Post-holidays, I am settling back into life in Bonn! With the initial excitement and newness of everything this fall, I did quite a bit of traveling and sightseeing. Now in the new year, my life here feels a bit more “normal” (less like a vacation/brief adventure), and I am focusing more on embracing Bonn and the everyday! One of the strange things, I must say, about the everyday in Bonn in January, is that there is no snow! As a child of the Midwest, this is officially my first ever complete winter without any snow (knock on wood), and while I certainly don’t mind the warmer temperatures that implies, it is rather unsettling to my sense of the passage of time! Based on the sights outside my window, it could easily be March or April in MN!
While I am still consuming plentiful quantities of aesthetically-pleasing and palate-satisfying hot chocolate (warmer temperatures certainly won’t change that fact), some of you may be relieved to know that I have been consuming more vegetables and fewer cakes and pastries! (It’s a lot easier once you’ve tried almost everything… which at this point, I very nearly have!) Alongside my hot chocolates and teas, I’ve been enjoying a lot of good books lately! A few highlights:
- What Doctors Feel: An intriguing book, this discusses the myriad ways – good and bad – that emotions can influence medical care. I appreciated Dr. Ofri’s honesty and authenticity in her reflections, and while I found some of the messages particularly relevant to my career aspirations, I think almost anyone could enjoy and find meaning from this work. Everyone, after all, comes in contact with doctors – and therefore, the emotions influencing their actions – at some point in his or her life!
- Do Not Say We Have Nothing: Disclaimer: I have not finished this book yet. I actually originally requested this via Kindle for my mother, but for some reason it also got downloaded to my phone, so I started reading it to! A beautifully written piece of literature, I have greatly enjoyed being drawn into this story of two young women, their families’ paths in Cultural Revolution-era China, and the music that weaves through their lives.
- An American Marriage: I also have yet to finish this book. But so far I have been thoroughly drawn into this heart-wrenching account of injustice, and the challenges involved in love and real life.
- Das Doppelte Lottchen: Last, but certainly not least, I recently completed my first book in German! An easy readers version that is sixty pages long, completing this book was nonetheless a major accomplishment! I wrote down several hundred new words as I worked my way (very, very slowly) through the story, but by the end I was quite enjoying this classic tale, known to U.S. children as The Parent Trap!
In other news, I continue to enjoy an active life with my WG! Besides occasional spontaneous game nights, like one with the game “Outburst” (a bit like Taboo in reverse) earlier this week, we sometimes plan more extensive outings. Just after the new year, for example, I went to a theatre production with a group from my WG and the one next door. I didn’t understand all of the dialogue, but it was a fun outing!
Last night, almost our entire WG and some friends went to a professional hockey game in Köln! Perhaps somewhat ironically for a Minnesotan, my first ever professional hockey game was thus attended in Germany (I’ve seen plenty of high school games in MN, never fear! Pep band made sure of that.)! While our team (Haie) sadly lost (2-3), the game was a blast! I honestly felt just like I was in Target Center or the Xcel Energy Center in MN (wherever it is that professional hockey games occur, that is), only singing German cheer songs and eating pommes instead of fries! We had a thoroughly wonderful evening, complete with a group picture with the mascot, Sharky, and topped off with a round of a Scattegories-like game when we returned home. All in all, a wonderful Friday with great friends and housemates. I’m looking forward to discovering what all else this new “normal” in Bonn has to offer in the coming months!