I haven't been to my home country for a long time - because when we planned a trip to visit family and friends I went down with COVID. So when I had an opportunity and the time to travel to Denmark - if only for a short trip - I took it!! And this last week it's slowly dawned upon me how much I needed that trip, as it was very special. A friend I'm quite close to travelled with me, shared the 12 hour, 1100 kilometer-road trip with me.
If you've read any of my earlier blogs you'd know that I live in Southern Germany. I'm very happy here, have good friends and a really good every day, boring life. I do what I like to do, work wise, and I have a very supportive husband and all in all I have a really good life here. BUT - I am Danish! And I miss leverpostej (liver paté) and fresh air smelling of salt (in Denmark we have only 60 kilometers to a coast line at the most! We can travel to see water at any time, and it'll only take around an hour!!! .... and no... Bodensee doesn't count as water.... it's a lake!) and my family and friends in my Heart Land (Hjerteland).
I've always thought that I travelled to my home country alone because I didn't want to impose a trip from Hell on the German Autobahns on anybody - but now I realize that I've been a little apprehensive to show from where I come, where my roots are - from WHAT I come!
When my friend actually said yes to traveling with me I was ecstatic! I couldn't wait to show her the coastline, the nature, my friends, family, the couch I feel the most at home on in the world; but the closer the day came for us to travel - the more nervous I got!
"What if she doesn't like me when she sees my Life", I thought, embarrassed about how I act and react when I'm in my old environment. "What if I am just an embarrassment to her and she doesn't like it at all!!? If, when we get home, she'll stop being my friend!"
I've got a completely different life than my friends and family; it is a given when I live in another country, have done certifications in another language and have a daily life away from my country. We haven't got any children, Hubby & I - because I couldn't - and we have a very egoistic way of living. Riding motorbikes, Hubby can travel to Stuttgart or Berlin on a drop of a hat when his work needed it. I love spending time with myself, listening to nerd podcasts and just doing what I want to do myself, in my own tempo, with good coffee or a bit of knitting.
I've grown used to speaking German everyday (or "wadehadeduda Deutsch" as I call it!) dreaming in German - and then having a bilingual marriage, as I've married an Englishman. On top of that I still use my French for my clients in Luxembourg..... so my brain has gotten used to switching languages and cultures, and I do so quite well. I feel at home, safe, happy, loved. I'm curious, ready to try new things and talk to people I haven't met before to hear about them and their lives - and I love living in this neck of the woods; 125 kilometers to Luxembourg - 80 kilometers to Saarbrücken - 500 kilometers to Paris. From here I can travel to ANYWHERE in the world in no time! - and I don't think I'll come back to live in Denmark again.
So - to return to my hometown Holstebro in Jutland, Denmark - it fills my heart with warmth of nostalgia...... but I don't know how it might look to others! On top of that my friend is well educated, wise, intelligent and just a very lovely person..... and I realized I was scared of showing her from where I come! I was embarrassed of what I'd left behind!
.... yes, I know the clue is actually in what I've just written "my friend is well educated, wise, intelligent and just a very lovely person"....
When we drove home after 4 days of power Denmarking I shared my thoughts with her.
And she replied: "I've never been so tired in my life! Just to be in another country, meeting real people, doing everyday things - I've seen and learnt so much about this country. And it is beautiful!"
I've got big - and sometimes noisy - family that I see all too seldom, and they love when I come around. And this time I brought my friend and they were so open and respectful of her. Invited her in and made her feel at home, even if they didn't feel confident enough to speak English.
"I'm so sorry", I said when we drove home, trying to surprise a headache after an afternoon with my family. "They are very loud...." "Yes", she said, "they are loud. But you see them so seldom. And they are full of love!"
For me it was good to be reminded of that I do come from a place that's loud and loving, boring and calm, beautiful and wild. Because that is what I am! loud and loving - boring and calm - beautiful and wild! All that I am I was given, I learnt from somewhere. And that is from my home country.