So what is it like living in another country for a few weeks?
Um. ‘Bout that.
Ok, so I’m not all homesick right now, really. I am “here” sick. I am sick of playing chicken with everyone on the sidewalk. I am sick of walking on uneven cobblestone everything. I am sick of not being able to read simple signs and having to wait 9 hours for the waitress to give me my check. I am sick of the language barrier (I try… and fail every time). I am sick of eating dinner alone. I am really sick of no ice cubes anywhere. I am sick of not having a chain on my door so that I have to make sure to put the do not disturb sign on my door so I can sleep in in the morning. I am sick of not being able to watch TV (everything has a German voiceover!).
However, I am doing a-ok for now. I have made up my hotel room all home-like. Half-empty glasses of water, an entire stash of German chocolate, 3 different types of tea… Home sweet home! This city really is beautiful. I think I’ve gone to the cathedral almost every day. Below you’ll find a picture of what I found at the cathedral… I was looking at all the amazing gargoyles and found that… And just remember that they generally have openings for water to run through. Just imagine that during a rainstorm!
The city has cobblestone almost everywhere in the “old city”. I can’t imagine being a little old lady and trying to get around. Speaking of elderly, I have seen more old couples than anything here. It is adorable. They are ancient and still holding hands and walking arm in arm. Love that. I have also seen equal amounts of both nuns and fat people. 3 of each so far. Seriously, between the fact that they need to walk virtually everywhere here and their smoking habits, these people are slim!
This week I spent a lot of my time exploring and walking around. I spent one afternoon almost entirely taking pictures of the cathedral. Some of the colors they have painted their buildings are so pretty. I also did a lot of shopping. Friends back home all asked for shot glasses and things like that and it took me almost a whole week to find them here. I tried to find a perfect gift for everyone but it was hard because they have normal stores like the US and a lot of stuff is the same or very similar.
Today I decided to venture out and find the fire department. I wanted to see if I could at least get a picture with the truck or see how similar they are to US departments and see if I could get a shirt off of them or something… Well, of course, I doubted they were like the US but I didn’t think their department (at least the closest to my hotel) would be like Fort Knox! I scratched that idea and continued to get lost in the newer part of the city.
Also, I really hate crossing the street here. In the old part of the city, it isn’t so hard. There are trolleys and such that come and go and the occasional car but you really just need to worry about the bicycles. Everyone has one here and they have the right of way over everyone so you have to be careful. For the first week, I followed people crossing the street and positioned myself between the oncoming traffic and myself. I liked to follow people with carriages because that seemed safest. I’m not proud to admit it, but I definitely followed a few elderly ladies (don’t judge, I kept an eye on them to make sure they made it ok!). People on the sidewalk, or anywhere I guess, just walk. If you’re in their way, tough shit. One lady literally ran me over with her baby carriage in a store. That’s one thing I miss about home-telling people off in their own language. These people are like New Yorkers on steroids, except they don’t say anything. They are silent New Yorkers on steroids and you must move or else they will move you. Shits stressful!
Overall, it has been pretty cool. I think it would be a whole lot different if I were here on a vacation. It would make it more of a novelty than just trying to fit in. I guess I don’t scream “tourist!” because I’ve had like 3 different people ask me for directions in German. I so totally hate giving them the “I have no idea what the hell you’re saying” deer in headlights look… but that just comes naturally I suppose. One good thing, too, is that I haven’t been harassed by men. I get more attention walking in Market Basket than I do on the streets here.
I think I would like it a lot more if I didn’t live in a 10×16 box by the train/tram/taxi/bus station. Their fruit is pretty yummy and cheaper than the US (1.99 for giant strawberries!) and I can’t get enough pretzels. They have bakeries everywhere and have the most amazing breads and deserts just sitting there waiting to be taken home. However, I am yet to see a doughnut here! I don’t like them myself so I do not miss them, but writing this just made me realize I haven’t seen any! America, we don’t know what we’re missing! These coffee shops and bakeries make DD’s look like a dumpster!
Well, enough of my babble. I just wanted to check in and say hello from 3k miles away… And share my awesome photo of the most interesting gargoyle. I will post more pictures later.