I have a daily routine- waking up groggily, sometimes taking Sophie out for her morning walk, sometimes making the much-needed pot of chai (depending on what the arrangement is with the husband), getting ready, packing lunch (sometimes), and heading off to the train station.
I await the perfect view of the Elbe if I am lucky enough to get that right-side window seat to watch the sun unwillingly come up and the persistent fog hovering over the endlessly vast and deep water. Then I get back to my book or music.
I have a stop to get off at (without switching trains preferably). I step out of the train, sure of both the long and short walk to that big, fancy, beautiful building I have the privilege of calling my office whilst listening to the most bold, most celebratory Bollywood and Tamil songs. But hold on, I need breakfast- so I stop at the bakery right opposite and get myself my regular (asking in German no less and already having picked out the exact change):
After a day of work (more or less) along with discussions about the most regular and irregular aspects of a myriad cultures (because that’s how diverse my work place is), I make my way back to that station, enjoying my 7 minute walk, and getting into the first door of the last wagon of the S3 in direction Stade or Buxtehude. That wagon door because it opens right in front of the elevator at the home stop so it’s easier and faster to make my way back.
One year later, I am more German than I ever thought I would or could be. Last time this year, I was cold, homesick, lost and fighting to keep hope flickering. After all that sadness, all those tears and screams that Heiko had to endure, we’ve found a system that keeps things going. It’s not perfect, but it is something. I have found a version of me that has adapted to this strange land, full of its strange people, a version that is not destructive or stagnant, a version that contributes to our life- by talking about everything under the sun (and clouds), by laughing, by making the yummiest food together, by spending time with each other and doing new and old things together, predictably and unpredictably.
Heiko and I set up this house and it wasn’t a lot, but it is home now. Another home, in another continent where I have found a version of myself I can live with- she still needs improvements, no doubt, but she is here, physically and mentally, willing to listen, willing to find alternatives instead of complaining, willing to appreciate the different, willing to even love that the cold is back and excited that Christmas and the promise of snow is close again!
Yes, I miss my first home, I miss my Mamma and Daadu, my Paati and Thaatha, my doggie boys and my family and friends. But missing them to a point where I can’t function is not making it better for anyone- not for them, not for me and not for anyone here. I knew that before, theoretically. It just took
some a lot of time to practice it. It is far away, but I have two homes, in two continents- double of everything and just the most abundant kind of love and affection that both of them bring.
Thank you, universe for keeping me strong enough to get here and appreciate this moment. Nothing is truer when you say it after a couple of drinks and so on Friday the 21st October, I said to the guy who was selling us a plate of Currywurst – “Ich bin Deutscher, jetzt!” – a grammatically incorrect version of “I am German now!” to his rhetoric of me not wanting the spicy sauce, because hello! I am Indian and that automatically means I like spicy food. Haha!
There it is! I see it more clearly now 🙂