It has now been nearly three weeks, and (astonishingly, we’re told) we already have an apartment (really a townhouse, for some reason, basically our last 3 apartments combined), both passed our German driver license test (which we’re told some fail multiple times), bought a car (a black, Volvo sedan, but cool), Marianne has completed her work orientation, and we’re slowly, very slowly, starting to settle in a little. So much so that we’ve actually done a few errands without using the GPS to find our way there and back!
So far, it’s cold. Really f-ing cold. We had rain for nearly every day for the first two weeks, but were warmed by our incredible hosts (the people that got Marianne the gig, our very good friend, and his wife that we met shortly after arrival), Chuck and Ginger. They have been our saviors, and are certainly the reason we have been able to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time. Both their warm welcome into their home and their never-ending energy in helped us accomplish whatever we wanted or needed to do, giving us the greatest head-start on our journey that we could have possibly asked for.
And even with the cold weather, and between fits of rain, we have had some sun (not at all warm, but bright light none-the-less), we have gone on several cool excursions (Christmas Markets are awesome: glühwein (hot red wine) und brats (um, brats)!!), and we have also enjoyed some peaceful time together: we’ve admired the full moon playing peak-a-boo with the clouds above our back yard; smiled warmly at one another while sipping wonderfully warm beverages as our toes somehow got even colder; chuckled juvenilely at every-day German phrases that would be considered hilarious on the 3rd-grade playground (einfahrt or ausfahrt, anyone?); and sat mildly befuddled watching life pass by us, suddenly so strange and bewildering…
I think we’re both fighting the fact that this is all so foreign to us, probably trying to keep strong for one another… We buy cereal, cheese, butter, even milk, that we’re not quite sure about, because the label is completely in German, and, well, just different… You don’t realize just how many words are on product packaging until you can’t read most of them, and you suddenly wonder just what the hell they all say!
The people here have been terrific, considering how little we know of the language (yeah, we’re typical Americans in that regard), and we are slowly adjusting: we finally mapped out which day each of our four trash bins needs to go out; the insane number of traffic signs no longer overwhelms us; we’re no longer afraid to say Sprechen sie Englisch, bitte? (but can’t wait `til that phrase can leave our vocabulary…).
Then this morning we awoke to a wonderful, thin blanket of white fluffy snow on the ground! Somehow the snow here does seem more beautiful. Maybe it’s because we aren’t in the city, where the white snow immediately becomes black slop. And then I got to “enjoy” shoveling the sidewalk and scraping the car windows… Ah, the suburban life…
Anyhow, a brief update on our ever-changing life abroad, hope you’re all well, and that you’re getting set for a wonderful end of the year!