Sunday, March 8, 2015

1000 Days in Germany (and news about our next adventure)

My countdown app tells me we've been in Germany 1000 days today and this feels momentous. If I really start to think back over the past almost-three-years here, I get a little overwhelmed and teary. How can I ever express how different life is now? How can I sum up the huge changes we've been through, the incredible experiences we've had, the ways we've changed and grown?


The end.

But just kidding, of course I have things to say. About a week ago I sat down and wrote an incredibly whiny post about winter and darkness and whatever else I was feeling kind of Eeyore-y about, but I never published it because I was bored with my own whining so I pep-talked myself out of being such a baby. I'm glad I didn't end up sharing that slice of joy because it's that time of year where hope (finally) starts to bloom, and right on time. Today my TimeHop revealed that exactly two years ago I posted this: "I really do LOVE living in Germany...despite the winters. A few sunny days have recently reminded me of this."

My gosh, that's the truth. Germany is straight up awful in the winter, but man is it fabulous when spring and summer roll around. The past week we've woken up to sun streaming through our window, the temperatures are sloooowly inching into the high 40s, the sun no longer sets at 4pm, and the huge piles of snow are melting away. Ahhh. We made it through the wilderness...(somehow we made it through). My entire outlook changes dramatically with this subtle shift in the amount of sunlight I receive each day. Science backs this up, so it's totally ok to blame your mood on the weather.

I'm not going to be so bold as to say winter is over because who knows when a sneak-attach snow will strike, but I am cautiously optimistic that we did it. We survived our 3rd and final winter in Germany. I'll make a spot on the wall for the award that should be arriving soon. 

In the meantime, the big news on our end is that we know where we're headed next!

Z was accepted into the graduate school at the University of South Carolina, so we are headed back to the sweet, sweet South (hallelujah)!

I really need you to understand how excited we are about this. REALLY excited. Let me count the ways:

1. Proximity to our families (yes. A thousand times yes. Amen.)
2. Chick-fil-a
3. Warmth. Sunshine.
4. Friends. Oh you guys, we have dear friends living in and around the Columbia area, both from our college years and from our military years. I am so excited to reunite.
5. The USA. (This encompasses everything)

I was telling a friend recently that my feelings about moving right now are 100% excitement and looking forward to what's ahead. I know, without a doubt, that I will MOURN leaving Germany and my heart will ache for the life and home we've made here. I know that. Stay tuned for a blog post wherein I cry and lament how much I miss Germany. But. For now? I feel only excitement for what's ahead. I am anxious to get back to the states. I have already been house hunting and church hunting and googling the nearest nail salons and hair salons and Chick-fil-a and Target and TJMaxx HomeGoods and Mexican restaurants and date-night destinations. I get a little bit dizzy thinking about entering a Publix again. I mean, how do you even handle the number of different PopTarts?! What's it going to be like to realize that Cheerios are always available and never "coming in the next shipment"? I can't even think about this too much because I get overcome with emotion. I CAN BUY SUSHI AT THE GROCERY STORE. EVERYTHING IS IN ENGLISH!! EVERYTHING!
I'm starting to hyperventilate.

I'm actually very thankful that I'm so "ready" to move back, because I'm not sure I would know how to process the seriously conflicting emotions of "I can't wait to move back" and "I never want to leave Germany". I am keeping myself open to the possibility that these two realities may meet and send me into the dark-spiral-of-despair-and-eating-every-Thin-Mint, but for now, I'm thankful that I am only faced with singular emotions about this next life-changing event that is rapidly approaching.

It's hard to believe we have a short 5 months left. It's hard to believe we have been here 1000 days. We celebrated our first 3 anniversaries here in Germany. We worked. Some of us quit working. We transitioned to new jobs. We traveled. We made dear friends. We added a dog and a baby to our family. We were homesick. We settled into our home here. We had tons of visitors. We experienced life in another country. It has been hard. It has been incredible.

I could go on and on because there are too many feelings about everything, but right now the sun is shining and the eis café is open so we're off to give Zoe her first taste of ice cream. Tschüss!

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