It's been a long time.

I have been composing a post in my head the last few weeks. I thought I could finally write it this weekend but still don't know how to say what I want, I guess because I still don't know what I want to say.

It is about a love story that began in Chicago, traveled to Mexico, Prague, and Frankfurt, moved me to Germany and Switzerland and finally ended a year ago today in Manila. A big love, a big loss. Our lives have moved on but it still makes me sad. I wish I could at least see why it turned out the way it did or say I learned something from the experience. There is nothing more to add; I suppose I should stop rehashing it. The heart is the last to accept it.

So what about cioppino? We will get there. It started out as a car wreck of a weekend.

I was in quite a rush on Thursday night. For once we landed on time in Munich and I got my rental car. I wanted to join a friend's farewell party as quickly as possible. I was already a couple hours late with the travel. A friend who I met through my Sunday cycling tours is now returning to the US for good. It's a good thing for him to get back home to his family but we will miss him.

Anyhow, I got the rental car and started down the highway. Got about 20 km from the airport when a warning light came on saying something about my tire in German. Soon enough I felt the telltale thump-thump-thump of a flat tire and pulled into a gas station. After calling the rental car company, waiting for 45 minutes for a return call and being told is would be another 1-2 hours until they could come get me, I decided to abandon the car and deal with it the next day.

After all that, I made it for the last hour or two of the farewell party then headed for home. The next day, I called the rental car company again and they somehow had it in their records that the car was already fixed. After establishing again that it was in need of repair, we started several hours of phone calls with various agents telling me any combination of Mercedes has to come get the car, we can come get the car and bring you a new one, you have to pay, you have to rent a second car, you have to pay for the tire as it's not covered by insurance, you shouldn't have to pay since the incident happened just after leaving the airport and on and on.

In between the small army of agents sending conflicting information and yet initiating very little action, the police called. Apparently I had parked the car on top of refill point and a gas tanker had arrived to service the station. Big commotion at the gas station. So could I please come get my car now?

By then, the rental car company finally managed to establish that they had a branch less than 400 m from where my car had been sitting and I could bring it there. But first I had to change the tire. Umm. No clue how to change tire.

So I decided to roll it over to the car rental agency and let someone there figure it out. Bad idea. They still insisted that I change the tire. Finally some taxi drivers who were watching the stupid girl try to figure out the tire jack took pity on me and came over to help. One asked me where was my friend (as in boyfriend) and just as I was about to swat him, I realized he was from the taxi service that M. and I used to use sometimes to go to the airport when we were living together. The second time in a week that has happened (previously with the guy who we used to buy our wine from).

Finally, all squared away and I headed for home but I decided there and then I wanted a low key weekend to just relax, reflect and recharge. I canceled all social plans, stocked up on some gorgeous food from my favorite butchers, markets and stores. I joined a dvd rental store and took out a couple of movies. Then I holed up in my apartment for Friday and Saturday. The weather cooperated with a cold rainy spell. I slept, edited photos, read a book, listened to music, and tidied up the house.

The weather improved today and was warm, sunny and blustery. I rode down to the Isar and catnapped in the sun by the river. Then tonight I made cioppino. Delicious!

In the end I didn't come to any earth shattering conclusions about anything but the company and the food were good. Now back to Geneva tomorrow as we enter into the final stretch.

Posted from Munich


Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear that eventually you were able to get the rental car situation taken care of. Were you managing all of those conversations in German?! I don't know what I would do in that situation!

It's great to read that you have been building a life for yourself, both with new friends and with time for yourself. It takes real strength to listen to yourself and do what's good for you, including giving yourself some solitary downtime to recharge your batteries.

Look how far you've come in a year. Even with residual feelings of sadness and loss, which are to be expected when you have to part ways with someone important to you, you have been building an amazing life for yourself on your own terms. I hope that someday soon your heart is healed by the joy of meeting someone new.

--Another Munich expat

Michelle said...

Thanks AME - no, those conversations were all in English. Luckily they indulged me this time ;-) And thanks for the nice words. It has been a good year in many ways but definitely some ups and downs that go with the territory!

aimee said...

i didn't realize it had been a year. i know it's been a tough year but you've had some pretty awesome experiences in that time that you likely would not have otherwise had. (not that it makes up for the other of course)

kind of stinks but i think we often don't see the "reason" for something until the other thing has come along. then the answer that had been elusive becomes strangely obvious. hope the time passes quickly until then...

expatraveler said...

I think I had the same conclusion with an ex a long time ago. We saw each other a year later and then again roughly 6 years later. It did take me a very long time to get over the situation without a real answer.

But, my thing I learned is that friends are for life and they will always be there for you... So I started concentrating on my girlfriends who would make me laugh and show me the good time.

I haven't left that advise and it still is my backbone today!

I hadn't realized it has been an entire year as well. Time sure flies but then again, times were tough for me 1 year ago...

Did I hear that your contract will end soon in Geneva too?

Lovely post really... Here's a hug from the other side of the pond. And if you decide to come to Victoria, you've got a riding partner!