…I packed up my whole life into 2 suitcases, a hockey equipment bag and 2 small boxes and moved to Germany. Newly married and having no knowledge of the German language let alone the dialect used in my new hometown.
I left sunny Detroit, a city I still love, to live in sunny Germany, Bavaria to be exact. It was love at first sight. My “new downtown” area reminded me of Cinderella’s castle. It seemed so relaxed and quiet and so “old-world.”
I don’t think I suffered from too much culture shock as I was groomed at a young age to live abroad. Who knew then that living overseas for 3 1/2 years in the seventies & eighties would have helped prepare me for the challenges that lay ahead in my life. I am so thankful for that time, it truly made things a little bit easier.
On the other hand, some changes weren’t so easy. A lifestyle without a car, dryer, Tylenol, Farenheit, Imperial measuring system (ex. ounces & gallons), TV in English, A/C, ranch dressing or Cheese-It crackers, to name a few. No family or friends, no job and the realization that English is not spoken or known even world-wide. What in the world was I doing here. Can true love be that strong to get me through the challenges I now faced?
Thankfully, my husband was so patient, caring, loving and helped me along the way. Not only introducing me to his own culture and the “how-to’s” but to new and beautiful cities throughout Europe. Also he showed me a simpler lifestyle which I find to be very satisfying now. He is my best friend and I love him more than I ever thought it was possible to love another.
Now, I don’t think of my life as different, but normal. I finally have accepted that things are different. We celebrate not only German but the American holidays that I love. I have learned to re-create my favorite American foods as well as make his favorite German dishes.
My language skills? Yes, I feel I can finally say that I speak German. I can go to the doctor and dentist by myself. Pick out a cut of meat at the deli area in a market. Order a meal in a restaurant and discuss shoes with a saleslady. I can watch a movie in German but…. the thought of an actor like Brad Pitt not speaking English, I have a hard time wrapping my head around. Writing German is a whole other subject which I don’t do well…yet.
I feel settled now, it took a long time. Even though, it is a harder lifestyle and takes more effort than life in America, I am happy. I have learned so many important life lessons along the way. I have been asked by many if we plan on moving back to America. Of course, I would like to, I think my husband wouldn’t mind either. But jobs and health insurance are the deciding factors which at this time don’t seem a possibility there. I don’t know if I am ready to go back to that fast paced lifestyle and Iphones quite yet.
For now I will just live in the present moment, happily and proudly as a stay-at-home wife. Enjoying every new day with my soul mate, living the Bavarian life with a touch of American flair.