Working from Germany, Hubele Style
July 6, 2017
There was never a question as to whether we could transition our work and our lives to Germany for the summer. But whether it would happen with grace and ease this year was the question!
After ten years of traveling back and forth from Austin to Germany, I find it amazing that we can now accomplish this in one flight, directly into Frankfurt. When all goes well, like it did this week, it is a seamless journey. A night flight out of Austin could not be more perfect for delivering us into Frankfurt and allowing us to be under way on the autobahn by 3pm local time.
The two hour drive to Oehringen takes us past the village of Dossenheim, where we last lived among the terraced vineyards before moving to Austin, as well as Heidelberg itself where Sebastian was born. So many memories and they all flood back in as we pass each exit sign. I doze on and off, still traveling in my head between Austin and Germany, my subconscious drifting into the past and back to the present.
Just a bit after 5pm, we arrive to what seems like the exact picture of what we left behind a short eleven months ago. The neat and tidy house of Joachim’s childhood, the roses in perfect bloom, the precise rows of the vegetable garden in full swing, Marianne’s welcoming arms and delicious smells drifting from the kitchen.
After hauling our luggage up the stairs and washing up, we sit down to a much awaited meal of fresh green salads direct from the garden and a delightful mixed vegetable soup seasoned with ginger and chilies. Nothing tastes better than that first meal after a long journey. A bit of unpacking and walk through the neighborhood was about all we could handle before collapsing for that first deep sleep of jet lag.
The morning sun fully rose in our bedroom window by 5am, signaling the new day and it wasn’t much longer until I gave into it. After our traditional swim, we all started out with organizing ourselves, creating individual work spaces, and sorting out any immediate needs. Still much ahead of the lists, however, we found ourselves quickly out of steam and up against technology challenges we had hoped to not encounter. A trip or two into town, some extra long internet cables, and by nightfall it finally seemed we accomplished all that was needed.
For the next month, all three of us have commitments to keep so establishing some organization was important. Joachim will be continuing the role he plays with the Austin start-up, Square Root, working between his team in India and his Texas colleagues. Having just finished my latest book, my workload was already feeling slightly like a holiday with only a month of remote client appointments and an online course I am completing. Sebastian has plans to be apprenticing with a local metal worker, which I will write more about later, and is also completing an online course for Austin Community College.
Day two arrived with a bit more ease. Following our morning swim and a breakfast on the terrace, we each settled into our workplaces with functioning internet, the garden got tended, groceries bought, and the midday meal prepared all in harmony. Shifting the start of our workdays from morning to the afternoon and our family time together from the evening to morning, may take a few days to flow but we will get there. Any efforts on our part are richly rewarded by quality time with our German family, a life slightly slower than what we lead in Austin, and an abundance of local and organic fruits and veggies that make family meal preparation all the more enjoyable.
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