Red Lion Posted July 24, 2016 Share Posted July 24, 2016 Just got back from visiting my family in Germany for 3 weeks. I had the best time. The town I was staying in was so pretty and I took a walk almost every day, even when it rained. The air smelled nice, there were tons of wildflowers everywhere and I got to have some of my favorite foods again. My family was awesome, really close knit and fun loving. My aunt let me stay in an empty apartment above her house that she occasionally rents out so I had plenty of space. Not that I hate my grandparent's couch or anything, but ya know... privacy and a real bed. While I was there the family took their usual trip to Idar-Oberstien, which I always enjoy not just because of the neat gems and fancy mountain church but because the whole family went and I got to spend time with my cousins. I'm usually a really shy person, not prone to making myself known or seeking out people for conversation but hanging out with my family was really easy. They don't sit awkwardly and try to make small talk just to fill the air. They laugh, they joke, they tell stories and if you have a talent they're actually genuinely interested in it. My uncle is part of a garage band and even so he's not a great musician or anything he and everyone else in the family give 110% to be involved and have fun with it and I did too. They were all kind and generous and found that I actually wanted to be kind and generous back. I wanted to contribute to their happiness because I loved and cared about them. My grandparents and I had a touching moment when they showed me all of the things they'd held onto in case I came back to them. When I was really little my grandparents practically raised me, My mom got married to someone in the military and when dad was on leave she couldn't really watch a child 24/7 so off and on until I was 5 lived with my Oma and Opa. Then throughout childhood I went back and forth when school was out but traveling between countries is expensive and as I got older the visits grew further apart and then stopped until about 9 years had passed between my last visit and this one. I kept touch over the phone and internet but with the 6 hour time difference and long distance calls being pricey that was sort of limited. When I got to Germany I was kind of nervous, expecting things to be awkward or that my natural inclination towards introversion and almost a decade of time between visits would somehow be the cause of a rift between myself and my family. But the minute I stepped off the plane my family was waiting for me as happy to see me as I was to see them. I'm not the warmest person, I don't like to be hugged by people I don't absolutely adore and if I just met you in line at the store I don't want you to tell me your whole life story. I find that most of the hugs I get from my family in the states are very lukewarm. They're hugging me because that's just what family does and they hug me even if last time I saw them was at a funeral ten years ago. I really hate that, how can you mean that hug if you don't know me as a person? I hate cheap physical contact, casual meaningless gestures made by near strangers that invade my personal space. But with my family in Germany I didn't feel any of that, when they hugged me, even so it was less frequent than with my American family, it felt like they actually cared, even a handshake seemed very warm. They all remembered my favorite foods, they wanted to see my drawings and when they found out I'm not bad at drawing they got me a really fancy set of water soluble colored pencils and pastels. They talked to me and wanted to know how I was doing, what I liked to do with my time and what I do for fun and I never once felt like I was being humored or just tolerated. They seemed so genuinely sad when I had to leave that I got weepy and when I thanked them for everything they told me to visit more often because they love me. I didn't even know I was missing that from my American family, who do everything out of some kind of warped sense of "this is a relative so I gotta" obligation. I kind of just took for granted that you like family because they're family, and for no other real reason. My uncles in the US couldn't even tell you what my hobbies are or what my last job was. There's a world of difference in being surrounded by people who like you and actually want your time and attention and people who pretend like they do but really couldn't care less. It was almost painful and overwhelming to actually have the feeling of being liked and cared for by a family, I remember things used to feel that way when I stayed with my grandparents but when I lived with my Mom and Dad I sort of just resigned to exist with them and try not to be a bother to anyone in the hopes that no one would bother me. Over time I kind of forgot how nice it was to actually care for and enjoy the people you spend time with. I didn't really mean to get so personal, but after touching back down in the US yesterday I've been kind of a mess of feelings and right now I exist somewhere between glowingly happy and cripplingly sad. I can't seem to stop feeling everything all at once. It's like something is crumbling inside but I think as much as I miss everyone and everything I feel like this is still somehow good. Like my life was angry and grey and some kind of hollow but now I've remembered how to have a family and when I start my own family, even if it's just myself and Gator I can do it right. Maybe if I keep hold of these things that matter, that are real and don't forget how important they are I can find a way to have a life that feels real, that matters and is important. I think I may have experienced some slight personal growing while I was out of town. >8P 4 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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