And so, five weeks to date after leaving my homeland, I am at last ready to begin chronicling my stay in Deutchland. My intent was to begin at the beginning, but it is just as well my plans were thwarted, as I probably spared you all from my first bout of homesick ramblings. Besides, I have only just returned from France, and it would have been odd to begin talking about living in Germany by talking about living in France. I meant to talk a little about my daily routine, but something else came to mind first, and that is the matter of geography. I find myself in Europe, but I am becoming increasingly aware that I really have no notion where exactly Europe is.
I know this sounds stupid. Bear with me.
Yes, I can locate Europe on a map. I can even locate Germany, yea, verily, even the town in Germany where I am staying. I know what my neighboring countries are, what their capitals are, their climates, and what I can roughly expect their landscape to look like. That is not what I am talking about. What I mean is that I can not seem to grasp that I am actually in Europe, and not just a long car drive away from home.
I feel like I am part of the Truman Show.
Five weeks and one day ago, I sat down in a long, narrow room with a small, semi-reclinable chair, and a very miniature window. I am told that that room was in a plane, that the rumbling I heard belonged to the engines, and that the lights below were Detroit. I know that when I woke up in the morning, the landscape below me was England, and not some funny moving picture pasted outside my window. I know I am in Germany, but I forget. Some part of me just can not really believe it.
This lead to some funny mistakes. While in France (alright, so maybe I will talk about France) my disorientation showed itself to me in a most amusing fashion. I was standing on the beach, gazing out over the “ocean,” and reflecting fondly about the family and friends I had over the horizon. (It is easier to remember they are an ocean away when that very ocean is before you.) It was at about this point my intellect caught up with my fancy, and reminded me that I was on the southern coast of France. What was before me was not the Atlantic Ocean, but the Mediterranean Sea. From the position of the sun, America was over my right shoulder and beyond a low hill. Before more, across my romantic horizon lay some part of Africa.
And just the other day, Andrea was telling me about the vacation they took in Denmark. Which was only a ten hour drive north.
And I just got back from France. We drove there. In a car. Eegad.
So, in an attempt to remind myself where I am, I recently acquired two large maps, one of Europe, and one of Germany. I tried taping them to my wall, but the walls here are rather poor for that sort of thing. Too rough for tape. I intend to look at these maps every morning when I wake up, to remind myself I am in Germany.