Having a Sense of Humor & Other Ways to Weather the Weather
“Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.” ― Mark Twain
People here in Germany ask me all the time, “Why?” As in, “why are you here when you could be in warm and sunny California?”
I usually just shrug my shoulders and say. “Europe rules.” Which it does. In a few hours I can be in Paris, Prague, Italy, you know… EUROPE! But these days I have to come up with more creative answers because Europe doesn’t feel so ruling right now. After the harshest winter in 50 years, 100 hours of sunlight in four months and now recovering from a state-of-emergency rainfall, Germans are ready to get out in the sunshine and do the happy dance. (For the record, last week was amazing… luckily this region is getting back on it’s feet after extreme flooding and evacuations).
Let’s just lay it out there: I come from the Tony Soprano (RIP James Gandolfini!!) of weather. Aside from the occasional, fear-of-god-inducing wildfire, Southern California’s climate is cool dip in the pool with a side of sunshine. So it’s no wonder, as I muscle my way through my first real German winter that I’d pick up some tried and true survival tips… Things most of us have known for, well, centuries, while I was busy staring at the succulents.
Looking forward to every. thing. That bike ride through the Bavarian wilderness? That work trip to Berlin? The adventure to the hardware store where I can practice my German? I’m reeeeaally looking forward to it. My family and friends are came out here for my wedding and I think it was the first time I actually counted down the days to something. The ups and downs of a precarious climate brings you that much closer to the ones you love.
Creativity: There’s a simple reason why the Beatles and the Stones came from England and the Swedish came up with IKEA- because IT’S FREAKING COLD THERE. When you have only a few hours of daylight, you better believe you’re gonna get creative. Unfortunately, my creativity manifests itself in amateur cartoons, but I can also say “Auslandergelegenheit” 3 times really fast. Which is awesome.
The Seasons! Bursts of yellows and reds in the Fall, the scent of wood burning, the fresh air after a night of snowfall. “What isss this?”, I ask. Not only that, Nuremberg is the home to Germany’s most famous Christmas market and takes it’s holiday cheer very, very seriously. Watch out for the gluhwein and the endless booths of lebkuchen. I warned you!
Get really European. Sit in cafes, wear warm comfy scarves, practice languages with the locals. Hell, smoke a cigarette if you must be totally method. Be a tourist in your own town. Be romantic with your honey in public. Do Robert Doisneau before you even realized you were doing Robert Doisneau.
Sauna It Out. Germans are big on saunaing and now I know why. (Addendum: they are also big on saunaing in the nude but that is reserved for another post.) This also includes physical activities. Do not take the sun for granted. Follow the patches of sunlight and blast Burning Spear. Remember your love of yoga. There is no better way to make friends than by awkwardly copying your neighbor because you don’t know “downward dog” in Deutsch. (it’s Dreieck)
Home is Where the Heart Is. If you’re one of those Thoreau types like me who is happier pondering the ripples of a pond than by drinking beer at one of the many German beer festivals (though that is fun, too) then you know the benefits of chillin’ at home. Take advantage of the “schlecht” weather, make your sanctuary, cuddle up to your honey. Even.. arghh.. choke.. cough.. learn to cook. Putting me in a kitchen is like watching a puppy try to go down the stairs for the first time. But my German friends are all Mario Batalli-ish so it’s a really great way to bogart their culinary secrets and practice my German at the same time!
Gratitude. To pull a quote from a dear friend and wise woman: “… if all you can be grateful for is the air you breathe or the legs you stand on, this shifts your space in to one of greater abundance. Once you start finding gratitude for little things in your life, it will gain momentum and soon you will begin to find gratitude for all sorts of things you never noticed before.” -Tales of Ordinary Magic
A roof over my head? Check. A fantastic new hubby and constant laughter in my life? Check. Kinda sorta speaking another language (that can be debated.)? Chikkity check. Lots to be in gratitude about.
And if all else fails, laugh and know you are not alone! I’ve seen enough angry snowmen on Instagram to last a lifetime. This one’s my favorite.