I moved to Dortmund, Germany about three months ago, though it feels more like six or twelve. The hours stretch here in a way I’m not accustomed to, even living, as I used to, in a what my landlord in Iowa City called the “Spinster’s Cottage”—a little shack originally built for an aging and unmarried daughter of the town, inside which I couldn’t fully stretch the length of my wingspan. As I did in Iowa City, I spend much of my time here in Dortmund in my house, but for different reasons—where once I favored seclusion in hopes of writing more and better, and also because of the months of numbing Midwestern cold, here I favor seclusion because I don’t speak German well, and every minute outside bends precariously under a series of small but weighty embarrassments. These are the types of experiences a dean warns her junior year study-abroaders about, under the heading of culture shock, telling them in advance to just take it in stride. At thirty-one, though, I have limited youthful zeal, and limited bandwith, as has become fashionable to say. Presented with retrieving a loaf of something called “fire bread” from the series of plastic tubes at the grocery store, I abandon the task.