Since Last Monday…

Well, if he gets lucky, a boy finds a girl

To help him shoulder the pain in this world

And if you follow your feelings

And you follow your dreams

You might find the forest there in the trees…

~Tom Petty

I feel guilty saying this, but last Monday was a really gorgeous day.

BV and I had just spent the first of our two nights in Reit im Winkl courtesy of the public holiday on Tuesday. Our apartment was darling, and if it had a flaw, it would be that we didn’t have any internet. Service in RiW isn’t particularly great, which meant no LTE, no 3g, and only sometimes E.

I managed to connect for a few minutes on Monday morning, just long enough to upload a picture, note that it seemed to be raining in every other part of Germany, and that’s about it. Not wanting to waste precious roaming data, I opted to take a book onto the balcony with my camera and coffee.

The rest of the day was spent hiking through a sun-soaked fall landscape that left me feeling incredibly happy and refreshed. After having to change our plans several times, it seemed that we had really lucked out. High atop a hill, I took a couple of shots with my phone, noted that I had LTE (!), and uploaded another picture while I had the chance. Then it was back into the valley, through pastures and forests, stopping at Alms for drinks and snacks.

Hours later, the clouds were starting to roll in and we were back in our apartment getting showered before dinner. While BV was readying himself, I scrolled aimlessly through the internet… bored enough to risk using that data. I saw the news about Vegas, put the phone back down, and picked up my book again. Not now, I thought.

BV and I decided on a restaurant that we hadn’t eaten at before, and settled ourselves into the cozy interior of the former blacksmith. The building dates from 1496, and from the first step we took inside, we knew that we were in for a treat. We were nibbling on our appetizers when my phone vibrated the first time. Then again, and again. I subtly checked my wrist and the Fitbit display showed me that it was my best friend writing. We correspond regularly, but rarely does she text me three times in the span of a few minutes, especially if I haven’t answered. She also happened to spend about eight years living in Las Vegas, and has friends and family there.

I apologized to BV, as we usually have a rule about no phones during dinner (especially at a restaurant), and told him about the news that I’d seen while he was in the shower. I looked at the messages, and sure enough, she knew one of the victims, and so did I. Barely, but still. It was a guy we went to college with, the ex of her first roommate when she moved out there.* A friend of a friend of a friend situation, yes, but still.

Back at the apartment, I tried not to look at the news.  I tried to concentrate on a book, mostly unsuccessfully.

Tuesday morning dawned gray and rainy. We had thought that perhaps we could do a small hiking tour before we left, but it was absolutely pouring down rain. Instead we slowly ate breakfast and packed up for the drive home. Trying to check the weather for the drive, I found myself wandering to social media again, and saw the news about Tom Petty.


I’m sure it was a combination of factors, the most obvious ones being my sadness at having to leave the mountains  after such a short trip and the pouring rain, but at that point, I could have sobbed.

Back on network, I spent the whole drive home scrolling through the internet reading all the grisly details of what had happened in Las Vegas, and the beginning rumblings from every possible angle about how/why this happened. I couldn’t stop, even though I was exhausted by the thought of reading more.

That pretty much sums up a lot of how I’ve felt over the last months. The news has been so constantly, relentlessly insane that we haven’t gotten a break. Every day has brought some fresh new hell of insanity, defying logic, defying reason, defying the rule of order. It’s everywhere, it’s constantly breaking and sometimes it feels like it will break us before long.

I wish just checking out was an option, but in this world of 24-hour a day information, how realistic is that? Not very. Additionally, I teach adults, not kids, and you better believe, they are watching all of this too. They have questions, and therefore I should at least try to be able to answer them. It’s just exhausting sometimes.

Generally speaking, things are good here. I am generally happy here. It’s just been that kind of week, and those kinds of weeks have been more and more frequent these last months. It’s just hard to watch so much insanity in my home country from over here, and feel so helpless.

The world is a beautiful and amazing place, but I guess what I’m saying is that I’m having a hard time right now finding the forest in all of the trees.


*He’s still in the hospital, but seems to be on the road to recovery. Thankfully.