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I returned to Germany on Wednesday night, with no time for jet lag recovery. Thursday morning, I woke with a jump and an excitement to see the students and staff I had missed all summer. My energy held out through lunch, but my body began to remind me that my battery life was insufficient. I needed rest.
I still have yet to recover from travel, but I am so happy to report that I made my journey to Germany without any stressful event. Everything went smoothly.

Kandern

Since I have returned, I have come to realize that I live in the land where my legs are my main mode of transportation. I have not arrived at any destination without having to give myself time to cool down and wipe the sweat from my face (attractive, I know). Yes, Florida is hotter than Germany. One would think that moving back to Europe would be an opportunity to escape from the heat. This is not the case though. In fact, we are all far too accustomed to our air conditioning in Florida.

Right now, I am writing from the inside of my apartment. I won’t be ready to brave the outside world until at least 5pm. Meanwhile, I have found myself listening to the conversation of my German neighbors, who have a table set up outside of my bedroom window. Not only have they braved the heat, but they like it! They set up a nice overhang and sat outside for several hours today. After hearing them eat their breakfast, I could not help but sigh and think: “It feels good to be home.”

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While I walked through town last night, to get to a dinner party, I saw and heard at least 10 groups of people having their meal outside. I love Europeans! This walk just built the excitement within me for the party I was to attend. I was on my way to a special dinner that included one of my favorite Swiss/German traditions, raclette.

Raclette is similar to fondue. Everyone brings an ingredient to share, which will be added to hot cheese that is melted in small dishes under a burner. The burner sits in the middle of the table and has a grill top. We all take turns cooking bacon and vegetables on top, which will then be added to cheese melted over potatoes. It’s not typically a summer meal, because of the continuous heat, but it was the perfect way to bring us together again for a night of laughter.

From the party, I walked home in the rain. It was more like a heavy sprinkle, but it made me happy. I just soaked up all of the familiar sights of our small town. It felt like I was drawing in a large breath with all of my favorite smells, or receiving a big bear hug. Each German that I passed had the familiar smell of cologne and cigarettes. Each boutique that I passed still displayed expensive priced items with the sales tags that have been there since I arrived in Germany two years ago. Yet, the site that excited me the most was the construction of the small town festival that we call Budenfest.

Germans like to celebrate just about everything with a bratwurst and a beer. This event goes on at the same time every year, for the purpose of raising money for the local athletics and clubs. The clubs that sell food and drinks range from the tennis club, the (real) witches club, to the ladies church choir. Not only do they sell brats and beers, but they have other tasty traditions as well. I’m looking forward to the flammekueche and the spätzle. Flammekueche is a thin, flame cooked, pizza with: white sauce, a mix of white cheeses, and bacon/ham. It’s a traditional treat from the Alsace region. Spätzle is like a type of noodle. At the fest they mix it with sauerkraut. It’s quite tasty.
I will join my friends for this occasion shortly and add a picture of Budenfest to my Facebook page.

For now, I will conclude my rave review of my return with a few fun facts. I have been in Germany for 70 hours and have already taken 3 showers. I’m about to go take my fourth. Did I mention that its hot and that I sweat a lot? I’ve also seen how out of shape I am. I think I’ve gotten more exercise these past three days than I had in a month, in Florida. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t drive.

I have much more to say about my amazement of God’s provision, but I will save that for another time. I feel that the very existence of this blog post proves God’s provision. I also have much more to say about how excited I am for this school year. I miss my former yearbook classes and my small group girls very much. Yet, I am incredibly excited about the relationship I have with my current students and the new relationships I will form. God has big plans and I know it. Stay tuned for more exciting stories from the Black Forest!

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