Stuck in the Middle

My mom, Romanian born, said once to me, “I’m not fully American and I’m not fully Romanian. I speak English with a Romanian accent and Romanian with an American accent. I’ve lived in the United States longer than in Romania. I don’t fit in anywhere.”Although I’ve lived longer in the United States than in Germany, I feel similar to Mom. While I don’t have an accent in English, I do falter over words. I search for words often, regardless of how much I read. I no longer fit in the daily US lifestlye. I don’t feel comfortable when visiting the US: I can’t talk about local topics, I don’t recognize most of the (B) celebrities in People Magazine, and I have no clue about the (C) celebrities. My slang is from the late 90s.
I’m not Bavarian either. And the use of a few Bavarian words here and there doesn’t cut it.
What I do have is a sense of home. My US home will always be where my family is living. But the home I think about or remember in the deep, filing cabinet drawers of my mind is Upper Arlington, Ohio. This is where I spent my childhood, teenage years and early twenties. My current and probably future home is The Village, Bavaria, Germany. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else at the moment. The more I travel, the more I appreciate coming home and being home.
It’s my butcher and my Meat Team, my ladies working in my local grocery who graciously hand me their family Christmas cookie recipies and show me photos of their grandchildren, the bakery woman who saves me the last jelly donuts because my kids (and I) like this particular filling, it’s my neighbors setting my garbage bins out when I forget (or can’t figure out the new, complicated pick-up schedule).
I recycle like a true German: paper, plastics, bio and the rest. I make weekly trips to the lawn cuttings and “problem garbage” center. Ok, maybe more like monthly. See, I’ll never be a true German.
Nevertheless, as clichéd as it sounds, home is truly where the heart is.

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