Chapter One
September - October, 1999

Once upon a time, we decided that Santa Barbara, although lovely in its own ways and a home to us both for several years, was a good place to vacation. So we moved to Germany.

And then the packing began in earnest. When all the stuff is comfortably living in the various closets and drawers and shelves, it doesn't seem like that much. Try putting it all in boxes in the middle of your living room. It's almost enough to getting you seriously contemplating monk-hood. . .

. . . which is precisely what Ian caught me in the middle of here. Every time I move, I promise myself that I won't move again when it is hot. And everytime I move, the elements conspire and make sure it's plenty toasty. At this point, though, we were really close to finishing. Behind Ian and the camera is a storage unit that has no spare space in any form in it. Even the dust will have a hard time finding places to settle.

The last couple days we were in The States, we moved at a whirlwind's pace. There were the last things to pack, the boxes of things that were coming with us to get to the shipping point, one final run to the storage unit to make, last minute errands to run, and a plane to catch. Some friends of ours graciously volunteered their couch to us for our last night in the US, since our beds were already stored. Bless them, they didn't even blink when we crept in at 4am, and even managed not to wake us up as they got started on their next day.

It all came together, in the nicest way, eventually. As Ian is fond of reminding me, it all works out in the end. We caught our plane, slept a good portion of the 11 hour flight, found the rest of our group in Frankfurt (we'd been separated on the plane), rented two cars, loaded them full of everyone's stuff, and drove to the Rhein Valley. We arrived at our hotel about midnight, and because this is Europe and because it was a Friday and because we were here, everyone went for drinks.

Morning in Andernach, our first town. Our first hotel was an insanely cute bed and breakfast. I tend to forget how much I like European breakfasts, fresh bread and jam and a slow cup of tea. The only bad thing about them is that they tend to be unavailable after 10am most places, which is hard on those who like breakfast but who tend toward being nocturnal.

I have great ambitions of writing more regularly and capturing the details of this adventure. Sometimes, I'm really good about getting the words in my journal, and other times I'm sure they all spill out of my head when I sleep.

Because this is, among many other things, an adventure, nothing is straight-forward or done easily. Evidently, lots of other people knew of the cuteness of our hotel and since it was a holiday weekend, our rooms were reserved for others. There is nothing that prepares you for a morning spent in the town square, sampling the local brew and watching the children collect the hazel nuts littering the ground than first carrying all your luggage in shifts from one hotel to the next, through that very square. We were forced inside eventually as it started to rain. It cleared up during our anti-jet-lag naps.

We are living a strange balance between vacation and real life. We are Americans in Europe, and there is a certain obligation in that to be the good tourist and see the sites and appreciate the wealth of history. But we also are living here, a novel idea that frequently stops both Ian and myself in the middle of whatever we are working on with its oddness. We don't have to run off every spare minute and see something culturally important. Whatever it is will be there tomorrow, and wonder of wonders, so will we.

Chapter Two

Ian Gilman / Germany Journal
DolciDeleria / Germany Journal
Copyright 1998-2013, Ian Gilman & Christina Willott