Just over a year ago my family moved to Sicily. Since the spring of 2017, we have spent time in five different countries – a few we went back to again and again…and again. We left America and settled in our temporary, new home. After that, we fell in love with Germany. It was so beautiful in the summer that we decided to go back and see it transformed in the winter. Every morning we looked up at Zugspitze, the mountain that has the highest elevation in Germany. It was majestic during both seasons.
We visited Austria and saw the town that brought “Sound of Music” to life, Salzburg.
On the next trip, we went to Netherlands and saw how they make wooden shoes. We had our breath taken away by watching windmills turn along the waterfront and saw tulip fields just starting to bloom.
Our children are enrolled in an American high school here. We, as a family, have flown on more planes this year than we had in many years combined back in America. A three hour plane ride here can take us above several countries. We’ve learned the skill of backpacking. We board a plane with only one backpack each. There is little we need besides comfortable walking shoes and layers of clothes that help us adjust to the fluctuating temperatures.
There have been challenges along the way, of course. My children were at a school with about 1,600 students before they moved. The school here, 6th-12th grade, has under 200. Having prosopagnosia created a feeling of isolation when we moved into our community. It’s hard to get new friends to understand why I reintroduce myself over and over and over again. My tremors are worse and my eyesight is no better.
Yet, even with these challenges, I would not give up this experience of living abroad for anything. We are seeing the world. We are meeting new people and learning new things.
To the friends I met in Germany, “Hallo, wie geht es dir”. One of my children always helps us learn new phrases to say hello when we visit a new country. After all, we are in their country. Some speak English, some do not.
To the wonderful people of Netherlands: Thank you for spending so much time with the tulip fields in Keukenhof. It is no easy task to plant seven million tulip bulbs!
To the people of Italy and my new friends in Sicily, “Grazie mile for making me feel at home.”