Thursday, September 29, 2011

Würzburg erleben!

This summer I came across a FB page called "Würzburg erleben" - auf Englisch: "experience Würzburg!" The year I lived in Germany when I was 20 years old was one of the most defining of my life. I am the quintessential "homesick girl" - but my father had passed away the year before, and it made me feel very strongly, "I have to prove to myself I can live on my own, away from everything 'home' and 'comfortable' for a year, just so I'll always have the confidence that I can make it anywhere, no matter what life throws at me in the future." I knew I wanted to get married young and start a family, but I also knew I needed this life experience *first*. I lived there from August 1998 - July 1999.

I lived with a host family in northern Germany, in a tiny Dorf called Rahden, for the first month.
It was an adorable, small place to begin, but I. Was. Scared. Lots of Heimweh (homesickness). This was before everyone had a cell phone, before Facebook, before default 24/7 email access, when international calls cost an arm & a leg a minute and "long distance" was truly prohibitive. (WOW, how the world has changed in a decade!!!) I had weekly [or bi-monthly :'(] phone calls with my mom & JB. (JB & I had only been dating for six months. He graduated from our undergrad & went to grad school in Wisconsin when I went to Germany. We figured, if we could make it through a year seven time zones apart, we could make it through anything! :-D) My host family thought it was CRAZY that I wanted to check my email every day, but LUCKILY my host father, Horst, worked for Deutsche Telekom and actually *HAD* daily internet access at their house.

Toward the end of September, I moved to Würzburg (4 hours south, in between Frankfurt & Nürnberg) to do my junior year of college at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (the University of Würzburg) with Deutsch als Fremdsprache (German as a Foreign Language) as my major. All my classes were regular German university classes with regular German students - no easy "foreign exchange" cake classes. :-P While I was there, I *did* long for home. I missed my family, and especially JB, since we were in the throes of young love. :-D Being away from him, my heart ached daily. [I can't help but think what a different experience going now would be. We didn't have internet access anywhere, except for in the sometimes-open university computer lab. If I could have caught up with my loved ones over text, email, & FB whenever my heart yearned, it would have been a completely different emotional world! As soon as I got on FB when we lived up north a few years ago, even my homesickness for the South was better soothed.]

But even though I battled Heimweh and heartsickness, I LOVED GERMANY AND EUROPE!!! Had my beloveds been there with me, I wouldn't have wanted to leave for years. I am a travel junkie (esp. when I have my nest to come home to ;-)) and I am obsessed with foreign cultures. (There's that sociology minor, again :-P) Liking this Würzburg erleben FB page has been sending me down the Autobahn of nostalgia now on a daily basis! I truly feel like Würzburg is one of "my towns". I get all giddy when they post pictures, and I know exactly how I used to get there from my apartment. Every picture I see that truly captures what *I* remember as *my* Würzburg, I think, "I want to blog that, so people can see another place that holds a part of my heart!" They post at least one photo live every day of what Wü looks like today. :-) I feel so connected lately! (It also helps that I have several native Wü friends who still live there and talk to me auf Deutsch on FB, too. I have to look up 60% of my vocabulary words now to respond, but I can still understand everything they write. :-))

So because it holds such a deep place in my heart, here are some images of *my* Würzburg:

Ariel view showing the famous palace [die Residenz] that I used to live behind, just separated by that ring of trees [der Ringpark], and my old apartment at the purple arrow:
[Click to see these bigger!]

Looking into the city from the fortress/castle [Festung Marienberg] on the hill:
I used to live behind that ring of trees in the city on the right.

Looking back up at the Festung Marienberg [fortress/castle] on the hill:
On the hill at the base of the Festung: all that green = grapes for wine. Würzburg is famous for their wine and is completely surrounded by vineyards.

The famous palace [die Residenz] that I used to live behind. From the front:
And from the back:

The old city hall [das alte Rathaus] & fountain:
(Every time I see a pic of this fountain, I try to see the arms of the cherubs that decorate it. I may or may not know of a rock climber from New York who thought it would be cool to scale the fountain late one night...and BROKE HISTORY by knocking off an arm! He wasn't even under the influence of the local Wein!)

The Christmas Market [Weihnachtsmarkt] in December:

These are the ones that just struck me today, looking through the FB page. They make my heart happy. :-) I absolutely DREAM of JB & me taking the kids back to visit one day!!!


Edited to add: After posting this, I have gone into German-overdrive! I spent the whole drive to pick up Annelise at Montessori Kindy talking to myself in German - no English allowed - and I came up with the words auf Deutsch for almost every thought I had! It's a pretty big revelation that I remember a LOT more than I think I do. It's all still in my head; I just get Lampenfieber (stage fright) when it has to come out of my mouth in front of native speakers. I'm too much of a Perfektionistin!

3 comments:

  1. I went to Germany for the first time a few years ago, staying in Munich, Stuttgart (w/ American friends), and Heidelberg (one of my all-time fav cities in Europe!). After seeing these pics here, I clearly need to add this to my "Europe to-do" list. :)

    I'm laughing that we both posted Europe-related blogs at almost the same time...great minds think alike!

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  2. YAY!!!! You MUST add Würzburg...and let me know if you ever win the lottery & can afford to pay my way as your personal quasi-native tour guide! ;-) :-D

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  3. LOL! When we win the lottery, we'll be *living* in Europe, but of course we'd need a tour guide to visit Wuerzburg. :)

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