Here we are in December of 2012. How has the year been for you? That is not a rhetorical question but you may need to post your replies for me to receive them. For me, living in Germany compared to Indianapolis in some ways feels a bit like living in molasses. I just felt as if my life was brought to a halt when I first arrived here, partly because I went from having a truck and friends and 3 or 4 activity groups and the same address for a couple of years within 8 miles of where I lived for 10 years…my son had friends he had had for years etc.. All of that came to a halt. It was scary, but I had agreed back in 1996 to spend a few years living in Germany during my son’s youth and made sacrifices to make sure I would be able to live up to that promise for 10 years before it happened. In truth, if it had been entirely up to me, I would have failed because of the way I went about trying to make sure I would be able to, which is a little confusing for me and possibly also for others.
Now this is the 3rd year of living here. I have certainly learned from the experience and in truth I have done more than nothing, including writing professionally and teaching a little English, visiting English Clubs, and taking some German lessons, even spending a few months singing in the choir of a local church – in German. Compared to the amount of activity in my life most of the years in Indianapolis I have not interacted with other people in person nearly as much, which has been quite hard for me. Or so I thought. The first year it was very difficult. The second year there was a little relief and I just stopped complaining because there was no escape and complaining had not helped the solution present itself and the only reason I had complained was that it bothered me and I wanted an honest to God/ess solution. The second year there was some relief but the solutions were humbling to face: the village churches are not the denomination I have remained committed to my entire life…I went more than I have ever previously attended churches of other denominations, I think. In my own church I was urged to be broad minded and to not be afraid of visiting other churches…I visited a few during my childhood, some with friends from school and some as part of the religious education program at my church. Even so, this was nearly as much activity with other types of Christians as I had with ‘Neo Pagans’ which I also did stuff with. A lot of the time the pagans were alright as well but when someone got really anti-Christian I did not like it, and I worried a lot about ‘false gods’. Often I did not mention Jesus and felt like a clandestine Christian. Well, in this case it was a bit more the other way: it was other Christians who would have felt the Flaming Chalice version of Christendom might be too fake, too soft, too pagan, to schizmatic: not enough robes or giant statues of Jesus hanging depressingly on a crucifix and a flower exchange instead of the cup and the wafer. Even so, I went ahead and did some rituals with them. As you can imagine it was also alright and the people were at least reasonably polite and in some cases blatantly kind.
Now, this is the 3rd year of living here. It is not quite true that nothing has happened but it does seem more like that than it might otherwise. Part of it is just that I’m not including a lover-husband figure daily and we have not replaced the Indianapolis Dungeons and Dragons group of friends who came over every Saturday afternoon for hours or the women I had lunch with after a church service I am not able to attend every Sunday and so on. Rather than being in a villagey section of a city, we are really in the countryside but well within American conceptions of ‘commuter distance from a mid sized city’. You know what they say about watching the grass grow in the countryside.