A Canadian gal in Stuttgart, Germany, who loves nothing better than crafting by the seat of her pants. See her snip, sew, knit, knot, glue, sculpt, splatter, spin, and of course, talk about herself.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006
Same Ol', Same Ol'
There's been so much to do at work the past couple of weeks, my days have pretty much been a blur and I've been almost always exhausted. I don't think it's because of the work though, or lack of sleep even, but rather the monotony of it all. Having had to work on things on the weekend as well, we haven't really gone anywhere apart from the usual necessary errands and a couple walks in the woods. I find myself craving some good craft time to recharge, but I'm always too tired, and worse, totally uninspired. I find it difficult to find ideas in the albeit long path between my home and office. I have to go through the main train station every day, sometimes I skip a train or two to take a stroll down the Königstrasse (King street) to window shop and people watch. But Stuttgart is a very different city than what I'm used to. In Toronto, walking around any of the many eclectic neighbourhoods mean seeing all different kinds of people, in terms of culture, profession, financial status and above all, personal style. Although there is a little variation according to age group (ie teenagers will let their things hang out of their über-low rise jeans, but happily their Omas will not) but everyone is more or less white, upper middle class urban posh. All the girls/women from about 15 to 45 are wearing almost identical shoes, or currently, boots. If I see another pair of skinny jeans with pointy toed knee high boots, I think I'll scream. I miss being able to walk down the street and see someone who just makes my eye light up with their style and originality. This doesn't apply only to people or clothes. I can get claustrophobia contemplating the rows of identical houses, all their white stucco and red roofs, knowing that 90% of them have walls covered in nothing but this disgusting white recycled paper wall crap. Not to be overly critical, but I kinda think it looks like whitewashed catsick. And why most people here use it to cover not only all walls, but even ceilings in their homes is really beyond me. I would jump for joy at the fact that our hellish little felines have waged their own little war on the walls of our apartment, making it necessary to have them completely redone, if it weren't for the fact that until we have time to do this I can't take a presentable picture in almost any corner of our home LOL. At least I have the comfort of knowing that my pets have better taste than my neighbours :)

What I think I'm trying to get at with all this griping, is that life here in Germany has been getting pretty dull. When you move to a new country there is always a period of excitement and learning as you find out everything about your new home. Then somewhere along the way the process of settling in begins, until this strange new place becomes comfortable and familiar. Thanks to visits to family when I was younger, and spending a summer working here, Germany never really felt strange to me, but always instilled me with a kind of wonder. I had this idea of it being this beautiful place where everything was superbly organized and people were all down to earth and kind. I could never understand my aunt, who was born and grew up here, but moved abroad as soon as she was old enough. She is an artist, and very emotional. She always said she could never survive in a place like this, full of dull, cold, closed people. Instead she spent most of her life in Spain, and sometimes Italy, Portugal, or South America. Anywhere but here. Having lived here a while now, and entering a stage in my life where I am also investing myself in creative pursuits, I have begun to understand what she meant. This is not a place where ideas and feelings feel free. Although I can always be my natural self with Matthias, no matter how off the wall that may be, with almost everyone else here I feel a need to be 'behaved'. It's an atmosphere that has become stifling not only creatively, but also personally.
When I started writing this, I didn't mean to sound so discouraging. There are still many things I am grateful for in living here, not least of all this wonderful man I've found, with extraordinarily loving parents who have adopted me as their own. And I will never tire of beautiful landscapes and architecture to be found almost everywhere. Particularly the former reminds me that, if nowhere else, there is always endless creativity and inspiration to be found in nature :) I have learned a lot here, about others, as well as myself, and although this is not where I'd like to live the rest of my life, I can still appreciate this place. At any rate, we have already decided to move to Canada next year and are beginning to look for job prospects. We will go wherever work is, so quite likely somewhere other than where I grew up. So although things may seem a bit monotonous now, it will not be long before life will bring a lot of changes for both of us.


posted by tatjana @ 6:17 p.m.  
  • At Sunday, November 12, 2006 11:35:00 p.m., Blogger lobstah said…

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts. My sister is dating a guy from Germany and lives in Munich. I am frequently hearing similar thoughts from her...she is one of those people that is full of joie de vivre so the German culture is kind of alien to her. She does enjoy being there anyway. She said that her perfect situation would be to spend half the year in Europe and half in the US.

    Even though I'm in the US, I kind of feel the same way you do about the town I'm living in. It is a small town of about 2,000 and is full of "sameness"...mostly white, right-wing hunter dudes. I truly don't fit in here and so I'm looking to move back to Connecticut (where I grew up), which will be a much more diverse environment. Though I'm sure I will find just as much to annoy me there, ha ha.

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  • At Monday, November 13, 2006 5:27:00 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    this was a fascinating post for me to read because i have very similar feeling about living in ecuador. the skinny jeans trend has yest to fully blow up here, but otherwise your life sounds rather similar to mine. our decision to move here was definitely a great one and we´ve learned a ton. but i am looking forward to returning to the states where not all the teenagers dress the same and the craft culture among all types of people (and not just indigenous artesans) is alive and prospering.
    big hugs to you finding inspiration among the boots and white walls!

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