"One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the world had been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertake a journey through Germany on foot. After much thought, I decided that I was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So I determined to do it. This was in March, 1878." Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad


Countdown to Lift Off: 3, 2, 1...

It's official. Tomorrow morning we leave Heidelberg and return back to our home in North Carolina.

We have had the most amazing, unbelievable year here. It's hard to believe that one year ago we knew next to nothing about the country and culture of Germany, and I knew not a single word of the German language. And now we feel so comfortable in this home away from home we can't bear to leave.

Yet as I sit here surrounded by bags and suitcases and leaving becomes that much more of a reality, I can't help but think of the many things that await us in the U.S. Things that I have been missing and craving ever since we left last year. Knowing that they will be within my reach this time tomorrow makes the leaving just a tad bit easier.

Here's what's one my mind at the moment:

--AIR CONDITIONING! (mid-90's for over a week with no escape has been torture! what are these people thinking ?!)
--Ice in my drinks (mildly cool drinks on a hot day just doesn't do the trick)
--Free water at restaurants (did I mention that it's HOT here?)
--Friends and family (I bet you were wondering when they would appear on my list)
--Being able to understand everything people say
--Being able to express what I want to say without sounding like an idiot
--My house (it's been a blast sleeping in the living room and all...)
--Having a dishwasher and a microwave and a fridge larger than the one from my dorm room
--Target and all discount stores (and how basically everything is less expensive than Europe)
--Mexican food and all things spicy
--Cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies

You can bet that I'll be savoring most if not all of these things in the next upcoming days.

But in the meantime...

Take a look at this cute little thing that suddenly found herself in Germany nearly one year ago

Penelope was four months old and had just learned to sit up when we moved to Germany last August. Love those roly poly arms and legs! Where did all that chubbiness go?!


This little girl has seen more in her first year of life than most people see their whole lifetime (and, sadly, she won't remember a bit!)

So long Heidelberg! So long Germany! It's been good ride.

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