Thursday, June 2, 2016

Ten Years

Ten years. Three thousand six hundred and fifty three days. On June 2nd, 2006 we landed in Frankfurt with four kids under 8, a stroller and about 20 pieces of luggage. Jet-lagged and without a word of German other than “nein,” we made our way through the terminal and waited for our flight to Dresden.

This is the longest I have ever lived in one city. If you subtract out the year we had to live out of Germany, (in Graz) and the four months of time visiting family and our passport country, you still have eight years and eight months. The longest I have ever spent in any other city would have to be Windsor—what? Six years maybe?

People ask us how we feel living in this land that is foreign to us. I wonder what it must be like to not live in a new place. But then again, when you spend a quarter of your life somewhere, it stops feeling new and just feels normal. For us it is truly home. And it began to feel that way—for me—about three months in.

I remember the day precisely. Not the date, but the moment. It was the first time I was walking down the street from our house to our bank, in the middle of summer, and I wasn’t suffering heat stroke. It had been a long, 12 years or more of “exile” in Texas that I hadn’t suffered through a summer. Then it started to rain. I was home.

I have left little pieces of my heart in several cities and places around the world: Borger, Windsor, San Jose, Temuco, Punta Arenas, Graz, Torres del Paine, Canyon, etc. But the day that I have to move away from Dresden will see me a substantial amount lighter.

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