Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Being Home

Being home has been wonderful:

  • We get to see friends and family again.
  • We have a large washing machine and a dryer that actually dries our clothes (and I get to wash AND dry at the same time!)
  • We get to be in our own beds again.
  • The monitors on our computers (versus our laptops) seem humongous.
  • I get to bump into friendly faces when out and about (bumped into one friend at the airport when we returned home and one friend the next day at the market). 
  • We get to navigate a health system we are familiar with (no matter how much we like to complain about it). 
  • Shopping is faster as we know where items are and what they are called (and we're familiar with the brand names).
  • We have much more and don't have to "go without" (ketchup, extra blankets, stockpiles of toilet paper, canned soups, etc.)
  • Access to all YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, etc. (no longer getting, "I'm sorry that is not authorised to play in your country" type of errors).
  • Ability to understand instructions, websites, answers. Not just in understanding the language, but in the culture of how things are done. 
  • Feeling comfortable I'm not going to make a huge embarrassing mistake at all times.

I loved coming home to
see fall in full swing,
we didn't miss all of it!

But, it is amazing to me how much I miss our lifestyle in Berlin:

  • Not living in excess (only buying what we really need versus what we want), learning to live a more simple lifestyle.
  • Reading more instead of watching so much TV or other media.
  • Going out and exploring something new almost every day. Living in an area where we have not gotten "bored" or jaded, but a place that seems to sparkle because it's still fresh and new to us.
  • Never having a need for our own car.
  • Being able to walk to the market and to dinner whenever we wanted to.
  • Having access to new foods all the time.
  • Hearing the church bells ring all day.
  • Enjoying history (never been a fan of history, but I found living in an area steeped with history brought to life an interest in the past). 
  • Feeling freedom. Free to do what we want to do and see and not what *should*. Free from outside pressures and opinions. Just really able to focus on what our family needs at each moment.

I'm sure these are not complete lists. More will come to mind as we get over our jet lag and are able to spend more time reflecting on our experiences. But this is what comes to mind at the moment.

So, as we settle back into our routines here, we will strive to find a way to keep some of these lifestyle changes, when possible. I want to find the compromise between a life of excess and a life of simplicity. I think, for me, the biggest surprise is that I ended up enjoying living in another country way more than I though possible. I definitely enjoyed it more than traveling. I do enjoy traveling, but it's exhausting. Living somewhere new was a bit slower paced and yet filled with so many new experiences. It was truly a fantastic three months. 

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