529,600 Moments so dear.
How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
How do you measure a year in the life?
This song constantly found its way into my head over the course of our year in Germany and before we close the chapter on our time there, I want to dedicate one last blog entry to the experience. By this point, most everyone knows my long time connection to Germany. I first arrived in West Germany (Goch, to be exact) in 1990 as a 15 year old exchange student. To say my year there put me on the path to where I am today would be a understatement. I returned in college and then again as a first tour FSO assigned to Frankfurt. The chance to bring my family back to the country – and the friends – I have loved for so long was an amazing opportunity. That it ended up being for only a year, intensified the experience even more.
It is a rare opportunity in the Foreign Service to choose your house and your lifestyle, but that’s what we did in picking our dream home in a small German village called in Weil im Schonbuch on the edge of a massive forest. The boys participated in the same German school traditions I remember – the lantern walks of St. Martin’s day, St. Nicholas, town festivals (“Kirmes”), spring visits to the local gelato store, and Saturday morning walks to the outdoor market. Tony took Ma’issa on long walks through valleys and forests, we got fresh milk from the goat farm each week, we drank mulled wine at countless Christmas markets, and we were incredibly lucky to find two families in our little town who would become close friends and near constant companions (kids and adults alike).
The travel was great, but our everyday life was as close to perfect as we’ve ever had. We had intended for it to last 3 years, but new opportunities called. I wonder sometimes if 52 weeks of magic could have realistically extended to 156. Maybe, but I am content to have had 529,600 pretty spectacular minutes.