Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Europe (excluding the United Kingdom) (02/19/09)
TITLE: Ich wermisse Dich
By Connie Dixon
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Going to Switzerland was really Doug’s idea, not mine. He had always wanted to visit, but by the time we could afford to actually make the trip, cancer was eating him alive. My reason for going is to fulfill the dream………Doug’s dream. It is his dream that will sustain me through the lonely nights and endless days. It is his dream that will inspire me to arrange lifeless letters and meaningless words to create a brilliant, award-winning novel. At least that is the hope that Doug instilled in me. If he believed I could do it, well I must at least try.
After Doug’s diagnoses, our relationship gained new momentum. We didn’t argue over dumb stuff anymore, like whether I would sneak a few onions into my almost-perfect potato salad, or whether he would play poker down at the local casino……there was no longer room for such foolishness. Instead, we talked and we laughed, we basked in each other’s presence……and we laughed some more.
They say “laughter is the best medicine,” and we found the saying to be true. We both knew if we couldn’t laugh through our situation, if we couldn’t keep a right perspective……we would cry our days away, and that was not how either of us wanted to live out our last precious moments together. As Christ Followers, neither of us feared death, but my heart broke at the thought of going on without him.
Much of Doug’s final six months were focused on planning my future. He had it in his head that I was going to move to Switzerland, write a book and become famous. But to do that, I had to have a plan. So plan he did. Doug spent hours on the internet learning about the country, the people, the language………all so he could arrange the imminent with most of the details in place.
This was how Doug did things. Whenever we went on vacation, he was the travel guide. He made all the arrangements, planned sight-seeing tours, reserved our hotel, rented a car……he did it all. And to him, this trip was no different.
He discovered he loved speaking German. He didn’t know any German, but he would go online, find a phrase, listen to how it was pronounced, teach it to me, and then “test” me. He told me, “You can’t depend on everyone knowing English. If you’re going to make friends in a foreign country, you have to at least try to communicate on their terms.”
He found significant phrases such as: Sprichthier jemand Englishc? Does anyone here speak English? Ich verstehe. I don’t understand. And my personal favorite: Was haben Sie gesagt? What did you say? .....as if asking someone to repeat himself would actually improve matters.
Though our “German Lessons” were more for our amusement than anything else, to Doug’s delight, I actually became quite the loquacious linguist, or so I thought. Arriving in Zurich would either leave me tongue-tied and mute or it would open doors to a world previously unknown to me.
I said good-bye to my Mom last week-end and gave my girlfriends one last hug this morning as they accompanied me to the airport. After just four hours on the plane, loneliness is suffocating me like a canvas tent on a hot summer afternoon. What was I thinking when I agreed to this new venture? Destination: Sörenberg, Switzerland.
Doug had secured an apartment for me in this small village of the Lucerne hinterland. The popular, winter-sport destination attracts many U.S. travelers and will most likely afford me the luxury of meeting many English speaking tourists. Summers boast of a hiker’s paradise, with deep-blue waters of mountain lakes and flourishing alpine valleys.
The place sounds like Heaven to me. And since I know Doug is in Heaven, I hope that fulfilling this dream might help us remain close. I know I won’t see him there, but I pray that I might at least sense his presence. My dearest husband, “Ich wermisse Dich.” I miss you.
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