Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Life Up North

So, we are up in Hamburg now! Wow, what a whirlwind it has been. I flew back to Stuttgart after work last friday, and headed straight to a going away dinner at our friends Annette and Mattias, who we will miss very much (and of course Mayzie will miss her playdates with Lara Joy). Annette cooked her world famous favorite German dish. Saturday was spent packing up the house...we wore oursleves out doing that. And Sunday, we left the house at 7am, for the drive up here at 4pm! Mayzie and the car did great. We are in a furnished apartment just north of the city center, in a beautiful area called Eppendorf. We are surrounded by trees and the river trail is just out our door. So nice. The only bad thing is that there are no dogs allowed. So we sold Oskar. Just kidding haha. A friend at work, Lena, agreed to watch him for us until we move to our more permanent place, October 1. Mayzie is coping surprisingly well, and we are thankful to not have him here, since taking him to go pee from the 3rd floor, gets tedious, we should know. Lena says he is doing OK...he is a little nervous in the city, but is getting lots of love from her and her boyfriend. Awesome.....but, Lena is making me get dog insurance for him! 80euros a year for who knows what, damn germans love their insurance, but it will be for her peace of mind, I suppose.

Hamburg is not the tradional Germany that we envision. No pretzels, no castles, no biergartens. But it seems more is not as clean, as conservative, and is certainly more cosmopolitan and cultural than Stuttgart. There are a huge variety of restaurants that you would never find in Stuttgart, and the people are younger, trendier, and happier (in a German happy way). I am eager to explore the North of Germany and I am thankful (in a weird way) to know a place in the North as well as I know the South...will help with my perspective and attitude towards the Germany we think we know.

Work is good, my project is interesting and we are busy, so that is a nice feeling. I have met some cool people through work. The public transport up here is really good...through work I have a cheap monthly pass, so I can go anywhere and not have to worry about buying a ticket. It is cheaper to travel around up here. We have a great park near our apartment, too, and we have taken Mayzie there the last 3 nights. I think Jenna likes it better up here, so far, at least. She is going to a knitting get together with American women next week. I hope some friends come out of that...I know she is bored around the apartment. We have to get our Deutsch classes started again and Mayze into kindergarten...all this will come in time.

Maybe things are getting better for us now.....


cliff1976 said...

I would be interested to know what you have noticed about regional differences in the language.

My wife Sarah and I live in Regensburg, which has its own accent within the Oberpfalz, which has its own accent within Bavaria, which has its own accent within Southern Germany and Austria.

When we visited Hamburg in December 2005, it was like a breath of fresh air, and we were thrilled to be able to understand all the locals in our interactions on pretty much the first pass — in stark contrast to here at home (at least for that point in our adventure living over here).

Don't get me wrong, we love Regensburg and are growing to love its linguistic peculiarities, but getting comfortable in the dialect has been pretty slow in process, especially for Sarah who doesn't use her German as extensively as I do (due to work) and whose German language classes at the VHS were all done in Hochdeutsch with little attention to pronunciation and phrasing and vocabulary specific to the region where she actually lives.

Easier or harder in Hamburg, compared to Stuttgart?

Nick said...

Hey Cliff! Uhh, there is certainly more English spoken up here, but my lack of Deutsch skills (english spoken at work) means that I can only decipher a few words (Moin and the goodbye phrase), that are different from the south. Besides that, it all sounds Deutsch to me! :)