Sitting in this nearly empty apartment I don't have much to do at the moment. I've been slowly acquiring new furniture and trying to get the best deals I can find. So maybe I should back up a bit. We were all set to move back to the states earlier this year. My husband was planning to start school in the states so we shipped all of our household goods back in early May. In June he flew back and I stayed behind for my job while I looked for work stateside. This in itself was a lot of work. Cancelling everything, getting all of our stuff ready to ship, shipping a car, going through the arduous task of sending our dog back to the states, and moving out of our place just to name a few things. This didn't factor in the emotional drain that moving always causes.
So I stayed with the intent to move back as soon as I found a job. I can't say I was thrilled about it. I'm not ready to leave Europe yet. I love it here. I love the lifestyle, I love that I can be in Austria, Italy, Czech Republic, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and Switzerland in just a few hours. I love all the different cultures. I love the challenge that living in a different country inherently presents. I love it all. Life is so much more interesting and fulfilling for me when I can live and explore life in a foreign place. I also just love Germany. Even with it's quirks I really enjoy the lifestyle and all the perks of German living.
Fast forward a few months and a trip to Iceland where I got to meet up with my husband for a blissful week, and while there we talked about how we would rather live in Europe. So I said why not do that? We can live here, we don't have to be tied down to our stuff, it'll just take some figuring out. So he thought about it and quickly jumped on board. Since then he has been selling our stuff, putting some in storage, and getting ready to make the move back to Germany. So, a whirlwind summer it's been for us!
This whole time I've been staying with friends and just last week finally found an apartment. The apartment hunting here is an entire post within itself. For as much as Germans love dogs, finding a reasonably priced apartment that accepts dogs has been anything but easy. This is especially true when there are a lot of interested renters (oftentimes you're viewing an apartment alongside many other people who want it just as much as you).
This year I've done quite a bit but only posted a few things. I think I was so sad about leaving and didn't see any reason to continue with the blog when I was leaving anyway. So now I'm happy to report that I'll be in Germany for the foreseeable future and can continue writing about my travels and Germany! What have I been up to this year? Let's see, Carneval in Switzerland, a week in Portugal, St Patricks day in Ireland, finally showing my husband Lake Garda and having my best friend fly in for the trip, the best boat trip with captain Ron in Croatia, the most amazing week in Iceland, summer skiing on a glacier in Austria in August, and coming up is Florence, hopefully some ski trips, and a trip home to Alaska for Christmas. If I ever have second thoughts about staying in Europe I should just read that last sentence. I'm continuously amazed at all the opportunities I've had over the last few years. And all this we were able to do while working full time as well.
Here are just a few photos of my trips...
St. Patricks Day! Cork, Blarney, and Kinsale - Ireland
We had a grand ol' time in Ireland. We went with 4 friends and had allll the Guinness. I forgot that Ireland has similar drinking rules to the U.S., with one rule being you can't just walk around and bring your drink with you. So we had to find a pub on St. Patricks day and claim our spot. I Google searched the best one and we found our way there. It was completely empty when we got to the pub because everyone was outside watching the parade while we were recovering from the night before. After about 45 minutes it went from no one to absolutely insanely packed. We listened to the most amazing Irish music from a group of women that could sing, play multiple instruments, and dance. The day was full of friendly people and really good times. Truly, I have an amazing life. (click on any photo to expand)
Road Trip! Lagos and Lisbon - Portugal
Lucerne and the surrounding area - Switzerland
How do you explain carnival? - It's big brass bands parading throughout the city, lots of drinking, more intricate and coordinated costumes than anything you'll see at Halloween in the states, shenanigans, parties going until 5am or later, and a lot of booze. Did I mention the partying? It happens all over Europe (it's somewhat similar to Mardi Gras) and Switzerland has the added value of this majestic mountainous backdrop.
Lake Garda - Italy
I just want to go here every year for the rest of my life. My husband said it's more beautiful here than Alaska....I don't know about that (maybe I'm partial) but it is incredible here.
Zagreb and Zadar - Croatia
I love Croatia. If you want culture, good food, friendly people, beautiful beaches, and an inexpensive vacation, Croatia is the place to be. It also has the added benefit of less tourists since most flock to other more popular European countries.
I flew in at 1130pm and the sun was still setting. I think I was happy and homesick at the same time.
I can't wait for what the next few years hold for us. All I know is that this has been a crazy ride so far and I'm looking forward to what's next.