I arrived safely in Reutlingen yesterday with half as many bags as I had when I left Chicago, but otherwise in good spirits. I was greeted warmly at the airport in Stuttgart by three of my friends from the Baptisten Gemeinde Reutlingen who had waited patiently while I arranged to have my lost bag delivered to Reutlingen. I would consider the first test of my German conversational skills passed when I received a complement on my German from the Lufthansa representative who was filling out the lost-luggage paperwork.
I spent the rest of Monday afternoon walking around downtown Reutlingen trying to figure out what had changed over the past year. It's pretty much exactly how I remembered it, except the Neue Stadthalle which was only a hole in the ground last I saw is now a full-fledged building. I don't think it's close to being finished yet, but it has windows at least. Also the scaffolding that was covering the tower of the Marienkirche has been removed and the tower looks gorgeous! I forgot to take pictures of that, but I'm sure I'll get around to it before long. The Penny-Markt (bargain grocery store) just around the corner from my dorm that got torn down half-way through my last year here has been rebuilt! It's very spiffy and it now has a little bakery/cafe attached. In addition to that there's now a Dönör Kebab right next door! My dream come true!
I stopped by my old dorm building last night and caught up with a few of my former floormates. A lot of them have moved out already, but I still knew a few of them.
Today was spent mostly shopping. I bought my first pair of European-made shoes. They're very nice. And I'll need them for my first day at the office tomorrow because my jeans were in the lost backpack and I don't feel comfortable wearing tennis-shoes with khakis -- the only kind of pants I have right now.
So, all-in-all it feels good to be back. I can't wait to get started at the international office and get to know the new international students. The group of Valpo students who will be here for the Fall semester should be arriving next Thursday, so I'll probably help them find their way around for the first few days that they're here.
Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you want to hear more about something I mentioned or perhaps forgot to mention -- I'll be happy to oblige.