Yet another holiday is upon us, and it will be yet another we spend away from our families. However, re-reading this helps me keep things in perspective. Expat life is a privilege, and being anywhere in the world with my human, is simply the most I could ever ask for.
Being anywhere in the world with my human, is simply the most I could ever ask for. Click To TweetThe following was written June 2016, three and a half years after we started long distance dating, a month after we were married, and a month before we moved to Switzerland.*
Yesterday between rain showers I went out for a walk. As I enjoyed my beautiful surroundings from a path I’d never actually walked before, it started to sink in that I was running out of time to find other new paths there and that I’d be moving away soon.
Since eighteen years of age I’ve lived eight different places, and that’s not counting apartment changes in this current location. (I’ve been here almost two years and have lived in four different apartments). For however short those living situations were, all of them had an impact on me for some reason or another.
Mexico, where I lived for but a short two months. I turned eighteen while there, and will never forget being up on the rooftop with my cousin staring up at the star-filled Mexican sky and discussing life, what little I knew of it then, until we fell asleep.
Oregon, where I lived with my grandparents in the house my grandpa built, while attending a Bible school for half a year. My grandpa has since passed on but memories we made will be with me every where I go. My grandma became a friend during that time, and one of my biggest fans (I like to think) and even made the pilgrimage all the way to Hungary last month for my wedding. The Bible training was stretching I thought, until life afterwards showed me how far one can actually be stretched. I learned a lot and was a part of a precious little community of on fire mission minded saints.
Texas will always be my home state. I’ll probably forever be flying into and out of there, no matter where I live in this world. My parents and two sisters and their husbands are there. And though I wonder how anyone could live somewhere so dusty and windy, I know that I did, and I think, thanks to some amazing prairie-grown folks, I turned out all right. I used to think it was boring living there, but now when I tell people in Europe where I am from, they don’t find it boring at all. The grass is always greener.
Hungary is my heart country. I mean, I’ve heard people say that and thought they were being slightly over-dramatic, until that is, I had one and knew exactly what they meant. I moved there at the impressionable age of twenty and I saw God do awesome things there. Some of it was challenging, some of it uncomfortable for me, but regardless it was a time of undefeatable joy. The people, the culture, the language will always be in my heart. (I don’t speak it well at all, but someday speaking the Hungarian language will be second nature to me. I have a dream…)
In Hungary I lived one year with a Christian family in the village where I taught English and Bible. The next year was in an apartment in the city with the coolest curly head in Hungary. The curly head was my friend whose testimony originally even brought me to pray for Hungary, which eventually brought me to moving there. During that year I stayed busy with Bible studies, teaching a couple classes at the school, and visiting a children’s home. While I had personal struggles that year, I also experienced friendship like I’ve never experienced anywhere else. Another two months were spent in a little upstairs room in Budapest shared with the daughter of the same family I lived with the first year. Ber and I started our long distance relationship during that time and I survived and even somehow passed an intensely intensive Teaching English as a Foreign Language course.
Germany is where I live now, even though there was a time I moved away and swore I’d never go back. I blame a big part of that sentiment on rain. The first few months I was in Germany it rained, and rained, and rained, and rained, and then flooded all the way to Hungary where the Danube overflowed into Budapest. More than three years later and I’m still struggling to keep my level of Vitamin D up to what an alive adult’s should be. Living in a village of forty people and working on a pig farm (with children, not pigs), not speaking the language, and very little sunshine–well, perhaps one could say it got the best of me. I did however, make a heck of a lot of progress on the German language before I left (I mean I started from null so every baby step was something), which has served me quite well. Oh and during that time, I also visited Greece for a couple of weeks and Vancouver , Canada for five weeks, all while taking care of the same children. So that was cool.
I divide my time here in Germany into two categories. The rainy and the sunny. Before moving back, I googled “sunniest place in Germany”. I guess I owe an apology to those who believed I was following the Lord’s will for me life. I was actually just following the sun.
And here I am. Oh it still rains, but when the sun shines, I can go down to the lake and watch pretty sail boats go by or just lay there in the sun and “work” on my Vitamin D intake. I can explore the little trails around and visit the horse farm or the cow farm, where I get my fresh milk. It’s kind of a dream really, but here’s the funny thing….
I’ve left a lot of the details out of this post, Lord knows its long enough without them. But there were some happy times and some real unhappy times at all of those places no matter how beautiful they were. And here, just this last year, I really struggled with being alone and still not in the same country as my guy. (we always were just a little bit closer, and a little bit closer, but until our wedding a few weeks ago, we hadn’t lived in the same country since being in a relationship). When people said I was living a fairy tale, I said nothing.
I could say now that God taught me a lot during that time, and it would be true, but my heart knows, I’m immensely enjoying that we no longer have those dramatic train station farewells. And sometimes I feel like saying to God, “See wouldn’t this have been better all along?” But I don’t because deep down I know what He’d say. “Yeah but how would you know it was better without experiencing good?” I would know He was right, and that’s why I thank Him for things being just the way they were and turning out just the way they have.Of all the places I've lived, with you dear, is my favorite. Click To TweetOur next move will be to Switzerland Lord willing, and after that who knows. As much as I’m intrigued by the rest of the world, I actually hope we can settle down somewhere at least for awhile to recover from the last few years. But I know no matter how little it is, how far away it is, or how long we’re there, of all the places I’ve lived, with you dear, is my favorite.
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