Welcome! Here are some exciting thoughts and updates to provide from the last blog post:
I have had a really wonderful last two weekends with visits from friends. (And I am a firm believer that most things in life can be fixed by time spent with good friends.)
The last weekend of November two of the other PPP Participants were able to come and visit me. Deb and Elise were both friends I made in Saarbrucken. Deb now lives in Hannover and Elise in Erfurt. Oh, Elise’s boyfriend Paul was also here! (kidding, we love you Paul)
It was nice to see familiar faces from the program again! When I was telling my mom about how excited I was for them to visit, I was able to articulate it well saying, ‘One of the reasons I love talking to my mom is because she knows everything about me from the last 23 years. So when I tell a story it is easy for her to understand because there is a lot of shared and assumed knowledge/ context about me. However, she will never completely understand what my experience in Germany has been like because she has not seen it all herself. The other ppp are the opposite of that. While they may not have known me for very long, our shared experience here in Germany allows them to understand things I say and stories I tell in ways no one else could. It was nice to have the basis of understanding and just relate to each other and hear about our new experiences on top of that.
I was able to play tour guide in my city for the first time! It was really fun picking which places I wanted to take them, which people I wanted them to meet, and even explaining stories and history about the town and university that have been told to me for the last few months. We were able to visit the Christmas markets, walk the Philosophen Weg, visit the Schloss, eat some excellent food, and most importantly spend some quality time later. (I’ll include more details in the captions of all the photos this week)
This past weekend (the first weekend of December [I can hardly believe that]) my friend Bayleigh visited. Bayleigh is a coworker from SUU and a friend from College. She is currently getting her Masters in Dublin. It was really cool to have her visit, and she officially because the first face from my pre-german life that I have seen since August 1st. It was such a fun visit, but also such a good reminder of life beyond this program I am in. I am of course so incredibly grateful to be here and to be learning new things and meeting new people, but uprooting yourself to a new country can sure sometimes feel like life outside of my tiny bubble here in Germany doesn't exist. Seeing an old friend was such a good reminder that there is a very large world beyond my little microcosm of 70 Americans here in Germany.
Showing Bayleigh the highlights of Heidelberg was again a delight, this time with the challenges of a few more Covid restrictions. I got to play translator a bit and put some of my language skills to the test which was a great real-world reward to a lot of classroom work I’ve been doing in the last few months. Overall, just two 10/10 weekends.
Of course, there is more than just a weekend in a week. During the last couple weeks, life has continued on as well. I am searching for a Praktikum for the spring. If you thought trying to find a job was time-consuming in a first language, it is SUPER time-consuming in a second. However, it is exciting to be sending emails to theatres, dance companies, museums, and the like again, it feels like a world I have spent too much time away from, and the thought of getting to work with creatives again is really exciting.
My classes are going well. I finished one of my two biggest presentations and am settling into more of a routine. The biggest change in the last few weeks has been Corona restrictions here in Germany. The numbers are rising with the 4th wave, so they are doing all they can to counteract it before Christmas. The Weihnachtsmarkts are closing, as are clubs and large-scale sporting events. Daily tests are required for restaurants and most activities, and vaccine passes are checked for classes and in shops. It's a bit difficult to follow all the changes (as they have been happening quite quickly) but I am happy to follow whatever rules keep people safe and allow things to remain functioning. I am happy to take extra steps if they mean I am still able to keep meeting new people and attending events like class and choir rehearsal. It is still hard to stay positive with the changing restrictions since, of course, we cannot guarantee that they will work and the possibility of another lockdown is still in everyone's mind.
I'm excited to jump into another week with a bit of a renewed sense of energy after my two visits. I am really feeling motivated to buckle down and find a great praktikum as well as taking more steps to ensure I am remembering who I am and feeling like me i.e. maybe a little more time spent at the piano, or writing more letters/messages to friends back home. Overall I have a bit more positivity going into these next weeks I'm ready to stop the spread of covid and start the spread of some Christmas cheer! (though I'm still on the hunt for an advent calendar, by the time I find one advent will be over halfway over)
As always, enjoy some photos….
Me, Elise, Paul, and Deb at the Christmas Markets. Look at those happy faces!
Philosophen's Weg. Look at those cuties!
A photo takes briefly before Deb and I taught Genie, Rocco, and Lukas how to Shotgun a Beer!
My girls, v Happy to have met them.
We decided to eat at Mandy's which is the local 'American Diner' lets just say it did not disappoint
Christmas Market Round 2 with Bayleigh
This monkey has my whole heart
And a little Neckar River photoshoot to commemorate 2 full months in Heidelberg
Saturday was unbearably rainy, so we spent the afternoon at the museum.
And rewarded ourselves with Margaritas. Bayleigh said this looked like a religious painting which only confirms one thing.... Tequila is my religion.
Sunday even brought us some sun! One more trip up Philosophens Weg
And our weekly, "I can stay grateful for the sun, though its getting in my eyes"
EINS) My friends. New and Old. They get me through a lot and always remind me who I am.
ZWEI) Every person who checked in after my last blog post. Thank you for caring, you mean the world to me, I promise to ask for help when I need it (said the Virgo, lol)
DREI) Orange! Doesn't that bright new coat just make you want to smile? Sure makes me smile!