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Ex-Patriotism

The interviews by Thomas Nephew of German expat bloggers got me thinking: September 1st is not only the date that Hitler invaded Poland, but the date in 1990 of our arrival in Germany, a country at that time re-united in currency but not yet in fact. We had a cart full of suitcases, 3 cats, but no furniture, no apartment, no car, and our life savings in a cashier's check. We had only one job for the two of us. And only my wife could speak the language.

The idea of moving to Germany had only occurred to us 2 months before. We had been in Arizona for a year, following a potential job that never materialized and landing in the middle of the real estate slump (remember Charles Keating?). Someone suggested that it would be a good time for Mama to return to Germany... the Wall was down, and business would be expanding. That someone had contacts with the international division of her company, phone calls were made, and she was offered a job. We decided to hitch our wagon to her star, and she accepted. July 1990 was World Cup in Italy. We jokingly told one another than if the Germans won, we would leave. They did, and we left. We wanted to stay for 5 years. We're now on 13.

Business was good in Germany in the '90s, and with her American work ethic and German determination, she was able to work her way further than she ever could have in the States. And we now have a house and a child, and we just can't pick up and change continents on a whim like we did back then. But with Germany now in a seemingly permanent slump, I can't help but wonder... if we had lived our lives 13 years later, and we were being offered the German opportunity now instead of in 1990, would we accept it? Somehow I think the answer would be no.

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