Leap of Faith Life

Leaps of Faith in Life, Travel, Yoga, and Happiness

Month: March 2014

I can ride my bike with no handle bars… except in the Netherlands

Bikes are everywhere in Groningen –

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And by everywhere, I mean, even IKEA has bike parking.  I wanted to say, “how the heck to you get out of an IKEA shopping trip on just a BIKE,” but then, we did.

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Proof:

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Sometimes the bikes are artistically parked, like the first picture in this post, and others are just the perfect color –

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Or have cute names –

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Some are bought, then stolen (like our bike was three weeks in), which makes some residents refer to it as, ‘the giant bike borrowing community in Groningen’ –  you buy a bike, which gets stolen, you buy another bike hoping it wasn’t stolen, and on and on and on.

So then you put it on your boat house to discourage that cycle –

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And that is just a snapshot of life (or a handful) in the Netherlands – street bike style.

 

Spring in Groningen, Netherlands

Spring in Groningen, Netherlands

Enjoying the sun and the greenery everyone said wasn’t available in the northern part of the Netherlands

My First Weekend in Germany, and Moving Into a Too Tiny Studio

After my arrival went like this…

Airport Arrival

…I felt myself relax after months of questioning how my arrival to Germany would be received, after a 6 month long distance relationship with H (with two one week Latin American vacations to visit him in between).  My nerves seemed to calm even further after a good night of sleep and a long walk around the North Sea.

There is something about the sea air, holding hands, gluhwein, a painting of a whale squirting a large rainbow in the air to make you feel normal again.

North Sea Graffiti

And to ponder the question how this happened…

North Sea, Germany

And of course proper German pastries:

German Sweets

H’s parents were so warm and contentious as well – before dinner the second night H gave me my belated birthday and Christmas presents, and H’s mom presented me with pink slippers for their home and a new pink towel for my home in Groningen.

Later that evening, we sat in front of their fireplace, and I watched the BBC while H worked on school work next to me. I felt at home, at peace, and more relaxed than I had allowed myself to be in months.  All the preparation and listening to my gut on this leap of faith had left me more drained than I realized.  I saw how I built a shield around my feelings to make sure if H acted differently when I arrived in Germany, or his energy was weird, I would be ok and figure things out and move on.  Thankfully nothing had changed, and H was still the attentive and caring guy I fell in love with in the states (mushy I know, but such a relief I cannot tell you).

Before I knew it we had the car packed up on Sunday after my Friday arrival, and we were off to drive the 90 minutes to Groningen.  Let me tell you, the countryside between Germany and the Netherlands is beautiful, and filled with windmills.

We had some time while waiting for our apartment keys (the super was late because, well you know, last night was Saturday night after all!), which we filled with picture taking of our new neighborhood.

The Three Sisters, Groningen, The Netherlands

Once we got the keys I had the shock of my life when I walked in and finally saw how small the studio actually was.  I remember the panic on my face mirrored on H’s face, and his mother trying to make us both feel better with her limited English.  With three hearty Germans in the room, and one bewildered American, we set to work cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.

H and his dad went to his old place to pick up the rest of his furniture from the one room he rented in a student flat, and thankfully the fuller we made our room the larger it seemed.  Quite the little trick our place played on us.

Stuido

 

Studio

I actually enjoyed putting away our new plates (donated by H’s lovely parents, along with many other items around our apartment), I felt like a dork – I was so excited about using the guest plates for guests in OUR place.  This place we get to share and call our own.

After a day of setting up and cleaning, we ate the soup H’s mother brought along with us and said our goodbyes.

Left alone in our new studio, H and I both laughed and toasted with home-made liquor from his mother, promising to not kill each other in the new place.  So far, that promise has worked out well :)

So this leap of faith paid off in full. If we both continue to communicate, stay open and honest with one another, we stand a chance of  this whole adventure working out.  So far, so good.

What was your last big leap of faith?

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