Too many words on grapes

Apparently, according to my dad, grapes are in season in Germany right now so we’ve been eating them like crazy. Breakfast wasn’t quite enough? Let’s have some grapes. Wouldn’t mind a small dessert after lunch? OH I’LL JUST EAT THESE GRAPES LIKE A BOSS. (I don’t know how to use “like a boss”. It’s awkward every time I do.) And how about something to snack on while we enjoy this football game on TV? Well, are there any grapes left? (We continue to have grapes left. We bought ALL OF THEM.) Seriously. These grapes, you guys. I always thought grapes are just about as bland as cucumbers because usually they are. It turns out, if you buy stuff the time of year it’s grown locally instead of being flown in from Morocco, it tastes NICE. Like- these grapes- they’re all big and plump and a light purple/blue-ish color (GO AWAY WITH YOUR INNUENDOS, CHILDREN) and so sweet. So sweet. With just the right amount of tartness. I didn’t eat anything but grapes until 8pm today, at which point my body was like “Are you kidding with this? STOP WITH THE GRAPES.” But no. There can never be enough grapes. There can be enough words on grapes, though. So: moving on.

I’m reading Ken Follett’s “Fall of Giants” which follows five interrelated families through the dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women’s suffrage. It is fantastic, you guys. It is a difficult read, yes, mostly because I tend to read at times when history and politics are somewhat indigestible to me (like right before bed or when my eyes are too tired to stare at Pinterest pins anymore) and when I started it, I felt the same way I felt about “War & Peace” which is: too many characters, too many similar names, too many places I don’t know, too many parallel story lines, JUST STOP. But of course “Fall of Giants” isn’t quite as challenging as the Tolstoy classic and I’m actually really enjoying it now that I’m past the first 100 pages. The book is part of a trilogy, the second part of which was released this fall and I’m already impatient about the paperback coming out.

What else. I mentioned eating grapes (DID I?) while watching football. Football is important in this house, especially international matches – even if they’re friendly matches that don’t technically matter in any way. Germany played Holland last night and we watched it and it was terrible, just absolutely terrible, and it ended 0:0 and JFC wasn’t that a waste of an evening. BUT Sweden played England at the same time and THEY DELIVERED. My glorious Swedes, you guys. All royal-like and handsome and cool/collected and KILLING THE BRITS. Heh. I followed live match updates on a Swedish newspaper’s website while my dad refused to change the channel to what was clearly a better game than Germany vs. Holland, and only understood a quarter of what was being said, except GOAL over and over and over again. Long story short: they turned a 1:2 into a 4:2 – the fourth goal, scored in overtime, being especially delicious. To top it off, this was the very first match in Stockholm’s brand new sports arena, which made the Swedish win even more meaningful.

So, grapes and Swedish football and WW1 novels. That’s all I got. I don’t know. What do you usually do on Wednesdays?

A day (of shopping) in Holland

I went to Enschede today which is a Dutch city that sits right at the border to Germany. My parents go there about once a month. We often eat at La Place which is a chain usually located in the large Dutch department store V&D. They have lovely fresh food, and their blackberry tea is amazing so of course I had it today. We walked around the big farmer’s market on the central square for a bit, and then my parents went their way while I hit the stores.

Remember how my goal for the summer was to just look good in a simple white tshirt? Well, I finally bought the tshirt at H&M today. Step one: complete. Step two: er, on hold? I really need to start working out. — I also bought Rituals “Yin Organic White Lotus & Yi Yi Ren” body mist. I KNOW that just made you throw up. I hate these pretentious names of bath and beauty products as well but whatevs, it smells delightful. I also found new sunglasses (super cheap ones from H&M again) and a cute necklace that has a guitar pendant. Granted, that sounds a little ridiculous but just wait, I’ll post pictures at some point and YOU WILL SEE, YOU’LL ALL SEE! (Phoebe on Friends, anyone? No?) And then I just got some random stuff, like a headband, and tiny containers for shampoo and whatnot that you’re allowed to take on a plane in your carry-on luggage (within the EU). I’d been looking for these forever and could never find them here in Germany.

We always bring home food and pastries from our trips to Enschede as well because it’s obviously a little different from what we can get here and, well, better. And more affordable. I dread spending half of tomorrow on the road again when I’m driving back to Cologne but shopping made me happy today which counts as a huge success because it normally just makes me tired and aggressive.

A morning after

I had my last day at Holland yesterday. I was there for 10 months, first as an intern and then doing freelance work – but it always felt like it was more than that and I’d been there longer than that. It was an overwhelmingly positive experience. The team there had become my family in a new city, I learned everything I know about my chosen field of profession from them and more about Holland than I thought there was to know. I will miss the view of the Cologne Cathedral from my desk, I will miss lunch in the surrounding restaurants, I will miss- everything. Everything.

They gave me flowers yesterday, and lovely hand-written cards from everyone, and a bookstore gift card, and a hotel gift card redeemable in all major Dutch cities. My supervisor gave me a small notebook that she got for me on her vacation to Tanzania, and I gave her a summery shawl which she loved. We had lunch at my favorite restaurant and I bought them our favorite New York style cheesecake after. I couldn’t have asked for a better last day.

I don’t think I have completely understood just yet that I will not go back there next week; that these are not just a few days off work. But I feel like crying already. I get very attached to people and memories, and I’m sad not so much for a potential job lost but because I will no longer see the people I worked with every day, and walk down the Ring in the early morning, and take the elevator up to the 9th floor, and wish the adorable old doorman a nice weekend.

My experience at Holland set the bar impossibly high for whatever job may come next for me but it was an ideal first glimpse into what work life can be when you get incredibly lucky.