28 July, 2010

Happy Times

The last few weeks have been crazy with so much happening...

Some really sad things happened - most monumental of which was my grandmother dying. It was quick & sudden, which although a huge shock, would have been the way Molly would have wanted it.
In life, she was a huge character - both in a positive way & a negative way. I don't think anyone who met her wasn't affected by her in some way - whether that be in complete & utter shock at some of the things she dared say or do or her random kindess that went beyong the call of duty. But whatever anyone thought of her, somehow she knew she was doing the right thing, whether you agreed with her or not.
Anyway, the world will an empiter (and quieter) place without her.

Also, some really happy things happened.

At the beginning of July we had a family reunion in Italy. There were 14 of us in total. We had a lovely villa in Tuscany & it was really good to see everyone. It was the first time for us all to get together in one place for 20 years (our family is spread across the world; since i moved back to Europe, we're now spread across 2 continents instead of 3)
Tuscany is really gorgeous & I now get why people fall in love with it. It looks so 'Tuscan'! And top it all, we had lovely weather, good food, copious amounts of alcohol & lots of laughs. I think a good time was had by all.

Then I had my one-year anniversary in Germany (which I already wrote about.)

And then to finish my month off, I had a visit from the Davises. They stayed with K & me in Stuttgart for 5 days & we had a blast. We did more sightseeing in the last week, then i have done in the whole year i've been here! We did the zoo, the Black Forest, a medieval festival and a pub crawl of Stuttgart (Ok, so K & I have done that bit of sightseeing before!)
we managed to fit in a poker night, where M surprised us with his skill - he just needs to work on his poker face, as everytime he had an ace he started giggling...
It was really great to see them all again. And the best thing of all was that we just picked up where we left off. No awkwardness, no rough patches, just back like we were in Japan. Except that we weren't in Japan. We were in a whole different continent. Guess we'll have to meet in the U.S. next time.

07 July, 2010

How time flies!

Today is my one year anniversary.

One year ago today, I arrived (a day later than planned) in Stuttgart to start my new life here.
It's been a tough year in many expected & unexpected ways, but I know i did the right thing. I feel more relaxed here and, in many ways, happier & less stressed.
The transition to a new country/language hasn't been as traumatic as I expected.
However the transition financially & emotionally has been harder than i expected. Weird - the things i thought be hard haven't & the things i assumed would be OK haven't been.
Germany is a great place to live - the people are nice, it's more laid back than i expected & the beer tastes good. Sometimes the people here in the south of Germany fulfill all the stereotypes of Germans (all work & no play; lack of humour & so on) but that's HERE. It's not true for the whole place (and K isn't from here, so he really doesn't fill any German stereotypes. Well, expect for the beer drinking part...)
German, the language, isn't easy by any means, but at least I don't have to learn a whole new system of writing/reading. And there are a lot of words that are similar. Grammar though is a lot harder - but i am very very slowly improving. I understand a lot more than a year ago, but i am still unable to have conversations. I can, however, read enough on a menu now & order what i want...

On a personal level, it's been tough. K & I have been having a lot of trouble settling back into couple life. The whole balance of 'us' changed by me moving here. So it's been a very bumpy ride. But, on a positive note, we're still together, still smiling & still working on us and making things work - some days being better than others.

People ask me if I miss Japan. In truth, i don't know how to answer that. I don't feel aching pangs for Japan. I have moments where I miss certain things - mostly food. More though, I miss my friends. But I know that even though they re not here, and I am not there, they are still my friends. So in a bizarre way i also don't miss them. Don't know if that makes any sense...

So, yeah, that's been my year.