8 Months in Germany and an Impromptu Trip to Esslingen

Old Town Esslingen

I had very good intentions of updating this blog at least once a month. Then I started a new job while ending the first one and I was back to being exhausted all the time. The once-momentous “monthiversary” date of the 26th came and went. I was too busy being trapped in the moment. No reminiscing about the past or pondering the future, just treading the water in the present. Seven months here came and went and now it’s about to be eight months.

My new job teaching English at a language school downtown is going well. I enjoy interacting with students and trying to help them reach their goals. Although the commute into downtown Stuttgart is a real slog sometimes, being 34 miles round-trip on the train, I like getting my fix of city life. Sometimes there are very long breaks between students and I will explore the city. The main art museum, the Staatsgalerie, is free on Wednesdays. Exploring the Markthalle, a historic trading hall now filled with specialty food shops, is a favorite during lunch. Since I had to leave most of my clothes in the move, I usually hit up the H&M on Königstraße during the empty stretches of my day. I’ve found a legit hipster vegetarian falafel joint (Vegi Stuttgart on Steinstraße) and a good, albeit a bit expensive, cramped and crowded, coffee place (Hochland Kaffee Filiale on Kirschstraße) to pass time as well. But there are indeed days when I simply want to nap in the teacher’s lounge, though that is often impossible as it’s a bustling place filled with German and English voices always trading news and baked goods.

We bought a car that we share with my mother-in-law, as neither we nor she needs a full-time car. We mostly keep it in our garage and on days like today, my husband and I can make a spontaneous trip. Today we went to nearby Esslingen. It was mostly intact after WWII, so now it boasts the oldest half-timbered (Fachwerk) houses in Germany, which were built between 1328 and 1331.

We strolled around the medieval houses and remnants of the wall. The Neckar river runs through town and you can walk along the banks. Everyone was eating ice cream and enjoying the weather. We had a falafel wrap and a beer in the sun. I even found a Starbucks, where Paracelsus lived in 1531! (Yes, I do know there were no Starbucks in 1531, literal audience.) The interesting thing about Starbucks is that Europeans don’t like it because it’s more expensive than just a regular coffee to go at a normal bakery. However, they love that they get their name on the cup. Americans like it because it can be a stand in living room and because of the drive thru’s, but isn’t it interesting to hear what stands out to others?

I still miss my family, my friends and Portland a lot. But I am also moving on and slowly building up my life here. It feels great to finally be getting paychecks again. Having a car gives us mobility, although I need to study for and pass the test for a driver’s license. I want to keep improving my German, but recently that’s really taken the backseat because I’m so busy with work. One thing at a time. But hey, I’ve been meaning to update my blog for a month, and I finally accomplished that today!

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