So here we are. One week has gone by since we returned to Berlin on that sunny Friday morning. And we are still not fully settled in.
The last days have been filled with spontaneous gatherings mostly with our neighbors who have welcomed us back with many a drink.
The suitcases are unpacked, but still not stored away, waiting there as if they were saying: “Hey guys, when do we move on again?” And there is a possibility that we are not putting them away for precisely that reason.
As for other items that we have brought back from our trip, some in three big packages which we had previously mailed to my office, they are also still lying around here and there. Hats, drift wood, shells and little rocks from all sorts of beaches, arrowhead-necklaces, posters, mugs, towels, caps, books, drawings. It is as if these things would have to disburse themselves over time across the house, because we don’t want to put them away just yet, fearing that this would make the growing distance to our trip grow even faster.
The children have started to re-connect with their friends in the neighborhood and beyond and find it partially difficult, saying that it is not like it was before. And although we have only been gone for three months, we understand what they mean and occasionally feel the same. Maybe the fact that they will start school in two days and thereby a new phase in their lives with new people will help them. And us, too.
I haven’t fully picked up work yet but for one arbitration last week. It felt very awkward having to leave my family for a day after having spent three months 24/7 with them.
We have started to tell the stories of our trip, here and there with personal observations and thoughts on America, trying to convey what we have seen, what we have thought, and what we have felt. It is not easy. Do people really want to hear everything? Do we want to tell them everything? Could it be that some of our experiences are just meant to be kept between the four of us?
In any event, although we have recuperated from our jet lag and re-adapted to our environment, I still feel kind of lost between two worlds. I most of all miss the time with Minnie Winnie and the vast landscapes of the American West, I miss the touring with my family from place to place, these serendipitous moments along the way when an unexpected discovery or encounter just makes the day, I miss the American optimism which regardless of everything that is going on still prevails in my perception, and I miss the times with my friends in America, those generous and forgiving friendships who have marked my life.
I feel very sad that we are so far apart from one another. It felt as though our life trains had been rolling together for a while over the last weeks and months and are now heading into different directions again. Because just like me, they all thrive to live in the moment, trying to take the best possible care of their families and to be involved in their professions and communities full-heartedly. And an e-mail cannot replace a hug or a kiss, a video chat not the look into the other person’s eyes in real life.
In light of all this, I have been thinking much about what further impressions I want to share on this blog, and have been moving this around in my mind and heart this past week. As of course, we have also made critical observations, I don’t want this to look like as if I had waited until we had left the country to come forward with these impressions and thoughts on the blog only now.
I had thought about writing certain articles on certain topics all along our trip, but I wanted to wait until we had finished our tour and taken a good look at everything we had experienced first. And we are still in this process. But I know that eventually everything will fall into place. More soon…