Two Familes, Two Countries, and Too Many Miles In Between

January 5th, 2014

You know, living a vagabond/expat life is exciting and I love it.  New places, new cultures, getting to live in places where other people only get to visit.  I am not sure if I meet the modern definition of a vagabond, whatever that may be, but considering I had not lived anywhere longer than 4 years since leaving home I would say that’s pretty close.  Wait, did you notice I said “had” not?  That I said because I have lived in Germany for over 7 years now, and that’s a long time for me.  A very long time.  I don’t mean that in a bad way, because Germany has become my Heimat*.  Not to take away from Oregon, because that is my home too.  I love Oregon, with all my heart.  I still identify very deeply as an Oregonian.  But now I am an Oregonian who is also at home in Germany.  Have I confused you yet?  Hopefully not.  And while I feel fortunate to have two places to call home, that also makes for a life full of compromises that brings with it many difficulties. Map Germany to America Take our current situation for example, being in the process of moving to the States.  Even though we are excited about moving to one home (close to home anyway), it still hurts to leave the other one.  We get a new house, but we had to give up our house here.  We get to explore a new area, but we have to leave an area we know.  We will make new friends, but we won’t get to see our friends here as often.  We are moving closer to one Family, but farther away from another. The list goes on and on, but family and friends are by far the hardest part and make any decisions about where to live almost impossible to make.  It’s really a no win situation though, because no matter what you decide somebody is getting the short end of the stick.  Luckily I think everyone understands that “we gotta do what we gotta do”.  Not that that makes it any easier, but hopefully that keeps them from feeling betrayed or that we don’t care. On top of that is the emotional teeter-totter we are on, and especially me.  One minute I am excited about being back in the Northwest, and the next I am sad about having to leave the Eifel/Trier region.  What’s even worse is the guilt.  Guilty that I am excited, guilty that I can’t stop making plans in my head, guilty that I know there are some parts of living in America that I will enjoy, because Germany is my new home after all.  On the flip side guilty that I just typed that, guilty that I will miss Germany so much, guilty that I am sad about leaving, because after all my first home is in America.  Excited, guilty, excited, guilty, excited, guilty.  Happy, sad, happy, sad, happy, sad.  AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!  My poor wife’s teeter-totter is much slower though.  Right now it is pretty much stuck in the sad position, which is to be expected considering this is the first time she will live anywhere other than Germany.  I am sure it will start teetering and tottering again after we get there.  I just hope I can be there for her enough to help make her adjustment as smooth as possible.  Luckily for our little Germerican they say that kids adjust easier, and so far I think they are right.  For him this is all one big adventure, and his teeter-totter is stuck on excited at the moment.  We’ll see how it goes. So I think the moral of this story goes like this:  This was the hardest decision of our lives.  For all those that we will be leaving, we are sorry.  We will miss you terribly and hope you understand that this is not easy for us either.  For those we are coming to, we are excited to see you.  But please also understand that we will also be sad sometimes that we are there and not here.  The life we have chosen is a dual edge sword that cuts both ways.

German Glossary

  • Heimat = Hometown and/or Home Country

This post was actually written in December 2013, so in an effort to catch up with unfinished/unreleased posts in my “Time Travel Series” and not change its meaning this post is being published with its original date.

11 thoughts on “Two Familes, Two Countries, and Too Many Miles In Between

  1. This makes my heart hurt so bad! I’m going through the same thing. We have this gorgeous house here that we have to give up and of course the family…oh man. As great as the US is..I am REALLY worried to find out just how Germany changed me.

      1. I can imagine! I’ve completely changed my opinions on many things! Except the fact that having the window opens means its “drafty.” That is one argument I will continue to have with my husband lol.

  2. Hello i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anyplace, when i read this piece of
    writing i thought i could also create comment due to this brilliant piece of writing.

  3. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked
    submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say superb blog!

  4. I feel ya completely! I’m an American who has made her home in Germany, and I try to explain these feelings to people by calling it “limbo,” although I’m not sure if that’s totally accurate. But basically, I feel like I’m always home, whether I’m visiting America or in Germany, and NEVER HOME! I’m always home and never home at the same time. No matter where I am, I miss some people and things from somewhere. But still, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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