Happy Sunday, everyone! We wanted to switch it up just a little bit and write a short post about who the two of us are and not only why we started Spross, but also a little bit about our personal lives leading up to this point 🙂
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Who is Danielle?
My name is Danielle and I am 27 years old. I have had quite the journey in my short time on this planet, but no matter what was thrown at me, I am glad it was because it led me to this point. To start, I am a very passionate, loving person who has always had a love for animals. I am a person with many interests and hobbies and I feel everything in a pretty big way. I don’t know what I believe in, but I do believe in Energies and that we can connect with any living being, human, plant, animal, with our combined energy.
I grew up in the United States. I was born in Maryland and spent a lot of time on my Grandparents’ farm in Virginia. You could definitely say that I am a country girl at heart, and that is truly where my immense love of animals began. My Grandmother had a sweet donkey named Argus, a horse named Jodie, three sheep that she got around Halloween and named Trick, Treat and Boo. She also had flock of ducks that absolutely adored her. Aside from barn animals, my Grandmother had 2 dogs, a basset hound named Meg and a Shih Tzu named Myrtle. My Grandfather, a hunter, also had 3 hunting dogs who were so incredibly sweet.
As a kid, I grew up with dogs, guinea pigs, lizards, fish, dumbo rats, rabbits, etc. There was never a time where we didn’t have an animal at home, usually more than one.
Fast forward through all the awkward school years, especially the high school years, to when I started college. I never really knew what I wanted to do, so I dipped my toes in a lot of different areas. I tried Early Education because I love being around children, I tried Psychology, but nothing was sticking. I wasn’t excelling in school because I was interested, just not enough.
My Grandmother passed suddenly and tragically and it stuck with me, as it still does, and I became quite depressed. Her passion was gardening and cooking and she passed the love of cooking onto me, so I decided to go to Culinary school, knowing that I didn’t want to be a chef. I just wanted to do something to make me feel closer to her, but something that also brought me joy. I would figure out the rest of life later.
After Culinary school, I decided to take a break from school and just work. People who know me know that the things I love most in the world are kids, animals, cooking and music. So I thought that being a nanny would be a great way to do something I actually enjoyed, while earning a good income so that when I figured out what I wanted to do, I could actually afford to do it.
During this time of being a nanny, I also had the freedom to pursue the other things that I love. Music is such a huge passion of mine. I learned many instruments in my teenage years but eventually, I found the ukulele and that was the perfect instrument for me. My brother and I played in a band together, played a lot of gigs and even recorded an album together. Fast forward again. My brother and I moved to Portland, Oregon; him at the tail end of 2014 and me late 2015. Fast forward through all the gigs, all the time spent being a nanny, and we come to 2016; which was the best and worst year of my life. I went through a significant trauma that no one should have to face. The person that was there for me through it all? Wolfgang. I met Wolfgang in 2008 when his English class came from Austria to my high school German class in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He shadowed me for just 2 short days, but we became such good friends in that time. We stayed connected over facebook, became nearly best friends and wrote each other often. He was always the person I wanted to tell everything to, the good, the bad, everything. We both had feelings for the other but never said anything because each of us thought it could never work; we lived too far away. That all changed in 2016. He was there for me during the hardest time of my life, when I felt completely alone. He came to visit me in Oregon in the summer of 2016, the first time seeing each other in 8 years. We knew in an instant what it was, we knew this was love and we knew that we couldn’t let it go without giving it a real shot. A few months later, I came to visit him for a month in Austria, and just 3 months later, I moved to Austria to be with him. It was the scariest and best decision of my life. A year later, on March 3, 2018, we got married here in Austria on a beautiful snowy afternoon.
When I moved here, I was an Au Pair for the first year, and recently I took a big leap and in October of 2018, I started studying to be a Medical Massage Therapist. It was really hard and everything was in German, but I finished studying and am currently working as an Intern for the next 4 months until my final exam in October. Massage Therapy is always something I have wanted to do, but for some reason it took me until now to really take the leap and do it. It combines everything I love; helping people, fascination with anatomy and how the body functions, and energy work.
So why did we start Spross? Well, in short, we were both meat eaters for a long time. I had been vegetarian for 9 years but when I started Culinary school, I began to eat meat in small portions here and there to know that what I was cooking actually tasted good. We, as a couple, never indulged in meat very often. We are very health conscious people, we workout almost every other day, and we are cautious of what we are putting in to our bodies. But we started to become more informed. We started to see the effects of producing meat and dairy products on the environment. I really started to feel guilty for eating meat. How could I eat another living being? How could I stand by knowing what is happening to these poor animals and the conditions in which they are being held and in which they are living? That’s my basis for becoming vegan. The well-being and proper treatment of animals is so important to me. There is no difference between a cow and a dog, a horse and a pig. They may look different, but they all have feelings, they all have a heartbeat. I do not want to be responsible for taking the life of an innocent animal. That’s why I wanted to start Spross, to raise awareness, to start a conversation, and to inform people of the things that we are not told by these farming companies, what’s really going on.
Who is Wolfgang?
My name is Wolfgang Kern and I am from a small town next to Linz in Austria. I went to school in Linz, then did my social year – as we are required by law in Austria – and then went on to work in Linz since I didn’t know at that point what I wanted to do with my life. I worked at a steel company for a few months before I had an accident and I lost parts of my right hand. If you are interested in reading more about my story, you can find it here. After a year of surgeries and hospital stays, I thought about starting to study Psychology since I was interested in the field. After two semesters I already had enough and luckily got into a local university for Media Technology and Design. Those three years shaped me, and I was determined to pursue a career in film making. After I was done with my bachelor’s degree, I went back to get my master’s in digital arts and I wrote, produced, directed and finished my first short movie completely alone. That not only helped me those years in defining who I am today, but also giving me more confidence, skills and knowledge about film. After I graduated, I started working for a marketing company and founded my own company. Today, I am working for a local IT company in Linz and I am self-employed making movies, and short films for small and bigger businesses.
Danielle and I, we crossed paths for the first time back in 2008. I visited Milwaukee with my school class, and we became friends. We stayed connected over Facebook and grew as humans. In 2016 we reconnected and after a short visit in the US I knew, that we really had some special going on. She came over to visit and we already talked about our future options. But since I just started my masters, I had to stay but she took the leap and left everything behind for us. We pretty much moved in together right at the beginning of our relationship and had to deal with all the little peculiarities each of us has. We got married in 2018 and our love grows every day. Sounds corny? Yes, maybe but that’s how it is.
In 2018 I had massive problems with my digestion and stomach because of stress and anxiety. That was the reason for me and ultimately for us to change things. We already were basically vegetarians, but we switched to a plant-based diet in May 2018 and slowly eased into it. By the end of 2018 we had a solid idea of veganism and we never regret the switch. For us, the environment, animals and health are important factors in our life’s and switching to a plant-based diet opened our eyes in so many ways. We are not only are more aware of what we eat, but also what we buy and how it affects our environment. A plant-based diet basically helped me in overcome my digestive issues and today I feel better than I honestly ever felt before. And the fact that we are helping the environment by doing so, makes us happy. The main idea of this blog was and is to make people more aware of what we eat, what we consume and how we as a consumer and customer can do a lot, to help the environment, live a healthier life and maybe help others to achieve small goals like eating less meat.
So now you know a little bit about myself my life. If you want to know more, have questions or just want to get in touch, hit us up on our social media accounts, check out my homepage or just leave a comment down below.
Thank you for reading our stories, and we hope that learning a little bit more about each of us will give you a better insight as to why this is so important to us. We appreciate all of your support!
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