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Goodbye, Stuttgart

It's amazing how birds can sit on an electric line and live. If we humans tried our brains would fry ... but then birds don't really have a brain. So I suppose I'm content letting them sit on the dangerous lines and for me to be able to live a different sort of exciting life that allows for pondering things such as how amazing it is birds can sit where I can't. 
The week before I knew I'd be leaving Stuttgart soon was full of many activities. I biked to a thrift store ... ended up being a twenty-six-mile ride in all. And yes my legs killed for awhile.

And ... I bought absolutely nothing at the thrift store. Not that there weren't nice things there ... but I didn't want to spend money, nor carry anything back ;D I did take a few lovely pictures posted above and below.

Also, you may be asking why I biked so far to a thrift store.


  • I love thrift stores. 
  • But most people I've talked down seem to look down upon second-hand stores, and in general, they are much scarcer than in the states. 
  • I wanted a long outing, you know to get out of the house. 
  • I wanted to see just what German thrift stores were like, and have been visiting as many as I can to see just that. 
German thrift stores don't seem as cheap here as they are in the states. And they seem to be full of mostly clothing. The one I biked to had more of a variety, though. Books, toys, and one shelf of dishes. Prices were okay, but still not as good as the thrift stores I love back home. 

Biked through a really lovely town and saw this neat looking barn. 
The church I attended in Stuttgart, ICF, had this huge event called a Ladie's Lounge on a Saturday. Basically a huge ladies conference with tons of speakers, and lots of booths to buy second hand or gift items or booths to get your hair/ nails/ makeup done for free.

Somehow, I found myself signed up to be working in the beauty lounge and did people's hair all day. Which I loved. I also loved that I got to wear staff badge ;D And I got to attend the entire conference for free, too, as a result.

And for the staff, there were boxes full of cake and protein bars and such in the staff room, and for a free warm lunch for all of us, too. All of the sessions were in German, so I could understand very little. But I still thoroughly enjoyed every moment.

At the end of the service, they passed around huge boxes full of wrapped mini doughnuts and then passed balloons to everyone, too. I brought a pretty yellow balloon home for the littlest of the children at my Au Pair family.

Also, handing out things left and right seems to be quite a common thing in Germany. It seems like people are always giving away things at events.
This is one of my friends in Stuttgart who is also an Au Pair. She's Muslim too, which is nice when we're eating as she can understand menus a little better than I can, and we're both kosher and alcohol-free.
On the following Sunday, she and I went to see another part of town, then I dragged her on to ICF with the promise that they always had a warm, free meal after the service. She also brought along one of her friends she wanted me to meet (they'd met randomly in a store and clicked so continued to hang out). The other friend said she didn't believe in anything. So they both were hesitant to go inside a church with me. But after they both said that they really enjoyed it. "It's just like a concert and the people are all so welcoming!"

After, I realized I'd accidentally brought a Muslim and an atheist to church without even trying, haha.
This day my Au Pair family left me a large sugar pretzel along with my money and also told me that they wanted to talk that night.
I knew things weren't going to end well that night, so as I sat there and ate I messaged the family I'm currently with, asking if I could maybe come with them if my first Au Pair family let me go. They said yes.

Even, so. The entire day was a bit stressful. I tried to not let it be ...  I enjoyed many things, such as cleaning and some cooking, and then going to see a friend that had invited me over.
And then that night I went to a parade of sorts for St. Martin's with some of my Au Pair family. It was a very fun thing to see and learn about (funny note: they told me the story of St. Martin came from the Bible. I hadn't ever heard of St. Martin before, so I really enjoyed learning more about him. But I was certain he wasn't in the Bible). 

We all gathered in a church square behind a circle of candles. People sang beautiful songs, and then a man dressed up as St. Martin rode a horse to the center where another man dressed as a beggar sat. "St. Martin" was a rich man with a bright red cloak. He tore the cloak in two and gave half to the "poor man". Then they lead us around in a procession and toward another part of the church where we bought a hot cider of sorts and hate hot dogs in buns.

I went to my evening class and managed to concentrate and enjoy my lessons as usual.
I shivered my way all the way back home on my bike.

The family told me, "We've decided to terminate our contract."

And I said, "Yes. I saw this coming and I have another lady who would like me to come."

I was sad and elated all at once. Because now the stress was suddenly ripped away and I knew what was to happen.

Even so, it was sad thinking of all I'd have to say goodbye to.
One of the first people I said goodbye to was the girl who was an Au Pair in the same neighborhood I lived in (the girl who came to church with me). We went to town together, me to look for coins and her to just tag along. I told her I'd be leaving (something a little hard to do, as we mostly communicate in German). But she understood and her eyes were so big and she was like, "You? I guess I have it so lucky." 
Walking through the city center with Arina.

I'd been trying to talk her into learning to knit or something, as I believe some sort of feminine hobby is good for a woman's mind, especially amidst stress and guy-problems. She finally agreed, so I bought her some yarn and needles while we were in town. Which she thought was such a fun gift, but was tickled all the same. 

Then we went to a bank that sold old coins and I bought a couple. And she thought that was neat, looking around at all the coins with me. 
Waiting for the coins to be brought to us. It was so fancy ;D 

We went to my home then, and I taught her how to start knitting a scarf. 
But first, I had a fun weekend planned with an old family friend of my mom's. The lady had been an Au Pair from California to Germany ten years ago but stayed when she met a guy and had two lovely children.

It was a refreshing weekend where I was able to let go of more of the stress nagging at me and able to relive memories or learn more about others' memories. And I had many fun and deep conversations with the mother.

If I've missed one thing in Germany, it's that I haven't had an opportunity for many real conversations here. Yes, there's been the language barrier, but there's also a huge cultural gap.

While there, we went to one of the largest churches in the world (or so I was told) in Cologne. We climbed over five hundred steps to the top with the two children ... and they did amazing! And we also visited the treasury—I just can't imagine how much it's all worth! So much gold and silver and gems. And old, gorgeous embroidery!
When I left her place, I got up at five am and rode a bus and a train about seven hours home, getting back in time for the last time I'd be able to attend ICF. Except, I had about two hours to kill before church. To go all of the way home would mean I'd pretty much just need to turn around, so I texted a few friends to see if any of them were busy and found myself at one of their houses talking about all sorts of fun things (after telling her I was fired and would be leaving Saturday).

We had tea, and promised to email each other, then walked to church together.
Here is our last picture together:
The picture is actually very poor, but regardless, she's a gorgeous lady who speaks at least three languages (Italian, German, and English) fluently and seems quite successful in life, and such a fun person to be with. 

At church, I enjoyed a last service and the warm meal that always followed along with conversation. Right before I left I told a few people that I wouldn't be coming back and why, and people were giving me their numbers and emails and acting genuinely upset that I wouldn't be returning. One of the reasons I kept going to this church is because I was stunned by just how hospitable it was. The people seemed to love seeing me (and everyone) and they remembered my name (I remember faces, not names so always felt so bad for not remembering their names). And when it came time to go people were just so nice offering me a place to stay (seriously) and hugging me and such.
The next day one of my other friends from church invited me over (I'd told her way before that I'd be leaving). We had a nice last chat over tea, full of laughter and fellowship. 

This girl has totally been so sweet and I'm very sorry I won't be able to get to know her more. When I went to the ladies' lounge she and her husband gave me a ride there, and she's just overall been so fun to connect with. 

Oh, she's actually American and married a German ;D So it was also fun to compare Germany and America together, the things we loved and didn't love so much. 
I'd passed this little mammoth several times and always thought it cute, but I didn't take a picture until then. In some ways, it seems a symbol of how I was feeling about my life. It's easy to stress and think our problems are huge. But to someone, they are cute, and maybe slightly annoying, but not really that big of a deal. 
A delicious Christmas cake my host family made. I got the recipe ;D  
Overall, the last week there was very pleasant.

On Monday, I said goodbye to my evening classmates, and on Tuesday morning I said goodbye to my second class. After the class I went to a yarn shop I loved to frequent and said goodbye to the lady there, and also showed her some projects I'd made with yarn from her. I also bought a gorgeous goat leather purse I'd been eyeing my whole time there.

Arina and I hung out one more time .... she invited me over to her house, and she made a lovely brunch while I played the piano.
Then we went to town and I checked out a free history museum for about an hour before joining her to shop for a while. 

She bought me yarn! And I found some new journals. 
In some ways, my whole time in Stuttgart felt like I was floating on some other realm. This selfie seemed to explain it to me ... I'm just an otherly being, and most people don't know what to make of it. Some run from the light ... but if people would just wait, they'd find out my hands are full of magic. 

Or maybe the sun just wanted to reflect on me on that moment in an effort to burn some sense into me.

I suppose it didn't work.
Leaving was sad, but I had my uncle with me, and I was also so very exhausted. We visited Munich, took too many photos, then I was left with a new family. 

I haven't been here all that long, but so far it's as if I'm finally able to use my hands as they were meant to be used. There are six children, and somehow I can understand a good portion of their German. And our humor is so very much more attuned. As are our habits and styles. There's plenty of cleaning to keep me occupied (always a good excuse for my audiobooks). And the children are so very not shy. My hair has been yanked in a thousand loving directions and my back jumped on so much I think it may work like a massage. 

I'm learning German so very much faster, and I finally feel like my surroundings reflect the magical feeling that has radiated inside my heart for months—peace. 












Comments

  1. Sounds extremely different. That last picture is so nice! All the food looks so good, I wish I could have some :)

    astordetective.blogspot.com

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    1. Sometimes it is so different 😂 thanks! Maybe I can make some German food when I get back and y'all can visit ;)

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  2. Loving these update posts and pictures! That must have been hard.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Thanks, Skye! It was a little hard, but not as hard as one would imagine. Having peace of mind goes a long ways.

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