When my alarm went off at 6:45, I rolled over, snarled at my phone and slid the snooze icon to the left. I didn’t feel like a woman that had just slept 8+ hours. Of course not; I felt like I’d only closed my eyes a few minutes prior to the beep, beep, beep.
After three snoozes, I finally got up and barked orders at the kids to brush their teeth and wear semi-warm clothes. Dragging my feet, I slid into the bathroom to brush my own teeth and wash my face. My daughter was already in there, looked at me and said, “Wow, mom. You look like the Grinch, but without the green face.” Thanks, dear. Good morning to you, too. I made my eyes open, looked in the mirror and saw she spoke the truth. My hair was all over the place, the humidity (no a/c in Germany) that seeped through the walls gave me a major frizz ball and I did look a little like the Grinch.
The funny thing about that is, I felt like the Grinch. Not so happy, just kind of miserable. I’ve been in this mood for a few days (okay, a week). Yesterday, it was so bad, when I went to the supermarket, I solemnly looked at the food and thought, ‘there is nothing here to eat.’ Crazy, right? A store full of nothing but food and I can’t find anything to eat? Yeah, right. So, I grabbed the safety staples of ground beef and chicken breast, some avocados, a can of tuna, a ripe tomato and a lime. I figured, if anything, we can just have tacos.
With my sad face, at home, I explained to my husband I was starving but the idea of eating made me feel nauseous and nothing sounded good. I was bored with all our homemade dishes, our trendy neighborhood joints and all the traditional German food. The foodie he is, he understood. The taste buds needed a party, so he made dinner – tacos.
Oh, the irony.
At least they were yummy.
So, this morning, as my husband and I made our way to the outdoor farmer’s market, the impending question of what’s for dinner loomed over our heads. We were there to check for shrimps – my husband is determined to throw a LowCountry Shrimp Boil for 30 people next weekend – which I can’t eat (allergic), so I distracted myself with strawberries, cherries and peonies. He had no such luck, but I found gold!
Anyway, after we went our separate ways, I sat on my couch, the small burst of joy already fading and wondering what to do with myself. Should I write in such a sour mood? Should I wait until the coffee sets in? Or, should I abandon the idea all together today?
I let my mind wander to see if it would find the root of my problem. I thought of the last few weekends that we’ve been traveling, and the upcoming trips we have planned. I thought of my dad and how he wants to visit this fall and how my best friend from college is scheduled to arrive in just a few weeks.
Those thoughts gave me another temporary smile. But..none of it lifted my spirits the way I had hoped. I’m doomed, I thought.
So, I wandered deeper into my psyche.
And, it happened.
I figured out what is bothering me.
I’m coming up on two years here in Germany. And, while I am thankful for the experiences and quality of life we have here (read 15 reasons why I love Hamburg), I realized I’m in the middle of a classic case of homesickness, just a bigger / longer affect on my mind. Most tours end at the two-year mark, and I am staring down another 12-14 months away from America.
That is hard to swallow.
No wonder my appetite is gone!
It’s hard to believe I haven’t stepped on U.S. soil in 23 months. The simple luxuries and conveniences of home hang over my head, taunting me with past memories. They whisper in my ear and fill my mind with all kinds of things, like – I want to be able to understand what people are saying. I want every ethnic food available for me to order, have delivered or pick up in a drive-thru. I want to park my bike and drive a car to run my errands, especially on rainy days.
But, really, what I know I want and need is simply to be around people that understand me. My language. My mannerisms. My need to smile all the time.
I’ve been the ONLY foreign service spouse in Hamburg for 23 months. I have no insulated / instant community like I’ve always had in the past with Embassy living. Being in a small consulate is a different experience. And, one I have enjoyed and appreciated. But, today, I am in the downside. I feel the rut, the raw emotion and the need for someone to get what I’m going through.
I just want a friend. I need a friend today. That’s it.
Until next time –