Feeling Joy

August 18, 2009

I love the fruity colors of this arrangement, don’t you? It reminds me of the Summer turning into Autumn which will officially begin next month. This is the type of flower bouquet you can expect to find in the city where I live at the street vendors and farmers’ markets. This particular arrangement was already made so I cannot claim to be the designer of it – but do you want to guess the price of it? You’ll be shocked. Go ahead, guess how much I paid (without the lovely el cheapo IKEA planter of course)…

Feeling Joy

Feeling Joy

Feeling Joy

(this photo is not upside down by the way, just the book creating the illusion!)

Have you pulled some numbers yet? Any clue? Okay I’ll tell you… 2,90 – including tax! Yup. Under 3,- Euros! That is about $4 USD. Can you believe it? Flowers are SO CHEAP here, I can’t believe it really. Fruit and veggies, cheese, it’s also very inexpensive as is bread and most groceries. I’m really loving the lower cost of living, our rent here is a 1/3 of what we paid in the states and without a car payment, insurance and gas, we’re saving a wad of cash.

Of course, we’re not in Berlin or Hamburg – these cities are close by for day trips but if we lived there expenses would be much higher. But Hannover is very affordable for the most part. I find here that the basics, the needed things for living — shelter, food, medical care… are so much cheaper than what I’m used to. And then the things that aren’t needed — can be a little more expensive but even so, not very much more. We also cut our grocery bill in half living here so far. HALF. And we eat mostly BIO food and I use better skincare and hair products. I also eat much healthier living near all of these bio markts and farmers’ markets, plus I’m walking everywhere, recycling everything (glass, plastic, paper, you name it), and because I have to carry everything home I think first before I buy anything — I consider, “Can I carry this? Or is it too heavy?”.

You know, I was thinking yesterday that I’m so happy I made this move. I feel joy. This is life changing for me but more than experiencing something new, I am learning to appreciate the differences that exist between cultures and how some things aren’t needed that were once so much relied upon. In a way, I’m learning more about ME. Life has a different pace here. And as much as expats from the states complain about it, I absolutely love that shops are closed on Sunday because now I’m forced to explore museums, hobbies, and the nearby forest or gardens. I’m reaching inside more than ever because I don’t feel as distracted with “noise”. I am no longer watching all my favorite television series either so my new “stress” relief is either an hour night walk around the city or a few hours at the gym followed by a Finnish sauna. I’m realizing, through a change of environment, language, culture… that my old way of living was in need of a change. I wish I had known this sooner! I can’t say this or that culture or country is better or whatever because that’s just plain foolish — problems exist in every country — but we all have to find our spot and instead of seeking the promise land where others may determine to be hip or cool or even the place to be, we need to find the spot that suits us best. Whether that’s some farm in the Kentucky or a remote island off the coast of Africa — or Berlin or Hong Kong — there is NO one spot on the planet for all only a spot for each of us. I think I’ve found my spot. At least for now. And if I evolve and decide to find a new spot, I’ll allow myself for that growth as I have before.

I’m also learning through this move, that the spot that matters the most is inside of us and being comfortable in our own skin because if you are your own best friend and are in tune with your own needs, you tend to look out for your own needs more… and you tend to find your spot inside. Though I’m a big believer in inner and outer harmony and that both need to be in synch — you need to match your environment — for a rich, full life.

Man, I feel like you’re going to shout Amen! — ha ha! But it’s just how I’m feeling and I’ve missed you all so much and our daily interactions and such — so I wanted to pop in and share a bit. I hope you’ve enjoyed my musings and perhaps related on some level to what I’ve expressed here. :)

(image: Holly Becker for decor8)


  • Reply Laura August 18, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Holly! So glad to hear you’ve made the right choice. Though I just bought a home in the states, I’m still young and have plenty of time to move abroad in the future. This post just shows how much I’d really love to do so!

    Thanks again and I’m excited to read more. :)
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..hahahaaa @ the 1950s =-.

  • Reply kate August 18, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Hollly, I love this post. My husband and I are in our mid-20’s and trying to take all the right steps now so that we can make a similar move in 5-8 years. I feel so impatient right now, but reading this post from you makes me realize that it’s sooo possible and will be worth all of the waiting and sacrifice when we finally get there. Thanks so much for your inspiration!
    .-= kate´s last blog ..Tear Sheet Tuesday: Room Divider =-.

  • Reply Lovely_Sunflower August 18, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    May I be practical for a sec? Thanks!

    Well, in fact, Berlin is so much cheaper than Hannover… I don’t mean all those posh places but try going out in List and in Prenzelberg and then compare the expenses :)

    I’m loving what your notice about Hannover, the city most Germans consider ugly and non-interesting (yes, they do. I’ll skip commenting on that, though). Please write more, it makes me anticipate my great return :) with an even greater impatience.

    There’s one thing that is definitely cheaper in the States, though. Clothes. I always go with an empty suitcase and come back with an enormous loot… However, the German Ebay is a great source of anything one might ever need so I guess you won’t really miss anything!

    • Reply decor8 August 18, 2009 at 4:58 pm

      Lovely_Sunflower – I’m going on what my family here says and those who live in Berlin, etc… but hey, maybe you’re right!
      Interesting to read your opinion about Hannover, I don’t think it’s ugly or boring but then again I have tons of hobbies and a good network of family/friends here and that is a bigger part of my life than bars/clubs and being in the “hip” city. My husband and I could have moved anywhere in the world, we saved up for it and in the end Hannover won because of our family and how attached we both feel here in many ways. I hear other Germans complain about Hannover, but it’s the same in the states — these “city wars”. People saying NY is better than Boston, Philly is ugly, Detroit is the armpit of America, etc. etc. But yet you have people living in those places very happy and enjoying life. To each his own!!!

  • Reply frauheuberg August 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    hej holly,
    it is so interesting and touching what you write here …
    it is really only important in life to follow your heart and then to change the things because you were no longer comfortable in your skin … how do you say … do not dream your life, live your dream …
    we should trust on ourselves and our intuition …:-)…
    nice to see someone so happy … love

    the ladies of frauheuberg

    hej holly,
    es ist so interessant und berührend, was du hier schreibst…
    es ist wirklich im leben nur wichtig seinem herzen zu folgen und dann die dinge zu ändern, wenn man sich nicht mehr wohlfühlt in seiner haut…wie sagt man…träume nicht dein leben, sondern lebe deinen traum…
    man muss auf sich und seine intuition vertrauen…
    schön jemanden so glücklich zu erleben…alles liebe

    die ladies von frauheuberg
    .-= frauheuberg´s last blog ..more…vienna shopping… =-.

  • Reply Jeni August 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    This is a very inspiring post, it so good nice to hear that you are well and throughly enjoying your new home. I cannot believe the price on your beautiful flowers, lovely! :)
    .-= Jeni´s last blog ..Dansk Kobenstyle Pans! =-.

  • Reply shelly August 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Good for you Holly. You sound so happy!

    That’s exactly how I felt when I moved to Portland 11 years ago and I still feel that way today. Kepp up these great updates in your new life.
    .-= shelly´s last blog ..so sorry =-.

  • Reply Farmgirl Susan August 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Hi Holly,
    I don’t know what I enjoyed more – looking at that gorgeous arrangement (those colors really are so joyful!) or reading your musings. Thank you for both – and I’m so happy you’ve found your spot! :)
    .-= Farmgirl Susan´s last blog ..Monday Farm Photos: A Peek Inside My Potting Cabinet =-.

  • Reply sarah August 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    hi holly glad you are feeling the joy of european life, and that the move went smoothly x
    .-= sarah´s last blog ..new things =-.

  • Reply fabframes August 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Wow, wow, wow, it sounds like a lovely transition! Your new life has quite a few elements in common with mine in the US — so much depends on the specific choices you make and the circumstances you choose to place yourself in. Congratulations on making this happy change!
    .-= fabframes´s last blog ..New Charley Harper Print and More Dogs =-.

  • Reply Edward Beaman August 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    It’s great to hear your move went well and that you’re enjoying your new place in Germany. I know what you mean about things being cheaper in Germany than the US (or in my case it was the UK). Food especially was less costly from my experience.

    How are you dealing with all the chronic German red-tape? That was one of the few things that pissed me off when I lived there.
    .-= Edward Beaman´s last blog ..Seattle City Skyline Photographic Canvas Prints =-.

    • Reply decor8 August 18, 2009 at 4:49 pm

      Edward – I haven’t noticed it yet. Seems Germans are increasingly becoming more flexible than I’ve noticed in the past. It’s changed here so much since I first started coming here 10 years ago. I see more and more progress in this respect all the time. Plus it helps I’m married to a German and he lived in America and is very flexible in many ways and is teaching his friends and family, through his experiences aboard in the states, to lighten up a little when needed. So far, so good. People have been very friendly and treating me great. I am surprised to say the least. So many people complain about the Germans being so cold and inflexible but I’m not seeing that like I thought I would — I mean I’ve also been in New England which is known as the “coldest” region in the states so maybe I’m just comparing apples to apples here!! But I personally am doing well and like it. Plus my city is very diverse, we have a real international crowd and I’m super friendly to everyone without caring what they think because hey, this is me, deal with it I think… he he. And so far, some seem scared of me when I’m friendly but then they seem to almost snap out of it and smile back or talk to me and help me with my German or start speaking English to me. You know, I’m liking it… It’s working out… Better than I imagined in this area to be quite honest.

  • Reply Diana August 18, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    You’ve officially made me smile :-) Your enthusiasm is so infectious! I’ve been feeling so optimistic for the past few days – after making some conscious decisions to move forward towards my dreams and make “me” time. Sounds like you’re taking this opportunity to do exactly that for you!
    .-= Diana´s last blog ..Which Came First? =-.

  • Reply Stephanie Fizer August 18, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Wow, Holly, it’s fantastic that you’ve truly found your peaceful place in the world! I have an uncle whose been living in Berlin for about a decade now and he just loves it so much.

    And it’s funny how a change of scenery can produce some positive changes in our outlook and habits. Although we’re still in the US, we just bought our first house a couple of months ago and the shift into my own little space-along with all the painting and remodelling-has really helped me ditch some of my unhealthy habits. Now I’m watching less TV, spending more time outside, getting more exercise and just feeling a lot better about life in general.

    I hope your experience in your new home continues to be a wonderful one!

  • Reply Gina August 18, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    What a great post! I long for a life like that that is “simpler” somehow. I have recently “simplified” my life by making it more complicated. Haha. We bought a house after living in a one bedroom apartment and sleeping on a sleeper sofa for 3 years. Having all amenities under one roof and having a garden to grow my own vegetables and “grounds” to work on, though small, is my own simple life. You’re right, you don’t necessarily have to be someplace different. But oh how I’d love to take walks to the nearest market and take on a new culture! Someday perhaps. Kudos to you for making it happen and taking on the language challenge! Best wishes for you!

  • Reply Sophie @ Century Finds August 18, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Holly, I am so glad you found your spot. I think it is very important that we all listen to ourselves and work out where our comfort zone is. Even if we have to work really hard to get there, and even if (as in my case) it is somewhere we really did not expect.

    I knew reading your blogs that this would be a good move, and I am happy I was right!
    .-= Sophie @ Century Finds´s last blog ..In Store – Vintage Wooden Dining… =-.

  • Reply mandie August 18, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I’m glad you found your perfect little corner. :) I’m looking for mine right now, and you’ve inspired me not to give up!

  • Reply Yvonne August 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Hi Holly
    You sound like a little girl in a candy store! I’m happy that the move has been such a positive experience for you. Frankfurt is the only place in Germany I’ve been…Hannover sounds lovely…I’m looking forward to the inspiration you will draw from your new environment. Have a beautiful day!
    Cheers, Y.
    .-= Yvonne´s last blog ..M & Y =-.

  • Reply Jessica August 18, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I am grateful that you share these musings with us. Each time you do, it is like planting another seed of hope and courage in this particular reader. And I know someday my garden is going to burst with blooms when I finally find my spot.
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Tasmania =-.

  • Reply Katie @ Making This Home August 18, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Holly, I love when you pop in to give us blips of your days. You make me anxious as crazy to get back to Berlin. Yet at the same time, I’m trying to embrace the wonderful bits in the US that won’t be in Germany.
    It’s weird to take inspiration from your thoughts there and rewrite them in my mind for here. Would you like to see my summer achievement? I’ve been working so hard for this, and it’s brought so much beauty into my life. It’s the one thing I know I will never ever get to do in Germany:
    .-= Katie @ Making This Home´s last blog ..Finishing To-Do Lists =-.

  • Reply City Chic - Jamie August 18, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Oh, I’m so happy you shared this with us! I think we can learn so much from different cultures. Your comment about the shops being closed on Sunday – I think that’s wonderful! My husband works in retail and it drives me crazy that they are open so many hours and holidays. I make sure never to shop on a holiday because I think people should be with their families, not at work at those times, so I try not to support that. I can’t wait to here more about your life in Germany!
    .-= City Chic – Jamie´s last blog ..Sunday Afternoon with Amy Butler’s Software =-.

  • Reply Savi August 18, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Thanks for the “My favorites” series…I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now and come across various other bloggers (whom I now follow) through your blog and especially the series.

    Also, your post about finding a spot really spoke to me. My family and I are in search of our spot and your post reinforces my thoughts that we will find ours soon.

    Best wishes.

  • Reply miss stephanie alaine August 18, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    holly: you are GLOWING. i love it. i seriously would shout a big AMEN to you if i was sitting across the table from you at a cafe sipping on sparkling water!

    this is a big, deep, wide and tender string of words: “the spot that matters the most is inside of us”

    so proud of your for your courage! way to go!

  • Reply Sarah August 18, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Wow! It sounds like life just couldn’t get better. A change is really an exciting thing! I have just today given my notice to quit my job after 11 years, in order to move home to Vermont (I live in Scotland presently) and to change direction and gear a bit. Scary but so empowering. I so hope that I find the same joy wiith this move as you have done with yours.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..COLD REMEDY: Burton =-.

  • Reply Lea August 18, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    This is the reason I follow your blog. I think your decor taste is cute though different from what I like, but it’s your insights and honesty that I love reading. Excellent post and message. Congrats on your move :) I just moved myself to a better location.
    .-= Lea´s last blog ..hmmm possibly by my birthday =-.

  • Reply robin August 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    your happiness makes me happy. it’s contagious!
    .-= robin´s last blog ..Wiiiiiiiiiii! =-.

  • Reply Donna August 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Congratulations on your successful move! I’ve really enjoyed following your journey and wish you all the best. I think so many of us have been forced to reassess our values and I appreciate how you always manage to glean such positivity out of change.
    .-= Donna´s last blog ..Alfred Stieglitz =-.

  • Reply Tamara ModernGear TV August 18, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Aaah Holly, AMEN!

    I can’t wait to find that spot, but I am making my new home it for now, and think that I can settle and rest a while, very happily, here. Next up after Vancouver, BC might be Poland! I am so ready for a move to Europe.

    Can’t wait to hear more as your adventure continues. Til then, congratulations on finding your happy place. Your enthusiasm and freedom are POSITIVELY infectious!


    • Reply decor8 August 19, 2009 at 6:04 am

      Tamara — DO IT! I would love to see Poland. I love their handcrafts…

  • Reply Celeste August 18, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    First, I have to say this is my first time commenting, but I have been reading this blog for a long time…and alway look forward to drooling over the gorgeousness of it all everyday. :-)

    I guess this post really stirred me to comment because I found myself smiling at your brave new-found joy. My husband and I have been contemplating a slightly less dramatic leap…and this is most definitely an inspiring post…

    Thanks so much…(and lovely, lovely flowers!)
    .-= Celeste´s last blog ..Okay…a little late… =-.

  • Reply Amy August 18, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Oooh – can’t believe how cheap the flowers are there – cheaper and prettier than the flowers here…lucky you!!!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Ever feel like this? =-.

  • Reply Gabreial August 18, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    This was a fabulous post. “I’m reaching inside more than ever because I don’t feel as distracted with “noise”. I couldn’t agree more with this. I’m in Kentucky and we’re not on a farm, but I’m looking forward to it (even if we can just have a couple of acres to ourselves with neighbors not so close). We are planning a big life change, a move out of our comfort zone at least a little within our state and I’m apprehensive. We’re also selling our home which has a lot of memories, but it has only been five years since we’ve been here. I’m trying hard to let go. The excitement of change seems so enticing, but also scary.

    Thanks for your post, I want to DIVE into LIFE with my family, my children and enjoy every little bit that I can, everything else is just “noise” like you said, I can break free from noise. I love hearing that you are taking care of you and inspiring others while doing it. Way to go! I have to say jealousy is so wrong, but I want that fresh produce truck, those baguettes and ohhhh the delicious pastries!
    .-= Gabreial´s last blog ..I NEED more pillows! =-.

  • Reply Merissa August 18, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Everything sounds like a dream! So happy for you!
    I can’t believe that arrangement was $4! And you’re saving half off of groceries? Unreal! You deserve every part of it and I’m glad you found your new home and town so wonderful!
    .-= Merissa´s last blog ..:Part II, She Drinks Tea Late at Night: =-.

  • Reply Eileen August 18, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    You make me want to jump on a plane and move to Europe! I don’t think I would have a difficult time convincing my husband who lived in France for a year. I can even get a European passport. What’s stopping me? Only my parents and the love for my house. Really, I close the door and I’m happy right here with my stuff around me and seeing the work that we’ve done to create our home. If I could pick it up and move, I would. I nearly moved to England six years ago but then I had just met a certain fella…
    .-= Eileen´s last blog ..Day 20-21 ? – August 11 and 17, 2009 =-.

  • Reply Megan August 18, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    OMG, I loooove this post! Thank you.

    In college I studied for a semester in Sydney. I felt at “home” and so happy there. There are a million things I miss about that city. While i love my life right now, I yearn to feel that at home somewhere.

    Your post really hit home. I’m so happy that you feel so great with your move. Continue to enjoy it! I will look forward to reading more.
    .-= Megan´s last blog ..Flight attendant vs. The Lav! =-.

  • Reply sarah August 18, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Hi Holly! you lucky thing you! it all sounds lovely and reminds me of when I lived in England and I walked everywhere – although everything was really expensive! but, in a way, now that I’m older, I think I would appreciate the differences even more than I did. One thing I have learned living in different places, is it’s not ‘where you live, but who you’re with’ that truly makes all the difference. You are in Hannover because of your husband and without him, it wouldn’t matter as much, if at all. I hope that sounds ok – family are there and that is important to you both – it would be more difficult if,say you went to Hong Kong or some other far flung place. Enjoy it, take it in and savor every moment!!! Looking forward to your posts!
    .-= sarah´s last blog ..Lake view =-.

    • Reply decor8 August 19, 2009 at 6:02 am

      Sarah exactly!!!

  • Reply Petergaye S. Kisielewicz/Yahgie August 18, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    $4 dollar can’t believe it. Those flowers are so beautiful. So happy you are loving Germany. I am thinking about moving to London. You inspired me. :=)

  • Reply Tamar August 18, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Dearest Holly, how wonderful that you feel so happy! when we moved here to Burlington VT 4 years ago we also felt much of what you are feeling now and we still feel the same and love it here, everyday we look around and we still can’t believe we are actually living in this beautiful place! what can I say, it is sooooo important to follow your heart and live were you love! Hanover sounds like a perfect place and I wish you two much love and joy in your new home:)
    .-= Tamar´s last blog ..Headboard Sneak Peek =-.

  • Reply Petergaye S. Kisielewicz/Yahgie August 18, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Always enjoy reading your blog
    .-= Petergaye S. Kisielewicz/Yahgie´s last blog ..Shopping for your home on a budget =-.

  • Reply Patrizia August 18, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    YAY! :)

    (I can`t believe how cheap those flowers are)
    …would like to move also…
    .-= Patrizia´s last blog ..Kristybee Photorgaphy =-.

  • Reply leslie August 18, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Beautifully written my friend!
    I could have kept reading and reading…you are one rare bird.
    .-= leslie´s last blog ..Summer on the Patio =-.

  • Reply Katie August 18, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Amen! You’ve given me lots to ponder – thank you. So glad you’re enjoying your new home.

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente August 18, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Oh…my. How incredibly lovely. You always make the most beautiful arrangements hun. *sigh* Thank you for sharing this with us!
    .-= Melissa de la Fuente´s last blog ..Cheap & Chic: inspired by a bag =-.

  • Reply sperlygirl August 19, 2009 at 1:45 am

    holly, i understand exactly what you mean and how you feel about your move. we made our move 4 yrs ago – and i still feel that way about living here. of course there are moments…but the blissful ones far out-weigh the tedious ones. enjoy! :) ~s
    .-= sperlygirl´s last blog ..blessings hung and strung with love… =-.

  • Reply Edward Beaman August 19, 2009 at 2:43 am

    Yes, it will help a lot that you’re married to a German.

    A good German-French friend who was also a neighbour of mine in Berlin always used to say he thought the Northern Germans were very similar to the English. Cold and frosty (I should add he wasn’t even close to being an Anglophile thanks to his French blood). That is until you dug deeper and got them to relax. I can’t say I agree with him especially regarding the English part of the description. However, I did notice it took time to form bonds with the Prussians in particular but once you did, they’d be very generous and easy going. Sadly I couldn’t say the same for my landlady.
    .-= Edward Beaman´s last blog ..Seattle City Skyline Photographic Canvas Prints =-.

  • Reply jebcat August 19, 2009 at 2:53 am

    Hi Holly,
    it is so good to read about your impression of living in Germany – you mention a lot that we Germans take for granted and should appreciate more!
    I agree with you that there is no trouble-free dream land, or city, or any place. I sometimes wish I could live in the US, where many of my friends are, but actually living there, with the daily rut and everything, wouldn’t be much different in the end. As my former boss said, it doesn’t matter where (in which country) your office desk is standing, it is important to build a life around it.
    Thanks again for sharing your thought with us!
    jebcat (from Munich, where the rent is high ;-)

  • Reply Bettina August 19, 2009 at 2:54 am

    Holly, thank you for writing so inspiring about the city I live in. It’s like getting a guided tour in your hometown. Come to think of that, I think I really should do one of the themed city tours, like the nightwatch tour or the revue tour (most information is sung) or the canoe tour again…

    I’m sure you as a new-in-towner notice more little things than me in my set every-day-the-same-way-home routine, so please, keep on writing! And would you reveal the location of the flower stand?
    .-= Bettina´s last blog ..liebe.drama.wahnsinn. =-.

    • Reply decor8 August 19, 2009 at 5:56 am

      Bettina – Yes it is in front of Blume2000 on the Lister Meile. :) I think it’s a different shop from them though.

  • Reply pehava August 19, 2009 at 3:46 am

    Like your post! I lived in Germany for 5 years (near to Hannover) and it is still my favorite country! (and in fact it is the cheapest country in Western Europe). It is very nice to see your “personal development” through the changes in your life. Sooo peaceful :) Good luck :)
    .-= pehava´s last blog ..turned hearts =-.

  • Reply Paula August 19, 2009 at 3:55 am

    What a lovely post!

    Your sincere and warm writing was a good reminder for me about the plus sides living here in Germany. I read somewhere, that when two people from different cultures/countries start a life together, they actually create their own uniqe THIRD culture as a couple/family. True, don’t you think?


    ps. I love the variety in german “Naturkosmetik” products:-)

    • Reply decor8 August 19, 2009 at 5:54 am

      Paula what an amazing thought. I’m printing out your comment and saving it. I love that perspective. :)

  • Reply Passementerie August 19, 2009 at 4:14 am

    Sounds wonderful. Oddly, for all my travels I have never been to Germany. My husband and I keep threatening to move there for a year to study German, but it never seems to happen – not least because I have always perceived it as being quite expensive to live in, but apparently not!
    .-= Passementerie´s last blog ..Camellias and hot chocolate =-.

  • Reply Nora August 19, 2009 at 4:20 am

    Such a great post!

    I’m living in Hamburg and always love to read about how people from all around the world see Germany…
    Helps to realize all the little things around! Like the Schultüte or the rooster-truck you mentioned on hausmaus (we call them Eiermann in Hamburg) , I never realized before this is something you only find in Germany.

    If you’re going to visit Hamburg consider this new service: http://www.stadtradhamburg.de/kundenbuchung/process.php?proc=index&f=510&key=a169219c6f07173610d70cc29307657b…00003
    You can register and rent bikes all around the city. It not expensive and you don’t have to give them back at the same spot you rented them.

    O and never mind if people in Hamburg keep telling you it’s the best city in the world, this is not meant against other cites, it’s just like you’re own children are always the most beautiful, aren’t they? :-)

    Go on enjoying and sharing, it’s really an inspiration!
    .-= Nora´s last blog .. =-.

  • Reply shalini August 19, 2009 at 6:04 am

    Wonderful post. As an expat myself, I can fully understand how one sometimes has to go out of one’s perceived comfort zone to find something that brings us so much more happiness and peace. A lot of people resent the changes and that can be quite a catastrophe, but I can see how your have submerged yourself in the local scene so quickly and easily.
    .-= shalini´s last blog ..list: ah august! =-.

  • Reply Lovely_Sunflower(Alina) August 19, 2009 at 6:12 am

    Hey, Holly, I think you misunderstood me a bit. Hannover is the best city in the world – this is the opiniion I have to fight for – because, as I said before, MANY Germans think it’s ugly etc.

    However, it’s become my home city and altough I spent some time in Hamburg last year, my next step after I can finally leave Hildesheim is definitely going to be moving back to Hannover.

    Well, I could talk for hours about all the advantages of the place and this is why I enjoy your notes so much

    • Reply decor8 August 19, 2009 at 6:30 am

      Alina – Oh thank you for clarifying, I was confused because you had wrote me that some time ago about how much you loved it here so I didn’t know what to think of your comment yesterday. :)

  • Reply Laura Gaskill August 19, 2009 at 8:49 am

    This post makes me so happy, Holly! I love that you feel you’ve found your “place” in the world – and you are inspiring me to get out there and do something good for myself, as well! I love the idea of keeping Sundays commerce-free (I believe I remember you mentioning this about Germany in the past), and I will try that out this weekend. Amen, sister.
    .-= Laura Gaskill´s last blog ..Daily Mood: Soothe Your Senses =-.

  • Reply Kathleen Sigg August 19, 2009 at 9:03 am

    This is what life is all about. Finding the joy in living. I was transported by your post and wishing I had been able to have such an adventure in my life. But, I can still dream and I dream of a more simple, peaceful life and you’ve inspired me!
    Take care,
    .-= Kathleen Sigg´s last blog ..Family or Friend… =-.

  • Reply Winter August 19, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Amen, Halle-leuja, may the blessing keep coming to you!

  • Reply cheryl R (clee') August 19, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Wow – lots of comments – you really hit a chord with your post on being happy inside yourself…while at the same time your new environment has made you very happy (and me happy reading about it). I wholeheartedly believe in travel, even moving to another country for a time to experience all things new and with fresh eyes. But, in the end, there’s no place like home, as Dorothy found out (wherever that may be for you), and all that you need to be happy is already inside you.
    .-= cheryl R (clee’)´s last blog ..Bring On The Bling =-.

  • Reply J from Boston August 19, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Thank you for inspiring me! I see changes in my future and am very enocuraged to make them happen. When I moved to the U.S. years ago, I noticed so many positive changes in myself. Although, the U.S. has been good to me, I feel like I’m in a rut now; not progressing professionally, emotionally or spiritually. I have been craving for change for so long, but have talked myself out of any big moves way too many times. I have been interrupted by the “noise” and have not followed my heart…

    I love the fact that you can walk everywhere. That is one of the things I miss so much and the Finnish sauna, of course!

    • Reply decor8 August 19, 2009 at 10:11 am

      J from Boston — where are you from originally?

  • Reply Victoria Bennett Beyer August 19, 2009 at 10:34 am

    I love it when people use the word ‘joy’ to express how they feel because I immediately know EXACTLY what they mean. I’m so very happy for you, that you love your new home and are delighted by discovering so many wonderful things about it. It looks really lovely and I can’t say that I’m not jealous about those affordable flowers. My house would be literally overflowing with them if I were you :)

    As for shops closed on Sundays, I’m not that old but I remember everything being that way in South Carolina when I was growing up and it saddens me to see things shifting otherwise. Sometimes it’s nice to have an excuse not to run around doing errands…

    • Reply decor8 August 19, 2009 at 10:56 am

      Victoria – Oh I’m happy to hear that you understand what I mean by JOY. Oh and ME TOO about South Carolina. I recall EVERYTHING being closed on Sundays growing up! I think that’s why I like it so much here now that I think of it — reminds me of the way I grew up!

  • Reply melinda August 19, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Hi Holly!

    I’m so happy that you found a place that “suits you” and makes you happy! As much as I enjoy living in Pittsburgh, I often feel like this might not be the place where I could be happiest. I originally moved here from Michigan, and that move was very hard on me at such a young age, and having no friends or family around made it much more difficult. Reading about your experience moving to Germany is very inspiring, it makes me feel like I could take a chance and pick up and move all over again…and feel happy and refreshed by it! By the way, you are so lucky to have all those wonderful flowers and for so cheap! Lucky girl. :)

  • Reply Petra- Designfragment August 19, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I am tearing up here, it’s all so true. I’ve lived in places so far away from Sweden, but for now- this really is my home. Welcome to Europe, Holly! I hope your love for Germany lasts!
    .-= Petra- Designfragment´s last blog ..Proforma förgyller min dag =-.

  • Reply Carrie August 19, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    You’ve expressed yourself very well and I love reading about your experiences.
    .-= Carrie´s last blog ..Vitamin D and Kids =-.

  • Reply eva / sycamore street press August 21, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    What an inspiring post! I just moved, too (form Ohio to Utah) and although I miss certain things, I am loving it over all. The sunny skies, the fact that I am much more involved in the outdoors, being close to family…I think a lot of being happy is finding the good in the place you live now….and if you really can’t find enough good — move on!

    p.s. I do have to admit that even though I am loving where I am now, this post does make me wish a little bit that I could move back to Europe:) (I’ve lived in France and Belgium.)

  • Reply J from Boston August 24, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Hi Holly,

    I’m originally from Finland and came to the U.S. as a exchange student in High School. My exchange student year was an incredible year of growth. I matured “5 years” in just one year. Of course, I was only a teenager then and at that age so many changes are happening any way. I fell in love during my exchange student year and after I returned to Finland to finish my school we carried on a 2-year long distance relationship. Before we got married I asked my future husband if he was willing to move to Finland one day, for my sake. He said he would be willing to do that for me. Well, here it is 13 years later after countless excuses and we still have not moved:-( I’ve gone through periods of time when I’m terribly home sick and ready to move “within a year”. Then I talk to my friends (who do not want to see me go) and I “rationalize” in my head that it would be a crazy idea to move overseas after having finally established ourselves here. I realized a little while ago, that I have been blaming my husband for us not moving when I am really the one who has not demanded the move.

    Your descriptions of diving into a foreign culture remind me of my exchange student year. You can learn so much about yourself when living in a foregn country. I would love to have my children dive into the culture of Finland and become fluent in Finnish and for our whole family to take a looong (and I mean long like the Europeans do it) summer vacation in Europe visiting many countries.

    Sorry for the long message. I guess I should start a blog of my own to put these thoughts down somewhere:-)

    I just started reading your blog about a month ago and it has definitely reignited the fire in me for our family to move to Finland!

  • Reply jja August 25, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Every time I think of something bothering me here (Germany) I just have to read your blog :-).
    Hannover indeed is not very popular among Germans, and Germany is not ( I live here for 10 years) cheap at all, rather on the another side. But there are more or less expnesive cities – less Berlin and more München.
    I never ever found some flowers for 2-3 Euro, in my city flowers like yours would cost at least 10-12 €.
    It is amazing how big cost differences are: I pay my plat in Frankfurt 1000 Euro warm, and my friend in Berlin almost the same flat and same location only 580!
    It is great to have an opportunity to get every week fresh flowers at that price!
    And – welcome to Germany :-).
    .-= jja´s last blog ..Kozmetika petkom =-.

  • Reply Tamara Komuniecki August 29, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    We WILL be going there, at some point. Baby is on the way, due to arrive in early Jan, so after that. Knowing us, probably by the time we get our house all done!!


    I do too – have seen a lot of their wooden carvings and love them. We have a home there, it’s in my husband’s family, so we have a place to start fresh. Such a wonderful thing to think about and plan!
    .-= Tamara Komuniecki´s last blog ..Monday morning =-.

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