…which means home is still a great many places. But I just spent a short time in Stuttgart, a place I called home without question for at least four years. Going back is different every time, but it’s always a comfort and I can always count on Stuttgart to settle me.

So, what is five days in Stuttgart just the right amount of time for?

– A first full day spent doing essential errands, like visiting the local Ritter Sport chocolate factory and loading up on holiday treats and loading up on bottles of olive oil and a couple of bottles of wine from the Italian market (they’ll travel back to the States in my suitcase before being mailed to Elon to be enjoyed by my roommates and me in the spring!)

– Naps and walks and playtime in the snow with my PUPPIES! Kobe and Saavik are doing well, for all those interested. Saavik is really slowing down though, and it’s really hard saying goodbye to her and not knowing when I’m going to see her next. This time, I really don’t know, because a trip back to Stuttgart is nowhere in my near future. I love ‘em, and I miss them already. We had a wonderful visit.

– Going to see the play “A Christmas Carol” with family friends, dinner at a favorite local restaurant, and an early Christmas gift-exchange by the fire. Gemütlich.

– A snowy afternoon downtown with my parents at the Weinachtsmarkt. Walking around with a glass of glühwein and a crepe mit zimt und zucker, we pick out presents for family friends and enjoy the music being played on the streets by school children on their trumpets and flutes. There is color everywhere, and I smile to myself as I remember how much I love Christmas markets in Germany. I have no idea when the next time I’ll experience another one, but right now, I’m perfectly chilly and content :)

– A couple of nights at Biddy’s and clubbing. Kiersten and I sit in the familiar cozy basement pub and reminisce over some of the nights we’ve had here over the years. We’ve been coming to Biddy’s for five or six years, and suddenly, we feel old. But our whole group of friends love it here, and we can always, always count on reunions at this local pub when we’re home. Especially on (Pub) Quiz Night. God, I love Quiz Night.

Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need.

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