Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Nine Months Later...

It’s hard to believe we’re ¾ of the way into our first year in Hamburg. At this time last year, it wasn’t even a blip on our radar!

Now, Larry is a regular employee at GGS (i.e., not contract) working on a new project, and I’m taking another German class and continuing work on my writing.
The all-American-themed
going-away party my coworkers
threw for me last fall.

How do you like Hamburg?
That’s the first question people ask when they learn I’ve moved here. That’s to be expected, but I’m consistently surprised by their reactions to my answer, which has evolved over time from “it’s different, but nice,” to “I like it,” to “I love it.”

Usually the response runs along the lines of an exchange I had with a gentleman at the flea market, who moved here from Ghana 20 years ago. When I told him I really liked living in Hamburg, he looked at me in utter disbelief and exclaimed, “But you came from America!”

Hmm. I guess I don't see my love of America and my love of Hamburg as incompatible. Besides, if there was one place in the world that could be everything for everyone, we'd all be living there, right?

What’s your favorite thing?
That's the next question people ask, particularly if they know I'm writing a blog about my experience here.

The flippant answer: Everything except the winter.

The short answer: Last week I was running some errands, and in the course of only two hours, I ran into people I know in three different areas of the city. Hamburg is large enough to be interesting, and small enough to feel comfortable.

The long answer: I suspect other expats ask this question because they’re looking for things they might do here, and people from Hamburg just want to know what an outsider thinks is great about their city.

How would you answer that question about where you live? It's hard, especially as different types of experiences bubble up into your mind.

So I decided to go back through my “bucket list” that I created when we first moved here, to see what I’ve done so far:

The Loki Schmidt Botanical Garden is maintained by the University of Hamburg and includes planted areas of different geographies, a stone garden, a smell and touch garden, and a museum of "useful" plants 
(herbs, medicinal, food). 

The butterfly garden has a hothouse, outdoor garden, water garden
with coi, birds, bunnies, and more.

Kitchen at Chocoversum, where we got
to choose ingredients to make our own chocolate bar!

Let's face it, carnivals are pretty similar in the attractions
they offer. But we went to the Winter Dom to check
it out, then came back for the Spring Dom to enjoy the food!

The Polizeimuseum is on the campus of Hamburg's
police academy, and provides a good history of the
city's law enforcement, complete with a hands-on forensics area.

The St. Georg is an authentic steamboat that provides
tours on the Alster lakes in the heart of downtown.

Treppenviertel is this part of Hamburg --
nice homes nesteled in hills above a beach,
with steep, narrow, winding staircases
you can climb for a nice view of the Elbe
    The Speicherstadt--
    Hamburg's historic warehouse district--
    is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
    and the world's largest carpet trading
    and storage area.

Strandperle is where
we celebrated
German Unification Day.

Getting back to the question of a "favorite," I don’t have one thing I’d call out (although the Botanical Garden is a contender). 

Each time I see or do something new I relish the experience, but I'm always eager to see and do more.

I think I have some small fear that if I reach the point where something gets crowned “the winner,” I’ll stop exploring as much. And I have a lot more things I want to see before hitting the one-year mark in August!

p.s. I've written reviews for several of these attractions on tripadvisor.com if you want more information. You can also always drop me a line.

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