I left New York on a sunny spring day and arrived in Germany on possibly one of the dreariest days of March. As soon as I got off the plane, the weather changed from depressingly gray to white. Snowflakes came tumbling down, covering the still frozen ground with yet another layer of ice and winter. I thought I was set back in a bad movie. The first two weeks of my trip from March to the beginning of April were basically a bad joke weather-wise. It was cold, it was rainy, it was winter-like, and it still snowed on occasion. Nothing I would have imagined for a usually warm spring in the motherland!
“It must be meteorite that hit Russia in February” a relative concluded during our annual Easter feast with the family. “It has seldom been this cold in April. The snow we expected to have for Christmas is now here for the Easter bunny!” she went on. Surely enough, a few days after my arrival I looked out of the window and even more snow was piling up outside, but this time in Northern Germany, far away from our Southwestern home. As the tale went, there had only been one week of spring bliss in Germany, and this had been in the very beginning of March. After some astonishing 15 Celsius, the weather had drastically changed for the worse. So much to coming home at the “right” time of year.
My search of finding new and innovative things to do during a complete fail in temperatures was more meager than successful. Yes, my family lives close to Luxembourg and Belgium, yes, there should have been plenty of opportunity for sightseeing and exploration. But then you always need a car to get around and Brussels would be another 2 and a half hours out of my way. So I’m lucky that I’ve come to look at a few milestones while visiting: The oldest castle in Luxembourg, which lies in Vianden. Then Trier, of course, the oldest Roman city in Germany. Even Berlin was crappy weather-wise, but luckily this changed during the very last days!
Therefore, keep in mind that weather significantly influenced how I experienced my time abroad this year and how I formed my impressions on certain places.
In addition to the things I cannot change, another thing has become increasingly annoying: The never-ending quest of finding a good average of how to stay in touch. Especially when trying to see friends dispersed throughout the entire country and negotiating when and where to meet up. I don’t think people realize how much stress it can be to organize a trip from abroad and then find the right time to see each other again. Sometimes it is better to keep it low, just see who really wants to see you, and then have the courage to say no to everyone else. I spent two days in the Heidelberg area but this time I’ve only come to see Heidelberg itself for one afternoon, if even. Although it was worth it, since I knocked out 3 dates total. And Berlin was probably the most successful in terms of meeting old and new friends, as I got to see 4 people at once!
So with all of these obstacles kept in mind, I hope you will enjoy flipping through the following posts!