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.