Well, I've made it back to America! And it looks exactly the same. Literally, the only thing that I've noticed is an RV-dealership closed and moved down the street. That is literally the only thing. Craziness.
Anyway, I am having trouble getting used to this ridiculous keyboard... I mean, who thought it was a good idea to switch the y and z keys? And why can't I find the question mark or the apostrophe?! That is going to take some getting used to. Plus, you know, the whole speaking English every day because I can't speak German if I want anyone to understand me. But yeah, that's life.
My last few days in Europe were pretty special... I had a final "youth" (heh) Stammtisch on Friday, with Jess and Helge, and Thorsten showed up after Jess had left. We discussed my upcoming transition, and they gave me a list of German book recommendations.
Friday brought my last grown-up Stammtisch, and I will admit, I teared up on the way home. They (well, Heinz, actually) got me a book about Wittenberg and everyone signed it. It was the first moment that I actually felt like I was leaving - and I didn't like it one bit. Then I came home and called Sven in Liverpool, who was relieved to hear that I was actually showing some emotion about the whole thing. He was concerned that I would run away screaming and leap for joy that I was getting out of town. Ha! Not so much. I do have feelings, contrary to popular belief. :)
Saturday was a mad scramble to finish packing my things and clean my room. The only reason I was able to leave on time was because Jess was a kind, dear soul and helped me finish. Thanks, Jess! I miss you already! I'll admit, I also teared up on the train. You guys can't accuse me of not having any feelings, anymore! (Not that you did, but maybe you were thinking it! I know how your minds work...) Thorsten was waiting for me at the train station upon my arrival in Berlin, and after meeting the lovely Claudia and somehow shoving my three suitcases into their tiny European car (with tape deck! How inadvertently retro-chic!), we headed into the city to try and find something that I hadn't seen on my many thousands of tours.
Success! We walked around Hackescher Markt and I saw the synagogue and the poorly-planned post office built to resemble the synagogue. We ate dinner at a charming little outdoor Italian pizza place and had some wonderful discussion about flowers, washing machines, and alcohol. Plus, not so important topics such as the status of my job hunt and life in Ohio (corn! wheat! pigs!). We shared some more lovely conversation over a bottle of wine and a carafe of water. It was a really great night and here are my public thanks to my host and hostess -- thank you so much, Thorsten and Claudia! You helped me create some wonderful memories on my last night in Europe. Also, thanks for driving me to the airport this morning at 5, Thorsten. It was such a relief to not have to take the bus :)
And generally, the flights were fine. My puddle jumper from Berlin to London was mercifully dull, and on the flight home, I sat next to a girl from Estonia (Jess, my reaction exactly!) who is studing at U of M. Plus, some punk decided to smoke in the bathroom on the plane, so we all got chastized by the captain and his flight crew. Yeah, brilliant - smoke in a non-ventilated space where you KNOW you're gonna get busted. Sheesh.
But now I am home and dinner is in the oven - chicken pot pie, mmm. I've got at least two and a half hours to go before I'm letting myself go to sleep... that way there is a chance that I will sleep through the night. I will try to update tomorrow; we'll see if I have anything interesting to say. Anyway, No More Adventures in Deutschland is back in business! Hope you're all doing well!!