Friday, June 15, 2012

# 286 - Going Full Circle

Our family has moved around through the years; we've lived in several houses during our 26 years of marriage. However, the house that we now have for sale is one that we've enjoyed immensely...we love the neighbors, the floorplan is awesome, it's great being close to downtown Houston while also being close to Galveston, but it's time to move on.

Our two kids are grown. These days, it's just Deputy Dave and myself; it's back to just the two of us, the way we started. So we don't need this big house!

The four of us outside our current house, pre-landscaped shot.
Our first home together was in Germany. The streets around our residence were picturesque. I'm VERY THANKFUL that I was able to experience living in a European village for a few years. I walked everywhere, mostly to the local bakery. But, that phone booth in the corner of the shot...there was one Christmas Day when I dug through my purse and our money jar for spare pfennigs (German coins of the era) and I called my parents and bawled like a little baby because I missed them almost more than I could bear. The sudden distance of thousands of miles was not easy to accept, especially during times when we didn't have computers, nor Internet access, nor cell phones...basically, we hand snail mail and those trips to the post office on base were the highlight of my life. And you can bet that I did my part and wrote plenty of letters to my friends and family.

I missed my little brother and little sister so much that my heart felt as if it were cut. My brother was 14 when I left home and my little Sissy was only 11 years old. I remember that being my most difficult transition of being married so young...I truly had NOT thought about me having to leave home and having to be away from my little sister. I guess I never pictured us being apart. Same for my brother, we were extremely close and protective of each other.

Anyway, in that old-fashioned phone booth, on a snowy, freezing night in 1986...I stood huddled in a German phone booth, talking with my mother --- in between my sobs --- forced to end the conversation abruptly when I was out of pfennigs --- that one phone call was extremely short, but cost as much as it would have if we had been out on the town and enjoyed dinner for two.

After that traumatic night, in a foreign village, trying to simply tell everyone I loved them...I learned to deal with my heartache because I could not afford to finance those brief moments of being able to hear the voices of my family members every time I felt sad.

During those days, International calls were absolutely cost prohibitive. Instead, you sat down to write a letter as your tears fell onto the paper, but you knew it'd take about three weeks for that letter to reach the one you were writing. The words would be old news by the time it reached them. But, you didn't care. You wrote and eagerly looked forward to reading every single word they'd write to you. I treasured my letters. To this day, I still have all of the letters that were sent to me while I lived in Germany. Yes, those are treasures.

Every year, our town in Germany would have a hot air balloon festival. The balloons would be launched from the field behind our house and from the front area of our home. Since our residence was located on the edge of the village, we had a first-rate view of balloons all around. It was exciting.

This is the view from the front yard of our home in Germany.

This shot is taken from our back patio, Heather and us are having
a picnic on the back patio as we're watching the balloon launch.
You can see the clothes lines I would use during the summer and the veggie
garden of our landlord, Peter is also in the background.
The yard with the high hedges belongs to a German neighbor.

Here's a shot further out with the phone booth in it. I always loved the trees, such
unusual trees compared to home. Also, the homes are so beautiful. I always admired the way a family would
simply build onto their home after one of their children got married...most families stayed together.

The villages managed to look unique while still appearing uniform, I guess from the stucco siding. I love Italian Cypress trees and will have a load of them planted on our property this coming year. Germany had so many various kinds of conifers that there was always an evergreen landscape beneath the heavy snows that hit this area every year. When we were in Germany, I felt as if I lived in a middle of a postcard.

Directional signs. I NEVER UNDERSTOOD why America doesn't employ
a simple and CLEAR signage system such as used in Germany.

This little doll of mine came from our "honeymoon" in Germany.
We were American citizens living abroad, so our daughter was
considered "Born Abroad" by American parents.
But, she still learned to speak German.

Here we are, well, I'm the one BEHIND the camera taking all
the photos, but I'm definitely ON SCENE --- this is the little pond that had
a walking trail across the street from our home in Germany. Heather and I
spent many fun afternoons in this area, walking, playing, and feeding the ducks.

The house seen in the picture above is a neighbor's house. The parking
lot for all of our cars is against the neighbor's house. The house we
lived in was next to the parking lot. And Heather's hair was super fine and short
 on top, so I could keep a barrette in her hair by using this method,
which earned her the nickname "Pebbles" by all the military guys.

Here I am holding my baby! My bird legs are still here, somewhere.
I look at where we started, 26 years ago, and I look at where we are seems we're wanting to return to the tranquil setting we started out enjoying for the first few years of our marriage. Back then, we though it was SO BORING to be in the middle of farmland, tucked away in a remote European village. Talk about culture shock! Admittedly, deep down, I knew it was an incredible experience and I'd sometimes look around at my surroundings and I'd focus intensely on all of it because I knew there are so many people who never get to see this side of the world. There were times, even back then, when I'd tell Deputy Dave, "We're going to look back on this one day and wish we had appreciated living here a lot more than we do." Of course, it was difficult to stay in full appreciation mode for so many years...we missed our family more than can be expressed.

Good news...we had each other. And while in Germany, we made another little human being in the midst of all that "boredom."

Even though I still consider Germany to be one of the most beautiful places I've seen, I do remember the every day tedious activities that life continued to pile upon us. Sometimes, living in the midst of a postcard setting doesn't show the parts that include dirty dishes and dirty diapers and an income that is equivalent to living below poverty level. Let's be truly fair about the entire experience.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

However, it sure is nice to wash those dirty dishes as you are savoring an awesome view. It's wonderful to walk out your front door and feel as if the scenery is ever changing because you are surrounded by nature's constant re-dress...more leaves, less leaves, broken branches, growth, blossoms and high winds can make it a new view every day.

I guess the bottom line is that we've lived the city life. We've also had our years of living the country life. In between, it did serve us well to have access to downtown as we were building our careers. For early retirement, we're trying to become established on our acreage. With that said, let me make it clear...People are fantastic; we have lots of family and lots of friends who we love, but day by day, I guess we've hit the age where we enjoy being with people, but we treasure our peace.

I hope to one day soon, maybe in 2012, if we're include a photo of our cabin in the woods as our last home. I'm not saying it will be our "only" home, but I do believe our home in the woods will be our last home. Heck, I have to be open-minded, we might win the Texas Lottery next week.


LindaG said...

Didn't you always wonder about why the people who could most afford to live off base were the ones who qualified to live on base? I always did, even up to the time I retired.

Of course I knew why. The government kept more of the money that way.

Never lucked into Germany, though not for lack of the Air Force trying. Did see Korea and Okinwa, Japan, though.

Have a great weekend, Lana. ♥

Anonymous said...

I have that every day and truly do enjoy the peace of it. You will too. The city is only a car ride away for you . I don't miss it , but I never lived in a big city.