Jan 19, 2016

New year

We arrived back in Stuttgart late Wednesday night. Had to clear passport control and customs, which was odd, coming in from France. I can't remember if we did that the last time we flew in from another European city. After slogging through immigration, my bag didn't show up. Saori's did, but not mine. I sighed inwardly and scouted around to find the mostly abandoned airport to find the baggage claim people and file the missing bag report. It happens about every tenth flight for me. Cab ride home and we only had to lug one fifty pound suitcase up the stairs.

Almost all the plants survived. Succulents are the way to go for travelers. Even the kitchen herbs quickly revived although our banana tree was in a sad shape and is still recovering. 

We had Thursday through Sunday to recover and damn did we need it. 

Monday was the first day back at the office and it was the start of a serious slog of a week where I worked late nearly every day but Friday. We are in a serious, serious time crunch with the psychiatric clinic. Lots of stress, and the managers are not happy. 

Also last week I tried the whole week to register for German classes again but the phone lines were always jammed. I ended up going and standing in line outside of the office while the classes started to secure my spot. Helps that I'm a longtime repeat student there. My new teacher is a strange old hippie. Brown as a nut, long gray hair, soul patch, a weathered dude with twinkly eyes who is somewhere between Dumbledore and Keith Richards. He thinks big airports are terrible because of the noise, but he seems to know his German grammar pretty well. 

I have actually gained a lot of respect for language teachers of all languages. It's one thing to slap on a backpack and "teach English," in south korea and another entirely to be able to talk about technical grammar and declinations.

It's been a long weekend for catching up with people and talking about life, careers, and trajectories. Been writing a lot of emails to a lot of friends. We met up with Paola for Vietnamese food Thursday, hosted Lina on Saturday, and Saori's coworker Michael and his wife and two little girls Sunday. I made posole and quesadillas for them and Saori made the salad. The first thing the girls did was to spill apple juice all over the tablecloth that Saori just finished laundering and ironing. Later, they blew out a light bulb. Actually, it was a lot of fun and for all that they are quite charming and sociable girls. Saori set up a drawing station and later a living room fort while the adults talked about taxes, tradeoffs, children, and jobs.

The weather plunged at the weekend and we awoke to lovely snow over the weekend and brutal cold (-12c) Monday. Actually the bitter cold and snow and ice is a nice change from the dreary drissly gray days so common here in January. Wearing my long underwear constantly and many days I tromp to work in my wonderful insulated and waterproof boots. 

Monday after my Germans course, I met up at the bar with Rocio and Cesar who are also taking classes and we had a beer. 

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