Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dorothy, Meet Oz...

“Never give up. No one knows what is going to happen next.”
-L. Frank Baum, author of
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Well, I may not be skipping down a yellow brick road in a land populated by Munchkins and flying moneys, but I am most definitely not in Kansas (or Minnesota) anymore…

Stade City Center
Instead, I find myself in a land of crooked cobblestone streets and dozens of little bread shops where the words I hear are foreign and, more often that I care to admit, unrecognizable to my pitifully untrained ear. In this land, shops close promptly at 6:30pm, trains are never late and no one jaywalks (even when there are no cars in sight). The people are friendly, but distant and, I begrudgingly admit, I am homesick.

The Altstadt (old part of the city)

I miss the ease of walking into a post office and buying stamps without needing to rehearse every word I am about to say. I miss driving my car. I miss being able to read the buttons on my appliances. I miss the ability to call a friend or talk to my parents whenever I feel like it. I miss my dog.

But, in the midst of missing my old life, I am also learning to appreciate (and maybe someday to love) a new life in a new country. The family I work for is very kind and has gone out of their way to help me get settled in. The kids keep me so busy I barely have time to breath when I am with them (I am literally sweating by the time we finish our morning routine). The food is different but very good. And on my day off I was even able to go into Hamburg and meet another American au pair who is very nice and willing to be my travel buddy this year J

So it isn’t all bad, in fact, it isn’t even mostly bad. It’s just different. But don’t be fooled because, no matter what anyone tells you, different is hard. It can be something as small as learning to use a scale instead of measuring cups when baking, or something as large as trying to register yourself with the local police, but either way, “different” will eventually catch up to you. And, late at night when you’re all alone, different might just kick you in square in the face and then run away laughing. At this point it is your job to find a really sturdy helmet and a mouth guard because, let me tell you, “different” just got started…


  1. I miss you... I miss laughing and joking with you in the office... things are different here too..
    No Christina.. Hang in there you will be great!
    I wish I could have some of the homemade bread..
    everything you speak of it,,, hummm..

  2. Christina... you are a wonderful writer.. love every word... i can picture it in my mind..
    keep it coming ...

  3. Love the pics, love the honesty, love you!!!

    Hang in there kiddo. It will get better!!
    I love you

  4. What about me? Aren't I a travel buddy of yours for this year as well? I'll be there soon sweetie!

  5. Must be hard to try and settle in a country where you don't know the language. What a challenge you have given yourself!!! Makes us all proud of you. You'll come out on the other end stronger, and probably a little more fluent in German.

  6. Das Bark Sissy, Das Bark!!! I miss digging through your purse to eat your gum.... Mom says my breath stinks.

    Love Scouty.

  7. What about me, Arn't I a travel buddy too? Turks and Cacos, Washington DC.....

    Dad :-)

  8. Loved talking to you today!!


  9. I'm a travel buddy, too! Don't worry! :) I love reading your posts, you sure do have a way with words. I cannot wait until we are on the same continent together again! Miss you!!!

  10. Christina, do you have a phone there? When I arrive in Austria, I'm planning on getting a cell phone. Then you can just call me up! And we'll be in the same time zone. :)

    Different is hard--being homesick is hard. Remember that everyone you miss and all of those little things that are so familar to you in Minnesota will be waiting for you when you get back. It seems like everything is being thrown at you at once, and you don't have the option of slowing things down and taking these differences one step at a time. Eventually though, you will adjust, and it will get easier. Slowly, but surely. I miss you, Lovely. Much love, Kristin

  11. Dear Christina,
    You are an awesome writer, I really look forward to reading "you" in Germany. I hope you start to feel more "at home" as much as possible and that you really enjoy your treasured weekends to be a travel bug.
    Love, Aunt Janet

  12. Life is full of changes, and the only thing that would help you get through all of them is "acceptance". Learning how to accept takes time, but it's definitely worth it in the end. How's living there, now?