Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Man, these hallways are a bitch!

A few days ago, I was looking at my Facebook memories and this photo came up.

I shared this four years ago, when Bill was on terminal leave from the Army and had just begun his job search.

I looked at the original post from which I shared this photo.   People are complaining about the use of the word, "bitch", which, of course, means female dog.  It's also a pejorative that applies to extremely offensive women.  I've been called a bitch more than a few times in my life.  I've also called people bitches and referred to bitching...  In this case, I think the photo means that when you're between jobs or otherwise facing a transition, life can be difficult.  

Four years ago, Bill was very nervous about the future.  We were living in Texas in a rental house we hated.  Despite his efforts to find local work, nothing was panning out.  He went on a couple of unsuccessful job interviews.  Then, we decided to take one last military "hop" to Germany and France, because we figured it would be a lot harder to travel in Europe from the United States.

Little did we know, we'd wind up living in Germany again.  The weird thing is, I had a premonition we'd be living here.  I even said it on the first night of our trip.  We were sitting there eating schnitzels at a hotel restaurant near Ramstein and I said, "I have the strangest feeling this trip is going to lead us back to Germany."

We did end up talking to a guy who was in Germany with his son.  They lived in Belgium, where he was working with the military, and his son was at Ramstein for a soccer tournament.  The guy was giving Bill job hunting pointers.  Sure enough, a month after we came home from Germany, Bill met an old colleague for breakfast tacos in San Antonio.  The guy put in a word for Bill and Bill got in touch with a former EUCOM colleague, who made sure Bill's resume got to the hiring manager for the company he first worked for when we moved here.  

I often wonder if there really is such a thing as "fate".  The way it worked out for us to move to Germany was just too perfect.  We happened to get here just before the German government started cracking down on contractors.  That spared us having to live in limbo for months on end.  The job was, and still is, perfect for Bill.  He couldn't have asked for a more appropriate position.  And here I am, doing what I always wanted to do... even if doing this makes me feel kind of guilty a lot of the time.

Sometimes I fantasize about when it will be time to move back to the United States.  I'm definitely not in a hurry to do so, though.  I've found there just isn't that much for me there.  I'm not that close to family and a lot of my "friends" turn out to be not so friendly.  Yeah... I think maybe I might want to go back for a new dog, when the sad time comes for that...  or maybe I can convince a German shelter to let me adopt one here.  

Dogs and horses are better friends than a lot of people are.

Bill keeps talking about people he knows who have decided to stay in Europe.  One guy he worked with who just retired has moved to Rota.  His wife is Moroccan and Rota is not far from her homeland.  They want to buy a condo and settle there as permanent residents in Spain.

It's not lost on me that my lifestyle, although heavily subsidized by the U.S. government, gives me perspective as to what some immigrants to the USA feel.  I have never been anti-immigrant.  I think our entire country is made up of people from other places.  It's hypocritical not to allow everyone the chance to live in America, although I can see why certain types of people are less desirable.  For example, we don't want violent extremists coming in, trying to overthrow the government.  But then, we already have a problem with homegrown extremists.

Anyway... the one thing I remember about the last time we moved back to the States was how depressing it was to see all the box stores and fast food restaurants.  There are ugly buildings with temporary facades that inevitably decay.  That isn't to say there isn't some ugly shit in Germany or other parts of Europe, but it does seem like things are more permanent here.  And there's less corporate bullshit.

I don't know what the future holds.  Part of me longs to put some roots down somewhere and buy a house of my own.  Part of me likes the freedom of not being tied to a property.  I do like Europe, too. So we'll see.

In a couple of days, we will be going to France.  Hopefully, no one will break into our house while we're gone.  We did have a visitor yesterday-- dirty looking man who said he was from the circus.  He was wearing a black Jack Daniels t-shirt, dirty jeans, and a shirt over his t-shirt.  He was missing teeth and looked like he could use a shower.  I told him I didn't understand, although I did.  I closed the door and went back to the shitty 80s movie I was watching.

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