Three years ago today I stood in the Portland airport with a few very packed bags and a lot of uncertainty and a ticket to Berlin to move to where my love lived. We had been dating for a year 9 time zones apart and it was time to move to the same location. We decided it was much easier for me to move there with a more flexible visa situation in Germany and it seemed like the right time to take a break from serving churches for a bit. I was not fully healed from my life and was teetering on the edge of burn out and we all knew it. I wanted to take time to write and explore and see what would happen with this person I met and fell in love with. Luna would follow me 8 months later but it was just me striking out on this adventure.
I left on May 23rd to arrive on May 24th because we figured it was appropriate to be together on the first anniversary after we entered Santiago de Compostela, the destination of our pilgrimage. We had stood in front of the cathedral on May 26th, 2017. Our Camino family flew into Berlin a day or so before me to welcome me to my new home and to celebrate this marker together. It meant the world to me to walk into my new home, welcomed in by these fellow pilgrims in this significant way. What a journey those three years have been!
Looking back over these years I have been reflecting on how things are NOT what we expected but also some of that for much better and some of it for worse…lookin at you, pandemic….but we have been in it together. I have learned so much more about the world and about myself than I could ever imagine and there are no regrets about moving this direction. I miss my family more than I can ever explain and can’t wait to be back in their weekly orbit and not just on a screen, especially the nieces and nephews. But I have also cultivated real community and relationships here in Berlin.
We are in Belgrade until tomorrow and I have even been reflecting on this part of the world, amazed that I get to be here with my partner and have friends here too. Who knew that I would be here in this place and in this way!
Yesterday we met up with Ana’s cousin and her kiddos to take a walk in the park next to St. Mark’s Church. We walked around and talked and caught up. We talked about our wedding and our lives. It was a mix of Serbian and English and it was a lovely loop. In the background was the church. Today is Pentecost, the day in which the Spirit drove the disciples out of hiding and manifested in wind and flame, understanding and empowerment, peace and creative chaos. I was reflecting about how it was good to be here during this day. I wandered into the church while they all waited outside and inside, the Serbian Orthodox service was in session, with incense and red. It was a good moment to stop and pray.
How lovely that I get to be here now. How lovely that I get to go home to our Berlin home tomorrow and feel excited about that especially since after months of lockdown I have just wanted to get out of it. How lovely that we have these stories to tell!
And for us, how lovely that we get to look towards the new chapters of our life together and get excited about what new adventures will come. We have come a long way from three years ago and that airport picture. (Pushkin is at the doggy hotel livin it up….there will be more pics of him soon, I promise).