The beginning of January marked our six month anniversary of being in Germany. Whoa! It's hard to believe that we have been here that long, but at that the same time it feels like we have been here forever. Or forever-ish.
I have a feeling I will say this often, but I am so happy to be here. We have done so many amazing things in such a short amount of time, and have learned so much just from being here. Our kids are growing up in such a wonderful environment, and I cannot wait for what's to come our time here. We have been so lucky to have seen as much as have!
I will admit, though, it doesn't quite feel like home yet. We are still in shambles in spots of our home (old dresser for a TV stand, anyone? A few lingering boxes hanging out in the laundry room?) but as time goes on, we are making an effort to make this space more "ours." New bookshelves for books and photo frames. Family photos up on the wall. Plants that I haven't managed to kill just yet (don 't worry. Give it time.) All the little things that add up. But we are getting there, and will continue to make momentum, AND, just as we are leaving we will say "this place finally feels like home." Ha!
We haven't been without our fair share of small (and I mean teeny-tiny) hurdles to overcome. Services here are lacking just a tad. Daycare for Lucas? A nightmare. Even getting him into a preschool on the German economy has been difficult. We make do, though, and I am grateful for the amazing babysitter we have. Also? Stairwell living? NOT for the faint of heart. We have been lucky in that most of our neighbors are awesome, but there is always one, ya know, who makes life difficult.
I will admit, though, that even with it still very much feeling like a vacation at times, there are very few things I miss about being back in the states. Don't get me wrong, I definitely miss some things -- a garbage disposal, having our own house/yard, easy access to my BFF that doesn't require a nine hour time difference, football at normal hours of the day, drive through (I'M LOOKING AT YOU, STARBUCKS) -- but overall this experience has been wonderful. CHALLENGING. But wonderful. It's simply amazing to me all the opportunity that has been provided to us since we have been here. We have been to France twice. Spent five days in Paris. We have seen Prague, Salzburg (Austria) and Luxembourg. The husband has traveled to a couple of places on his own for work, and we get to have discussions about places like Israel and Spain in the near future. Not to mention that the Stuttgart area is simply gorgeous with so much to offer that we didn't have available back in North Carolina. The introvert in me has been slowly but surely making some new friends, and the kids are having this amazing opportunity to grow up in a culture that is so different than it would be back home in the states. Our views and beliefs mesh so well with the culture of Germany, and Europe in general, and we love having this amazing opportunity. And the food? Oh man. The food alone is worth being here! (And maybe the beer. And the wine.)
We miss our friends & family like crazy, and I would at times like to hear some music on the radio that *isn't* Top 40. Ahem. But, you know, sacrifices. I am looking forward to 2015 in so many ways. We live in an amazingly beautiful area of this country, and we cannot wait to explore more in the coming months! The cold, wet weather doesn't keep us from getting out too much, but I am definitely looking forward to Spring & Summer just a tad!