My Parents Came to Town
Updated: Jan 3
My parents came to visit me in Germany last week. As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, my parents spent the 2 weeks before, traveling throughout Romania, with members of their local church in Florida, sharing the gospel in word and song. At the conclusion of their mission trip to Romania, they came to Germany to spend a week with me.
In my blog I have shared stories about my life in Bavaria, writing about some of the unique and memorable experiences I have had along the way. Despite all the great times I have had and the quality of life I have found in my little world, there is some downside to living abroad and being away from the place you came from and lived in most of your life.
There are a lot of things I do not miss about America, but there are also some things I do miss from time to time. Some of the things I miss are silly, like good Mexican food (sorry guys, but Germany could use a couple of Mexicans’ - I think the U.S. could spare a few). I miss being able to go shopping on a Sunday, I miss being able to go to the grocery store at anytime day or night, I miss a great steak and big all you can eat salad bars, I miss having a car and I miss the music scene (a bit different than it is in Bavaria). These are all little things. Little things that really don’t matter and I can live without them or I can try to recreate them here. But of all these things, what I really miss is my family.
I have many friends and acquaintances here in Germany that are expats too, living away from their hometowns and families (Sean, Tim, Kev, Jose, Rob, Tracey). I am sure they understand what I am talking about and how it feels to be away from your family and the cultural roots of your life. I know that I often suppress the reality of living in another land, in exchange for my quality of life or career. However, there are a few times a year, when I return to America or my family comes to visit me, that I am reminded of how far away I am, and I have to deal with the feelings that come with it.
This last week when My Parents Came To Town, our time together was filled with laughter, a few tears, stories about the past, plans for the future and love. My parents took a couple of day trips while they were here. They visited Neuschwanstein Castle (The castle that was the inspiration for the Castle at Disneyland and did some sightseeing in Salzburg, Austria.
We also did a bit of shopping while they were here and experienced a lot of the local restaurants; Bavarian, Italian, Bavarian, Japanese, BBQ and Bavarian. (attention Landshut friends, check out https://nem-bbq.com/, a very cool new place in Landshut, you cook your food on a grill at your table) BONUS FOR MY PARENTS: (you know I like “bonus”), the lower level of my apartment building is the da Moreno Gelato Caffe (English = ice cream parlor). My parents hit this place quite often while they were here (sometimes twice a day). You just don’t get ice cream like this in America. I am sure Mr. Moreno is going to miss you both.
While my parents were in town, my band was performing at an event called the “All American Steel - Season Opening der Old Steel Cruiser`s Landshut”. This was an American car show sponsored by a local car club called the Old Steel Cruisers and with American BBQ food at the place called the “Fette Sau” (English = Fat Pig). https://www.diefettesaubbq.com/
I knew my Dad would love seeing some classic American cars. For as long as I can remember, Dad always had a couple of cars that he was restoring. On a side note, my Dad’s car projects were his form of relaxation after long days at work and it often provided an opportunity for me and him to spend time together in the garage. However, since my mechanical ability related to cars is very minimal, let me share with you the routine of Dad and son car restoration. Dad would work on the car, son would hand Dad the tools he needed (often the wrong one he was asking for) and son would clean up, THE END. Nonetheless, it was fun to be a part of turning what some might consider to be junk, into a cool car.
Dad recently sold his 1964 Thunderbird as he needed some space in his garage. In addition to that car, he has his Lincoln SUV for his daily use, his 2004 Thunderbird convertible, our 1965 Mustang convertible, and 2 golf carts. I suppose it needed to get rid of one of them.
Our day at the car show turned out to be a very special day (the weather could have been better). Getting the opportunity to see so many American classic vehicles altogether in one place, was just one of those things you don’t expect in Germany. However, the highlight of my day and possibly of my parents visit, was when I was on stage with the band and looked out into the audience and saw my Dad, standing alone at a table, under an umbrella watching me sing.
No matter how old I get, whenever I am around my Dad, I feel like a boy again. At that moment, I just wanted him to be proud of me and I was so happy that he was here. I found myself holding back the tears as I looked at this man who means so much to me, watching me perform in this far away land. In the very same moment, it started snowing (Yes, SNOWING! in May). I was so shocked by the snow, it brought me back to reality and it saved me from having to explain to my bandmates as to why I was crying. (yes, I still need to maintain some level of coolness, as I have this whole Rockstar image to keep up with)
Even though it was such a very special week, I do have a few regrets from when my parents came to town. One, I wish I had a bigger apartment or house. It would have been nice to have them stay with me, instead of a hotel. I suppose it was fine for them, as the alternative would have been staying at my small apartment with one bathroom with very little privacy.
The second regret is the amount of time I had to work. I know, I have written about the topic of work superseding or taking over our time for the important things in life. Well, it was one of those times. In sales, you have heavy times, you must take them and rise to the task because there are also a lot of slow times. Our business is hot right now, which is great after having a rough year before. But, why now? Believe me, one day I will find a way to not let work own my time as it relates to the important things in life and it will be a great blog entry.
As I mentioned at the start of this blog entry, I have shared a lot of good stories about my life abroad. Now let me share with you one of the bad things. Today, my parents left town and last evening I had to say goodbye. I hate goodbyes. I think I get this from my Dad, as throughout my life and even more so over the last several years, the goodbyes are harder, and they come with quivering voices, sniffling noses, and watery eyes.
As I walked home, I had such a sadness come over me and I realized that this was a feeling that has become all too familiar over the last several years. Because I live so far away, I am faced with the overwhelming fact that a few times a year, I have to say goodbye to some of the people I love the most in this world, not knowing when I will see them again.
My move to Germany many years ago likely saved my life in some ways. I was very unhealthy, overweight, stressed out and depressed. The change to my life and my lifestyle has helped and improved some of these areas of my life. But it comes in exchange for a little heartache every now and then. Yes, I know with a family spread over 3 states and adult children making their own way in life, I don’t know if I would see them more than I do now, if I were in America. But being rational does not always take away the pain.
If you live near to your family, never take for granted that because you are near, that you are close (take that statement in, it is kind of deep). Be sure to always take the opportunity to spend some time together and share life with your family, parents and children. At any time, the circumstances of our life’s can change, and you might find yourself far away from the ones you love and, in the case, that a family member leaves this world, the opportunity to have time together is forever gone.
I am so happy and thankful My Parents Came to Town. Hmmm? maybe one day I will be able to write a blog called “My Children Came to Town”. (hint, hint)