The last time we wandered through such empty rooms was the day I arrived in Mannheim, where we've lived for the past two years. The was nothing but a pile of papers in the dining room floor, a bed made of blankets, a handful of white towels and one curtain in our home. It would take weeks for our possessions to make their way across the Atlantic. And yet, as we dragged my suitcases inside, I'd never been so happy. I threw my arms out wide and spun in giddy circles that day, thrilled to be young and in Europe and in love. The two years ahead felt enormous, solid.
They passed so quickly.
Every day spent here is a cherished memory. Kyle and I have gained friendships, roamed a bit of the world, experimented with strange foods, learned a smattering of German phrases, and bought our first new car together. There were hard days, when we missed our friends and family at "home," and resented each other for petty reasons. There were dull days, which was a possibility I never imagined, convinced that every second in Germany would be adventurous. There were exciting days filled with travel and history. Most of all, there were beautiful days, when we overcame challenges together, and our love thrived in spite of all odds. I am so happy to say that I have no regrets.
|Kyle and I outside Heidelberg Castle last September.|
After a few weeks of leave, we'll arrive in New York in late October, where we'll live for seventeen months until Kyle's Army contract has run its course. Everything after that is uncertain. When I try to picture the future, the image comes up grey. We have yet to decide where we want to settle in post-Army, or what careers we will pursue. We're both split, half wanting to return to the familiarity of family and home, half wanting to forge ahead to somewhere new. I am grateful those decisions are a long way off yet. We have another home to fill with memories before then.
In New York I'll finally find work again, possibly return to school, and (hallelujah!) be able to bridge the gap between my "Army home" and "old Kentucky home" more often. Kyle eagerly anticipates being back among English speakers, and we are both thrilled to return to the many conveniences of America. (Twenty-four hour shopping is not overrated. Neither are free refills, ice, non-carbonated water, and the wide acceptance of debit cards.) I am impatiently looking forward to Niagara Falls, New York City, DC, and a few trips into Canada. I can't wait to see my favorite TV programs live again. And libraries! I have missed having hundreds of free books written in my native language at my fingertips. Leaving is bittersweet, of course, but we are so excited about our next home.
I will never forget anything about our time in Germany. We were married here. We traveled here. We did a lot of growing up here. And now we are moving on from here. I couldn't possibly feel any more blessed.