(With Ginger Truitt Local Columnist sig)
---- — I am leaving beautiful Berlin, and will soon be home again in Indiana. As my visit comes to a close, I find myself wondering once more why my ancestors ever chose to leave such a place. Make no mistake, I love the U.S. and am proud and thankful to be an American, but three hundred years ago, things were different. It’s hard to imagine what my grandparents were thinking when they left family, community, and traditions behind and set sail for the unknown. As far as I can tell, they were not suffering from religious persecution, or particularly difficult times. Their village, which is still in existence today, was rich with history and tradition. But I guess they wanted something more. Maybe they simply longed for adventure. Maybe there was a falling out in the family. Or perhaps they instinctively knew that if they made the hard choices, their descendants would reap the benefits. Three centuries later, here I am in Germany, enjoying the festivals, foods, and traditions, and listening intently to a language I would love to speak. I know it seems as though our trips are all fun and games, but the fact is, hubby has to work. He works ten hours per day, and to keep spending at a minimum, I do a lot of cooking. And here is the downside of living in Germany. Walking seven blocks to the nearest grocery store, trying to find familiar ingredients in large quantities, and then lugging everything back to the apartment and up to the 8th floor. I have the option of taking the bus, but with the stroller, groceries, and a wandering five-year-old, boarding a crowded bus is unappealing. Last week, my grocery load was so heavy that I ended up straining my shoulder when carrying the bags to the apartment. I have not slept comfortably for days, and I count the hours until I can take more ibuprofen. I don’t understand the concept of going to the grocery store every day, but with small refrigerators, small shopping carts, and relatively small families, that is what they do. When I made spaghetti, I had to buy six tiny jars of sauce in order to have enough to feed our crew. The day I took my giant purple suitcase so I could lug home enough food for two days, I thought the cashier would have a heart attack. When I asked for the entire tray of ground beef from the meat counter, the butcher called two other people over to have a look at me. They were doubly shocked when I returned the next day for more. When I finally get back to the apartment, I am tired, wet from the rain, and really don’t want to cook on the freaky little stove with the miniature pots and pans. My enthusiasm for German life begins to wane, and I start to understand why my ancestors left this place. I think they foresaw a future that included five pound packages of ground beef, #10 cans of nacho cheese, and a large, roomy American-made vehicle in which to haul it all home. Ginger is an author, speaker, and mother of five. Find her on Facebook (Ginger Truitt-Author), Twitter (@GingerTruitt), or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.