i have been back in america for 5 full days. i feel in many ways like the weight of the world has been lifted. i can easily order food, and know that i will get what i wanted. i can make small talk with the people in line at the market, and i can read the street signs.
but there are things that i miss from germany. what, you say? miss germany? yes!
i miss my bike! i have driven more in the past 5 days being home then i have in the past 5 months in germany. even the youngest expat picked up on this.
"why are there no bikes?' he asked one day as we were driving down the road.
"well, the distances between places are further here, and in cities they do bike, just not so much in the suburbs."
this made me think if i did ride my bike the distances that i had driven this week, i would be way skinny...but i didn't, and i'm not.
i am a taxi. driving to the movies, to the beach, home. shuttling kids to sleepovers, camps and the favorite doughnut shop, which happens to be 20 minutes from where we are staying, and you usually eat doughnuts at 7ish in the morning!
as many of you know, i am a photographer and i have taken an amazing photo of what i have seen my first week back in america, and i want to share it with you, ...enjoy!
we have all watched the show. watched the story of 5 friends on their perfect street, with all of their secrets, laughs, tears and sadness. we watched their families grow, people move, and life change.
i had my own wisteria lane...there was a group of us, and i'm not too sure that any of us realized how perfect it was, at least until it was gone...we didn't appreciate it as much as we should have!
i am visiting my wisteria for a month this summer and was having a dinner with my closest friend the other night when she brought it up as well. she mentioned that it really hit her when she was watching the season finale of the real desperate housewives. she said that she felt really sad, sad for what was gone.
we shared so much~we spent friday nights watching our kids play outside, we talked parenting, marriage and life. we cried on each other's shoulders when mother's were diagnosed with cancer, and we stood by one another when parents passed away.
two of us have moved, other's have gone to work, kids have gotten older and things have just changed! i am so grateful to be "home" on wisteria lane, and i am so very grateful that they welcome me with open arms whenever i come home.
when i turn the corner and drive down the street, i know that all is good, and even though i don't still live on this street, my friends will always be my friends...and i love them for that!
you know that furry blue monster...grover? yep, the one who kept warning us to not turn the page? tying the pages together, building brick walls on the page so they were too heavy to turn. where is grover when i need him?
i need grover to build a brick wall on the pages of my daytimer! tie my pages together...every night before i go to bed, i have to turn the page to see what tomorrow holds, and i am scared, very scared of the monster that is on the next page.
it is the end of the year for both of my expats at school, which means recitals, field days, teacher's and coaches gifts. it is the end of the year for the american women's club, which means presentations for next year. it is the end of the year for the expat community, which means hello summer parties, good-bye friend parties and final lunches for the year. it is the time when all of us get on planes to go "home", which means packing bags, setting up appointments at home and planning rental cars and vacation stays. it is the end of a very fast "freshman" year as an expat!
i am tired, very, very tired and i only have a few more days until i turn the page on my daytimer to find that i am catching a plane to america!
do i pack a lot, a little? what are the weight restrictions on my airline? do i have passports, insurance cards and all documents that i need?
no matter what i have ready or what i still need to do, my daytimer page will turn and i will with every ounce of my being enjoy what i have to do that day. for i have to say once the craziness stops, i'm not too sure that i'll really enjoy all of the quite.
okay, i am starting a new friday trend and it's going to be fun!
cooking in germany is not an easy task. finding ingredients, good cuts of meat, and converting temps all set the stage for a difficult evening. so from here on out every friday on it's about the journey, there will be an easy recipe. easy for my fellow expats in germany, hopefully easy for fellow expats everywhere, and especially easy for those in america!
and after reading this easy recipe...i want you to post one of your own!
so for the first foodie friday we have all the way from the food network...
Score pork with a fork, place in baking dish and set aside. In medium bowl combine all ingredients and stir. Pour over tenderloin and cover. Let sit for at least a half hour. Remove from marinade and cook in a cast iron skillet or on a BBQ for about 10 minutes. Serve.
i found all of the ingredients at one store, and i made this with some basmati rice and a nice salad! it was amazing and ever so easy. my only suggestion is let the pork marinate for at least a few hours.
sundays in germany are a quiet day. no stores are open at all! and i mean nothing. there will be no running by the grocery to grab milk. there will be no running by the mall. when they say closed, they mean it...closed!
in this largely catholic population, german's see sunday as a day of rest. you can not wash your car, mow your lawn, drop off your glass bottles for recycling. you can do nothing that causes any kind of noise. great, so now i can't yell at my kids on sunday? well, maybe i can still do that, but only if i yell quietly.
when we first moved to germany i was really concerned with this whole "closed on sunday" thing. what if i forgot something at the grocery? what if i wanted to nip into the mall? well, it really didn't take long until i realized how to work with this. now sunday is our family road trip day! on cold rainy and wet sundays we hunker down, but on the wonderful fall and spring days, we take a day trip.
one of my favorite places that we have ventured to is only an hour and a half drive from dusseldorf; monschau germany!
i had heard this time would come. it apparently always comes in the life of an expat...the saying good-bye!
there are at least 12 people in my dusseldorf life that are leaving. they are either going "home" or going to the next assignment. which ever way, they are saying good-bye.
when i first moved here and asked people what was the hardest part of being an expat, they all looked at me a bit sad and say "oh, by far the saying good-bye!"
the people leaving range from close friends, parents of my kids friends, to people i simply see on occasion. but all of these people play a part in my life here as a dusseldorf expat. they help me with parenting advice, grocery shopping advice, picking up my children, or even just smile at me on the playground. they help me get through my own life as an expat.
each day it seems i get an email with a note about someone leaving, or a moving sale list. it makes me sad. it makes me sad for me, for my family, and for the relationships and friendships that didn't get a chance to grow. many times over the past year, i would think "oh i'll call her and go to lunch when things slow down in my life." well, things don't always slow down and when you are an expat you must tend to friendships fast so that you don't miss out on something wonderful!
so to all of my expat friends who are leaving, please know how much you will be missed! your conversations, your coffee dates, your smiles on the playground and most of all your friendships!