I spent a lot of my childhood in Germany, which I think explains both the source of my crafty love and my anguish worrying I’m not providing my own children with the same idyllic childhood I had. Life in Germany seems to go at a slower pace, and the traditions that we associate with Waldorf here are infused into the mainstream culture and schools there. I can list many reasons for loving Germany — the lure of the old cobblestone pedestrian downtowns, the flowers that seem to spill from every windowsill and balcony because even apartment dwellers need something green, the public transportation system that makes living a car-free life easy. And don’t get me started on the bakeries on every corner. But the reality is, it’s not a tally of things like beautiful craft stores or Christmas markets or lantern walks in the fall, it’s how I feel when I’m there, and really, how I feel when I’m not.
My husband and I spent an idyllic junior year abroad in Berlin with our beloved dog Bogie, a shelter pit bull we adopted a month before leaving the States. We had every intention of returning to Berlin after completing college, but a tragic pit bull attack led to a nationwide ban on the breed and so we didn’t go back. We stayed in the States. And almost eleven years later, we haven’t visited — not out of holding any grudge, but partially out of logistics and expense, and partially because I think it will be hard to be a visitor in a place that felt more like home than anywhere I’ve lived since. Hard to have to leave again.
But I need my children to know Germany, and so this year, we have vowed to throw caution to the wind. We are still figuring out the exact logistics (how exactly would you, for instance, smuggle a dog’s ashes into the country?) but we are definitely going. You hear that internet? No backing out now. Three glorious weeks that will seem like a heartbeat.
I know I promised craftiness — please forgive the dripping nostalgia instead. I spent the evening repairing one of Christmas gifts I’d made, so I’m a little behind! More tomorrow!
Do any of you have big plans for the New Year? Something you want to announce to hold yourself accountable, I say, as though anyone is reading this…
I hope your holidays were filled with as much joyful abandon as ours were! I’ll be back in this space this week to share some handcrafted Christmas presents and plans for the New Year. We started 2011 off right with a picnic in the park with friends, complete with collards and black-eyed peas. The trails were a little muddy from all the melted snow, but the temperature was warm, the food delicious and the company very pleasant indeed.