Friday, 29 May 2015

Two years

A lot can happen in two years. In my mind it fluctuates from being a very short time to seeming like forever. Two years ago today, Facebook reminded me, we sat in the airport with 3 pieces of luggage and our carry-ons.
I look at our apartment now and think... "where did all this stuff come from?!?" I'm so overwhelmed and thankful.

But it goes beyond stuff. I'm so amazed by the friendships we've developed, especially in the last year. I'm overwhelmed by the community and the sacrifice that I see all around me. I'm thankful that Malcolm has found his niche in the Lab and is making progress, while I'm finding more and more purpose in my time here.
I can't remember what we imagined life here would be like. Sometimes it's extremely normal and we're on the couch watching Youtube. Other times it's romantic and idyllic cycling along the river through the yellow fields. Sometimes I miss life in SA, my work. Sometimes it's hard and stressful, dealing with everyday pressures and to-do lists. Sometimes we miss home. Sometimes I feel too well adjusted, and sometimes not adjusted at all. Sometimes I forget I'm speaking German, and sometimes I can't find the right words. Sometimes German messes with my English and I say silly things like "It gives a Bushaltestelle here".

Very often, most often in fact, we forget we're even in Germany, and it's life is simply life. I think that's a good sign... and yet I also don't want to forget that our time here is limited. But most especially, I don't want to forget all the things that God has taught us and shown us and provided for us and been to us and His grace that just never ends.

My prayer that I had in my heart in the weeks before we left, still applies today.

 May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.
 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you rule the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations of the earth.
 May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.
 The land yields its harvest;
    God, our God, blesses us.
 May God bless us still,
    so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.
                                 [Psalm 67]

Sunday, 24 May 2015

A trip to Würzburg

Malcolm and I boldly proclaimed that this year would be our year of travel and adventure, and then instead used our money to make our home so cosy that we don't want to leave it.

However, since it's May and the sun has reappeared and we're no longer buying things for our home anymore, we decided to get out of the house this weekend.

There's a really cool ticket one can buy for a little over 40EUR which allows one to travel all day around all over Germany with only one limit: it has to be regional trains, which means no super fast travel. This means that one doesn't actually get very far on it, but for a day trip it's just right. We decided on Würzburg because it's only about 4 hours away with regional trips (and because Malcolm has been there before and I accidentally deleted all his photos from the trip. Oops...)

Deutsche Bahn had been striking, but fortunately they called it off in time for us to take a trip.

I'm of the opinion that if one walks out of a train station and it's pretty, it's going to be a pretty city, or one at least believes it for a moment. Kassel can take notes from Würzburg here. This fountain... the flowers... fresh air after hours in a train.

The maps are really simple to understand and we headed to the main attractions while also going past impressive churches and stuff. The Würzburg Residenz is rather imposing and one can see why it's a UNESCO Heritage site. We didn't go inside, but chose rather to walk around the garden. (it's FREE!)

I think we have a better vision now of what we'll do with our garden one day if when we get a house.

It's really hard to get an original photo of this place. We sat on a bench for a while and just about everybody who came past took at least one photo of the palace through the cutout of the banister. Or with a statue in the forefront. I went onto a website to find out what kind of gardens these are classified as, and discovered that I have a photo taken from exactly the same spot. Futile, I tell you. That said, it's still worth photographing - I mean, it's beautiful, okay?

I'm going to start a hashtag #LionsofGermany and #thisiswhyGermanTouristsgetouttheircarsandgeteateninSouthAfricanGamereserves (too long?)I mean, if little kiddies here play with this cute lion and stick their hand in his mouth, they can't be that ferocious, right? They look as terrifying as those we saw in Wiesbaden.

From there we headed in the direction of the fort, passing by cathedrals, coffee shops, and musicians and people drinking wine on the Alte Mainbrücke. 

We accidentally took a detour that lead us to a grocery shop (it was so weird being in a different Bundesland and suddenly grocery stores have totally different names...?) and we bought Haribo Colorado to get us up this hill to the fortress. We'd be a terrible attacking army...

From the top, in front of the Marienberg Fortress, the view was so incredible. We had to force ourselves to get up from our spot, and had nearly forgotten that there was a pretty impressive fortress behind us to explore.

This tower was once a prison, with no way out after prisoners were lowered down. Yikes.

After walking back down, we went into the market place and shopping streets and my camera was tucked away. We ate icecream, listened to an orchestra play in front of one of the churches, sat by a fountain, dodged street trams, listened to the church bells ring...

With our train back to Marburg coming soon, we headed back along the river toward the station, where we had a beautiful view of the fortress and bridge. 

Würzburg was beautiful, and so worth the trip. We took the train to Frankfurt where we then caught another train full of football fans and were lucky enough to be in the carriage with a group with a sound system to play songs all the way to Giessen where we then switched trains again. Getting home last night, we did a "Feedbackrunde" and decided our future needs to have more trips like this one.