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Well, we did it. I think that I've already gone through two of the seven stages of massive adjustment to change. "This is the best place I've ever been!!" followed quickly by "Did we really just do this?"

I will wonder for a long time, what would have happened if...
I said no, let's not do this
I said you go, and I'll work as a lawyer in the US
I said yes right away and came with S when he moved, in the dead of winter

But none of that matters, because 7.5 months after he moved, with most of our life (though not our cat), to that other country in the Western world with a strong economy, I followed. Luckily enough, with a job that  I'm very excited about and to start a new life together (with our cat) that we talked about often, but I don't think I fully expected to happen - not this soon, anyway.

Much of my time here has been spent setting up -- bus trips to the German equivalents of Wal-Mart and Home Depot, putting together Ikea stuff (my least favorite...), unpacking / organizing / re-organizing, etc. Oh, and then there was the paperwork. S took care of most of it, but we still had to:
  • get me a bank account, and add me to his. This took some patience, and use of Google translate. 
  • convert my TX drivers license to a German one. This involved getting it formally translated (~1 week), having an eye test, (~10 minutes), finding the "DMV" (turns out that it is not very public-transit-friendly to get there, at least the one in Mainz. Ironic. (~45 minutes), returning to the DMV with an old license after learning how to say: "this license expired, then I got that license. I've been licensed to drive for 16 years now", in German. (~2 hours), and waiting for the letter that says it's ready for me to pick it up (eight weeks and counting...)
    • Note: the woman in charge of handling international drivers licenses in Mainz speaks only German. Not even English. Does that seem ridiculous to anyone else? Or just (as I'm learning), typical of Mainz?
  • sort out my tax class and get a tax ID and social insurance ID (~ 2 hours total, not bad)
  • get my work permit (~2 hours, the help of several very kind German friends, and final process two months. Apparently I have the honor of being the first person in Mainz to obtain my permit under a law passed only 2 weeks before I started working! Awesome, except that they don't have the technical ability to actually print the permit...)
After all our effort setting up, I'd like to stay a while, especially since our European exploration has been quite limited. We managed a weekend trip to beautiful Basel, Switzerland (which included some hiking
in the Swiss Alps), jumping into the Rhine, and lounging in our local schwimbad (swimming pool, though here it is more like a giant park with multiple pools, food for purchase, slides, diving boards, table tennis, sand volleyball, etc. All this, within a three minute bike ride of our house. Not bad!).

There are also a bunch of other parks, running/walking/biking trails, and grocery stores, all within five minutes' walking, plus an enormous thrice-weekly farmer's market. Did I mention there is also a full public transit system? Even though our "town" is more suburban than city-like, at least the part we live in, it still feels very urban by our standards. This weekend kicks off a big wine festival in Mainz -- since we are in the wine region of Germany, there is practically one in every town this time of year. Then come the pumpkin and apple fests, Christmas Markets, and before I know it we will be celebrating New Year's Eve.

I can't wait to get started.

*note, this post is about two months old. I have no excuse for not publishing...*


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