Saturday, January 28, 2012

Six Month Watsoversary

The Queen's summer palace in freshly fallen snow.

I'm writing this post from a frigid Copenhagen, looking at the lights reflecting on the harbor outside. I just arrived here yesterday and it seems appropriate to the spirit of the Watson that the halfway point of this year finds me facing a lot of newness in a country I had no idea I would end up visiting when I began this journey last July.

I absolutely cannot believe it's already been six months since I left the states. I absolutely cannot believe I have another six months of this to go.

I'm having trouble articulating all that I'm feeling as I think about what's past and what's to come, but hopefully my second quarterly report will help there. All I can say for now is that I'm one lucky lucky girl. As much as there are days I long to be home (namely to be in my own bed, or be able to pick up the phone and reach anyone I want to talk to, or eat a burrito... or ideally do this all at the same time), I am extremely grateful for this. For all of it.

In the past month I have:

-Welcomed 2012 in a Moroccan riad with people I love.

-Bought a lot of inexpensive saffron.

-Learned to make a vegetarian tajine.

-Spent days eating olives at every meal.

-Visited the third largest mosque in the world.

-Had an extreme bargaining escapade that ended in my purchase of a leather jacket.

-Drank a martini at the iconic Rick’s CafĂ© in Casablanca (cross that off the life bucket list).

-Said another hard goodbye. Bawled in a hotel lobby. (The Moroccan receptionist cried too because she said it reminded her of when she said to say goodbye to her son who lives in France).

-Set foot outside of Asia and Africa for the first time in five and a half months.

-Experienced a lot of culture shock.

-Adjusted to being in a country where I blend in. (I’m finding when you can’t pull the whole “I look like a tourist thing” and you still don’t understand what anyone is saying, you just end up looking really stupid).

-Thanks to Stefan’s employer and the generosity of the Fenchel family, I drove around a new BMW for a few weeks. I can’t tell you how good it felt to drive for the first time since leaving the United States. Let alone a BMW.

-Learned to make a German eierscheke (cake) and quickly became acclimated to the kaffeetrinken tradition.

-Rode in a car going 218 kilometers on the autobahn (that would be 135 jaw-dropping mph, my friends).

-Drank a beer in the passenger seat of a car on the autobahn.

-Successfully completed the above two accomplishments legally.

-Played countless games of hide and go seek. Spent a lot of time dancing. And tickling. And snuggling.

-Gotten to know the city of Leipzig, had a better understanding of GDR history

-Sampled a lot of German beer and wine. (As my uncle pointed out to me recently, this is probably a factor in some German parents’ naming decisions, after all).

-Tried (almost) every strategy for getting a baby to sleep.

-Went to several Anglican church services.

-Talked to a lot of moms about names. Visited a German standesamt. Found a university department with professors who offer classes about names and picked their brains for hours.

-Eaten a ridiculous amount of cheddar cheese (oh how I’ve missed you….)

-Read a lot of books about farm animals. Resultingly, learned the sounds that German farm animals make.

-Had a tour of the Leipzig BMW plant and test drove BMW’s first electric car. (Side note: I am pretty much the furthest distance you could get from a “car person” but I still found this extremely cool. Most things seem extremely cool in my new leather jacket).

-Set foot in two new countries (Germany and Denmark).

-Seen my first snowfall of the winter. (It’s about time).

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