On any given day, I have a number of complaints about our new home. The rain. The lack of air conditioning. The abrasive personalities of many of the German people. The difficulty in communicating. The complaints were at an especially all-time high last summer while I was pregnant and frustrated and homesick, but finally... FINALLY... I've embraced this European adventure with my little family. Here are just a few of the simple things I love about living in Germany:
Not having to drive anywhere. We only have one car - which Josh takes to work every day, but that's no problem since we live right in the city! I can easily reach the grocery store and a myriad of restaurants and shopping in less than 10 minutes on foot. While this means lots more trips to the store since we don't want to lug home six bags of groceries, it's nice to get out of the house and enjoy a daily stroll.
Outdoor seating. Any day when it's even slightly warm (as in, above 50 fahrenheit) and not raining, restaurants and cafes have their outdoor tables set up and the town square is swarming with people sitting outside enjoying a meal or coffee. It's prime people-watching territory.
Ease of travel. This is one of the very best parts of living in Europe. Flights are cheap, train travel is easy, and we're even close enough to drive to lots of places. We've made several day trips to places like Maastricht and Monschau, took the train to London last summer to visit our friends Jas and Jennie, and we're driving to Amsterdam (only two hours!) at the end of this month for a long weekend!
The pastries. The gelato. The sweets. These people love their treats. Just on my walk into town, I pass no fewer than three bakeries and two eiscafes (this is the German word for the ice cream shops). Bad for the waistline. Good for the soul.
Italian food. Say what?! I know it sounds strange, but the Italian food here in Aachen is amazing. Presumably due to our close(ish) proximity to Italy. I suppose it's a bit like finding great authentic Mexican food in the southeastern U.S. The pizzas are amazing (I ate them on a weekly basis while I was pregnant - this mama CRAVED marinara like nobody's business), and you can find delicious fresh made pastas all for extremely reasonable prices. It's definitely no Olive Garden :)
Enjoying it with the comfort of knowing that we'll be returning to North Carolina, home-sweet-home. Since we'll be returning to the U.S. in less than a year and a half, I'm trying to soak up every bit of this little temporary lifestyle as possible. While I'm sure I'll be sad to leave this place, it makes it easier to be away from family, friends, and the comforts of home to know that it's all there waiting for us when we head back stateside next year.