Firstly let me apologise for the last three weeks. Yeah, three weeks have gone by and it still feels like only last week that I arrived here in Stuttgart. In such a short time, the city has become my home, a place I can feel safe and comfortable and simply relax. The people are lovely, even though there are some cultural differences that are a little confusing (especially the lack of queuing!). I can’t believe how beautiful a place this is, and I think a part of me will always think of Stuttgart as my home away from home.Unfortunately, that’s all it is. A home away from home, because for me home is family. Having moved a few times as a kid, I grew to not think of material things or places as home, but rather the people and the memories I make with them. That’s what makes this painful. I have less than two weeks left in Stuttgart, and as much as I’ll miss the city, the people and the times, I can’t wait to be home. To be back with my family, both blood related and spiritual.
Over my two decades of life, I have been extremely lucky to be able to travel. To meet and experience things from all over the world, to make memories and to grow as a person. So much of who I am today has been shaped by the places I’ve seen, friends that I’ve made, and lessons I’ve learned. I’m so thankful for my parents and the support they’ve given me, to my sister for always welcoming me back with open arms, and to my Father in heaven, for watching over me and keeping me safe through all my adventures.
And now for the slightly less emotional part, the list of stuff I’ve done/seen over the past few weeks! I’ve visited many palaces/castles – Waldenbuch, Tuebingen, Solitude, Heidelberg, Ludwigsburg – I’ve survived for two decades and gained enough orange stuff for the next twenty, courtesy of my awesome friends here in Stuttgart. I’ve seen so much of Stuttgart, Waldenbuch, Tuebingen, Berlin, Heidelberg, and a tiny bit of Esslingen! I’ve spoken more German than I did in the entire past year, and become so much more confident in my semi-decent German (because it honestly is still not as good as I want it to be). I’ve eaten Maultaschen, so much Schnitzel, Spaetzle, Wurst, drank banana beer and Coke with beer and pretty much any combination of non-alchoholic drink with beer that you can think of (the Germans love their beer!). I’ve been to the Ritter Sport chocolate factory, mineral baths, the Stuttgart Opera, a musical in Berlin, the Reichstag and the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, the Carnival Parade in Stuttgart, and Wilhelma Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
I’ve also now got a rotten cold, and when I look back at the incomplete list of things I’ve seen and done in the past three weeks, I can understand why! I have been absolutely flat out every day, with class every morning and most afternoons, sightseeing when I have any spare time, and crashing in bed every evening. It’s a hectic life, but I love it. Probably won’t miss it when I get home though… the exhausted collapse in bed every night that is! I will definitely miss doing so much, because while Adelaide is a beautiful city, its not German, so there’s no novelty! It’s also so much harder to get to everything, and I don’t get free public transport… It probably doesn’t help that there’s no deadline for when I can see things at home. Well, there is, but its not one that I think about regularly. I can’t just look at the calendar and realise I only have two weeks left, so anything I want to see better be done soon! I simply don’t have that sense of urgency, and I need to fix that. Treat Adelaide like I would a town in Germany. Just get out, explore, learn about the history, do all the free stuff, try all the scary and unusual food.
On New Year’s Eve in 2014, I made myself a promise. I would live life with no regrets. I don’t just mean living a superfluous life and not have any depth or meaning to it, but to think things through before I did them. To not make any decisions that I would regret later, whether that be hours, weeks or years later. And to be completely honest, it’s been working really well for me. I’m the happiest I’ve been in years, and I know that I’m exactly where I want to be, doing what I want to do, and living a fulfilling life that I could never regret. While I might say never again to Spaetzle (not a fan to be honest), I don’t regret trying it. While I might say never again to being away from some form of family for an extended period of time, I definitely don’t regret my decision to come here.
I truly have been blessed to experience Stuttgart and Germany for the past month, so here’s to two more weeks!