Disclaimer: Excuse me for being a giant mushball in this post, but I’m just recovering from my blubbering stage. And, judging by the amount of consolation chocolate I’ve been consuming, I’m entering my blubbery stage.
My three weeks of constant companionship, eating out multiple times a week, and wandering around beautiful wintry cities dotted with Roman ruins and neo-Gothic cathedrals are over, which means back to the grindstone, by which I mean blog. Stone. Back to the blogstone. So, shake yourself out of your post-holiday slump, quit forcing down the Christmas cookies crumbled at the bottom of the cookie jar (they’re stale dad, throw them out), and tell the kids to gather ’round: Denglish is back.
And I mean that in multiple senses. I’m back to blogging, certainly, but I’m also back to dealing with my own Denglish, which, after three weeks of neglect (the only German to leave my mouth being the occasional “Ich hätte gern ein Schoco-Croissant”), has crept back into the recesses of my mind, and shows no interest in being coaxed out again.
But more devastating than losing my German is losing my Joe, who never once noticed if I butchered a word’s past participle in the moments when I did speak German, or if he did, nary a once mentioned it, good boyfriend that he is. (As an aside, one of my favorite aspects of our relationship is that we majored in subjects on entirely opposite ends of the collegiate spectrum, he preferring an education that lends itself to things like jobs, so I can remain “the one who speaks German” unchallenged).
But there’s other reasons I love him, besides the obvious reason that he doesn’t speak German. Reasons like he’s good lookin’, and I’m sure there’d be other reasons too if I sat down and thought about it. And it’s reasons like this that make everything just a bit better, even those miniature disasters you inevitably encounter when travelling. Waiting around for him in the Frankfurt airport for eight hours because his flight got redirected to and then cancelled in Zurich
isn’t quite so bad because, last I checked, Zurich is closer to me than Fayetteville is, and so it follows that Joe was closer to me than he was a day before. In the same vein, waiting around with a boyfriend for four hours at a deserted train station in the middle of the night because somebody (won’t name any names except maybe DeutscheBahn) screwed with the timetable beats waiting around by your lonesome. Waiting around with Joe was doubly better than waiting around by my lonesome because he has a Connect Four app on his phone.
And so it follows that if the crappy moments are even minutely improved by good company, the good moments are bumped up to best moment status, and there were plenty of those: shopping for presents at the Christmas Markets; laughing at him (jaded local that I am) dash from one side of the train to the other like a puppy on his first car trip, trying to take in every castle on our first train trip up the Rhine; having our first Christmas together (which was made even better by the deluge of cards and gifts sent from home – thanks again, everyone); wandering from Roman monument to Roman monument in Trier; dodging rogue fireworks in Munich on New Years (what a war zone that place
turned out to be); watching his jaw drop as he first laid eyes upon the Cologne cathedral; celebrating my birthday at Hofbräuhaus, as all birthdays should be celebrated; ducking into churches and beer halls and museums (what a trifecta) to get in out of the cold. Even that dreary, miserable, longer-every-time-I-walk-it trek between Bingen and Büdesheim was better because I didn’t have to spend those 45 minutes alone in my head, feeling like a crazy.
But now he’s gone, and that’s that, and I’m alone again (wieder allein, one teacher so gently reminded me), getting reacquainted with that feeling that comes only from spending inordinate amounts of time with yourself. And it’s not so bad. In fact, there’s some comfort in it: I sat in a coffee shop today with a book and realized with some satisfaction that no one was around to remark on just how much sugar I put in my cappuccino. Then I noticed the crazy mix of music they had going on in the background (Creed followed by that “how will I know if he really loves me” song – none of that namby-pamby acoustic dribble you’d hear in an American coffee shop), and realized there was no one around to mock it with, and it struck me again that I’m pretty sure this is going to be a long and lonely winter.
Still, despite all my mopings, I’m glad to have a routine again, and lots to look forward to: friends and family coming to visit, a Fulbright winter ball and a week-long conference in Berlin, Karneval, classes to teach, posts to write, grad schools to get into, German to learn. Schönes neues Jahr, e’erbody.