Where I Live

Sometimes, caught up in thinking about where I have been, where I come from and where I would like to go, I neglect to consider where I am. This is especially the case because it is with greater ease we offer up what it is we don’t have, rather than what it is we do. Lamenting Weiden’s size, its lack of ‘scenes’ and neighbourhoods, the stretch of its Altstadt coverable in the time it takes to open a bottle of wine is something I do all too often. And something I do at the expense, and I say this with head-bowed regret, of etching into my consciousness, the good about where I am.

Yes Weiden is small, but it is also sweet. It is quaint and cute and the buildings are all brightly coloured like flavours jostling for space in an ice cream shop. Yes the Altstadt could fit in the palm of my hand, but that’s manageable. A night out involves merely zigzagging across a cobbled rectangle. And I can safely say I know, without a doubt, where the best coffee, the best Greek food, the best schnitzel and the most abominable house wine can be found. And I cannot honestly say that about many places in the world, except perhaps an even smaller village on a very small island.

Weiden is completely different to anywhere else I have lived or spent extended periods of time – Sydney, Santorini, Münster. It is a whole new experience, culturally, aesthetically, gastronomically, linguistically, historically, environmentally. It is absolutely nothing like a harbour metropolis of millions, Mediterranean island or north-west German city of students and churches. This is another corner of the world and I am within it.

As I write, the bells of two nearby churches are going off, seemingly of their own volition and without reason or rhyme. Weiden and its bells, the sounds of which will always make me think of this funny little place, won’t be forever. In time it will become ‘this town I used to live in’, my first (and, maybe only, who knows) experience with Franken, Bavaria, and all of its habits and idiosyncrasies. So I must remind myself not to wish it away, not to pass the time looking elsewhere for fuel and food, not to lament it so. Not to see it for what it isn’t (big, bustling, international!) but only for what it is – itself.

25 thoughts on “Where I Live

    1. Hahaha yes! I must go digging, see what I can find. In fact, I am heading out this very moment, camera in hand. The deepest darkest secrets are always found in the local cafes, I find …

  1. Wonderful photos and touching heartfelt content. From your title I take it you’re an expat. How long have you been in abroad? Where are you from originally? Out of curiosity what do you miss from home?

  2. Hi there – I am not technically really an expat … only sort of. I left home two years ago after I finished studying because I wanted to work and live in Europe and travel for a bit. I chose to live in Germany (Münster) because I had friends there, liked the country and it is in the middle of Europe – excellent for mini trips. I met my boyfriend in Münster at the beginning of 2011 and about 6 months after we got together, he was told he was being sent down here for work. He moved here at the beginning of 2012 and I joined him in March. So I am a sort of expat without all the expat benefits!

    What do I miss? God. Right now, everything. I miss the space, the water, the skies. I miss Sydney’s outdoors culture, the food and coffee. And I really miss my Mum!

  3. Thank you! It is very cute and pretty … and once the trees get their blossoms happening, it will be even better. Hurry up, May!

  4. I loved the way how you described what you were witnessing the moment you wrote this post. I’m gonna visit again for sure. 🙂 🙂

  5. Ohhh…..Franken 😀 It gives me homesickness 🙁 I am from Hersbruck, maybe you know it, about 30min from Weiden and I am currently working in Bangkok…so these pictures make me miss my home…but thank you for posting them :)And if you want a bit of a bigger city experience you should get to Nuernberg, still not comparable to Sydney, but it feels a little more ‘woldly’ than Weiden 😀 By train it takes you about 35-45min I think 🙂

  6. oh my, Weiden. I’m currently temporarily back in Franken, too, after London, Paris, London again (on my way to Singapore) – I hate it. did I say ‘hate it’? I despise it. I could be a lot more graphic, but what’s the point… I’d take a small town in Australia any time. anywhere, really. you probably don’t need to hear this, I know, sorry 😉 but i agree with the comment above, Nueremberg is nice. Bamberg, too. very picturesque

  7. Hahahaha Petra, I do understand. I am trying very hard to feel affection for this area, and on some levels I do. But Jesus I miss a lot of things. Like, you know … THINGS HAPPENING.

  8. Thanks for sharing this. Love your blog!
    Funny, though, I was thinking the same today as I was wandering the streets of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. For me, this is the most boring place I have ever lived in since apart from beach life and tourist attractions, this area does not have a lot to offer. At least not to the urban kind of girl. And I too, often find myself reminiscing about my previous locations or secretly counting the days… Until I suddenly pause, take a step back and open my eyes to realize that I tend to forget the present and to enjoy what is – and to appreciate it for the memories it will create.
    I like to think that moving around and living in different places is like peeling away the layers, since each time we learn something new about ourselves. And no matter whether we love or hate the place we are at, it will always transform our lives.
    This being said, enjoy your Weiden experience!

    1. ‘I like to think that moving around and living in different places is like peeling away the layers, since each time we learn something new about ourselves.’ That is a pretty damn marvellous way of looking at it. Weiden isn’t ideal, but it is going to be worth something, when it comes to figuring out what I can do/have learnt/want/don’t want/like/don’t like. It is all about the constant learning, whether you feel it at the time or not.

      1. You are absolutely right. After all, it is not in the fun times that we learn the most, right? Who knows, maybe Weiden will be a transformative place for you when some day you are looking back. Quite an honour for a small town! 🙂

  9. I like what you said in this post because this is something that I battle with constantly as well. I always find myself looking for my Next Destination, even before I know that I am finished with my current stay, and I find that always leaves me bereft and nostalgic. Strange, but so true.

    As you said, this is probably the only time in our lives where we are going to be in such a place, doing such things, so we need to learn to treasure and appreciate it for what it’s worth. It can get hard on some days, but I figure that nothing good in life comes easy.

    1. That’s exactly right. I have become increasingly conscious, lately, of how MUCH I look ahead, and at the expense of looking at right now. My current mantra is ‘nothing is forever’ – if I don’t remind myself, I will just never truly appreciate anything!

  10. Where you live looks beautiful. The day I stop saying “wow” when I crest a certain hill I drive often and see the Swiss alps all across the horizon is the day I’m going to remember this post.

  11. How do the locals react when you characterize them as Franken?

    I work with several undisputed Franks (Nürnbergers) and they always get their dander up when I mess up on some tiny little (to me) aspect of their history/culture/geography/language. Like referring to “Niederfranken” (incorrect, but analogous to Oberbayern/Niederbayern) instead of “Unterfranken” (correct). Or in thinking that Neumarkt is Fränkisch (“oh, na na na! Neumarkt ist definitiv in der OBERPFALZ!”).

    Or —and this is the big one — when I ask their opinion on something every Bavarian should know/care about. “Aber I ben doch ka BAYER ned!”

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