Tag Archives: Southern California

My Easter Tradition



Back in the days when I was a little kid and living in Germany, Easter was one of my favorite holidays.  I loved believing in the Easter bunny, which would come out early in the morning to hide eggs, candy, and toys all around the house and backyard.

My family’s tradition consisted of going to church in the morning, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Once the service was over I remember how excited I usually became, knowing there were lots of surprises waiting at home for my sister and I.  My mother was usually the one hiding all the Easter goodies the night before, but when I was little I truly believed that the Easter bunny was doing all the hard work.

At a certain age I knew that my parents were the ones behind everything, but I still didn’t mind hunting for toys and candy.  It was such a blast, especially since we had a three story home with a small yard, so there were lots of hiding spots.  Once all the surprises were collected, us kids usually inspected everything and tested the new toys.

After the first excitement of the hunt eventually subsided, it was time for brunch.  For that, we usually had a big family gathering either at a hotel or restaurant, where a buffet was offered.  It was the perfect solution and suited everybody’s taste.  Also, since we were a group of about ten people, none of our family members had to stand in the kitchen for hours.  My family is actually still holding up that tradition, just nowadays without me since I moved to the United States.

Since I have been living in America, I have been celebrating Easter, if at all, very differently.  My first Easter in the states was back in 2012, when I was living with a family that had two young children.

One year, I remember I prepared Easter baskets for them that were filled with chocolates and small toys.  I left them on the kitchen table with a note, wishing them a Happy Easter while they were out and about.  The next year, I went to a family gathering with them, but it was still not the same as back in my childhood days.

The following years, I wasn’t celebrating the Holiday at all, and if I wouldn’t have seen it marked in my calendar, I would have had no idea what date Easter was that year.  It just felt different for me over here, I can’t really explain why, but I didn’t have such a connection as I had back in Europe growing up.

Last year marked the first time in a while where I had an Easter experience somewhat similar to my childhood days.  You can describe it as the adult version of what the tradition for us kids looked like.  My now-roommate was house sitting at a beautiful home, fully equipped with a pool and hot tub.

Since she introduced a brunch tradition to her friends many years ago, she extended the invite to me, and I was more than happy to accept since I missed the family Easter brunch gatherings.

It was a beautiful Sunday, the sun was shining, and my roommates’ friends and I started arriving at the location one after another.  Entering the house, I could already smell eggs, bacon (that was the time I was still eating meat), and pancakes.

We gathered around the backyard, some people hanging out in a hammock, others in the hot tub, pool, and benches all around, while the two dogs of the homeowners kept roaming around us.

We had a great time talking, eating, and enjoying the sun together until it was time for the annual beer hunt. Yes, my roommate upgraded the traditional egg hunt to a fun-filled beer hunt, where all of us participants received a beer carton and had to find as many beers as would fit into it.

All the while knowing how clumsy I am, especially when it comes to handling fragile items such as glass, I entered this content with caution, but finished with no further incidents.

After all beer bottles were found, all participants sat back outside with their precious findings, looking forward to indulge into the liquid goodies.  I was sitting in the sun, sipping on my drink when I decided it was getting too hot and wanted to move into the shade, of course not without my cargo.

What I did not consider was that my beer carton, which was soaked up on the bottom with water from the pool, had become a little fragile.  I lifted it up, not supporting the bottom with my hands, and sure enough, it made a quick rip and all remaining bottles smashed on the concrete ground.

Everyone was staring very surprised and quietly at the mess I just had created, until some of us were able to digest the shock a little and got up to clean up the glass.  Oh well, since I am not a big drinker anyways I wasn’t too upset I wasn’t able to drink more, but I did feel very bad about the broken glass all over the floor.

My roommate did invite me again to this year’s Easter brunch/ beer hunt, but luckily I will be up in LA this time, hopefully not breaking anything.  However all of you who are celebrating or not celebrating the Holiday, I wish you a very Happy Easter!

Image: pixabay.com
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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SOCAL German Day 2017 at UCI


Yesterday on Tuesday, February 7 the UCI Department of European Languages and Studies invited to its SOCAL German Day 2017.  A day that started out with German weather in fact. But despite initial rain showers students and teachers came out in big numbers to learn what UCI’s German Studies Program had to offer.

German School campus students and the school’s founder Frau Ursula Schoeneich attended as well and joined in the three hours filled program whichUCI -German consul was put together by Glenn Levine, Professor of German and German Language Program Director at UCI. Before the crowd of students spread out to find their respective session, School of Humanities Dean Georges van den Abbeele as well as the German Deputy Consul General Kathrin Steinbrenner welcomed teachers and students to the event.

A variety of interesting and fun classes were offered including sessions led by Peter Zykowski of the Goethe Institute San Francisco, a workshop with Hanni Geist from the DAAD, and daad-workshop-with-hanni-geista class with Vera Dindoyal from the ZfA-Zentralstelle für das Auslandsschulwesen of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Students of German School campus won the German Trivia Quiz 1 with 20 to 11 against other High School students. They joined classes of “Getting a Degree in Germany”, “Step into German with Soccer and Music”, and a “German Theater workshop”.

At the end of the event everyone could enjoy a UCI Campus Tour led by UCI’s German Studies students in German or English. By that time California sun had come out again as well and begged for a visit at the university’s ‘Mensa’ (food court). Frau Schoeneich and her German School campus students took that moment to discuss the day’s exciting moments while going through their gift bags filled with information and enjoying California fare.


Text/Images: German School campus & CaliforniaGermans


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
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.


From Glamping to Camping


From Glamping to Camping

Those who know me really well know that I am usually not the “Camping Type.”  I prefer sleeping in a room with four walls, a comfortable bed, and a running shower.  But for my girlfriend’s birthday, I made an exception.  I am aware that this sounds like total diva behavior, but I went on a camping trip back in 2010 and it was brutal.  But more to that in another article.  This week I want to give my girlfriend’s birthday trip the attention it deserves, because it ended up being freaking awesome!

The idea arose about a month before Laura’s (name changed due to privacy) actual birthday.  She is well-known for celebrating her birthday in style. Last year, we all went to Catalina for the day, which was a lot of fun.  So I wasn’t very surprised when she told me her plans for this year.  Even though I was not a camping admirer, I was excited to spend a weekend with a group of fun people out in the woods of Santa Barbara.

So when the actual weekend finally arrived, I left my house all packed up at 6 a.m. to make my way up to Santa Barbara.  This was literally the first time I didn’t run into any traffic driving through LA, something that usually never happens.  With only two-and-a-half hours of driving I made my way into the woods, meeting up with my friends who had already resided at the campsite since the night before.

I arrived at the perfect time.  Eggs were already broiling on the camping cooker, and everyone just started gathering around the picnic table.  The campground was really great structured.  Each site was spread out so nobody ended up being crammed to a strange neighbor.  It was also equipped with a big table and grill, even though at this time of the year campers weren’t allowed to BBQ with charcoal or firewood due to the fire danger.  Thankfully we had planned ahead and brought small portable grills that ran on propane.

Since I had decided to sleep in my car through the duration of the trip, I didn’t end up taking space from my other friends who brought three tents they had to set up.  Even though with two small tents and a five person one we still had plenty of room to spread out, which we used for setting up an additional camping table and a game of corn hole.

We cleaned up breakfast right on time before a bunch of nasty flies invaded the campsite, buzzing around our ears for almost an hour before it became too hot and they disappeared.  That was when we decided to explore the nature hood around us by going on a hike.  That was not a very smart move.  With two cars filled with six people and one tiny French bulldog called Stout, we drove a couple minutes toward an open hiking trail.


While on route, we witnessed firsthand the damages the severe dryness of the mountains had caused: the forest on one side was half burned down.  What used to be a sandy walking trail was now only black ashes.  Once we arrived at the open trail and stepped out of the car, a wave of pure heat blew right into our faces.

We had left camp way too late and didn’t manage to avoid the massive hot temperatures.  Trying to keep up a positive attitude, our group made its way up the mountain, only to decide that five of us would be going back to camp ten minutes after we started our hike.  One of our friends, also known as the daredevil, withstood the severe heat and continued to climb up the mountain.

Back at camp all of us searched for shade and didn’t move out of it for a while.  After three hours, our one hiking survivor made it back to the campsite and joined us for an afternoon filled with a corn hole tournament, barbecuing, and playing games before it turned dark.  As every camper knows, that is the time you start telling scary stories, which we did.

Once it was time to hit the sheets I really tried to make myself comfortable in my car.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to put the seats all the way down, nor did I fit onto the back bench.  What can I say, it was more of a sleepless night than I would have imagined, and I would rather sleep in a tent in the future than re-positioning myself the whole night.

The next day we had breakfast and then started packing our belongings together.  While four of the group decided to part ways early and head home, four of us wanted to explore the surrounding area a little more.  We drove to a nearby lake, or at least to what was left of it.  While we thought we would be greeted by deep blue waters, in reality the lake looked more like a puddle.  A big portion of it was dried out, showcasing big cracks on the ground.  It was very saddening to see how far the drought has actually come by now.  This experience was definitely an eye opener.

img_4880  img_4881

All in all this entire trip changed my perception of camping in general.  One point that contributed tremendously to the shift of my emotions toward it was the fact that we actually had a flushable toilet. This really made a difference to the whole camping experience, let me tell you.

But what really made this trip amazing was the particular group I went with.  When you are going with the right people, everything else becomes kind of less important.  I didn’t care I was wearing the exact same dirty clothes the next day or that I wasn’t able to take a shower.  I just enjoyed the great company and rather focused on making my friend’s birthday memorable.  I wonder what she will have in store for next year…

Good Things Come to Those Who Hustle

Good Things Come to Those Who Hustle


I really didn’t intend to make a whole separate series out of my internship. It just so happened that I went through some major stages I think are worthwhile sharing, and I just wasn’t able to fit it all in one article without having to write a novel. But this one is going to be the last one, and then I will be done with this topic, I swear.

My first few weeks with CBS didn’t go so well for me.  In fact, I was terrified in the beginning to actually go back after my disastrous (as I saw it) first day.  I put so much pressure on myself, trying to perform like a pro when I only had been there for a couple days.  This behavior affected my sleep, my eating habits, my workouts and my friends.

My friends were  true angels in that situation, listening to me whining about possibly leaving the internship.  They tried to lift me up in every possible way.  I really am thankful they didn’t want to rip my head off after I always managed to turn the conversation to how unhappy I was in this position.  I just didn’t feel I was suited for the it.

Until that one week my supervisor was sick and had to leave the office.  That was my time to shine and to step up.  At first, I was terrified when she announced that she had to go home because she wasn’t feeling well.  I hated answering the phone, but now that was my responsibility.  And what can I say; I was actually compatible to do it.  It is really not rocket science to take phone calls and transfer them.  After the first couple times I started to become more comfortable with it and started to lose my fear.

I also got to know my boss a little more during that time since I now had to work directly under here.  We had some good conversations, and she told me how much she appreciated me being there.  That really boosted my confidence, and I became ambitious to fulfill each of my tasks the best I could.  I started thriving and believing in myself.  I actually was capable of handling responsibilities in a gigantic corporation where you are confronted with deadlines and a high-pressure environment.

One day during that week, my boss let me accompany her while she was guiding a television crew around the lot.  This was one of the first times when I saw the perks this job brought with it.  It was fun to not be tied to the desk all day and just walk around and watch the crew film sets and interview talent such as late night host James Corden (love him, by the way).  I happily stayed an hour past my off-time just to be around this environment and observe.  I think I thanked my boss a gazillion times that she let me come with her.

When my supervisor got back, the relationship between us became better, too.  I had a way more positive attitude, and it showed.  From that moment on I knew I didn’t want to terminate the internship and saw it as a great experience and a way to enhance my resume.  Of course there were moments when I hated my job, but that happens in my current position too.  It is something everybody goes through from time to time, as long as the positives outweigh the negatives.

The highlight of my internship actually happened during my last week. It was the week of the LA Screenings, which are happening in May each year.  It is an event where the major networks present their upcoming new summer/fall shows to interested buyers from all over the world.  Working this event was a lot of fun, not only because the interns got to work with A-listers such as Katherine Heigl or Michael Weatherly.  We also got to watch the pilots of the new shows.  On top of that, we had an In-N- Out truck catering the event, which was definitely one of the best things ever.

Yeah, that week I realized how lucky I actually was despite all the difficulties I had in the beginning.  And what can I say, when I had to say goodbye, I started crying.  I knew I would miss the environment and the work.  The only thing that I was looking forward to was to not sit in traffic anymore.  Until I landed my current job, which is located in Culver City.  But that is another story.

Image: pixabay.com
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.