I've been waiting some time to make this post, and since we finally have internet, I can now do it.
My final weeks in Germany were a whirlwind of sights, sounds, smells, tastes...and enjoying the company of the few good friends that I made there. Now, some final pictures...
This is Ruth, the owner of Cafe Madrid (best! tapas! ever!), and me. I miss our lunches at this place. The food was always superb. Ruth is coming here to Seattle in a couple of weeks, and I'm ridiculously excited about it. Seattle is home and she has family here, so I know our parting isn't permanent.
International Women's Club - Canadian Night. Teri, Andrea, and me. Teri and her husband had us over for Thanksgiving this year, and I'm so very grateful to them for that...they have both proven to be warm and wonderful friends during our last year in Germany. And Andrea - my best, best friend there...what more can I say? I just miss her so much.
Me with Patty from the Bookmark. We've been close for about as long as I lived in Germany. I worked for her for a few months at the Bookmark in 2004, and we remained close friends ever since. She and her husband are just the type of people who would give you the shirts off their backs, and they both helped Lance and I on numerous occasions. They have family near here in Puyallup, so we expect to see them again.
I went to the Christmas Market in Aachen with Christine and Ruth just 10 days or so before we left Germany for good. I've been to many of Germany's Christmas markets, but Aachen is probably my favorite. It's not the biggest by any means, but that is exactly why I like it. It's small, it's cozy, and it has everything that the larger markets have.
A few days before we left, I grabbed my camera and walked around Geilenkirchen, just photographing whatever caught my eye. Here are the results of that afternoon:
(that's mistletoe in the trees, in case you didn't know.)
And this concludes my picture post. Now it's time to explore Washington and the entire Pacific Northwest, and I look forward to sharing that with you. I just haven't had time yet, what with all the wallpaper stripping and painting and trying to dig our way out of boxes and mounds of packing paper. It's been chaos.
But I will tell you that I've learned a lot about Seattle residents in our short time here. A coffee cup is a standard accessory (not that that should surprise anyone)...so much so that there are coffee cup holders in the grocery carts at some of the local grocery stores. I don't believe I have yet walked into a grocery store that did not contain a Starbucks. It seems you never have to travel more than 50 feet without having access to coffee.
Lance now is partial to Java Chip Frappuccinos (like a frozen coffee shake with chocolate chips)...I am partial to either Chai Lattes (which are, of course, tea and not coffee) or Mochas. I think we'll fit in well here. ;)
And it's a surprising mixture of European and American culture here. I saw brotchen at the grocery store! I actually see a lot of the same treats that I got in Germany. I can get cheeses here that are every bit as good as European cheeses (Tillamook = AWESOME!). I found a radio station here that plays a lot of the big European dance tracks that I heard over and over again there.
People keep asking if I have culture shock. Other than being astounded and appalled at some of the crap that passes for television these days, I can honestly say that I have not. So far, I feel quite comfortable here.