One Year Ago

Trip Start Oct 18, 2012
Trip End Dec 14, 2015

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Flag of Germany  , Baden-Württemberg,
Thursday, June 13, 2013

Howdy folks,

One year ago yesterday, Steffie and I drove out of Banff and said goodbye to all our friends and to the wonderful mountains that we made a home and the Banff Voyager Inn which made it all possible. Although we haven't kept in regular contact with Adam, Dave x2, Alden, Till, Nico, Aaron, Hiroyuki, Leo, Susanna, Christian, Haruka, Trevor, Neil, Louiselle, Marc, Sayuri, Zuzana, Randy, Lenka, Jack, Jennifer (the nice one), Kylie and all of the other people we met in our time there; we definitely haven't forgotten the great times. Hiking, snowboarding, snowmobiling, tubing, white water rafting, bike riding, ice climbing, frisbee golf, snow hikes and cruising along the Bow River; we did a hell of a lot in our time there. Sometimes I think that I accomplished so much that if I hadn't written my blog I would have forgotten it all!

But I can still remember the movie nights, game nights with Catan, party nights, Bingo, watching ice hockey, playing pool and eating deep dried pickles or potato nachos while drinking a Rickards Red. One of my favourite things was just to walk down the main street wondering who you would bump into or checking to see how frozen the river was.

Hopefully one day, we will get to meet a few of the people who became our friends and family in our home away from home. We already want to go to Japan and Switzerland! There are still a few lucky ones who got to stay behind to keep the home fires burning. Hopefully they haven't had too many big nights drinking Time Machines at the Dancing Sasquatch to kill the memories. Nothing that a Aardvarks Pizza or a poutine couldn't fix...

Then came the roadtrip! That was a trip of a lifetime, not quite a vacation, but a travelling challenge full of surprises. That took quite a bit more organisation especially with finding campgrounds, navigating, seeing sights and of course writing the blog. For me personally, the roadtrip was one of the biggest achievements of my life: bigger than my Australian Roadtrip and my New Zealand tour combined. I learnt more about border crossings, camping and cars than I will ever need to know again. But we still managed to meet quite a few people along the way: Daryl, Charlotte and Bailey in Edmonton, Julien in Jasper, Joe in Kamloops, Christian, Dave and Jack in Kelowna, John, Zemeer and Quill in Seattle, Amir and Thomas in the Midwest, Charlie and Isabel in Chicago, Paula flew in at Detroit, Mitch in Fredericton, Adam in Lunenberg, Joel, Holly and family in Washington DC and Matt, Kai and Kailee in Fort Lauderdale.

Hard to name them all, but then again hard to forget them as well! All of these people in their own little way made our roadtrip extra special and became instant family. One of the hardest things while travelling is being homesick and just having someone to talk to makes all the difference. No wonder I'm not good with names! Thankfully, my old blog helped a bit...

Since October, I've had my own fair share of challenges in Germany. Learning the language has been a life lesson beyond words. I speak German everyday - at home and work. Although we haven't had the money to do much travel, I have been learning what it is like for many real life immigrants who choose to start their lives new in a foreign land. That involves struggling to open a bank account, going shopping, reading official documents and the other joys involved. That has given me an appreciation for what my Opa and Oma and their young kids did moving out to Australia in the 1960s. Although in comparison, my experience has been much easier because Stefffie did a lot of translating for me and we have been living in her parents house.

I've learned other lessons as well like as enjoying food (and beer) more, learning to play the piano again, riding my bike every day to a physically demanding job and living without spending money which is the hardest thing to do! It hasn't been easy for Steffie in particular as I have been twice as grumpy. She really does try her best even if I don't appreciate it enough. I guess I like complaining about everything too much!

We have also met plenty of people since coming to Germany like Kiran, Lin, Patrick, Silvana, Martina, Kim and Mona, Namita, Bahij, Shawqi, Andy, Nitesh, Janani, Rewan, Reka, Nandi, Kimatta, the people I work with in Schwetzingen and of course Steffie's family including Oliver, Winfried, Mutti, Christian, Tanja, Aeneas, Leonie, Basti and the rest of the clan.

A lot of people which have made life interesting! Of course you can't really sum up everything from the last 5 years can you? I've always maintained that the meaning of life was to live it to the fullest! I think I'm on my way...
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