March 16, 2011

About My Adolescence . . .

Heidelberg_Castle

Heidelberg Castle via Google Images

My friend Aiketa from Spain recently asked me about my time in Europe.

Growing up I lived in Germany for nine years because my father was in the Army and was stationed “overseas”. We actually lived in Germany for two separate tours.  The first tour, during my elementary school years {second through fifth grade} was spent in Frankfurt and Mannheim. The second tour, which encompassed all four of my high school years, was spent in Heidelberg.

I think of my growing up years in Europe as a somewhat straddled experience. What I mean by that is we had our feet in two separate, but compatible worlds.  On the one hand, my brothers and I went to American schools, attended church with other Americans in a Serviceman’s ward, bought food at a military grocery store and lived in military housing.  On the other hand, we sampled and enjoyed many German customs, such as Christmas markets and Volksmarches, ate and loved German cuisine, traveled all over Europe {driven at break-neck speed by The Queen} and learned the language enough to speak with locals.

I can remember as a young child being forced to visit ruins, cathedrals and countries that meant very little to me.  I give my parents credit for dragging us around, trying to give us a gift we couldn’t appreciate.  I also give them credit for leaving us with babysitters occasionally so they could really travel and enjoy Europe without us. Because we were little and whiney.

When I was a teenager in Europe, I became more aware of the  splendor and history surrounding me.  I also became aware of boys which means Europe took a back seat in my teenage brain.  Still, we spent time skiing in the French and Swiss Alps. We spent two summers in Italy. We walked the sacred grounds of concentration camps with reverence and tromped the streets of Paris sampling every delicious ├ęclair and strawberry tart as we went. To see and do these things in my formative years was remarkable. It was a very fortunate and amazing upbringing.  And I totally took it for granted. I was, after all, just a teenager.

scan0001

The Queen and I devouring strawberry tarts in France.

It wasn’t until I went back to Europe four years ago to show my Hubby where I’d grown up that I truly marveled at the experience and existence that was my adolescence.  I freakin’ had my Senior Prom in a castle {yep, it’s the one in the first picture}!  Who does that? Me, that’s who.

Many of the people who read and comment on this blog are friends I made during my time in Germany.  Our shared experience has bonded us for life!

To sum it all up, I loved living in Europe.  I wish I would have appreciated it more while I was there.

Thanks for asking, Aiketa.  And thanks Dad and Mom for giving me such a great life experience.

Ps. In all my travels, I never made it to two countries I’d love to see: England and Spain.

9 comments:

The Queen Vee said...

It was a dream life but one that had to end. What i wouldn't give right now for a few French pastries.... a quiche and strawberry tart for breakfast please.

Apis Melliflora said...

Geezum man, you in that second picture..sheesh, same hair, same outfit had I in 1988, sophomore year in college.

I'm so glad you had that experience growing up.

I can't help but wonder how close we actually might have been in 1989-90 during your visit to Paris.

Those strawberry tarts look yummy.

Stacey Gerlach Moe said...

So many memories of Heidelberg, and all of them are good! I can't remember when it was we met, but we were practically neighbors. I took my husband to Heidelberg 4 years ago to show him where I went to high school and boy had things changed! The housing is behind fences now! But such great memories...and people here marvel at the fact that we had our prom in a castle!!!

tktakesphotos said...

I had my Prom in the Salt Lake City Capitol Building. Does that count? Nope. I thought not. Of course you didn't appreciate Europe. Nobody appreciates that kind of stuff when their a teenager. I'm pretty sure that means you're normal. =)

The Queen Vee said...

I looked at the picture of you and I again stuffing our faces with strawberry tarts and I'm wondering what in the world am I wearing?

squeezeme said...

Oh, Matt and I SO long for a European experience for a few years. We'll have to settle for a trip here and there...and Victoria, those stripes are oh, so Parisian! You've always been an "in" fashion gal!

P.S. I want Ollie to have a Cooshie! Go google it....my boys LOVE their comfy booster seats. They feel like "big" boys and the seat makes it a bit safer by preventing some (not all :) falls.

Heather Lindsey said...

love, love, love your hair! That was totally awesome. Thanks for sharing about your youth. Very cool

Tarra said...

What a cool thing to learn about you! I love the pictures, and your descriptions! Thank you for sharing a little of your Europe with us!

Aiketa said...

What a great surprise after a few days not visiting your blog (I was on vacation! :D) to see that you answered my question. Thanks for that.

Truly your adolescence was amazing. It must be brilliant to be abroad with all your family and get to know other countries and cultures. Never been to Heildelberg, but I've been told it's a beautiful city... lucky you!

I LOVE the pic of you and the Queen in Paris. Just perfect!!

And you should visit Spain, it's a very interesting country. I don't say it only because it's where I am from but also because it has lots of different things to enjoy: marvelous beaches, high mountains, plains... and really interesting cities.