I hear that back in NJ it’s been a sweltering summer. Here it’s not as hot and we don’t even have an air conditioner. We had some really hot days about two weeks ago but it’s actually perfect weather here with beautiful, blazing blue skies.

This week I am keeping busy by studying lots of Japanese. I went through my things and realized that I have over 70 pages of notes scribbled on paper and over five notebooks full of things I’ve learned in private Japanese classes. So I’m hitting the books and studying my Japanese every day. As I rewatch my favorite J-Dramas, I sit at the kitchen table and review all my old notes for several hours a day. I must say that it’s a real joy and I hope that by the time we get back to Japan I won’t forget all my Japanese! Matthias keeps busy working full-time for his dad and while he’s at work I study, read, and do household stuff like laundry, cleaning, and cooking. I am very content and I love being in Germany! I am also loving married life – it’s such a joy to be married to my best friend. I really do love the peace and quiet we have here after such a crazy year of life. I took a bike ride around town yesterday and was reminded again how beautiful this area is – it’s not quite the countryside but there are lots of fields and the houses here are simply darling. The people are so kind to me and I am happy that many people here speak English, although only the younger folks and some older people.

So where are we? Everyone always asks where we are living. These are not the greatest maps but we are in Southwest Germany near France south of Karlsruhe. We are not far from France and about an hour from Switzerland. I never imagined I would wind up living in Germany. It’s probably the furthest thing I could have imagined for myself.

I googled this and found some fun facts about Germany:

-Germany is on the list of one of the most densely populated countries in the world with a population of over 82 million people. It is also the second most populated country in Europe. Even though it’s heavily populated, around one-third of the total area is covered with forests and woodlands.

-Germany has over 150 castles. Some of the castles play host to royal families, and some have been turned into hotels and restaurants, while the rest are slowly dissolving into oblivion. These castles are one of the main tourist attractions of Germany.

-There are around 300 varieties of bread in Germany. So if you sink your teeth in one variety a day, you’ll need just about a year.

-Germans rank second in the world, after Ireland, in beer consumption per person. Beer is officially considered a food in Bayern, a city in Germany, where the size of a normal glass of beer is a liter. There are around 1,500 different brands of beer in Germany.

-Corporates in Germany are very eager to know about their potential employees and colleagues, they expect to see a photo on your resume and want to know if you’re married or not. This may be considered unprofessional in other countries.

-Schools in Germany are not full-time, as they get over at 1 pm or thereabouts.

-Dogs can go just about anywhere in Germany, like first class restaurants, buses, trains, shops, and bookstores, with the obvious exception of a butcher shop.

-More than 80% of the garbage, mostly glass and paper, is recycled in Germany. This makes it a very eco-friendly country.

-There are more soccer fan clubs in Germany than in any other country. Soccer is the most loved and followed sport, with ‘The German Football Association’ being the biggest association of its kind in the world.

As I learn more about Germany, I’ll be sure to share it on my blog. Come visit us! We’d love to have visitors.