Grüße aus Deutschland! I’ve been in Stuttgart for 5 days now, and I can’t really believe it’s been that long. I still feel like I’ve only just arrived! However, when I think of all the things I’ve already done in that time, I’m surprised it hasn’t been longer: I’ve already left and returned to Germany once!
I’m living in one of the outer suburbs of Stuttgart, an area called Heumaden. I have a room in the attic of the same building as I’ll be working in, the positive of which is a very short commute and the negative is that I’ll never really leave work! I’m trying to think of living in an attic as arty and cosy, but in reality I’ll probably get sick of only being able to fully stand up in the middle of each room! So, next time you see a pretty German house with a sloping roof, spare me a thought, stooping in the attic!
I’m sharing the flat with another intern, Petter, who is from Norway and a headless statue, Isaac, who lives in the corner of my bedroom and is pretty scary to wake up to!
…Nothing says “Welcome” like a headless statue!
Petter has been really welcoming and friendly, and has introduced me to the city and his friends, which I really appreciate. Living in an outer-suburb, we need to use the public transport to get into the centre. The S-Bahn (like a cross between a tram and a train) is fast and reliable but very expensive. A return journey costs just under 7 Euros if you buy single tickets, but Petter helped me to get a monthly Verbundspass, which is much more cost-effective. Germay is famous for being beaurocratic, but I found the process simple. I left with the pass the same day I applied for it, and the lady complimented my German, so I won’t be complaining!
On Thursday I went downstairs(!) to the office to introduce my coworkers. I’m going to be working for a foundation that does a lot of legal work, but I’ll mostly be doing translation. German business correspondence is very formal but thankfully everyone seemed quite relaxed and open.
In the evening I found myself at a Flohmarkt/flea-market in a converted warehouse, which is usually used as a disco so there was also Bier. True to the stereotype, beer seems to be a really popular beverage here in Germany! It was a little bit surreal and definitely not what I expected to be doing on my second evening in Germany but it was fun and I met a lot of nice people!
Some of the people I met at the market invited me on the trip they were planning to Bodensee, which is a lake on the German-Swiss border, on Sunday. Travelling was also not on my first weekend’s to-do-list but spontaneity can be great and it was a really good opportunity to make get to know people and to get to see some more of the country.
We first went to Konstanz, on the German side of the border, to explore the town and take a dip in the lake! It was 33 degrees so a swim was more than refreshing!
We then crossed over the border into Switzerland to see the Rheinfall, which is the largest plain waterfall in Europe. It is 150m wide and watching all the water flow at 700³/s was both impressive and quite scary!
Faux-pas of the week: “Fall” has a double meaning in German; previously I only knew the other meaning, which is case/instance. I spent most of the day not knowing where we were going!
Having covered a lot of ground in the heat and spoken only in German (which, thankfully, has come back to me quickly) all day, I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the day! However, thanks to a very hot and stuffy room and early morning bell-ringing practice at the church over the road, I wasn’t allowed a lie-in this morning! I’m feeling happy and accomplished but definitely not rested and fresh ready for my first day at work tomorrow. Wish me luck!