I know we’re just one week into August, but July already feels so long ago. It wasn’t the busiest month of my life, but it was definitely one of the most enjoyable. Since my future in Germany is no longer completely uncertain everything has become a lot less stressful and a lot more enjoyable. I know there’s always a tomorrow, a next Schützenfest, another opportunity to visit Hamburg. So if we’re too busy to make it to Oktoberfest this year or I don’t feel like exploring Attendorn today or if I’d rather read a book than go to the next Schützenfest it’s no longer stressful. I can finally say next time and really mean it. Who knew stress was such a buzzkill!
Highlights from July 2015
An American-esque heatwave came to visit Germany. I can’t count on two hands the number of times I’ve complained about the cold, and often times rainy, deutscher Sommer, but the heat was not messing around at the beginning of the month. It was a week of sunshine and temperatures hovering at 35°C (95°F) which, if you know me, means it’s an ideal summer day. But these “ideal summer days” take some getting used to here in the AC-less Germany. There’s no “going inside to cool off”, no thermostats to lower, and not even a ceiling fan to sit under, but you quickly adapt by keeping the shades down during the day, eating a lot of ice pops, and lying on the cement cellar floor to cool off. Despite how difficult it has been to get used to (I haven’t gotten rid of the American in me enough to say I don’t miss having AC), I’d still take this inescapable heat if it meant I got my hot American-esque summer!
Fourth of July pool party. You’d think you’d be hard-pressed to find people to celebrate the 4th of July with here in the middle of small-town Germany, but that is 100% false. Not only will you find people, but it’ll turn out to be the best (and maybe most patriotic) 4th of July ever! Aside from the star-spangled bunting and a parade, there wasn’t a single thing missing. It was smack-dab in the middle of the heatwave, we had a pool, a grill, an American flag, beer and fireworks. I don’t think it gets more American than that.
Having a plan finally work out (aka getting into grad school). It only took twelve months, but I can finally answer the “so how long do you think you’ll be here” question with something other than a shrug. Getting into grad school in Berlin is definitely a weight off my shoulders, but there are still a few things to worry about. There’s all the (very German) post-acceptance paperwork to get back in on time, the health insurance fiasco that we just discovered, an apartment to find and the looming deadline to have all these little things taken care of. But hopefully within the next week it’ll all be done.
One final week spent in Marburg. I try to explore somewhere very thoroughly. I want to go everywhere, see everything worth seeing and discover the hidden hole-in-the-walls. This was absolutely the case with Marburg, my first German residence. Here I spent the year trying the different cafes, finding a favorite bookstore, and leaving no cobble-stoned street unexplored. Despite the many hours logged exploring the city, I still went into our last week there completely stressed out that I may have missed something. I made a long list of things to do during the week, and in the end I was 100% unsuccessful. I didn’t do a single thing on that list. And do you know what, it ended up being an awesome and very chill final week anywayy. I wandered around the 3 Tage Marburg festival, ate ice cream each day, listened to a German RHCP cover band, finally ate at a little Greek place I’d always wanted to try, had an awesome farewell dinner with Andrea and Dennis, and made a 14 mile cycling tour to the middle of nowhere.
Moving home to Burbecke for the rest of the summer. With bags, a salad bowl and the coffeemaker in my lap, and every other square inch of the Skoda crammed with stuff, we spent the three hour drive from Marburg to Burbecke praying that the suitcase full of our clothes wouldn’t slide off the back of the trailer. Move-out/move-in day was an exhausting mess, but since then the time in Burbecke has been nothing but relaxing. Hanging out with Konrad the cat, sitting outside in the garden, reading, having an actual office to get work done in, listening to the news over breakfast, James Bond movie marathons. What’s most exciting is that we’re finally where all the action is and no longer have to miss out on plans with friends.
Making it one year in Germany. Wow, a whole year. I do plan on writing more about this a little later once I figure out how best to reflect on this anniversary. But right now I’ll tell you that I celebrated with an(other) ice cream.
Bierprobe. Bierprobe, which translates to beer tasting, is the kickoff to the Elspe Schützenfest. Don’t be fooled by the name. It’s about as far from an elegant tasting event as it gets. Think more bonfire, young people, bluejeans, beer and schnapps. It’s a lot of fun, but also a cruel reminder for the real Schützenfest, which starts the next morning, that bodies have limits and you shouldn’t push them. Bierprobe -2, Caitlin -0.