Some of you may know, but some may not, that Carlos and I are moving to Germany. Soon. In late July, to be exact. It sounds like news, but really we’ve been planning this since the day when, over a year ago, when Carlos and I had just started dating, I once casually asked him if he’d like to move to Germany with me, and he said, “Great! When are we leaving??” I think that’s when I fell in love with him.
We’re moving because we think the economy is better in Germany, because there will be more opportunities for an IT guy like him, more opportunities for an anthropologist like me, because it will be a better balance between Spanish laid-back-ness and American efficiency and productiveness, because we want to learn German, and basically, just because we feel like it. Plus…there’s bratwurst, giant pretzels, pumpernickel and black forest cake. What’s not to love?
I love the idea of going somewhere new. I’ve been itching to see a different world for some time now, and everything about moving to Germany seems exciting. We can’t wait to be in a place where people won’t smoke in our faces, where trains will arrive on time, where it won’t rain sideways, and where heat just comes standard in homes.
But…sometimes I realize how comfortable I’ve gotten here. Despite being a foreigner and speaking a different language, Spanish life has become second nature to me. I take for granted that I can watch television and understand jokes, recognize celebrities, or follow a high-paced political debate. I take for granted that I know about the government, the Spanish sense of identity, and the issues currently facing the country. I take for granted that the waiters at bars recognize me and smile when I walk in. I take for granted that I know where everything is, and that people mistake me for a local on numerous occasions. I take for granted that I know all the old couples in town, and that I know on which floor of our 7-story building each of my neighbors lives. I take for granted that I am able (as I did today) to try out for a Spanish game show…even if I didn’t make it. I take for granted that I know enough Spanish to be able to make up stupid jokes (que tienes cuando cruzas un perro y un gato? un pato!), to understand extreme street slang, to read the newspaper every Sunday without a problem. I know which Spanish brand of laundry detergent I like, which Spanish toothpaste I prefer, and which fruit stand has the best deals. I know the difference between fresa and freson, all kinds of grapes, and can easily differentiate between innumerable Spanish cheeses, wines, and kinds of ham. Everything here is comfortable. I will miss that. It’s like leaving home.
I am preparing now for headaches, wrinkled brows, many “Wie bitte?”s and “entschuldigung”s, many wrong turns, upside-down maps, detours, frustrations, and a whole lot of sausage tasting. Germany’s not home yet, but someday, it will be.
It’s always an adventure.