By Lisa Davidson
Sometimes we don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone. Or in my case, until I left.
Growing up in small town in Germany, all I ever wanted was to leave. Leave town, leave the country, leave the continent. I had the constant need to live somewhere else. After leaving my hometown and moving to Munich, this still didn’t change. Living in a big city and travelling the world in my free time was great, but being able to experience the struggle of daily life in a different country was what I yearned for.
I wanted to experience life abroad, explore living in a different culture, and just leave good old Germany behind. And I got what I wished for.
I still remember the feeling of excitement as our moving plans were gradually shaping up. But the feeling didn’t last. The closer we got to the moving date, the more I wanted to take in Munich. I realized that I took so much culture, so many German normalities and daily routines for granted.
So my focus changed from looking forward to something new to taking as much old with me as possible. Not in materialistic form, but in a sentimental way. I went on every trail and hike, visited every church and museum possible – from the Children’s Museum to the Pinakotheken.
Ironically, I used to write about Munich’s sights and attractions for a living, but never took the time to experience all the things I recommended to others.
I did it then. The months, weeks and days before I left.
Friends and family told me that saying goodbye wouldn’t be forever, that the States are only a plane ride away. Which is true. But still, I didn’t leave without mixed feelings.
I had to learn that leaving your culture and personal history behind to start a new life somewhere else is exciting, but you only realize afterward that you actually left a part of yourself behind as well.
I left Germany in October 2012 and have only gone back to visit once. I enjoyed my four-week stay, visiting my family, my hometown, my friends. But visiting and leaving Munich broke my heart.
I didn’t want to stop wandering the streets, being able to walk everywhere, enjoying the beautiful sights and the delicious food. I kept thinking about what could have been if we stayed, how my children would love to live here, how their lives would be different in Germany.
But in the end, I had to leave again. Now I am afraid of going back. I want to see friends and family; I want to be able to enjoy my “home” and the beautiful things it still has to offer. But visiting is hard because I know it isn’t permanent. Sooner or later I have to say goodbye again to go back to my new home.
And I realized it is easier to keep the things you love sacred in your heart, than to keep going back and enjoying them for a short period of time, always knowing it won’t be forever.
Lisa Davidson, mother of two energetic and drama-prone little divas, aged 2 and 4, studied Journalism in Munich and spent most of her time before having children writing for various publishers and travelling the world. After multiple moves inside and outside Germany, her latest pit-stop brought her to Texas, far from home but not from her heart. Now the days contain less scribbling in journals, but instead accomplishing tricky toddler crafts from Pinterest, less strolling in high heels through European metropolises, but instead trying to connect her daughters to her own culture. She is a busy mommy who knows how hard it can be to be far away from old friends and family, and she wants to help fellow moms to stay always true to themselves – no matter how stressful life can be or where their journey might take them.