded with bright light advertisements, people could read messages like “We’ve been there for you during the good times. Thank you for being there for us now.”

We walked past a restaurant that had a poster displayed in its window, mentioning that all first responders who were present at the time of the tragedy trying to help would receive a free meal.  Plastered along the streets was the hash tag #VegasStrong. Thank God for sunglasses in moments like this, because I was about to start crying whenever we passed one of those billboards or placards.

I can’t really describe the feelings that went through me during those three days.  My friends and I still enjoyed the warm weather and what the city has to offer, but it did make me feel guilty.  One night, we watched the amazing water show in front of the Bellagio hotel. A few steps further down from where we stood, people had built a memorial with candles, signs and flowers. All three of us grew quiet when we passed by it.

While we were reading the messages, a couple feet further down, two women dressed up as showgirls were trying to get tourists to take pictures with them. That is Vegas for you: no matter if during the good or the bad times, the city is still trying to give you what you came for: an escape out of everyday life.

We didn’t end up going to any clubs or shows this time rather than just relaxing by the pool, indulging in some good food, and exploring the city. At the end of our three day trip, Las Vegas bid farewell to us with the same scene it welcomed us: the view of the broken hotel windows.

It is really hard to grasp such a tragedy and witnessing the aftermath first hand. But it is also beautiful to see how a city stands strong and brings strangers together during hard times like this. #VegasStrong

Images: pixabay.com

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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

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I Scream, You Scream, Museum of Ice Cream

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I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM, MUSEUM OF ICE CREAM

Remember those museums where it is all about “don’t touch, just look” and “no photography”?  Luckily, since a couple of months now, there is a new fun and interactive place in town, where touching and making Instagram memories are highly encouraged (at least for the most part). Welcome to the Museum of Ice Cream!

Located right in the heart of the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles, this interactive place of discovery totally defies the meaning of a traditional museum. The fun already starts before you even enter the place. Visitors are guided into a cute little garden right next to the facility, which is equipped with fun games like Cornhole and Jenga. The music is blasting, and you can’t help it but get in a happy mood.

The staff at this place is doing a wonderful job at keeping the crowds entertained and forgetting about everyday life at least for one afternoon. Once visitors are called to line up by the entrance, a certain amount of people are encouraged to participate in a Hula Hoop contest.  After all the hoops have touched the ground, it is finally time to enter the holy halls of the actual museum, but not without a quick briefing by one of the employees.

In my friend’s and my case, who had the honor of visiting this trending spot recently, this person had the funky name of Sprinkle Steve, a handsome twenty-something Zach Efron look-alike. After a quick reminder that people are allowed to touch everything except the popsicles and bananas, the really fun part starts: exploring the museum.

While I don’t want to give too much away in case some of you, dear readers, are anticipating visiting the Museum of Ice Cream yourself, I’d like to tell you this:

1) Your sweet tooth will definitely be satisfied. With samples of chocolate, ice cream, and gummy bears in almost every of the exhibit rooms, your taste buds will not be disappointed.

2) If you are a fan of photography and Instagram, this is the place to be.  Every room in the museum offers unique photo opportunities thanks to a ton of fun and interactive props.

3) This museum is very well organized and only lets a manageable amount of group sizes in at once.  Thanks to specific time slots you get when you purchase your ticket, the exhibit never feels too crowded, and you don’t have to wait in line for ever to capture the fun in pictures.

4) Be advised that tickets are currently sold out and, if they are available, sell out quickly.  It took me two tries until I was finally able to purchase tickets after I missed the newsletter announcement once.

If you are like me and like the out of the ordinary, then this is the place for you.  You will experience an afternoon where you are allowed to be a kid again in the colorful world of candy.

Life is short, eat that ice cream!

 

Images: Anne-Kathrin Schulte
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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

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New Year, New Career?

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NEW YEAR, NEW CAREER?

To say life has been a rollercoaster lately would be a total understatement.  These last couple months have been very challenging, and I needed to take a break from writing for a bit, even though I claim it is a kind of therapy for me.  But, as we all know, life happens, and we do have to prioritize certain things.

I usually start to slow down during the winter months for a bit, not being able to be as active as during spring or summer. Piled on top of this was my career situation.  I did start an internship in August, which I unfortunately had to terminate in November.  I had such a great time at Tricoast Worldwide, and it really wasn’t easy to leave.  I learned so much and had wonderful coworkers who made work feel like fun.  I loved the family environment so much more than working for big corporations like I did before.

But, as another saying tells, if one door closes, another one opens, which I did not see at first.  As not many of you might know, I do work as an independent contractor for an app that provides dog walking, boarding, and sitting.  I started doing this job on the side when I was still at Tricoast, but it became my full-time position once I quit.  I am a huge dog lover and have to confess that I was actually a little excited, yet also scared, to take on this career shift.

I personally rather am with animals than sitting at a desk all day, staring at a computer screen.  I also wasn’t ready to start writing applications for PR jobs again, after it took so much effort to eventually land an unpaid position- yeah, no thanks.  I told myself to take it easy over the holidays, and once New Year’s hit, I would feel refreshed and ready to give applying another go.

But you know what? It didn’t happen like that.  Yes, I did take it easy over the holidays and got some much needed rest.  But I wasn’t feeling refreshed and ready to write applications.  All I wanted was to work with dogs.  I know that probably sounds ridiculous to many people, especially in expensive California.

But I am happy.  I am truly happy to have a job that doesn’t feel like a job to me.  It never feels like work for me, and every day is different.  This, I believe, is what your dream job has to feel like.  And, since I have put a couple of these in this post already, here is another smart saying by Mark Twain that sums it up perfectly: “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

I do am aware that I will not be able to perform this job forever.  At the end of each day, I can always feel every muscle in my legs from being on my feet all day.  Also, there are no benefits, and I have to work rain or shine in order to make ends meet. But I see this position as my ground base.

I would love to be able to combine my degree in communications with working with animals at some point.  But I am not stressing out about it at the moment.  I rather enjoy what I do, be able to save up some fundamentals, and then start taking the next step of the career ladder. And also find the time to write more again.

Image: pixabay.com
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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

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My Internship with CBS – Part Two

 

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My Internship with CBS – Part Two

I hope everyone had a great, relaxing, fun-filled Labor Day, not worrying about having to be at the office at 9 a.m. and fighting through rush hour.  Speaking of heavy traffic and labor, beginning of this year, I made my first big steps toward a future in the entertainment business.

Even though I had been affiliated with the Newport Beach Film Festival and got a glimpse into the film industry, the doors that were about to open for me in January had a major impact on which route I wanted to approach.  But before that, I had some hurdles to tackle.

The first one was the phone interview I talked about last week.  I was nervous, but I managed to stay calm and professional, and I somehow must have left a good impression because I was invited to an actual in-house interview during that same phone call.

Saying that I was excited about this opportunity is a clear understatement.  I swore myself that this is my chance to lay the building blocks towards a great career, and I didn’t want to jinx anything.  I took the preparation for the upcoming interview to a whole other level.  Don’t get me wrong, I do prepare for every interview properly, but I definitely took it up a notch for this one.

I started studying the backgrounds of the company that same night, thinking about every possible question they could ask me.  I practiced my answers to any potential questions while taking a shower, while watching TV, or while driving.  I also laid out my outfit a day in advance, figuring out that I had to run to the store to get a more appropriate blazer.  I also had to buy a watch to cover my wrist tattoo and got my nails done.

In addition to all this, I rented a car for the day of the interview, just to make sure I would definitely make it without having to worry about my personal, older vehicle to break down.  Oh boy, that interview preparation probably cost me more than what I got paid the first week of actually working at the company.

When the big day arrived, I made sure to leave the house two-and-a-half hours in advance just to avoid crazy LA traffic.  Of course, I arrived way too early, but thankfully The Grove was located right next to the interview site, so I spent some time there.  30 minutes before my appointment, I started driving around the studio  a couple times, being amazed with how complex the lot actually was.  All I kept thinking was: I have to go in there in 25 minutes.  Me, the German girl with the funny accent was about to step into the grand halls of fabulous TV making.  Yeah, I was intimidated.

Reminding me to keep it together, I followed the instructions I was given by my future supervisor and parked the car in the lot after I passed the guard at the gate, who took my information.  I confidently stepped out of the car, making my way toward the grand entrance, where another guard greeted me and asked for my information, before I was guided upstairs to actually meet with my future supervisors who were conducting the interview.

On the third floor, I was friendly greeted by one of the women, leading me to the office of the Vice President of Communications.  I instantly felt welcomed by the two women, and when they started asking me questions, I was most of the time able to hide my nervousness.  After the interview was done, I was being told that I would be notified during the next couple of weeks. I felt beyond relieved stepping out of the building.  I took a deep breath before I had to make my way to join in the fun of driving in LA traffic.

Ten minutes into my drive back, my phone started ringing, displaying a number with an LA area code.  I pulled over onto the nearest available parking lot, when I saw that the person who called had left me a voice mail.  Instantly, I dialed my voice mail, and I couldn’t believe what I just heard.  It was the HR lady from CBS, letting me know that I got the job.

I don’t even know how to describe the emotions I felt in that moment, but I was freaking happy, to say the least.  I actually managed to land a paid internship with one of the most successful television networks in the USA.  And they wanted me, the humble German girl with the funny accent.   At that time, I had no idea how this internship was about to challenge me.  But more about that next time…