I think that I finally figured out why I have had the blues lately. Unfortunately, it is because we have entered my favorite month, October. Yes, October is my favorite month of the year and it is making me sad. I realized this because all of the things I love about October are not here in Germany . . . but rather in the U.S.
Let me explain.
October is a wonderful time of the year. The air turns a bit crisp. You get to go out in a big sweatshirt and turtleneck, but it is not yet cold enough for a jacket. I love the feeling of the cool air on my cheeks. I can also dig out my favorite outfit: running shoes, jeans, sweatshirt and turtleneck. Sure, I love to get dressed up and put on my pretty shoes, but in October you cannot get me out of my favorite outfit. It just makes me feel so . . . Comfortable and snug.
The landscape changes and all of Fall's beautiful colors emerge. I went to undergrad in Radford, Virgina. The trees there turn this beautiful gold color. Sometimes I wanted to try and turn them into the bank for cash.
October is when school got into full swing, but not yet the pressure of final exams. I am a nerd. I loved school. New books. Sharp pencils. An empty notebook. It all signals possibility and things to be done.
October also means football. So my undergrad did not have a football team, but my grad school did. I loved football Saturday!! There is nothing in the world like my college town on football Saturday. I would sleep in and then be woken by the band playing not far away. I would get up and have breakfast and watch cartoons. Then I would wander over to campus and watch silly people in their silly hats who were having a glorious time. I'll admit it. I even painted my face a few times. After a hot dog and maybe a beer at a tailgate, it was time to watch the band march into the stadium. Then we would watch our boys battle it out for the next three hours. Most of the time they even won. Inevitably I would go to someone's apartment for pizza, beers, more football and a roaring "I would have called it different" debate.
The best part of October is always the last day. Halloween. Halloween is fabulous. It is completely for kids, and that is what makes it great. 5 years ago I moved into my very first apartment by myself. I rented the bottom floor of a house in a very old neighborhood. I sat on my front porch and chatted with the kids and passed out candy and felt like part of the community. Then I watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. (LOVE IT!) That evening I gave a most excellent Halloween party, which some of my friends still talk about. (Dude, the cops were called! Okay, so it was because of the people across the street, but hey, it is all part of the story.).
After Halloween comes my second favorite month and holiday: November and Thanksgiving.
As I think of all the things I love about October, I realize that I cannot have them here. I usually don't wear my favorite outfit because I am afraid that I will look like a foreigner. There are no Halloween parties and certainly no bands playing. I am no longer in college and instead of possibilities I only see obligations. I cannot even watch a game on satellite TV. The worst part is knowing that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and I am very far from my family.
This makes me homesick. I don't really get homesick anymore. Got too much stuff to do. Places to go. People to teach. But when I slow down in October, I begin to get a little sad. Although many of the things that I love are associated with the U.S., they are also associated with being young and in college, which is definitely a part of my life that is over now. Realizing that has been very difficult.
So, I am trying to make a few new memories. Create my own traditions. I already have my Thanksgiving Dinner plans in progress and the New Yorker and I are going to give a heck of an American Style Christmas Party this year. And maybe I will even pull on my sneakers a few times.