The moment my plane took off from Dresden this morning I started to cry. I've been saying goodbye to Dresden and to friends and even to Wilhelm for days, if not the last weeks. Every time I did something, like riding over the Elbe on my bike (on Friday), walking down my street (yesterday), seeing the sunset, looking at the Frauenkirche from Wilder Mann (yesterday) it was goodbye Elbe, goodbye Förstereistr., goodbye Frauenkirche...but it wasn't real until the wheels of the plane left the ground this morning and I realized that my feet wouldn't be on Dresden soil again for a while, probably not until next year. And then tons of memories started flying through my head...about telling friends I was pregnant back in 2005, remembering how shocked some were (standing in the kitchen of one language school), how excited others were (having lunch at Petit Maroc), about how I met my husband (an infamous escape story from an infamous idiot, but I should probably thank that idiot for chasing me away to where I found my Ger-Man!), about arriving here on February 3, 2003, getting lost in a snow storm on my first day, eating a bagel, the excitement of moving into my first apartment on Conradstraße, the excitement of my first very own apartment on Alaunstraße, assembling my furniture in that apartment and how much fun it was, the bubblegum smell of the Putzi toothpaste factory that took me back to my childhood at my grandparents' house chewing Big League Chew bubble gum, the first time I saw Wilhelm in the hospital and how tiny he was and how scary it was (but also remembering when I woke up from whatever drugs they gave me how I first asked "how is my boyfriend?")
I've never left a place quite like this. In so many ways, Dresden is where I grew up, so much has happened. Sure, it wasn't easy taking off from home five and a half years ago, not knowing what would come next, but in so many ways, Michigan can always be my home base. My family is there and it's no problem to go back. I guess realistically it's no problem to go back to Dresden, we know so many people there, and it's so much easier for us to just go, no Green Cards, nothing...It's just scary to leave so many friends and so many fun memories behind. Of course it wasn't and isn't all fun in Dresden, our future looks a lot brighter in the United States (but we'll see about that when we get there), but we will be pretty uprooted for a very long time I think. We have such a nice network of friends and so many connections to various people and organizations in Dresden, I am very positively surprised by how many good friends and excellent business connections I made in just these past years. It really hit me yesterday how many good friends we have, thinking about our going away party (actually parties), and then everybody who spontaneously stopped by or called because they remembered my departure date. All I can say is thank you to everyone for everything. And see you soon.
Bye, Elbe. Bye, friends. See you soon!