With my dear Opa (grandpa) Walter

I had a wonderful time in southwest Germany (town is Neuried, closest city is Kehl) with the Krammels. I am very blessed to have such a loving, wonderful new family. We were spoiled every day with mom-in-law’s amazing German cooking and we caught up with old friends. I have to admit, I’m feeling quite sad to be back in Berlin after being with family and friends back in Neuried. How funny that I am feeling so “homesick!” I especially miss my Opa Walter who I adore very much. The day before I left he grabbed my hand during dinner and cried a little because I was leaving. I cried, too, and I really wish we weren’t so far from our German family.

Opening the gifts on Christmas eve           Fireworks on New Year’s eve

I also love my Opa and Oma Krammel. They have been married for 57 years and still continue to show those little signs of affection that mean so much. I managed to snap a sweet photo of them as Opa lovingly reached over to stroke his wife’s cheek. They also still hold hands and gaze into each other’s eyes.  Soooo sweet! I hope Matthias and I are like this one day.

I must admit,  I almost never, ever see Japanese couples doing this kind of thing…which begs the question…why not? This is a very big cultural difference between Western thinking and Japanese thinking. Generally speaking, I have found that Japanese couples are not openly physically affectionate (hugs, kisses, hand holding) or verbally appreciative (“you look great in that dress,” “you look lovely,” “I like your hair that way,” etc.) They also rarely use the phrase “I love you,” and in Japanese it’s a bit weird to even say that to your spouse  (either 愛している or 大好き). My big question is whether or not Japanese women long for that or have resigned themselves to the cultural norm or the lack of affection from their husbands. I think the younger generation is really different, and maybe things in Japan will change. Anyway, I still don’t have answers to the these questions, but I must say that to see my grandparents showing this kind of love in such a small way, from a global perspective, really moved me and touched my heart in a deep way.