Back in the Saddle Again…Almost

I’m back! I’m back! You know it. *bust a move*

Hey y’all. How are you? It’s been a long summer. After we left Hannover in early July, we spent time visiting family in the U.S. and then camped out in our house (yes, we kept the same house from before) with one bed and two kid mattresses on the floor. Our voices echoed through the rooms while we waited patiently (sort of) for our shipping container with our stuff to arrive.

After the ship arrived in Charleston Harbor after 4 or 5 weeks, our container was randomly chosen to be x-rayed, delaying it another few days. After that, it was randomly (really?) chosen to be hand-searched, delaying it another few days. After that, potting soil was discovered on some plant pots. I’m 98% certain this would’ve been residual American potting soil, since, sadly, I actually didn’t use my pots in Germany.

So a teaspoon of dirt was keeping us from getting our furniture. At this point, my patience was wearing very thin.

My friend Bettina helped me see the poetic side:

“I do like the notion of American soil being taken back and forth across the ocean and then being forbidden to re-enter… ” she wrote.

It’s almost enough to make me try writing poetry again. Maybe.

Our container finally arrived, and while you’d think this would be the high point of the transition, we found it to be the worst part, just as it had been on the other end in Hannover. It’s just so overwhelming to have to deal with the stuff all at once after having been free from it for so many weeks.

But we dug ourselves out of boxes fairly quickly, thanks to our kids being kept by their grandparents (thanks, parents!). We’re now putting the finishing touches on household organization. Not that a house is ever really finished, but, you know. We’re through the worst part.

The kids are in school, and I’m aaaallllmost ready to jump back into my work-in-progress, which I’m both super excited and also feeling chicken about. It’s a big leap to make after so many weeks away.

So glad to be back here with you! How was your summer? Are you glad to be getting back in the swing of things?

Sorting and Stockpiling

We’re getting closer to our move date, and we’re going through our stuff but also thinking about (clinging to?) the things we’ll miss. I say “we” but maybe it’s just me doing the clinging.

I find it funny that when I left the U.S., I was stockpiling American things I feared I wouldn’t be able to get in Germany: Trader Joe’s salsa, children’s OTC medications, inexpensive winter gear. Now I have the same frantic hoarding tendencies but for German things, as if somehow I can take my memories with me only if I find enough items to hold them in.

We’re really trying to get rid of things, not collect things, but if I could stockpile all I wanted, here’s a list of some favorites:

  • Alnatura dark chocolate from DM—best cheap chocolate ever
  • Ritter Sport dark chocolate with hazelnuts (yes, they do have it in the U.S. but I hear it’s not the same)
  • Weleda bath and beauty products
  • Alnatura lemongrass soap
  • Whole grain spelt (dinkel) bread
  • Ready-to-eat mango lassis from the refrigerator aisle
  • Fresh apricots (they just don’t grow these in the southeastern US, and the ones you can get from California are mushy by the time they get to you)
  • Fleur de sel—best salt ever—yeah, it’s French, but it’s easy to get here
  • Wine—goes without saying
  • Cheap vintage linens from the thrift store (okay, I may have collected a few of these, but reports have been widely exaggerated)
  • Nutella collectible football glasses
  • Wooden toys—any German toys, really
  • Absolutely everything from the Waldorf basar
  • Kids’ rain pants
  • Cheese—so cheap and delicious here—a mozza ball costs as little as, I kid you not, 50 cents!
  • Rooibos caramel tea
  • Burda Style magazine—the awesomest sewing mag ever
  • Homeopathic German medicine—oh yeah! It really works.
  • The unbelievably thick walls, high ceilings, and beautiful doors of our apartment
  • Chocolate croissants baked just a few steps from our flat

But most of all I’d like to stockpile the things that couldn’t be packed up, even if we had the space:

  • Bike rides through the forest
  • Coffee and running and lunch dates with friends
  • Sunny afternoons in the kindergarten garden
  • The smell of freshly baked bread from the downstairs bakery
  • Kind neighbors
  • My kids’ knowledge of German

For the last two plus years I’ve sought out English reading material wherever I could, and now suddenly I’m desperate to have some German books for the kids. I just got Richard Scarry’s Mein allerschönstes Wörterbuch (it’s similar to his other books but with German and English labels). Also ordered Das grosse Liederbuch (The Big Song Book, illustrated by Tomi Ungerer) on the advice of a friend, hoping we might be able to preserve some of the folk songs our son has learned in German kindergarten.

The probability of him losing his near-native accent is the thought that stings the most.

But I won’t dwell on that now. Okay, off to get some errands done and hopefully, just a tiny bit more writing before the clock strikes midnight. Have a good Monday.

Dusting Off the “Mongust” Suitcase

I can finally share some big news now that it’s totally official. My family and I are moving to Hannover, Germany for a few years. It’s all very exciting and a little crazy! I’m sure I will find all kinds of new things to write about and our time will be full of adventures.

We will arrive in Hannover in April. I’ve been taking German classes—-it’s very interesting to learn how closely related it is to English. And boy, it sure has been giving my brain a workout, which feels great. It had been awhile since I was an official student of anything.

The “mongust” (my kids’ word for humongous) suitcase above was given to me in 1999 when I moved to Boston with it and not much else. It’s so huge I can’t say I get a lot of use out of it, but for crazy-far moves, and I’ve made a few, it surely comes in handy.