The kids are asleep, the Sooners game is on the TV, we’ve put away the Christmas tree, and it feels like 2018 is already off to a good start. (Edit to add: Clearly wrote this before the Sooners lost…) Today begins my annual routine of miswriting the date for months on end. It is especially difficult for me to grasp the concept of 2018—we’ve finally reached the year when Emma will start kindergarten, Talon will turn the same age Emma was when we left the States, and a full calendar year has passed us in Germany. Simultaneously, I feel like we’ve seen so much and done so little.
The goals we set for ourselves in 2017 were not entirely met, but at least we have some things to work with for the upcoming year. Our 2017 had a few hiccups (as most do), but considering we are happy, healthy, warm, fed, and sheltered, I don’t think it would be wise to complain. Rather, I’d like to reflect on the highlights of our year, and lay out what 2018 might entail for the Deetzies.
Last year began with our trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where we begrudgingly chose sleds over skis. We resolved to return as soon as Talon met the minimum requirements for ski school, but ended up going back a lot sooner than that. He’s still too young! The good news is that we learned to ski in 2017, or at least that Zach learned… I’m still a little rusty. The bad news is that skiing is expensive and we want to do it again and again. With Italy, France, Switzerland, and Austria a mere hours away, I hope we have an opportunity (and a babysitter) to ski in 2018.
February and March were uneventful months aside from an impromptu visit from my mom. I spent most of my time working on my senior capstone project in anticipation of graduation from Rogers State University, and I’m so happy (relieved) to say that I passed! I don’t have much to say about these months, likely because I’ve blocked them from memory. At least I can say this: 2017 was the year I finally received my Bachelor’s degree. Whew!
In April, we were happy to host Zach’s mom Melissa for a visit on her very first trip to Europe. We wanted to make it special for her so we spent some time in Paris and stayed at the incredibly nice Marriott’s Village d’lle-de-France, just down the road from Disneyland Paris and the world’s most delicious pastry shop. I’m not sure which one I’m more excited to revisit in 2018, because let’s face it. I will revisit Disneyland Paris in 2018. I hope…
In May, the revolving door of company continued with a visit from my brother, Brandon, and my dad. Zach missed the fun this time as we headed to the Netherlands for a few days for the Keukenhof Tulip festival. We ate stroop waffles and poffertjes, spent a day in Amsterdam and discovered a pretty neat science museum. Brandon also purchased a few new board games while we were in Amsterdam and proceeded to beat me mercilessly more times than I can count. Not sure he’ll ever let me live that down, so I suppose one of my goals for 2018 should be to finally beat my brother at a board game… or maybe just play against someone worse than me.
By June the kids and I were all traveled out, but Zach was sent to England for work and what choice did I have but to tag along? We caught a ferry in Dunkirk and I finally had the opportunity to see one of the things at the top of my “bucket list”, the white cliffs of Dover. Driving on the opposite side of the road was a bit of a challenge (more so for me than for Zach), but the usage of miles and yards was oddly comforting. On the way home, we spent a weekend in London where Emma and I caught a performance of Aladdin on the West End. This was easily the highlight of my year and I still get warm fuzzies when I think back. We had so much fun together!
In July, the kids and I finally acquiesced to the Grandparents’ demands for a visit to the states. The flight was daunting but tolerable, mostly thanks to two incredibly well-behaved children. I’m not sure where they came from (or where they’ve disappeared to in the time since…) but I do hope they reappear on our upcoming trip to the United States. From the intolerably loud eleven-hour plane ride (with broken heat!) to the nine-hour car ride from Colorado to Tulsa, the trip was enough to make me never want to go anywhere again, but the fun we had in Oklahoma more than made up for the headache of getting there.
Emma celebrated her birthday early with cousins and friends, I approached the convenience of the United States with a newfound appreciation, and Talon had all the ice cream he could eat at Grandma and Grandpa’s new kitchen bar. I wasn’t necessarily homesick until I actually came home, but it’s hard to deny my love for the garbage disposal when it’s staring me in the face. I suppose when I’m away, it’s just easier to push those feelings out of my mind.
We departed for Germany again in August, arriving back in the Eifel just in time for the kids to resume kindergarten in our village. The following few weekends were consumed by local festivals, including the Manderscheid Castle Fest and Bernkastel Wine Festival. Our next big adventure took us to the Black Forest area at the end of September, where Boomer finally got to join in on our travel fun. A cuckoo clock hangs in our hallway to commemorate the occasion. We usually remember to pull the chain.
October was mostly uneventful. I did take a solo day trip to Brussels for Planner Con, and I need to find my way back to Belgium soon because they simply have the best chocolate. I suppose there was also my thirtieth birthday in October, and with it came the appearance of grey hair and student loan repayments. I miss my twenties already.
My parents just couldn’t stay away from Germany as they visited us again in November. For Thanksgiving, I was thankful for third row seating in my Explorer as we all piled in and headed to Garmisch a few days after the holiday. Our trip also included stops in Munich, Innsbruck, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber to enjoy some of the best Christmas Markets Germany (and Austria!) have to offer. My Christmas décor has expanded exponentially since we arrived in Germany. By next year, I might need a bigger tree.
I continued attending markets well into December, with stops in both Düsseldorf and Cologne. While I definitely didn’t make it to every market I had hoped thanks to an inopportune outbreak of the stomach flu, I’m satisfied that I visited a few both old and new, and I definitely know what directions I want to head next year. Is it too early to plan things like that?
Moving into 2018, I have subtle goals that I’ve set for myself, for our family, and even for this blog. I want to take better photos. I’d like to increase the frequency that I write, and expand my topics. And I definitely want to vlog. I suppose this all means that I’ll have to get out more. It sounds humorous to say that when I’ve just reminisced of all the countries I visited in 2017, but the truth of the matter is that our day to day life in Germany is generally very quiet and calm.
This is sure to be a big year for us with Emma starting American kindergarten 45 minutes away. Zach is returning to school as well, and while I’m mostly settled into my new job as a bookkeeper, I’m sort of dreading the wrench that will be thrown my way when I’ve got one kid at a school in our village and another that rides the bus on the autobahn. At least I have another nine or so months before I have to get too panicky about it.
If I visit one new country this year, I hope it’s Ireland.
Also, come visit me!
That is all!