These will be out of order now that I'm not caught on writing up the vacation posts but oh well! (Though not "oh well" in the brain of mine; for someone who's not typically Type A, it does make me feel a bit unsettled to be out of order.)
Anyway, since I came home from the US, I've been "lazy," which means I've been spending more of my free time on exercise, reading (both for fun and personal/vocational enrichment), and lots and lots of Mootime. I kind of take the opposite approach from others: during the summer, I do less and stay home more. I don't like hot weather and touristy crowds so instead I catch up on home life or mostly travel locally. From fall to spring, I'm very busy and do most of my traveling then.
Some of this week was quite cold for the summer - like between 55-70 degrees and I was loving it, sweaters and all.
After a hiatus between travel and other reasons, I met up with my tandem partner again. We ate at Julien, which is a French-style restaurant in Kaiserslautern. The garden area is absolutely beautiful and I highly recommend a visit, especially during the summer. I normally am not really one for French food because it's richer/meatier than my preferences, but I do like Julien. They do receive some criticism that they're not super French so maybe that's why I like it there. However, the main reason is that they have a decent selection of vegetarian and vegan selections and both the indoor and outdoor dining environments are pretty.
I also attended two language meet-ups and caught up with some friends. I've been keeping my eye out for language games and easy German games at the thrift stores and brought one along. Such games are really useful for practicing a foreign language because it breaks things up a bit and offers some fun.
My German friends invited me to their French cottage for the weekend. These are the same lovely friends who visited me in the US (oops, didn't get to writing that part yet) and saw my cottage. My family's cottage is rustic (no hot water or bathing facilities).
My friend's cottage is a beautiful six-bedroom home. :)
Anyway, this weekend was what I had been imagining life would be like when I imagined my life here before I moved. I imagined being surrounded by Germans/Europeans and speaking German with them. I hadn't imagined this being in France, but it's close enough, right?
The funny thing is that such a weekend in reality is not 100% as I'd imagined. I'm conversational in German now (ENDLICH!) but in a big group and for the whole weekend, it's a lot to process. I didn't talk as much as I normally would because I didn't catch everything and sometimes I just didn't have the energy to put things into German since the discussions were complicated. I don't mean this in a poor-me way; it was just a good way to listen more. I talk a lot normally and am accustomed to arranging social meetings; this was an opportunity to step back and just be a guest.
Some of this felt like a B2 test prep session since we were expressing opinions and talking about the news. We discussed politics and the insane behavior of a certain person...all of which really felt like a sample conversation for a B2 test. I do think that saying that "er ist total verrückt" might not be test-worthy though.
We enjoyed a paddle boat ride and some swimming. The cottage is located in the French countryside, not too far from Germany. I would enjoy visiting again, I think, and maybe some bicycle riding, and of course, plenty of time with my two friends who are the most adorable and sweet couple around.