Santas running - in Ireland, not Germany
I arrived in Germany on Sunday. I come here twice a year for three or four weeks. It always feels strange coming home to my old home, and then also going back home to Ireland. I would prefer to see my family more times during the year even if that meant shorter visits, but this makes more sense, and I am so grateful I can do it.
The reason I am able to spend such large chunks of time here is because my work in the college is not full-time. Which doesn't mean that I don't work while I am here - there are commissions and then my own work, and with so much time on my hands I am able to dedicate several hours a day to creating. And with my laptop I can work from anywhere in the world. So far I haven't done any work, though; it always takes me a few days to settle in.
I got a bad cold just before I left Ireland (just when it had struck me that I hadn't had a single cold all year), so the journey was a bit miserable, but I wore lots of layers (being stuck in an airport last year taught me to wear more clothes), and the lavender oil I always carry with me helped me to sleep a bit on the plane - I rub it on my temples, the back of my neck and my wrists and it becomes a protective cocoon of calm.
We had snow on Tuesday, but now it is just wet. Yesterday I wrapped up and went for a half-hour run, and it was actually perfect running weather - I didn't mind the rain at all. Until I realised that there's a huge hole in one of my trainers. No wonder, they must be at least five years old - I left them here when I was about to get new ones in Ireland. The years go by so fast and whenever I come back here it hits me that both people and things have got older.
So once Christmas is over I will buy a new pair of trainers and leave them at my mum's house. Since I spend so much time here I figured it is easier to just get certain items twice and leave one here, especially when it comes to running gear, cosmetics and art materials. It has taken me all this time to establish some sort of routine. In the past travelling was always haphazard and chaotic. I must admit, I have been doing this for nine years -I moved to Ireland in 2002-, but only recently have I started to find ways to make it all go more smoothly. I guess I never thought about it much, but now I like to have certain routines so I can focus on the important things.
I wish I could just travel with hand luggage and be free, and I am getting closer to that ideal: this time my suitcase was five kg lighter than in the summer, and this was with heavier winter clothes and including presents! I did bring books, the ones I am currently reading, even though there is no need really, as my mum's house is full of books, so there is no shortage of reading material and unexpected discoveries.
I have come home to huge soft square pillows (Matt reckons this is a German thing), Christmas cookies, Lebkuchen and Stollen, the darker, melancholy landscape with dense fairytale forests and creeks, and precious time with my family. Every visit I appreciate it more.