Jelly Donuts are Familiar

“All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin,

and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words Ich bin ein Berliner.”

– John F. Kennedy, speech June 26, 1963

What JFK meant was “I am a Berliner” but it has been misinterpreted as “I am a jelly donut.”

DSC07021 - Version 2

We look for things that are familiar. Jelly donuts are familiar.

It’s official. Karina and I are homesick. The harsh reality that everything takes a little longer has hit us. We are not really hungry but we go out to eat anyway because the day is too beautiful to ignore. We finish our meal and want to take the leftovers home. Something so normally simple becomes laborious for us now.

Is “To Go” the same as in the literal sense to walk “gehen”? Or is it “Take Away” but there are twelve different ways to say it – which do we choose? Or is it to “take home” as in “mit nach Hause nehmen”? We don’t know so we bypass “to go/away/home.” With no disrespect to the German language, it does sound something like Yoda talk – “Yoda, I am.” The verbs come at the end of the sentence thus making it difficult to string words together naturally.

Karina thinks she can ask by using the word “später” meaning “later” in her question. I settle on “Können Sie packen diese in einer Box zu nehmen?” Google is great, isn’t it? I spend five minutes memorizing the line. We have no idea which is correct. Karina tries her line but the waiter doesn’t understand or maybe she is speaking too softly. I jump in and manage to say the first three words of the line I have been busy memorizing. He lights up when he hears “packen” and brings us our doggie bag.

I tell her that the firsts are always hard. The first day, the first week, the first month, the first year will always be challenging. Our first month has gone by and needless to say, we’re challenged. I just want things to come naturally and easy. I long for things that are easy to find, easy to recognize and easy to understand.

I am reminded by something my dear neighbor, Emke, who now lives in Florida, once told Karina. “If you’re ever struggling, remember this – nothing is ever difficult, it’s just unfamiliar. When you become familiar with something, it will get easier.” I’m sure I’m paraphrasing because she has a way of making her pearls of wisdom sound so much better in her South African accent. I think about this and hope the homesickness will go away.

The sun has been shining all week – thank goodness for that! I began listening to Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) recommended by my cousin, Arlene. It has helped to hear him say that “The sunshine is there for you…you have to see the deep connection between you and the sunshine. You are made of sunshine…sunshine is love.” And sunshine is undeniably familiar. I feel better already.

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4 thoughts on “Jelly Donuts are Familiar

  1. Very nice experience of yours although I don’t read the German words properly hehe…good for you, you are learning…Emke is right. Nice to read your posts. Thank you.

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  2. Vernie Mae, the keyword is being present and mindful. Create your own sunshine wherever you go.
    I enjoy reading your blogs. Keep on writing as it is in writing that we retain life experiences.
    Namaste! Hugs to Karina and Odd.

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  3. Shirl, I am glad you are able to connect through my experiences even though your experiences are your own. We all walk different paths but follow in the same steps, it seems. Being homesick is temporary. I know it is to be expected. I treat discoveries with wonder, insight and now mindfulness. I am grateful for these experiences – good and bad…because in the end, these experiences help shape us. Self discovery can be a beautiful thing. Thanks for reading!

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  4. Vern, your friend Emke is right. Moving to a new unfamiliar place is never easy, if it were then it is not “NEW” to be discovered. Reading your blog brings me back 35 years ago, 23 yrs old and naive, I moved to Vancouver with the promise of adventure. There were moments when I cried myself to sleep but not a thought of moving back to the familiarity of my parents home crossed my mind. I wanted adventure and being homesick is part of it. Now that I am familiar with Vancouver, I long for far away unfamiliar places to discover. You are blessed as you have Odd and Karina beside you to share your new adventures with.
    I am looking forward to your next discovery. Xoxo shirley

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