1. Thomy mustard and Stratialla Yogurt and Kase Spatzle
Why these three inventions don’t exist in the US is beyond me, but they don’t. Thomy mustard, is a spicy mustard used for, if you are me, everything. I put it on Bretzen, bread, sandwiches pizza.. you name it.
Straitialla Yogurt, but not just any stratialla yogurt. It has to be the organic kind that isn’t loaded with sugar. Think vanilla yogurt with flakes of chocolate in it. Or the Dairy Queen Chocolate Chip Shake, and make it healthy. Mixed with Musuli it beats any milkshake. FREAKING, YUM.
Kase Spatzle. Eva makes this homemade and I already know that no matter what, it will never be the same. I won’t have the true mountain cheeses, or the Swiss cheese from Austria. But I’ll try. Eva is so sweet and got me the Spatzle Hobel to make it. Here I come, Paula Dean.
2. History talks with Eva
I have never been a history buff. I think I slept through more history classes than I was awake for in high school and the only reason I know about German history is because I like to read and read the diary of Anne Frank. Okay, so I am not that bad, but close. Eva is a history teacher and she is just filled with knowledge about this country. Everything from the kings and queens to the holocaust and reform. We just sit for hours and I soak in all the knowledge she has. I’ll miss that. I will miss learning every single day. I love to learn. And even when its not with Eva, there is no way that you can live as an expat and not learn something literally every single day. Why? Because nothing is normal. Nothing is what you know. Everything is different and your brain is constantly challenged. I am going to miss that challenge.
3. Good Beer
Before arriving in Germany, I could go an entire night drinking Bud Light and be a completely happy camper.
I am dreading going back to budlight. The watered down, low volume and bitter taste of Budlight. Oh how I loved it. But have you ever had a snake bite? Because its Guniess and Cider and it is liquid euphoria. I never, ever want to drink anything but a snake bite and I am 90% sure it just won’t be the same at home. …sigh.
Local beer everywhere you go. Dorfen actually brews its own beer. So does Erding. Passing. Munich. and every other town, city and village here. And most of them are pretty damn good.
4. The Bayern Ticket
IE: The best invention ever for someone living in Bavaria. The Bayern Ticket is a train pass, good for a full day for all travel within the state of Bavaria. It includes Regional trains, all S and U Bahns and most buses The best part? You can add people onto it. It costs 22 Euros for the first person and 4 additional for each person, up to five. Taylor, Helena and I split it and it’s 10 Euros each. That makes seeing a ton of stuff in Germany super cheap. Neuschweinstein Castle (which I still haven’t put on here, sorry…), Salzburg, Austria and pretty much anything you want to see regarding an awesome castle or awesome landscape. I love Bavaria. I will always, always, always love Bavaria.
5. Castles and Churches
As stated above, Germany is known for its castles and churches. No words can describe the pure beauty and childhood happiness that can emerge from staring up at Neuschweinstein. No words can even explain the intricate design of the Salzburg Cathedral. Simply, no words. Complete and utter beauty.
6. Green Rolling Hills
The landscape. Here is Germany, the hills roll and roll and then turn to snow covered mountains The buildings and houses are painted every shade of pastel with curved roofs and perfect story book fronts. I will miss that. I will miss every bit of the beauty here.
7. The language barrier
I know, I never thought I would say this and as much of a pain in the ass as it was, it can also be intriging and fun. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing fun about the dispatcher for the medics I called not understand a word of English. But it can be fun, when you are eating a meal or walking around and you pick up on a conversation and actually understand it. I came here not knowing a single word of German, and I’m leaving able to pick up on 85% of conversations. It happens with Emilia all the time, she will say something in German, I respond and then realize that I fully understood her. But what I think is even better, is her knowledge of English. Emilia was 3 when I arrived and didn’t know a single word of English. Just the other night, she came down to inform me dinner was ready and said “Hand-lay, Abend essen ist fertig.” Which means, “Hanley, dinner is ready.” So I looked at her and I said Emilia, how do you say this in English? She stopped, thought and said… essen is READY! The look on both of our faces just lights up and I hug her so tight. Teaching such a small child another language has been so rewarding. And THAT IS COOL.
8. Taylor and Helena
While here, I have met two of the funnest, loving, outgoing and crazy females. Taylor and Helena have made this experience everything it is. The girls nights, getting stuck in a city with no way home, laughing at a language mess up, feeling awkward all the time, missing home, being in the same place, in the same state of mind, together. Leaving Taylor and Helena is going to be the worst, worst feeling of this whole thing. See you ladies again soon, promise!
9. Being economical
Here is the thing, point blank. Americans are wasteful. We throw away garbage without a second though, leave the water running and the lights on. And while I realize that not all Americans do this 90% do without a second thought about it. Heck, I did it! But in Germany, I have sorted all trash, recycled, saved, and been completely economical. I will miss that. I will miss having to do that and it being a habit.
10. Insurance and crazy German organization
Insurance. I am prone to accidents… I’ll admit it, whatever. And here in Germany I had insurance. The burn incident cost well over 10k Euros. Without insurance I would be utterly screwed.
The German origination actually makes sense. The mandated insurances and the way they run things makes sense.
11. Chocolate, and I don’t even LIKE chocolate
Oh, my gosh. My entire life I have hated chocolate. About the farthest stretch I would take was chocolate milk. But let me tell you something, the chocolate we have is not chocolate. It’s cocoa and water. The chocolate here is chocolate. My gosh, Americans are deprived.
12. Choco Croissants
This goes right along with the above statement. Creamy, fudge goodness tucked in a buttery croissant is just heaven in your mouth. Nothing, nothing, nothing better. (Also the reason I completely failed at the whole lose weight plan….oops!)
13. This family.
Last, but not least. In fact, this family is the number one thing I will miss come Monday.
Eva and Alex have been the most loving, caring, open minded, understanding and welcoming couple I have ever met. They have taught me the value of marriage, the value of a true relationship. They are the definition of true love and they way they support each other in everything is absolutely inspiring.
The girls. My sweet, little Germany girls. Emilia and I have bonded so much in the last few months, and her giggle is irreplaceable. The way she repeats English and walks around the house “speaking English” can bring a smile to anyones face. It’s complete jabber and doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense, but to her it does. When she tells her friends “This is Hand-lay and she is from Amer-ee-ka” you can see her eyes light up with Pride.
My Sophia. My sweet, sweet girl. Sophias first birthday is next week and watching her grow and develope the last five months has been such a rewarding expierence. She learned to crawl, hold her bottle, eat real food, sleep through the night, say her first words, pull herself up, take her first steps, giggle her first real giggle…. Between waking her up with the biggest smile I have ever seen, her giggle when you throw her in the air, the way she crawls as fast as a cheetah when I walk in the room…. Gosh, I am going to miss that little girl.
And finally, Antonia. Only one month old and still so tiny and innocent. Even in just a few mere weeks.. and watching her learn to see things, focus and then smile is just heart melting.
Germany, as much as I have bitched and complained about the things I miss.. Nothing, nothing will compare to the time I have spent here. I absolutely loved this place. I loved the country, the history, the people and the culture. I left my family at home for a job. And now I am leaving my family here.
Germany, Eva, Alex, Emilia, Sophia, and Antonia… I will love you forever. See you soon.