I can't believe we're here - weeks 24 and 25 of my year living in Germany. We officially hit the half-way point! I was in Spain last week (separate post coming up, promise, on that adventure) so my thoughts will be skewed towards travel.
- Brexit. The vote was held last Thursday, while I was in Valencia. And who did I end up sitting next to, and chatting with, at lunch, but a British couple. They were flying back to the UK that afternoon to vote. They were leaning towards 'leave' because they didn't see the benefit of staying in - wonder what they're thinking now? I'm glad to have the chance to talk to two Britons on the day of the vote, something that can only happen when you're traveling alone in Europe. But it's also been an experience living in the EU during this discussion. Everyone is talking about the results (though, I'm sure, it's a hot topic in America as well) but it's much more serious in Germany, which seems to be expected to fill the power void left by Britain's exit. It also makes it a bit more exciting to see Angela Merkel taking a stand against the country, demanding it get on with the leave already.
- Americans abroad. Luckily, another American was working here, just across the hall from me, as part of a six month internship, since I started in January. Sadly, her stay ended while I was in Spain. I really enjoyed the chance to commiserate on living abroad with her and also sharing travel tips and suggestions. But I lucked out again - just as she's leaving, two of my U.S. colleagues have come over for a three month stay. So I'm set until the end of September, at least! As I mentioned in the Week 23 entry, there have been a lot of visitors from the States, which is fun and I'm grateful, but having other Americans here, for regular chats and even to travel with (heading to Amsterdam with these ladies this weekend!) is really appreciated.
- Travel tips: scarf edition. Seriously, don't go anywhere without one. Uses for a scarf while traveling: to lay on a seat that is questionable, wrap up in when chilled, wet and apply to neck when hot (aka my entire time in Spain), wear as skirt and/or cover when entering a church that requires legs and shoulders to be covered, shade when sunny. You can use it as a pillow. While in Barcelona, I used mine as a temporary beach towel. So versatile! And there's no excuse not to pack one - they take up almost no room. While out and about in the city, I tie mine onto my purse like so. I didn't look that stylish, but you get the point.
- Airbnb. I stayed at four different private room Airbnb's while I was in Spain. I just really appreciate and enjoy this service. At each place, the local host gave me a map and suggestions for sites. Traveling alone, it was just to have something somewhat homey as opposed to a sad, sterile hotel.
- Football. The European Football Championship, or whatever it's called, is currently going on. And I have to say, it's a totally different world. Germany hasn't been much for patriotism during my stay, but, overnight, it became America on Super Bowl Sunday when it coincides with Fourth of July and winning a war with a foreign country. Since the tournament started, the German flag is literally everywhere - windows and any spare wall and all still surfaces. Yesterday, I passed a car that had German flagss on the side mirrors and also German flag seat covers and German flag stickers. The patriotism in Germany went from -10 to 11 seemingly overnight. Football season!
- Finally, I read Freedom while on vacation in Spain. Highly recommend it, though The Corrections was better.