One Year in Hamburg
It just dawned on me that Ken and I have been living in Hamburg for a little over a year! Thinking back, it’s amazing to realize all of the things that we have accomplished, all the trials and tribulations we’ve endured, and the things we’ve learned about each other and living abroad in the past year. Ken used to talk about how difficult it had been for him to be in Italy for the 1 1/2 years that we spent apart, and I always thought that he must’ve be crazy – to live abroad is such a great adventure. Now I realize that I would never have been able to do this alone or without the support of our friends and family.
So what did we do this past year?
We settled into our very cute but in-the-middle-of-no-where apartment in Othmarschen, furnishing it, and equipping it with all our essentials and learning to love the three-story walk up.
We learned German – we’re obviously still learning every day. But I went to take out the trash yesterday while the sun was out, and our neighbor said hello. We were able to exchange pleasantries about the weather and the weekend in German, and then he kindly complimented me on the progress we’ve made in our German since arriving.
We got to see all four seasons. Fall in Hamburg was really pretty. After four years in Atlanta where it was hot, hot, hot and then cold once winter came upon us, it was very exciting to actually see the leaves change color from green to yellow, orange than red. Unfortunately it is now freezing and disgusting, so it’s nice to recall when it was lovely outside.
We travelled a bit. We went to Northern Italy for a weekend to spend time with Ken’s colleagues. We also went to Amsterdam and Middelburg to visit my aunt and cousins over Passover and then again for Thanksgiving to see my parents. We went to Vienna over Christmas, and Berlin multiple times (1,2,3). We took day trips to Lübeck and Lüneberg, both cities near to Hamburg. Ken got to see Sweden, and travelled a lot to San Francisco. I even made it out to Boston to watch my brothers graduate.
We were introduced to a few new German traditions. Oktoberfest is not the only noteworthy German festival – there is also Schlagermove, Carnival, the Harbor festival, the month of Weinachtmärkt and many other street festivals that wrap around our Alster here in Hamburg. Germans love lighting off fireworks, drinking in the streets and wearing crazy outfits as often as possible – how can that not be fun?
We were visited a lot by both friends and family who showered us in all the things we miss from home: tampons with applicators, home-made cookies, Advil, Tylenol, Reeses Peanut Butter cups, Vitamin D & Biotin, to name a few.
I found a great job where I’ve now been working for the last 7 months designing international packaging at the Peter Schmidt Group. Ken’s become an integral part of his department in DESY. I survived a trip to the hospital, Ken survived a trip to the dentist. I’ve learned to make schweinebraten, and broken in the Le Creuset to make some other yummy German recipes.
It’s been a productive year, an interesting year. I hope we have just as many fun and crazy adventures next year – sans the hospital.