Sunday, January 18, 2009

21... the number of times Savannah, Mariah, and I have crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

This week marks the 1st anniversary of our latest flight home. On January 21, 2008 as our plane descended onto the runway at Dulles International Airport, I was amazed at the rush bittersweet feelings washing over me. So relieved to be safely home again, but already missing much of what made our total of 6.5 years in Germany not just tolerable, but incredibly enjoyable.

And not just the Autobahn and the wiener schnitzel. The people of Germany aren't typically known for their warmth or tact, but their curiosity about us seemed to morph into genuine fondness. And it was totally reciprocated. I became fascinated with their culture. I took every opportunity to speak their language and even though my German was far from perfect, it was obvious that they appreciated the effort.

Funny Story:

Soon after we arrived in Germany, we decided to drive-thru a McDonald's for the very first time. James gets to the speaker box and instead of asking, "Sprechen Sie English?", he bellows, "Sprechen Sie Deutsch?": mistakenly asking the German cashier if he spoke German.

Cashier: "Uh...ja."

Told you ~ I love those people.

The beauty of the country itself is simply breathtaking. We've witnessed everything from the contemporary skylines of Hessen to the majestic Alps in Bavaria to the amazing wine country in Rhineland. Everywhere we looked was something else incredible to see or do.

What an awesome opportunity to live abroad. It has changed our perspective--given us a new view of the world and our place in it. We'll never forget it.

As I look back on our first year back here in the States, I am also struck by how good it is to be home. Not to say we don't have moments of pure nostalgia and longings for things of The Old Country , but there is truly no place like home.

Target, and Wal-Mart, and Sears! Oh my! Target, and Wal-Mart, and Sears! Oh my!

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