My good old jet lag made itself welcome at about 3:30 am this morning. We’re back home in Munich, which feels…like home, even juxtaposed next to a 10-day trip to California, which also still feels, and will always feel, like home. Who knows, maybe we’ll end up moving back there one day. I don’t rule anything out. I’ve given in to the jetlag with little reluctance and just gotten up. To stretch out the feeling of home, I’m drinking jasmine tea out of one of the beautiful little cups my mother gave me on this visit and flipping through a Korean cookbook that my dad let me take with me from his shelf. I’m wearing a favorite cozy sweater. The cats are bouncing around me, waiting for their tuna. I’ll make some breakfast in a few minutes and then go for my (almost) daily run before work.
I have to admit, I like this routine. A lot. It makes me feel sane and settled. I had a long talk with a friend back home about how I like living in Germany compared to the USA these days, about how I like my life these days. It’s the best feeling to be happy for the most part. I confided in her that the USA feels…too fast, too crazy, and even if Germany is only a little behind it, it’s still so very different. Maybe I just am better able to cocoon myself here, away from the awful political situation there (I know, not so very much better here, I don’t have blinders on), the environmental disasters, the changing social/cultural/economic landscape, the total weirdness around the new legal marijauna culture (wtf? am I just too old? I’m just too old). Actually, just re-reading those sentences makes me feel like a bit of a naive, sheltered fool with her head in the ground.
At home home, things were sometimes hard: confronted with the smoke of the Campfire disaster, wearing a mask to go outside, it’s like a slap in the face…you can’t ignore the environment for the next 20 years and cross your fingers that everything will work out if you do your part and recycle, take shorter showers, drive less, consume more responsibly. Over there at least, it felt like a call to action. Over here, I will try not to descend too far back into the cocoon, it’s time to look for ways to help more actively.
Thankfully, yes, that’s a rather season-appropriate word for an American, our visit wasn’t all about the smoke. We saw a great deal of my family, which was wonderful, got spoiled by my parents, who know how to throw the absolutely best Thanksgiving dinner parties, even if they’re a little backward and old fashioned about how one should roast a turkey. Thankfully (oh, there’s that word again, but that’s my feeling), I was there to set things right. (To spatchcock or not to spatchcock? Spatchcock, of course!)
We had plenty of time to hang out with our nephews, playing new board games, which frankly made me want to play board games a lot more.
We saw best friends, who remain close, even when you haven’t seen them for a year and a half.
We made and ate healthy food (my favorite breakfast down there: buckwheat, sauteed greens and a boiled egg), and probably talked about low-carb eating a little too much, although just thinking about my sister’s caramel (crack!) pie is probably enough to force me to spend 10 extra minutes on the treadmill this morning.
I took (more than) a moment to smell the meyer lemons on my parents’ tree. On the way back to the airport, we stood next to a family on the air train to the terminal. The woman of the family held a giant lemon in her hand, pressed to her nose. I smiled. She made a comment to her husband about how good meyer lemons smell. I turned to her and admitted I had 15 of them packed in my suitcase. She said she had done the same.
The smoke finally cleared for our last two or three days and the beauty of the east bay hills returned to breathtaking (in the right way of breathtaking).
It’s a moment in time perhaps, this feeling of home and happiness. That’s where I’m at. I wish the same for you.