Thursday, January 30, 2014

An Ode to our First Apartment

 Dear First Apartment of Our Marriage,

It's already time to leave you! The movers are on their way to pack up our belongings and furniture (not that there's much of it, since we moved in with hardly anything) and we set our sights on bigger kitchens, quieter washing machines, and screens on the windows.

But we will miss you! I remember the first time I visited, back when our relationship was barely three weeks old and I came down to see Nurnberg for the first time. You were so bright and airy, hardly the dank bachelor pad I'd been expecting. Sure, there was nothing on the bookshelves but old Army manuals, but I could tell you had potential. And I appreciated the obvious cleaning Fionn had done in preparation for my arrival. 

Nothin' says love like a man who cleans for ya.

Two years later, a pile of Army boots, sequinned flats and salt coated snow boots grace the front door, evidence of who lives inside.

I love sitting in here on a sunny morning with a cup of tea, catching up on the blog, listening to music, and soaking up whatever sun I can. I like it because it's still and quiet and sometimes I can hear the landlord downstairs with his grandkids, patiently answering their endless stream of questions. 

I'm going to miss our landlord and his wife! I doubt we'll ever find such sweet, welcoming landlords again. When we told them we were moving out, he got a bit misty and in halting English said he would miss us and wished us many children, a happy life, and much luck.

Tiny kitchen, I'll even miss you. You forced me to get creative, to make the most of a small space and lack of ingredients. I learned to make the dishes I missed from home along with all the take out we craved but didn't have. Here I learned to make bread, how to eyeball a cake when your finicky Celsius oven makes the recipe times wrong, and here I cooked many tasty treats for all the people I love (including that one time where I made 90 muffins for the soldiers' breakfast. Phew.)

This kitchen was barely big enough for two people, but we made a lot of memories there. Chatting while doing the dishes, telling Fionn for millionth time that the cheese grater goes to the left of the oven, and finally breaking down and admitting that maybe we could upgrade the bachelor pad's kitchen inventory to include more than 4 forks...just sayin.

I taped these verses on the kitchen cabinet so I would constantly be reminded to be thankful and to walk in love. When I'm angry or frustrated or hungry and it's still 20 minutes til dinner...I look up from the stove and I'm reminded. I like that.

Living room, you've come a long way. When I first moved in you were completely furnished by the landlord's son (the former tenant). Actually, the whole house was full of his Mobelhof furniture, but the living room was my least favorite. It had this weird Euro mod theme with African accents. Scary tribal masks, a 5 ft tall giraffe statue, and zebra and elephant prints? While I didn't manage to get every thing down (the giraffe statue had to stay since it was too big to hide) I have to say I like the adjustments we made.

And man do I love these giant windows!

I also appreciate the fact that I now know I will never want a zebra theme or any kind of weird low German style living room set. So weird.

I love my music corner in the living room and our "where we've been" map. The acoustics in the living room are perfect for harp, violin, mandolin, and voice, and I've loved having a little space that's mine to be creative.

Even though I'm not a fan of German style furniture, I really like this wall unit. Even though Fionn says it's messy, I love my little travel treasure chest. Every place we go I always try to bring back a small souvenir. Maybe it'll inspire our kids to travel and see the world like my parents and grandparents' travel cases inspired me.

Down the hall are the bedrooms, toilet, and laundry room. This hall was the only cool place in the whole house during the heat wave last summer. The perils of living on the top floor!

Our guest room has hosted so many wonderful people during our time here. Family, friends from near and far, and of course, my china collection. :) 

"The highest form of happiness is life with a certain amount of craziness"- Erasmus von Rotterdam

Since our house has no closets, we're going to skip the second bedroom, which is a hot mess of craft supplies, Army stuff, shoes, and a fridge that's too big to go anywhere else. Hey, when you haven't got closets you've gotta make do! That's one thing I will NOT miss about you, little apartment.

Ah, the bathroom and laundry room. While I don't think I'll ever have a tiled-to-the-ceiling grey monochrome bathroom ever again, it was much bigger than I expected, which was a nice surprise.

But laundry room? You can bite me. I can't even tell you how many times I've banged my head on that stupid sloped roof.

Last but not least, is our room. Maybe one day I can convince Fionn to go for a color scheme besides olive green and brown but we shall see. I love the view from our window. In winter I can watch kids sledding down the hill, in spring and summer I look out onto fields of wildflowers and gentle breezes through the window, and in fall the surrounding hills are aflame with red, orange, and yellow. I love it.

Two years went by so quickly. It seems like just yesterday I was here visiting the bachelor pad, then arriving from the States as a new bride with two suitcases, then unpacking the three moving boxes of household goods from my single girl apartment (we literally had nothing!).

I've grown a lot in this little apartment in Bavaria. I've grappled with Army life and struggled to make a life for myself far from home. I learned that marriage isn't like what the romance movies say. It's harder than you think, but it's also so much more rewarding. I learned that being an ocean away from your family and friends is incredibly hard but also forces you to rely on each other. I've made fantastic friends who've been there when I needed them. I learned how to decorate weird spaces on a budget and cook delicious things in a shoebox sized kitchen.

 I've fallen deeper in love with Fionn. I grew closer to God and realized there were a lot of things in my life I needed to change, to improve, to get over, and to let go of. I'm trying to become less selfish, more giving, more loving, more forgiving, and less worried. Those are still a work in progress. ;)

I've done a lot of living in this little apartment.

I am sad to close this chapter but I don't want to dwell on it. Like the nomads we are, we'll move. Fionn will get new orders and new assignments. I'll make new friends and buy new curtains and the same little coffee mugs that have followed me since college will make wherever we end up feel like home.

But I will miss you, little apartment. You have been fun. I hope our next place has as much charm as you!




  1. Aw, this is the sweetest tribute to an apartment I've ever read! I love the airy-ness of it, and your shoe-box-sized kitchen makes my apartment jealous! Wishing you all the best on this next part of your journey!

  2. Oh, and it's weird, our last apartment was furnished for us and also had tribal masks and african art... not my taste at all!

    1. Yeah, what is up with that? They might be cooler if they were actual masks from a trip to Africa, but when they're just IKEA knock offs I really dislike them!

      Thanks for your sweet words :) I'm really going to miss Germany!

  3. Oh Shannon, that was so sweet and so personal. Thank you for sharing it with us! I love those big windows in the living room! The whole place is so cute. I'm sure your next one will be just as lovely. How do I know? Because you two are happy, in love and know how to make your home a home. Good luck!

    1. Aww thank you :) I'm excited and nervous about what comes next, but I'm looking forward to being settled again!

  4. I have like the same map with pins!

  5. Such a great apartment! it's much bigger than I would expect in Germany which is awesome :)

    1. That's why I love it! It always surprises people who come over :)

  6. What a lovely light and airy place, I am sure you will miss it. Sounds like you were super lucky with your Landlord too! Good luck with everything! :)

  7. "Nothin' says love like a man who cleans for ya."

    LOL! Mine was more excited about the fact he'd bought me wet toilet paper when I first visited him in the Netherlands.

    Lovely apartment, looks very homey :-) I'm sure you'll make your next one just as nice.

    1. hahaha that is hilarious! Fionn was so excited when I first moved in about his decorating-which consisted of brown everything. I appreciated the thought, but I had to inject some color in there!

  8. It will be so nice to look back on this post from time to time and remember where it all began :)