Meet Husband: a funny guy and wonderful father, son, friend, employee, and—well, husband! He and I work well together in so many areas, but he’s never been a part of any of my blogs until now. He’s going to begin chiming in here from time to time to offer his own perspective on—whatever! In this, his first blog post, he shares a small slice of life in our little burg. Enjoy!
Americans who come to live in the German countryside around Bitburg and Spangdahlem for a few years often talk about how there isn’t much happening here. Most people feel inclined to get on buses and in cars and head far from here to find something to do. Of course, I understand that when you move overseas, you want to see the “big” places, and it would be a shame not to do that. But what if you don’t have the time, energy, money, or desire to go on even a small vacation? Is it possible to find something new (to you) and valuable in the small town you’re calling home for a few years?
You always hear that it’s the little things in life that really matter, and I believe that’s true. After all, you can’t visit the Eiffel Tower every day. Instead, you can make memories in a place that’s small and unassuming, maybe the kind of place you wouldn’t normally go or would overlook.
Find a place like this and get to know it well. Go there often. Venture outside your comfort zone and try to order something in German. My family always laughs when I try my German, but I don't mind. Sit in various spots within the place to see things from different points of view. Don’t be in a hurry.
I came this morning to Theis-Mühle bakery for a reason. My normal routine has been to rise early and take a six-minute drive with classical music down the Sunday-quiet town streets. I’ve been popping in and out for bread on these mornings for the past couple of years, but today I wanted to sit down and listen to the laughter in the next room of locals who likely meet each week in the same place to catch up on small-town happenings. I wanted to observe how the one lady who runs this place serves and greets everyone. They know her, and she knows them.
I’d noticed a big black and white dog tied up outside waiting for someone because this bakery doesn't allow dogs inside. In the bakery was a man I had seen walking all around Bitburg, causing me to wonder if he had a home or was down on his luck. I didn't know his story but he seemed interesting. Since every person who walks in says, "Morgen" to greet the others in the bakery, I was surprised a few weeks ago when this man looked at me and said, "Good morning." How did he know I’m American? Was it the shape of my nose, or what? I said good morning back to him. Then he noticed that I, in my so-broken-it-hurts German, was struggling to order something new under the lighted counter. He helped me out in both English and German. Since we’d found some common ground through his small act of kindness, I wanted to know something about him. He told me he’s the man who owns the black and white dog. I asked him how he (the man, not the dog) knew so much English, and he said he’d worked at one time on a ship.
I thought he might be sitting here when I came in this morning, but no such luck. I watched a steady stream of mostly gentlemen coming in to get their Sunday bread of some sort. There aren’t many places open on Sunday mornings in Germany, and I got to thinking that perhaps the Germans figured out long ago that after working hard for the past week, on Sunday it’s time to rest, and rest well. I am learning to slow down and smell the bakery—get it?
There’s no more to this story—for now. Maybe the next time I venture into the bakery, I’ll see or learn something new. There’s value in taking an early-morning drive or a walk down a road that most don't travel. Hop on a bike with your camera and a few coins and find a place that has lights on before sun comes up. Go in, order something, and sit. You’re living life in the here and now, not just during your weekends in Rome or Barcelona. Maybe you’re making a friend, and you’re definitely making memories.