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Friday Fives: September 22, 2017 - Around the World in Katy Days

Friday Fives: September 22, 2017

Another work week has come and gone. I can’t believe September is already drawing to a close! No complaints here though, I’m so ready for those cooler Autumn temperatures! Here’s a little about what’s been happening in my head/life in the two weeks since my last Friday Fives.

1. More planning for Japan…

Exactly three months from today we will be boarding our plane to Tokyo! It seems so far away, but then I realize that we purchased our flights over a month and a half ago. Time really does fly!

Planning never ends… In my last FF post, I mentioned that we had all of our accommodations booked and are now able to plan our itinerary out a bit more in terms of attractions. I’ve been doing a lot of research on which temples we want to see, where we want to eat, and museums we want to visit, but there’s so much to do that I quickly feel overwhelmed.

Right now our itinerary is as scattered as my brain feels. It’s basically just a bunch of attractions I know we want to see, but no real sense of how we’ll split them up day by day. But whatever, [insert something about spontaneity here]. Eh, we have three months to figure this stuff out!

2. I may have acquired a Studio Ghibli obsession

So we’ve been satisfying our hunger for Japan by doing lots of “cultural research” AKA watching lots of YouTube videos and Studio Ghibli films. Last Friday we had a “Japanese date night,” where we went to Jinya for some ramen, got some ocha mochi ice cream for dessert, and then followed that by watching My Neighbor Totoro at home. Earlier in the week we also watched Spirited Away, another Ghibli film.

These movies are great and we really fell in love with the soundtracks. Matt found this amazing compilation of Ghibli remixes, and I think we’ll be using the first two songs for our trip videos! (That’s right, plural! We’re tossing around the idea of doing a different video for each city we visit in Japan.) The first two songs are my faves, and I listen to them on repeat. The second one is actually my ringtone now!

3. Two years ago…

…we were adventuring around Washington DC! This was my first trip back since 9/11, and it was great to make new memories there with Matthew. We visited all the memorials on the National Mall, went to the top of the Washington Monument, rode bikes around the tidal basin, took a tour of the Capitol, and went to the Holocaust Museum, Air and Space Museum, National Archives, and the Smithsonian Zoo.

We went once again this year in April/May. Matt had a conference and I just wandered around the city while we was doing business-y stuff. We went to the Climate March, the American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Geographic Museum, Mount Vernon, and the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon.

Since this latest trip we’ve been throwing around the idea of DC as our next step after Houston. Who knows though? That’s several years out, and there’s lots of pros and cons to us making that move. We just know that Houston is definitely not where we’re going to be settling down for good.

4. Mexico

My heart has been aching for Mexico lately seeing the horrible destruction left by the earthquakes. Mexico is very near and dear to my heart. My mom’s parents immigrated to the US from the Mexican state of Jalisco in the 60s. As y’all know from my previous post, my mom spent many a summer there and she still travels there several times a year. The last time I went was two years ago to buy my wedding dress. We were planning a trip to CDMX for Dia de los Muertos this year, but that has been postponed for a few reasons.

My family in Mexico is safe, thankfully. And I’ve been glad to see them taking action and helping others in need in their difficult time. But I’ve been so heartbroken to see the suffering and destruction of not only these people, but those of Puerto Rico, Florida, the Dominican Republic, South Asia, and even Houston, the city I live in. There’s so much sadness and loss in our world right now. Take the time to love people in need by donating supplies, money, or your time.

5. Feeling homesick

Ice skating around the frozen pond in Vilseck, Bayern (1996)

I get homesick for Germany quite often, but I was struck by a particularly strong bout of it the other day after going to the mall. I met a girl working at The Body Shop, and I instantly noticed she had a thick German accent. I got so excited and basically interrupted her in mid-sentence by exclaiming “Woher kommst du?! Bist du Deutsch?!” Sure enough, she’s from Köln, a city about an hour and a half from the city I lived in during middle school. We talked about how much we loved Germany, and how badly we both wanted to go back. I told her about my childhood in Bayern (she had never been!) and how I watch Sound of Music (she had never even heard of it!) to get a little dose of home. It was nice to just reminisce with a fellow Deutsche Houston transplant.

Most often I find myself missing real German food. Real bratwurst, real schnitzel, Käsespätzle. German Fanta, because yes it does taste different and better there. Kafee und Kuchen. GERMAN BEER. Spaghettieis, [cue the sobbing]. Sidenote: I’m always telling Matt about Spaghettieis, and he just doesn’t get it! There’s just something special about that stuff. I miss schwimmbads, the cool ones with the crazy slides. I miss skiing and sledding in my back yard with my friends. I miss riding my bike through the forest and over to the next town. And the mountains. When Matt and I went to Canada last Christmas, I nearly started crying when I got my first sight of the Canadian Rockies. I didn’t know how much I had missed seeing snowy mountains, and I immediately felt so at home in a place I had never even been before. It was an emotional experience.

I’m 93% sure our next big trip (after Japan, of course) is going to be Germany and Austria. Ten years is too long to be away!

Have a good weekend and happy wanderlusting, friends!


  • Amanda

    It’s crazy to me that I live in Canada and still haven’t seen the Rocky Mountains. Definitely on my list! Canada is so big there is so much to see 🙂

    September 23, 2017 at 7:01 pm Reply
  • Michelle

    My husband wants to go to Japan so bad. I’m sending him this link 😃

    September 25, 2017 at 1:37 pm Reply
  • Kate

    Tokyo!!! I’m so jealous – it’s absolutely on my must visit list! Can’t wait to follow along!

    September 26, 2017 at 12:15 am Reply
    • aroundtheworldinkatydays

      Yes! Make sure to stay tuned for lots of Tokyo pics and posts! (:

      September 26, 2017 at 12:56 am Reply
  • Kim

    Thank goodness your family in Mexico are safe! Both my brothers live in South Florida, so they’ve also had a rough time of it. My sister went to Japan a few months ago and loved it, so I hope you guys have a great time as well!

    September 26, 2017 at 3:43 am Reply
  • Aanchal Iyer

    Argh! Japan! waiting since long time to head too for those amazing scrumptious cuisines. Have read all about the dishes and really want to grab over a bite.
    keep posting cheers:-)

    October 3, 2017 at 5:57 am Reply
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