Carnival Thievery

The dream began in an odd setting I didn’t recognize. We were “at home”, but not a home I’d ever seen before in my waking life. Graywyn was there and a third person (I won’t name him, but we’ll call him “J”). Our house was close to a park. In was implied that we visited there often and today was no exception. Little Andromeda was nowhere to be found in this dream world. It was just us three humans and Baby Blue, who seemed to go to the park often.

In this dream world, it was Blue’s habit to walk unleashed from one area to another. This is something I would never do in waking life. I’m too overprotective of my dogs, especially in an area like this, which had several lanes of heavy traffic. When we got to the gate at the entrance of the park, Blue darted away. It was my worst fear. All three of us ran after him. I was sure he’d be run over. After some doing, we did catch him and I heard myself mutter that we could no longer allow him to walk himself to the park. He would now have to be leashed.

Baby Blue frolicked and played in the park for a while and then it was time to walk back home. As we walked back, I carried him in my arms, holding him close to my body. I hadn’t forgotten how close he’d come to death on our way earlier. Graywyn and J seemed to get further and further ahead of us and I decided I wanted to cross a busy road at a different point than they did. I also realized by now that the walk back seemed much further than the walk there. My surroundings started to look strange to me and I questioned if I’d taken a wrong turn. Baby Blue was no longer in my arms. Now I walked with a black horse in his place.

This horse was old and I had the sense that he’d been with me a very long time. I loved him more than I could ever love another thing. Nothing could happen to this horse. He had to complete the journey home with me. I continued to worry that we’d lost our way as I crossed an intersection that seemed to get wider as I walked across it. We did make it to the other side, but now I wondered if I was following the correct path home. I approached an older woman and asked her if she knew of a particular area (I no longer remember the name). Her face lit up when she heard this name and she said, “Oh, yes! I do. You’re not far at all! Just keep walking in that direction and you’ll be there soon enough.” I was relieved to know that I had, indeed, been walking in the right direction.

The woman also was going in that direction and we continued on together. My stomach started to feel a little sick and I was apprehensive to keep going as I approached an area that looked to be a carnival. I knew this place. In fact, I’d been here before.

“I don’t know if I’m allowed to walk a horse through here.” I said to the stranger walking with me. She assured me it would be okay. I kept going, if not a little slower than before. I felt a little relief as I looked through the large crowd of people and saw that there was at least one horse trailer and a horse there.

It was here that I ran into a small group of women I seemed to know. There were three or four of them. I was happy to see them, but it was a mistake to stop and talk to them, because before I could continue on my way, carnival magician of sorts walked over to us. I felt like I knew him, even though I didn’t necessarily recognize him in this dream. That sick feeling got stronger and even though I politely talked to him, I just wanted to take my horse and go. Still, when he offered water to the horse, I knew we had to take it. My old horse looked tired and thirsty from walking and he needed to drink to continue on our journey. What would a little water hurt?

We walked deeper into the crowd and accepted the water offered. As my beautiful old boy drank his water, the magician told me how he wanted my horse. I told him he was not for sale. He couldn’t have him; he couldn’t take him from me. We exchanged quite a few words. I told him the horse would go with no one but me. He told me it didn’t matter, his water was laced with something that would make him groggy. He would soon be asleep and he could do what he wanted. I’d lost and he would have the horse. I felt panicked. My horse was looking groggy, but he was still awake.

The evil magician told me one of my friends could have the opportunity to win my horse back for me. My friend and I agreed. I knew in my heart this was pointless. The game was probably rigged somehow. We were sure to lose. I saw another woman there. A carny. I begged and pleaded with her to help me. She looked deep in the horses eyes, as if she was communicating with him somehow and then she whispered in me ear, “Bring it to the 40 and you’ll win.” I didn’t know what that meant, but I told my friend those words and she was walking up to a wheel of numbers to play “the game”, whatever it was, right as woke up from my dream.

Bring it to the 40 and you’ll win. Those words have stuck with me since I had the dream. I’ve wondered what they mean (or will come to mean to me). My dreams have been trying hard to tell me something, especially the last few days. I guess we’ll find out.

Can Americans find something good to eat in Frankfurt, Germany?

When we first got to Germany, we were excited to be able to eat something we love again:  PORK.  I know, it sounds awful, but after living in Cairo for five months, we were really missing our sausage and bacon!  One thing I learned to rely on in Cairo was a website called Otlob (  The site allowed users to create a free account, inputting their home address and phone number.  Just about all of the food places that delivered in town were listed by area.  English-speaking users could put in their order online using English menus.  The order would then be turned into a third-party English/Arabic speaker, who would call the restaurant and give them the order in Arabic.  The worked well and allowed us to try a lot of different food.

We stayed in Cairo until the January, 2011 riots.  Tony was shot several times by in the legs by the police (we originally thought he was shot 24 times, but upon later examination by a German doctor, we found that 28 shots had actually penetrated skin; this is not including several other shots embedded in his steel-toed boots).  The U.S. brought us to Germany for medical attention on an evacuation flight (there’s more to the story and I’ll tell it on another day).  Tony was taken directly to the hospital from the airport, because he had sepsis and was entering into organ failure.  Graywyn and I were left to find a hotel at about 4 a.m. German time.  Every hotel was booked, except for the very expensive Sheraton at the airport.  We stayed there for four days until I found a sublet in Bornheim.

The woman who rented me the flat was a lifesaver.  She allowed us to stay in the sublet for several months.  When it was time to move out, we had a lot of difficulty finding a place, because we wanted to stay in the Bornheim area.  As Americans, it was very difficult to find an apartment of our own.  Although we searched for months, we were forced to move to yet another sublet in an area called Höchst.  We weren’t thrilled, because although the public transportation reaches everywhere, it isn’t as readily available here.  Since moving, we’ve secured our own lease back in the Bornheim/Nordend area and are moving at the end of January.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about food in Germany, it’s that much of it is the same.  Some people are curious about American food here and whether or not you can order it at restaurants.  I wish the answer were simple.  Although there are a few places in the Bornheim area that I like, I find much of the food to be the same.  If you’ve spent any time in Germany, or at least in Frankfurt, you’ll probably notice that a lot of the menus are the same.  It’s not uncommon for a seemingly pizza place to also have an Asian, Indian, Italian and American menu.  For Americans, menus that have an American section are usually disappointing.  I’ve come to realize that what Germans think of as American appetizers is really just burgers and fries.  So yes, you can get burger and fries when eating out, but it may not taste very American.

Of course the usual fast food places are here (McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, etc.), but I haven’t found a great many choices when it comes to eating food that I’m used to.  One of the best places I’ve found is O’Reilly’s Pub near Hauptbahnhof (Central Station).  I love to order their club sandwich there, but it can get expensive.

There’s a burger stand on the corner right where we used to live near the Bergerstraße that has excellent food.  We used to order their cheeseburgers and fries regularly and so far, I think theirs are the best I’ve had here.  It’s a funny corner where three streets meet (Spessarstraße, Mainkurstraße and Arnsburger Straße.  The Bergerstraße is visible from the burger stand and customers can either order their food to go or sit outside at one of the outdoor tables.  This is also where the public bathroom is located (be sure to bring 50 cents to use these toilets) and is directly across the street from where the big Wednesday and Saturday market is in this area.

There are many places offering pizza and as an American used to pizza you get in the states, I found it difficult to find pizza from any of the places that I loved in the Bornheim area.  I do like Joey’s Pizza, but as with many of the pizza places in the area, the pizzas are small and expensive, so most people order one pizza for themselves, because of the small size.  There is a place called the Pizza & Pasta Factoria that is very cool and child-friendly.  In fact, it’s very close to our new apartment.  Located at Martin-Luther Straße 33 (60316), they have a very lovely outdoor seating area with a small area for the children to play in.  This keeps Graywyn busy while we’re trying to eat and she nibbles on her food!  I like their pizza, but I really love their pasta, especially the pesto.  They also have amazingly large (and good) salads.

If you want to get a pizza more reminiscent of the states, you have to order from Höchst.  And by the way, you can use a website at  Even though it says pizza, you can also order from just about any restaurant.  I use Google translate to automatically translate their pages into English and that way we can put our order in online.  There is a pizza place in this complex that has an amazingly large (rectangular) thick-crust pizza for cheap (around 10 Euros for a family size pizza that should be enough to feed a family of 4 or 5).  Unfortunately, their sauce is a little bit spicy and we started ordering from a place called Call-A-Pizza instead.  EVERYTHING we order from them is great and I’m addicted to their pepperoni pizza.  For 4.50 Euros, Tony can order his cheese pizza and depending on what size I order for me and Graywyn, I can order a pepperoni pizza for about 6 to 8 Euros.  So far, Call-A-Pizza has my vote for the best pizza in Frankfurt.

One thing to note when ordering pizza in the Bornheim area is that pepperoni is not always pepperoni.  It’s also the German name for peppers.  If you want a traditional pepperoni pizza, you have to order a pizza with salami or sometimes pepperoni wurst.  It really depends on the place.  It’s good to clarify if you’re unfamiliar with the place.

As far as Mexican restaurants, we haven’t found any that we like.  There is one place that was within walking distance of our old apartment and we went there because we liked the people, the drinks and the place.  They also have indoor and outdoor seating and a child basket full of coloring books and toys to keep small children entertained.  Some nights they have a live band.  It’s called El Pacifico and is located at Sandweg 79.  None of their food really tastes Mexican, but it’s okay.  I always order the fajitas, because though they’re just not entirely right, it’s the closest I can find there.  They also make a mean Tequila Sunrise.

If you’re strolling through Frankfurt, take a walk down the Bergerstraße and be sure to check out some of the döners places.  The best one we’ve found is the Döneria (Weidenbornstraße 4, 60385).  I’ve had döners at a couple other places and find that theirs are amazingly moist and good.  My favorite is the chicken with a sort of ranch sauce on it.

As far as Spanish food, we like to eat at a place down the Bergerstraße (232) called Mi Casa.  Their La Paella is excellent, but you can eat a hefty meal of appetizers and easily walk away full.

Of course there are many interesting places to eat in Frankfurt and there is a lot of good food, but if you want the type of American food you’re used to, you’ll have to make it yourself.  You’ll find lots of Spanish-inspired food, but nothing that is truly Mexican food.  There are a handful of places that our Italian friend says are authentic.  The final place I’ll tell you about is in Höchst (Sossenheimer Weg).  It’s called the Asia Bistro and they have the best Asian food we’ve had here.  In fact, their food is right up there with some of the best places I’ve eaten at in the U.S.  Otherwise, most Asian food we eat is tasteless and boring (or at least that’s been our experience).  You’ll find the Asia Bistro at Sossenheimer Weg 178 in Höchst.  I’d recommend the fried rice (it’s amazingly like the rice you get in the U.S.), the wonton soup (the best we’ve ever had) and the fried wantons.  We’ve also introduced some good recipes to them (crab Rangoon and moo shu pork), so maybe they’ll be adding some more good things to the menu soon!

Shopping for American Groceries in Frankfurt, Germany

I would have posted sooner, but they were working on something in our neighborhood and managed to knock out the Internet and phone service for everyone who has our service.  It put a real damper on my school work and my freelance work and I’ve been playing catch-up ever since!

For us, living outside of the United States is amazing, but you always miss things about home, especially the food.  Going without our favorite meals just isn’t an option for us, so we’ve found ways to either substitute food we can’t find or we’ve found where we can get it. Check back for updates, because I’ll be talking a lot about what foods/ingredients are available in Germany (or at least, which ones are available in Frankfurt) and where to find them.

When I look around the Internet, I find a lot of posts asking where to find American ingredients.  In Frankfurt, people will tell you that the Galeria at Konstablerwache has a real “American food”.  Some will send you to Real.  It’s true that these places have some American food, but each has a very small section with just a few options.  Both places have virtually the same choices.  These ingredients may change, but here’s what I’ve found at each place:



Macaroni & Cheese (not Kraft, but an off brand)

Cake mixes

Cake frosting

Jack Daniels Mustard

Baking soda


Strawberry Poptarts

American syrup

Baking soda

Hellmann’s Mayonnaise

Brownie Mix

Off-brand macaroni & cheese

Refried beans

Keep in mind that the above lists are just some of the items I’ve found there and are only to the best of my memory.  You can find baking soda in some grocery stores, but it’s not something I find to be readily available.  The other source for pure American brands is  Unfortunately, you end up paying a lot, because it’s imported.  I don’t think you save money by order from Amazon.  You can just as easily have an American friend or family member go shopping for you and have it mailed here. has a variety of things available.  You’ll find everything from cereal to chips, candy and other odds and ends.  I know I’ve seen Bisquick available at one of the two stores, but I can’t remember if that was at Real or Galeria.  Neither store has a very big section, so if you’re not going there for something specific, check out the Galeria.  Real takes a little bit more time to get to and it’s much easier if you have a car.

If you’ve spent any time in Germany, you’ve probably come to realize that finding good Mexican food here is pointless.  You have to make it at home.  We’ve managed to make some very good Mexican food on our (of course, it helps that Tony is a trained chef and that I love to cook and experiment).  Rewe stores are excellent for some Mexican ingredients, but you’ll be hard pressed to find anything that’s truly spicy here.  We buy the “hot” salsa and end up adding jalapeno sauce to it to spice it up a bit.  You’ll find taco seasoning mixes, soft tortilla shells, refried beans and salsa at stores like Rewe.  Some large Rewe’s have Ortega spice mixes.  Personally, we prefer to mix our own.  There are a lot of good recipes on the Internet (and we plan on compiling a Mexican e-book to offer on here soon).  I save old jars, wash them out and use them to store my homemade spice mixes.  This mini Pesto jar has what’s left of the last taco seasoning mix I made. 

Do you have a question about where to find something?  Ask me and I’ll do my best to answer!

I have a big mouth, deranged thoughts and I’m here to stay!

My family and I left the United States in August of 2010 to go to Cairo, Egypt.  In February, 2011, we left Egypt and began a new adventure in Frankfurt, Germany.  Why we left each place and how we got there is a different story for another day and I’ll get to it, but for now, I wanted to open with a quick “hello” and a little insight to what I’ll be writing about on here.

The main focus of this blog will be about living as an expat (or a foreigner) in Frankfurt, Germany, but I will most likely dive into my memory of what it was like to live in Cairo too.  I make a living as a freelance writer.  It’s not always a great living, but it works for me and allows me to take care of my daughter instead of sticking her in daycare or school.  I plan to talk about everything with this blog, but you can expect to find a lot of information about living in Frankfurt as a non-German-speaking foreigner.  We’ve overcome a lot of obstacles to create things like we’re accustomed to in America.  Germany doesn’t always make that easy and though options are available, sometimes you have to either know where to look or go out of your way to find it.  Little by little, I plan to address various expat issues, including where to find certain food ingredients, good things to see and places to stop, and some of the more serious questions (like finding an apartment, job and getting a visa).

You’ll also likely catch some of my more deranged thoughts, so don’t be shocked when you take a look into my evil little mind.

I welcome you to my blog and hope to stay fairly consistent with my posts.  As I add information about living in Germany, please feel free to post your own questions to me or suggest topics.  The same goes for writing, working as a freelancer and living as an expat in Cairo.  I can probably be helpful about a lot of different things and the purpose of this blog is to provide information to people.  I noticed that a lot of blogs offer good expat information, but they don’t answer quite everything.  I’m hoping to answer some of the unanswered questions that I see floating around the Internet about Germany.

The Winded Gypsy a.k.a. Beth Lytle

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