Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New Home: Strange Beauty

I almost didn't go to Hamburg.  It's the second-largest city in Germany, and it was not on my priority list.  All ugly bricks and cold ocean and fishy air.  It had none of the ancient, half-timber friendliness of my beloved southern Germany.  It wasn't quaint and beautiful.


Don't get me wrong, I liked it.  I spent the day with a friend wandering the streets from downtown to Speicherstadt (the warehouse district full of canals and brick buildings) to the Reeperbahn (the famous but cheesy red-light district, totally benign and somewhat silly during the day).  But it wasn't wonderful and homey.  It wasn't Dresden or Tuebingen.  


But later I sat down and uploaded all my photos, and as I watched them scroll by, I realized that Hamburg had its own strange beauty.  The clear oceany skies certainly helped, but that wasn't the only thing.  The sunbaked bricks were full of color and life, just like half-timber houses were.


There were quiet and beautiful moments lurking where I hadn't expected them to be.  There was rich history and culture everywhere I looked.  The photographs from that one day were some of the best I got my entire time in Germany.  I captured more "moments" on this one day than I did on any other.  I don't think it was luck, I think they were trying to tell me something.  There's a strange and powerful beauty that hides in the places you never expect to find it. 


Half-timber houses, stone castles, and world-renowned landmarks are almost unheard of.  But Hamburg has wonderful places and traditions that I can't wait to dig into.

I'm excited to announce that I will be spending the next year in this strange and wonderful place with a great family I can't wait to meet.  And I know the best and sweetest moments, photographs, memories, and yes, beautiful things are yet to come.

I am blessed.  

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