It started with a mug.
Maybe it didn't actually start with the mug, but the mug was the first tangible part. If the mug wasn't the beginning, the pre-mug era was made of only thoughts, dreams, memories and longing.
About this mug. It's a black mug. It has a picture of Karl Marx on it, and it said "Karl-Marx Universitaet Trier." It was a gift from a friend from Uni-Trier that came to visit almost four years ago. He brought me lots of Trier presents, but the mug is the only one I used regularly. I put my tea in it at work. I brought it home to wash on Friday.
Somewhere between my cubicle and the kitchen sink, it broke. That made me sad, but my first thought was probably the first thought of most people under forty and maybe the second or third thought for most people older than that: I'll go online and try to find another one.
I couldn't FIND another one. I found a ton of Karl Marx mugs, mostly ones making fun of our president (note: I'm not actually a big fan of Karl Marx, but he was born in Trier, so he's kind of a big deal around those parts). I didn't WANT one with Barack Obama on it. I wanted a black mug, with Karl Marx's face on it, that said, "Karl-Marx Universitaet Trier." But I couldn't find one.
I was really sad, and I felt really stupid for feeling so sad over a mug, but it wasn't just the mug.
In my search, I saw pictures of Uni-Trier, and Trier. Porta Nigra. Tarforst. Kleeburger Weg. I saw the vineyards. I read about the different Fachbereiche (subject areas) at the Uni. I went on Facebook and told my friend he had to come back and bring me another mug, and I saw HIS mug on his Facebook profile, and by the time I was done, I still didn't have a mug. I had a giant, crushing dose of Heimweh.
Last week, I also went to a luncheon for my German exchange student's program. All the talk about German education hit me a little, too. Then, today, I was watching soccer. Spanish soccer, but it took me back. But not literally, and that's what I want. I want to literally go back.
But I don't know how. I don't know how to navigate finding a job or a life over there. I don't know what my non-German-speaking husband would do there. I don't know what I'd do with my house, or if I could buy a house there. It's something I've mentioned to my husband before, but it's too overwhelming to contemplate. But right now--today, at least--it's kind of all I want.