We survived Germany and it seemingly survived us, and as Forrest Gump would say, that’s about all I have to say about that.  I am here to tell you that the Germans really enjoy their meat. Further more, they enjoy boiling their meat.  Can I also just mention that it was the hottest June it’s been in twenty-five years so that said restaurants that also enjoy boiling their meat also have NO air conditioning and THAT can be a somewhat challenging environment in which to dine, say, without barfing.

I’ll admit to eating my weight in german chocolates, Amsterdam waffles, and pastries of every variety.  Deliciously ripe strawberries and cherries were everywhere we turned. There’s also another little season that’s quite a celebrated event and that is Spargelzeit!, which is white asparagus, a speciality to Germany in the month of June and evidently worthy of quite a celebration, because it too was everywhere, always looking somewhat undercooked and sickly.  It’s more fun to say out loud than to participate, really.  SPARGELZEIT DAMMIT!

minus the ham and you’ve got a mushy plate of yellow, trust me

This is evidently what the hell I ordered but since I am NOT a big meat eater I asked them to hold the ham and well, then all you have some spargel and taters.  Not that there’s ANYTHING wrong with that . . .for your first seven meals.

Continuing on with the topic of things that were out of my control on this journey, let’s just lump everything together.  Europeans still smoke. A lot. There is no ice. THERE IS NO ICE. Most places do NOT have air conditioning.  These are the top THREE things I heard on repeat for the first three days we were in Germany from my incessantly complaining uber-observant husband. This began to wear me and my annoying optimism rather thin,  and I ended up bursting into the frustrated tears of a near nervous breakdown whilst strolling through the fairytale-like village that my Uncle calls home.  As the failed liaison of the trip,       I  got overwhelmed and emotional.  That happens in sobriety, so they tell me.  Feelings aren’t facts, this we know, but sometimes they’ll bubble to the surface when you’re not doing Jagerbombs to keep them muted and hidden away. This happens more often these days.

headphones, glasses, journal AND waffle?!? CHECK.

An overseas family trip of any type is stressful.  Couple that with finances, time off from work and schedules in general, it’s no small feat. Then you throw in extended family and a second language and a foreign country and you’re bound to have a little confusion here and there, amirite?  YES.  Yes, I am.  

I am here to tell you that I came the closest to losing my sobriety THUS FAR.  I knew I wouldn’t drink, but I have NEVER EVER WANTED TO SO BADLY since my liver decided it had had a little bit of enough in 2015. You know, murderous rage. The kind of slow burning resentment and slow building fury that you can ONLY have with someone that IS a spouse, a sibling, or a parent.  

We had to limp away and heal a little bit before we could come back to re-assess the damage, you see. Have you ever had something go so completely wrong that there was actually a point where you remember thinking that there’s no coming back from this now and the best you can do is hope to sweep your remaining shit into a pile-like mound and use every last thread of your sanity and composure to weakly push it through the door?!?!  HAVE YOU!?!?  Because I have.   On a scale of one to Handmaid’s Tale, I went FULL ON Aunt Lydia.  My husband got sick*, like flu-sick, and then I got sick. Our bank cards got canceled.  We missed trains.  I over complicated EVERY. SINGLE. THING.  If something COULD get miscommunicated, it did. We got lost daily, and not in a good whimsical exploration-y way.  In a “if I circle through ONE more roundabout I’m going to punch the first goat I see” kinda way.  

Did I mention it was hot?!?  You know what?  I DIDN’T HAVE TO BECAUSE SOMEONE ELSE DID EVERY FIVE MINUTES.

I should also mention that we took in countless breath-taking views, visited the legendary Cathedral in Cologne, dodged bicycles in Amsterdam, and spent some lovely and memorable times with some family members I rarely get the good fortune to see, so that, in itself made the trip absolutely priceless.  

statue depicting Anne Frank outside her home in Amsterdam

The other part, was, well. . . a learning experience?  My husband and I have both “owned” our behavior and we both know we could’ve done better.  Really, a lot better. A few week’s ago he cut his ring finger on his left hand rather badly and has been wearing his wedding ring sporadically since, so I asked him why the other morning.  “Well, every single time I put my ring back on, it tears the scab off.”  

Well, honey, now THERE is an accurate metaphor for marriage. Maybe our future doesn’t hold a future of international travel, but I’m glad (mostly) to be the one in the seat next to you.


*I actually looked into shipping a dead body back to the USA versus just cremating him and plopping him in the vineyard behind my Uncle’s property and then decided he could rot like fat white asparagus for all I cared.  FYI, this was DAY FOUR.


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