Sunday, 24 August 2014

We're back!

We are safely in Germany! For those who've missed a step or two, Wayne is on sabbatical this year and we decided it was too good of an opportunity to spend a year abroad to pass up. Gail is going to attend a German school, and I will continue to do contract work (primarily data analysis and technical writing).

After a hectic two-week driving trip from Conway to upstate New York, including two trips across the George Washington Bridge and Cross-Bronx Expressway, we flew last night from New York to Frankfurt and continued by train to Wiesbaden. It's great to be back and we are excited about our year in Mainz, just across the river from Wiesbaden. We are very lucky to have friends to stay with while we look for an apartment - I feel like we're in our own episode of house hunters international, just at a much lower budget than many of the people on that show! On Monday we begin the search in earnest, looking in Mainz to be close to Gail's school.

When we last lived in Germany (spring 2008) I learned from multiple visitors how to best tackle jet lag, and so after a lunch including several kinds of delicious German breads and cheese we headed to a thermal bath. This one is in Mainz, and we swam indoors and out in the warm waters, went down the water slides, and played in the water features. The combination of sunshine, fresh air, and the bubbling waters is the best way to spend a bleary first day in Europe.

I've had a LOT of questions about what one packs for a year away. We had two major space limitations: the airline's limits, and what would fit in the Prius for the road trip.We also needed to pack for all four seasons since we'll be here for a year. Here's a picture of Gail with our luggage at the Frankfurt airport after our arrival this morning.

We each checked 2 bags and carried one on. Gail's carry-on was her violin, and Wayne had her clarinet in his day pack. We weren't sure the violin would be allowed as a carry on, as a violin case is a bit bigger than the carry on allowance. The check in guy at Singapore Airlines said it was fine, but then we got a little scare as we boarded and one of the flight attendants said, "You can't bring that on." As Gail and I looked at each other in mild panic he added, "unless you play something for us!" He was kidding, of course, and we were glad to get it stowed in the overhead bin!

I was quickly reminded of some of the things I love about Germany. The bread, sure, but also the incredibly reliable trains and the painted yellow box on the train platform that designates the smoking area, and in which smokers obediently stand.

We still have a couple of weeks before school starts for Gail, and I'll try to do sort-of regular updates. You can subscribe to this page to get notified of new posts.

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