LAST DAYS IN MUNICH
My stitches came out on December 1. That night I had a fun evening with a longtime agility friend who was on his way to a big competition in Italy. We had dinner and strolled the Christmas Market near the Glockenspiel. I was still in treatment, but I knew how lucky I was. I’d be home for Christmas!
I had my last return in the klinik on December 8. I brought simple gifts for the staff and we said goodbye until next time. I picked up Dr Kuebler’s letter that pronounced me fit to fly. Then we finished packing, struggling with the bulk and using straps to secure the suitcases. We scrubbed the apartment and did all the laundry.
December 9, departure day. The train to the airport takes an hour and costs only about 10 Euros. A taxi is quicker but costs about 100 Euros. No contest, we had to wrangle all of our luggage via train to the airport. Thankfully, two of our new friends, a patient and her sister, wanted to see us off, and they helped us immensely. We had way too much, and much too heavy! It must have been hilarious to watch us try to make adjustments that would spread the weight around. How silly. Our total weight was way over the limit so it was not going to work any which way. We had to buy an additional suitcase in the airport, redistribute our belongings to make the weight limits, and then pay for the extra checked bag. Live and learn. Now that I know the city better I will pack much more efficiently for my next trip!
We got home in the evening on December 9, 2016. I had arrived in Germany to hot summer weather and I left wearing my down parka. I had left home before the leaves turned, and I came home to snow. So much time had passed, but home is home. The snow was gorgeous in the moonlight.
We had a plan for greeting the four dogs without causing too much commotion. When the car arrived, Heather let out my two older dogs, Boss and Sport. We had a dancing reunion just with them, joyful and loud! Then Heather came outside and I cannot describe the feelings. I cry now just writing of it. She stayed outside to help with luggage and I went in to greet the “babies,” Karen’s dog Comet and my puppy Koolaid. Those two were beside themselves with the excitement. So much emotion, the pull into open arms of home.
Heather and our friends had decorated the house for Christmas. Lights and banners and a big fir tree, so beautiful. So shining full of celebration.
We had plans for Christmas! It was all of that and more!
CHRISTMAS AT HOME
My family flew in and drove in, from Louisville and Chicago and Pittsburg. My brother immediately set about replacing a poor light fixture in my barn. He was creative with sawhorses and plywood in order to reach it. It’s a big bright improvement that I notice every time I go out there at night. Then he and Edwina set in on my Christmas present. They built me the work center I wanted in my basement. What a job it was to attach all that pegboard to concrete. I smile every time I pick up a screwdriver from its own little hook. It’s a terrific home improvement that I will always appreciate. And it reminds me often of the Christmas when I first came home from Germany.
Karen’s parents live 20 miles away. We threw a party for Christmas Eve. We invited her parents and her niece who does dog sports with us. My family and Karen’s family were instant friends. No trappings, just all about positivity and connection.
We called my sister and niece in FL and got their answering machine, so we belted out a Christmas carol, loudly and badly, and we challenged them to call us back and sing for us. We were on a roll then. We called Heather’s best friends and did the same to each of them. We had a casual dinner and lots of contrapuntal conversation. No idea what time we said goodnight.
My family stayed for several days after Christmas. It was so good to have them. The house was full in every way. I noticed that it was easy to have them all because I just didn’t worry about anything. I did not run around making sure people were happy or busy or getting along. Everyone was happy and busy and getting along just fine without any interference from me. Good thing, because I was not on top of the food situation or the housecleaning situation. I was on top of the pet situation, but as for the humans, they all just pitched in and got things done. No one complained that I had not planned dinner, they just went out and got groceries. Dinner time seemed to be in the hands of a different crew every day. It all worked.
When everyone left, Karen and I welcomed the new year by ourselves in this comfy little home we now share. We didn’t talk about goals or burdens for 2017. We didn’t make resolutions and we didn’t wonder how to make ends meet. We didn’t know whether I’d be able to teach classes again or whether Karen’s strength and fitness business would work out here away from the city. We took the dogs snowshoeing. And we hung out by the fire with four dogs and a cat and a bottle of good cheap wine. It was a brand new year. Thanks be to the universe.
I have not wanted to blog, but it’s time to recap my year so far. As I knew, I am not done in Germany. My next trip is now upon me. My hope is to have my tests and then come home again, even if I do need more treatment. I will go back for that. I feel well enough to spend my summer at home, earning money and saving my allowance for treatment. Of course I do not want to go. I’m holding my breath and hoping for good numbers this time. There is no telling except that I feel well and feel stronger than when I came home. I did have setbacks this year, and I will tell you about them in another post. Even when we mere humans do make resolutions and think of our hopes and plans, that is often not what happens. Life is what happens. I have to be open to that, even to the difficulties and the lessons I don’t want to learn. The good stuff lies deep in the unknown. How I greet that will be the measure of my future success. Happy 2017 to one and all. I hope you are enjoying all the unexpected stuff that life is tossing to you this year. I’d be happy for you to think good thoughts for my test results this time around. Whatever happens, I’ll talk to you again soon.