Trip Start Sep 18, 2010
Trip End Jul 27, 2011

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Where I stayed
Mom's & Dad's

Flag of Germany  , Baden-Württemberg,
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Lufthansa flight from Rome is filled with Chinese tourists that took random seats to sit together, challenging the flight attendants' patience and professionalism. We hit the worst turbulences I have ever experienced. The kind that make you look at your life and think of your loved ones and what you've done with your time. Despite a funny feeling in my tummy, I resume my nap through the bouncy ride, content with thoughts of being fine if this was my last flight. I feel I have accomplished something for myself, have met great people, received lots of love and seen a good bit of beautiful things and had amazing experiences. Amen ;)!

I spend a few hectic days going back ad forth between my dad's home town Heidelberg and my mom's home town, where I mostly grew up, Pforzheim. While Heidelberg is a beautiful city and Pforzheim has brushed up quite a bit as well, the purpose of this trip was of course not touristic. So here just a few thoughts and impressions from my home stay :)

- My dad had picked up a book for me that I urge anyone to read that supports, questions, admires or doubts my travel adventures or has ever had ambitions, dreams and phantasies to embark on a longer trip themselves. Thanks to Kelly for suggesting Rolf Pott's Vagabonding. What an amazing bible for anyone that ever had the itch to travel for a little longer than three weeks at a time. Thanks Kelly for suggesting it. Und Danke Tata fuer's Besorgen :) No matter how distant the possibility of traveling might seem to you, if your idea of it goes beyond a resort vacation, you MUST READ this book.

- (Some) house rules at my mom's:
* If you eat a yogurt, don't rip off the lid. The empty container including lid goes in the dishwasher, so it won't stink up the garbage.
* If you take something, it goes back in its place after. That goes for the phone as well as the laptop or anything else.
* For any room that you are not inside of: Lights out; heater off; all devices (TV, Computer, etc...) completely off, not just on stand-by; shopping bags and/or boxes in tow, so you don't need to get plastic bags. These are all basic rules I grew up with, that now seem a nuisance. If I am having a hard time adjusting back, I wonder how long it will take North America to develop a true intuitive behaviour of such conserving nature.

- Amazingly, the ladies I spent my first time in Canada with manage to all get together, despite hectic schedules, short notice, new borns and husbands to be worked around. It is our 10 year anniversary, which makes it all the more exciting. I am happy they all drive to my home town from different cities as far as a couple of hours away. Upon my thanking them for coming all the way to Pforzheim, one of them sais "You've come so much farther". :) Feeling blessed to have friends like this.

- Taking a walk in the city park for the first time EVER. Wearing shoes and clothes I have not worn in about 15 years. Catching up with one of my best friends Erika, making the blisters those shoes gave me all worth it.

- My mom and grandparents being paranoid about so many things. Bolting the door during bright daylight (apparently for a reason - a neighbourhood daytime burglary happened just a week prior), questioning my trust in acquaintances and friends, to give some examples. I refuse to give up my possibly naive trust in the good of people. Curious to see if it will change over the next few months traveling through less developed, poorer countries.

Things I don't miss:
- Burocracy
- Everything being unneccessarily complicated
- Constant complaints / glass half empty mentality of too many people. Even if they don't mean it, it's the only way the average German seems to know how to express themselves.
- Needing to time your shopping needs to the narrow store hours

Things I do miss:
- Easy and reasonably priced access to quality bread, yogurt, meats and cheese
- 30ish vacation days per year as a basic standard, proximity to other countries plus discount airlines (the latter actually didn't really exist when I moved away, so doesn't truely belong on this list).
- Making my family be comfortable about my whereabouts
- Paying restaurant and bar bills separately without hassle or calculations

My next stop is Beirut and from here on I won't be traveling solo anymore, at least for the most part. My friend of 25 or so years, Manu will join moving forward. And because good things come in three, starting in December, Shaista will also join for about a month and a half.

Stoked to hit the road again :)

P.S. I meant to load some photos of folks and friends as well, but am keeping it to 'sights' only due to computer accessibility challenges.
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DaPython on

Kewl! Did ya get tha viza?

henniterness on

Visa for Beirut not an issue. Working on the one for Syria still....fingers crossed, we want to drive to Damascus on Friday.

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