I’m in Germany! (And experiencing autumn for the first time in over 20 years) Specifically, I am in a small town in the north called Grossenkneten. I must say, it’s been a long, strange two weeks since we last spoke. I will be here for a month, which will allow me to settle into a routine as much as possible. Which is good…because all the bouncing back and forth that went on after my last post made my head spin a bit. After Leeds, I went back to York for three nights, then into London for one,(book club!) then back to York for another week(I worked in a pub!) until it was time to turnaround and head to London again for one more night(The Gordons!) before catching the overnight bus here to Germany.
So, here I am! I’ve gotten myself sorted and feel grounded again. One thing I have learned over the past few months is that I need to create routines for myself in each new situation. Travel is a joy, and one of the best experiences we as humans can partake in. But it is also often stressful and exhausting. I am not by nature a “routine” type of person. (Except for breakfast. Weird, eh?) I love spontaneity and leaping hither and yon into unplanned experiences. But due to the transient nature of this current life, I find myself needing something to hold onto, a lifeline to normal if you will. I have created two types of patterns for myself…ones that remain the same no matter where I am, and ones that evolve once I have settled into a place. To be honest, I very much enjoy seeing what new routines I end up constructing at each locale.
There is another odd aspect to all this hither and yon-ing that I find affects me far more than I ever could have imagined…and that is the significance of smell in fostering my sense of well being. For example…each home I stay in has a particular scent, completely unique. The longer I stay in one place, the more it permeates my clothing, pillow and blanket. And when it is time to move to the next home, these items carry the scent of the old one with them into the new digs. And it is oddly comforting. It only lasts a day or two, but those few days are like a bridge between different worlds.
I have been working on my German, and have so far mastered :
“Entschuldigen Sie. Ich bin aus Amerika und sprechen sehr wenig Deutsch.” (“My apologies. I am from America and speak very little German.”)
“Mein name ist Rebecca”
and the most important
“Wo ist die toilette bitte?”
I have Google translate on my phone, even the English/German offline version, but I am hoping to only need it for something terribly complicated, such as ” Please help. There is a weasel in my trousers”.
My hosts, Sylvia and Ernst took me into town on Saturday and helped me grocery shop. Things are much cheaper here than in the UK, irrespective of the difference in currency. (Wine is practically free. This pleases me greatly.) Shopping was a fun adventure! I can now recognize the words for chicken, beef, turkey and pork. And of course, nuts. (I am allergic) I have been eating a lot of cheese. Perhaps too much. Germany is second only to the U.S. in the amount of cheese it produces, and being a much smaller country….well…basically it means there is a bounty of delicious cheeses available and I am going to eat them…despite the occasional peevishness of my digestive system.
I am going into town on my own tomorrow, with my basic German phrases and my phone and Google translate ready at hand should any weasels get overly friendly.
Gute Nacht my friends!
P.S. I must let you know that the mystery of the Chinese Styrofoam has been solved, thanks to many Europeans, Brits and one Aussie who informed me that they are ‘Prawn Crackers’. Knowing the name of them is well and good and I appreciate the education. However I’m still in the dark as to the WHY of them. Should you and I ever find ourselves sharing a meal of European Chinese food in the future, I assure you I will not fight for them.