I don't often talk about Neckartailfingen here. I don't know why, its my second home. After almost 9 years here, I fully embrace two homes. I am from Fairfield. I love Fairfield. I go there to recharge my batteries, relive memories, and remind myself of my roots. Fairfield is the beach, old America, a family-centric suburban large town, that is slightly snobby. I live in Neckartailfingen. I love Neckartailfingen. I laugh at Neckartailfingen. Neckartailfingen is my present and some of my future. Neckartailfingen is farming country, with a view of the mountains, most characteristically to me though, small town.
Having grown up in Fairfield, my normal was a city sized town. As of 2005, Fairfield had 57,813 residents spread over an area of 30 square miles (77.8 square kilometers.) Fairfield is big. If you asked me to name all the neighborhoods in Fairfield, I couldn't. There is Southport, Greenfield Hill, Tunxis Hill, the Project (embarassing that we call it that, I know,) Beach Road, Sherman, Jennings district, Stratfield, Sasco, Fairfield Center, the area around Fairfield U, Holland Hill. I'm sure there are more. I was used to a town center that included two town halls, a town green, as well as a rather long shopping street. There were a few prominent familes in the town, but most often, people got to know each other based on the neighborhood, most often based on schools. I would bet that most Fairfielders don't know each other. I was one of th most well-known in the school circle, because my mom was a secretary in the Board of Education, so many town politicians, and most teachers knew my mom. I was Kathy's daughter, and I was a bit of a well-known. This was my normal.
I have now moved to Neckartailfingen, population 3.777 spread over 3.6 square miles (8.3 square kilometers.) My small college had a larger student population. There are threeneighborhoods in Neckartailfingen, the Neubaugbeit (the new built area, homes from the late 1990s on,) the Vorstadt (the Outskirts,) , and our future neighborhood, the most oddly named, the Flecken (the Stain.) There are a few prominent families, and everyone is related to at least one of them. Everyone in Neckartailfingen knows everyone else. I am a well-known here too. Here, I am the American married to Joern. I am exotic here. Although everyone who lives here has relatives in America, there are only about 3 Americans in the town married to Neckartailfingers. We are a unique breed here. This is Joern's normal, and so very far away from my normal.
I often giggle about the small town life here. Most people living here have never lived anywhere else, for generations. The Stueckle family, Joern's maternal grandfather, is one of the oldest families in Neckartailfingen. I don't mean oldest like 3 generations, I mean oldest like forever. But, I guess they were a bit rebellious, the Stueckle's. Joern's grandfather already rocked the town by marrying Joern's grandmother, a farmer girl from Wittlingen on the Swabian Alb (the mountains in our area.) Joern's mother continued the break in tradition when she married my father-in-law, who was as a child, a refugee whose mother escaped Russian-occupied Poland, with her children, after the war. Joern went one step further and married someone from another country, even another continent. This is not how it works here. But, I guess it sure makes for juicy gossip.
Juicy gossip is serious stuff here in Neckartailfingen. I've had to learn to laugh at it, or I would be annoyed, afterall, the entire town is talking about us.
Here are a few examples of the juicy gossip flying around us in recent days.
The latest news going around the regular's table at the sport club is that my father-in-law used our building crane to remove one of the plum trees bordering our property.
The town doctor heard that Joern and I are building a gigantic house. She cornered my mother-in-law last week to ask all about the plans for our house, most probably because we have taken a bit of the spotlight away from her house.
And my favorite, Joern's great-aunt, who we haven't spoken with in a few years, walked up to Joern the other day and said, "I heard your wife got furniture from America, and that it came in a container the size of a truck!"
Obviously, in this small town, we're big news. I think it is so funny, albeit, a bit disturbing. We have no private life. Of course, neither does anyone else in Neckartaifingen!
One day, we'll have children, who will grow up betwen our two normals. I find it so interesting.