Wrigley Field, Chicago–100 years old today

I promised to regale you with tales of travels abroad, but I’m still stateside and this is an important digression…

Consider this:

  • Today is Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday
  • Wrigley falls within the realm of my travels.  We lived in Chicago ’92-94 and had an apartment with a view of Wrigley Field. (Granted, you had to look over the transient hotel across the street, and all of the fire engines regularly gathered there when the tenants threw flaming mattresses out the windows.  But if you could pull your eyes away from that spectacle, Wrigley Field stood proud in the distance.)
  • There’s nothing better than a Cubs game,  a chili dog,  and a 7th inning stretch with Harry Carray and company singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
  • And who cares if the Cubs aren’t known for winning?  They’re known for the billy goat curse–that’s far more interesting. (Don’t know it?  Look it up–it involves a tavern owner and his smelly billy goat being expelled from the park in the 30’s or 40’s.  The owner, subsequently, cursed Wrigley Field.  Silly?  The team hasn’t gone to the world series since the 40’s.  I’m just sayin’.  A goat curse is way cooler than a winning streak.)

So today I’m celebrating America’s best:  Cubs baseball, chili dogs, and maybe I’ll even serve up a little apple pie.  God Bless America!

Check out this amusing article on CBS: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/wrigley-field-celebrates-100th-birthday/



Spoke too soon…

Here I am starting a new blog and very excited about it–can’t wait to share the joys,  surprises, and oddities of our life abroad. I’m excited, but I’m up to my earlobes in moving papers and moving boxes for the next two months, so it occurs to me that I’ve stepped up to the microphone too soon.

Ta-Da! Here’s my blog on living abroad. Only, oops, I’m not abroad yet. I’m still packing. So… Yeh… What to talk about now. . .

Well, for starters, the “place” I am right now isn’t Alabama or Germany.  It’s some strange no man’s land that you find yourself suddenly inhabiting when you’re knee deep in an overseas move.  My feet are still on Dixie soil, but my mind is racing manically, and exhaustingly,  between Deutschland and Bama.  Even when I take a moment to calm it and just focus on something relaxing, I find myself conflicted:  I start to daydream about how fabulous the Christmas Markets will be in Germany (Gluhwein, and chocolates, and snow…oh my!)  and find myself suddenly jumping up for my car keys, shouting, “I’ll be back, I just need to run to Macy’s and see if winter coats are on sale!”

Note to self: mantra of the week = be still and breathe.  No doubt, it will be a cyclical pattern: be still and breathe; run out and buy coats; be still and breathe; pack up items for storage; be still and breathe; run out and buy snow boots; be…you get the picture.

And I’ll revisit the blog in between, maybe reminisce about our last trip to Germany.  We’ve been there as travelers a few times.  In fact, my daughter was born in Heidelberg 14 years ago.  We weren’t living there at the time, we were living on the Turkish Mediterranean, but our local hospital had a few issues, so we opted to spend the Christmas season with family in Germany and have her there…but I’ll go into that story some other day.  Right now, I have to run off and buy coats.

december 2008 008
Last big snow storm we were in, and the last time my kids owned real winter coats–Ripon, England 2009


And now for something completely different. . .

Snow in Ripon, England. Winter of 2009.
Snow in Ripon, England. Winter of 2009.

I should have seen it coming, this business of pulling up stakes and moving overseas again. All the signs were there. And I was no novice.

But I didn’t.

Back at Christmas, I told my sister that I thought something was coming on. I felt a re-invention, a sea change, just on the horizon, but I couldn’t pin down just what it was going to be about. A midlife crisis, I assumed. (At 47, that’s what you always assume.)

Scroll out by a few weeks, and I would find myself in the kitchen of my Montgomery, Alabama home, drinking coffee and looking out the window at snowfall. Yes, SNOWFALL. In Alabama. THAT, my friends, is a seismic event. And here’s the thing about seismic events: sometimes they are the main show, sometimes they are the aftershock, and sometimes they are the foreshock. The rumblings of something bigger to come.

Silly me, I treated this snow as an aftershock. I got nostalgic for the 4 years we’d spent living in Yorkshire, England–the cold, wet, and absolutely glorious years. Since moving back stateside, we’d been in the Deep South–just as wet as England (not usually rainy, but so muggy that you could wring your shirt out and collect a trough of water most summer days), but never, NO NEVER, snowy. Yet, here I was. Drinking coffee and watching downy flakes fall. Ah, nostalgia.

Scroll out by a few weeks again. My husband has just returned from a two week business trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. Home 36 hours. Sitting across the breakfast table over still-warm coffee. And comes the shock. Not the vague rumblings of something at a distance. The main event. “I got an email before you woke up this morning.” I sip my coffee and turn a sleepy Sunday morning eye his way. “We’re moving to Germany.” I choke on my coffee, splutter, and mutter, “What?” I don’t remember exactly the conversation that ensued, except (and this I’m not proud of) a threat that if this was his idea of a joke, bad things–seriously, seriously bad things–would come his way.

Suddenly it all made sense. The sea change. The rumblings of something on the horizon. The re-invention, the tough changes, the big adventure–the whole enchilada, man.

So, now, the hard part begins. Tying up the loose ends of our life here. Packing up our worldly goods. Figuring out the logistics of an overseas move. Comforting our kids, who are leaving a great life they know and love. Moves are hard; hard and sharp edged. But I keep putting my ear to the ground and hearing those rumblings of something out there, just a few short weeks away now. Something big and astonishing. Another chapter in our lives as expats. New travels, new customs, new eyes to see a new world.

I’ll send you postcards from the road.