one million words

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XXV: Arrival

September 22, 1994 is the day I leave Germany for my year abroad. I have a return ticket for Christmas in my pocket just in case things go badly. I can handle 11 weeks of anything I tell myself. Nothing terrifies me more than changing planes in Chicago though. I fear I won’t find my […]

XXIX: Departure

In the summer of 1994 first love and I attend an international christian youth conference in Switzerland. Leipzig to Lausanne is an 8 hr drive but we’ve never been to Paris and talk my parents into letting us take a detour through France. Paris is amazing and we also love the Verdon Gorge and French […]

XXIII: Romanian Romance

“I am going to Romania this summer.” I inform my 8th grade friends with slight embarrassment. “Romania?!” Big gasp. “Why??” I loved travelling to Romania in 1986 with my family but it’s no destination to brag about now. My classmates are heading for Italy and Spain, France, even Africa. Our family has too many kids to get on an […]

XXII: Nearsighted

In second grade I can no longer read the blackboard. I squint, guess and copy my neighbors notes. My grades decline but I won’t ask the teacher to move me upfront. I don’t tell my parents and am careful around my friends. The truth needs to remain hidden because I don’t want glasses. They’re perfectly […]

Liebster Award: Q&A +meet 2 friends

Hi friends! One of my readers Katharina nominated my blog for the Liebster Award which is a virtual award that recognizes and connects bloggers. “Liebster” is German and means “sweetheart”, “beloved” or “dearest”. Katharina is German girl who lives in New York and is passionate about art, God and people. She is an artist who […]

XXI: Not moving West

Although the West appears superior in every way, my parents never discuss moving after the wall falls. For generations the East has been our home and it makes little sense to abandon it now. We don’t own any property but love this land and honor our roots by staying close. Our little sealed-off country has […]

XX: Money. My first 1000

July 1990. The West German Mark becomes our official currency. This is thrilling. I eagerly trade old aluminium coins for weightier change made of cupro-nickel, brass plated steel, even silver. The new paper money looks different too. It’s bigger, has security strips and features different faces. Our old currency looks like communist play money in […]

XIX: Time Machine

Shortly after the wall crumbles I turn 12. My friends and I collect tiny graffiti stained chunks of concrete. Pebbles of our past, we hope will increase in value. Everyone travels West. A few never return. Bananas magically appear in grocery stores. Eager shoppers, weary from a lifetime consumption of apples and cabbage, snatch them […]

XVIII: Almost Paris

Before the fall of communism my favorite guests are foreigners from the West. Each year we entertain travellers patient enough to comply with strict government stipulations for visitors. Most we meet through church. Our family is known for hospitality, pulling strings of strangers home after the service. We always seem to have enough food and […]

On love & perserverance

Parenting promises free lessons in perseverance. They say pick your battles and I do but some struggles are non-negotiable. Like teaching my kids German. When my son was an infant my mother pulled me aside, urging me to commit to pass on our native tongue. My parents not being able to communicate with my husband […]