Two weeks ago, we said goodbye to our home in Germany. While my husband fitted the last of our suitcases into the trunk of our little family car, I bid a hurried farewell to the rooms that served us so well in the shadows of the early morning.
A few days before we left, I got an itch to photograph our house. It was one of the first blissfully sunny days of spring. Light poured through the windows and puddled on the wooden floors. My heart ached as I walked up and down the stairs, capturing images while memories flickered.
When I close my eyes and picture the quirky yet completely charming old house that became our haven in Germany, I think of…
The hedgehog wreath we bought at our first Easter market.
The “Thank you for not smoking!” (“Danke für nicht Rauchen!“) sign our landlords hung on our mailbox to discourage villagers from stopping to enjoy a cigarette on our doorstep (it was mostly ignored).
The chalk blessing that was handwritten on our front door each year in celebration of Epiphany.
The balcony where we enjoyed unobstructed views of New Year’s Eve fireworks, village festivals, bicycle races and sunsets with cups of coffee or glasses of wine in hand.
The busy street corner we looked out on from our kitchen window. I’d love to people watch while washing dishes; daily sights included our neighbor working in her beautiful garden and locals strolling by with baskets of groceries and fresh bread from the bakery down the road.
The lovely old front door that confused many visiting friends and food delivery drivers. It’s just for decoration these days.
The heavy wooden doors that welcomed us home each day.
The unfinished stairs where our loyal dog, Layla, would sit and wait for us each time we went out.
The half-timbered walls that took our breath away and made us fall in love with the place the first time we saw it.
The room where we put up our Christmas tree and spent many hours homeschooling.
The spot where Jacob’s little fingers first found their places on piano keys.
The comfy couch where I’d sit and read books while watching snow fall outside floor-to-ceiling windows.
The hanging pot rack we ordered from Amazon.de when we realized we’d run out of cabinet space after unpacking only a few kitchen boxes.
The tiny oven and stove we used to prepare thousands of meals for our family and friends.
The adorable little German refrigerator that blends in with the cabinetry (it’s to the left of the sink).
The tiny sink where we washed our dishes while listening to the church bells ring.
The dining room where we ate dinner together most nights and celebrated birthdays, holidays, and the little moments in between with family and friends.
The hallway to the guest bedroom and bathroom where the boys would run in circles, giggling and chasing each other while I completed daily chores around the house.
The “Black Forest” guestroom where we hosted family members and friends who made the journey half-way around the world just to visit us.
The playroom where the boys spent countless hours dressing up in costumes and letting their imaginations run wild.
The “Jack and the Bean Stalk” bathroom…
The boys came up with the nickname, because the vine pattern looks like something that might’ve sprouted from a bag of magic beans.
The family room with the giant 90’s television set that was there when we moved in.
The boys’ room, where bunk beds replaced a crib and a toddler bed.
The little nook that fit a rocking chair just-so, where my husband and I took turns sitting to read stories and cuddle sleepy boys. The last book we enjoyed in this space together was Uncle Wiggly’s Story Book by Howard Garis.
The master bedroom with the little couch my husband and I would snuggle up on and spend “him-and-me” time after the boys went to sleep.
The German phrase that hung over our bed. It means, “Don’t dream your life, live your dream!”
Even though I truly love this house, I know it’s the family we nurtured within the walls that makes this place so beautiful.
And… home is wherever we’re together.
Even though we’ll carry on with lumps in our throat, it’s time for us to say “goodbye” and “onward.”
We welcome a new adventure with arms and hearts wide open.
Farewell, house. Thank you for so many beautiful memories.