Auf Wiedersehen!

Never before has time passed so quickly. In six days, we’ll be on the long, long flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco. I seriously underestimated how all-consuming this moving process is, especially with two little ones. We thought, as evidenced by the yoga mats and resistance bands and stack of books and board games we kept with us, that this last month after the bulk of our possessions shipped off would be slightly less crazy. Needless to say, all of those things have been untouched.

My thoughts, for the better part of the last six months, have been a swirling, jumbled mess, partially captured in bullet points on my phone and messily scrawled notes in my calendar margins. The combination of multitasking and small children and sleep deprivation has left me wondering if I can actually complete a coherent sentence at all, let alone finish a blog post before everything I had to say is so outdated, it’s essentially irrelevant. Finding the time and space to write feels impossible, or at best, an indulgence when I should really be optimizing nap time to organize suitcases or catch up on laundry. And yet, this is important. In some small way, it feels like a means of bringing order to the chaos and preserving the last little bit of our life here in Germany.

So here’s a little recap of the month:

Four weeks ago, with half a day’s notice, our movers came four days early and crated up nearly all of our possessions to be shipped across the ocean.  This was not at all according to plan, or in line with any of the documents we had signed with the correct dates. We’re so grateful for friends who kept our children for the day so we could pull it off.

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Three weeks ago, John flew his final flight in the C-21. Per tradition, we met him on the flight line with champagne and hoses to spray him down- a welcome relief on a particularly hot day in a tiny jet. Daniel wore his “daddy suit” with pride.

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Because John is done flying, we actually have weekends available. We spent our sixth anniversary and Father’s Day hiking in the Alps. We’ve taken six trips to Switzerland in three years and if we were to do it all over again, we’d try to go more.

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After our weekend in Switzerland, we had dinner at the little German restaurant in our old village to say goodbye to our old neighbors—the people who watched our dog and chatted over the fence and offered advice on German washing machines and the like. They were the first to visit us the day we brought Daniel home from the hospital, brand new parents on our own in a brand new country. It’s been a year and half since we left that village, but schnitzel on the patio and a walk on our old stomping grounds made these three years seem impossibly fast.
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Later that week, we shipped our Jeep back to the States; we’ll pick it up in Los Angeles in a couple months. I sold just about all of our 220V appliances and worked on organizing our unaccompanied baggage, which was picked up right before our move-out. This shipment is sent via air, so it arrives faster and is useful for sending things like sheets and towels and pots and pans- things we needed until the last minute here and will want as soon as possible upon finding a house in California. We spent the next weekend in Paris, a quick two hour train ride for three days of pain au chocolates.

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The following week, the last of the month, our unaccompanied baggage shipped, our temporary furniture was picked up, and we had a day to clean our house and get our remaining bags to a friends’ place for temporary storage. We turned in our keys, spent a quick night at their house, then flew out July 1st to Berlin for the long holiday weekend.  Oh, and Audrey is one! We’ve been almost too busy to think about anything other than the logistics of moving and travel. We might have to wait to celebrate once we’re semi-settled at a friends’ home in California.

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We returned from Berlin on the 4th and went directly to our temporary housing on base, which is unexpectedly nice. Our accommodations upon arriving in Germany were a bit rough, but with two kids on the way out, we have a three bedroom apartment with a washer and dryer in the unit and a park just out the back!  We’re pleasantly surprised and thankful.  This last week is full of goodbyes and meals with friends and last minute out-processing details. John is still pretty busy running errands around base, and I’m trying to maintain some sort of “normal” for our kids.

This season is hard. We’ve wanted to soak it all in- eating on the patio, taking late summer evening walks, squeezing in weekend trips, treasuring time with friends who have been our family here–but we also cannot wait for this season to be behind us. We wish we could fast forward a few months through all the upheaval and waiting and resettling. It’s hard to stay present in this very temporary, transient season when piece by piece, our life here is disappearing.

As I explained to Daniel, “We’re going to get a new house in a new place, a new car and a new bed. We’re going to get a new church and new friends and Daddy is going to get a new plane….” It’s a lot. It’s a lot for an almost three year old, and it’s a lot for us, too.

We trust that there are good things ahead. We have much to look forward to. But right now, when we slow down enough to think about this transition, we are mostly sad. Twenty one countries together, some incredibly unique flying opportunities for John, two houses, two children, a solid church community—this has been an amazing assignment.

“Auf Wiedersehen” literally means “until we see again”. And we hope so. We really do.

3 thoughts on “Auf Wiedersehen!

  1. Having been where you are on more than one occasion brings back many memories. Some of those sad memories of leaving friends in places that we’re home for us and many good memories of new places and new friends many of them are friends to this day. May God watch over you and shower you with his blessings. Take a deep breath and enjoy the new journey . Hugs, love, and prayers for you, John and the kids.

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  2. As always, your blog is tender, funny, informative, well-written with beautiful pictures…and it brings tears to my eyes. As always! Miss you all and can’t wait to see you. Big hugs for those adorable little German/American grandchildren.

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