This month we got to travel home for ten days to visit with family, see friends, and celebrate an early Thanksgiving which I was most excited about! Here is a quick recap + some reflections (word vomit) on our trip back home.
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Our Trip Home
Our trip home was a fast one. We spent ten days back in the Great State of Texas which was a long time but it went by really fast with all we had scheduled for the week.
We spent one night in Houston, barely sleeping because #jetlag, before setting off on our road trip. The first stop was College Station where we got to spend some quality time with the Jackson family, and I think probably the first time Cody saw his sisters drinking. Hah!
Friday night my mom text me about the “Big Boy” Steam Locomotive, built in 1941, would be rolling through College Station Friday morning. Out of the eight of these steam engines still in existence, it is the only one still running. It traveled to many towns across the States to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad’s completion.
Since we were not sleeping, due to jetlag (yet again), we were up early enough to catch it. But just barely (because we had to get donuts first!)
Lots of people showed up to see the Big Boy travel through College Station and we were lucky enough to show up just in time for me to snap some photos.
The steam that this train put out was incredible. You can see it in all the pictures here. While standing next to the train as it rolled past, steam completely enveloped us. We were even able the steam after 15-20 miles outside of College Station.
Between Mexican food, having a car again, and stocking up on all the American things we can’t get in Germany, we were able to spend a lot of quality time with friends and family.
Our families came together on Sunday for an early and joint Thanksgiving. There was more food than necessary (as usual!) and lots of full bellies.
Cody and I spent most of the week in Canyon Lake, traveling to New Braunfels, Kyle, and Wimberly to see our people. It was a nice way to relax and feel a bit like we were on vacation despite our busy schedule.
Our week wrapped up in Houston, spending time with our Houston friends. Which I failed to take pictures of.
We also got to spend some time with my parents which was really enjoyable.
Reflections On Going Home
As predicted, we got that “what’s your plan” question more times than we can count. The answer was always the same.
Before we left Germany, Cody and his boss scheduled a meeting to discuss Cody’s plan moving forward once we returned from The States. This, of course, set in motion the conversations between him and me of what we want- to stay or to leave after two years.
I was pushing to have this conversation before we left because I was worried what happened to me the first time I went home in May, would happen again.
After visiting in May and seeing everyone and all the stuff I was missing out on, homesickness set in hard. I was ready to return home then.
I was worried this would happen to us both on this trip and then we’d be making a choice clouded with emotions.
My fears came true for me. Once again I boarded the plane in Houston tearful and emotional.
I LOVE Germany. I love the people I have met here. I love the life here. I love public transport, the simplicity, the fact that I get to pursue my dream of owning my own business. I love it all!
But none of it matches up to Home. None of it matches up to big breakfasts at the Buchtien Kitchen Table or the late-night conversations with the Besties. None of it replaces the fact that we are missing out on some really big moments in our friends’ lives- both good and bad.
It didn’t help that within three hours of getting to our flat in Regensburg, Cody left for a week-long work trip, only intensifying my homesick feelings. I haven’t left our home this week, except to walk the dogs, get groceries, and teach my students.
I don’t think these are emotions are as intense for Cody. But between the two of us, I tend to be the more emotional one.
All throughout the trip, and now being back home, I feel the tension of having my heart in two places. I love Germany. But I love Texas, too.
Going home was hard, but coming back to Germany was harder. I explained it to my friend like this: “I love it here but when I go back and seel all that I am missing out on, it’s really difficult. It’s like when I’m here, I kind of forget about it all because it’s not in my face, but right after coming back, it’s difficult to think about all the people and things I am missing out on.”
Texas will always be Home. But for now, we are loving home in Germany. I think the pups are too. 🙂
Until next time,