Back in Germany

German house flags After just about a year in New Zealand, we have now returned to Germany. To be honest, being in Germany isn’t that much different from being New Zealand.

Well ok, the mountains aren’t quite as stunning, the buildings are definitely older and there is a somewhat greater headcount, but overall going from one developed country to another isn’t a major culture shock. I just have a sturdier roof over my head.

In fact, in some ways, Germany is more of a foreign place than New Zealand to me because of the language barrier. Luckily, insanely cheap beer is one of the ways that Germany differs from New Zealand, and beer is a fabulous way to conquer any language barrier.

We’re living back in the house we left a year ago. This is in itself very much like living in a hostel in New Zealand – full of friendly people who all speak German. (If you’ve not visited New Zealand or Australia recently, you may not have realised that roughly 80% of all travellers appear to be German. You’d think this would mean Germany is empty, but it turns out not to be the case).

The occupants of the house, including a fat one eyed cat, are approximately the same, minus one philosopher who has gone off to make her merry way in the world. There are of course, subtle changes.

Vera no longer smokes for one. Smoking in Germany is far more socially acceptable than in New Zealand, where by all accounts the plan is to outlaw it completely by 2025. It is also significantly cheaper here. The social aspect of that morning (and mid morning, and late mid morning, and pre-lunch and… etc..) smoke is therefore missing a little.

Bad Muenstereifel German Village

The other changes also affect Vera more than I. This house was her home for nearly ten years, and whilst we are back in the same room that we left a year ago, it is an emptier place. Everything is gone except the bed (and there was a lot of everything, this is a girl who knows how to hoard), and it certainly isn’t the same place to her any more. The disconnect one sometimes feels after long term travel, returning to a place that no longer feels the same as the place you left, is a little apparent. I’m sure we’ll live.

And what of our plans going forward? Well, we’ll be here for a couple of months, catching up with friends and family. I can, happily, make one of the three weddings I had previously thought I was going to be missing, over in good old England. And then we’re heading to France to spend some time with my parents, and plan beyond that.

In the meantime I shall regale you with further observations from New Zealand, thoughts on my time in Germany, and do my best to work out a sufficient answer to “how was your trip” that somehow encompasses a whole year of life into a paragraph.

Keep smiling!

Sleepy cat

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