Monday, February 20, 2012

Congrats? Nine Years in Germany

This January marked a special anniversary for me: this, 2012, is my last year living in Germany with a single digit anniversary. Next year - and I have every reason to believe that we will still be living in Germany come 2013 - I will enter the double digits. As in, ten years in Germany.

I moved here in 2003, a recent college graduate, dating another American, and planning to stay here for eight months, maybe 18, possibly 24 months at the very most. 
Here I am just a few days before I moved to Germany in December 2002.

Now I've been here for nine years - that's 108 months, which is 100 months more than I originally thought. And I am no longer the young, college graduate. Instead I'm an experienced professional, married to a handsome German, a first time mommy, and planning to stay here until - well, I don't know.  

As my months in Germany turned into years in Germany, I began to mark each annual anniversary. Each found me with clear, if sometimes conflicting, feelings: some years I really celebrated and other years I really grieved. But this year, my ninth, my feelings are, well, they are complicated. I'm not happy but I'm also not sad. I'm both. 

My feelings are so conflicted, so complicated that I've written, deleted, rewritten, and then edited again and again this blog entry. I still don't know if this is really how I feel and it certainly isn't the whole story. The short version, the Reader's Digest version, is that these days I'm too American for Germany and I'm too German for the US. 

I miss so much from the US: the welcoming and ready friendliness in almost every situation; the belief that everything is possible if you try hard enough; the shopping hours; the easy access to PopTarts; my beloved (and very missed) college friends; and, especially now that I am a mother, my baby's grandparents, aunt, and uncle.
My college girlfriends just a few months after I moved to Germany -
can you believe I thought I could lose weight back then???
But there is a lot in Germany that I don't know how I could give up: the fresh bread on every corner; the ability to travel to many different cultures and languages cheaply and easily; the 30 days of paid vacation, the wonderful health insurance, and all the other aspects of the incredible social net; and, especially now that I am a mother, my baby's grandparents, aunt, and uncle. 
The Mr. and I when we started dating in summer 2004.
Nine years. I'm not happy but I'm not sad. I'm both. So, congrats to me. Or congrats to me? Either way, congrats to us.
The Steinbach clan

And, yes, I took pictures of pictures from back in the day. Feel free to make fun!

1 comment:

MrsJ said...

pic 1: me, "b, look at nicole from back in the day." b, "dang. well, she looks about the same." SO, keep lookin' good sis!

pic 2: go eat a damn hamburger

pic 3: me, "haha look at baby dom!!" b, "wow. yea." =] hugs dom!

pic 4: WAY TO GO SISTER!!!!!!!!

in the end... missing is really a blessing. isn't it awesome that you have so much goodness in your life that you have to not only miss some but you have to go "if i leave this and go there for that i'm going to miss this just the same." you are super blessed sister. i am okay for missing you but you had better be okay for missing me too. as for dom; he know i'm da snizzle and thus me must miss me x2's the amount that i miss him. as for boo; he better not miss me too much because you had better be keeping around so much amazing people that he doesn't have the time to think about it... until he does miss someone, then it had better reallllly be me, then: bub, mom, and dan.

**not too much to ask, i don't think**

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