I have been back in America for a little over a month now, and to say the transition was smooth like butter would be false. Physically my flight home was uneventful, I managed to weasel my way back into my home country unscathed during this chaotic pandemic, but emotionally I am not feeling whole.
I left Germany a week earlier than planned due to an outbreak of Coronavirus at the hotel I was working. 20+ staff members tested positive, and after receiving a negative result I felt the need to get out. I have never been so thankful to be a recluse. (The spread occurred during a night of partying among my irresponsible peers.)
I managed one last long bike ride before I left, something I wouldn’t realize how badly I needed until after I returned home.
The most stressful part about moving, aside from the emotional turmoil, was deconstructing, packaging, and shipping my bike. I had wanted to attempt taking the bike apart on my own, but when I couldn’t remove the pedals (the easiest part) I began to panic.
I contemplated leaving the bike, I have a tendency to quit when I get overwhelmed.
By the grace of God my housing manager came to my rescue and not only helped me take it apart (he had to call for backup with the pedals), but he helped me box it and then drove me to the post office. In typical Brittany fashion I didn’t know how to handle this act of kindness.
I continuously offered to pay him, and thanked him endlessly.
There are many things I am not good at, and accepting help without some form of payment in return is one of them. I feel like a bother when someone goes out of their way to help me, and this was a good test for me to just accept the act of kindness.
With the bike boxed and shipped I was able to enjoy my final day in Bavaria.
I wish I could say leaving Garmisch was easy. I wish I could say coming home felt like walking into a warm hug, or drinking a cup of my favorite coffee, but it wasn’t and it didn’t. I am thankful and fortunate to be with my family right now, and I am so happy to see them, but my heart aches for a life in Bavaria.
Leaving Germany was a hard decision. My job was not a good fit for me, the environment in which I was living was toxic, and being away from my family in the midst of the American chaos was hard. I knew deep down I needed to take a step back and reevaluate what was next for me.
Now that I am back, the numbness that had slowly begun to develop within the last year has grown.
I have been aware of the missing piece to my emotional puzzle for a while now, but I am still searching for it. I am taking each day as it comes and finding pockets of joy along the way. Biking was once my therapy, and this is what I miss the most about Bavaria. When my bike made it to America I nearly cried. Just like seeing an old friend.
And to think I almost left her behind…
Sadly the bike paths here are…well…non existent. I know there are some out there, but I am not finding anything comparable to Bavaria. I have accepted that biking here will be different, but my motivation to ride has been at an all time low. I currently live near endless roads filled with cars, something of a damper with regard to biking.
Change is never easy, but we go through the motions nonetheless. I know how easy it is to fall into a slump, so I have been keeping myself busy in order to combat too much down time. All the while honoring my emotions – the good, the bad, and even the ugly.
I have spent time with an old pal, a comfort comparable to biking. We walk, we talk, we hike, we do fall activities.
I have spent time with family, we share meals, we do fall activities, we sit in silence with each other.
I have spent time in the mountains, gone on walks with my sister, read books, and journaled my thoughts.
I got a job, because despite the fact I had planned to just “be” for a minute upon my return, the American society will forever be embedded in my soul and I felt like a bum being back for a week without a job.
These things keep me busy until I figure out what’s next. Or maybe this is what’s next. I don’t know. What I do know is the act of not knowing is normal. Accepting this is the first step to emotional freedom. I am here, I am well, I am blessed, and I am alive.
I miss Germany everyday. Something about returning to my hometown always makes me feel a bit stagnant. It’s not that the town is terrible, I’ve just outgrown it. It’s not my town, but at this rate I don’t know if I really have “a town.” My town is wherever I happen to be at this moment in time.
I will forever be thankful for my last six months in Germany. Without the shutdowns and restrictions I never would have biked as much as I did. I may be on a temporary biking break, but this will be a sport I carry with me for life. At the end of the day words cannot describe how happy I am to be away from the toxic work/living environment, and to be back with my cat.
It’s not all sad news over here.
Q: How are you holding up? I know we’re also still in a pandemic, which only adds to the emotional turmoil. We’re all in this together.
36 thoughts on “One Month in America”
I have had the same problem with pedal removal. Here are 2 tricks. First, apply plenty of lube (not oil but thicker lube) to the threads. This will keep rust from causing binding. (Works for any metal to metal contact points on your bike). Second, there are two kinds of pedal wrenches. The ones with the opening at 12 o’clock are no bueno. Get the kind with the opening at 10 o’clock. Something about the offset makes them work much better.
You’re doing fine. Transitions are stressful. Keep getting outside and clearing your mind helps.
As for me, I have learned that riding my bike across the country taught me how to enjoy solitude. That has made the pandemic tolerable.
Overall the pandemic itself is not affecting me poorly, I spend most of my time alone anyway, it’s more so the change. But transitions ARE stressful, and in time it will be ok!
Thanks for the tips about the pedals!
Caitlin A Milligan
Change is hard! Especially in a pandemic when things change almost hourly. One good thing I found that came out of it was that it taught me to slow down and live in the moment. It sounds like you found some silver lining too in the bike riding.
Slowing down was such a blessing I didn’t know I needed!! I am so with you on that. ❤
Bradley on the Run
After university, I spent years overseas – nearly 6 years in Japan, and a year in New Zealand. While I never returned to my hometown to live, returning to Canada was epically difficult. Such a huge adjustment! I can imagine how challenging your move must be, especially in the midst of all the chaos of 2020. But you strike me as a resiliant, thoughtful person, and you’ll get through it. You got this!!
WOW, you have spent amazing time living around the world. I know I will find a happy spot to settle soon, and for now I am enjoying the limbo. If you want to swap towns though, I’d be happy to take your spot in Canada. HA.
Judith P. Dionne
Thanks for asking. I’m holding up well and am anticipating winters arrival. I pray ski areas are able to open despite an increase in cases in the passing days.
If you’re looking for biking trails, I suggest downloading the All Trails app. I’ve used it a lot this summer since I spent a lot of time biking because I was recovering from plantar fasciitis. The app helped me find some nice local trails.
I pray ski areas are open for you! I do have the All Trails app, and I have been searching for trails, I just ultimately think I live in an area that isn’t great for biking. At least not the kind of biking I am used to/looking for. But I won’t give up!
“What I do know is the act of not knowing is normal.”
That’s it in a nutshell, and what the world has, and continues to, struggle with. Maybe that’s a gift in all this numbness…is it a form of serenity? Welcome back…there’s room in this hot spring pool for another soul!😊😉
And so ya know, all your tales of biking inspired me to rehab my own. The few rides were wonderful, but Winter is here in my own state. Time to break out the xcountry skiis, and break in the snowshoes.
Thank you! Your words about my biking striking inspiration in you bring such warmth to my heart. I am so glad.
Welcome back to the States, Dear, Brit. Now, enjoy home as much as Germany!
Love to you, Granddaughter,
I shall try, thank you! I love you.
Change is never easy. Stay strong.
Thank you friend, strong I stay!
I am SO incredibly proud of you. For doing what felt right and returning to the States, even though it might feel like you left part of your heart and soul back in Germany. For bringing your beloved bike, even though you had to step a little outside of your comfort zone and ask for help. For honoring your emotions and giving them space to exist, even though they’re not always the easiest companions to understand or endure. For allowing yourself to dream of a future outside of your original hometown, even though you don’t necessarily know what that might look like just yet. You are so brave, so strong, and such a beautiful soul. ♡
PS If you ever need or want to, you’re always welcome to reach out. Zero pressure whatsoever, but I’m always here — just a Marco or a regular text away! 😘
AMYYY! This comment. Ugh, I just adore you. Thank you for all these kind words, and especially for your PS. ❤ ❤
I love your photos, they’re so gorgeous! I lived in Germany as a kid and I miss too! I hope you get to go back there some day!
That you! Germany finds a way to weasel into our hearts for life!
You jumped feet first into the world of travel and let yourself be open to new life experiences…..you found places, people and foods that you’ve never seen or experienced
and now you will never be the same again
Not a bad thing because I think if you haven’t already you will in time come to know and appreciate just wherever you are and know you will always have options to change that as you see fit…. I think the hardest thing I ever had to do was come to terms with my own mortality and decide where I wanted to live the last part of my life’s journey if so granted….if I’m blessed with 20 more years then I am where I’m supposed to be my feet are planted but I will travel when it’s safe again and be happy where I call home…
Find Your Peace fill the joy around you happiness will follow❤️🙏
You are in a GREAT spot, I strive to settle down in the town you’ve moved someday. Big goals!
So sorry about the outbreak where you worked. I’m glad you didn’t get covid and were able to head back to America healthy physically.
I’m happy to hear you’re finding pockets of joy in your days. I love seeing a cat photo on your blog again, too 🙂
That outbreak was a mess, all the more reason to get out of there. Happy to be far, far away from everything about that place. HA.
I am glad you did what you decided was the right thing to do, and I feel your returning pain with each and single piece of my heart. And I can suggest to you one path of thoughts: there are many thing which I like in Europe, and I am trying to bring these things back home. Like advocating for more bike paths 🙂
I pray and pray America gets on board with the European bike paths!!
It must be really difficult to go back to living with your parents, but I dare say that is only temporarily. You’re a citizen of the world now, so who knows where you’ll end up next? Even if it’s just a move to another town, your horizons have broadened. The explorer in you is just looking for the next expedition. Good luck!
I’m staying with my mom and my sister, and while it’s not ideal sharing a space, being with them has been nice!
GiGi Eats Celebrities
Well, I am not going to lie… I hate this, “the American society will forever be embedded in my soul and I felt like a bum being back for a week without a job.”
YOU ARE NOT A BUM and you will NEVER BE a bum. You are one of the hardest working people I know but you’re also one of the hardest on yourself people I know. You Britt are an amazing human being and you cannot EVER forget this! EVER!
UGH I LOVE YOU. I hate this mindset too, but at the end of the day I am SORTA glad I had it and got this job. (Even after all my messages to you about NOT WANTING TO GO!) ONE DAY AT A TIME!
I am glad that you got a negative test and made it home safely with your bike! I can’t wait to hear where you travel and settle next so I can follow along. At least there is not rush, you can research and plan during the pandemic and the. Once travel is safe again you’ll be ready to go. Stay safe!
I am glad to!! Especially now that Germany is back in a month long lockdown.
I never realized your bike was a Trek. Great choice. It will last a long time, Lord willing. New adventures ahead. Have a great week.
I actually have a KTM bike, the box I was given from the bike shop to ship it home just happened to be a Trek. 🙂
It sounds like you’re doing all the right things to assist your re-entry. You will always have your beautiful memories of Germany and Germany will be there for you if you decide to return some day. Totally agree with you about the bike path situation in North America!
Exactly, and this is what I tell myself too! Germany will always be there. For now, I am glad to be safe with my family.
I can totally understand the feeling…you just made a HUGE change to a routine you adored and even though you are with family and the comforts of home, sometimes it’s just not enough and it just has to get better with time.
One good thing is that you escaped the lockdowns going on in Europe right now! Jealous that you have the freedom to sit down in a restaurant 😂 (even though technically it’s not really the best thing right now lol)
Haha I totally get what you mean, even if I don’t go out to restaurants anyway! There is a freedom here. I just seem to be lockdown hopping, I was in Europe with freedom when America was locked down and now vice versa ha!