Uncommon denominators

Today we put down a deposit on a used car in a town we couldn’t pronounce that sounded like a slur or spit coming up — Eberhard got right on the used car search with his handy at the Bahnhof on our way to the beer fest, and set an appointment with a guy at a small used car dealership, both of them balancing unlit cigarettes in their lips and leaning beneath the hood mumbling manspeak, that universal knowledge that pretends to know more about things than they do.

We had some low points ending the evening, with Dawn questioning what the hell we’re doing as we sometimes explain it to people and it’s hard to make sense of, and she feels awkward leaving the impression we’re wealthy, spoiled Americans — suggests we come up with speaking points that confine the discussion, but I’m spun out of orbit and don’t seem to care what people think, and care less if they jump to assumptions about who we really are and why we’re doing it, and why I should bother explaining.

We made some bad assumptions about this trip, even though we started planning for it a year before we left; we assumed it would be better to home school because putting our kids into a German school and then taking them out, and putting them back in again when we re-enter the Schengen seemed too disruptive and too much to ask of the school, but we were wrong — the teachers have been so kind and welcoming, no one has given us difficulty about any of it, rather, they’ve gone out of their way to welcome our kids, even help them learn a little Deutsch.

And we assumed since she had offered, it would be OK to borrow my mom’s car for our trip to the UK but then decided it would be too much of a strain on the car (and possibly our relationship) — then assumed buying a used car would be more of a hassle and a risk than it really is, despite Eberhard telling us the contrary.

And part of the low was Dawn feeling like we haven’t seen as much of Germany these past nine weeks as we could have, that we will leave here not seeing much more than the insides of mom’s old house, the cobblestone streets here in the Altstadt.

But next week I’m taking Dawn somewhere foreign for her birthday, a surprise (in about four hours from where we are, you can see Switzerland, Italy, Austria, France, the Czech Republic) and this week we booked our ferry crossing from Amsterdam to Newcastle, 15 hours overnight, and when we get back from our UK tour if our money and nerve holds out, we’re hoping for a road trip to Northern Italy and Croatia, to treat Dawn’s mom and mine, and four or five long weekends to really see more of Germany.

I watched a video of the band Free singing ‘All Right Now’ this week and thought how burned out and fried, how tired they looked, and wondered if that was a common condition in the 70s for rock stars to look that way, that time between the explosion of the 60s and whatever it was that happened in the 80s, a passageway between the two decades.

The skin under my chin has started to sag that way it does in middle age, but I’ve published 43 posts in two months now since we arrived, feel my voice is changing, and I’m listening to those who say good things, and can’t hear the rest. Climbed to the top of the spider web thing at the Spielplatz with Charlotte on her birthday, thought how much fear can focus you when you’re climbing and balancing and how good that is, how necessary, until the fear becomes your only focus.

Somewhere over der Regenbogen

Somewhere over der Regenbogen


Categories: travel

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8 replies

  1. Gefällt es dir im Deuschland? ^_^


  2. with the voice-changing, getting a used car, and climbing things all going on, i’m going to diagnose you as going through a second puberty. and enjoying it a bit )


  3. I feel for Dawn…I too have had bouts of appearing to be a certain ‘type’ of American, so I sympathize with her and envy your ability to not be bothered by it at all. All assumptions are bad, if you think about it–but the fact of changing mid assumption (assump …?) means you’re making it work. As for sagging chins…well, I can legitimately walk around chanting not by the hair on my chinny, chin, chin…so I get you there. Your writing is stellar as always. Tighter.


    • Changing mid assumption, that’s good. Change is hard, right? You know that well too. Appreciate your feeling for us and empathising, having done this yourself for so much longer now. And thanks for the props on my writing, that feels good.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s funny how much we demand of our travels, like they should be metaphors for something, anything, when really it’s just living elsewhere.
    Stay away from Lars Von Trier films, is all I can say.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course, because it’s our travels when we think we’ll do everything we never have time to do in our normal lives, so we put so much expectation on it. I don’t know the Lars films but now I’m curious, of course. I can’t be expected to watch anything really. We’ve watched two things since we got here. Seems instead it’s the movie of our lives we’re watching, right? Shouldn’t it be?

      Liked by 1 person

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