Thursday, September 8, 2016

Germany and the Whip Basic Meet and Greet 2016

[from the plane 09/07/2016]

...Finally settled in my seat to go home.  Now that all the excitement is over, I have time to think and leave a few tears behind.  I had an epic week with my German big brother.  I'm going to miss him and Claudia a lot.  

...I miss my babies too.  I'm ready to go home and hug them all and bring some tears with me for them too.  It was an adventure I would have never considered a couple of years ago.  Robby says I'm different, but I'm crying. So, not so different.  A little wiser, a little more grown up, but still the emotional mess I have always been.  

My first flight was exciting.  The feeling when the plane leaves the ground is wonderful.  It's like the biggest, scariest ride at the fair that you finally get the courage to get on.  Once there, you anticipate how it will be and try so hard to prepare yourself, but it's nothing you can imagine on your own.  The word I coined was "airgasm" and once it happens, there is a few seconds of panic where you want the ride to stop do you can get off and go back to what you know.  More than once I looked at my lap and said, "It's too late for second thoughts.  Hold on and fly."  So I held on...and I flew.

Eventually, I looked at the screen in front of me and saw the little cartoon airplane hovering over Munich.  There again...panic.
"I don't deserve to be here, I have a weird face, no one will like me, I'm going to do stuff wrong...I'm not good enough for this...too fat, too ugly, too stupid, too poor, too loud," My heart was pounding, the tears rolled down my cheeks.  It's too late now.  It's too late now.  Get out of this plane and fly.  

Alice in Wonderland said, "I like to think I can do at least 6 impossible things before breakfast..." I had done my 6 impossible things today...I left my babies in the care of others, I traveled across the world all alone, I flew, I left my comfort zone, I trusted others, I was not in control.  "Better get your shit together Jess.  They will love you, if you let them..."

So I got off the plane, found my bags and answered stern German questions about what I am doing there, why I am doing it, how long will I be staying, and who I plan to see.  I crossed the gate and there I was.  In Germany.  6 impossible things before breakfast.  

And then, suddenly, there was the German.  Headphones on, face buried in his phone and so,  I took a deep breath and took the opportunity to drop everything and launch myself across the room like a fat little freight train to give him a big out-of-the-blue-ninja hug.  And so, started my German adventure. 

First, Robby is a wonderfully low-maintenance host.  His home is comfortable, livable, and he treats you like a part of the family.  You don't have to worry about breaking things, or messing things up.  He does not wait on you hand and foot, you are expected to do your share, but he takes the time to ask to make sure you are okay.  He lets you do as you please.  I instantly felt at home and my first night I slept with no trouble at all. 

We took a walk on the first day and I was surprised that Germany looks so much like home.  Obviously, the houses are much different, some plants  are different, everything green seems to be more permissive than here in the states.  Nature is allowed to be more free to do as it pleases--instead of the incredibly manicured lawns here at home.  

The streets are very narrow and harrowing to drive on.  Cars are on the sidewalks and cyclists like to have their way.  I'm never complaining about having to be an aggressive driver here at home again.  There is plenty of room for all, compared to Munich.  

Slugs.  Okay, from what I understand, there are giant slugs here in the states too, but in Wisconsin, where the winters are -40 and the frost line is well over 6 feet, our slugs are tiny little bitty things about the size of your fingernail at most.  But in Munich...I saw Nessie.

The next day, we went back to the airport to pick up Wildman.  After hanging over the barrier like apes whooping and screaming his name, Robert, our very proper and sweetly reserved Brit finally entered Germany too and received a very big, very exuberant American hug, which he took rather well--all tings considering, but the return hug was unsure and, from what I hear, the look on his face was rather shocked.  After a week of frolic, though...Robert not only broke some rules, but learned to crack jokes and even volunteered a couple of warm hugs in return...By the time he left, his new nickname was SCULL HAMMER and I even got an email checking on my status homeward with--and I quote--"Hot damn, girl!"  
When I had gotten my email, I was in Detroit again, very over tired and very emotional.  I really just wanted to get home and hug my people, sit on my couch, see my animals, and the tears were falling down my cheeks.  When I read Scull Hammer's email, I laughed out loud so hard that the other people in my terminal looked up in shock to see a crazy person laughing with big fat tears falling down her face.  They probably thought I was a psychopath.   

Sandwiched in between all of that was whip cracking, lots of laughing, secret handshakes, coffee, good talks, tours of Munich, a rather large beer, quiet walks alone, the meet and greet, encouraging words, hugs-hugs-hugs, good talks, movies, laughter, so many new friends, sunflowers, and a little bit of freedom and a lot of bravery that I had never experienced before in my life. Out of all of it, I walked away a little taller than when I came, a little richer, a little wiser...   

This was a very big deal for me and I appreciate so much, everyone who was there to help me have this week. Even if I do it again, I'm never going to forget this first time.