It was a year ago today that I arrived in Germany to begin my new life here together with Martin. After six years of being married but living 4000 miles apart, it was time. It has been a great year full of many changes. It's been fun getting to know more about life in Germany than I ever knew before despite frequent visits, spending more time with my husband than I ever have before, and living the normal life of a married couple.
I mostly relaxed my first year, did a lot of reading, some writing, some translating, and some teaching. I discovered I enjoy gardening to some degree, I really enjoy planning meals and cooking more than I realized, and laundry and cleaning are no big deal when they are not on top of a full-time job. Feminists would cringe at the list of activities I just mentioned, but I don't care. I am happy I can do those things, do them well, and enjoy them.
I loved my first year here and am grateful I was able to see my friends and family from Wisconsin several times in those twelve months.
It's appropriate that, at the one-year mark, I'm starting a few new adventures. A friend asked me to work with her once a week with an organization called Lebenshilfe. This is a Verein (Club or Assocation) that offers fun activities, outings, and assistance to people with cognitive, physical, learning, and/or emotional disabilities. The Verein members take interested people bowling, swimming, shopping, to the movies or a disco, etc., for example. My friend and I spend time with a group of young students after school for a few hours who would otherwise be alone because their parents are working. We take them to a park, play games, sometimes go to the grocery store and then cook something, go out for ice cream, and so on.
Next week I will also be starting to teach an Englisch-AG (basically an extra-curricular, after school English class) at a school for students with learning disabilities. English is not a part of the regular school curriculum, and my AG is intended to be a fun enrichment class. There were more students interested than were expected based on past classes, and I hope I can do a good job for the students and keep them interested!
My English conversation lessons with Martin's employees continue, and we all enjoy them - even the grammar lessons and worksheets! Martin has commented several times that it sounds more like fun than work, because there is more laughter than he expected. Sometimes I wonder if he and his business partner would like to join us rather than sitting on dull phone conferences...
And lastly, I am in the middle of a fabulous transcription project that is more interesting than any job I have ever done before. It's similar to the translation projects I've worked on a few times, and I really enjoy this kind of work - working at my own pace, at a desk at Martin's office, few distractions or interruptions... I thoroughly look forward to every minute I can spend on this project!
So this second year will be different from the first as I get back into the working world - though only part-time. I'm looking forward to my daughter's visit next week during a fall break from studying in Berlin, as well as both kids visiting us over the Christmas holidays. That will be my son's third trip to Europe, second to Germany, and first to our home here in Bildechingen.
It's been a good year, and I'm looking forward to all the coming years as well.