It’s my last week in Lörrach; I finished work at the school at the end of the school year in July and holidayed with my parents in Corsica for the first two weeks of August. These few remaining days have been spent packing up and saying goodbyes, reminding friends that they can always call on me in the UK and cycling through the forests and villages one last time.
I am probably getting worse at goodbyes. I never had particular problems when I was younger, but I suppose that was chiefly naivety at the world. I still had illusions about how easy it is to return to places and friendships. I dearly want to return to Lörrach and the beautiful countryside around here; I’ve made a home and built up a network of friends young and old. But I am aware that the carefree years are beginning to wane and I suppose I ought to be more sensible, realistic and dull. Think about a career, find a steady job, consider family and morph into one of those strange creatures called ‘adults’. Hmph. 😒
On the bright side, I will be leaving life in Lörrach with a host of new skills and relationships, a far better grasp of German, French and Arabic, and invitations aplenty to return and visit.
I know that I could fairly easily find jobs teaching English, working with kids, working in activity centres or mountain huts, or doing more admin-style work in Germany or Switzerland. I’m blessed with a love of things academic and practical, and the happy ability of generally making friends and enjoying life whatever happens. So, whatever God’s plan for my life is, I know I could come back.
As a sort of quick summary, here are a few statistics from my time here;
– 3,739 km cycled (total height : 36,213m)
– 7 pieces of Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte eaten
– 116 laugenstange eaten (rough guess based on average in last months)
– 9 weekend trips outside Markgräflerland (eg. Freiburg, Paris, Bobengrün in Hof, Tübingen, Düsseldorf)
– 6 fruit crumbles baked
– 36+ postage stamps bought
– 141 tutoring sessions given
– 4 cycle rides in three countries
Here is also a pretty map of nearly everywhere I’ve cycled this year (courtesy of Strava and a nifty website). Given that I’ve only been out cycling at the weekend about four times, and the rest of the routes are detours home after my 8 hours, it’s fairly impressive!
My brother arrived on Tuesday and has been theoretically helping me pack. In reality, his main help will be with my suitcase and bags when travelling back go to the UK. On Wednesday we went for a last visit to Lukas in Zürich, cycled around part of the lake, climbed the Freitag tower and made calzone and pizza. I also said goodbye to my bike which I am leaving with him, and picking up in September for my cycle with Zara – but that’ll be written about on our shared travel blog here – JoZa Travels.
We returned back to Rötteln close to midnight, and were somewhat surprised to see that Julian and his friends were still up enjoying drinks by an open fire; their plan was to set out at 5am to start the Westweg through the Black Forest. They woke and actually left a bit closer to 11am!! I had packed that morning, so after waving them off we cooked a sort of brunch with the left-over perishables in the fridge. Anyone hungry for Nutella toast with fried egg, followed up by a pork and veg stew?
Packing up had been moderately stressful, given Eurostar permit just 2 large items and 1 handbag, but by the time it got to Thursday evening I was basically panicking about the fate of one singularly large watermelon, staring menacingly at me from the fridge. Whilst I happily nibble the odd slice once a year, this melon was a quantity too much for me to cope with, and I had no idea what I should do. Leaving it wasn’t an option; it was the wrong side of ripeness and would probably have sprouted legs within a week, and my conscience would not have permitted such an awful crime.. I tried gifting it to friends, asked Facebook contacts if they wanted it, and even wrote a little note to pin to it and then leave it in the street for a passer-by. Fortunately a neighbour happened to call in and drop off the organ console keys, and we were able to dispose of it with some semblance of dignity.. I wonder why my host family hadn’t taken it with them?
Anyway, I’d better leave it here since I have a train to catch and a platform to find. Congratulations to those who have been faithfully reading each blog post; your statistics have not gone unnoticed! It’s been amusing writing a nearly-weekly summary of my life in Lörrach; I look forward to seeing how the rest of the future pans out!