Sunday morning, after we had cleaned up the party remains and had had breakfast, we took showers and got dressed to take a stroll downtown (there was “verkaufsoffener Sonntag” and City Fall Festival). We also stopped at the polling place to vote. I made it to Germany right on time for the elections (and since I am still allowed to vote, I did!). One thing I noticed on TV was that there was a LOT more election advertisements on TV, not necessarily party specific, but more general ads to get people to vote.
Only 71,4% did in the end (which is low for Germany), but seems a lot more than in the US.
The city festival was very nice. The weather was warm and sunny and we stopped to get some ice-cream at my favorite Italian ice-creamery downtown. OMG, how I miss the “Italian Gelato”.
We got home around 6:00 p.m., I stopped by at my aunt’s place for a half hour and then we had leftovers for dinner. I love mashed potatoes mixed with sauerkraut when it’s already a day old :)
My sister and Dirk left around 8 p.m. and I hung out with my parents for a bit. Well, in fact, I lay down with my Mom in my parents’ bed to talk, but we both fell asleep rather quickly, ahem.
Cologne – my love
Monday morning, I took the train to Cologne at 8 a.m. to meet up with my friend Ilka for breakfast. We went to the “Hammerstein” on the Ehrenstraße and talked for three hours straight. It was so good to see her.
my beloved Cologne Cathedral
We met my Mom back at the Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral) around 1 p.m. and did a little bit of shopping. My Mom had a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon and afterwards we met my uncle for a cappuccino/hot chocolate in a small Italian Café, before we headed back to the train station to take the train home.
My Mom and I had dinner around 7 p.m. and then I took her to school for a “Schulkonferenz” (parents-teacher-conference) and drove over to my sister’s place. Greta was just about to go to bed and I had the chance to hold her for a little while. Then my sister made some tea, we snuggled up on the couch and – I know, this is about 11 months late, but I never got around to asking her – she told me about the day of Greta’s birth.
Dirk actually got out some of the videos that he taped on the first few days. It was wonderful to be able to see this, since I couldn’t be there for Greta’s birth.
I left around 11 p.m. and tried to get started on packing my suitcases, before I went to bed.
My last day
Tuesday morning I had to get up at 7 a.m. because I had agreed – excitedly agreed! – to babysit Greta for the morning. Nina dropped her off with me and my Dad at 7:30 a.m. and she first got a bottle of milk. Then we went upstairs to change her diapers (I am a pro by now :)) and to get her washed and dressed. My Dad had to leave for work, too, and so I spent 4 hours alone with her.
To be honest, I was a little nervous at first. I mean, heck, she’s still so small and I’ve never babysat a baby, but Greta is just such a doll. She’s hardly ever angry.
We played and cuddled on the bed for about 1,5 hours and she was so cute, giving me kisses and hugs and putting her head on my shoulder. Awwwwww, my heart was melting. And she always smiles. She’s the friendliest, happiest kid I know. We had a “second breakfast” at around 10 (roll with liverwurst is her favorite) and then I put her in the stroller and we went for a walk. It’s the cutest thing: when Greta gets tired, she usually starts “folding” her ear, which tells you that it would be a good idea to go for a walk since she’ll fall asleep in the stroller right away.
I had to do some shopping anyway, so we walked to the store and not even 15 minutes later she was asleep. I made it home right when my sister pulled into the driveway as well :)
Shortly afterward my friend Ira came over and we hung out for a while.
We had some pasta with pesto for lunch and then around 3 p.m. my sister, Greta and I went to see my Granddad and Great-aunt again for some coffee and to say goodbye again. Time went by much too fast again, as always.
We went to Nina’s place for a little while and then dropped off Greta with Dirk’s parents because we were going to have dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant with my parents, my aunt and cousin and two of my parents’ friends. Whenever I come to visit, we spent our last evening at the Italian Restaurant… it’s become somewhat of a tradition :)
I had the obligatory tomato soup and then I shared a small pizza and rigatoni with my sister.
It was really really hard though to say goodbye to Greta *sigh* it was soooooooooo wonderful to be able to spend time with her and I can’t wait to see her again.