It’s taken quite some time to gather my shtuff together and publish these thoughts. I wrote this my first day here.
My arrival in Munich was right during rush hour and Oktoberfest, so it took us almost 2 hours to get home. We stopped at a gas station on the way for gas and beer, which we consumed before we got home. Welcome to Germany, Claire, have a beer. I’ve already learned that light beer means low alcohol content here, not light in color. I’ve also learned that the dark (draft) beers I am partial to are not really a thing in this country. Based off my first 24 hours, I will soon be a daily, “regular-beer” consuming woman. Cheers.
I am living in Bavaria, properly speaking. That southernmost part of Germany famous for great beauty and culture (and coincidentally, where Pope Benedict XVI was born). I can see Salzburg from my house, and there are mountains directly out my bedroom window. I love mountains and have always wanted to live in them, so this little perk brings me great joy every morning and reminds me that I am loved by someone who knows me and can give me freakin mountains to live in no matter where I am in the world.
All of this is somewhat surreal yet. I’m learning the daily schedule and details of my job (which are very easy) and getting to know this family. But today when I unpacked my suitcases things started to hit me. I’m not living out of a suitcase for the next few months. I’m moving in. My clothes are hanging in the closet, my shampoo is in the shower, and my summer clothes are sitting on the bottom shelf for when summer comes- because I’ll still be here. We talked about Christmas today, and all the things that happen then. We even talked about me eventually going to school, because education is so affordable in Europe, it’s honestly the best place to study if you don’t want to be in debt. (don’t worry mom, I won’t be here forever it’s all just talk 😉 The reality is that I have nothing to come back to the states for- aside from a visit to see familiar faces. I’m very spontaneous, so I mean, don’t quote me on this, but I could enjoy staying a few years. If that happens you’ll thank me because you too can have an excuse to come to Europe, and since I’d give you a free place to stay: that’s one less excuse not to come! Ha but look at me planning all that and I’ve been here 2 days. I’ve never had the final say in my life plans, so my for-real-right-now plan is to take things day by day and wait for whatever comes tomorrow with hope and a smile.
Some things are such universal traits you must either cry or laugh at their effects in your life. A few examples- Setting people up: Before I left everyone and their mom told me that I’d “find a nice German guy and stay out there forever.” Well my host mom just recommended to me today that I sign up for tinder, because “you never know.” or Children’s body language: the 4 year old loves ice cream and will pull tears or puppy dog eyes to get it. Since I do the same, we will be good friends. I may be halfway across the globe but humanity remains the same.
My host mom has already mentioned visiting refugee camps, she’s brought clothing down and plans to do it again. For those of you who weren’t aware, this was one thing I definitely wanted to be involved in and I didn’t know how or if that would work. God wins: I have mountains in my backyard and a family who is socially active before I arrived. If I had tried, perhaps I could have planned that, but I didn’t try, it just happened that way. 😀 “Hope does not disappoint”- I was so hopeful coming here, and I now look forward to seeing that hope come to a concrete realization. It’s common for us to feel frustratingly helpless in situations like this where there is poverty or crisis in the world and those of us in America sit at home going to work or school everyday and doing nothing. I firmly believe that there are things we can all be doing, yet those things completely depend on your current state of life. I am in a place where I am not tied down, and that feeling drives me crazy. I am so satisfied to be close enough to something that my desire can be channelled into action. I’m spitting distance from the border. While there’s no immediate effect on the people living here, the opportunity is close enough to be impossible to ignore. I LOVE THIS.
Since this is a first meeting between myself and the family, the past day has been full of loaded conversation: the good kind where you get to know someone. We’ve talked about so many things, both about past history, current states of being, family, and friends, and future escapades and opportunities. I could go on about all that is coming, but I won’t get ahead of myself. I’ll leave stories to be actualized before I share them with you all. I travel smart, but I’m not afraid to try new things, which isn’t always the safest choice. So I can promise you that my foolishness will result in good stories for you to laugh about. God’s providence and insanely intense love for me will result in some fantastic moments where I’ll have the opportunity to live life fully. I’m in Bavaria so prepare for beauty. I’m by myself so the odds are ever in my favor for… well… that remains to be seen.