Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day 9: My Deutsch Family

We were the only ones without kids today, so I tried to get Chris to take a basket into the garden to hunt for eggs, too, but he wasn't into it.  There were 14 adults, 4 middle school kids, 6 preschoolers, and 2 babies.  There was plenty of beer and plenty of wine, and the appetizer table boasted stuffed mushrooms, spinach dip (with chips AND veggies), deviled eggs, and cucumbers with cream cheese and salmon.  We ate leg of lamb, stewed lamb, ham, potatoes, pasta salad, mixed berries, rolls, and Polish Popsicles for the big Easter meal, chased by homemade fudge, Nutella cheesecake, chocolate and peanut butter nest cookies, and a gorgeous berry trifle.  Do you feel fat after reading all that?  I said I wouldn't overdo it today, that I'd try a small taste of everything and then be proud of myself for not stuffing it in, but a taste of everything added up to a bulging belly by the end.  (I feel stuffed all over again recounting it now.)  It was busy and noisy, between the music and multiple conversations carrying on at once, and hard at times to get from room to room, but such are holiday get-togethers, and I love it.  It reminds me of family, which reminds me of home, and both of those things warm my chest because I'm lucky enough to have them wherever I am.

When Chris and I first moved to Europe from the United States we hadn't a clue what to expect, neither from living in a place as foreigners, nor from this semi-nomadic lifestyle.  Having grown up in one place, only leaving my childhood home when I married Chris and moved away, moving after just 5 years seems nomadic to me.  I have to say that the first year was very difficult for me, personally, as I always relied heavily on close friendships and family, neither of which I had for a while in Pisa.  Thank goodness for Heidi - she saved me from a deeper loneliness.  I mean look at this face.

Eventually I managed to meet a handful of people with whom I felt immediately comfortable, and since then, as the turnover of people around us is rather quick, have learned a lot about the different kinds and levels of friendship.  Before this life, I had a few very close friends to whom I devoted myself, but had no use for light acquaintances.  Again, efficiency.  If you're going to make a friend, make a real, true friend and commit all the way.  Then I learned a painful lesson about that, and the way I viewed friendship, as a whole, changed.  Now I feel I've grown with the flow of my life and I've come to appreciate friendship on many other levels, understanding more how regardless of how long we live near one another, or how deep our connection falls, it's the moments you share with the people around you that have the power to show you something about life, and therefor, something about yourself.  Every relationship holds a host of learning opportunities, through the joy and pain of it, alike, and I'm glad I can finally appreciate that, and not fall apart every time I have to hug a friend goodbye.

Which brings me back to this place, right now.  Even if I'm feeling particularly awkward or not especially social, as sometimes is the case, it's lovely to be surrounded by people who notice when I've not spoken for a while.  Living very far from family and the chaos of get-togethers in Florida, I revel in it here.  A house full of people and noise, children running underfoot, sweet puppy dogs begging for a little love, and stories and laughter overwhelm me with feelings of family, and I'm thankful.  Family is the friend you can call anytime if you're in need, the person who will tell you the truth then hug you if you cry over it, and the people who think of you when it's time to celebrate.  Although I miss my Florida family very much, and get a little down when I know what I'm missing there, my German one is doing a pretty good job here.  I'm grateful for that.  Something else I have to be grateful for, the fact that I didn't chicken out 6 years ago and went ahead and married my best friend.  Together, we are home, which is convenient since we've probably got some more moving to do this life.

Happy Easter, if you celebrate it.  Happy Sunday, if you don't.  Either way, go hug a friend :)

1 comment:

  1. Each day you are really finding a way to get your writing in, and I am proud of you for it. I am also enjoying seeing what you can come up with... I just read a line in The Book Thief that made me think of you. It's on page 80 - "Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, [Lindsey] would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain."

    Keep it coming my friend!