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Quick Europe run-down and some thoughts on living in Germany

I've officially been in Germany for two weeks, and left Utah just about five weeks ago. It's been the longest five weeks of my life. In a good way, I promise. I'm just used to going to work every day at the same place, walking the same streets, seeing the same views, and eating the same foods with all the same people. The last five weeks have been an exception to all of those rules.

On day 1, we pranced around NYC, eating until we were bursting. Still, familiar. Still, could communicate easily with the people around me.

Day 2 landed us in Lisbon, Portugal, where we stayed outside of the city and close to some beaches. Nothing about that city and language and culture was familiar to me. Happily, we were there for a dear friend's wedding, which means we not only had familiar American friends around us, but we also got to experience a Portuguese wedding. I'm not exaggerating at all when I say that we ate from about 3:30pm till 1am. It was unbelievable. If you're ever invited to a wedding in Portugal, don't think, GO. But also just make sure you go to Lisbon one day. I don't know if I would have put it on the top of my list before, but walking around that city one night with friends was probably my favorite night yet.

Days 6-13 were spent eating baguettes and croissants in Paris while sweating profusely. Hannah lived there for two years, so she knows the language and the best places to go, so assumed the role of tour guide and made sure I ate all the things I needed to eat. I love Paris in the springtime. And with Hannah. Mostly with Hannah. That city is really just associated with Hannah now. And baguettes with butter and blueberry jam. Holy.

On day 13 we left Paris and arrived in Strasbourg, just on the edge of France near Germany. It was feeling a lot more German, which made me happy, but everyone was speaking French, which made Hannah happy. We had slowed down a lot by this time, which I loved, and enjoyed meandering around the city, even took a boat tour, and spent plenty of time watching Modern Family. Which is now my favorite TV show. Seriously, I die. How did I never watch that before?

We arrived in Colmar on day 16 after taking a train through Beauty and the Beast countryside. No really, the whole area gave inspiration for the animated film. Hannah sang every opportunity she could. We stayed in the cutest little flat right in the middle of the old town, with windows that were always open so we could listen to the street music below. If you follow either of us on Instragram, you probably saw some clips of that happening. And it rained! It rained and rained, and cooled us off (mostly) after two+ weeks of swealtering.

Big brother+S/O arrived on day 18 with a car – a car! – and we hopped in and crossed over into Germany for the first time, with me practically in tears. Freiburg was a lovely German city, but even better than that was driving into the Black Forest, making our way to the top of some hills (I struggle to call them mountains when they are just so...rolling), and driving through deep green forests. We toasted with schnapps at the top, and went on our merry way, ending in Baden Baden for the night.

Day 20 sucked because we dropped Hannah off at the train station, where she hopped on a train to Paris, where she would fly out of the next day. The night before, I straight up started bawling while eating pizza at a nice restaurant in town. That was when I really started realizing how far away I was from home.

And now Düsseldorf with Ryan and his girlfriend, Cinta. Those two are taking such good care of me. Or they were before they abandoned me for a vacation, but I'll consider forgiving them. We are all in the process of moving into a bigger apartment, where I'll be bunking with them for an undetermined amount of time while I sort out my life a touch. Four years ago Ryan moved over here and I had plans to follow closely, but ended up staying and got married instead. Zero regrets, but so grateful to be here now because that is a dream that just never died!

As I said to people before I came, I am taking this one beautiful day at a time. So right now, my plan is to learn German. After that, I'll see if I stay on for university or if I make my way back to the states to attend a school there. Who even knows. WHO KNOWS! Really, who knows? Not I.

What I do know is that not knowing a language makes everything hard. Hard and scary. Have you ever been scared to order coffee at Starbucks? No? It makes me sweat now. Especially if it's busy. Oh, man. Sometimes I want to march in there and to just say, "Hey, I'm actually from Seattle, this is MY store so BE PATIENT!" So far I have kept a cool head about myself. But you know, stay tuned. Also: employment. Getting a job is just sort of not a thing right now because I don't speak German (yet). The idea of getting a job in the US is now laughable to me because it seems so much easier just because of the language thing. I have always loved being able to talk to the people I run into at the grocery store, while ordering food, receiving packages... and I took it all for granted. I'm a talker and I cannot talk to people. It's incredibly motivating as far as the language learning goes, because I'm realizing how important it is for me to be able to do that.

Another thing I really, really am realizing again is that I really need mountains. I've known for a while that being out in the mountains does wonders for my emotional health, as well as for my bum. Right now, I am in fairly industrial city, surrounded by suburban life. There are parks, but larger forests and mountains aren't really accessible to me yet. I have to learn how to get to all those places, but they are still completely out of the way. I am aching to get out there, too. Photos of Rainier are enough to make me cry right now. I know I'll get more and more comfortable with finding my way around and that I'll eventually be blowing up my IG feed with photos of the alps, but until then I'll just pine away. Note to self: next time you move, get yourself closer to some mountains!

I have just one last thought for the day, which is the biggest thought of them all, and it's not even a really new thought: my people mean so much more to me than any place does. It's why John and I left Washington a year ago. We found ourselves without our people, so we went to our people who were in Utah, and had all the experiences we needed to have there, and are now in two different places with various "our people" people. They are what matter the most. Do I need to be here and having this experience away from home? Absolutely. Zero regrets. So grateful to be here. But if my whole family moves to the Sahara, you bet I'll be moving there, too. I just can't do the thing where I see my family once or twice a year. Ain't happenin'. So I'll be here just as long as I need to be here, meet the people I need to meet, have the experiences I need to have, and then I'll make sure that the next place I go to is close to more of my people.

Over and out.

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