Things I’m Loving In Deutschland (So Far)

Well week two here has come and gone and I started to think about how it’s gone so far. Instead of trying to recap it all, I decided to make a list because lists are great.

Things I’m Loving In Deutschland:

  1. THE FOODS. Holy mother of God. I’ve tried so many new things since I arrived and I can honestly say I’ve liked everything. I think my new favorite thing in the world is pretzel dumplings. And cheese. I love cheese. Thank God I’m not lactose intolerant.
  2. I feel like I’m in the Secret Garden anytime I leave the house. Cobblestone and spongy green moss abounds.
  3. You don’t really need a car here. This is the first time I’ve ever lived in a place where public transportation, walking, and riding a bike will pretty much get you anywhere you need to go.
  4. It’s cold! Alright, it’s actually been unseasonably warm here but it’s had cold moments and I think we’re about to ease into more coldness soon.
  5. People are nice. Yep, 99% of the people I have met so far have been extremely nice. Every time I have to speak to someone and I’m not sure if they speak English I get really scared (at the grocery store, book store, etc.). Silly me, though. Either they do speak English or are nice enough to help me anyways.
  6. The leaves. Newsflash! Fall is beautiful. That is all.
  7. The beer. Or bier, I should say. But for reals. The beer. THE BEER. *Prost!*
  8. The German language. I, along with most people in the States that I’ve talked to, have never thought of German as the prettiest language. However, I’m kind of changing my tune now that I’m here. There’s a subtle rhythm that, with a lilting cadence, can lead to a really beautiful sound. (Side Note: I don’t possess said lilting cadence when speaking German. Or rhythm. I sound pretty terrible, actually.)
  9. The town center. It’s gorgeous. Cars aren’t allowed for the most part so you can walk at your leisure through the myriad of shops and restaurants. (Side Note: A lot of the restaurants with outdoor seating have big, soft blankets on the chairs. How cool is that?)
  10. The opportunity. I am in a country with so many wonderfully stunning things in it. I am in a country that is surrounded by other countries waiting to be discovered. How have I been so lucky as to get here? I can’t wait to make this the best year of my life.

My First (Half) Week

So, I’ve now been here for about four days. How it’s only been four days, I don’t know. It is beyond my comprehension that I was in my bed at home in hot and sunny Florida only five days ago.

I’ve thought over the past couple days about what to write concerning my first few days here and the words aren’t quite coming. I mean, I can tell you what I’ve done (I’ll do that in a second), but I wanted to write this beautiful, artistic description of my journey adapting to life in a foreign land. First, I’ll give you the facts. Maybe then I can give you the frilly version.

The family I’m with has been nothing short of amazing. They’ve all been so nice and so patient with me thus far. Sophia (the child I’m taking care of) is sweet and funny and has been showing me the ropes. The house I’m in is beautiful and my room is bigger than any room I’ve had in the past so you’ll find no complaints from me. My own balcony? Why yes, yes that is a thing I have.

I saw a lot of Bayreuth on bike with Karin the other day. I dressed as if it were -234875423 degrees but in reality it was mid-high 40’s which means I was way too warmly dressed and kicked myself later as a result. Even still, the town is so bike friendly and it’s so beautiful my breath was continuously taken away. This bike ride was not solely for sight-seeing though. Karin and I were on a mission to get me signed up for a German language course at the university and since it starts on Monday, there’s been no time to laze about. After a few hours and three or four stops, we got as far as we could get for the day. We went to the school again the next day and got everything finished. I am now a real, bonified Universität Bayreuth student. The International Office has given the impression that they take an active part in their guest students’ time here so I have no doubt I can get involved at school when/how I want to, to make friends.

I haven’t taken nearly as many pictures as I want/need to because Fall is in full swing and I must document it ASAP since I know it’s fleeting. But for real. This is the second Fall I’ve seen and it is still just as amazing as it was the first time.

My birthday is this Monday and I have very divided feelings about the matter. Of course, on one hand I’m going to miss everyone at home doubly so because of all the days I’d want to spend with them, my birthday is pretty high up on the list. However, as has been pointed out to me, I will NEVER forget where I was on my 22nd birthday. I’ll be able to say I was in EUROPE!! How many people can make that claim? Other than residents of Europe, probably not many. As I’ve said a million times, this is such a unique and wonderful opportunity and for that reason I am glad I get to spend my birthday here.

I’ll leave you with the few pictures I’ve taken with promises of many more.

Sophia's sign for the airport. ♥

Sophia’s sign for the airport. ♥

Karin, Stephan, and I got to share a toast the night of my arrival. I'm pretty sure that was the first time I'd ever been toasted to. I liked it.

Karin, Stephan, and I got to share a toast the night of my arrival. I’m pretty sure that was the first time I’d ever been toasted to. I liked it.

Heck yeah I did.

Heck yeah I did.

This is the view from the back door. I LOVE FALL.

This is the view from the back door. I LOVE FALL.

Surprise Plate. What is it? Candy/chocolate arranged surprisingly on a plate after lunch. What is it also? The best thing ever.

Surprise Plate. What is it? Candy/chocolate arranged surprisingly on a plate after lunch. What is it, also? The best thing ever.

Here's the view from the upstairs window in my room. Incredible? I think so.

Here’s the view from the upstairs window in my room. Incredible? I think so.

Travelling To Deutschland

This post is pretty much only about the flight. I wrote almost all of it while travelling and only fixed minor errors and added a couple things towards the bottom. The first part is just a stream of consciousness so it’s disjointed and random. I was just writing down whatever came into my mind. I miss everybody and will be adding more pictures soon!

I flew over England. I could see its sleepy morning lights below me. And the water. Whatever body it was. It was shining the brightest pink I’ve ever seen even before the sun had even risen. Watching the sun rise at 2:00 in the morning is a very surreal feeling. The excitement came back strongly. Ever since leaving Tampa, fear, sadness, and bland indifference had been my overwhelming emotions. But, even if just for that moment, the excitement had returned and chased the fear away. I had not slept a wink but I was glad. I don’t do well on a few hours of sleep which is all I could have gotten. My legs were so crampt and my neck continued to warn me not to kink it that trying to sleep was a frustrating affair. I don’t know quite how I get myself into the adventures that I do, but goddammit am I glad. Thank you to whatever invisible force pushes me into these situations because what’s life worth if you don’t get a good story out if it? This was the first time I’d been able to write a creatively inclined blog post that I was proud of in a long time. Maybe my muse is a fan of international adventures. I hope she is, because if so she’s in for one hell of a ride. If there’s one thing I could wish for, it’s one more hug from everyone I love. But of course, I think I’ll always want one more hug. There were so many windmills. Go you, Germany. The landing was the coolest part of the flight. I don’t recall ever landing when it’s cloudy out. Of course, you always go through a layer of clouds. But this was different. We were in a world made only of clouds. Hills and valleys and great mountains looming in the distance. And then it was as if we completely ceased to exist. We were simply lost in the clouds, maybe never to be found again. And then we’d emerge once again. Every so often I’d get a glimpse of that beautiful blue sky shimmering in the background and I’d realize it never left in the first place, it was only hiding.

Reasons I’m not very fond of the Frankfurt airport:

Keep in mind that by this time it was about 3-4 AM my time and I was running on no sleep.

1. It’s HUGE. From when I got off one flight and got to the gate of another, it was about half an hour of walking and a tram ride. Plus once I went through the gate, it took another five minute shuttle ride to the actual plane.

2. They made me go through security again. Seems like a design flaw in the design of the airport.

3. They’re missing a lot of their ceiling. It’s strange.

4. It’s dark. Turn on an extra light or two, man.

5. No free wifi. It’s 2013. Although I will admit my suspicions that this is more of a European thing than a Frankfurt airport thing.

Silver lining: the guy outside the plane clad in a full body reflective yellow suit dancing (to the beat of his own drum I’m assuming).

Fun Facts Learned During My Travels

1. I sat in a window seat overlooking a wing in all three flights.

2. PDA on a plane is just as gross as PDA anywhere else.

3. Watching a sad in-flight movie while already emotionally unstable is a terrible idea. Even if you forgot how sad it was, it’s still a terrible idea. (The movie was Dead Poet Society.)

4. The coke bottles in Germany are made of much thicker plastic than the ones in the US. They’re probably much worse for the environment, but I like them.

5. Luggage carts cost 0.50€ at the Nuremberg airport, even if you don’t have 0.50€ on you. That can potentially be problematic.

Ice crystals formed on my window while flying over the Atlantic.

Ice crystals formed on my window while flying over the Atlantic.

My view from the plane over France.

My view from the plane over France.

22 Things I’ve Learned In Twenty-Two Years (a little early)

My birthday isn’t until the 21st so this is about three weeks early. However, I’m expecting my life to be in some state of disarray that day seeing as I will be freshly transplanted in Germany. So, since I had decided I wanted to do one of these posts it seemed like a good idea to get on it while I have the time. I’m sure I won’t learn that many new things in the next three weeks.

  1. You’re not always in control. Sometimes you have to let life do its thing and just follow along.
  2. Life is never truly dull. It may be blissfully calm sometimes, but never dull.
  3. Change is simultaneously exciting, sad, scary, awesome, and necessary.
  4. The single most important thing in life is the people you surround yourself with.
  5. Adding onto #4, be loving to others. That, in turn, usually leads to others loving you.
  6. Sometimes it’s okay to be lazy.
  7. Sometimes it’s NOT okay to be lazy. (Know when to tell the difference between #6 and #7.)
  8. Hasty decisions are generally not a good idea. But damn, they’re fun.
  9. Don’t let the enormity of a task stop you from attempting it. Break it down into smaller tasks and DO IT.
  10. Understand that you are simultaneously an unidentifiable speck in the universe and also the center of someone’s (or some people’s) universe.
  11. Find your niche. I repeat. Find your niche. Finding your cozy little spot in the world is enormously comforting.
  12. Having a sense of humor about something is pretty much always imperative.
  13. Try really hard to accept that people can have vastly different beliefs and opinions than you. I struggle with this sometimes, but in the end it’s none of my business.
  14. Find what you love and try really, really hard to do it. Doing what you hate day in and day out is no way to live a life.
  15. Know when to throw your first impression of a person (or thing or place or event or so  on) out the window. First impressions are almost always bogus.
  16. Appreciate what others bring to your life.
  17. Remember that you are the sum of those you love. Every step you take, every word that slips from your lips, ever blink of your eye is inspired by a loved one.
  18. Goof off. Nuff said.
  19. It is not your responsibility to make others happy. It’s nice if you can, though.
  20. Meeting new people is intensely scary. It’s also necessary for growth.
  21. It’s okay to shop for fun sometimes. Not all the time, but sometimes.
  22. Adventure will come when you least expect it. Go with it.

I also did a 20 Things I’ve Learned In Twenty Years post on my old blog. Feel free to read about how wise and sage I was when leaving my teens.

And just in case you’re craving it, here’s a brand-spankin-new picture of me with my favorite nephew/godson ON THE PLANET.