Spring Travel, Part 1: Schwedelbach, Germany

It's our first week back from our European jaunt through Germany & France. I confess that I was terrified about the plane rides with Bird. It really wasn't so bad. It helped (quite a bit) to have my iphone along - full of photos & family videos and toddler game apps. Oh, and the jumbo sized charger as well. We scored an empty seat for Bird on BOTH flights. We were so grateful.

My parents live in Schwedelbach, Germany. It's sort of a country side village. My mom is a teacher and works on the local American military base. My dad is retired and able to pursue all the creative outlets he wants to (and there are a lot). The entire bottom floor of the house (and its a big house) is his studio and is full of paintings, clock projects, model ships and cars, various furniture projects, gardening tools and experiments, etc. - he is a tinkerer. It's been so long since I've been to their house...they usually come see us since they lived in Japan for the last 7 years (we visited just once). It was SO wonderful to see them in their own element again, surrounded by their well traveled and collective style. Every where you look there are treasures. And books - so many books.

I wish I had photographed their house more. The twelve foot long Japanese fish wind socks hanging in the stairwell. Their large eyes peering at you from the second floor, reminding me of something from a Hayao Miyazaki film. The Turkish rugs in rich reds and blues. The copper kettles, pots, pans in casually assembled collections throughout the house. What I admire is that as artfully as things are arranged, they really aren't just collections and vignettes, they're useful everyday items. My eyes had never been fresh enough before to see the artistry of my parents' home, and it was really inspiring. And it was another one of those moments where you look at your parents differently. Oh, growing up.

Bird had a great time exploring the house and getting to push her "yaya" (stroller) around their neighborhood. Just down the hill is the area's glass recycling receptacle where you drop off your glass by color. Brown, green, clear - all organized, so German. It's actually pretty fun I thought - sliding the bottles through the holes and hearing them smash at the bottom :o) Bird cringed at first then got really into it.

I got to see one of my favorite teachers from way back in junior high, as well as my former school nurse. They're at the same base my mom is now and they all love to hang out together - visiting new restaurants, taking tours, exploring. It's a really small world.

At one restaurant we walked to Bird made a new friend, Josephine, who captured Bird's interest (and taste buds) by reaching from her high chair over to Bird's with french fries (pommes frittes). One after another. It was giggly and cute. And I was just glad that Bird was eating something. Then they raced around the courtyard together and made us all laugh.

One of the most picturesque parts of this area of Europe in spring are the flowering fields of rapeseed. They're just everywhere! And the yellow! It's a true lemon yellow - acidic, bright, attention getting, soul lifting yellow. Driving from the airport in Frankfurt, down to Schwedelbach, and all over into France we were surrounded by the fields of yellow. Jared said they provided the sunshine since the real sun was too stubborn to come out for most of our time there.

More photos of Schwedelbach and beginning of our trip at my flickr.

Now it's back to work for me! Working on a new design for fabric - it's fun stuff, share soon!

Have a lovely Monday and come back soon for part 2 of our trip - forging into France & exploring the forests of Germany.