Goodbye Germany! (for real this time)

img_3080If you scroll through the archives of this blog, you will see several posts with titles similar to this one. I think I’ve said goodbye to Germany at least four times without knowing if or when I would return. But each time I knew I wanted to return, so I pushed to make it happen: I connected with a family to work as an Au Pair, I found an internship, I applied for a Fulbright and then a graduate program. I knocked on doors (or kicked down doors) to get myself back across the pond. I have not one, not two, but three visas from the German government. They’re probably like “Really, this girl again?!”

I say all this to show what a big role Germany has played in my formative years. I grew up a lot here. This country has taught me so much, and for that I am forever grateful. I have friends here who I know will always welcome me with open arms and host me on their sofas when I visit.

But I feel so much peace about saying goodbye. Once I made the decision to leave, I’ve felt zero regret or doubt. This time I am saying goodbye without the intention of finding my way back. Sure, I’m young and who knows where life will take me, but I am thrilled to live near family and friends in my home culture. I can’t wait to start my career and make friend and call people in the same time zone.

So goodbye, Germany (for real this time!). You have been true to me and of me. Thank you for everything.

 

The dinner that taught me how to taste my food

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I’m not much of a foodie. Really, give me some spaghetti bolognese and I’m a happy camper. But while in Paris, my boyfriend and I decided to book a reservation at a One Michelin star restaurant to see if all the hype about French food is real.

Dear Reader, it is.

The night started out a little tense. The restaurant was intimate and beautifully designed. But I was so nervous! I’m not a cave woman, but I am also not particularly well-versed in the art of fine dining. There were many, many forks to contend with and we were by far the youngest people there.

It was a four course meal, and once they poured the starter champagnes, I began to relax and enjoy myself. First of all, the servers were so professional. They attended to and anticipated every one of our needs (Bf and I joked that if we started crying they would silently wipe away our tears!).

Each course was paired with a wine of their choosing. We started off with a potato and leak soup. The presentation was gorgeous! The portion sizes looked small to my american brain at first, but they were surprisingly filling. Bravo, France. Bravo.

Then we had a beet salad with a mysteriously delicious dressing followed by roasted vegetables.

Next came the main course: veal with potatoes in a creamy yellow sauce that blew my provincial mind!

But it didn’t stop there. Oh no. The cheese plate followed, then some sorbet to cleanse the palate before the chocolate soufflé finale!

I didn’t realize what a difference it makes to slow down and intentionally taste your food. Because I was in no rush, I savored every bite. I tried to dissect the flavors at play and actually think about what I was putting in my body.

I know it’s not realistic to eat this nice every meal (unless I strike it rich as a writer…), but I am going to try to apply the same principal of intentional tasting from here on out.

Thank you, Paris, for teaching me how to taste my food! It only took 23 years. Better late than never.

A Big Decision

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetAre you good at making decisions? I am not. It is not my spiritual gift. In fact, I think one of the hardest lessons for me to internalize in life is that I can do anything, but I can’t do everything. Making a choice inherently means giving up the other choices. I ask because I have recently made a big decision. I’ve decided to quit my graduate program and move home to Texas. Boom. There it is. There are many reasons, some more private, but the main one is that the program was not the right fit for me.

As I was thinking and praying about what to do, I talked with my friend Sean on the phone. I was bemoaning how people might perceive me (re: You’re back? What happened? You quit?), when he said, “Micah, nobody cares.” Dang, haha! HE IS RIGHT. Nobody is paying as much attention to us as we think they are! Of course my family and close friends care, but his point was that if it’s the right decision for you, don’t let what others might think stop you.

My generation has so many doors open to us, that we get paralyzed. Decision fatigue sets in and so we just don’t decide. Of course, not deciding is a decision. So I’ve decided. I am going to go home, reassess, and move forward. Emphasis on the moving forward.

Remember friends, just because something is over doesn’t mean it was bad. I’m excited for this new season, and of course I’ll be blogging my way through it, so don’t go anywhere!

Belgium with Alena and Julie

Belgium really is wonderful. The architecture is whimsical, the people are kind, and the waffles live up to the hype. Alena and I stayed in Ghent with our friend Julie and did a day trip to Brugge, a medieval city that has been preserved and restored. It felt a little like Disneyland- bands playing in the square, kids licking ice cream cones, sunshine! I was ready to ride Splash Mountain. If you’re thinking about visiting Belgium, I say go for it!

How To:

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Exercise in the winter
Tell yourself you will go for a bike ride once it stops raining. Bundle up in coat, scarf, hat and mittens. Start sweating profusely ten seconds into your ride, but then freeze when you remove a layer. Peddle until your face is red and your lips have the consistency of sandpaper. Stop for a coffee. Stay for an hour. Ride home because now it’s getting dark. You have ridden one third of a mile. Repeat self-delusion for four months.

Deal with anxiety
Decide to meditate. You’ve downloaded an app for this very purpose! Light a candle, turn down the lights, make a cup of tea. Close your eyes and follow the soothing voice’s instructions to empty your mind…
did you take the laundry out? If you didn’t, it will get soggy…do you need to schedule an eye appointment for next week or should you chalk the problem up to ‘random medical weirdness’? And does your college roommate hate you because she didn’t respond to your text? Maybe. Maybe…
Turn off the app and stalk her on Facebook.

Do your assigned school reading
Get a snack. Your brain can’t function properly without fuel, after all. Stare at the PDF document. Read three paragraphs. Open Facebook real quick– post a picture of your middle school dance captioned ‘Throw Back Thursday’! Laugh at how witty you are as a way to stave off the growing guilt. Read three more paragraphs. Answer the pressing text message from your boyfriend asking how your day was (terrible), then return to screen. Decide to give up and do it later. 

Have a long distance relationship
Calculate the time difference between the two of you. Nine hours. Alright. He times his lunch break so you can talk for an hour before you fall asleep. First try FaceTime– not working? Ok, switch to Facebook video chat. The connection is still fuzzy, so move closer to the router in the hallway. Wave to your apartment mates as they walk past, trying not to eavesdrop. Give up. Book a ticket home for spring break.

Overcome your Millenial-ness
Make a decision. Any decision. Try not to faint because this means saying no to all the other possible options.

Act like an adult around your parents
Ask your mom casually where your W-2 form is, and while she’s at it, could she explain briefly what exactly this form means. Tell your dad all about your new job and how professional it is (the blazers, the coffee, the copier, oh my!), then ask him if he will take your car into the shop this weekend because it’s making a funny sound.