My flight landed in Germany 89 days, 17 hours, and 5 minutes ago. In two days, I’ll have been here for 3 months, and I find myself falling more in love with this country every single day.
I know when Americans hear “Arkansas” they think of farmers, kissing cousins, and pregnant women who walk around barefoot and can barely spell their own names. My husband recently spoke with a lady from Montana. She asked why his English was so good and he told her his wife was American. Then she asked what state his wife was from. He told her Arkansas and she literally covered her mouth and let out a derisive snort. These perceptions in regard to Arkansas are unfortunate and untrue – especially in the northwestern part of the state. Northwest Arkansas is the home of big businesses such as Walmart, Tyson, and JB Hunt, and it has recently earned lots of much-deserved attention by travel magazines saying its one of the best-kept secrets of America.
However, though I’m from fantastic NWA with lots to offer, I never could quite figure out what to do for fun outside of going to the mall or movies, hitting up some of the antique stores, or going out for coffee or to a nice dinner. If I weren’t so conservative, there are also bars and clubs available, but that’s just not my scene. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked with single women from NWA who say, “I don’t know how to meet people around here unless I go to a bar or club and I’m not interested in meeting people that way.”
I had begun believing that anywhere I went would be this way. If I wanted to have fun or meet people, I’d always have to go to a bar or club, but boy was I wrong. One thing I’ve learned about Germany… These Germans know how to have some good clean fun. In the past few weeks, my husband and I have been to a good number of festivals and celebrations and they’re such a blast! It’s free to show up, walk around, and just take it all in. There are amusement parks, bobsled slides, local parks, exhibits and museums, and there’s always a festival going on somewhere.
I miss the States less and less and love Germany more and more all the time. I miss my friends and family. That will never go away. I love them dearly and can’t wait to see them again in May, but as far as missing the “conveniences” of America… I think about those things less and less the longer I’m here. Aside from considering them for the sake of this blog, I can’t tell you the last time I wished for a garbage disposal, clothes dryer, dishwasher, or a larger bathroom sink with actual counter space. You always hear that you should learn to love the things you can’t change, but until you’re in a situation where literally everything is different and none of it can be changed, you don’t truly know the value of the ability to love what you have.
I love what I have. I love my quirky, tiny, European kitchen sink. I love the shelf my husband put in the bathroom for me to make up for the lack of counter space. I love how easy it is to make my bed since Germans have separate blankets and don’t use top-sheets. And, of course, I love the fact that these crazy Germans know how to have fun!
I was mentally prepared for an extremely difficult 6-12 month transitional period, but I’m pleasantly surprised at how easy all of this has been. Obviously, not every day is perfect, but life is good here. Really, really good.