Germany Feels Like Home

The questions we get asked the most are, “Where are you from?” and “Where are you from?” The first involves the questioner looking at me; the second involves the questioner eyeballing all of us. The first is terribly easy to answer: L.A.!; the second is terrible to answer.


It usually goes like this.

“Where are you from?” as the woman eyeballs all of us. She is pleasantly smiling, but my stress rises because I never have a good answer.

“The United States.” Dodged that one!

“Which state?”

“My husband is from Arizona. I’m from California.”

“No, but where do you live?”

“We live here.”

“Where is your house in the States?”

“We don’t have a house. We have a storage unit.”


My father is insanely good at fielding questions. I’m sure he’ll write me about missed opportunities and send me the perfect script that will turn each inquirer to a life long follower. He’ll also tell me to make business cards to hand out. But not really. He will just comment with “Come home.” Because he always writes that. On everything I post to social media.

Is our home Dallas where our storage unit is packed to the roof with stuff and lived for but a year? Maybe it is L.A. where we lived for two years and left to Dallas because the cost of living doesn’t equal the quality of life in most everywhere else except beautiful Nordic countries that will pay for all of your medical bills and send you money each month to raise your children.

Maybe our home is where we first lived after we got married, but I can’t actually remember the name of our neighborhood. We lived somewhere in Charlotte, North Carolina for 3 months. Sometimes people ask me if I would consider Provo, Utah my home. We lived there for 8 months after North Carolina, and I know people who are actually from Provo, Utah; and they actually live there.

We lived in Germany for 2.5 years, which is the longest we have lived anywhere.

The second we sat down at church after walking in late, before the taxi driver pulled up right in front of the windows that face into the Sacrament hall, before the snow suddenly started falling, which made us return home, give up the idea of a nice walk to church, and call a taxi, and before we missed the bus because we’d have to be 45 minutes early, and that’s just not going to happen; so the second we sat down at church, I felt like we were home.

The church here meets in a nice room in some kind of Gym. The primary room is up three floors, down a hall, passed natural healing and exercise rooms. The sacrament room has a skeleton in the back. Meeting places like this are typical for a small branch and wildly different than the beautiful church buildings that span the US. Their motto here is we’ll get a bigger building when we need one. The man speaking was an American and the missionary translating had only been on his mission for 6 months—3 in Germany. He was BRAVE. Darian immediately hugged me as he said, “They speak like we do!” and gave me a huge smooch on the lips.

Darian might have felt at home because of the English, but I felt at home because of the Germans.

Germany is where the nurse told me my baby no longer had a heartbeat after 10 minutes of searching for it. She called the doctor for an ultrasound, and she was pale. I was incredibly sick with a painful infection that was so unbearable I had not slept for two and a half long days. The night before, a woman from our church, who is a natural healing doctor, was helping me. I was lying in my bed in so much pain. She put down what she was holding and climbed in bed next to me. I was a bit shocked. She embraced me in her arms and cried with me. She said, “It must be so hard having your mother so far away.”

My baby’s faint heartbeat was suddenly heard 30 seconds after she called for the doctor, and I passed out. I was awoken by the doctor, and I kept saying, “Please just let me sleep,” as I couldn’t keep my eyes open. The infection had broken through the skin (this post just got nasty), and the pain was gone. I had surgery to remove the infection months before—without any anesthesia while being 5 months pregnant. They cut me open with no anesthesia–with a knife. I was taking one for the team. The surgery did not work. What the woman from our church did worked. Doctors kept asking me who did the surgery and how it was completely cleaned out. When I told them I did it naturally, their eyes were always shockingly wide.

Darian in Germany 2011

Darian in Germany 2011

Germany is where we searched for a new apartment for months, and our bishop found one while looking for an office space. It was in the beautiful and posh neighborhoods of Starnberg. The man hadn’t rented it out, and said that he would do it for 400 euros, which is 1,000 euros less than anything in that neighborhood. What a huge financial blessing.

Germany is where I worked for the wildly talented and inspiring Annette Cavaness who co-founded Miche Bag. It’s the first place we lived after we graduated from the University. It’s where I learned how to eat healthy. It’s where we got work visas by applying for jobs, which is near impossible if you aren’t in the EU. It’s where we saw so many miracles and answers to prayers that have carried me through the times where I felt like no one was there and the answers were coming slow. Then when we sat down at church, I was overcome with everything Germany meant to us and knew we were home. I wished to never leave. But we will in 5 weeks. Whenever we fly away from Germany, I wonder how I could do something so terrible to myself.

At church, an older German lady asked me how it was possible I could speak German without an accent. Another miracle. When I don’t think and just talk, my German is unreal; especially since we haven’t lived here for 4 years. We are here to improve our German—not to stay forever.

Maybe I’m wrong though, and Germany is not home, and we just have a lot of good memories here. But home is where we are, which was stated more beautifully by Melissa-Dalton Bradford the author of Global Mom, who we became friends with in… Germany.

Maybe my friendships will always have to span around the world, which I wish was one place like the Internet and was just as fast to travel through as high-speed Internet. One friendship stated in a huge hospital room that I shared with a woman named Pelin. She was on one side, and I was on the other. Her son came the day after mine and is a couple inches taller than Darian is today. She is one of my favorite people. Besides winning awards for her groundbreaking product designs for people with dementia and other gorgeous product designs, she says the things people dream of saying after something has already happened and the moment is passed. Bold, quick, and beautiful. We had them over for dinner after church, and it was so much fun.

Excuse me while we never leave Germany. For the next 5 weeks. Except when we go to London and Czech.

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