Two weekends ago I trudged off to Frankfurt to visit Kelly,
judge meet her new boyfriend, and enjoy an indoor picnic with my favorite English-speaking expats who also happen to be based in Frankfurt and/or Essen. After spending too much time shopping and being lazy, we slapped together a feast of salads, homemade guac and gazpacho and a few bottles of French wine. The next morning brought Kelly’s famous french press coffee (with frothed milk!) and Suz’s homemade blueberry muffins.
The following week my apartment became a hotel for a few days while my friend Megan was in town. She cooked quesedillas (with real American salsa!) for me and kept the dirty dishes out of my kitchen sink. Then we were off to Hannover, for a weekend of reliving our grad school days, including tuna melts and towers of beer, people watching at 2 for 1 beer night, karaoke and rickety carnival roller coasters.
This weekend I am set to head off to Nice for a solo vacation (my first one!). However a persistent cough as well as a forecast of weekend rain are making me quite less than excited for this adventure. Keep your fingers crossed/thumbs pressed that it exceeds my expectations, even if it doesn’t consist of getting a sunburn while eating baguettes and reading trashy novels on my Kindle.
After living in Cologne for an entire four days I found it necessary to return to Hannover for a long weekend (wherein ‘long weekend’ = Saturday to Thursday).
Sleeping til noon (or later), being fed Indian food until I couldn’t eat any more, returning to karaoke and apparently getting up on stage to sing more than the once that I remember, becoming the ‘mother’ to a very multicultural family, and playing more Uno and watching more HIMYM than I care to admit was just the vacation I needed from my vacation of a life.
Two weeks from today = first day of work!
Getting ready to move is a messy process. I’ve already packed 3 boxes and a suitcase… no end in sight. The good news is I won’t be moving again for two years, which is a personal record for this girl to stay in one residence in quite some time.
Well folks, that’s it.
11 months later I have over 50 new friends from around the world, can run a regression in Excel, gained about 15 pounds, partied until the break of dawn more times than I care to count, am now the beholder of two MBA degrees, and have a job in a new city starting in September. While I’m devastated that my year at GISMA is over, I’m looking forward to exploring Cologne, working again, losing my bier gut, and making more friends, whom I can only hope will be equally as amazing as the ones I found in Hannover.
As my friends trickle out of Hannover over the coming days and weeks I’m sure I will shed more than my fair share of tears, but my fears for the next two years I’ll spend in Cologne are alleviated at least a little, in remembering how terrified I was when I moved to Hannover and how well it worked out in the end.
Obviously there are things that I miss about America every once in a while, but the recent abrupt change in my life plans has also made me realize the things that I like about living in Germany that I won’t have to give up, at least not for a few more years.
- Wine for 3€ a bottle: sure there’s 2 Buck Chuck or whatever, but you would be hard-pressed to find a bottle for over 5 euro in the wine section of the grocery store here. I might miss Thursdays at Boordy, but I don’t miss paying $15 a bottle for it.
- A wide selection of Gummies: If you’ve never walked down the candy aisle of a German grocery store, you cannot possibly fathom how many varieties of Haribo there really are. Knowing that Saure Pommes are better than Saure Bohnen, and being able to get a bag of whichever variety for under a Euro, is not something I’m ready to give up.
- Ordering Bier by the liter: I mean, really, does this need elaborating? Additionally, being able to drink alcohol in public.
- Being confused/ asking ‘Sprechen Sie Englisch?’: This may be weird but I sort of enjoy not being able to understand most of what’s going on around me in public. Sure, if I tried hard enough to listen I could probably get the gist, and I could at least try speaking German before making a confused face and asking ‘Englisch?’, but I think that’s part of the adventure of living abroad. Also, I never have to overhear awkward conversations on the train or in the grocery line, because to me it usually just sounds like the teacher from Charlie Brown.
- Not driving: while I could conceivably live somewhere in the US and not have a car, the chances of that are unlikely. Not having to worry about the price of gas, or when to get an oil change or parallel parking are all the plus sides of relying on public transport to get around.
- Remembering the difference between first floor and ground floor: just kidding I hate this.
- Easy, cheap travel: I love living in a world where “yea I might just pop over to France for the weekend” is a legitimate claim.
While I may have just today thought about how badly I would like a Berger Cookie
*, and I always miss Dunkin Donuts (though I’m told they exist in Cologne) I think I’ll be able to survive here a little while longer.
*did not know until just now that Berger Cookies were invented by Germans. Like.
When the Bier Bike driver tells you he wants to use your group for his advertising, you know you’re doing something right.
The precious few readers of this blog that might exist surely noticed the change of layout. To be honest I’ve been tired of the pretzels for a while now, and I’ve had this thing for about a year (yikes).
Also I guess it’s timed well with my change in venue, as I’ll be leaving Hannover in a little over a month (yikes, again) and moving to Cologne to start a new chapter.