Friday, August 24, 2007

Here's to Summer

Today we return to Germany.

The summer has been delightful. There was a good bit of rain, but the sun was warm enough most of the time and the lake was cool and so were the nights. It was also a wonderful time for HH, who became a bit more comfortable in the water and a lot more comfortable scooting around the lakefront each day, chatting up the locals and playing Junior Lifeguard with his red shorts and small white whistle which he swung around on a short black lanyard, like the real Lifeguards, even standing next to them by the lifeguard stand, mimicking their posture. It was a hoot.
He also fell in love, as much as that is possible for a nearly four year old. We have a neighbor nearby, an eight year old girl, and she became something of an obsession for him this summer. Every morning upon waking he would ask after her and want to run out of the house to play with her. Then he always brought her back to the house and played with her here. It was not a perfect match however and soon she found a friend her own age. One afternoon as the two of them were playing in the yard, this older friend rode up on her bike. The two girls immediately ran off together laughing and HH stood forlorn on the front step and watched them go. She didn’t say goodbye - she just ran away. Eventually he looked over at me with just about the saddest expression he couldn’t suppress and asked me what had happened. A flood of answers rushed to me but I resisted the temptation to rant on the subject of relationships with the opposite sex. When it happened the second time however, he was really perplexed and I leveled with him – in a way. The next time it happened, and it was bound to happen yet again, he was prepared and he just turned around and took my hand and said, “Papa, let’s play.”

Yesterday HH said good bye to the lake and the trees and the little gate by the lake outside of which he left a small, blue, cardboard box each morning, as a signal, so that others could also find the lake and him of course. Today will see the scurry of closing the house and getting ready to go – something we have been working at for the last few days but inevitably has a reality of its own that requires a certain amount of anxiety to fuel. That said; we will make it and we will have time to say goodbye to the cabin and animals and to summer. Tomorrow night we will sleep in our old beds and begin to adjust to life outside of these woods.

I may have been too long among the trees because I can’t say I am completely ready to go. I’m torn between the reality of living in America (and this small cabin) and speaking my native tongue without thinking about it and returning to a world where communication is a struggle at best. VHS here I come.

Language dislocation is one aspect of the equation but the other is the fact that our home in Germany is just that – our home. We live there now and have put down roots. Next week HH will return to kindergarten, reacquire his pre-summer German language skills and take up with his small friends in Cologne while Papa continues his efforts to make himself understood. Real life resumes.

Here’s to Summer 2007 … I hope it was a good one for you.

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Blogger Carol said...

How lucky HH is to have two wonderful homes! And you... do you prefer one over the other? Is there a reason that you must live in Germany? You're freelance, yes?


6:43 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Hi Richard,

Thanks for your e-mail... but I have neither e-mail nor IM address for you. Can you send me either/both? (Mine are in my blog profile.)


11:37 PM  
Blogger J said...

Welcome home, Richard. I thought about you two when I was in Cologne on Saturday.

6:49 AM  
Blogger Berlinbound said...

Thanks J ... It's actually good to be back.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Alejandra said...

Hi, I just discovered your blog looking for other Americans living in NRW. I just moved to Dortmund this month. And just started my German classes at the VHS too! Any suggestions on how to get adjusted? Though I think Dortmund is hardly the city that Cologne is :)

aolivos at

11:42 AM  

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