Foreign Living

Well, not everyone spends time living as a foreigner.  In reality, when I married a man from my home town 20 years ago I definitely did not expect to find myself a single triple divorce walking in a German village to a grocery store muttering in my native language and noticing that the local farmers haven’t put seed into the fields yet and the horses look well taken care of.  Nevertheless, that’s what happened, but unlike with so many, its not because of my job nor because of my husband’s that I find myself in this situation.  It does remind me of the Talking Heads song….”and you may find yourself living in another part of the world…and you may ask yourself ‘How did I get here?'” etc..

In truth this is not my first time living as a foreigner but it is my first experience with residing in a nation where the first language is not mine.  The only reason I came here is because ‘we’ came here and the only reason ‘we’ came here is because my son isn’t even a foreigner but he had so little experience with Germany that he still felt and behaved mainly like a foreigner.  He is less foreign now, after 1.5 years of schooling and lots of time with the German relatives.  As he is also American, I am looking to turn him over and lose him…and he speaks American English at home with me.

Being foreign:  today, I believe that everyone has a version of their own identity “as a foreigner”.  One quality I find a little odd is how much I really don’t care about the language barrier.  I mean, I care so much that I have taken 400 hours of German lessons last year and am going to take more German lessons this year.  What I mean is that, perhaps because it is overwhelming to go from safely assuming that we can understand one another to being confronted by people jabbering at me in gibberish and then looking at me strangely because they don’t make sense….Its very different.  So, I do care quite a bit…but at the same time…there are ways in which I am almost shocked when I don’t even care that I can’t understand them half the time anymore.

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