Work: I used to get up at 6am for my first job here, which was better than 5:30am in Massachusetts, but still not great. I’m fortunate to not have to get up quite that early for my current job. Here is a photo of the sunrise at my office parking lot in 2015. My office day typically wraps up at 4:30pm, unless I have a meeting with the US team on the east coast (morning there, evening here). They don’t mind when my cats hog the camera during our video conference meetings, which I participate in from home.
After work: I try to go to the gym at least once per week, preferably twice (not because I like to, but because I like chocolate!). The military gyms are fine, but I miss the women’s fitness centers in the US, especially the air conditioning. I benefit in many ways from attending a yoga class once per week all year. My teacher lives in the village next to ours, and during the summer, we have class in her back yard. I lead a Bible study once per week, where we have learned so much together. I sing in a choir, and look forward to rehearsal one evening per week.
Saturdays: around here, you gotta get things done on Saturday because everything is closed on Sundays. I like the German grocery stores, and usually go to one on Saturdays. The fresh bread is great, and they carry lactose-free yogurt and ice cream. I also found frozen pretzels, which were popular at a party we went to after I baked them. The florist, pharmacy, and shops all close relatively early on Saturday afternoons, so if you want flowers or clothes, get your act together sooner than later. Restaurants are open Saturday evenings, although there are no vegetarian places around here. We have a favorite pool (therme) just under an hour away, and a regular outdoor neighborhood pool in the next village. We sometimes go to the movies, either on base or off base, where they are shown in the original language (English for us). On base, the national anthem is played before the previews, and everyone stands and removes their hats.
Sundays: we have several choices of church services in English, both on base and off base. Times range from 9:30am to starting at 11am. Sometimes I go to the grocery store on base after church, which is open on Sundays. I don’t need a lot of American food items, but it is nice to get regular peanut butter, blue corn nacho chips, and familiar cat food (although they do eat German cat food, too). The neighborhood is quiet, as all shops are closed, except restaurants. I do laundry on Sundays, because our German washer takes over an hour for a load. The cats go out in the yard on their leashes, and we go for walks in the woods a few blocks behind our house. At my previous job, we had a staff meeting every Monday morning, and the boss always asked what we did over the weekend. I felt relieved to find out I was not alone in doing several hours of cooking and food prep on Sundays. In addition to fixing Sunday dinner, I often start Monday’s dinner as well, along with salads for lunch, homemade granola, etc.