The Elephant in the Room

I’m going to start this off with a quick disclaimer. I am very fortunate to be able to have an experience such as living in a foreign country. Dreams are made of this. I am stoked to travel, to try new things, and meet new people. Really, I am. BUT…..

I am beyond homesick. I think I was a bit naive when it came to thinking I’d just fit right on in and get the hang of things. I certainly haven’t had a bad experience, and for the most part people have been very friendly. But I constantly feel out of place, that every outing is a battle. Do I have USD or euro on me? Does this place take an EC card? Will my food take 3 hours to get to the table? Will my kids keep it together to go out to eat?

I have met a few people and have become friends but it isn’t that well established friendship feel. (I know you have to start somewhere but in uncertain times you crave not having to explain yourself.) I miss my friends back home terribly, miss our kids’ play dates full of giggles and rambunctiousness. I miss knowing that even if there were no plans to get together that day that they were always there for me. I miss feeling comfortable and just relaxing. I miss my routine, as mundane as it seemed some days. I miss the Oklahoma spring, full of loud thunderstorms and the warm sun shining on your face. I miss spray parks and BBQ, listening to country and driving down the interstate. I miss the zoo, Sonic cherry limeade, and baseball games on a warm summer evening. I miss the ranch and I miss knowing we had friends or family relatively near by to watch the kids if we needed a night out. I miss my family and the mountains, taking a weekend off and staying at Glacier Park. I miss being able to be around for big occasions like graduations and birthdays. I miss being able to run in to a store and get out relatively quickly without incident. I sorely miss carrying on a conversation with the general population, or even just understanding what someone just said.

I mainly just miss feeling normal. The house is pretty much done, and slowly feeling like home. But the days are long, the rain seemingly endless, the internet and phone still not connected…leaving me to feel very alone.

I know this is temporary. I know things will settle and things will be great and they may have to drag me kicking and screaming to go back someday….but right now I just miss home.

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Pannenkoeken in Thorn

Pancakes, they have always been a favorite of mine. And having been eating them for 30 years I was surprised today that until now I had no idea how versatile these babies were.

Today we went to breakfast in Thorn, NL, about a half hour drive from our village in Germany. There we met some friends at what boils down to a pancake house. It was small and cozy and on the most picturesque cobblestone city street I have come across. Only it was raining and Sunday making the place almost deserted.

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Regardless, we were seated not on the quaint main floor but down down downstairs in the dungeon. Now stop all your negative thoughts now….this was no regular dungeon. Rather a room where kids could be cut free, parents could eat, and luckily no one else was around. It was fantastic. I ate a meal in peace. What a Mother’s Day treat!

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The dungeon/fungeon was complete with giant Legos and a climbing gym. It kept the kids entertained as we feasted on our pannenkoeken, which is Dutch for pancakes. The menu was pages and pages of what types of pancakes or toppings you could have. It all sounded wonderful and the aroma was even better.

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We decided to get 2 types and then to share, so he got savory with bacon and apple pannenkoeken and I went sweet with cherry and cinnamon pannenkoeken. They both were delicious, but I think the cherry topped out as my favorite.

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So with that, we mark two months in Germany thus far. In some ways it seems like we have come a long way….now with driving being no big thing, our house is set, even traveled a bit. On the other hand, it seems like it has been ages since I have felt like I have fit in anywhere, or had BBQ, or heard country music….. But I think that may be some homesickness creeping in. But that’s another post entirely

Happy May Day!

Spring has finally arrived here in Germany! Not only has the bitter cold given way to warm(ish) hazy days but there is also a day to welcome the delightful time of year when bright tulips bloom…May Day!

So I don’t know about you but the extent of my knowledge of this day basically boils down to glittery flowery crafts done in wee elementary school years and it involved fake paper baskets of fake paper flowers to bring home to our parents.

The whole maypole thing also puzzles me. And to be honest the only reason I knew you dance around it is from an episode of Mad Men. You know…where Don falls for Susie’s teacher? I wish I looked so graceful, a halo around my hair as small children and I danced around the pole…. I digress.

Maypole dance a la Mad Men

Anyways, May Day and may baskets and maypoles are all legit here in Germany. Each village usually has its own pole in the village square. The colorful streamers blow gently in the breeze. As to an actual maypole dance I hear it is true but I can’t confirm nor deny this as I was blissfully snoozing that particular sunny morning. Not really. I have two small children, which seems to be a better excuse as to why I can’t get anywhere on time.

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Now I also learned that there is a sinister side to May Day. On the night of April 30th, or Hexennacht, it is quite common for children (or drunk teenagers might be more appropriate) to pull pranks. Usually they are harmless and usually involve stringing colorful crepe paper into a tree. Oh so you have no tree so you must be off the hook? Think again. I hear that some poor saps have found a tree strung up to their house just for the occasion. This may be an extreme case though. Word on the street is that some pranksters don’t even bother with supplies and hop on to a tractor and blast techno (complete with light display) and slowly cruise the streets at 3am. GUTEN TAG! Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss.

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NOTE that this tree is not growing in the sidewalk. It is strung up to the side of the house. Ha!

What’s the point of these shenanigans you may ask? Well I asked and apparently it is to chase away the winter demons. So thank you to all that got punked, your sacrifices have allowed me to basque in the warm sunlight and gaze upon fields of gold.

Springtime in Germany is certainly a special time of year.