I’m anxiously awaiting our trip to that place we conceptually call home. I’ve missed very few things about the USA, but one of those ‘things’ is a big category — our family and friends. I’ve been missing my kids terribly the last couple of months. I’ve also been missing the sense of belonging when we’re with our friends and family. I’m constantly aware of being a foreigner here, though it usually doesn’t bother me much.

I’m also anticipating a Christmas weekend that is not by my design. Divorce kinda wrecks the whole notion of an ideal Christmas. After travelling over 3000 miles to be with our loved ones, we will essentially be stranded on Christmas day with the one person we see everyday (love you, honey). We can’t travel any further until we have K. K must be with the other family in the equation at a particular time on Christmas day (let’s just say all of it). They must celebrate Christmas day with immediate family (we’re told these are the people that currently live in their house) and then extended family (the people who live an hour away from them). Okay, so that’s cool. Peace on earth, good will towards the ex. We get so hung up on the date on the calendar don’t we? Jesus was probably born in September anyway. Dick and I can catch up on football and find a Christmas movie marathon to pass the day. We’ll see most of our extended family (’cause no one lives with us) during the week after Christmas and it will be fine. I just wish we didn’t have this annual drama that leaves us feeling as if we’re being punished.

Having recently experienced the wonder of the Christmas markets (chronicled in my last post), I’m feeling sad that someone would choose to kill and terrorize people enjoying the market in Berlin. We were aware that the markets were a potential target for terrorist acts and police presence was evident at every market we visited. We didn’t let that keep us away, because we choose not to live cloistered in fear. I agree that we have to continue to live our lives (with wisdom and caution) in defiance of terror.

Today is the shortest day of the year, which amounts to exactly 8 hours of daylight — 8:30-4:30 — in South Limburg. I see the dawn of the sunrise and the remnants of the sunset everyday on my commute to/from work. I still bike to work most days as long as it’s above 32F and dry. This past Monday morning, I biked in dense fog. I was a little nervous on the main road, but it was fun being enveloped in fog on the bike path. I haven’t minded the darkness so much, but it will be nice to eventually see more daylight.

 A few other things I’m missing and looking forward to : snow, eavesdropping on English conversations, the ocean, pepperoni pizza and eggnog. Two more days!