The Things We Notice

The Things We Notice

One of the many reasons I value international travel for myself and our family is that it constantly reminds us that there is no right way to live life. There are countless varieties, and we can all learn from each other.

On the first metro after our arrival in Hamburg, our tribe of six pretty much invaded a young black man on the train. He had a seat of four all to himself one second; then he didn’t because there we were, looking at him with puppy dog eyes.

Not only did he move over to allow me to sit on the aisle, when the train suddenly jerked forward as Mom was sitting down, he had his hand up, ready to catch or steady her, whatever was needed.

As I always am by quick moments of thoughtfulness between strangers, I was so moved.

Then, it is an understatement to say that we had a little confusion and upset finding our apartment here in The ‘Burg.

As we waffled on the sidewalk, a young white man stopped and said in lovely English, “Do you need some help finding somewhere?”

And when the waitress in the cafe where we had dinner described all the drinks and said they could make a salad or sandwich with whatever the kids wanted on them… so grateful.

Way back at the BMW museum, two of the staff members took several minutes of their time to help Buds and me in several ways:

1) Gave us very explicit instructions on where to find a drug store.

2) Explained to me the difference between a pharmacy, a drug store, and the “drug store type items” one might find at the grocery store.

3) Explain to us that we were very lucky we were asking these questions on a Thursday because on Thursdays things are open late, so we would have time to get to the drug store or pharmacy.

When I asked why things were open late on Thursdays, they were stumped by that. The woman finally laughed and said, “Because it’s not Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.”

And then we all laughed together.

People love to help, and some people love to laugh.

Kel shared a story I’ve been thinking about after she read my comment about Germans being kind without smiling:

I want to learn from that. Still smiling, but being authentic, too.

And four final non-human interaction observations:

1) I really do love walking to the store, grabbing the items needed for one or two meals, walking home.

Eat those meals, walk back to the store, repeat.

The quiet, relaxed tenor of life.

Only a small fridge required:

2) Buds wrote the insightful post about bikes, and today we saw this bike:

You can haul yourself, your child, and whatever you can fit in that basket on the front; probably a whole new dining set with seating for four from Ikea.

3) Germany has sun foam!

It’s sun screen that’s a foam! And it smells like delicious apricots.

Kept us sunburn free on our Hamburg hike around today.

And finally, every home needs a hammock!