Update to The Art of Losing

An update to an older post, about the difficult side of moving far from home.

Travels and Tomes: One Expat's Amblings and Ramblings

One house we "lost."  One house we “lost.” Ripon, England

Saying goodbye to our home, our family, our continent—it’s been tough.  Right, right, we’ve been really excited about moving to Germany–and it’s great to be here having adventures.  GREAT.   Still, these things are bittersweet:  bitter and sweet, not one or the other.  My daughter’s heart is still breaking because she misses her friends back home.   My son aches for a familiar friend to skateboard with in front of our house.  And  I’m still mourning the hope of having Thanksgiving with family, of playing golf with my gang, of walking back into my classroom for fall semester at AUM.  The list goes on for each of us.

But these lists aren’t ours alone, and they don’t apply only to us itinerant types.   You can live in the same state all your life and still experience moments of overwhelming loss:  when you walk…

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Sunday Morning Photo Musings

 Petite Promenade, Grand Voyage

Yesterday, in Bitche, France/Hier, a Bitche/ Gestern in  Bitche


Click on the photo if you wish to expand it.

I stopped to look out over the rooftops of Bitche–which were so beautiful, serene, and orderly in a charming, hodge-podge way.  (Like all the most beautiful things–with just a hint of asymmetry to keep the eye interested.)   It took me a few moments to realize that I was standing by a simple wooden cross, and I wondered how long it had been standing there, keeping its own unwavering  watch over the rooftops of the citizens of Bitche.  And if those citizens had, like me, been largely oblivious to its presence.

At the center of town, the church steeple kept peeping through the rooftops to note our progress through the streets.

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But the watchers in Bitche were not only of a religous ilk:  along many rows of old houses, the iron shutter stops (“shutter dogs”) were decorative women’s heads…some still distinct, others weathered or rusted to a ghostly decay.  Charming, haunting, and resiliently  functional. The story of life,  n’est-ce  pas?


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And when all of the watching eyes had seen our small procession of four through the streets of the city, here is where we popped out on the other side:       (The small photo doesn’t do it justice; click on the photo to expand it to a larger size.)

Hotel de Ville, Bitche, France


A day of small wanderings, but a fabulous journey.    Surely the French have a phrase that captures this.  Perhaps, “petite promenade, grand voyage”?


 A few notes on Bitche:  

*It’s located in Northeastern France, on the German border

*From the 17th century on, Bitche was a stronghold and much of the old citadel still stands

*If you are a  modern history buff, Bitche sits very close to sections of the Maginot Line


George Clooney Flips My Pizza . . . this is not a euphemism

…or maybe it is.


Another reason to LOVE, love, love Germany:  apparently George Clooney has taken a second job spinning pizza pie around here!   You heard it here first!

Proof below= a close up of the take home box for our pizza.  (If I’d known it was made by the loving hands of George Clooney, I’d have eaten it all.)

So there you go:  a travel tip you won’t get in any Let’s Go or Rick Steves book.  Glad I could be of help.

He looks adorable in a head kerchief.  Who knew?
He looks adorable in a head kerchief. Who knew?


Unboxing My Life

I know exactly how Pandora felt.   Horrified.  Overwhelmed.  Ashamed.  But mostly just panicked.

On second thought, she shouldn’t have opened the box.  REALLY shouldn’t have opened the box.  But now it’s too late.  What to do next?  Run and hide?  Try to fix the mess somehow?

And me?  I’m sitting in a house full of boxes.  Millions and gajillions of boxes.   DSC_0259 - Copy I shouldn’t have acquired so many worldly goods…but now I’ve grown attached to them.  They are my life’s travels and my family memories  played out in textiles, art, and furniture, and I’ve dragged them halfway across the world with me.  Is that wierd/shallow/materialistic?  I have no idea.  Most days, I’d say it’s essential to being human, this appreciation of things that speak to your soul.  But today I can tell you that it makes for a hell of a job unpacking when the movers dump the accumulation on your doorstep.

It’s overwhelming, the thought of having to unpack and organize it all.  But it has to be done before the contents rise up on their own and riotously burst the seams of the boxes.  One set of boxes, all full of books, crashed over in the middle of the night–sending the dvds and magazine I’d left at the top of the stack slidding across the floor.  The message was clear:  Step away from the dvds and get on task!  Open the boxes!  Free the contents to their rightful place in your house!!!  If I don’t step up my efforts at unboxing quickly and efficiently, all the contents are sure to go into a full mutiny on me.

So there it is.  I like my stuff, but it terrifies me at the moment.

As Pandora said, many weeks later, “you’ll just have to take the good with the bad.”  That’s life.

If you haven’t heard from me in a week, send someone knocking on my door.  It’s just possible that  I’m  lost under an avalanche of worldly goods.  You can never tell what will pop out of these boxes once opened.