Last night, we were all having dinner at one of the Vietnamese joints in the Eden Center located in our backyard (for those of you who don't know: The Falls Church Oakwood is located right next to both a cemetery AND what amounts to "Little Saigon"-- a giant complex housing numerous Pho and Banh Mi Sandwich shops, Vietnamese DVD stores, jewelery stores, and manicure suppliers. It's great for a family living on a government salary, as dinner for the four of us can easily be had for under 25$), and we were fantasizing about our new life in Frankfurt, Germany.
Stefan had such a glimmer in his eye when he spoke about the country where he spent so many childhood and adolescent weeks. His fondness for the place is contagious, truly, and I feel so blessed that we are going to a country where one of us has such strong roots. Germany has the added bonus of being Stefan's birthplace and his intimate understanding of the culture will certainly add an extra dimension to our time there.
While we don't have to do very much heavy research (because relatively speaking, the lifestyle won't be so different from what we are used to here), we do get to do a lot of fantasizing about how we will spend our free time. One of the greatest advantages of Frankfurt is its very central European location and we have, of course, decided to take as many road (and train and plane) trips as we can comfortably afford. I am looking forward to spending time with one of my oldest and dearest friends who lives in London. Word has it that a flight to the UK can be had for a mere 20 euros on Ryanair. I also look forward to visiting Stef's cousin in Berlin and hopefully, experiencing the Oktoberfest at its epicenter in Munich. I have never been to the Netherlands and I haven't eaten nearly enough Parisian meals. I have always longed to take long, slow walks in Prague. I have never experienced snowboarding in the Alps and I've missed Brussels ever since I fell in love with my husband there. It probably sounds overly ambitious to do everything there is to do in Europe, but we are a resourceful and adventurous family and I have little doubt that our memories have just begun to be made.
I am so so excited by this move (made even more so by the reaction of friends and family; so many have said they will visit and I really do hope this is true!), that I can't contain it. I have trouble sleeping, for thoughts of German Christmas Markets and homemade sausages fill my head. I wake in the morning exhilarated, knowing how much opportunity and richness awaits us. It's a lucky thing that we will be leaving in September because with more time to anticipate, I would surely implode.