“I’m so jealous that you have family all around the world that you can visit” – I get comments like that more and more often lately on Instagram. It’s great how I have the opportunity to travel to other countries in a simple and uncomplicated way, experiencing and learning from different cultures. At the same time I honestly wish that my whole family (and preferably most of my friends as well) would live in Berlin or at least close.
At the same time I don’t want to complain. I’m very grateful! Due to our scattered family, I’ve been to Serbia several times, to the USA (including New York, Florida and California), South Africa, to Austria and Switzerland (my mother works there and relatives live there as well) and a few times to Croatia and Australia – mostly always with a place to stay with family and nice time spent together! I also made new friends in most of these places!
When people hear that my family lives all across the world, I can understand that it sounds very romantic. In reality, I would rather have all of them with me and would exchange all trips to the USA, South Africa, Serbia, Austria, Croatia and Australia for that! We would also have less planning stress with the wedding, I would see family and friends more often, we could have attended all the weddings of our friends, I would have more time for a romantic couple holiday (only Jesse and I without family, we rarely have that), and I would save a lot on my carbon footprint. Flying so much is really the worst thing that I can do for the environment, but I cannot NOT fly ever again … not being able to see family and friends anymore would make me very unhappy.
Anyway, that was just a quick reply to a few comments that I received recently. As always, I don’t want to complain, I just want to show a different point of view. Maybe some of you are experiencing a similar situation!
Back to the actual life update:
I’m currently visiting, as you may have noticed on Instagram, my fiancee’s parents on Long Island, NY. We also did a short trip to Cleveland, Ohio last week, where Jesse was invited to a conference. We also took the opportunity to visit his best friend from university!
Cleveland was a very very positive surprise! I did expect that I would like it there so much. If I lived in the US, I would seriously consider moving to Cleveland. The housing market is not completely crazy but reasonably affordable, the houses are very nice looking in terms of architecture, there are countless vegan places and in many restaurants lots of vegan options, the traffic is totally relaxed by American standards, the city is very green and even has a beach on the lake in the middle of the city! Also, I tested the Impossible Burger there for the first time – a vegan burger that tastes pretty much like meat! Well, I thought it was delicious, but it’s amazing how much it resembles a meat burger!
We also found the most photogenic bookstore in the world:
At the end of our week in Cleveland, we made a little detour to the small town of Chagrin Falls. A super picturesque city with a small but beautiful waterfall! Autumn mood was in full swing:
The only downside: the constant plastic waste really annoyed me A LOT. In almost EVERY restaurant and café, everything is served in lined cardboard, plastic cups or plastic dishes, even if you order your food or drinks to stay and take nothing to go … it’s just so sad how such a large amount of single-use plastic is thoughtlessly consumed here. In any case, after this trip I have even more respect for Lauren Singer, who lives completely Zero Waste in the USA! Hats off, really. In some cafés I even asked before ordering whether the coffee can be served in a normal mug, and then was given water in a plastic cup – FAIL … and no, all the disposable products were not biodegradable (which is also not really a solution). I also brought the topic up a few times, and the replies mostly were “well, yes we are not really sustainable” (what???), or “Our glasses were all stolen or broke” (yeah …) – I think it is mainly just the “convenience”, which is a driven force for a lot of things here in the States. Of course, it’s easier to just dump all the dishes in the trash instead of washing them off and using them again, but the consequences are really unimaginable.
A large part of it actually lands in the sea, as you can read here in my blogpost.
In any case, after this trip I am determined to try even harder when it comes to plastic consumption. I can’t criticize plastic use here and talk about so much about this topic if I am not trying to reduce my own waste…
Back in New York – Farm Life on Long Island:
But now on to a nicer topic: After a week in Cleveland, we went back to New York. On Sunday, Jesse and I were at the Rottkamp Farm on Long Island, New York and admired all the local fruits and vegetables! I was really in heaven – I love those farmers markets and there were even pumpkins in all sorts of colors and sizes! Even sunflowers were still in bloom 🙂 We went back there with Valerie and Roman at the end of the week and of course they loved it too!
Less Waste Shopping in Brooklyn:
Two days later we went to Brooklyn to walk around a bit in my favorite part of New York City and finally to drop by Lauren Singer’s shop Package Free. We have a lot of similar products in Germany that help to save on plastic use (for example in the original unverpackt store, or on Monomeer), but I still bought some products there (bought them myself, not sponsored):
First, these reusable make-up removal pads, which cost just $1 apiece, as well as this safety razor, which has a moving head! I have not seen one like this in Germany yet. On Instagram, Leaf Shave told me that they ship to Germany, but have no direct provider in Germany that sells the Leaf Shave. So far I am VERY satisfied with the razor. It has given me the smoothest shave ever. I will write a detailed review soon! Here are some more photos from Brooklyn:
An afternoon in Manhattan
After that, we went to Manhattan to spend an afternoon there, meet with Valerie and Roman, and tested the relatively newly opened restaurant of our friends (it was SO good! Here’s my blog post about Hanoi House Restaurant!). We usually always take the train to Manhattan, because getting there by car is just too crazy … Right after our return from Cleveland, we were also one afternoon in Manhattan, so here’s a mix of photos from the two days:
Farm Life Part II on Long Island:
As already mentioned, Valerie and Roman also visited us on Long Island and we spent the afternoon going from one photogenic farm to the next and admiring the huge selection of pumpkins & more 🙂
Slow Life with the Family
The rest of the week consisted of a lot of Slow Life activities: more farmers markets, walks by the water, delicious vegan food and lots of quality time with my fiancé and his parents!
There are already two USA Vegan Food Haul videos on my channel. By the way, in one of them I test the Beyond Meat Burger. Similar to the Impossible Burger, it should also taste exactly like a meat burger. More info in the video:
That was my little update! You see, even though we’re in New York, I don’t live the Big City Life here! Jesse’s parents live almost an hour away from Manhattan in a suburb that is relatively quiet, yet offers almost everything the big city has to offer. Thank you for reading this far and I wish you a nice week!