So when I left you last I was back at home and ready to go to Germany on vacation. I hadn’t been to visit the family in years and since I wasn’t in school I thought it would be the perfect opportunity. N and I both spent time in Germany that summer of ’97. My uncle bought an old ’84 green Jetta for us to use while over there… the only thing was that I had to learn how to drive stick – a few stalled attempts and a few more bumpy rides, but I finally got the hang of it. That summer my sis and I drove to our first U2 concert together (It was awesome!!! But the car kept stalling when I downshifted on the way home, so we spent the night locked in our car – in a parking lot, only to drive home the next day and find out that we had a hole in one of the hoses. I very quickly learned how to get the car started again while it was still moving!!) We were also fortunate enough to be able to go to Euro Disney with 2 of our cousins, thanks to our aunt!! It was a great summer.
I don’t know when I started thinking about it, but I started applying for apprenticeships (or an Ausbildungsstelle). I ended up interviewing, getting a position and starting it eight days before I was supposed to fly back home. N was supposed to fly home a few weeks after me, but ended up using my ticket because she was homesick. That was an ordeal for her… she got stopped at customs, because the beagle patrol sniffed something suspicious. She was freaking out, because she not only had both her German and US passports (we have dual citizenship) but she also had my US passport with her. As it turns out the bag that she had bought at a second hand shop had at one point had pot in it, and the good little doggy smelled it!!
I remember waking up one August morning soon after she left and hearing the news on the radio that Princess Di had died in a car crash. I couldn’t believe what I had heard and went upstairs to check with my great aunt to see if it was true. For 3 years I lived in my great aunt and uncles home, the home that used to belong to my great grandmother. In fact, I’m pretty sure the 1 of the 2 rooms that were my bedroom, was the room that she died in (yeah creepy!!). It was the oldest room in town and had stone walls that were over 2 feet thick, I had to wear a sweatshirt in there in the summer… and we didn’t have ac!!
The following April I flew back to IL for Easter and to visit my family. When I flew back to Germany, I brought my little baby – my puppy Sammie, who I had bought the previous year in March, back with me. The trip to the airport was adventurous to say the least. My little girl did not do so well with car rides… and she threw up… twice… before we even got out of town. My mom had to turn around and drive back home because N and K were gagging and crying in the back seat (not to mention they were the ones puked on), my brother and I were laughing our butts off and my mom was trying not to get sick herself!! It will be something none of us will ever forget!!
Let’s see… when I left the states the summer of ’97, I was dating a high school classmate who joined the Navy. When I made the decision to stay in Germany, I knew I had to end it. To me there was just no way that it could work out. A few months later I started dating a local… everyone said he looked like a younger version of the German actor Til Schweiger. Ours was an odd relationship and looking back… well… lets just say I have some theories about it and leave it at that. That relationship lasted about a year. I dated some guys on and off after that, but nothing too serious. I was young and having fun… too much fun at times maybe… but I was 19 years old and didn’t really care.
I started getting increasingly homesick. At one point I told myself that if I was still unhappy and homesick for the states at the time my Ausbilding ended (summer of 2000) then I would allow myself to pack up my dog and move back. As it turns out, life had other plans for me. The summer of ’99 I met someone. I had met him before and thought he was an arrogant a$$#*le (turns out I should have listened to my gut). K and P were visiting on summer break and K didn’t like him at all. I didn’t see what she saw though and we started dating. He was in a family business with his dad and brother and swept me off my feet with trips to Paris, Prague, Milan etc. I was young and naive, got pregnant (yeah this may be a shock to some IRL family) and had a miscarriage shortly thereafter. Stupid me thought it was a sign that we were supposed to be together. I ended up staying in Germany after my Ausbildung ended and went to work for his family. At first I worked in his office and then after another year passed, I started working with his mom in here boutique with the intention of taking it over one day.
I wanted things that he didn’t… I wanted to get married and have kids and although he was 7 years older than I was, he was in no hurry for either. He couldn’t understand that I had a hard time dealing with the miscarriage. We did move in together after my Ausbildung ended and we had been dating for a year, but that’s as far as it ever went. After being together about a year or so, the arguments started. The longer we were together the more we would argue. Finally, after four years I called it quits. I couldn’t take it anymore… I wasn’t getting younger and the things that we kept fighting about never changed. I moved out, but still kept working in the boutique. A few days later a woman called at the store asking to speak to him… no clue why she didn’t just call his office right away… she said he had left his cell in her car and she wanted to get it to him… I gave her his office number and hung up. I was fuming, but felt relieved that I hadn’t been imagining things… for quite some time I had thought he was cheating on me, but could never prove it… that call gave me the closure I needed to move on.
That Christmas I went back to visit my family in IL. That was when I decided I would move back home. As indecisive as I am, when it comes to making life altering decisions, I’m surprisingly quick. The following February, two days before Valentines Day, I finally landed back home.
He still tried to keep in contact for a while and made attempts to get me to move back over. He was even so bold as to suggest he go with me to my sisters wedding the following year. Arrogant fool! Like I said I should have listened to my gut when I first met him! Even though I miss my family over there, I am happy about the time I was able to spend with them and the friendships that came from it. I’m also so happy about the decision I made back in 2004!!! You can read about what’s happened since then next time.