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Mein schmerzliches Herz

Sunday, May 08, 2011


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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm not German. Sadly.

    I'm American, but I studied and lived in Germany for a little bit in 2006, and it was like coming home for the first time. It was weird. Like, okay, I don't want my sisters to think I'm being stupid or saying that I didn't also feel at home at home with our parents and in my life there, but when I was there, it was like everything fit, and I didn't know things could fit that way until I was there.

    I'm actually really jealous of you, Hope, because you were able to make a life for yourself outside of your homeland. I spent the morning before work began looking for jobs in Germany, but that is a near impossibility due to the laws they made in 1973 about hiring foreigners. But only a "near" impossibility. Not a total one. So we'll see.
    2935 days ago
    Hey, I didn't know you were German! Now I'm even more jealous of you (for being a person living outside of her homeland).
    I haven't spent more than one year away from my homeland (unfortunately), but I do know how Heimweh feels. emoticon
    How do you feel with the language thing? I mean, speaking a foreign language all day long, even if I'm good at it, feels so artificial and unreal to me. Especially when your language has wonderful words that I've never found in other languages, like "erledigen" (is that just my perversion to love this word?). Or the extremely long Komposita.

    2935 days ago
    My parents lived in Germany in the late 70's... they were in the US army but lived in "citizen housing" off base and loved it. My brother was even born there. I would love to visit one day! I hope your dreams can come true one day emoticon
    2935 days ago
    I didn't realize that you are from Deutschland. My husband and I have spent many wonderful days in Trier and when you were mentioning all of those places, I could picture them in my mind. I think one of my most favorite places on earth is the area between Wasserbillig and Cochem.

    I can understand your deep desire to go back there. I love the orderliness of Germany and the German people, and their sparkling clean windows.

    My mother-in-law is from GelsenKirchen-Horst and came to this country with her American husband after the war. I love to see my husband in Germany, speaking German. He seems to somehow belong there, although he was raised in this country.

    I hope that you can find a way to calm the unrest that you are feeling as you think of these places where you want to be. Perhaps if you dream of it and decided that you really want to go, your mind will help you find a way.


    2935 days ago
    I'm sorry...I wish I knew what to say to make you feel better, but I don' think words would help right now. Sometimes there just isn't anything anyone can say to ease the "ache", but just know that we are thinking about you, and praying that you find some peace...and another mug (smiles).
    2936 days ago
    Well, deep desires have to be listened to, even if they don't seem practical. Who knows how this might be fulfilled in the long term? For now, I'd say keep German in your life in various ways.

    I maintain the goal "keep Spanish in my life" on my list over at, & I fulfill it by keeping Spanish-language movies in my Netflix mix, making regular time to meet with Colombian friends, chatting online with my friend in Bolivia, listening to Latino music, etc.). I'm thinking pretty seriously of retiring there! Social security will go a lot further there, if things continue more or less as they are.

    So coddle your German & keep your heart & eyes open. You just never know!

    2936 days ago
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