This morning when I walked the dog

 

P1060551 We found her during a difficult time in our lives in November 2005. My sons were having difficulties adjusting to living far away from Hamburg, they were unhappy and bored,  my partner was struggling with health problemsthat made it impossible for him to continue with his business and I felt guilty about dragging my sons away from Hamburg and for not being able to spend enough time with all of them as my job and commuting took most of the day.

Laika brought sunshine into our lives. She was a very lively puppy and the boys loved playing football with her. We started taking long walks in the countryside which brought us all closer together again. We loved watching her run after a ball and digging up mice and while striding along we talked about things on our minds.

She is now 12 years old. The boys have left home and my partner is not able to accompany me on long walks any more. It is just her and me going on walks  and she likes to take it a bit slow these days. 

I think we are both happy with our move to Lüneburg. For her there  are a lot of new streets and places that smell interesting and there are plenty of dogs to meet and greet. I find inspirtation walking the old streets and exploring the new parts of the town and I see many things I like.  

This morning when I walked the dog I came across this nice apricot colored house and P1060579_thumb.jpgI looked twice when I saw its entrance. P1060574They remind me of the figureheads of old sailing vessels, and made me smile. It’s amazing what effect a little bit of paint can have on a simple old doorbell, isn’t it?

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The two ladies in the window next door observe the surprised faces with amusement.

A different view

Had anyone told me two years ago that I would move back to Lüneburg my answer would have been “never ever!!!”

But look at me now: I have not only moved back to Lüneburg but am living in the house my grandparents build 80 years ago. There are new neighbors, but next door is the grandson of the old lady I remember from my childhood days.

Lüneburg has grown. When I moved away as a 19 year old girl it was a sleepy small town, now, 38 years later, the derelict old houses have been beautifully restored and it’s population has almost doubled.  There is a famous telenovela produced in Lüneburg and fans from all over Germany visit the places they know from TV.

There are many young people from all over the word, since Lüneburg has turned into a unversity town and many professionals from Hamburg have moved into this rather romantic town, as it offers good schools and a quieter environment for the family. As a result there are a lot of very nice shops, cafés and restaurants.

I admit: I like living in Lüneburg and have difficulties understanding why I had such negative feelings about it as a young girl. Maybe it simply takes a while to understand that it is not the place you live in that determins your happiness but whether you live in peace with yourself and are able and willing to take responsibility for what you make out of your talents and possibilities.

At the moment we are busy restoring the old house, but whenever possible I am taking walks through both the old and new parts of the town and we plan a lot of trips to explore Northern Saxony.

Here is a photo of the view from Lüneburg’s watertower:

 

Wheels – Times Past

Wheels – Times Past

Generation baby boomers and growing up in Lüneburg, North Germany

First memory: jumping into my parent’s bed on a Sunday morning, excitedly asking over and over again: “is it true? We got a car?”  I must have been about five or six years old, when my parents got their first car: a white Opel Kadett. It was the first Opel and my parents never drove any other kind of car afterwards.

Second memory: being about 10 years old. My father had lost his driving license. Since my grandmother was handicapped and unable to walk longer distances, it was decided that my mother should learn to drive. At that time we had a huge Opel Kapitän and my mother, barely 1, 55 m high had to use two pillows in order to look over the steering wheel. But she was great in maneuvering this ship. Every day she drove my father to work, picked him up at 1 o’clock for his lunch break and delivered him back in his office by 3 o’clock. At the weekends she delivered him at his football club and picked him up after the game.

Third memory: being fourteen and having a crush on an 18 year old boy who already had a license. He took me along when he bought his first car, a Toyota Celica. He drove like a maniac and I was scared sitting in the car with him, but, as I had a crush on him and wanted him to like me I didn’t say a word. Luckily for me the relationship lasted only four weeks. Then he dumped me for an older girl and I was heartbroken for weeks.

Fourth memory: being seventeen and going out with Jens, who was twentyone and at college (Polizeifachschule) to become a policeman in the criminal investigation department (Kriminalpolizei). He had two friends: Nobby and Harald, both into cars. Being a good girlfriend I listened to Jens and his friends many times. They did nothing but talk about cars and I was bored out of my mind. But again, I was brought up to consider the man’s need more important than my own, so I sat next to Jens and pretended to be impressed by their talk.

Nobby was into BMWs. He was a bit special, as he grew up without a father and his mother somehow managed to buy him a brand new BMW 5 when he was nineteen. Jens and Harald spent hours speculating how they could afford such an expensive car. Harald was into Ford Escort, he bought really old, shabby cars and restored them. Jens was into motorbikes and Peugeot, since his parents were into Peugeot and he always got their old car when they bought a new one.

I was nineteen when I had the first car of my own. A white VW beetle. By then I was a kind of au pair in the Washington DC area, and I treated that car really badly. Quite honestly, up until today I feel that a car is simply an object to take me from one place to the next, but guess, what my partner is into? Have you guessed? Right, he is into cars, old-timers, especially American cars. However, I am not a good girlfriend anymore and he is old enough as not to expect the women in his life sharing this interest.