Welcome, here we are again. Consistently inconsistent.
Here to tell you what I’ve been up to, what I’ve learned, what I think about. Maybe not that last one, no one really wants to be subject to that. Life rolls along here in Heidelberg. Anyone who has spoken to me in the last two months is sick of me saying this, but I’m just not gonna shut up about it. The time has gone by so fast. Yesterday (from when I’m writing this, who knows how long it took me to publish it) marks two months until I return to the states. On one hand, wow what on earth did I do over the last 10 months? And on the other hand, I’ve learned and lived more in the last year than ever before? Life is crazy. My thoughts are all over the place (like always) so I thought we’d delve deeper by topic today. So, let’s journey through Welcome > Work > Music > Adventures > Easter. And we’ll see at the end if any of it has made sense! Yay!
I suppose it makes sense given that I am currently in the “Work” phase of my program year, but damn, I’m working my ass off over here. I think my first mistake was getting three jobs. In hindsight, I see how that might have led me directly to where I am now (Which is frantically typing from a breakroom in between shifts). Listen, once a girlboss always a girlboss, I can’t just become relaxed because I’m in a foreign country. I know I’ve talked about each of my very awesome jobs here before, so I’ll try to give some cool examples and stories instead of just the same overview.
This was a big week at der Keramik Ofen (the ceramic workshop, job 1 of 3) because my boss was gone. This means I worked three days completely alone. And I know what you’re thinking, that’s not that hard. And to that, I say 1. Don’t discredit my accomplishments and 2. A gentle reminder that I did that in a foreign language and foreign currency. (seriously try counting change in Euro coins and tell me how you get along). Basically, I made a tone of mistakes… I stumbled my way through them all…I didn’t break anything, and the place didn’t burn down, so I saw BIG SUCCESS. I’ve never been more tired here in Germany than I was after those long days, but (without being ego central, pardon me for a minute) I was SO PROUD of myself. Like I DID THAT! What!? I know it's only a few days, but I can now say I ran a business in a foreign country. I mean, I could have said it before too… but now it's TRUE!
This is the only photo I have from there so far, but this is a Mug I painted for the 'For Sale' table a while back
At the Art Gallery (job 2 of 3) things are delightful. My two coworkers are just delightful to chat with and we are preparing for an exhibit that opens on the 22 of May. It has been really fascinating to see all of the work that goes into an exhibit. Marketing, Coordination with Artists, planning opening and closing events, arranging shipping and arrival of pieces. It is really more than I ever would have realized. There is an added joy for me in learning at this Gallery specifically while they are what some people might call ‘old school’. They use no social media and send all exhibit invitations by post. There is something a little magic in learning from the generation before us. I mean, if I own a gallery one day, I’m probably gonna use Instagram but I have learned a lot about customer relations written in person, and I will have feet to stand on the next time someone starts in on a ‘back in my day we walked to school uphill both ways in the snow’ stories. As just the most amazing added bonus, my boss also picks up something from the bakery pretty much every day, so I am being pavlovian-ly conditioned to love it no matter what ;)
This is a small preview of how we arranged some of the incoming works from our new Ausstellung in the Einladung or invitation
The Kinder Zeichen Schule (Official Job 3 of 3) is coming along. I love the meetings I have with them and am really excited at the idea that it is a project I can continue to be a part of even after returning to the US. We start in next week with our translation project, so I am very excited to see if all of this German nonsense finally pays off.
Here are two published Malvorlagen I have on the site as well as a peek at some of the design changes we have made in the past few months, I love this team!
The library continues to be a spot of joy every Wednesday. The kids are adorable, and honestly, I think more people should be reading more children’s books. You just like can’t take anything too seriously when you’re voicing a pine tree, you feel?
Trying to find a way to sneak this into an upcoming storytime. I think Kevin would be a fan!
Overall, I am so glad I chose the program I did (PPP that is), I wanted something that demanded language work, allowed me to continue my education, and offered professional development. And I can honestly say this year has delivered on all of those fronts. That being said, I need a vacation. This seems like an insane thing to say considering I live in a foreign country, but I am quite excited for the next time I get to travel abroad. There is a large difference between travel and living, both are good, but I think it’s important to distinguish. I don’t know man, long story short: work is good.
Here is something that has been a huge surprising source of joy lately and that is: Concerts! I have not talked nearly enough about all the incredible theatre I have seen here in Germany (and I know what you’re thinking, “Kennedy, you’ve talked plenty!” but I could go on!) But, lately, I have been an audience member elsewhere and that’s in a lot of classical music concerts. There is currently a festival running in Heidelberg called Heidelberger Frühling and let me tell you, it rocks.
There are the normal festival performances that take place each night, and this year they have a new program called the ReStart program. These are free concerts that take place all over town in different neighborhoods featuring younger musicians who may not have had as many chances to perform during the pandemic. I went to a handful of these concerts and they were so FUN! Here is a short review of the ones that I was able to attend:
This was a Jazz band out of Frankfurt. The concert was in a café on campus. Good music, good beer, GOOD VIBES
This concert was in a really small café in my neighborhood. So many people showed up that over half the crowd was seated outside. Including me and my friends. So halfway through the set they came and played outside. Where they set up outside was straight up like 4 feet from our table, it was the coolest coincidence.
This was in a parish hall of a church in my neighborhood and was so much fun. They call themselves a boy band of classical music, and honestly, that was a perfect description. Big Jonas Brothers if they went to Juilliard vibes
And the one more official concert I attended: Apollon Musagète Quartett.
I don't have any videos of this one, cause it was all official, but it was truly incredible. This is a Polish string quartet and was one of the most superior evenings of music I have ever experienced.
I have also had a few little April adventures! Just little day trips here, as I will do another blog post for my longer travels but here were the two exciting excursions for the last few weeks.
My host parents and I went to the nearby city of Speyer. It is known for its old architecture in the Roman style. The church there was truly so cool and impressive. The chandelier hung over the altar is in the shape of a giant metal crown as it was where the Kaiser was previously crowned. We also were able to visit the old Jewish Quarter and learn a bit more about the history of the early days of Speyer. We ended the day attending a concert in another church, but more to come on that later! and here are the pictures….
One Monday when I didn't have to work, I was able to take the train to a town west of here called Kaiserslautern. Here I met my host sister, Emmi, who also had the day off. We were able to have a wonderful day doing some thrift shopping, getting a nice lunch, and exploring the city. This was a good option for us because it is about halfway between Heidelberg and Saarbrucken which allowed us to have a wonderful day together without either of us having to travel too far! I'm always so happy when I get to see members of my host family and we both had some good thrift shop finds as well.
A little car photoshoot at the end of a successful day of thrift shopping!
The last thing we'll talk about for this update is EASTER! I had a lovely easter here in Germany. Here are some of the things we did to celebrate:
Here in Heidelberg, my host mom and I spent a few evenings leading up to easter dying Easter eggs. This is something I have done in the US as well, but not for a really long time. We had so much fun trying out different patterns and colors and even had some success with an idea she found online using leaves from the backyard to create fund designs. Here are a few pictures of our masterpieces.
The concert we attended in Speyer was a production of Bach's Johannes-Passion. This is a sung-through version of the Easter story from the bible written for a choir and Baroque orchestra. It was something completely new for me (the performance, not the story.... I see you St. Ed's Stations of the Cross) We also had copies of the music that we were able to bring with us to the performance to follow along which was also a new experience for me. Overall, I was glad I was able to see this show, not only because it was good, but because this is an easter tradition of my host mom and something she had even done with her mother when he was younger and I was happy to take part in it with her this year.
For the actual Easter weekend, I was with my host family in Saarbrucken and we traveled to spend a few days at the lakehouse in France. We had so much fun Eating, taking the boat out, eating, sitting in the Sauna, eating, looking for eggs, and more eating. Honestly, all my favorite parts of a holiday....especially the Eating! I got to help hide some candy for the little kids to go hunting for, and even got some chocolate and craft supplies from the easter bunny myself! bottom line, I had great food and even better company. It is not even my last visit to Stockweiher and I cried when I left. It's been a place of such joy this whole year!
Tristan and I had a fun afternoon on the back porch with some chalk
They don't use the same plastic eggs from the US here in Germany, so we got to get more creative about how we hid the candy
Waiting for the others to get the boat ready!
Found this yard sign at a grocery story on the highway in France, needless to say, this is my favorite photo ever taken of me
On the dock in Stock
Not too shabby for a backyard view
Drehboat a.k.a SMILE through the PAIN
And look at my little rowing sisters!
We'll wrap it up there for now (as I had guessed earlier in this post, it took me a while to finish it and it is now much later and much more has happened, but we'll save that for another day). I have lots of ideas for upcoming blog posts, I will try to get better about holding myself to writing them!
A play-by-play of my recent solo trip to Leipzig
An in-depth dive into the terrible pendulum swing that is being excited to be home and absolutely dreading leaving (a catchy title I know)
A one-sentence review of every live show I saw this year in Germany
A brief food tour of what I hope to bring along in my diet after returning to the states
So, I'll just close by saying
I'll write more soon... I promise
If you know anyone considering going abroad, please encourage them to do it
I'm just so, SO grateful
Still not quite sure if I'll ever wrap my head around the fact that I live here...
BIS ZUM NÄCHSTEN MAL!