Our six months in Kiel up, we packed SG’s car full to the brim – really, packed it – and drove back down and across the country to Weiden, where we’ll stay now until some time in the latter half of 2014 (fingers crossed and thumbs pressed it isn’t any longer.)
Weiden. Ahhhh, Weiden. Historically, this little town, SG and I have a stormy relationship. It’s small and landlocked and far, far away from family and friends. Nothing much happens around here. The first time round, it was hard, but hard for a number of reasons, the town Weiden itself simply the straw that broke a tired, homesick camel’s back. I wrote this around June 2012:
Moving here was the right thing to do for a lot of reasons. The last 3 and a half months have been as wonderful as they have difficult. Difficult because teaching work didn’t come, difficult because, given time and an unfamiliar context within which to think about it, I realised how much I miss home. My Mum, my Dad, my friends. My language, my places, my independence, independence that comes from being confident in a place, in a context. Able to drive, able to make oneself perfectly understood by strangers, able to sit down in a restaurant at a table of ten and engage one’s neighbour in witty, worthwhile conversation. Not being dependent on visas and foreigner offices. Not being a foreigner. I cried every time I watched a scene on TV that involved a group of girls and a bottle of wine. I conducted experiments on myself to see how quickly I could make myself cry by saying the words ‘I miss my Mum’. I cried a lot and most of the time, I didn’t really know why.
In July 2012, I got on a plane back to Sydney, leaving most of my things and my relationship in Weiden. Almost a year to the day that I left this town, we drove back into it for round 2. This time it will be different. This time we’ve been replenished Sydney and Kiel, our home towns. Kiel was a fat, colourful chapter full of new friends and time spent with family. We’ve topped up our reserves. We have travel plans and friends visiting and six weeks in Australia coming up, something to look forward to every couple of months until the countdown on this chapter will invariably start.
And Weiden offers a quiet life. I write a lot here, I cook a lot. I catch up on TV and film and reading. There isn’t the distraction of a big city, there isn’t a busy social calendar. Days are packed if we’re disciplined enough to pack them, productivity depends on me, social sanity depends on Skype. This is an entirely different life down here, one we may not live again, one we have to find the positive in. One we have to learn from.
It’s all part of the experience.