Set Change

The sets changed while the lights were down, and the lush, green tropical trees of Singapore were swiftly replaced with the naked, sky clawing trunks of a German winter. It is raining here, just like it was when we left Asia, but it isn’t warm and torrential, it’s ice-cold and driven by gusts of chilly wind. The colours around us have faded, the palette not as vivid as an Aussie summer, as green as the tropical wet season. But we’re still somewhere so familiar, despite being so starkly different to where we were – also somewhere so familiar. That is one of the oddest things about splitting one’s self between two or more places – the slide between them and the sense of each being where you belong.

We took die Lüdde down under, where she was showered with love each and every minute by her Aussie family. We had a hot Christmas by the beach and spent precious time with precious people. In Singapore we acquainted ourselves with my parents’ current home – my mother would interject here with her favourite German word, ‘it is my home at the moment, but not my Heimat.’ It was a trip built on so much excitement and love, coming home was harder than it was the last time. Saying goodbye was different; something about a baby brings the speed and relentlessness of time into sharp, sharp relief.

And so here we are, back again in wet, windy, wintry Kiel. We have swapped one Heimat for another, and the beat goes on, just with a different backdrop.

8 Replies to “Set Change”

  1. Welcome back in Europe Liz! Beautiful post as always. Can really understand how you feel, with children you realise much more how quickly things change and it’s hard to feel your family misses out on all the new developments! But on the plus side you now have a little family that is with you wherever you are in the world! All the best for settling back in x

  2. Oh sounds like such a lovely visit! I know just what you mean about the stark differences, too — I grew up in South Florida so when I went home for Christmas it had a backdrop of warmth and sunshine, and then returning to cold gray Munich was a stark change! But now, somehow, after 5 years I don’t mind it anymore. Sure I love warmth, but the gray doesn’t really both me like it did in the beginning! I guess we change and adapt as we need to 🙂 Wishing you all the best for 2015!

  3. Reading your post brings tears to my eyes too, as half my heart is still in the southern hemisphere. Going back ‘home’ after 20 months of living in Germany has stirred up so many latent emotions and old family dynamics, all the harder finding out that my beloved mother has cancer of the liver, and we don’t know how long she has got. It would be so much harder to come back if I didn’t have my lovely German partner by my side, but its strange feeling realising that there is just the two of us here now- after getting used to being part of a crazy, noisy, loving extended family for the last month. I am still on NZ time, sleeping in the day and being wide awake at 4am here, but I know in time the intensity of these memories and feelings will fade too and we will slowly catch step with our German life again. Its comforting to feel there are others also ‘living between two worlds’…

    1. I am so, so sorry to hear about your Mum. That must have made returning so very difficult.

      I know what you mean about leaving the noisy family for the comparative quiet of Germany. I know die Lüdde is wondering where all of the noise and non stop action is!

  4. I found coming back home (to Hamburg) this time surprisingly anticlimactic. I was sad to leave my family in the States, but somehow not overly so. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the anticipation of getting through long flights with an 8-month-old (which he did wonderfully)… and then returning back here just felt incredibly NORMAL.

    I’d expected to feel more like you did coming home and have a harder time with it. I’m still not sure what to make of that. 🙂

    1. Hmmmm, that is perhaps a good thing, that sense of it all being normal. I have always felt like that to … until this time. I really found it hard driving away from my Nana, knowing that the next time she’d hold Leda, Leda would be walking. It felt really, really hard.

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