There is so much to say, so many little things, so many observations, thoughts, and occurences, but it's difficult getting them all down at once.
What I have been doing:
I went to the Bodensee on Monday and Tuesday, and I had a really great time. The Bodensee borders Austria, Switzerland, and Germany, and tons of small, quaint towns surround it. What I continue to adore about Europe is the towns and all of the small shops that you can find. I also love the many fruit and vegetable stands, the multitude of delicious bakeries, and how everything is so close.
Sophia and I visited Marie, who hails from Quebec City, and who is currently working in Immenstaad, a beautiful small town on the Bodensee. It was great seeing her again. The three of us walked through towns all afternoon and then eventually made it to Meersburg. We had a delightful supper of smoked fish and an apple wine (which I enjoyed in an old man glass). I also found some cinnamon ice cream, which was beyond yummy, and which I scarfed down in no time. We finished the night off back in Immenstaad, at the pub where apparently all the young people go, over a Wein Schorle, watching the soccer game between Ukraine and Switzerland. We talked, laughed, and basically did the whole "be merry" thing justice.
The next day, Marie had to work, so Sophia and I headed to Konstanz, a beautiful town very close to Switzerland. We biked to Meersburg then took the ferry from Meersburg to Konstanz, our bikes in tow. We explored the city a little, but once we stumbled upon the lavish church, it was hard to really see much more. We spent quite a bit of time in the old church, and I took quite a few pictures. We then wandered around the streets for a bit, poked our heads into some funky shops, bought a pretzel, and then it was time to head back. The Bodensee is really very beautiful, and I would recommend it to anyone for a summer place to vacation or visit.
We spoke French the entire weekend, as Marie is francophone, and Sophia grew up with both languages. It was so strange speaking French, considering the last month, I have been training myself to think, react, and talk in German. Suddenly, pulling out this language again caused a whirlwind of three languages in my head, and now I have to wonder how Mom does it so (seemingly) effortlessly.
What I have been thinking:
Ah, the people, the people... it is strange the way people party here. When I was at the big Rosshaupten's 800th anniversary concert, it seemed like no one was really letting go. Everyone seemed stiff, and it seemed like they were constantly aware of how they were being perceived by others. When I was talking to the Peru guy who works at the cafe with the piano, he also said that he felt that Germans could be very cold and not really the party type. I can almost agree. Even the way the people danced at the concert was strange. The dancing reminded me a lot of dancing that you see in movies of the 70s and 80s, except without the girls shrieking. Their dancing was more of a funny sway.
Kathleen, a 20-year old girl whom I work with, asked me a while ago whether or not I had a boyfriend. After telling her so and talking a bit, I asked her whether or not she had a boyfriend. She said yes, his name was Matthias, and she had met him in a bar. She said this very offhandedly in an uninterested voice. I thought she was going to elaborate, but she said that there wasn't much more to say. When I asked her why she seemed so uninterested in talking about him, she just said, "Oh, well, my other boyfriend was a lot better."
It only makes sense to me that one improves with relationships as time goes on. Usually, all previous relationships were not as good as the next ones. You tend to improve over time, since you realize what works and what doesn't, and what kind of person really fits you. Why would you even be with that person if you think that the boyfriend before was better? Wouldn't you aim to find someone even better?
When I asked her what happened to the alleged "better boyfriend", she kind of smirked shyly and said that she had cheated on him, so he dumped her.
On a completely different note, it seems as though our hotel is not mainly for old, rich people. Our old, rich people season is coming to an end. We've been having a lot of families and younger couples (but still not many in their twenties). Apparently, there really is an old people season -- springtime tends to be the time that retired people come, and usually when summer hits, the young families come out (only on weekends for now, until the kids get off school, which is later here).
Word of the summer: Random
Sophia, Heather, and I have decided that this word describes perfectly our summer in Germany.
Shops seem to close whenever they feel like it.
There are always random holidays.
Sometimes you should tip, and sometimes you shouldn't.
The bus after 6 pm doesn't come unless you call for it an hour before.
No one here ever seems to know what days they have off (I'm the exception, fortunately).
The bus fares will change.
Sometimes you can ride trains or ferries for free (no one checks), sometimes you can't.
And there are many more little, strange things that don't seem to have a pattern or an order to it. Thank goodness that the trains are one thing that seem to stick to a schedule. Too bad that I have decided to give up my watch for... forever.
One last remark for today -- it is impossible to really "get away" in Germany. Everywhere you look, there are people and houses. Sure, I live in the country, and it's not like it is busy and bustling with people all the time, but anywhere in nature that you go, you are bound to come across other people. Whether you are hiking, swimming, walking in the forest, you are not alone. On the flip side, you can go to so many places in Canada and really be the only one there. Northern BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, and the territories -- you can always be alone there. You can look around you, and you will see no one, absolutely no sign of anyone. That is impossible here. Everywhere you look, there is some evidence of humans. So, what is better? Being able to virtually walk and bike everywhere and have everything within reach or being able to really get away from everything? Or rather, always having people around you or having to drive two hours just to get a glance of civilization?