Monday, September 04, 2006

Auf Wiedersehen Germany

My last few days in Germany flew by! I was a mix of emotions—full of anticipation to see everyone at home, but of course sad to leave. Wednesday was yet another day of new experiences. I officially “unregistered” with the district of Wilmersdorf (quick and painless,) shopped at new stores in Kreuzberg and ate at a new restaurant in Charlottenberg with Matthias. Thursday was the wrap-up day. I gave the apartment keys back to my landlady, mailed my last box home, and decided that unfortunately I needed to check a 3rd bag at the airport. Between shipped boxes and checked bags, I sent home more than double my weight in papers, books, clothes and “stuff!”

Thursday afternoon was wonderful! I walked up Pfalzberger Street, my street, one last time. Quiet and tree-lined, upscale, but very livable, it was a fantastic place to plant my roots for a year. My tour continued down the Kudamm to the Kranzler Eck café for a latte macchiato. As the bells of the Memorial Church tolled and Berliners bustled along the street below, I chatted on my cell phone, reminisced about my year and tried to savor my last moments of café culture. In the evening, I headed to Kreuzberg for one final cheese spaetzle dinner. Best of all, it was one last dinner with a big group of my beloved BUKA fellows:-)

My last journey back across town on the U1, through Kottbusser Tor, past the driving range and Potsdamer Platz, gave me some time to reflect. I leave Germany with thousands of fun memories, many exciting adventures, lots of new friends, just a few regrets (all learning experiences,) and no worries—I will never forget my wonderful year. Understanding how we (Americans and Germans) are different and even better, how we are similar, has been one of the most fascinating and worthwhile experiences of my life.

At the end of “Back to the Future,” Michael J. Fox pulls away in the Delorian and you immediately see the words “to be continued.” There is no doubt there will be a sequel. “To be continued” is how I would like to leave this blog. Is it time to go home for now? Yes! But would I live Germany again? Absolutely! I don’t know where my life will take me. But if I have any control over things, one of these days I will be back:-)

As for my immediate future, I’m going through culture shock. I’m finding it hard not to compare absolutely everything to “how the Germans would do it.” An additional shock was flying in past the NYC skyline and realizing that I will soon live there!!! In some ways, the NYC culture is more unknown to me than German culture was when I landed in Germany just one year ago. To decipher this “foreign” culture, I think a new blog will be in order. So give me a couple of weeks to get on the ground, but check out New York Adventures ( to see how I fare in the city that never sleeps!

Thanks for stopping by!