So as of June 2014 I’d been in Germany for nearly five years and had spent the last few of those years in varying degrees of unhappiness. I was in a relationship with someone wonderful who had relocated to Nuremberg for work, and I was trying to decide whether or not to go with him. I was already feeling an ache to move back to the the U.S., but I couldn’t fathom leaving him yet. So I went to Nuremberg, telling myself that I could always move back to America.
One of my Frankfurt coworkers suggested that maybe Nuremberg would be the place that finally kicked me out of Germany, and ultimately that did prove true: in early May 2015 I accepted an offer to teach German at a boarding school north of Philadelphia for the 2015-2016 school year and in mid-June 2015 I moved back to the U.S., in time to spend a couple of months with my family at my favorite beach on Earth.
In August 2015 I relocated to Pennsylvania and launched my career as a boarding school German teacher, coach, and dorm parent. It’s been simultaneously the most insane and most entertaining job I’ve had to date. I really did not know what I was getting into. It’s great, but crazy, but great. For the first month or so I was back in the U.S. I felt like America was an alien planet where everyone happened to speak my native language, but Boarding School Land turned out to be its own planet entirely. It’s not like how I think of Regular America, that’s for sure.
I’m kind of surprised by how very little I miss Germany. I loved travel and I loved public transportation and I loved the cafes and the bakeries and how completely ridiculously picturesque everything was. I look at photos on this blog and think: wait, for real, that’s what my everyday life looked like? You know, just a bike ride down a cobblestoned street lined with houses that have been there for a few hundred years. Normal. I mean, I had wonderful friends and a great relationship with someone I loved very much and I lived in cute little apartments and wrote on the banks of the Main and the Pegnitz and walked everywhere and went to the Christmas markets and you know? There was a lot about it that was incredibly darned great, and I also don’t miss it. I’m going back to Germany in a month and a half on a school trip, and I’m sure that I’ll love to be there, and I’m also sure that it was the right call for me to leave. I’ve always liked being in Germany — that was never the problem. The problem was that I was also never quite willing to make Germany be my home. Pennsylvania isn’t home either, really, or maybe just not yet, but I feel so much less torn here than I felt in Germany. That’s pretty good for a start.