Living so far from the place where I grew up, I had long ago given up on the possibilty of a chance meeting with so-and-so from whenever-a-long-time-ago. I like chance meetings. I like finding out what has become of people I knew when we were kids. Character development. It’s fascinating. But I like living in Germany more, so down the drain with chance meetings, I figured. The closest I’ve come, will probably ever come, was a few weeks ago.
It was John Darnielle’s dirty, fizzley, basement-boom-box recordings that first trained me to turn a deaf ear to scrappy guitar and to love music that did little more than tell a damn fine story. The Mountain Goats’ early recordings are the music that macheted the way for what would come into my headphones after: anti-folk. (They are also partially to blame for the folk punk, but that’s another story.)
When we are small time seems to pass so slowly. There are days that feel like weeks, hours that feel like days. As we get older the chorus begins: time seems to be speeding up and at every birthday, anniversary, and holiday we find ourselves marveling over how another year could have passed so quickly. Time seems to be moving so quickly that I didn’t even notice my seven-year anniversary coming. Seven years in Germany! Wasn’t I just writing about crossing the six-year marker yesterday?
I’ve written about it before, and I’ll write about it again. I can’t get enough. I’d do it every single week if I could. Every day even. I’m talking about visiting the sauna. And for anyone who loves the steamy tradition, Germany is a great place to be.
Resident on Earth has explained sauna etiquette, and I have raved about my favorite sauna in Mainz before. But having recently moved to Frankfurt am Main, I now have a whole new set of what are called Sauna Landschaften to explore. I couldn’t be happier.
Frankfurt, Dresden, Frankfurt, Mainz, Frankfurt. It seems I can’t move to another city in Germany without making a stop back in the first German town I ever called home. And now, as of Saturday, here I am calling it home again. Who’d have thought?
My husband certainly hadn’t. I’d always had a soft spot for the city—there were so many gritty, interesting little corners—and after all, Frankfurt ist ein Dorf (Frankfurt is a village). It may be one of Germany’s big cities and its banking capital, but it doesn’t feel like a big city. Particularly not after you’ve been in New York. But that is part of its beauty: it has a small-town feeling with a big-city’s perks. I’ve never understood why so many expat bloggers spend so much time railing on the place. It’s quite charming if you give it a chance, I say, though my husband is yet another who has never been able to see the place through my eyes.
It was easy for me to fall in love with Frankfurt. Despite its negative reputation among many expats (and yeah, I wouldn’t want to pay hotel prices there either—it’s a trade fair city and and banking city and prices can be quite high), I have always had a soft spot in my heart for what Germans sometimes refer to as Germany’s New York. Why? Plain and simple: it was the first European city in which I lived, my first home outside of United States borders. And now, after almost five years away, it looks like I’ll be moving back.
A lot of my blog readers and people I meet ask me how it happened that I decided to move to Germany. Well, the short answer is that I got a job au pairing in Frankfurt. But the long answer I’m addressing in a serial. This is part seven. You can read one segment each Friday on Click Clack Gorilla about how I decided to move to Germany and become an au pair, or catch up on the segments already published here.
“We’d like to see you in the office.”