we like weird

So yesterday marked our 3 weeks here in Copenhagen!
That’s a short time but we are feeling so at home. We are ALL settling in nicely.
We love our temporary apartment and would really enjoy staying here longer but it’s really far from Seth’s work. 
We have to be moved out by the middle of August and are on the hunt for somewhere to go. There are several apartments that we like, and we are hoping to narrow it down in the next week or two.

So Copenhagen is weird. It’s kind of hard to explain, but it’s just kind of weird.
Ok so the people here are very into being healthy and eating whole foods, but then like 70% of the people here smoke.
Danes are very earth friendly. Super into recycling, riding bikes instead of cars, and having parks everywhere…..but people litter ALL over the place. Just throw their trash anywhere. Also people (men) urinate in public all the time.  It’s not rare to be on a walk and just see a man peeing on a tree.
The people dress weird too.  I know we’re in Europe so the style is different, but people dress way too heavy for this weather.
So the weather has been REALLY nice, around 65 degrees, but it feels like 80 degrees. Something about the sun being stronger here or something, but people dress as if it’s 15 degrees outside!!!
Me and Seth are in shorts and t-shirts and the people around us are dressed in jeans, boots, sweaters, scarves, jackets.  IT’S CRAZY!
I’m like…..how are you not sweating or collapsing from heat?
Weird. Weird.  
Thankfully me and Seth like weird. So we fit in nicely here.

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Our Apartment!

Seth’s company is putting us up in this awesome apartment for the first 3 months we are here.
We LOVE this apartment!
(It’s very Ikea)
Here’s a peak inside …………

Kitchen and dinning area

Kitchen and dinning area

living room

living room

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our deck, my favorite spot

our deck, my favorite spot

i love being out on the deck. It’s so peaceful and nice.
If you look past that Danish flag you will see the Oresund Strait that connects Denmark and Sweden.

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courtyard with small playground

courtyard with small playground

We only have 1 bedroom here so we are crammed in.
It’s not so bad though, kind of nice having Pearl’s bed 2 inches away from mine.

bedroom

bedroom

I kind of like having Pearl's bed 2 inches away from mine
An entire wall of the bedroom is a big closet with sliding doors. We can fit ALL of our stuff in there with plenty of space to spare.

my part of the closet

my part of the closet

Seth's part of the closet

Seth’s part of the closet

Pearl's part of the closet

Pearl’s part of the closet

Our bathroom is awesome. It’s got a nice walk in shower, heated towel rack, lots of storage, and a washer/dryer combo. Above the washer/dryer is a large counter and a drying rack, (since the dryer part doesn’t work too well.)

bathroom

bathroom

We stayed at this same apartment complex last year when we were in Denmark. We love this part of town, but it’s about an hour commute to Seth’s work. So when we look for a more permanent apartment we will hopefully find something closer to his work.

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HELLO HELLO HELLO ALL
We have finally arrived safely in Copenhagen, Denmark!

We left Raleigh at 6pm and flew for about 8 hours over to London, had a 3 hour layover, then had a 2 hour flight from London to Copenhagen.
Our flight from Raleigh to London was rough. We weren’t expecting it to be fun or anything, but it was brutally rough. We flew American Airlines and the plane was SO small and gross.  Both times last year when we flew internationally the seats in front of us had a small tv screen and you could pick from a ton of movies/shows to watch.  That was so great to keep us distracted during the flight. But this flight just had like 3 screens hanging from the ceiling and they played 2 lame movies: “Saving Mr Banks” and “Hugo”.
Also the 2 people in front of me had their seats laid ALL the way back. The plane was so small I couldn’t even move my legs. Even Pearl was cramped, and she’s 2. Oh yeah and the guy in front of Seth kept blowing his nose and throwing his dirty tissues on the ground.
UUUUUGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!
We could not have gotten off that plane soon enough!!!!!!

When we landed in London it was nice to walk around for a little bit and let Pearl get some energy out.  
Thankfully our next flight was perfect. Nice spacious seats, super friendly attendants, and for the ‘snack’ they served super delish panini’s. Oh British Airlines, you are wonderful!
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Major proud mom-day when my wonderful toddler was pure perfection on the flights and in the airports!  Seriously she was perfect!

After finally landing in Copenhagen we were all giving each other high fives and saying “we’re here!!…..we made it!!”

Ahh, we made it.  It feels really nice. We are still totally in a blur from lack of sleep and so much chaos, but we are feeling good.

Sending LOTS of love to our family and friends back in NC and a special shout out to our moms/Granny/Nanner!!!  We love you!

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ready to come home

Whelp, our time here in Copenhagen is coming to an end.
We leave here on Thursday around noon and travel to Toronto for a 6 hour layover (boo) and then off to Raleigh!  YAH!!!
I have already started to pack and am about half way done.

We have been staying busy, mainly with Pearl.
This past Friday she got a big boo-boo. We were heading out the door to pick up Benny (dog we are sitting) and she slammed her hand in the door.  It took some of the skin off of 3 of her fingers, and they started bleeding and swelling. We were terrified that they were broken, but thankfully they aren’t!
Last week when we were in Austria she got heat-rash. It doesn’t  really bother her, but it looks nasty.

We are just really ready to be home!  We miss our house and our animals….oh yeah and all of our family =)

This whole trip I have been telling Seth that when we get home he needs to treat me to a pedicure since we have been walking SOO much this trip. I don’t think he’s picking up on my hints. what a guy.

Yesterday was our last Sunday at our church here, International Church of Copenhagen. I made so many friends who really made our stay here more enjoyable.  Two of my friends from the church even let Pearl borrow toys and a snowsuit.    That church has been such a blessing to us.

There are several things/people/places we are really going to miss about Europe, but Raleigh is our home!

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GERMANY

aahhh Germany. I have wanted to go there for years….and boom, now I can check it off of my bucket-list
While we were staying in Austria, we took advantage of the fact that Germany was just a short train ride away!
Our main plan of the day was to go to the top of Predigstuhl mountain.

After we got off the train we kind of had no idea where we were going, so we just walked around for a while and eventually ended up where we were supposed to be.
We took a death trap cable car to the top of the mountain. It was GORGEOUS.  Really just breath-taking/stunning/incredible!

view from our cable car

view from our cable car

riding the cable car

riding the cable car

 

When we got to the top we just kind of looked around saying “whoa…this is awesome!”
Seth walked to the VERY top (about 50 more feet) while me and Pearl walked around and she picked up rocks and flowers.
We couldn’t get over how beautiful it was.
We were hoping the peak of a mountain would give some mercy from the heat. Not so much. It was still insanely hot. Heat with a great view.

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At the top of the mountain there is a cute little restaurant. They stay very busy because people are hiking and taking cable cars to the top of the mountain all the time.
It was very good German food with an incredible view!
I got kaspressknoedel, a cheese pressed dumpling in broth. Pearl helped me eat it, it was soo good!

my kaspressknoedel

my kaspressknoedel

Seth got wienerschnitzel with potatoes.
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And we were in Germany so of course we got beer!
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This bird kept trying to steal Pearl’s food
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our view at lunch

our view at lunch

we tried so hard to get a GOOD family picture with the mountains in the background.
Not gonna happen.

Pearl is not happy

Pearl is not happy

 

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Austria: Do Ri Me

We have been back from our Austria/Germany trip for a few days now and I’ve been meaning to post about it!
We really had such a good time. Salzburg (Austria) was beautiful!  There were lush countryside was around us and the alps in the distance. It was stunning.
The only downside of our trip was the heat.  Oh my gosh….it was so hot!  The temperature was around 95/96 the days we were there, and we were outside in it ALL DAY LONG!  It would have been a bit better if there was air conditioning in Salzburg, but unfortunately there wasn’t. No restaurant, shop, store, or even our hotel. No AC…anywhere.   We took about 2 cold showers a day to keep from melting, and we would splash in all the fountains…..and eat gelato!

Here are some of the snapshots of gorgeous Salzburg, Austria:
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they love gay pride

they love gay pride

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beautiful!

beautiful!

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Pearl and a "FISHY"

Pearl and a “FISHY”

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THE ALPS!

THE ALPS!

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Pearls favorite part of the trip was DEFINITELY the fountains!  It was so hot we could not deny her the joy of splashing around and cooling off!
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crowds were gathering watching her and taking pictures. They thought she was the cutest. (DUH)

crowds were gathering watching her and taking pictures. They thought she was the cutest. (DUH)

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anything goes in Europe

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The Copenhagen airport was very kid-friendly and gave Pearl lots of treats for the flight…one being a temporary tattoo.
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We went to a great Gelato cafe and got some crazy desserts!

regular gelato and gelato spaghetti

regular gelato and gelato spaghetti

Pearl's cone

Pearl’s cone

Mirabell garden was right around the corner from our hotel. It was GORGEOUS. AND—some scenes from The Sound of Music were taped there!!!!!
Some scenes when they are singing “Do Ri Me” and walking up steps and running around a garden……yep, I was there. It looks exactly the same as it did back during the taping.

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Mirabell rose garden

Mirabell rose garden

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Austrian girl

Austrian girl

Austrian band setting up in Mirabell garden

Austrian band setting up in Mirabell garden

After we left the garden we came home and I watched at least 40 videos of The Sound of Music (via youtube) and was so excited because we had JUST been to the same spots where they were singing!!!  It was much more exciting for me than it was for Seth.

On our last night in Austria we went to an incredible restaurant called Die Weisse. It was a big brewery with very authentic Austrian food.
I got spinach dumplings in gorgonzola sauce with a salad, and Seth got pickled beef with onions and rye bread.

my food

my food

Seth's food

Seth’s food

Since we were at a brewery Seth had to get a beer.

pouring some magic

pouring some magic

he was quite happy

he was quite happy

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Austria

We are in Salzburg, Austria
It’s gorgeous here!  Slightly hotter than we would like….but we are getting by.

Here are a few snapshots from our trip so far (many more to come)

Pearl cooling off in the fountain

Pearl cooling off in the fountain

yah Salzburg

yah Salzburg

some crazy fort thing on top of a mountain

some crazy fort thing on top of a mountain

pretty

pretty

snow-capped mountains

snow-capped mountains

 

 

 

 

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Birkenau

After we walked around Auschwitz we went over to Birkenau, commonly called Auschwitz II.
To be honest, Auschwitz was more like a museum, and Birkenau was a lot more real and powerful, for me at least.
Nothing had really been changed or touched since the war (except some added rails and plaques to make it more helpful for visitors).

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"Arbeit Mache Frei" --meaning work makes you free

“Arbeit Mache Frei”
–meaning work makes you free

track than went from Auschwitz to Birkenau

track than went from Auschwitz to Birkenau

barracks at Birkenau

barracks at Birkenau

There were rows and rows and rows of barracks that housed the prisoners. It was crazy to see how large this camp really was.

inside the barracks

inside the barracks

Each section had 3 rows of “beds” that were about 5′ x 6′ and would sleep 5-6 adults per row.

3 rows of beds for the prisoners

3 rows of beds for the prisoners

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flooring of the barracks

flooring of the barracks

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barbed wire surrounds everything

The gas chambers and crematoriums at Birkenau are just piles of rubble now.
They were destroyed while trying to cover up evidence of war crimes.

gas chamber, one of many

gas chamber, one of many

crematorium

gas chamber

"On their arrival in Auschwitz most Jews were sent by the SS for immediate death in the gas chambers. However, they were often forced to await their turn in this clump of trees if the gas chambers were full at the time"

“On their arrival in Auschwitz most Jews were sent by the SS for immediate death in the gas chambers.
However, they were often forced to await their turn in this clump of trees if the gas chambers were full at the time”

this was one of the carts that would carry ashes to be dumped in ponds

"The ashes of the people who had been murdered in the camp were dumped in ponds and rivers, and strewn on fields as fertilizer. This cart was recovered from a pond near crematorium IV. The pond was one of the many places in Birkenau with the ashes of people who had been murdered and thie bodies had been burned"

“The ashes of the people who had been murdered in the camp were dumped in ponds and rivers, and strewn on fields as fertilizer. This cart was recovered from a pond near crematorium IV. The pond was one of the many places in Birkenau with the ashes of people who had been murdered and their bodies had been burned”

"To the memory of the men, women, and children who fell victim to the Nazi genocide. In this pond lie their ashes. May their souls rest in peace."

“To the memory of the men, women, and children who fell victim to the Nazi genocide.
In this pond lie their ashes. May their souls rest in peace.”

"In this building, brought into operation at the end of 1943, newly arrived prisoners designated by the SS for forced labor in the concentration camp were registered and disinfected. From now on they would be known only by a prisoner number which was tattooed on their forearms. Here they were also issued with striped prisoner uniforms and had all their body hair removed. The SS also made additional 'selections' here, sending all pregnant women to be murdered in the gas chambers. The poor state of hygiene in the concentration camp, and the hordes of insects, brought illness and epidemics which threatened the efficient functioning of the camp and the health of the SS who ran it. This building was therefore used in periodic campaigns the delouse the prisoners and their clothing"

“In this building, brought into operation at the end of 1943, newly arrived prisoners designated by the SS for forced labor in the concentration camp were registered and disinfected. From now on they would be known only by a prisoner number which was tattooed on their forearms. Here they were also issued with striped prisoner uniforms and had all their body hair removed. The SS also made additional ‘selections’ here, sending all pregnant women to be murdered in the gas chambers. The poor state of hygiene in the concentration camp, and the hordes of insects, brought illness and epidemics which threatened the efficient functioning of the camp and the health of the SS who ran it. This building was therefore used in periodic campaigns the delouse the prisoners and their clothing”

"Newly arrived prisoners had to undress in thsi room. Clothing, valuables, and documents belonging to non-Jewish prisoners were taken for deposit in the camp storage rooms.   Property belonging to Jews, whether they were murdered on arrival or assigned to labor in the camp, was confiscated and taken to the nearby warehouse area known as 'Canada'. After sorting and disinfection, it was shipped to various destinations in Germany, main for the use of German civilians"

“Newly arrived prisoners had to undress in this room. Clothing, valuables, and documents belonging to non-Jewish prisoners were taken for deposit in the camp storage rooms.
Property belonging to Jews, whether they were murdered on arrival or assigned to labor in the camp, was confiscated and taken to the nearby warehouse area known as ‘Canada’. After sorting and disinfection, it was shipped to various destinations in Germany, mainly for the use of German civilians”

"In order to make prisoners conspicuous and to prevent escape, all their hair was cute off. This is the room where camp barbers cut and shaved all the hair from the bodies and male and female prisoners. They did so with blunt instruments and at great speed, so prisoners were often injured. The procedure was particularly humiliating for women, since the barbers were often men and they were shaved in the presence of jeering SS men. The tattooing of serial numbers assigned to prisoners as part of the registration procedure was sometimes done here. The numbers replaced their names"

“In order to make prisoners conspicuous and to prevent escape, all their hair was cute off. This is the room where camp barbers cut and shaved all the hair from the bodies of male and female prisoners. They did so with blunt instruments and at great speed, so prisoners were often injured. The procedure was particularly humiliating for women, since the barbers were often men and they were shaved in the presence of jeering SS men. The tattooing of serial numbers assigned to prisoners as part of the registration procedure was sometimes done here. The numbers replaced their names”

"Prisoners showered and were disinfected in this room. They were frequently harassed in various ways. Several hundred people at a time were crowded here. Water that was usually ice-cold or scalding hot poured onto them from the shower heads in the ceiling. Prisoners usually received neither soup nor towels. After the shower, they went to the next room, where they were supposed to dry off"

“Prisoners showered and were disinfected in this room. They were frequently harassed in various ways. Several hundred people at a time were crowded here. Water that was usually ice-cold or scalding hot poured onto them from the shower heads in the ceiling. Prisoners usually received neither soap nor towels. After the shower, they went to the next room, where they were supposed to dry off”

"Prisoners were assembled in this room after their shower. Naked and wet, standing or sitting on the concrete floor and exposed to drafts, they waited as long as several hours for the distribution of special camp clothing. Eventually they were driven down the corridor to the room where they were given camp clothes"

“Prisoners were assembled in this room after their shower. Naked and wet, standing or sitting on the concrete floor and exposed to drafts, they waited as long as several hours for the distribution of special camp clothing. Eventually they were driven down the corridor to the room where they were given camp clothes”

autoclave (using steam) to disinfect the prisoners clothes

autoclave (using steam) to disinfect the prisoners clothes

autoclave (using heat) to disinfect the prisoners clothes

autoclave (using heat) to disinfect the prisoners clothes

family pictures confiscated upon arrival to the camp

family pictures confiscated upon arrival to the camp

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confiscated pictures of children

confiscated pictures of children

"The first to perish were the children, abandoned orphans, The world's best, the bleak earth's brightest. These children from the orphanages might have been our comfort. From these sad, mute, bleak faces our new dawn might have risen."

“The first to perish were the children, abandoned orphans,
The world’s best, the bleak earth’s brightest.
These children from the orphanages might have been our comfort.
From these sad, mute, bleak faces our new dawn might have risen.”

"The corpses of prisoners shot while trying to escape were often displayed here as a warning to others."

“The corpses of prisoners shot while trying to escape were often displayed here as a warning to others.”

"Thousands of prisoners were marched out of the camp each day to long hours of slave labor. In the evening they returned exhausted, bringing with them the corpses of those who had died."

“Thousands of prisoners were marched out of the camp each day to long hours of slave labor. In the evening they returned exhausted, bringing with them the corpses of those who had died.”

I was able to touch the beds that prisoners slept on and I felt the striped uniforms worn by prisoners.
It’s hard to comprehend that.
I don’t know if I will ever  get over the shock of what I saw.
There are some things in history that are hard to believe actually happened, the Holocaust is definitely one of them.

“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”
ANNE FRANK

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Auschwitz: from a mothers heart

*quick note: to enlarge the pictures, just click on them*

This past Wednesday we went to Auschwitz and Birkenau.
When Seth told me that we could go to Poland I was so excited!  Seeing Auschwitz and Birkenau was  very high up on my bucket list, and now I can successfully mark it off.
I sort of knew what to expect because I did a lot of research into it, but really NOTHING can prepare you for what you actually see.

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To be honest I feel like I have a bit of post traumatic stress disorder.  There were certain pictures and facts that just made me ache all over, mainly things involving children.
I don’t think that is just because I am a mother. I think it’s just human to be saddened when a child’s innocence and joy is ripped away.

Dr Josef Mengele, also know as the angel of death, was the main doctor at Auschwitz. He would determine who would be sent to the gas chambers and who would be sent to the camp.
He is most known for torturing the children at Auschwitz, and he had a sick fascination with twins
These are just a few of the things that he did to children (without anesthesia)
drain their blood until death
inject chloroform into their heart
remove sex organs
removal of limbs
inject dyes into their eyes, trying to change the color
isolation endurance
transfusion of blood from one twin to another
sewing together a set of twins to create siamese twins

What a sick man. Dr Mengele was never arrested and charged for the war crimes. He moved away after the war and was never brought to justice.

I can not imagine the terror of being a mother captured in a concentration camp and then having your child ripped away from you.  As a parent there is no greater fear than being separated from your child.

Here is some of what we saw at Auschwitz

where the SS officer would stay during bad weather.

where the SS officer would stay during bad weather.

"men who had been sentenced to be shot at the 'death wall' would strip in this room"

“men who had been sentenced to be shot at the ‘death wall’ would strip in this room”

beds at Auschwitz

beds at Auschwitz

uniforms of the prisoners

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mugshots of prisoners

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block 4 extermination

block 4
extermination

used for public hanging

used for public hanging

Crematorium at Auschwitz

Crematorium at Auschwitz

inside the crematorium

inside the crematorium

glasses collected from prisoners

glasses collected from prisoners

prosthetics

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dishes, bowls, cups

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brushes, combs, grooming utensils

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luggage the prisoners brought their only belongings in

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these are shoes of the imprisoned children

these are shoes of the imprisoned children

shoes from imprisoned adults

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children, victims of Dr Josef Megele

children, victims of Dr Josef Megele

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37 year old woman weighing only 50 pounds

37 year old woman weighing only 50 pounds

 

Jewish girl from Hungary a triplet who was experimented on by Dr Mengele

Jewish girl from Hungary
a triplet who was experimented on by Dr Mengele

This picture.  I really can’t look at it but for a brief second, but it’s constantly on my mind.
She was only 2 years old.
That is near the same age as my child is now.
I just want to pick this innocent baby up and hold her in my arms.
I think of the pain that she had to endure.
She must have felt so alone.
Scared, hungry, and cold.
Screaming for her mother.

 

“Surely there is no more wretched sight that the human body unloved and uncared for.”
―Corrie Tin Boone

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wanting to blog

We just got back from Poland last night. It was a whirlwind trip, definitely one that I’ll remember.
We are here in Copenhagen for the weekend and then it’s off to Austria and Germany on Monday.

I am wanting to blog about our visit to Auschwitz and Birkenau, but it’s so horrific that it might take me a while. We took many pictures and I can only look at a few at a time before my stomach/heart starts aching.   There are a few pictures that are so gut-wrenching I can’t really handle looking at them.

Maybe tonight when Pearl goes to bed I’ll begin the blog process.

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