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Published: July 12th 2015
... in Landau. Still looks the same as it did 13 years ago.
Where the hell is Landau/Pfalz, many of you might ask now. You have no idea how many times I had to explain this to people during the two years that I lived in the small town. It is located roughly between Karlsruhe and Heidelberg in the southwest of Germany (no, the one on Lake Constance is Lindau…) and is surrounded by vineyards. Consequently there are a lot of wineries. The landscape around Landau is rather scenic, with the Pfälzerwald close by, which is great for hiking, climbing, and cycling. Alsace is not far. Thus the surroundings are really nice, but Landau is of course anything but a cosmopolitan city.
I did my undergraduate studies there, not by choice, but I was sent there by ZVS, an authority that at the time allocated applicants who wanted to study psychology to universities. At first, to be honest, I was not too happy about having ended up in such a small city, but it turned out that the university was quite good. Most lecturers did a great job, we learned the important basics that we needed for our graduate studies, and we had tutors and mentors who helped us a lot particularly during
This church I remembered, but I was convinced the other church had not been there when I lived in Landau.
the first year. I managed to get a job as a student assistant, a job where I learned a lot and one that set the foundation for where I am now. And this brings us to why I am writing about Landau today.
The professor I used to work with had invited us for an alumni meeting, and it was scheduled for Saturday, 20th June. Landau is rather far from Hamburg and of course the connections are not that great. As the train ride took about six hours I left Hamburg on Friday around noon and arrived in my hotel in Landau on Friday evening. After checking in I caught a taxi into town and had a quick walk around the pedestrian area. Everything there looked rather familiar and I remembered a lot of the places. Then I had dinner in an Indian restaurant. When I lived in Landau I always thought that there were not many highlights in town. But there was one Indian restaurant where you got excellent food and that was a clear highlight to me. I could not remember what it was called or where it was, so I googled it and found a place.
... the mountains and forest just outside of Landau, very scenic.
However, when I had dinner there I was unsure whether it was really the place because I was sure it had been in the basement and not on the ground floor, like the one I was in now. But then I asked myself whether I was confusing the Indian restaurant with the Greek one we usually went to after big events at uni. I simply could not remember.
I became more and more confused when I left the restaurant after (a very nice) dinner. Everything beyond the pedestrian area looked totally unfamiliar to me and I had to consult google maps to know where I was and where to go. There was a church of which I was convinced it had not been there when I lived in Landau. Of course this was impossible since the church was old, but still… I found the house where I had lived in a shared flat and found that apparently there were still students sharing the place because there were four different names on the door bell. Thus, it seems that quite a few things had changed, but others had stayed the same. I realised that I had never come back to
There is a grape that has my name!
We found this at the state horticultural show in Landau. Nice description :-)
Landau after leaving 13 years ago.
The next interesting thing was getting a taxi back to my hotel. I tried to recall whether there was a taxi stand and tried to find one, but there wasn’t. So I called a taxi company and they told me it would take them half an hour to send me a taxi. What?! I called another one and got a taxi that was there after about ten minutes. Phew.
The next day we had the alumni meeting and it was an interesting experience. First of all, my perception of my professor was of course a different one from what it had been. Of course I had grown up, but it was interesting to see such a contrast. It was also interesting to meet some of the other alumni, most of whom I had never met before. All in all the meeting assured me that leaving Landau had been the right decision. I had always known it, but it was nice to have the confirmation. In any case the meeting was interesting and fun. We learned something about what my professor and one of his colleagues are currently working on (Positive Psychology on the one hand and dysfunctional thoughts, their effects, and how to change them on the other), we played a game they had invented, and we learned what fields the other alumni were in. This is always interesting because you can do anything and nothing with psychology. In the evening we had a nice dinner in the hotel where everyone was staying, and the next morning we had breakfast together before everyone left.
I met my good old friend Lili. We have known each other all our lives, but it had been eight years since we had last met. She lives close by and of course it was a great opportunity to see her again. We strolled across the state horticultural show that is in Landau at the moment and then she took me to her house not far from Neustadt/Weinstraße. She and her partner bought an old farm house one and a half years ago. It’s a big house with stables, a barn, and a garden, and they are refurbishing it step by step. It’s a huge project of course, but also a really nice one. The house is beautiful and they are making it even more beautiful. Of course we had a lot of stories to swap after not seeing each other for such a long time, and we had a great time. I caught a train back home way later than originally intended, really happy to have seen Lili again!
The next day was exciting again as I attended the TEDx
event in Hamburg. Super interesting and inspiring, have a look at the website if you are interested!
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