So I’ve been back in Germany for just over a week now. When I left it was practically still winter, and now it’s “Hochsommer.” (That translates to “hot! and no airconditioning!”) Despite the opposite seasons, the strangest part of returning has been how normal — how ordinary — everything now feels. In February, everything was a new discovery (or new challenge): how do I select spices and keep the kitchen stocked the way I like? How do I use a German tape-dispenser? Where can I possibly find some reasonably hot crushed red pepper flakes? (The answer to that last one turned out to be: import it yourself.)
Now, everyday actions just seem like the same sort of things I’ve always been doing. I mean, yes, it still takes a few extra minutes to find the scotch — or whatever the German brand is — tape because the container doesn’t look how I expect it to, but the familiarity of that “oh, right, *THAT’s* the tape” moment somehow makes everything easier. Taking the train into town for school has been the simplest thing ever. Buying groceries is suddenly entirely uncomplicated. I suspect that many people living in foreign countries go through a slow transition from “WTF” to “duh,” but because I left shortly after achieving the “duh” level of familiarity with my new home, my re-introduction was surpringly different from February.
I am, by the way, officially a resident of Germany now. I can receive mail, and I can re-enter the country — as well as live in it — legally.