Travelling to Europe is probably one of the easier trips people may undertake in a lifetime. After all, most of Europe is connected by a precise network of trains, affordable hotels or hostels if you prefer, the currency is mostly unified, and most cultures utilize English as a reason not to speak to you. Using my fingers and toes as an abacus, I can count how many people have taken on Europe equipped with nothing more than a canvas rucksack and Birkenstocks.
Now imagine moving to Europe with nothing more than a hip pack and a pair of athletic shoes.
(What was he thinking?) I realize some of my readers may not have an imagination that stretches farther than Facebook, but work with me here. Obviously, I packed a suitcase or two and a few carry-ons, but this trip was an enormous upgrade compared to my first experience with Deutschland in 2001; an entire page dedicated to tales of an ignorant American college student. There are however, a few things I neglected to pack: suitable shoes for knee-high mud (still looking for farm boots), real jacket, and an etiquette book. Let me clarify, I have a thin wind-stopper jacket I wore as a winter coat in Columbia, MD, which now serves as one of seven layers to protect against the Schwäbian chill. Luckily, I did remember my pillow, and before you start snickering let me make something very clear, the pillows here are large enough to qualify as a bean bag or lovesac.
Since landing here on December 22nd, I have managed to:
- Unknowingly, ask a friendly elderly Gent, if he had a problem in a very disrespectful way. (Hint: Was ist Los? Is pretty much slang for: is there a problem buddy?!)
- Turn whites to brown…curious aren’t ya? (Coldest temp on wash machine is 90° F!)
- Get lost 200 yards from my residence (It helps to know what signs mean)
- Disrespect the bathroom
- Drive like a princess and have a panic attack within minutes of each other, all while using the Force.
- Blatantly ignore proper household dinner etiquette and cause a crisis reminiscent of Cuba in 62’.
- Wear shorts in a blizzard
- Saute bacon in boiling water
- Fail to remove my shoes in a timely manner upon entering a household (several violations…continues to be a problem)
- Cause a power outage and long-term network failure by boiling water
- Get sick for the first time in 1o years
- Over feed friend’s pets while house-sitting for 3 weeks causing abnormal growth
- Witness bizarre weather shifts, starting with Orkan Andrea (the natural way to remove shingles from your house), then shifting to Thunder Snow and a mixture of upside down rain, then sunshine and 50° F!
That rounds out four weeks of utter mayhem, looking forward to February already!