Saturday, December 21, 2013

Good tears

After walking out of the restaurant I got into my car and started to cry. My immediate thought was, "Ugh. Not again!" Navigating what has been a very difficult transition has dumped me on the side of the road in tears on more occasions than I would like to admit. Yet, tonight was different. They were not tears of sadness, discouragement, or frustration. Rather, they were good tears. They were tears of joy.

Tonight I went out to eat with 5 other people, two of my closest friends, their wives, and one 8-month year old. The couple without the baby are expecting their first child within the next two weeks. Naturally a lot of conversation was centered around babies and what to expect and do over the next several weeks/months. Of course, I had very little to contribute to the conversation, yet was ecstatic to be part of the conversation and seeing it all play out. I had no problem sitting back and simply listening. 
I went to college with these guys, but because of being in Germany was very limited in my time with them over the past five years. While I wouldn't have traded these past five years for anything, it did not come without a cost. For example: the first time I met one of my friend's wife, was two days prior to their wedding. I missed out on their entire dating relationship and engagement. While I trust him with my life, out of my love and care for him, there was something inside me that still found it tough to meet his wife a mere 48 hours prior to the wedding. (Though I was instantly sold on her amazing character because when I did meet her, she gave me a huge hug and asked me specific questions about Germany)
Being away for so many events and aspects of my friends' lives, always hit me hard.

But for right now, I'm not in a foreign country. I am close enough to call them up and go out for dinner. I am close enough that I can see a difference in her bump each and every time I see her. I can go for runs and listen to the different emotions and thoughts about being a father, or becoming a father. 
After five years of not knowing all the ins and outs of my friends' lives, it brings me joy to be in that place where I once again can rub shoulders with them and walk through these different aspects with them. I have no idea how long this particular season will last, where I am here and able to hold their kid, and hang out with them more than once every two and a half years. But I will cherish it, and will welcome the good tears when they come. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy Birthday

It is really exciting to state that today marks one full year of the book being published and available. Throughout the past year it has been nothing short of thrilling to see people embrace the book. Thank you for walking this journey with me and for making it such an exciting and enjoyable year. 
Happy Birthday! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Upcoming Announcement

I'm going to make today's post really short. 

Within the next couple of days I am going to launch a product that will pair with my book. I have been working on it for several months, and am really excited about it. I have been blessed to have a friend work countless hours in aiding me, and am thrilled to put the final touches on this and then go public. I will the announcement via three different methods; email, twitter and my book's website. The book's twitter is: @26_Reflections and the website is on the side of this blog. Keep your eyes out for the announcement, and I hope you will be as excited as I am. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Five months down the road

Last night as I was falling asleep I realized I had reached the point where I have been back in the States for five months. It honestly took me by surprise, and I think part of my shock lies in the fact that there are still things happening around me that catch me off guard. Moments where I get a text message about some newsworthy individual and I have to say, “Who is that?” Or those moments when my students start talking about “Catching Fire” and when I ask “is that a TV show?” I get stared at as if I have been living under a rock my whole life. So with that in mind, I figured I would try to make an entertaining list of things I notice that catch me off guard, and some of the aspects of life in Germany that still come out in my daily life
1.  Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag every morning at school still throws me for a loop.
2. Stop lights. Everywhere.
3. The absence of German farming tractors on the roads. 
4. In fact, I’m used to being late because of “getting stuck behind a tractor” and now I’m late because I got lost.
5.  I still find myself looking for a gelbe sas. 
6.  It’s so hard to find a soccer game on mainstream TV here.
7.  Speaking of sports, while in Pittsburgh don’t ask if Sidney Crosby still plays for the Penguins. From personal experience, it’s not a wise thing to do if you wish to be viewed as more intelligent than a dog. 
8. Having the day off from work for Thanksgiving…didn’t feel quite normal. We celebrated Thanksgiving while in Germany, but still had school.
9. Whenever I speak a language other than English, I’m no longer the person with the deer in the headlights look.
10. And, I can drop German and French in the same conversation and nobody realizes I’ve switched languages…or that they shouldn’t be impressed because I’m really not saying anything more intelligent than talking about how many cherries my friends have.