2007-05-21 - 12:03 p.m.

Went to Germany. The day before I left I had this image of myself being surrounded by a cloud of busy bees and and then, as I dutifully ticked off the tasks on my list, the cloud of bees slowly dissipated until I dropped the cat off at the vet in a flurry and rush and was speeding off to the airport and the last bee was shed along the way. It was nice, for a moment, to have nothing to think about or do except to get on an airplane and to remember to buy toothpaste once arriving.

I was terrified on the plane. I tried like crazy to mask my fear so the girl sitting next to me wouldn't think I was a moron. But I didn't do such a great job of hiding my white knuckles or the fact that my eyes were bugging out of my head and I couldn't breathe. She touched my arm and asked, in Spanish, if I was frightened and I said yes and then I had a new friend for the plane ride. She was German, a German girl and she was the nicest person I have met in a long time. So much for the rumor that Germans are cold. She talked the whole way there, but not in an annoying way. Then she waited for me at the luggage cart and walked out with me. Shook hands with Eric and then was gone. I was stupid not to have gotten her e-mail address. Why is it so uncomfortable to make friends? If I had been a man and had been interested in her romantically it wouldn't have been a big deal to ask for her e-mail address. But it seemed so weird say to someone, "hey, I'd like to see you again and be friends," so I just didn't and that was sad. And, she lived ON Lake Constance and how stupid am I for not trying to be friends with someone that lived there? Duh.

Anyway. So Eric picked me up at the airport and we went into Stuttgart and out to look at maps with Holger (one of Eric's colleagues) so he could show us areas we should explore the following day. We wanted to look at possible areas for living, just to get the general idea of what was available. After the extremely long (for me, I hadn't slept in two days and had just completed an airplane journey) map session we went to the grocery store. I found myself standing there gesturing madly and laughing laughing because of all the food in envelopes they seem to have there. You know that little section in your grocery store that has the Knorr and McCormick envelopes of sauce mix? Well, imagine that section being an entire aisle. Both sides packed full of envelope food. But at least in that strange aisle there were packets of hollandaise sauce mix and that is good. I wouldn't have to drive to France for that at least. The produce SUCKED...but I am never going to find produce like in Spain or France again in my life. I know that. I am prepared for that. I am going to miss, more than anything else, being able to smell summer fresh tomatoes all year round. The German grocery store had a couple treasures though...flours of every color and texture (more than I've seen anywhere in my life actually) and Kneipp bath products CHEAP.

So then...after the grocery store, Holger dropped us off in the center of the city and we wandered. Found a bookstore right off the bat with a huge selection of books in English and then we found a health food store which was not as exciting as my Sawall's in Kalamazoo, but way more exciting than these Spanish health food stores. After that we really didn't have anything else to check out so we headed back for dinner where I proceeded to have an entire meal composed of asparagus in different preparations (it is asparagus season there) and a lovely glass of white wine. Then we both fell asleep before midnight (very unusual) and started early the next day in our explorations. We picked up a car at the office where Eric would be working (they gave us the use of a big, pristine Mercedes for the day) and we started out with map in hand and no idea, really, where we were going. We drove along the Nekkar river and looked at tiny villages and big villages and while I hadn't been in love with Germany the previous day (a strong LIKE, but not love), I was in love by the end of our drive. To see actual, that was something. My sore throat, which has been present for over two weeks now and has returned since yesterday, went away the entire time I was there. So obviously I am more cut out for Germany than I am Spain. So....we returned to the hotel and walked around the city some more. Had a beer or two or three and enjoyed them thoroughly (this wasn't a surprise as we have been buying German beer in Spain for the last two years because it is far better than the Spanish piss in a bottle) and then went to dinner at a Persian restaurant (not so fantastic) and I marvelled at German parenting. Every family I saw in Germany was fantastic. The parents and the children acting as a whole, the parents leaning in close to listen intently to their children and actual conversations being held. It's really something. After dinner we went back to the hotel and had a drink with one of Eric's future colleagues and went to bed later than we should have considering that we had an early flight to catch. I woke earlier than I wanted to (nerves) and sat on the bed waiting impatiently for Eric to get ready. We had pretzels with butter and giant coffees for breakfast and then got on the airplane and I drank wine at 10 am because I couldn't take it anymore and was about to collapse from nerves. Five minutes after I sucked the glass of wine down I was happily slumped against the window pretending I was in a movie and that was good and I took some pretty pictures of Spain from the air and then we were home and my cats were alive and happy to see us and Oscar wasn't any worse for his two days in the vet and 17 hours alone in the house and I felt better and was glad it was over. Then I padded around the house all day and tried not to take a nap (because naps make me MEAN) and I took a nap anyway and then Eric told me that Jurgen and Nuria were coming to the pub with us for beer and curry and that was awesome with me until I realized that their intention was to stay out late, late so I took a cab home from the pub and paid 12 euros for a five minute trip and that was annoying but I was glad I did it because they didn't come home until 5 in the morning and I would have died. Died. (beer and curry night at the pub was AWESOME and I can't wait to go back next week)

So. Are we moving to Germany? We still don't know. There are contract things to deal with now and family to think about. I am torn. I am happy either way but I can't figure out which way would make me happiest. I would really like the opportunity to live in Germany...but, I also think about going home and having Thanksgiving and playing Bingo with Eric's aunt Gina and bookstores and soy products and...I just don't know. Whatever the case is though...I hope we don't have to move until October. Just putting that out to the universe...not until October.

My impressions of Germany? It's green and the air is nice there. I won't fall over in delight from the food there, but maybe that's a good thing and I would finally be able to get rid of my Spanish ten. It was fantastically cute and every now and then I got the feeling I was in France (because of the scenery) and that is a comforting feeling. People smoke WAY too much there and that was a surprise to me. They had cigarette machines EVERYWHERE. And by everywhere I mean even on random roadsides. We'd be driving down a little street and all of a sudden in the middle of nowhere there would be a cigarette machine. It was very strange. Stuttgart the city would be cool to live near. It appears very cultural and progressive and that would be nice. Also, living there would mean we could more easily take weekend road trips to cool places (Vienna, Paris, Prague) instead of being days away by car like we are here in Spain. I am sure it is a better fit there, for both of us. I think we would have a nice life there. We need to have a nice pretty soon because my husband is losing his mind and he is not at all happy anymore. And that's weird to witness because there was a time when I knew him as the happiest person I had ever known. Sigh.

So that's that. Maybe this week I will be able to say whether or not we are going.

Maybe maybe maybe.


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