In keeping with my recent habit of not staying in the same location for more than 3.2 seconds, I flew to London last Thursday morning to visit my brother. Conveniently, my roommate from college and one of my best friends in the whole world, Liberty, also lives in London, as does one of my oldest friends, Kaelan, whom I've known since the sixth grade. It was a weekend full of some of the best company I can imagine!
Will had to study for finals most of the weekend, but he managed to find time to show us around Borough Market. Borough is the most incredible food market I've ever seen. And I have seen a lot of food markets in my day. There's no way to try everything (though Liberty and I made a good effort!) so luckily Will could point out the best that the local vendors had to offer. And the winner (in all of our opinions) was the chorizo burger.
I've been to London before, so I was able to use the few days I had there to spend time with friends, instead of feeling rushed to see everything. I did go back to the British Museum, which has an amazing exhibit right now on "Living and Dying Around the World." It sounds a little morbid, but it was fascinating! I learned about so many things I had never even considered, like the types of complicated burial rituals in Ghana and the traditional method of trading on the Solomon Islands. I could spend months wandering around the British Museum and never get bored.
A few other highlights of the weekend were having dinner on Brick Lane (known for Indian food . . . score) and taking a trip to Queen Mary's Forest with Liberty for a little fresh air and exercise on Sunday morning. It was a great trip, and I'm so glad to have friends like Kaelan and Liberty, not to mention an awesome brother who brings antibiotics for his sister all the way from the States and takes time out from studying to have high tea with her!
I jumped right back into life in Germany, which was confusing after having reacquainted myself with the English language for a few days. I am also still suffering from mild panic attacks when I have to figure out which way to look when I cross the street.
My re-immersion into Germany was made easier by the fact that right now is the spring (and Swabian) version of Oktoberfest in Stuttgart. So I did what any girl looking for an authentic German experience would do . . . I suited up and headed to the Wasen! My German friends (in Lederhosen, pictured below) plus a new Chinese friend were pretty impressed by my pseudo-German look.
Also, beer tents are indeed real.
Now, onto my next subject. Mother's Day. I blame my excursion to London for this shout-out post being three days late, but better late than never, right? Maybe my mom thought she was getting off easy after I embarrassed my dad on his birthday in the last post, or maybe she felt left out. I don't know. Either way, I'd like to take a few moments to talk about my mom.
Shwew! Can you believe how beautiful she is?! As I was going through my iPhoto library, trying to choose which pictures to include in this post, I kept thinking that over and over again.
This beautiful woman has taught me pretty much every important thing I will ever need to know about life, love, and family. We've been best friends since I was old enough to realize how ridiculously cool she is (at approximately age two). Also, she is a culinary goddess. Seriously. There's nowhere in the world I would rather eat than at her table. You think I'm kidding.
She challenges me to be my best every day, and encourages me to try new things. Here's me after trying one of those new things that I really didn't want to do, hot yoga. Turns out that I love it!
She even loves me when my hair looks like "seaweed" (her words, not mine). As we've grown up, she's been strict when she needed to be, but also knew when it was okay to just look away when we weren't being too bad.
A prime example of this would be the McAllister children playing late-night poker in our hotel room in Wyoming last summer. We were betting with rock candy, and only Will drank the beer. Mom's in the background with the covers over her face.
My mom and I have also done some cool things together, like digging for dinosaur bones in Montana . . .
. . . and exploring Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
I'd also like to wish a (slightly belated) Happy Mother's Day to my grandmothers, Nana and Oma. They are amazing women that I look up to, and I'm looking forward to seeing both of them soon! Oma will be coming to Germany in a few weeks and helping me with my project here in Tübingen. And the first thing I do when I get home in July will be to unpack, repack, and jet off to Alaska with Nana and the rest of the Joplin crew for a family vacation!
Life is good.
I'm back in Germany. And let me preface this next thought by saying that it's always nice to be back in Germany. I understand the language, it's my home away from home, and life here has become second nature to me. But lying here on my Ikea bed on a Sunday evening with a pounding sinus infection-induced headache and a dinner of scrambled eggs awaiting me, I feel as though my hard-earned tan is seeping out of my skin and into the dry German air, punishing me for having such a good time last week. It's not that Sardinia was perfect--we had our fair share of issues, such as bad weather, costly internet, and snails in the shower. But I've already begun to idolize the experience and recall how the breeze on the beach felt in my hair or the salty taste of mussels on my tongue.
Alghero is beautiful. I didn't believe that to necessarily be the case on the day of our arrival, because it poured down rain all day. The rain was exacerbated by the fact that our lodging did not sell umbrellas in their otherwise well-stocked store, and the walk into town was 30 minutes. So we got wet. Worse things have happened.
Alghero on the second day, in much better weather:
As promised, I spent a good deal of time in our villini translating and reading. But Lauren and I still managed to fit in some sightseeing in our seven days on the island. One afternoon, we hiked 6 kilometers along the beach to the neighboring village of Fertilia.
Along the way:
We also met some awesome people (three sisters from upstate New York, all doing very cool things in Europe) and they convinced us to go swimming in the ocean on the coldest and rainiest of all the days we were there! It was invigorating during, but chilly afterward!
One day we went to Neptune's Grotto, which is the main tourist attraction near Alghero. It's an incredible cave formation just inside of enormous cliffs hovering over the ocean. When it was discovered by fishermen in the 18th century, they thought it must have been the dwelling place of the sea god Poseidon. I understand why . . .
The highlight of the whole week for me, though, was on the boat ride to the cave. As we were surveying the gorgeous scenery and taking in the wide expanse of crystal clear blue water, the guide calmly announced in a heavy Italian accent that there were dolphins to the right of the boat. Thankfully, I was not the only person aboard who reacted to this statement like a five-year-old, jumping up out of my seat, squealing with excitement, and crowding to the side to get a closer look. I took about a thousand pictures, hoping to get one good one. And my efforts were rewarded!
I still get giddy thinking about that.
We spent another afternoon touring a local winery with a group of elderly Germans. The winery, Sella & Mosca, looked like a paradise itself, with miles of grapevines spanning as far as the eye could see. The free tour included a glass of white wine (and a bonus one of red, because the guide was feeling quite generous) and was overall a great experience.
You might be wondering when I was going to get around to describing the things we ATE while in Italy. I thought you'd never ask. The answer is: pasta, seafood, and gelato! We actually cooked most of our meals in an effort to save money, and let me tell you that I made some restaurant-quality gnocchi one night for a fraction of what it would have cost us in town. But of course we treated ourselves to a few meals on the town, and this post wouldn't be complete if I didn't leave you with some photos to make your mouth water . . .
Caramel & stracciatella gelato:
Ravioli with Sardinian ricotta:
Linguine with mussels:
And one final Sardinian picture of a misguided poster, just to make you laugh:
Before I sign off, I'd like to give my dad a shout-out for his birthday. Without his guidance, love, and support, I could never have done any of the incredible things I've written about here over the past two years. He truly is the best father anyone could ask for, and I'm so lucky to call him mine!
He always knows when to flip the rice . . .
He’s taught me the finest table manners . . .
And together, we've been some pretty cool places!
Happy birthday, Dad! I love you!
Last week, my brother and one of his friends came to visit me in Germany. They're both having a great time on a semester abroad in London right now, but it seemed like they were both ready for a quiet weekend in the German countryside as opposed to the big city life they've grown accustomed to over the past few months.
Since my family had so much fun doing the audio tour of the Bebenhausen monastery when they were here, I decided that that would be a great thing to show them, too. I myself did not go on the tour again, but chose instead to catch up on some reading in a sleepy cafe near the monastery while they explored the cloister. They both agreed that it was indeed a cool experience and a good way to spend a not-so-nice day weatherwise in Tübingen.
Will and me at Bebenhausen:
For dinner on Wednesday night, a trip to the Besenwirtschaft was clearly in order. And as it was the last week that our dear wine-and-sauerkraut locale would be open until next Christmas, my friends were only too glad to join in the fun. Chris and Will were wowed by the Swabian atmosphere, the fruity wines, and the heaping plates of pork steaks and mashed potatoes. They loved it so much, in fact, that we ended up going there the following night for dinner too! When I think about the fact that that may have been my last Besen experience ever, I feel like I could cry! But what better way to spend it than with good friends and family . . .
After all that meat and sauerkraut, we all agreed that the next day, a hike would be in order. So we hopped on a train the next morning to Bad Urach, a town located about an hour outside of Tübingen, where I'd heard about a beautiful waterfall hike that some of my friends went on earlier in the year. The day was perfect when we set out--blue skies, brisk but sunny, but by the time we hiked down it had gotten quite a bit chillier!
At a fork in the road, we had to figure out which way to go . . . Luckily Lauren and I were able to decipher the confusing sign using our mad German skills.
We didn't have to wonder if we'd chosen the right path for long--soon enough, the waterfall was right in front of us!
As we hiked up to the top, Will decided to scamper up some rocks and stand behind the waterfall. The rest of us soon followed suit, and a lovely older couple offered to take our picture.
Sending Will and Chris off to Amsterdam on Saturday was sad, but I have to admit I was ready to have their dirty socks out of my room! Their visit was so much fun, though, that I decided to book my own flight to London to visit them in just a few short weeks.
So. Um. One last thing to mention. Remember that time after I came back from Barcelona when I told you that I would be in Tübingen for a while before I would do any more traveling? Well, I'm going to London, but you already know that. And I've already been there, plus it's just for a few days, so that hardly counts, right? Shhh. Just go with it.
Last night I may have made an impulsive (but awesome) decision to join my friend Lauren on a trip to Sardinia. On Saturday. For weeks she'd been lamenting the fact that she would have to go alone (a sentiment I can fully understand) but I hadn't even considered it. I have classes! Work!! No money!!! Responsibilities!!!!
Then I realized that this weekend is Easter break, and that I would only have to miss one class for the whole week. Which led to my next thought, which was, at this stage in my project, everything is on my computer. Which led to my next thought, which was, money-shmoney. I'm going to Sardinia! When else am I going to have this kind of opportunity? Sometimes you just have to be impulsive, take a risk, and dive head first into an adventure. That's what I'm all about, right?
I'll still be translating letters, of course, but next week it will be from a different location. And while I'm at it, I may even have some time to explore a cave or two, check out the beach, and eat some seafood. I feel like I've said this before, but I'll say it again: Life's rough, isn't it?
On Monday, my family (minus Will) came to visit me in Germany. They arrived bright and early in the morning, and after a delicious traditional German breakfast, they headed to the hotel for naptime. We went to the local brewery for dinner and then they came over to check out my apartment before calling it an early night.
We decided to spend Tuesday in Heidelberg, one of the most famous tourist cities in Germany. It has an enormous castle and a beautiful Altstadt. Unfortunately we missed the English tour of the castle, but we were able to check out the Apothecary Museum (way cooler than it sounds) and the two giant barrels of wine kept in the cellar there. My dad was impressed.
Having "the best cake ever" before heading up to the castle:
On Wednesday we took it easy, going for a bike ride in Tübingen and doing a bit of shopping. In the afternoon, I took Joseph to nearby Reutlingen to sit in on a seventh grade English class that one of my Fulbright friends, Lauren, teaches. It was a great experience for him and I think the German students enjoyed themselves as well. Wednesday night was, of course, time to show them the wonder that is the Besenwirtschaft. After an enormous meal of sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, Schweinebraten, and plenty of good wine, we sampled the homemade liqueurs. I highly recommend the cinnamon one.
Thursday we had a mini family reunion in Ulm. The weather was terrible, but the company was so good that it didn’t matter. We met up with about ten of our relatives and had a lovely German lunch, followed by a trip to the Ulmer Munster so that Joseph could say he climbed the cathedral with the tallest tower in the world. Then we had cake and coffee at Tante Irmgard’s. (She made me tiramisu! Again!) We got back to Tübingen around 9, which was bed time for the travelers and just in time for me to meet up with some friends and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day . . .
With my relatives in Ulm:
We spent their last day in Germany doing a tour of Bebenhausen, the monastery just outside of Tübingen. The English audio tour was surprisingly really fascinating--it was narrated in story form by a monk in the 1500s, who took us around all of the rooms, speaking in a hushed voice and making the whole experience come to life. We also took a tour of the hunting castle, which was not in English or German but Schwäbisch, so I had a good time working on understanding local dialect while my parents and Joseph tried to follow along in their guide books.
After saying our goodbyes on Saturday morning, my family headed to London to visit my brother, and I headed home to pack for the Fulbright conference in Berlin.
So here I am, sitting at our hostel in Berlin and enjoying the free wireless, which is allowing me to deliver this blog post to you. I’ll be back in Tübingen on Sunday, with just enough time to write a post about this past week and pack up for another trip . . . Barcelona, here I come!
Miss you guys already:
If you know me, you know that there's no way I could be talking about basketball. (That is the right sport for March Madness, right?) But the month of March starts today, which marks the beginning of a crazy, fun-filled, slightly overwhelming six weeks of visitors and traveling for me. In other words, I am precisely in my element!
This coming Friday, one of my best friends from college is coming to visit for nine days. She's never been out of the United States, so I cannot wait to show her what Germany has to offer! The day after she heads back to business school at Wake Forest, my parents and little brother Joseph arrive in Tübingen. Joseph started learning German this year, so I'm excited for him to practice his skills at ordering some Käsespätzle or a bratwurst! The day after my family heads to London to visit my other brother, Will, I leave for a five day Fulbright conference in Berlin. My Tübingen friends are planning on coming to visit me in Berlin after that for the weekend, which brings us to the 27th of March. Things should be winding down, right? Wrong. There's more! The following Wednesday, Gwen and I will jet off to Barcelona for an eight day adventure in Spain. The Monday after we return from the beach, school starts again! And the day after school starts, my brother Will is coming to visit from London.
When he leaves on the 16th of April to meet up with his girlfriend in Amsterdam, I will probably need a little extra sleep. And some time to breathe, and read a book or something. Or, wait, I seem to recall something about some letters . . . ?
Just kidding. I've been keeping up with my research, and working a little bit harder even to try and get ahead before the madness begins on Friday. Yesterday, I actually finished reading the letters from my great-grandfather, which means that to date, I have transcribed well over two hundred letters from 1942-1943. Success! Now it's time to revise those transcriptions and lay the groundwork for the annotations and translations I'll be working on this spring. Oh, and the second collection of letters, from the 1970s-1990s, written by my grandmother about her experiences after her move to the United States. And I'm only here until July?!
A few weekends ago, I visited my relatives in Ulm for a day. Tante Irmgard found some more letters for me, as well as two incredible pictures taken in 1994 of four generations of women:
Of course, knowing me, it hasn't been all work and no play for the last couple of weeks. I went on a fantastic day trip to Zurich and found myself surrounded by some of the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen . . .
My friend Kaelan from high school came to visit and we hiked up to Castle Hohenneuffen, located just an hour outside of Tübingen . . .
The German version of the Mardi Gras parade came to town and I tried not to run away in fear. Instead of scantily clad women, there were monsters running around the cobblestoned streets, chasing unsuspecting people and hitting them with brooms . . .
And this past weekend, my friends Johannes and Julia from Regensburg came to visit. It was so good to see them again, and the time passed far too quickly . . .
Unfortunately, those two weren't the only ones I had to say good bye to last weekend. My friend Sabine from Belgium ended her semester abroad here and headed back home. Sabine, you will be missed!
Yes, that's right. For a whole two weeks, I left the joyous country of spiced wine and Christmas markets to do what one really does for the holidays: spend time with family and take part in yearly traditions. We even had a white Christmas!
Beautiful! We had our traditional Christmas Eve program of cheese fondue followed by board games, and then dutifully went to bed early so that Santa could come put our presents under the tree and then have time to catch some shut-eye as well. Christmas morning began the latest it has ever begun in the McAllister household -- 7:35 am. My 13-year-old brother may not believe in ol' St. Nick any more, but that didn't diminish his excitement at the prospect of a paintball gun or some new Xbox games. So it all proceeded as usual--stockings, presents, breakfast, clean-up, cooking, family dinner, and more board games--every bit of it as wonderful as I always imagine it to be. I even had some time for cuddling in there:
After Christmas, I tried to contain my excitement for three days while I waited for Jeremy
to come visit. We had an awesome time hanging out in St. Louis together and then going down to Nashville for my friend Abby's wedding on New Year's Eve. We may have rung in the new year in our hotel room with some small fireworks (sorry, housekeeping) and the Spanish channel blaring in the background, but somehow it worked.
So now I'm back in Germany, throwing myself into my research with renewed efforts. Being home was amazing, but now I have mid-term reports to complete, transcriptions to work on, interviews to prepare, and, of course, places to see!
My parents just booked their flight to come visit me . . . Have you? :)
I am certainly no stranger to Germany; this is my fifth visit and my second time living here. But I have never actually been here in the fall, to see the leaves change and the weather go from balmy to brisk to freezing (and then repeat the pattern). Fall also happens to be my favorite season--I love the sweaters and boots, the cold sunshine, and even the rainy days don't bother me. They're just an excuse to put on a sweatshirt, watch a movie, and drink some cinnamon tea. But the best part of fall, in my opinion, is the food. Tis the season for hearty stews, root vegetables, butternut squash, Thanksgiving, and above all, pumpkin
. In the States, I've been known to do a little dance when Starbucks brings out its Pumpkin Spice Latte (in red Christmas cup!) every year around this time, and I can't get enough of it in soups, muffins, breads, you name it. Naturally I was hoping to continue the tradition of pumpkin-eating here in Germany, and lucky for me, pumpkins are sold at outdoor vegetable markets on practically every corner. But most recipes call for canned pumpkin, which apparently is utterly unknown on this side of the ocean. Shock! Dismay! Horror! So what's a resourceful girl to do? Make pumpkin puree, of course. It was a pain, trust me, but worth it. I made the most delicious cookies and scones out of that pumpkin. . .
My friends and I also decided to cook a vegetarian lasagna inside a pumpkin for dinner one night, which was an epic success (recipe here
). If you're as into pumpkin as I am (or even if you're not!) check out these recipes for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
or pumpkin scones
Some photographic evidence:
If your mouth's not watering yet, wait until you hear about one of the coolest fall traditions I've ever been a part of . . . The Besenwirtschaft. It is basically a tiny basement in a very old German home, open only from October through December, where the patrons sell their homemade wines (nine types) and delicious German food. The place only holds about 35 people, and in order to get a table you have to arrive ten minutes before it opens.
I am no wine expert, believe me, but what I have tasted in this place is the best I've ever had, without a doubt. My favorite thing on the menu is the prosecco, which pairs nicely with roasted pork and mashed potatoes, if I may be so bold as to make a recommendation. Last Friday night we spent a delightful several hours huddled in the corner of the basement, drinking and laughing and eating until we were so full we could hardly move.
Me and my friend Dan, excited about the Schweinebraten mit Kartoffelpuree:
The day after our lovely dinner at the Besenwirtschaft, my friend Gwen and I traveled to Meersburg to visit my Uncle Dieter and Aunt Bea, who live on Lake Constance in the south of Germany. We had a truly wonderful time sitting in their living room and talking about everything from my uncle's childhood to Gwen's year abroad in Switzerland to health care in America (oh, the controversy!). My aunt is an incredible cook, and we were treated to traditional Käsespätzle (the German version of a gourmet maccaroni and cheese, with caramelized onions on top) and several pieces of cherry-almond chocolate cake. Obviously, this week I've had to back off the eating a bit. :-)
At the end of the month, Dieter and Bea are going to Ethiopia for a two-week tour. I can't wait to hear about their adventure . . .
Stay tuned for that, as well as news of how my friends and I are celebrating our first Thanksgiving away from home (hint: more annoying pumpkin-pureeing and the German version of Apples to Apples), another visit to Regensburg, and my birthday trip to the Christmas markets of Vienna in December!
With my aunt and uncle in Meersburg:
It's a little hard to believe, but right now I'm sitting at the exact same place I sat five years ago, overlooking Germany's largest lake. From the window, I can see the tropical Insel Mainau across the way (where in spite of the tourists, a wealthy family still resides in the island's palace). I'm here with my grandmother visiting her brother and his wife in Meersburg, directly on Lake Constance (or the Bodensee, in German).
Yesterday we took a boat ride across the lake to Konstanz, a well-preserved German town with a beautiful Gothic cathedral and thriving harbor. Konstanz was barely damaged during World War II, predominantly because of its hazardous location (one can see Switzerland from the dock).
Five years ago, I did a high school exchange program with my German class. Each of us hosted a student from Lindau (another island on the lake which boasts a view of Austria and Switzerland) in April for three weeks, and we then went to stay with them in June. The trip was certainly a good learning experience for me, even though I found all the partying to be a bit scarring while I was there. But now I'm back here, older and wiser, though still not partying (this time I think it has more to do with the crowd--three sixty-something year-olds--than with a deep and cloying fear of intoxication).
This morning we went to the local market, where we bought fresh cherries straight from the farmer and taste-tested homemade apple brandy at eleven in the morning. We also bought the ingredients for me to make everyone a batch of hummus, since my aunt loves to cook but didn't know how to make the dish herself. I also ate my first handful of stachelbeeren, which was immediately followed by my second handful. I was warned they would be sour, but I thought the ping-pong-sized olive- and wine-colored berries were just right. And as I watch a sailboat drift by out the window, I see that the whole weekend has been precisely that: just right.
This past weekend, I went to Ulm to visit my grandmother's sister, Tante Irmgard. I was also going to meet my sorority sister and good friend Kathleen Fuchs there. It really is a small world: Kathleen, who has spent the semester studying in Spain, also has relatives (whom she had never met) in Ulm. We discovered the connection while we were at Vanderbilt at some point last year, and vowed to make the trip there together. And we did!
Here's an excerpt from my journal about the weekend:
23. Mai 2009
"Today was completely surreal--I don't know how else to put it. I took the 7:46 train from Regensburg and arrived just before 11 am. Tante Irmgard and Onkel Gerhard met me at the train station, and we waited for Kathleen to arrive. Introductions were made and Tante Irmgard tirelessly attempted to use her English to communicate with Kathleen. It was pretty good--I was impressed.
"We got home and Tante Irmgard cooked us lunch--Spätzle, chicken and mushrooms, and a deliciously fresh salad with the best dressing. Then we had vanilla ice cream with hot fruit compote (complete with red currants from her garden) on the balcony.
"Around 2:30 we went into the Altstadt. We climbed the Ulmer Munster (the tallest cathedral in the world)--all 768 steps up, and then of course down again. Then we went to a chocolate shop and bought a famous "Ulmerspatz" each to eat, and I bought some Bosch Wibele that I am currently savoring. We walked by Irmgard and Gerhard's old home on the Stadtmauer [Medieval city wall] and ran into Gerhard's older sister (the home's current resident) and her family having coffee in the garden.
"Later, we brought Kathleen to her relatives' house in Tomerdingen. We made plans for lunch with everyone tomorrow and then drove home.
"After a light dinner of bread, butter, and caprese salad, we sat out on the balcony and Irmgard showed me the letters they found locked and hidden within the framework of the house when they knocked out a wall a few years ago to renovate. The letters are from World War II, when my great-grandmother and father corresponded before Josef's death in 1943. The letters are very difficult for my aunt [Tante Irmgard] to read because Emilie [her mother] never mentioned Josef to her children--the topic was utterly taboo. I had a lot of trouble with the handwriting, but some letters were written with a typewriter, including the letter Irmgard's father wrote to Emilie's father, asking his permission to marry Emilie. It was eloquent and talked of love and fate."
The trip to Ulm was filled with moments that were utterly miraculous. Sitting on my great-aunt's balcony in a small town in Germany with Kathleen, catching up on life, was one such moment. Reading the letters was also incredible. I'm trying to convince Tante Irmgard of the importance of scanning the letters so that we have them on file should anything happen--the collection is enormous, and in the unlikely event of something happening to them, the loss would be devastating to my family. Besides, I would love to translate them someday. Who knows, maybe I'll even write a book...
When we went up to the attic to put the letters back, we found other treasures. Irmgard tried on a top hat we got out of a very old-looking hat box, and I saw the dollhouse my grandma's older sister used to play with when she was a child. I also found another collection of letters I will have to read someday: the letters my own grandmother wrote to Irmgard when she moved to the United States as a nineteen-year-old, engaged to my grandfather, a US soldier stationed there after the war. Who, as it turns out, owned the only white jaguar in the entire town of Ulm. I bet that caused quite a stir in its day...
This weekend, I was able to literally reach out and touch my family's past, and it left me aching to know more. Both Irmgard and Gerhard are filled with stories of life in Germany during the war, and are willing to share them with me. The letters beckon me back. There's no question about it: I have to go back to Ulm, soon. Falling asleep on the fold-out bed in the guest room Saturday night, I was ready to move in--move into the house my grandmother lived in as a girl, the house my own mother spent her summers in during her childhood. It's such a beautiful old house, and with so many memories. I've got to go back.