A short, but memorable walk outside of Vilseck, Germany.
I was really looking forward to showing my companion what I felt was “my home.” It’s hard to answer folks who ask me where I’m from because I move so often. I spent a number of years in Germany and with my family still located there, it’s difficult to think of another place to call my own, despite not knowing the language well enough.
I prepped him about all the places we could visit while we were flying over: the bäckerei that I would sprint to from the after-school bus drop offs. I could picture the rows of decorated pastries and containers of gummies on display. The cakes always looked delicious, but I remembered being disappointed eating a cheesecake that lacked sugar, much like most of the desserts. The baker would always throw me a cheeky smile because my German pronunciations were worst than squeaky chalk. I loved seeing fresh boxed eggs in the corner of the room, feathers still glued to the shell. Or how about the metzgerei just up the street and around the corner, where me and my sister would scavenge for euros just for a handful of fresh peperoni sticks! There was always the same little, old lady that would scoot her way down the street and stop to stare blankly at us. There was the small stammtisch that we would gather at once a month to hang out with the locals over schnitzel and beer. Then there’s the long path up towards our forest that we always turned around at, spooked by the darkness and subtle cracks and snaps of branches.
But sadly, my family moved away from the neighborhood I grew up in, mainly because the military housing lease had ended. So upon our arrival I was just as unfamiliar of the area and even the new house layout as my boyfriend. The faces were the same that filled the rooms, but everything was mismatched and redecorated.
Willkommen! Benvenuti! Karibuni! Bienvenido! Welcome! My name's Leah, an Army brat by birth and a traveler by trade. I'm scooting across the world to illustrate my experiences through photographs and short stories. I hope you'll find a personal connection, inspiration, or a spark of desire to go and explore as well! Photograph by Nathan Chesky.
A restored 18th-century property. This colorful hostel is 5 km from both Neuschwanstein Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle. Reichenstraße 15, 87629 Füssen, Germany. http://hostelfuessen.com
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We ventured out from the house for some time alone and decided to walk through a forest trail my mother had suggested. It was beautiful watching the sunlight try to maneuver around tree trunks and small critters zipped into their homes as we wandered by. The light breezes made the wheat dance around us and the branches that hung above cheered them on.
I remember walking down a path that seemed to be someone's property. We tip-toed around like rebellious children, exploring how far the path can take us without being noticed. At a certain point we decided it would be irresponsible to press our luck so we scurried back to our side.
We didn't have much time in Germany, so the time spent with family was limited, but it was playful and memorable. I was glad my mother could share Spanish meals with us, recipes I still haven't learned. I was grateful to see my dad get some "man" time, doing the stereotypical fatherly house tour and flaunting off interior decorating projects. I was happy to see my sister connect with someone who actually took interest in her nerdy tangents. I love my family and I would have never thought I would be able to bring my other half to experience my European household.