Summer treat

What’s the best summer treat? Ever? Watermelons, frozen margaritas, and ice cream sundaes got nothin’ on it? Twelve full days with A!!!

I was so happy to pick A up from the airport – I had tears in my eyes. Same for her. We spent that afternoon at my favorite coffee house, talking and enjoying the simple fact that we were breathing the same air. Conversation flowed like always, with each of us finishing the other’s thoughts. For the next 11 days, we never ran out of things to talk about, even in the more heated moments (it’d be boring if we didn’t challenge each other a bit).

Time flies when you’re having fun. And boy, did we have fun! I showed her our new hood and my new work. We rode our bikes with Toby along the Rhine on a sunny day and in the rain on a not so sunny day (the true Düsseldorf experience). I of course showed her all the favorites – the coffee house, the bakery, my chocolate croissant dealer, our little Italian place, the Mexican restaurant, the Devil’s of Düsseldorf. We discovered gummy bear heaven. I tried to take her to boot heaven, but we were about a month early still. We spent a Wednesday night on Ratinger with Altbier and Wienerschnitzel. Toby cooked for us, and we played Yahtzee and Boggle. For a bit of adventure, A and I took the train to Berlin, and A, Toby, and I took the convertible on a road trip to the Netherlands.

Before I was ready, it was time for A to go. I was so sad to leave her at the airport – I had tears in my eyes. Same for her.

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For my sister

Friday the 13th is a day of ill repute, but for me it was one of the luckiest days of my life – my sister, A, was born. Back then I didn’t realize all the ways she would enrich my life, but now I can’t imagine growing up (and onward) without her.

Package deal

I absolutely love my sister, and it’s pretty much always been like that. She is arguably the best present my parents ever gave me – a custom-made best friend. Someone to share your coloring books, martinis, and camping adventures with. One of these days, when we’re old, I’m sure we’ll bring out the old pictures and have a good laugh. Sure there were times when she bit and I clawed, but sharing a room – me on the top bunk, A on the bottom – will teach you a lot about when it’s time to play nice again and how to forgive. It will also teach you a lot about respect and empathy.

We haven’t always been close through the years, but we could always count on each other. A helped me through one of the most difficult times in my life, my divorce. It’s something I hate talking about in public (oops, I guess I just did) because I always feel like people look at me like I’m one of those people. Well, I’m not, and I survived the ordeal only because A was there to hug away my tears and to make me laugh when I was damn sure I just couldn’t. I hope she never needs me like that, but if she does, I’ll be there.

Adventurers

Because there’s no better therapy than sister therapy. There’s something about that bond that is so special. Aside from my parents, she’s the one person who has seen me grow and change through the years – she really knows it all. I can’t hide my true self from her. How cool (and scary and humbling) is that?!

It’s sometimes hard to be so far away from A, but instead of missing her I look forward to phone calls and emails. Her first visit is guaranteed to make for some more good memories. Time to get it planned!

Home is

We just got back from a fabulous 10-day trip to Arizona! It felt so good to be there again, and, in a strange way, as though we had never left. My sister and I instantly tuned into the legendary hive mind. Conversations with friends seemed to pick up where they left off. Hip hop music, drinks, and ESPN still set the stage for a good mood. In one word, the trip was perfect.

That’s not always easy to accomplish when you have a list of people to see and things to do but a limited amount of time, yet somehow we managed to find the right balance. What do I remember best from the trip? The love of family and friends that were so happy to see us again. How good it felt to be around my sister and to see her flourishing on her own. Saguaros, rocks, and the smell of creosote. The warmth of the desert sun on my face. The feel of driving my old 4Runner. SomeBurros burritos and the smile on Toby’s face as he ate one. Even the rain (yes, ironically it did rain), which has a totally different quality than in Düsseldorf.

And then a funny thing happened (no, not on the way to the forum). I started calling Düsseldorf home. I don’t really understand why, but something about being in Arizona helped me get there. Maybe it had to do with the realization that leaving a place doesn’t have to mean you’re gone. Or that it’s the people that make a place home. Or that I was living out of a suitcase.

In any case, Toby and I are back in our apartment. Although we already woke up to snow once (it was washed away by the rain), it’s nice to be in Düsseldorf again. It’s slowly becoming home.

I guess home really is where you hang your hat (and soon, hopefully, a few new lamps and pictures).