Today is one of those peaceful, quiet days where everything seems right in the world. The weather is perfect here, not hot or cold but just right, and I am once again impressed by the natural beauty of the place where we are living. There are large, open fields, perfect blue skies, and the Black Forest and Rhine River are nearby. We also live very close to the French border and only about an hour or so from Switzerland. Many people think I’m living a dream, but for me it’s doesn’t seem like it. Perhaps it’s because people here are so used to living so close to other countries and they take it for granted so I am doing the same thing. Matthias and I went to France Sunday morning to attend an English-speaking fellowship – we met lots of interesting people and stopped at KFC for lunch on our way back to Germany. I didn’t think about it at all, but I suppose it is rather pathetic that we went to France and ate American fast food.

My life as a “Hausfrau” (housewife) is nice for the time being, but I am really aching to get back to the big city this fall. Matthias is searching for an apartment for us in Berlin where we’ll be living starting mid-October. We traveled to Berlin a few weeks ago and I thought it was a wonderful, exciting city full of history and natural beauty. I hope to start language school in the fall and hopefully a year from now I’ll finally be able to talk to people. Anyway, having so much free time here is a very big challenge for me. I thrive on being busy and having lots to do and people to see; I feel like my life went from 100mph to 25 and it’s weird. I don’t think I am using my time very well, and I have to rely on God for wisdom how to spend my hours. I am trying to read as much as I can and study Japanese for several hours a day. I try to stay off the internet but it’s not easy since it’s the main way I can keep in touch with my family and friends. Hopefully I can pass “the test of free time (to quote Jim Elliot), but I often think I am not doing such a good job.

Matthias and I are very hopeful we can go back to Japan. We pray for that every day and I am trusting God will give us the desire of our hearts. However, before I met Matthias I didn’t think I would go back to Japan again. I was planning on staying in the US and building my life there long-term. I was imagining a quiet life somewhere on the east coast, working with international people, and perhaps one day getting married. It’s funny how God changes your plans. I was very reluctant to get involved with Matthias in the beginning of our relationship because I didn’t want to go back to Japan, so God had to change my stubborn heart. Matthias was the most persistent of men, and very decisive and clear about his intentions from the start which made it hard to resist him. Still, it was hard for me to imagine a life either in Japan or Germany because I had planned to live in the US. Slowly, I am getting used to the idea of a life entirely different than what I imagined for myself. At times it’s a bit shocking to think that our kids are going to have a life totally different than my own. It’s hard to think that they won’t necessary know all the things that I consider to be normal – 4th of July, American TV shows, American junk food, Thanksgiving, the Senior prom, Mr. Softie, etc. The hardest part is thinking that they might not see their grandparents all the time. I grew up in the same small town from the time of my adoption until I was 22, and our kids our going to be traveling all over the world and speaking several languages. I cannot even begin to imagine what sort of life they will have, but at the very least, they won’t be boring people when they grow up. It does seem much easier to think of going back to Japan with Matthias, because it’s not easy to be single in Japan. I think Japan is a terribly lonely place in many ways, but being married in Japan should make it easier to cope with trials and difficulties in Japan.

I must say that married life has been really sweet. In many ways, I don’t feel much different than I did when I was single (maybe that’s weird) and our adjustment to married life has been unusually smooth. I think the biggest shock has been that I was pretty certain for a while that I just wasn’t going to get married. A lot of days I wake up and simply cannot believe I am really married. I imagined I’d be single for life and it’s really strange to think I am Mrs. Krammel. I still feel like Miss Danielle Guevara. Maybe I’ll “feel” married at some point but I still don’t feel it…I have to keep looking at my ring to believe it’s really true.

Six weeks from today we’ll be leaving for NJ. I am very excited, but at the same time I realize that this is beginning of many trips we’ll make for the rest of our lives from Germany to the US, the US to Japan, Germany to Japan, etc. We’ll have to say painful goodbyes again just like we will for many years to come. I imagine that our lives and the lives of our future children are going to span across three continents for many years and it’s not going to be easy or always fun. However, because this is the life God has given me I choose to embrace it rather than fear it and I am sure it’ll be far from boring. I’m thankful that following God always brings lots of surprises.