If I were to choose one feature of Reutlingen that never ceases to amaze me, it would be the nature (specifically, the hills) surrounding the village. Coming from a relatively small city in Florida, I’ve always preferred quiet, quaint locations to large, busy, and bustling ones. Reutlingen’s location in the beautiful German region of Swabia stands in stark contrast to the German north, where the land is generally flat. Here, tall forest-covered hills dominate the landscape. As we near winter, and the days grow shorter, I am observing changes in weather that I never experienced in Florida. Waking up to see the forested slopes of the surrounding hills wrapped in almost-opaque fog, inhaling the crisp fall morning air on my way to pick up freshly baked bread, and witnessing the ground slowly disappear under a layer of ever-falling orangish-red leaves are but three of the many natural wonders that I continue to observe here in Reutlingen.
Although the semester is in full swing, I still have free time. My classes, which include Human Resource Management and Russian, are mainly concentrated on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, leaving me ample time to explore and spend time among my social circles.
Prior to and during my time here, I have heard many good things about Swabian cuisine. Despite the fact that my dietary restrictions extend to many of the traditional dishes, I was still able to try a regional classic called spätzle. The foundation of this particular meal is pasta made with fresh eggs, but it comes in many varieties. It is often served with some sort of meat, but it is also widely available in a vegetarian form. I also highly recommend trying the bread here. Most cafes, bakeries, and even supermarkets bake fresh rolls every morning, so be sure to pick some up for breakfast if you have the chance. They’re inexpensive and delicious, particularly if paired with locally-sourced cheese.
In more senses than one, a correlation could be drawn between the American and German south. As is the case in America, the southern regions of Germany are known for hospitality and warmth. They also, however, are known for speaking with a unique accent. Swabian, the dialect spoken here, varies from High German primarily in pronunciation, and forces me to listen thrice as attentively in order to make out what is being said.
The days are flying by, and I am becoming more and more cognizant of the limited amount of time I have left in here. Though my homesickness sees this as cause for celebration, the nature at which I wonder, relationships I’ve built, and memories I continue to make render the notion bittersweet.