The other night, my hubs and I shared a bottle of wine (or maybe it was two) and ended up having a pretty emotional heart-to-heart. We don’t really have them often, it seems like guys try to avoid those kinds of things, but this one was much needed and welcomed. The convo wasn’t about those typical marriage subjects like finances, babies or careers, it was about how we would give anything, short of selling our souls, to live in Europe again.
When I think of Europe, I get this crazy intoxicating feeling, like you would with a new and exciting love. The connection I feel with that continent really can’t even be characterized by any set of words. I long for it now that I’m gone and I dream about it almost every night.
A European Love Affair.
Love at First Sight
From that day in 2015, when I first landed on German soil, I felt an instant connection, like one I never knew existed. That first month, we traveled to Dublin, Paris and Amsterdam; I was absolutely head over heels. I had this burning passion inside of me that I’d never felt before, bursting at the seams and completely taking me aback. I was utterly mesmerized by the cultures, languages, food, architecture, scenery, and the feeling of being free to see the world with my best friend by my side.
Then one day, before we knew it, it was all gone…
We left. We packed up everything we owned, other than some bits for donation, and began our trek 5640 miles away. Although it was partially our choice to move back to the US, we never would’ve imagined the emotions that came along with leaving Europe.
When I think about how amazing it was to be living in Germany and everything I miss about it, it makes me feel like someone’s chiseled away a piece of my heart and won’t give it back. Living in Europe gave us many opportunities to explore places we would’ve never imagined going to. We were living spontaneously, always on the go, constantly adventuring and soaking up every moment. Life today seems pretty drab and dull compared to that.
When you’re a little kid you dream about many things: a future career, living in a big city, having a lot of money or a big family. My dream was Paris.
I don’t know what it was or why I was so drawn into the entire French culture and that iconic Tower, but before I was even a teenager I started collecting Paris memorabilia and decor. I was obsessed with everything Parisian, fantasizing of living there one day. I imagined myself riding a bicycle around, with a baguette hanging out of my basket, a beret on my head and sporting a black and white striped shirt. That was my vision of Paris.
I had always dreamt of traveling the world but never thought I’d have the chance. I chalked it up as just that, a dream, and decided I’d throw on the backburner for maybe when I retire.
Making Dreams Come True
Fast forward 15 years, with my dreams of Paris lost somewhere in the midst of real life, my husband found out that he has to move to Germany for work. I was pretty upset at first, as I hadn’t ever really left the comfy confines of my midwest state. Out of the blue one day, the idea popped in my head to look up the distance between where we’d be in Germany to Paris. To my greatest surprise, it was only a 4 hour drive away! I understandably became optimistic about the entire idea of moving and couldn’t wait to get there, and you can probably guess what the first thing I wanted to do was.
On a sunny, spring day in April, we took off in the car towards the City. The entire car ride I’m pinching myself because I can’t believe that all of those birthday wishes and dreams of walking the streets of Paris were about to come true. We arrived at our hotel, located a couple of blocks away from Notre Dame, and begin exploring the Cathedral, Le Jardin du Luxembourg and the Pantheon in the 4th, 5th & 6th arrondissements. The entire time all I could think about was what I really wanted to see. I think my hubs knew it too.
We hop on the subway towards Champ de Mars, my hands clammy and anxiety pumping the entire time, trying to convince myself that this. is. real. life. We come up the stairs from the subway and out onto the street and as soon as the trees cleared away from the sky above us, BOOM!
There she was.
This massive, wrought-iron structure of beauty that I had been dreaming about practically my entire life. It’s right there.
With tears in my eyes and a grin on my face, we made our way to her. I can’t even begin to describe the type of emotions I was feeling. That moment, when something you’ve longed for practically your entire life, is right in front of you; it’s just an untouchable experience.
Losing Your One True Love
Three years later, I visited Paris for my 10th and final time, just weeks before we were moving back to the US. I sat on a blanket beneath the Eiffel Tower, drank wine straight out of the bottle, and breathed a breath of fresh Parisian air. This was the last time I was going to see my dream as real. I didn’t know at that time, and still don’t know now, if I’ll ever see her again or have the opportunity to visit but it breaks my heart knowing it’s not close to me anymore.
So when people tell me I’m crazy for leaving Europe and I don’t know what I lost, trust me, I DO. That feeling I’ve been talking about, you know, the intense longing and adoration one, that’s something I don’t think I could ever get back.
I didn’t know what Europe meant to me when I had it. It was my world away from my home, my teacher of cultural diversification, my outlet for my passion, my dream come true.
This lump in my throat and the pit in my stomach haven’t went away since leaving it. And I’m not sure I’ll ever be the same without it, like a really bad breakup.
A European Love Affair.