Last night Ana and I went out to dinner at a new little Italian place down the street to celebrate that I have lived here for exactly a year as of yesterday. 🙂 We ate delicious pizza and then wandered the block and a half home. We live about this great little bar so we decided to sit outside at “our bar” and have a drink to toast to being here together for a year. It was a chance for us to check in and dream about the future which we have been doing a lot of lately.
This remembering the move has sent me into reflection over the past couple of days. Any big anniversary does, especially right on the heels of a birthday and exploring what can be. Has this year been what I expected? In some ways yes but in so many ways no. Am I still glad to be here? Yes! Has it exceeded my expectations? yes and no….here’s what I mean…
I have traveled to Prague, Belgrade, Sicily, Helsinki, Talinn, Copenhagen, all over the Southern Coast of Spain and up into Sevilla, Nice, Belgrade again, Budapest, and we have a trip scheduled to Faro, Portugal soon. I love travel and I love the access to travel here. Every time we visit someplace the potential place list grows. This is an incredible part of life for me.
The food has also exceeded anything I could dream of. Living in Europe opens the door to so many amazing foods…in Spain we eat tapas, in Italy we eat loads of pasta, at home in Germany I am a big fan of cake and pastry and an occasional sausage…we eat what people eat and enjoy it because…
I walk so much more here! My average day is about 12 km of walking and it feels like a regular day. I also have a theory that the food is better quality and less chemical rich here in Europe. The eggs are all actually a rich orange yolk color that makes me swoon to eat them and then I walk for kilometers along the canal.
I am thankful for a glimpse into immigrant life and have been humbled many more times than once. At this same time, I expected to be in a different place with my work at this point…either finding work along the lines of my career or being further along in my dream of writing a book. It turns out that just moving through a very different world than what you are used to can be exhausting and writing is intimidating and also comes at its own will…the muse strikes when the muse strikes.
I did not expect to start nannying this week.
I did not expect to start a little faith community and yet it is up and growing slowly but surely.
I expected to have more to show in product by this point but I am just beginning and that seems constant.
I did not expect to miss home so much every day and yet I did expect to feel that ache frequently.
I expected to learn some German and be fascinated by language and I did not expect to work my butt off learning it to be actually ok at it and it still be such a stumbling block. I did not expect to be reminded every day that I am foreign here but I am delightfully intrigued by our differences and love constantly people watching.
I didn’t expect to get so tired of a huge city and so frustrated so much at how that city functions but I am delightfully aware of the wonderful things to do here and rarely become bored.
I am so thankful for the friends that I have made here and still miss my community fiercely.
I am still learning every day about myself and the world and new things and I never want to give that up. I am grateful for the glimpse into what I love and reflective about what I need to be fully me.
I am grateful but also bemoan the distance between me and the UMC but my heart is wanting to engage just a little so maybe this is a good distance for just a little while longer.
Overall, I am thankful for my partner who is so incredibly supportive and has opened doors for me and isn’t tired of me yet. 🙂